Owen: Wooooow…Woooow Umu: We are now reacting to the K-Indie artist Cacophony and two songs off of her 2018 ‘Harmony’ album. The first song you’ll be reacting to is called ‘In the End’, the third track on the album. Cacophony continues to wrestle with her mother’s passing, coming to terms with how her mom lives on in her memories with the lyrics: “I tried to hold you in my arms, but in the end you are just in my mind. I did endure like grim death, but in the end you were forever in my mind.” This idea succinctly is portrayed via the presence of reverse tape effects. The song is composed and written by Cacophany. Aaron: I want to know what these…reverse tape effects are. Aaron: Three, two, one!
Nick: I’m ready! Aaron: Hell yeah Nick: This is spooky. Fiona: That’s really cool. She uses her own voice as an extra instrument, then she comes in singing normally. Owen: It’s all very light, so far. Elizabeth: Yeah, it’s sounds kind of far away. Which is like, if she’s trying to like reach her mom, her mom is far away. Isaac: Wow, that’s like moving a chair? Kevin: I think she’s opening a door so that her emotions can come in. Because the beginning sounds a little superficial. Isaac: Mhm.
Kevin: Yeah. Kevin: Yeah, and it’s so chaotic once the emotions come in. Cloud: Wow, that’s so good! Henry: Very intense, super intense belt. Cloud: Do you hear that little—when her voice cracks a little? (Henry: Yeah.) Aaron: It sounds like a completely different person. Nick: Yeah, I really like how she kind of emphasizes all of the… I don’t know what singers call it. It’s like she emphasizes all of the consonants and then the… vowels that aren’t quite… Like, perfect? Fiona: And now there’s like a *demonstrates* sound And there’s so much reverb on it. It makes it feel really spacious, like a creepy castle. And with those twinkly sounds, it sounds like haunted as well. Henry: But it’s…that’s a bowed bass Can you hear? Cloud: Yeah. Yeah. Henry: I don’t hear that often, I like that. (Cloud: I like that harmony.) Owen: She’s so amazing at expressing exactly how she feels. Like there’s no hiding anything. It’s all very clear. (Elizabeth: Yeah.) Her transmitting all these feelings to us in such a beautiful, artful way. (Elizabeth: Yeah.) Kevin: Wow! That always gets me. Kevin: Yeah, it sounds like an augmented chord. Even though I don’t think there’s that middle B-flat or A-sharp. It’s just the way the key signature plays with our brains. Oh! Henry: Put on both your headphones. (Cloud: We’re in a horror movie) Melissa: Oh my god, that was so cool! That’s like minimalist, aleatoric vibes. That’s lit! Cloud: That like [mimics sound]
Henry: Yeah, it’s like a ringtone. James: Hmmm. I really like that guitar fall at the end. Melissa: Okay, also I love the ending. If you’ve ever listened to an organ symphony, that’s just like you know, a bunch of organ solo music and if you like listen to the last note, If you’re listening with pretty good headphones, you can just think about like, “Okay, when is this note actually fading into silence?” And you get to just listen to it fade and you’re like, “Okay, it’s done—wait. No, it’s not done.” Like I feel like that ending was like that. I don’t know, she just like let the sound die out, like an organ ringing through a church. James: It was really good (x2). And I was listening really, really hard for all the little details and I just, I really appreciated— It’s a very menacing song, right? It’s like harmonic minor, lots of uses of half-step suspensions like… Leading tones. It was— Yeah, I really, really, really enjoyed it. And she’s the kind of artist where in some parts I could see the anguish on her face, just through the way she was singing like there’s one part where her voice would get really like…I don’t even know how to describe. If i’m speaking in technical terms, like It would get almost more like nasal in color and there would be like vibrato. It almost sounded like a guitar with the effect that they put on it and then there were like voice cracks. She just really commits to the art and I love that about her. Yeah, I was I mean, I don’t really know what else to say. Like, it’s really fucking good. Henry: I was getting some 판소리 (pansori) vibes from her singing. Pansori is a specific kind of Korean folk singing where you will shout and sing over waterfalls until your vocal cords hemorrhage. They bleed, and then when they recover they have a form scar tissue and you get that really like raspy, damaged sound. But that’s considered beautiful in that style of singing that style of culture (Cloud: That’s really interesting) and it’s only practiced— I think it’s only practiced by women. And that kind of like that that really tense press shout invokes like pure power of like… Cloud: Raw emotion.
