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Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:06 pm UTC
by tin
I wasn't sure if this thread idea was too similar to the 'Perfect Moments In Music' thread, but it got me thinking.

What are your favourite specific sounds to hear in music? And why, if you have a reason. Melodic or whatever. Sounds which you could listen to on their own and get a bit of a tingle from listening to them. Maybe sounds which will make you like a song even more? Sounds with a particular memory or feeling attached? Personally, I love working with just sound. In fact, i'm trying to make a short based on a track made up of found machinery and robot sounds i've made. It's a lot of fun.

Anyhoo, for me, I tend to feel happy when I hear...

- Jarring feedback from amps. It makes me feel dirty, in a good way. It also reminds me of the excitement of live gigs.
- Again, on the theme of gee-tars, bending the sound of notes played on an electric guitar. Weeeoooooowwwweeeeooooooooow.
- Echoes. Such a natural, comforting sound to me.
- African or samba style drumming. I like it's primal quality and most of all, how it makes me want to dance.
- DJs scratchin' up vinyl. I love the idea of creating a beat from a melody, which I think that encompasses.
- Gospel choirs. Pretty much the only reason I kept going to church when I was little. That and the free marshmellows they'd give to us on the mini-bus ride to the church.

How about your good selves, xkcd sound lovers?

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:00 pm UTC
by ChocloManx
Seconded on echo and also muted trumpets, slap (or otherwise funky) bass, completely unprocessed vocals, female bossa vocals, and that about it top of my head.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:04 pm UTC
by Gelsamel
Pedal Point and double bass for me.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:24 pm UTC
by 1337geek
Organs of all kinds, especially pipe. Also the doobly-doobly-doop sound in the first and second choruses, respectively, of "Step Into Christmas" and "Holding Out for a Hero."

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:09 pm UTC
by Clumpy
I love microbeats, the likes of which Bjork or Radiohead use in some songs instead of drumming.

Deliberately clumsy samples like M.I.A. or Crystal Castles. This works really well in rap as well, though I pretty much love any rap that samples or uses good jazz or unconventional instruments as a backdrop (Nas, Madvillain).

A really cold, psychedelic electronic beat like The Knife or Ladytron (or, for that matter, Demon Days).

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:39 pm UTC
by TaintedDeity
I love the sound of plainsong, like a whole choir all singing the same words.
Loud, powerful, slightly distorted like a moan more than words.

I also like low, ambient synth noises. Almost like a weird violin. Actually, I love violin as well, seriously, any song with violin in wins for me.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:53 pm UTC
by Rhubarb
There's this bit in [equation] by the Aphex Twin when some weird sound comes in at a random moment, and it is literally the best sound ever created by man. It might even be made from a distorted image- later in that same track is a pic of his face in the frequency spectrum (I wasn't talking about that bit although that bit is good too).

The feedback at the end of Just Abandoned Myself by Boris is so heavy and dark, it's the blackest sludgiest noise you ever heard. I love it. Other noise is good as well.

Oh, and the cello is probably my favourite instrument. Can't think of any specific examples.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:35 pm UTC
by Dingbats
An acoustic guitar through a (good sounding) single large membrane condenser microphone, a nice pre-amp with a slight touch of compression, stored on tape. Beats nearly everything.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:34 am UTC
by Dream
The drums on Low by David Bowie.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:44 am UTC
by poxic
An old-wood upright piano, lovingly recorded and gently played.

An old-wood, well-crafted 12-string guitar, lovingly recorded and gently played.

A vulnerable, emotional human voice, lovingly recorded and energetically played.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:10 pm UTC
by The Spherical Cow
I love the sound of a hi-hat opening and closing, it just has a really nice shush-ing kind of quality. Hard to describe why I like it, but it's one of my favourite sounds.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:01 am UTC
by Dream
I love Tom Waits' voice, and every bit of guitar Marc Ribot recorded with him. The voice needs no explanation. The guitars I just love the textures and the feel of them, and the way the parts are written allow the sound to take centre stage, even above the wonderful playing. Hoist That Rag off Real Gone is the perfect example.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:48 am UTC
by Kizyr
First: Mongolian throat singing
(Traditional example, Altan Urag - Hoh Tolbton)

Second, probably the tabla. Definitely my favorite percussion instrument. KF

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:00 am UTC
by Bassoon
Non-conventional instruments not common in that genre. Also, symbolism in instrumentals. Such as the end of What Sarah Said and using random flailing on guitar strings to represent screaming. A good example is the beginning of Muse's "Plug in Baby."

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:57 am UTC
by SkaBassist
Ooooh, good idea for a thread.

In order:

Bowed vibes.
So ethereal, so beautiful. When used well, this is definitely my favorite sound.

