On Cobra album we decided to go all in for synthesized voice.
In some cases we used vocoder. In shortage using the voice as a barrier for how the synth sound get “pronounced”. You hook the audio (voice) to the vocoder and filter a synthesizer sound with it. That sound you can hear on e.g. Starlife (I want to see my sister.. etc). The melody of the voice is actually played on the synth.
We also used something called bit bitspeek. Probably the opposite to a vocoder meaning you filter the audio signal (voice) with filters and making it crack, pop etc. You also can set the gizmo to get the melody from the keyboard or not. You can tweak pitch, bits etc etc to make the sound the way you want. That sound you can hear in the first lines of “I just wanna Dance (E)” (Don’t talk about.. etc)
The we used regular text-to-speech applications (TTS). TTS is used by e.g. telephony systems to create voices that almost (lol.. not really) sound human. You write the text in a text input window and the application generates an audio file that you then import to your recording. To make it sound more “human” we edited the audio file. Made pauses, made it talk to the rhythm etc. On some occasions we added “auto tune” features to it. Made it change by playing melodies on a keyboard or using the modwheel of a keyboard to make intonations.
Well.. Do we not know how to sing properly? Yes we do and we do it too on other recordings. However.. we set the “boarders” for the Cobra release – all synth – no acoustics. That is what you do as an artist now and then. Set a boarder for your work. We had fun doing it and explored the techniques behind it (we only mentioned some of it here)
Historically we THINK that this was how it was like when Electro once started. People good on the tech but maybe not so good on the music handicraft started to operate the machines. But what about singing? Let the machine do it… of course there are many examples of both “engineers” and “musicians” but we do know some really famous bands that was more of engineers.. even robots..