Chris Uggen's Blog: archive that sound

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

archive that sound

jeremy freese recently proposed that we archive our computer code as well as our data on all published research. i've always wished that musicians would do something similar in their liner notes. purports to identify the gear heard on your favorite music and then offer you ebay links to hook you up with said gear. the offerings are skewed to distinctive classic rawk guitar sounds, with a few other instruments thrown in for completeness. if you are not geek enough to identify the hammond b3 organ on like a rolling stone, then you'd likely be bored by the whole concept.

for this geek, it all sets up as a nice data source. here are my preliminary empirical generalizations:

1. first-generation punks and protopunks kept it simple and classic

babylon - ny dolls
blitzkrieg bop - ramones (nothin' fancy)
god save the queen - pistols
i walk the line - joaquin cash (midcentury cool)
mystery train - elvis (echosonic?)
search and destroy - stooges (bass)
you really got me - kinks (razor blade or no, they're not really punks)

2. later alt-demigods go for really cheap vintage gear

boys don't cry - cure (woolworths?)
last night - strokes (stompboxes)
lithium - nirvana (jag+muff)
take me out - franz (amps older than their parents)

3. amps matter

brown sugar - stones (keef on sg)
candy says - velvets (sunn workstations)
layla - derek (tweed)
pride - u2 (bono vox/edge vox)
suzie q - creedence (aww, man. check out those Kustoms)

4. we need a slide guitar anthem for the new millenium

free bird - skynyrd (can you still get coricidin bottles?)
loser - beck (bottleneck)

5. putatively disposable stompboxes will live forever

bohemian rhapsody - queen (home on the rangemaster)
purple haze - jimi (fuzz face)
sweet child o' mine - guns (don't be a crybaby)
ziggy stardust - bowie (mick ronson's 'ear-splitting, honky, intergalactic-arachnid sound')

6. wanna big sound? heavy is as heavy does

byob - system (mo' sg)
enter sandman - metallica (riff of a thousand kickoffs)
rhymin' and stealin' - beasties (metal samples)
teen spirit - nirvana (big drums)
when the levee breaks - zep (BIG drums)
won't get fooled again - who (it's all in the cables)

7. sometimes a bass is not a bass

blister in the sun - femmes (distinctive bassline, eh?)
light my fire - doors (who needs a bass player?)
seven nation army - stripes (bass-like)
sympathy - stones (keef on bass?)

8. it takes a musical genius to rock the clavinet and theremin

good vibrations - beach boys (all-time top-10 on the theremin)
let's get it on - marvin (mic)
superstition - stevie (funkclavinet)

i'm not much interested in duplicating these sounds, but it is cool to know from whence they came. if you squint hard, you might see a style, culture, and social networks project in here somewhere.


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Mike W. said...

As someone who overwrote 160 pages of notes for an upcoming doctoral exam two weeks ago, I urge you to backup your *birthday cards* if at all possible. Do it all, do it early, and do it often. I'm sure most of us have similar horror stories.

Although Motorhead isn't on the site you listed, I found out recently the style of Rickenbacker that Lemmy plays to get his distinctive "growl" (as I liken the noise that comes out). It's a 4003, and any eBay search on that model reminds me just how important it is to finish school and find gainful employment. I must own one of those guitars.

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Woz said...

Hey, why don't you flip over that album and tell me who played bass. That's right, nobody. The gypsy's didn't need homes and the Doors didn't need a bassist.

At 12:01 AM, Anonymous jaco pastorius said...

i know, it was manzarek's left hand. legend has it that a young woman played bass in early doors incarnations. evidently, neither ray nor robbie remember her name...

i'm betting it was mary huff of S.C.O.T.S. she might have been purged by morrison, feeling threatened by huff's stage presence.


Post a Comment

<< Home