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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deep Purple "Smoke On The Water" Isolated Vocals

In keeping with our isolated vocal theme for the week, here's another golden oldie. It's Deep Purple's seminal "Smoke On The Water" from their breakthrough album Machine Head. The song recounts the fire at the Montreux Casino in Montreux Switzerland during a Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention concert. Purple was due to begin recording there the next day using The Rolling Stones mobile studio, but instead used the city's Grand Hotel, all mentioned in the song. I was lucky enough to stay in the same hotel during a stay there in the 80's, where I watched NATO fighter pilots race across the wavetops of Lake Geneva then pull into a 90 degree accent as they reach the French Alps. Very loud and very exciting.

In this clip you'll hear not only Ian Gillan's vocal, but Jon Lord's Hammond organ and a little bit of Ritchie Blackmore's rhythm guitar as well. The vocal begins at :35.

While listening, take notice to:

1. the mid-range reverb on Gillan's voice. It's not a particularly good sounding reverb, but you don't notice it in the track.

2. the way he's flat at end of phrases. Gillan has great tone and normally great pitch, and the only time he gets pitchy is at the end of phrases if the notes descend, which is not that uncommon with vocalists.

3. the rhythm guitar pattern during the guitar solo in the middle of the song. It's very disciplined, almost unusually so for a song during this era.

4. the sound of the organ. It's very distorted, mostly because Lord was running it through a Marshall amp instead of the normal Leslie speaker. This had the effect of sounding very much like another guitar frequency-wise. Also note his left hand, which he uses to punch up the low end during the chorus "Smoke on the water" spots.


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Anonymous said...

Blocked in Australia :(

Rand Bliss said...

Now woories mite. Google then install the free version of Hotspot Shield then fire it up before you open your web browser.

Navigate to this page again (or any page someone's being unreasonable about watching any video) and voila' - all will be well.


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