Monday, June 2, 2014

O Batman (inspired by Laurie Anderson's 'O Superman')

I'm not sure what the Venn diagram is between fans of Batman and the performance artist Laurie Anderson who had a hit with "O Superman (for Massenet)" in 1981, but I don't care, this was a labor of love for both of these icons.

Oh, and I couldn't resist sticking a few bars of Lady Gaga in there, I swear to God the first time I heard that song I thought she was singing "I want your bat romance," and I've had that image in my head ever since.

The singing voice is completely synthesized, a friend let me use her Vocaloid 2 program. She only had a Japanese preset, so some of the vowels and consonants don't match up exactly, but I think it gives a nice otherwordly feel and takes it out of the Uncanny Valley a bit. Audio sequencing and synthesizing was done with the open-source LMMS, mixing and audio effects (including vocoder) with the open-source Audacity, and video editing with the free version of VideoPad.

If your reaction is "WTF did I just listen to?", perhaps you're unfamiliar with the work I took my inspiration from:

Laurie Anderson (whose husband Lou Reed sadly took a walk on the great wild side in the sky last year) had a concert already scheduled in New York a few days after 9/11; apparently when she sang the part that goes "Here come the planes" it was quite something. (How little did we know how prophetic the line "Hold me in your petrochemical arms" would be.)

I was driving down an unlit highway a couple of years ago (on my way back from my first ever protest march, actually) when "O Superman" came up on my music shuffle, and it was like a religious experience. True story. You probably had to be there. I'm assuming you weren't there. If you were, you were very quiet, I thought I was alone in the car.

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