Henry: Raw emotion, yeah and that’s— Henry: I don’t know if she has any inspiration from pansori but it— Cloud: I feel like a lot of her music is her taking like emotions wrapping around her hand and like gut-punching you. Cloud: She’s like, “Ready? You’re going to feel it!” Fiona: That was dark and cool there’s so much that went and came…came and go during that. Supporting her voice and supporting her ideas for how to move forward with the song. Daniel: I don’t know, whenever I listen to her it’s just so interesting. Fiona: With her, it’s like so big picture.
Daniel: Yeah! Fiona: She’s not obvious or like typical with poppy stuff she’s doing. So it’s not like, “Oh, here’s the climax!” It’s like, “Whoa, this soundscape is wild!” Daniel: I just think she’s so specific with the certain types of sound she likes interrupts the texture I guess like musical flow or like arc with what sometimes she like distorts her voice or she changes her voice and she also change it she jumps like between registers in a way where it’s like still cohesive so it sounds like, Is this right? Like a sound sample and then like it’s like in a certain type of style and then she immediately interrupts it with her same voice but altered in a different way. Isaac: You know it’s like I was actually thinking about this the whole weekend because I had this, I guess, existential crisis with career thinking that music is…I’m having a hard time understanding music even though I listen to it. I understand the chords, I understand how the melody works, but then the purpose of music and I’m thinking because I was listening to ‘In the End’ it’s just from the very beginning with the cluster of texture I just realized the way we listen to these on the headphones it’s trying to emulate the surround sound, perhaps. It’s like, okay, there’s sound on the front, sound on the top, sound on the back, sound on the bottom and with ‘In the End’ I don’t know why, it created the effect of a headache for me, not in a bad sense. It was just like, “Wow, is this what she really thinks in music?” It kind of induced a physical emulation of what she’s trying to explain with pain and suffering and mourning about her mother. And I was thinking, yeah, like sometimes I get headaches thinking about people that passed on just like wow just throbbing here and there and you have these— Well, I can’t understand any of the rewind tapes but let’s just— As it is, it’s just like surging thoughts that are just like inescapable and also very difficult to fend off because your mind is very hard to tame and also all these random thoughts come in here and there and it encapsulated this feeling of trauma for me and I really liked it. In a sense, musicians are trying to tell… well you can show others what you’re experiencing and how maybe you’re flourishing or perhaps you’re in a lot of trouble and you need help or you’re dealing with something and this form of expression, I guess it revealed a new… I guess understanding of music for me and I really have to thank Cacophony for that that’s actually pretty interesting. Cloud: ‘Comme un poisson dans le ciel’ It’s like— Henry: Like a fish…
Cloud: ‘Like a fish in the sky’ Henry: ‘…in the sky’ yeah! Umu: Yes! Umu: This song finds her longing for freedom from her current turmoil. The song is written in French and the lyrics are pleading for escape from her current life. She begs to be reborn in a different situation where she is free to live how she wants. Melissa: Maybe it’s like, okay So like if you think about like, okay They always talk about the fish in the water and like the birds in the air so it’s like you mix it up and you Just feel mixed up. I don’t know. Okay. Sorry. James: You’re good. Melissa: Oh that’s fun. James: Very Rachmaninoff. Cloud: She was always got like a lot of like reverb kind of coming off I like it Henry: What the hell?? What were those sounds?! Elizabeth: Oooh I like how it’s changing between the different channels.
