W is for Wall of Sound

Bow before the monstrosity that is.

grateful-dead-wall-of-sound-8.jpg

For those that want a history of the term (which I don’t recommend as it’s not that relevant) you can go here –> Wikipedia – Wall of Sound Before we begin I’ve put together a chronological mix of songs on 8tracks for your listening pleasure –> LISTEN

Tracklist:
White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
Write Record Release Blues – Jesus & Mary Chain
Where is My Mind – Pixies
White Palms – B.R.M.C.
When Jokers Attack – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Welcome to the Times – 65DaysOfStatic
Arms Like Boulders – War On Drugs
Monongah, WV – Weekend
We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow – REVERE
White Rain – Junip
L Y F – World Unite, Lucifer Youth Foundation

Finally. Let’s get this thing started.
Wall of Sound (for those of you who didn’t read the wiki) was a production technique invented by Phil Spector back in the day. It’s mostly just layering of guitar tracks to add some overwhelming sound to song. It was the difference between Let It Be and the remastered Let It Be – Naked (Naked removed WoS for the ‘purists’). For me it’s more than that. It’s not quite a genre all by itself but it’s an element that stretches across a few different areas of guitar music.
It is a sound that has been around in rock and pop for a long time, always with a few proponents kicking around, hands up Jesus & Mary Chain, but it is something I’ve been coming across more and more in recent years. Well loved groups, such as Junip, have started moving towards a more punchy sound and bands like Weekend are pretty much entirely reliant on the effects of WoS for their impact. The march continues right out of the recording studio and onto the stage.
Despite starting life in the studio it is easier to identify at a live show than it is on a record . The band War On Drugs, for example, sound a little fuzzy on record but live the music is realised as an all out, eye watering, force-field of noise with melodies and riffs just about peeking through. An undeniable mastering of the WoS. When people talk of being physically blown away at a gig you could make the intelligent guess that WoS was involved. It really hits you hard when done right and can be almost euphoric when done perfectly. An example of perfectly can be found in the kinda-elusive World Unite, Lucifer Youth Foundation (WU LYF) and their organ work. If you search around the internet you’ll find a few demos that will take you over if your headphones are turned up loud enough. It’d be interesting to see them live and see if they can bring it to the stage. Their new album Go Tell Fire to the Mountain drops on 13/06/11, you can see a preview here –> Go Tell Fire promo and join me in shaking with anticipation.

The Wall of Sound, blessed be Phil Spector and long may it live.

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