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AZ_Escapee

At a Later date
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Reply with quote  #1 
Does anyone know how they produced the rhythmic hissing sound that rises and falls several times during The Eternal? It's like the rotating head of a lawn sprinkler, but not quite.
Recording_silence

Gutz
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Reply with quote  #2 
I'd imagine that only the band knows for sure. It could simply be a flat piece of percussion noise from a keyboard, with a tremolo effect added via one of Hannett's gadgets, in a similar way to the (guitar?) at the start of "These Days".
TJ_Davidson

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Reply with quote  #3 
It was most likely based on a preset from the ARP Omni 2 synthesizer which Martin Hannett sent through a bunch of filters. But which and how many, that will probably remain a mystery, unless the man left some specific notes somewhere. More interesting would probably be the philosophy behind that sound. I can't imagine him or the band having a bleedin' water sprinkler in mind for a song such as the Eternal, even despite it's situated "at the foot of the garden"
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Gutz
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Reply with quote  #4 
I just realised, they managed to reproduce this sound on stage (Preston?) so it's probably just something off Bernard's synth. Actually you hear a very similar percussion sound on "Isolation" playing in time with the main melody (Birmingham 2/5/80) so it's probably that.
AZ_Escapee

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks. It makes sense that they had filters/effects in the studio that could modify the keyboard sound, which in live versions always struck me as less sprinkler-like, more sonic attack.

It would be great to know what the sound might represent. For me, sprinklers and buzzing insects seem apt to the lyric, both the garden and the procession. Growing up in desert, some of the best watered lawns in town were the cemeteries. (Golf courses were green, too, but less cozy.) Dunno if graveyards in northern England need sprinklers, though.
Wallflower

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Reply with quote  #6 
It was a synthesizer. Barney must have had two that he played at the same time. One had the falling-leaves effect and the other was the melody synth.
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350125

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Reply with quote  #7 
The strange metallic shimmering effect we hear on the Preston version is not a synth - it's coming from Ian's Vox Phantom VI Special.
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TJ

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Reply with quote  #8 
I think it's a drum machine actually - we managed to recreate the sound when we played The Eternal. The weird noises on the Preston gig come from both the drum machine and Ian's guitar, which made bird noises amongst others. One of the soundchecks we have a recording of features some strange effects from Ian's guitar. And the vocal varispeed being set so he didn't sound like Ashley off Corrie!
Wallflower

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Reply with quote  #9 
The metallic shimmering is Ian's guitar, but no, the bird sounds are Bernard's synth. That's his synth at the beginning of the Lyceum version, for example.
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Recording_silence

Gutz
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Reply with quote  #10 
Also interesting (I suppose!) is the bit of muffled spoken dialogue right at the end of Eternal. I used to think it was Barney and Hooky saying "Come on Ian, Come on!" as they were dying to get to the pub while Ian was messing about on the piano! But you can hear a bit more of it on the Hannett outtakes - the next line sounds like a question,  "Does he deliberately [---  ---**]?"   (** sounds like "waste that" or "wear caps" or somesuch. Perhaps it comes from a film soundtrack ("The Eternal", perchance?) Wonder if anyone knows....
ravachol

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Reply with quote  #11 
It's the filter section of an analogue synth in self-resoncance mod. People who know more about synths than me will give you the correct answer, but I could reproduce this kind of rhythmic hissing sound with an analogue Doepfer synth, the MS-404. (A kind of mini-moog / Roland TB 303 clone). I don't even remember if you had to feed it with an audio-in signal at all. Just the filters alone would do this, but I'm not 100% sure.

Some analogue synth could be fed with audio signals running through the filter section of the synth. Joy Division used this on "These Days" for example. Bernard's guitar is going through the filter section of an analogue synth on These Days.


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