• Artist: David Bowie
  • Album: Young Americans
  • Label: RCA
  • Year: 1975
  • Producer: Harry Maslin, David Bowie
  • Engineer: Harry Maslin
  • Studio: Electric Lady, New York

Pitch Shift -
Possibly the single greatest use of pitch shifting in the history of pop music, a hook was fabricated by changing the pitch David Bowie's voice for a diatonic descent of more than 3 octaves: "FAME, Fame, fame, ..."
The effect reveals strong creative vision and technical savvy. The pitch shifted line is a compelling 'you know it as soon as you hear it' sound, motivating people to sing along with the artificial creation. There can be no doubt that this ear-grabbing sound helped make the tune a hit. It's a difficult effect to create today -- try it, a dare ya! -- but this 1975 release did it all back when tape speed manipulation was pretty much the only pitch changing tool available.
The result is a synthesized vocal sound that is consistently in an altered state, never natural, spanning impossibly high to low pitch limits.

Reverb -
Plate reverb comes and goes on the 1/4 note guitar chords emphasizing beats 1 and 3, taking advantage of space available in the arrangement, and adding audio easter eggs for us to discover.
Spring reverb, plus tape slap echo with some regeneration, adds a pulse and vibrato to some of the pitch shifted 'Fames.'

Time Reversal -
The tune begins with a couple of piano chords, reversed in time to create an unmissable amplitude envelope offering a short crescendo into the down beat.


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