I crush pretty hard on any band that takes a random sound bite and turns it into music. I think one of the first times I heard it was when Sublime sampled snippets of the 1940s radio show, Cisco Kid in the song of the same title. Then Death Cab For Cutie swept me off my feet with those weird vintage psychiatrist ramblings in “President of What?” I even had a renewed interest in Lady Gaga when she popped old dial tones and operator voices into “Telephone.” So it was easy for Flight Facilities to steal my heart with their new single.
“Two Bodies,” which was released last week, is an exquisitely mellow track. It features serene vocals from Emma Louise, and definitely stands on its own as a cool, sophisticated song. But the Australian electronic duo took it a step further. The music in the beginning is intertwined with part of an old 60 Minutes interview from September 22nd, 1959.
It took me a bit to find what it was from, but after some hardcore googling I was able to attribute the clip. The voice you hear in the beginning of “Two Bodies” is Rod Serling, who was the producer and narrator for The Twilight Zone. In this particular sound bite, he is responding to reporter Mike Wallace on the night before the show’s network premiere, regarding accusations from other television producers that his work is too commercialized.
It’s a very interesting piece of audio to use, whether or not you know all the history behind it. At face value, it’s a powerful quote about how important it is to be proud of everything you create, no matter what people think about it. From a historical standpoint, censorship and National paranoia was flourishing in the 1950s as a result of the Cold War. Rod Serling constantly challenged the television restrictions of the time, using fantasy as a thin veil for his intrepid political opinions. This made him one of the boldest and most controversial TV writers of the decade.
In “Two Bodies,” artists Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell further embolden this quote with ambient electronic music that hugs Serling’s blunt words like a warm sweater. When Emma Louise’s rich vocals come in, it creates such an interesting contrast with the stern opening clip, which I’ve transcribed below. The whole song is clever, creative, and beautifully constructed. Well done, Flight Facilities.
“I remember the quote. I didn’t understand it at the time. I fail to achieve any degree of understanding in the ensuing years, which are three in number. I presume Herb means that inherently you cannot be commercial and artistic. You cannot be commercial and quality. You cannot be commercial concurrent with have a preoccupation with the level of storytelling that you want to achieve. And this I have to reject. I think you can be, I don’t think calling something commercial tags it with a kind of an odious suggestion that it stinks, that it’s something raunchy to be ashamed of. I don’t think if you say commercial means to be publicly acceptable, what’s wrong with that?
“The essence of my argument, Mike, is that as long as you are not ashamed of anything you write if you’re a writer, as long as you’re not ashamed of anything you perform if you’re an actor, and I’m not ashamed of doing a television series. I could have done probably thirty or forty film series over the past five years. I presume at least I’ve turned down that many with great guarantees of cash, with great guarantees of financial security, but I’ve turned them down because I didn’t like them. I did not think they were quality, and God knows they were commercial. But I think innate in what Herb says is the suggestion made by many people that you can’t have public acceptance and still be artistic. And, as I said, I have to reject that.”