Sample Genealogy

I never knew this until I took a “History of Popular Music” course in high school, but the Black Eyed Peas sampled Dick Dale and the Deltones’ Miserlou in their song Pump It. It plays in the beginning as a very key component and then serves as a nearly constant background accompaniment, peaking at the chorus. There are other instruments and beats going on as well, but it makes a very obvious contribution to the song.


Switchfoot used a interpolation of their own song. On their album Hello Hurricane, the opening track is Needle and Haystack Life. The last track is Red Eyes, which uses the chorus from Needle and Haystack Life at the end of the song in the background of an instrumental section. “In this needle and haystack life/I found miracles there in your eyes/It’s no accident we’re here tonight/We are once in a lifetime.” Throughout that interpolation, themes from Red Eyes overlaps it in a very ambient-like way.


Racing Time Process

I was originally only going to include my own phone recording of cars on my street. I had randomly selected 120 bpm and started working with my “New Dover” recording. Not satisfied with just the one found sound, I decided to look through my classmates’ recordings and came across Krystelle’s “Clock Ticking on a Snowstorm,” which worked perfectly with my 120 bpm. So instead of having a literal car racing idea, I toyed with the titular racing time idea. The song starts off with the loop Alpha Omega Bass and the clock recording, which continues throughout the entire piece, becoming prominent again when the music gets softer toward the middle and the very end. The purpose of the first four bars being just the clock represent the growing anticipation right before a race. After the first four measures, my New Dover recording begins and continues through the rest of the song as well.

The song builds up intensity as “the race” begins. I used Aurora Beat, Bell Ringer Arpeggio, Rapid Snare Topper, and Accelerate Synth, as well as a Rising Synth Effect and Diving Synth Effect, to do this, each entrance contributing to the race effect. After a combination of Alpha Omega Beat, Accelerate Synth, and Rapid Snare Topper at a loud dynamic, I brought the volume down on those three parts to serve as a sort of background sound to the newly introduced calmer section. This section uses two more loops: Set Free Synth Pad and Slow Motion Piano. During this section, one imagines a more inner dialogue with the clock recording subtly in the background. I liked having the juxtaposition of the two calm loops with the clock recording and the three background intense loops with the New Dover recording; it gave the song a sort of eye of the storm feeling here.

The song ends with a sort burst of intense music again, using Aurora Beat, Accelerate Synth, and Set Free Synth Pad, as well as the Rising Synth Effect once more. After eight measures of this, Aurora Beat and Set Free Synth Pad drop out, Accelerate Synth gradually fades away, and Slow Motion Piano comes in, also gradually fading away so that the last sounds are the New Dover recording and the clock recording, bringing the song full circle.

Production Analysis of Carry On Wayward Son

Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son” opens with a cappella vocals, sung by Steve Walsh and Robby Steinhardt. Followed by that is a typical rock band instrumentation: drums, two electric guitars, and bass guitar, along with a Hammond Organ and a piano. I tried finding out specifics on the guitars, and came across a forum that discussed the possible exact instrumentation. There was a lot of conversing about Gibsons (possibly a Gibson L6S) and Les Pauls and Strats. As for effects, there is mention of possible Boss EQ and Marshall amps. The producers were Jeff Glixman and Kansas and the engineer was Bill Evans

Real vs. Hyperreal vs. Surreal

“Realistic Recording”

This video of Lady Gaga performing an acoustic version “Paparazzi” seems to fit the criteria of a realistic recording. The instrumentation is just the keyboard and her voice. You can hear the slight imperfections of Lady Gaga’s voice (slight pitch fluctuations, although she does a magnificent job staying on pitch. Also, the piano accompaniment isn’t always perfecting even in the eighth notes or dynamics. You can also clearly see in the video that she’s singing and playing the piano herself.


“Hyperrealistic Recording”

Most of Daft Punk’s music sounds pretty enhanced or modified, due to their goal of a futuristic yet old fashioned sound. However, their album Random Access Memories included more live studio instrumentalists. Their track “Contact” sounds heavily electronic and modified (especially in the synth), but in fact has James Genus on bass and Omar Hakim on drums. I couldn’t hear the bass too well, but I could hear in the kit that it sounded like a live drummer because of both timbre and inconsistency. I don’t mean inconsistency as in poor musicianship, of course, rather the impossible achievement of playing everything perfectly in time.


“Surrealistic Recording”

I know nothing about Skrillex but he was the first person I thought of when I had to choose a recording that couldn’t possibly be played live with instruments. I’m hoping I don’t sound ignorant, but I don’t know how his recording of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” (or most of his music) could be performed with live instruments. The vocals are altered and there are so many electronic melodies and harmonies and effects going on that I don’t think it would sound right if performed with live acoustic instruments. I’m sure there could be a performance that sounds nice and similar to the original track, but to replicate it exactly would sound strange to me.