What am I listening to: Sampled Vocals

This post was originally going to be about The Books, but it got me thinking about my love for listening to music with sampled vocals. By disembodying the vocal/voice, I think the meaning of voice samples (and also ‘Found Sounds’) can be ironically accentuated, or alternatively changed (A great example of Post Modernism). So….. Instead placing links to just The Books, I thought I would mention a few other artists that have interested me with their sampling activities.

Robert Ashley Despite being in his 70’s now, to my mind he is a pioneer of using vocal sounds out of context. Listen to his Opera Robert Ashley – Celestial Excursions

Another under represented composer in this style is guitarist Scot Johnson, who somehow mixes samples with jazz rock and art music influences. Start off by listening to this Scott Johnson – John Somebody

I have already mentioned the Books. Listen to this Spotify Playlist The Books

Vicky Bennett’s ‘People Like Us‘ are really worth a listen. I  placed a post about People Like Us a while back regarding the copyright issues they face when sampling, and how a Creative Commons licence would help circumnavigate some of the issues that restrict creativity. Although not on Spotify, in true Creative Commons style, Vicky has placed all of her music for download here.

Finally, no account of vocal sampling would be complete without mentioning Steve Reich. Start off by listening to Ensemble Modern – Steve Reich: Different Trains

Finally, and not that I am comparing myself in any way to the great artists above, but here are a  couple of my experiments with vocal sampling. The first was written as a commission for dancer Gabriela Daris, and the 2nd in an attempt to combine jazz rock with vocal sampling.

Prodigal Son

About Paul Carr

Academic working at the University of Glamorgan
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