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.


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