My waxing lyrical about lyrics the other evening prompted further and wider investigations, which lead me into unexpectedly interesting territory this morning. Whilst searching for answers to a nagging question I have about one of Seal’s tracks – more of which later – I blundered into Paolo Di Nicolantonio’s web site.
SynthMania is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of delights for the those whose anoraks hide tee-shirts bearing the logos of Roland and Moog, namely lovers of all ‘synthesizers, keyboards, pianos, organs, drum-machines and electronic sound-making devices’. Whilst some of the esoterica on the site is a little too esoteric for me, I did spend way too much time nodding and smiling my way through the mp3 sample in the ‘Famous Sounds’ section. Paolo has collected together a bunch of sounds that many will recognise but few will know from whence they came. From the synth loop behind The Prodigy’s Charlie to the Roland D-50 Pizzagogo preset used by Enya for the interminable Orinoco Flow, they’re all here. How many funkmaster wannabes have used the Funky Drummer loop to fill out their sound or the analog synth brass hook that has all air-keyboard players jamming along with Eddie Van Halen’s Jump. The cheery on the cake for me is that even a synth devotee like Paolo knows that you can have too much of a good thing, as evidenced by his Overused but Not Cool Award, which he gifts to Stuttering Sampled Vocals such as those used in Paul Hardcastle’s dire N-n-n-nineteen.
All of this diverted me from trying to find an answer to one of those irrelevant but infuriating questions that pop into my head from time to time. Whilst listening to music the other night, iTunes shuffle feature threw up Seal‘s Voilet, a broad and atmospheric piece that tantilises the listener with what seem to be snippets of film dialogue set against a background of rain falling on cobbles. I have always wondered which film/s the dialogue comes from or whether indeed it is simply fabricated for the track but recalled listening to an interview with Seal (which, in my memory, was whilst in a fast food place in Canterbury) where he stated that he didn’t publish his lyrics, preferring to allow the listener to interpret them as they choose to. Searching for simple snippets of this dialogue like “Why should they come? They were supposed to die back there” or “Don’t be too fond of Christians” simply links back to the many lyric archives out on the web. That said, one hit linked to a discography that mentions certain releases of the eponymous album don’t have these background voices but sadly gives no indication of what was used or why? If anyone reading this knows more, I’d be interested to hear from them.
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