You Can Call Me Al

  • Artist: Paul Simon
  • Album: Graceland
  • Label: Warner
  • Year: 1986
  • Producer: Paul Simon, Roy Halee
  • Engineer: Roy Halee
  • Studio: various

Gated Snare and Toms -
The snare and -- especially -- the toms are unnatural from the very beginning of the tune, courtesy of heavily gated reverb. The first snare hit of the tune has a bit more than those that follow, not uncommon when you want to get noticed in a shuffled playlist or a crowded broadcast/stream.
The toms likely have a bit of AMS Non-Lin, a non-linear reverb that undecays, getting gradually louder before ending abruptly. A touch of flanging on the tom reverb makes the toms even less natural. The result is a gated reverb sound, with the bright sizzle and a slight spectral sweep. Hype, 80s-style.

Slap Echo -
Short, filtered echo adds support to the lead vocal, helping it reign supreme no matter what else happens in the mix

Time Reversal -
The bass solo (3:43) is a bit of an audio palindrome, where a note-filled riff cross-fades into itself playing backwards. Roy Halee likely recorded the bass riff onto another tape machine, flipped that tape so that the bass played backwards, and recorded it back to the multitrack backwards. Called "flying" this how it was done in the days before digital audio workstations.


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