angels and demons in the recording studio


In tonight’s spin class when we got to a particularly hard “steep” exercise, the instructor played some music that I would give the old fashioned label of heavy metal. I know there is death metal, grindcore, metalcore, and various other permutations of metal, but I couldn’t tell you the difference between them. Don’t know what band it was, but you could pry the lid off a coffin with the singer’s voice; very deep and growling and scraping the vocal chords.

His verses alternated with others sung by a children’s choir, and that achieved some of the ghastly effect intended. Pairing children’s voices with something quite different is an old gambit in the music business. Pink Floyd and Alice Cooper come to mind. But the first time I came across it was on Leonard Cohen’s 1967 album, The Songs of Leonard Cohen on the song, “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.” It’s an unbelievably beautiful song. Personally, I think it might be better without the child singers and the twanging mouth harp, but that’s Leonard for you. I’m so used to that version now I don’t even notice.

Recordings of children’s choirs should be mixed with the sounds of:
humpback whale songs
electric can openers
radio static
a cat fight
a 28.8K modem connecting to the Internet

I give you these ideas for free and you may become famous and wealthy. You’re welcome.


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