Mike Love, one of the founding members of the Beach Boys, has had an illustrious career, but despite this story being about an innovative piece of music, we’re actually talking about a different Mike Love. This time, we’re talking about the Hawaii-based reggae musician who has written a song whose vocals are random-sounding syllables at first, but eventually end up becoming cohesive English words.
He achieves this with a variety of loops, recording was sounds like unintelligible scat singing, but as the long song goes on (it’s ten minutes long), he rearranges the syllables with help of his pedals to make them form actual lyrics. The process is better understood if you actually see it happening than if you read an explanation, so give it a watch above.
In a way, this Mike Love is actually similar to the better known Mike Love, whose Beach Boys also made strong use of layered vocals, but in a different way. While the Beach Boys used their voices to create lush and sonically expansive layer harmonies, the reggae Love uses his singular voice to give the strange illusion of multiple voices coming together to form a single cohesive one, if that makes sense. In the end, it comes off like a sort of futuristic, reggae, barber shop quartet contained in a single long-haired man.
If you’re not quite understanding what we mean or what Love is doing, a Reddit user made this handy chart that visualizes the process:
Featured image courtesy of Mike Love