Thursday, July 12, 2018

Contrasting Vocals – Throwback Thursday

     Count us among the fans of harmonization in which the individual voices are closely aligned, allowing them to almost seamlessly blend together. The harmony can be enchantingly arresting. Just as one example, the voices of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash fit well together, and their music remains attractive after almost 50 years.
     But count us among the music lovers who prefer songs with voices that bear few similarities and that resist blending. Here are three examples from distinct times and genres – 1974 Prog Rock, 1991 Grunge, and 2018 Folk.

     Starting in the chronical middle, Temple of the Dog was a Seattle supergroup formed in tribute to Andrew Wood, who passed in 1990. “Hunger Strike” features the voices of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. The contrast of Cornell’s voice in the upper octave of his four-octave range with Vedder’s baritone vocals is particularly powerful in the final minute.
     “Hunger Strike” 

     In 1974, Genesis was the inverse of a supergroup, since its members went onto separate successes after leaving the group. Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins ventured out on the own, while Mike Rutherford formed Mike and the Mechanics. The sixth studio album “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” featured the song “The Carpet Crawlers.”

      Simon Lewis and Onk Lou combined on “Home 2.0.” Unlike the two songs above, where the distinctiveness is primarily octave-based, the voices of Lewis and Lou are distinctive because Lewis’ voice has a vocal purity and softness, while Lou brings a raspiness. It’s the contrast that stops a listener. They are located in Austria.

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