Nice, low saxophone. Bari is preferred.
There is some seriously badass stuff out there for the Bari. Listen starting at 1:15 in that video.

Also, I second muted trumpets.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:29 pm UTC
by Bennt
Twangy guitar

Also, people singing fake backwards

like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiNMyscrUaw&feature=related

Audio kinda sucks though

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:19 pm UTC
by J the Ninja
Clean guitars, they seem flowing an peaceful after listening to distortion for a whole song.

Also, double bass and death growls. There's something energetic about them other sounds don't have.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:28 am UTC
by popprocks
Upward "glissandos" (The opposite of a 'fall') on rediculously high notes.

The Big Phat Band - High Maintenance: Notably at 0:25, 0:40, and throughout the song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xDCoMm0Vbg

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:31 pm UTC
by Goatboy
Oh man do I second Tablas. So hard do I second it.

I'm also a big fan of incidental squeaks of fingers on guitar strings. But only incidental ones, like we caught a hidden glimpse of reality. I've heard a few songs recently that were drenched in 'em and it kinda turned me off.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:11 pm UTC
by SirMustapha
For some reason, I like those hollow, almost harmonic electric drones produced by machines like electric dryers or fans, and I like hearing sounds like that in music. Also, track three from Selected Ambient Works, vol. 2 by Aphex Twin.

Mellotron. I think prog rock keyboardists managed to find the most wonderful sounds possibly conceivable by Mellotrons -- especially the string and flute patches. Also, Watcher of the Skies by Genesis and Out and In by the Moody Blues.

I LOVE the fuzzy, heartwarming acoustic guitar chords in bossa nova songs. I don't even need actual vocals or melodies -- just the chords.

Jón Þor Birgisson's electric guitar + cello bow.

The intro of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. That combination of piano, organ and glockenspiel couldn't be better.

Hallogallo, by NEU!, especially the drums. Thank goodness Stereolab managed to tap into that sound and explore it further on their early career. Also, Lætitia Sadier and Mary Hansen's voices together.

Hi-hats, and pretty much everything you can do with them (I really like the way Roger Taylor uses them in his drumming).

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:09 am UTC
by Rhombulus
I absolutely adore the sound of flutes in harmony or dissonance when it's used correctly.

That über-generic punk rock use of octaves on a properly distorted guitar, when it's used in harmony over the right chords.

Steel-stringed dreadnought guitar, playing big wide open chords.

and occasionally the sound of barbershop quartets is pretty great.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:35 am UTC
by J Spade
In no particular order, and in no relation to each other:

-muted trumpet
-upright string bass
-striking silence (nobody in the band is playing) at some point in the middle of a song
-any time signature that causes me to have to think to figure out what it is (I'm looking at you, Neil Peart)
-suspended chords
-minor chords and key signatures
-noticeable/musical dynamic changes in the music
-a rhyme in lyrics that comes together so smoothly that it is just awesome. I hate forced rhymes or non-sequitur lines just to make a rhyme or meter match! >:(
-really good black female singers like the one in Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig in the Sky"
-Actual balance in the tone, wherein I hear all of the parts being played, without one being too strong. Lead guitarists love to blast over the bass and the keyboard.
-a high-hat heavy jazz beat
-songs that run together without being essentially the same song, such as in Pink Floyd's "The Wall" album


In case you can't tell, I like Pink Floyd.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:26 am UTC
by xfactorinfinity
ChocloManx wrote: completely unprocessed vocals


I like the sound of insanely processed vocals, myself. Cher effecting, when done right, can be transcendent. Daft Punk has done this correctly.

Also, really, really warm synthy keyboards. In fact, keyboards in general. My god, I love keyboards. So much.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:16 am UTC
by 1337geek
J Spade wrote:really good black female singers like the one in Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig in the Sky"

she ain't black

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:21 pm UTC
by wst
The 'wha wha wha, wha wha wha' foregroundy-sound (I don't know technical terms) in 'Something about us' by Daft Punk. That's the one I can describe, the others aren't onomatopoeic enough to describe :(

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:30 am UTC
by mickyj300x
Quarter tones. Put to good use, they can create some of the most disturbing and ethereal sounds I've heard.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:20 pm UTC
by J Spade
1337geek wrote:
J Spade wrote:really good black female singers like the one in Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig in the Sky"

she ain't black

Oh, my, you're right. I would never have guessed.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:07 am UTC
by xfactorinfinity
wst wrote:The 'wha wha wha, wha wha wha' foregroundy-sound (I don't know technical terms) in 'Something about us' by Daft Punk. That's the one I can describe, the others aren't onomatopoeic enough to describe :(


