Hollow Rooms

April 11, 2009 12:49 PM

At home one Saturday night in about 1984, I got interested in just how hard it was to say words backwards, flip the tape, & have them come out intelligible. It took hours, and was much harder than I thought.

The phrase "In hollow rooms, all my words come back" at the beginning and end was actually pronounced backwards, then I flipped the cassette to play it back "frontwards."

Recorded on my 4-track cassette deck, and rescued from such last year, de-noised with Sound Soap & re-mixed in Logic 6. That's Joe "King" Carrasco's (then high-tech) TR-606 that was on loan. I played the wooden box-drum, synthesizer and hand-saw, and my friend Morgan provided the guitar. The laugh-echo track was something me & Morgan built up by multi-tracking a few times, with the echo printing to tape each time, so it got weirder & weirder & weirder with each pass until it was weird enough.

The cheer at the beginning & end... let's have a quiz. Who can guess where it's stolen from?

posted by Devils Rancher (2 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I love this.
I used to do that with my old busted tape recorder when I was a kid. Say the word in "backwards language" and try to make it sound as normal as possible when played backwards. Sadly, I think the claim on this technique has been lost forever to David Lynch and a snapping short man walking backwards in slow motion.
I also have the Roland TR-606, which my older brother bought in the early 80s when it was 'cutting edge' as you say. It's been in my possession since the early 90's, when my brother bought my 1981 Pontiac Acadian for $700 and the drum machine. He drove the car for a while and abandoned it in a ditch by the farmhouse on the York University Campus. But that's another story.

Great track. Love the saw. Hopefully nobody makes a "number 9" comment.
posted by chococat at 4:29 PM on April 11, 2009

So I'm a teenager in the mid-80s, and an older friend brings me by his buddy's house for some reason I can't remember. We walk in without knocking, and the first thing I see is two fridge-sized bass amplifiers, black padded monsters; then I see the entire floor is covered with stuff. Turns out the guy lives there alone, and just lets things go to hell.

We find him sprawled on a mattress (might have been a bed under it, but if so we couldn't see it under all the stuff) and wake him up. After some small talk, he starts talking about his band, and so on and so forth, then pulls out a Tascam 4-track to play something they've recorded the night before, but hadn't played back yet.

He plays it back, and it's all of them trying to say things backwards so it'll come out right when it's played in reverse. All the voices are faint, and you can't really make them out. It's obvious what they're trying to do, but not what they're saying. We turn it way up to listen.

Then, suddenly, clear as a bell, right into the mic: "FuuUUUCK MmmmeeeEEE MmmmaaaRRRY AaaaNNNNN..." "FUUUUCK MEEEEE MAAAAAARY AAAAAANN!" "FUCK ME MARY ANN!" Then that voice is never heard from again. Nobody on the recording laughs, because of course they had no idea what he'd said, but to us it was the funniest thing we'd ever heard.

Thanks for bringing back that memory.
posted by davejay at 4:40 PM on April 11, 2009

« Older lupus_yonderboy callback dis   |   Catastrophes Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments