Driving home i was musing on how some musicians have clear musical signatures that just mean whenever you hear their music you just now who it is from a few bars, you don’t need to hear the rest of the music.
Johnny Cash – the chuggachuggachugga rhythm of the railtrack
Julian Cope – a particular style of keyboard synth noise that just sticks out, though he doesn’t use it so much any more
Tom Waits – spooky percussion of death
Keane – snoring and bangs of people falling asleep
Nick Cave talked about this once saying when he was looking for a guitarist he found Blixa Bargeld who produced these fantastic dolorous funeral chords on the guitar. Unfortunately it took him a while to realise that was all he could do, hence the heavy influence on the Cave sound.
I guess that I don’t find so many such signatures these days. Modern production techniques tend to make everything sound vaguely similar I suppose. perhaps people have stopped remembering to have fun making music now.