Gooey Synthesizer Melismas

It's thought that everyone is born a synesthete, but that most people's minds suppress any of this perceptual hyperconnectivity as they grow older. Presumably this is because there is a bad tradeoff between a sensuous existence and a perceptually lucid one. The limbic system is a more primitive beast, though, and it will not so easily be refused a teensy bit of hedonism.

For example, certain sounds stick with you. Really stick with you, deep down, so much so that when you hear them you reflexively experience any lurid emotions that happened to accompany them the first time. For me, these sounds are mostly organic--the staccato crackles of my dad's neck as he twisted it to the left after getting home from work, the disgustingly hurtful crunch of my friend Matt's finger as he slammed it in the car door in 3rd grade, the very-unexpectedly-bloody squelch that accompanied mine and my 10th grade girlfriend's first sexual gambol--but there are also an embarrassing number whose roots I can trace to video games.

TMNT III: The Manhattan Project is one of these. The track you hear as you totally demolish the stupid greenhorn foot soldiers in Level 1, in particular, has always rivaled post-coital endorphin in its ability to make me happy. I'm sure that for anyone who was between the ages of 16 and 30 in the electro-perfused late-70s and early-80s this is going to sound totally ridiculous, but TMNT III gave me my first exposure to what I choose to call the gooey synthesizer melisma. You've all heard it repeatedly I'm sure--it's that really thick variation on the "square" preset you had on your Casio keyboard, but set up so that it wiggles up and down between notes like Beyonce's being run through a vocoder.

This sound makes me happier than any other sound on earth, and I'd like to share it with each of you. All of the following songs made me cry when I heard them the first time.

Prince, "Diamonds and Pearls" (0:47 and 0:54--the gooey sounds here are actually made by a guitar, but this is the song that gave me the idea for this thread in the first place, so what-the-hell)

Sylvia Love, "Instant Love" (0:26-0:46, etc.)

Laser, "His Name Is Charlie" (0:15-0:21, etc.)

Midnight Star, "No Parking (On the Dance Floor)" (0:25-0:38, etc.)

Love and tears,



you make us proud.

you make us proud.