Saturday, April 30, 2016

Spillage, bleedage, and the Wall of Sound

I hate to inflict this on you, because it's just about the ugliest pop song I've ever heard. But I post it here to make a point, or to illustrate a point I made awhile ago.

What I was trying to get across - OK. There is this idiotic song by Bobb E. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, and it is just about the worst example of a Phil Spector Wall of Sound technique (perhaps discovered by accident) called "spill" or "bleed".  He turned off the guitar track for the song, but the guitar could still be heard because all the mikes were jammed together in that suffocating little studio the musicians worked in, and the other mikes picked up the sound, or at least the reverberations of it.

It produced a so-called ghostly, eerie effect that caused a music professor to write a bullshit dissertation about it, but never mind. THIS record, I think, demonstrates the effect quite dramatically, in that the chorus is not just ghostly: it's a whiter shade of pale. It's barely there; it's a whisper. 

Why this effect was used on such an ugly song, played in "double-time" as they say in Musicville, I don't know. It sure needed something to soften it up and make it interesting.

This song isn't just a B-side, it's a C- or D-side, but it may have formed the flip-side of a Ronette classic like Be My Baby. Meanwhile, if you listen to it carefully, you hear ghosts singing, and it's quite chilling.

Not as chilling as Spector firing bullets into the ceiling during recording sessions, but still chilling.

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