With the Grammys taking place this past weekend, it seems like an appropriate week to take a stroll down memory lane to Grammys past.
In 2011, Arcade Fire beat out Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum, Katy Perry, and Eminem for Album of the Year with The Suburbs. They were the first ever indie artist to win this category, and the internet was not thrilled.
For fans of indie music who favor an eclectic/often unconventional sound, Arcade Fire is the greatest thing your ears will ever experience. They’ve been around since 2001, fronted by husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne. Arcade Fire has it all: bass, piano, drums, cello, French horn, glockenspiel, harp, cello, and many, many more.
Their four albums–2004’s Funeral, 2007’s Neon Bible, 2010’s The Suburbs, and 2014’s Reflektor–have all received critical acclaim. Their lyrics are lovely and many of their songs feature Chassagne singing in French, which is probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. On top of all this, Arcade Fire has done social justice work to raise money for Haiti, Chassagne’s country of origin, and recently scored the Spike Jonze movie, Her.
Who the hell is Arcade Fire? Your new favorite band, that’s who.
I know it’s not Thursday but it’s never too late to throw it back for a super rad musical innovation of the past. On January 31st, 1955, the Radio Corporation of America debuted Victor: the world’s first electronic synthesizer!
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that can produce and mimic a wide range of sounds, from a guitar or a person’s voice to a bird chirping to sounds that can’t even be heard in nature. Nowadays, you might associate them with music that sounds like this:
Electronic duo Daft Punk is well-known for playing around with different digital synthesizers. “Da Funk” is a super catchy example of their signature synth sound.
But wait, there’s more! Electronic and house music definitely don’t have the monopoly on the synthesizer.
Mmmmm, sounds like the ‘90’s.
In the years since Victor’s introduction, synthesizers have progressed in leaps and bounds to the point where they can now be found in pretty much every genre of music. The quality of sound produced by a synthesizer can be changed by a number of factors–whether it uses analog or digital signals, for one, or how the signals are filtered and processed. Synth sound can be programmed or controlled with the voice. They can also be used to sample music, or take a sound from one song/recording and use it in another, with or without alteration. There is nearly nothing a synth can’t do. The RCA really did us a solid with this one.