Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Gift of Sound and Vision

In these days of ubiquitous auto-tuning, it is refreshing to listen to the untrained and undoctored human voice. Lately I've been listening to the Marine Girls and the Young Marble Giants. YMG songwriter Stuart Moxham once said of his bandmate, Alison Statton, "She's not a singer. She's a person who sings." Mr. Moxham produced Lazy Ways, the second (and final) album by the Marine Girls. There is a new Stuart Moxham album, Huddle House, available on eMusic. The Marine Girls' albums are also available there, as well as a live set from YMG.

On the subject of untrained voices, I've also been listening to the Germs. You've heard of the new album where all the songs are based on Black Flag lyrics? Someone should do the same with the Germs. Darby's lyrics are fascinating, but you'd never know it by listening to him snarl and slur them. "Let me touch the tips of inculcated desire, and brush the fettered veil away, shut down in the depths I lay."

I like to read the magazine TapeOp, but its interviews with music producers and engineers make me realize that there are people who, like supertasters, can discern the most subtle differences between sounds produced by different instruments, microphones, or speakers. There are also people in the music industry who are gifted with a type of synesthesia, in the sense that they can perceive sounds as shapes, and the spatial relationship between sounds. To me, those people are a different breed, fortunate enough to appreciate music in ways that I can only imagine. On the other hand, if I were sensitive to errors in pitch and production, I might not be able to enjoy groups like YMG and the Marine Girls.

Young Marble Giants: Wurlitzer Jukebox
Marine Girls: Tutti Lo Sanno
Marine Girls: Lazy Ways


At 10/17/2007 1:42 PM , Anonymous Paula said...

I listened to some of the new Moxham CD last night--seems like he's doing something a little different this time around, reminiscent of more trad folk and jazzy AAA stuff. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't find it as compelling as his otehr stuff.


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