Monday, October 10, 2011

Import: Gotye Will Mess You Up

Excuse me while I obsess. This weekend one of my friends sent me links to a couple music videos by an Australian (by way of Belgium) artist named Gotye (Gore-ti-yeah. Né Wally De Backer).

Said friend should know he blew my weekend to bits because I spent the entire time toggling between the two videos. Let's talk about why.

Gotye is self-described alt-pop. In his previous albums, he's worked a lot with samples of old vinyl records and cassette tapes. He seems to have major knack for getting strange and awesome sounds from unusual places. "Somebody That I Used to Know" and "Heart's a Mess" are two cuts off his third and most recent release, Making Mirrors. On both songs, I was immediately drawn in by the sounds. I still don't totally know what they are, but to give you an idea of how he works, in a 10-minute documentary he released on Youtube, De Backer talked about how he essentially made a virtual version of an autoharp, playing every single note and storing them as files that could be played back through his keyboard. The sound of the autoharp was a bit unexpected because you either strum an autoharp or play single notes slowly, not play them as you would keys.

And it just goes on. On De Backer's website, he talks about doing spur of the moment field recordings of "sound sources" and turning them in to different aspects of his songs. He raids the local thrift store for records and does crazy things horn intros from obscure Australian 60's albums.

But enough about the sound. I'd be remiss not to mention the lyrics. Sticking with the two previously mentioned songs, you can't really go wrong. I love the phrase "heart's a mess." I also love the chorus on "Somebody That I Used to Know," especially because De Backer's voice has this Sting thing going on and it leaves me wanting to run to the window and burst into "Roxanne." His writing has a very natural flow. "You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness." Killer, yeah?

Anyhoodle, when I get jealous of musicians as creative people who get to build every aspect of their projects from creating the sounds on the albums to designing album artwork (De Backer modified an old painting of his dad's with photoshop for the cover), Gotye is now the face I will put with that thought.

I will now go back to obsessing.

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