(Owen: These are such amazing sounds.) Owen: Yeah, panning back and forth super fast. (Elizabeth: Yeah.) Melissa: Was that a Dies Irae that was like a mini Dies Irae!!! Bro! In the piano. (James: Really?) Yeah, like mini. Nick: Listen to how far right-panned the hi-hat is. Aaron: It’s really crisp!
Nick: Yeah. Elizabeth: Oooh even her voice is coming in different channels in different ears. (Owen: Mhm) So you kind of get this like back and forth as if it’s not just her singing. It’s like several people singing. Owen: And it changed dynamically too. So it sounds close and far away in completely different spots now, left and right. Kevin: Whoa, that was not even a chord, I don’t know what that was. Cloud: I feel like I can appreciate the text painting more because like I understand some words. Like she was saying “different” and her voice kind of like grunged Elizabeth: Ooh there’s like… The really high keys of the piano are playing like are chromatic line Completely out of rhythm (Owen: oh I just heard that, yeah) Owen: Might be off-beats. Elizabeth: It’s kind of off-beats Owen: Woooowww…..Wow! I love that style. That’s so cool! Elizabeth: Whoa spicy!
Owen: That’s so good. Henry: Ooooh, that was like a beat late, that was really cool. (Cloud: Awee yeah!) Henry: Ah, my gosh! Cloud: “Nuage” that’s my name! Kevin: ASMR very much. Breathe. Again. It’s a human sax! It’s her voice, but it sounds like a sax. Nick: I love that!
Aaron: It’s a good texture. Yeah. Nick: It’s like the whole world it’s just kind of falling slowly. Henry: It pierces through yet, it doesn’t draw attention away from everything. (Henry: Right?) Cloud: I feel like a lot of her backgrounds are like that. Cloud: Where you can hear them but they’re not distracting. This feels like I’m in a box battle like in a game and we’re about to die. (Henry: It does!) Elizabeth: Oooh!
Owen: Wow. Elizabeth: That ending is like…interesting. Nick: That last note was detuned so oddly. Nick: Yeah, it sounded like that. But it sounded unified. It sounded like she just detuned the entire like all of the instruments for that for that one note. Cloud: Her stuff is really cool!!
Henry: I love it! Henry: I love it, I absolutely love her music! It’s so interesting, it’s so smart. It seems so purposeful does nothing seems too cliché, but she draws on a whole lot of familiar sounds and familiar emotional experiences. Umu: Did you guys like ‘In the End’ or ‘Fish in the sky’ better? Henry: I liked ‘In the End’ (Cloud: I think I’m going with ‘In the End’) This one was a lot more vibey in the sense of like it’s very atmospheric. There didn’t seem to be like a big climactic moment of emotional outpour, but I like them for different purposes. You know, I wouldn’t listen to them for the same reason. Both: Reason, yeah. Elizabeth: I think I like ‘Fish in the sky’ (Owen: Probably ‘Fish in the sky’ Both: Yeah. Elizabeth: I think it’s like… Experimenting with a lot of different things. I feel like the first one was experimenting with Like using the backwards tape and there’s some interesting timbres but this one was definitely, playing with rhythm and playing with Lots of different timbres, lots of different electronic noises. Owen: And that synth sound! (Elizabeth: Yeah!) Especially the little break before that last one, it sounds amazing. It’s brilliant. Aaron: I like the texture of this one a lot more, because I think that it was not like too much. Like, not too thick of a texture but also there were a lot of things going on. And also—Oh! That’s what I was going to say. In the beginning, very cool effect of the oscillating sound from one ear to the other ear. Except then, she used that as a tempo. And that’s where we found from one ear and then it started giving that clear lick and I was like, Nick: The tempo was really ambiguous at the beginning of this. (Aaron: Really awesome!) which I always like trying to see where in the song I can figure out what tempo we’re going to be in. I don’t know, that was fun! James: Don’t ask me to pick! James: Cacophony between Cacophony. (Melissa: I would say the first one.) Melissa: ‘In the End’ I liked the first one better.
James: I refuse to pick, I refuse. I mean…Yeah, I refuse. Both: Les poissons, les poissons hehe hahaha!