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VOICEVocal Aesthetics in Digital Arts and Media$
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Norie Neumark, Ross Gibson, and Theo van Leeuwen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262013901

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262013901.001.0001

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Carbon and Silicon

Carbon and Silicon

(p.211) 11 Carbon and Silicon

Ross Gibson

The MIT Press

Since the introduction of computer-based systems, there has been a radical transformation in the capture, processing, and placement of the human voice. Today, producers and engineers employ precise digital technology to select, separate, copy, and conjoin all the portions of their compositions. As digital technology makes it possible to construct entire soundscapes without any human intervention, the use of the voice and the vocal performer becomes a crucial issue. This chapter looks at some of the changes in the representation of the human voice in digitally designed music over the past three decades. It focuses on Jamaican music as a precursor of digital sound recording through its heavy reliance on remixing, sound “sweetening,” and modular compositional techniques that rely on relational databases. The chapter also shows how the Jamaican producers often renounced the clean sound afforded by digital recording in favor of gramophonic “crackle” and “analog decay.” It furthermore considers artists who were “born digital,” such as Kode 9.

Keywords:   Jamaican music, human voice, digital recording, sound recording, Kode 9, digital technology, remixing, sound sweetening

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