You mean the wah-wah pedal? XP

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:07 pm UTC
by wst
xfactorinfinity wrote:
wst wrote:The 'wha wha wha, wha wha wha' foregroundy-sound (I don't know technical terms) in 'Something about us' by Daft Punk. That's the one I can describe, the others aren't onomatopoeic enough to describe :(
You mean the wah-wah pedal? XP
I wasn't exactly sure, but ...
The dip in tempo of Something About Us surprises as a silky satin sheet ballad wrapped in dripping fondue vocals, proving a change of gear can be just as dramatic and effective. Built around a clipped wah-wah guitar effect, it is a brief respite from the beat-machines. - http://www.musicomh.com/albums/daft-punk-3_0306.htm
... leads me to believe otherwise :P

Oh, the grungy basslines in 'Deeper Underground' and 'Feels just like it should' by Jamiroquai are stunning. And demand that the volume is cranked up :)

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:52 pm UTC
by invisibl
B-lines from IDM whether Jungle or Dub step. mmm spacey growls

SIne tone Kick drums or Bass lines slightly distorted.

Qtron foot pedal on Stevie Wonders keyboard on superstition.

Stevie Ray Vaughans Strat

Bandpass filters with high resonance

Roland tape echoes where the Infinte feedback is decaying on full bandwidth but an EQ sweep is keeping it alive

Dual guitar leads (Iron Maiden Style)

Pizzicato Violins.

Chuck D's voice/Bomb Squad production ( Sum of parts equalling sound)

Silence

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:19 pm UTC
by shortbus
Jangly guitar riffs. like in Missed the Boat.

using harmonics on an acoustic guitar, similar to Andy Mckee or Erik Mongrain.

sweeping string melodies. They just feel so epic and wrap you up in them.

And a good old-fashioned face-melting guitar/drum solo. They're just too fun to pass up :D

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:51 pm UTC
by Goatboy
After listening to "the Shankill Butchers" by the Decemberists, I've determined that, yes, I love whistling in songs. Also, seeing Andrew Bird on Leno last week helped with this.
I also enjoy it when a guitarist will mute all the strings, producing a great "ga-chunk," as on "Creep" by Radiohead or a song that escapes me, by Incubus.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:40 am UTC
by Surgery
At the moment I'm a very big fan of low frequency sawtooth or square waves. Including a slowly bowed cello or bass. And taken to an extreme in songs like "Self Destruct, Final" (a remix of NIN's Mr. Self Destruct) at and around 1:50.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:33 pm UTC
by Beacons!
Church/Tubular bells here. So epic and powerful, and yet so ethereal, spiritual even. Beautiful.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:22 am UTC
by rubber314chicken
effects used tastefully on vocals. too bad I know what none of them are.

I also love powerful drums- found in basically any mix from or before the 80's

Feedback is also awesome.

What sucks is when they should be waiting way longer but they don't. Like when there is a ton of feedback towards the end of octavarium and its like its dying and then the keys play the melody and it goes into a spine chilling guitar solo. They needed to have waited at least 5 more minutes.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:25 pm UTC
by SirMustapha
One thing I just remembered: I don't know precisely what they did, but the driving guitars on Primary, by the Cure, are some of the most brilliant guitar sounds ever conceived. It sounds like two simultaneous bass guitars with a phaser effect, but putting it in such simple terms doesn't seem to do justice to the way it sounds.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:22 pm UTC
by Dream
invisibl wrote:Roland tape echoes where the Infinte feedback is decaying on full bandwidth but an EQ sweep is keeping it alive

Yes. This might be the best thing in the thread yet.... Except Mr Waits' voice, of course...

I'd like to add the obvious snare feedback at the beginning of Radiation Ruling The Nation from No Protection. I think it's just about the most perfectly balanced feedback handling I've heard.

And speaking of feedback handling, just about everything Philip Jeck ever did, but especially when he really cranks it up and goes off in pursuit of a full spectrum of noise. It is very literally entrancing.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:43 pm UTC
by tin
invisibl wrote:B-lines from IDM whether Jungle or Dub step. mmm spacey growls


Hell yes. They're so sexy.

New additions to my favourite sounds - Jingly jangly Johnny Marr type guitar riffs, space laser noises/sonic booms and Cee Lo Green's soulful voice.

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:21 pm UTC
by Kizyr
There are a few sounds that I enjoy when done right, but which irritate me when done wrong or arbitrarily. Mainly:
- guiro (wooden; those metal ones sound odd)
- nature sound effects (water running and crickets chirping to be specific)
- accordion and harmonium (in tango and qawwali, these can be amazing)

Are there any other sounds like that? Ones that you favor, but just in the right circumstances? KF

Re: Your favourite sounds in music?

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:37 pm UTC
by King of Frogs
I really enjoy:

- Pinched harmonics on electric guitars.
- Matt Bellamy's voice (especially on Muse's song "Micro Cuts").
- Old creaky pianos.
- Distorted bass guitars.
- Vocals through megaphones.