Blog post: Real vs hyperreal vs surreal

“Realistic Recording”—- “Velvet Green” by Jethro Tull

https://youtu.be/2snYD_lRAGk

Before performing, Ian Anderson states, “If there is anything that sounds like a mistake, conjure up an Eb minor in your brain.”  This quote perfectly sums up a realistic performance because during a real performance, the performers can easily make rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic errors. In addition, one cannot guarantee that each time that a musician repeats any line, he will repeat it with perfect timing and perfect intonation.  This is exactly what happens here. Although the song certainly has a pattern and a structure, we do not hear everything crystal clear nor as crisp as you would normally hear it in a manipulated recording. A realistic performance is always flawed by human imperfections.

“Hyperrealistic Recording”—”Another Love” by Tom Odell

https://youtu.be/MwpMEbgC7DA

This song sounds like a perfected live recording. It sounds realistic because the piano doesn’t sound like a synthesizer and the voice doesn’t sound auto-tuned. Both sound very raw and like they were recorded in a studio. We can tell that this song has been manipulated,however, because the piano and voice sound extremely coordinated. Although it is possible to achieve a high level of coordination between a pianist and a vocalist, it is likely that this recording was messed with a bit in order to get the perfect coordination between the two. In addition, from 1:45 to 1:54 we hear many layers of Tom’s voice stacked on top of each other in order to create what sounds like a mini gospel choir. This effect, obviously, was done through a computer because one human cannot sing multiple voices at the same time although that would be pretty cool.

 


“Surrealist Recording”—–”La Bicicleta” by Carlos Vives and Shakira

https://youtu.be/-UV0QGLmYys

This recording sounds unreal because the accordion, guitar, and drum machine repeat with the same calculable rhythms and notes. There are no notes out of the song which sound wrong because this song was clearly enhanced. The chorus sounds exactly the same each time it is repeated. Thus, we can assume that the chorus is not redone a billion times in order to get several perfect choruses. We should realize that the chorus was probably created once and later copied and pasted several times throughout the song because no human voice can possibly replicate a chorus so perfectly. Shakira and Carlos Vives’ voices sound a bit too robotic and computerized as a result of them using so much auto tune. If it were somehow created “live” with acoustic instruments, one would probably be able to pick out flaws in the qualities of their voices and in the quality and rhythmic precision of the instruments played in the song. Although this is one of my favorite songs because of its catchy beat and groove and its ability to make me want to dance, I probably would not feel the same about it if it was recorded with acoustic instruments. This is because the song would not be able to build up the same hype it does with its repetitious nature and its pounding drum machines, which establish a repetitive fun tune which works perfect for dancing!

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