In A Minute! (...Or Two): Ep. #86

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Ep. #86 Featuring a Quilt of Two Parts of The Bridge
Connecting The Bridge

If you know the sounds of Simon and Garfunkel, then you know the artistry of Roy Halee. Roy Halee was the longtime collaborator and producer for the pair and remains Paul Simon’s closest musical collaborator even decades after the duo’s breakup. Halee was instrumental in mixing the songwriting brilliance of Paul, the vocal talents of Art, and their extraordinary sonic curiosities to produce the music that would define a generation. The dynamic production quality of their master opus, the album Bridge Over Troubled Water, is a shining example of Halee’s work.

Paul Simon called their process “playing with sound”. Two of the album’s greatest songs, “The Boxer” and “Cecilia”, illustrate this phrase perfectly. Art, Paul, and Roy traveled to St. Paul’s Chapel on the campus of Columbia University with field recording gear to capture the right amount of echo on the vocals for “The Boxer”. To get a similar effect for the percussion, they set up Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine at the top of an open elevator shaft at the Columbia Recording Studio offices to create that iconic BOOM!

The unmistakable percussive intro to “Cecilia” is one of the loudest moments on the record. It was achieved by combining a series of knee slaps, the thunk of a hand striking a piano bench, and the strumming of guitar strings loosened so as not to render actual pitch. This quirky blend of sounds was recorded at home on a Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder. Back in the studio, they looped that homemade recording, added the sound of drumsticks hitting the parquet floor along with a bit of Simon’s own xylophone playing, to complete the cacophony of sounds.

We thank our artists EMBER and George Krikes again, for sharing their own exploration of sound with us.