I always have to keep in mind that we are usually about two years behind pop-culture, so anything that I write about that concerns music, movies, personalities and such is going to seem dated. Ah, well. What can I do about it?
Anyway, I caught Jay Leno last night and was blown away by Naturally Seven.
Pardon me if you’ve already heard all about them, or you hate Rap more than I do and you can’t stand them, or your internet connection is too slow for YouTube.
Apologies out of the way now, I hope you can sit back and enjoy Wall of Sound:
There is a better clip of it here, but I can’t embed it in the post because embedding it has been disallowed.
The sound in my head is a weird mashup of Manhattan Transfer, Seal (the early stuff), and Steely Dan (the middle stuff). Manhattan Transfer held the a cappella high ground for a long time (though they normally performed with instrumental backup), but hardly anybody remembers them now. My favourite was Birdland. I can hear distinctly Steely Dan harmonies in some of Naturally Seven’s numbers. I’m not sure where Seal comes in, but when I listen to Naturally Seven, Seal keeps creeping in around the edges.
Here is a heady rendition of Feel It in the Air Tonight:
If you listen closely, you can tell that they are creating the instruments without artificial augmentation. There are ways to start with the human voice and run it through some fancy electronics to modify the waveforms to mimic musical instruments. I don’t think these guys are cheating, at least not much.
If you poke around on YouTube you can find some other clips of Naturally Seven. The live performances are not as nice, I think, because these guys really need to perform where it’s quiet. There is one live performance that is a blast. It’s Feel It in the Air Tonight performed ‘spontaneously’ on a Paris Subway. Though it has the feel of spontaneity, the camera work gives it away as a staged performance. It is nearly as much fun watching the faces of the passengers on the subway as it is to listen to the music.