Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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This is it. Enough.

Well over 100% of all the ads on TV now feature singers with the same irrirritating voice. Sort of waifish, slightly hoarse, and cracking in a gaminesque way. The singer is never seen, presumably because they are emaciated and tuberculotic. For some reason, the intended effect seems to be to give the impression of environmentally responsible, ecologically friendly products, be they cars or perfume.

I am not saying that this sort of voice pisses me off and annoys me after the millionth time, but frankly it pisses me off and annoys me.

I have discovered that the effect is actually achieved by means of an electronic filter called a "gaminator", which momentarily filters out the fundamental frequency and most of the harmonics, and replaces them with thin whitish-grey noise to simulate the sound of air sliding over the emaciated vocal cords of a starving yet chic street orphan.

I dare say that this trend in advertising has been spawned from popular music, but I no expert in this aspect of contemporary culture. I gave up when Boy George became Number One.

The Gaminator effect is so distinctive and characteristic that it is almost certainly possible to devise software to recognise when it is being used, and to reverse the process to restore a proper singing voice.

The result of doing this would be that I was less pissed off and annoyed.

MaxwellBuchanan, May 08 2011


       // the effect is actually achieved by means of an electronic filter called a "gaminator" //   

       Do you have any more information on this? I am interested but the Google is less than forthcoming with additional details.
tatterdemalion, May 08 2011

       My understanding is that it's a patch for a digital voice processor, rather than an electronic box. I don't know if one "buys" patches, in the same way that one buys other software, or if it's one of those things that sound technicians just exchange amongst themselves.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 08 2011

       The problem is that you watch television. When you volunteer to be abused, operators are standing by.
normzone, May 08 2011

       link to an example ?
FlyingToaster, May 09 2011

       Can we also get one that does away with the standard ad "plotline" where the primary purpose of the ad is to make males look stupid, with the secondary function the advertisement of some useless consumer goods or services?
infidel, May 09 2011

       The only "gamin" I've ever encountered is Paulette Goddard's depiction of one in Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times." As it was a silent film, I have no idea what a gamin sounds like.
DrWorm, May 09 2011

       A gamine is a homeless, waif-like girl or woman who wanders the streets, presumably without resorting to prostitution to stay alive.   

       Think Edith Piaf and you're close, I should imagine.
infidel, May 09 2011

       [MB]'s just being playful. A gaminator is really a device used for attaching legs.
mouseposture, May 09 2011

       Umm, removing, not attaching.
infidel, May 09 2011

       or gammon-ator, a way to stick pork products onto people when they aren't looking...
not_morrison_rm, May 09 2011

       I've noticed this trend too - all the singers sound barely strong enough to make it to the end of the line and like they're making up the tune as they go along. Luckily though it's just a trend - before this, all commercials had new-agey chanting, and before that, a sort of weird power ballad revival ("Woooooooah Bodyform!!! Bodyform for yoooooooou!!!!").
hippo, May 09 2011

       The gamine voice is but a single symptom of the debilitating tweeness has in recent years swept British advertising like a particularly virulent strain of crotch-rot. Now you can't switch on your telly without being affronted by golden wheatfields, floaty dresses, grinning Cassians and Jocastas playing in hillside dirt, crypto-comic sans typefaces, lashings of lens-flare and some West Country-accented fake-chatty voiceover. Exterminate them all, I say. Except for Vashti Bunyan - she's ace.   

       The counterbalancing trend of anti-tweeness, embodied most perfectly by We Buy Any Car Dot Com and any number of couch shillers, is equally irritating. Perhaps, then, the best solution is to not watch the television.
calum, May 09 2011

       I think the trend started with a sort of minor resurgence in "Contemporary Folk" music, in which thoroughly authentic people would tour the country with their accoustic instruments and play small dimly lit outer-hebridean pubs and front-rooms, to small, appreciative, terribly authentic folk in thick knitted sweaters, none of whom had any money, but who could all afford to spend their time hanging around in pubs, drinking real ale no doubt, living terribly authentic, simple lives (that everyone else would love to live if only they could pay the rent/bills etc) that we can all trust, especially if coupled with a visual filter that makes everything look as though it was filmed at the end of a long summer's day, pollen-filled air swirling about as someone skips through a wheat-field, (authentically) and lens-flare pierces the baby-boomer camera, filling it warmth and the 1970's (Only without the drugs, strikes, Vietnam, polyester, or Institutional Racism)   

       Thing is, that voice, now it's made it to the mainstream, is about 8 years out of date. I'm not sure what's cool at the moment, but presumably, it will be something from the 80's - like Punk, or possibly Thrash Metal, which will be nice.   

       [Ha - Cross-posted with calum - howzat! That summer's wheatfield with lensflare must be a trope - has anyone actually spent any time in a wheatfield? Does anyone know how knobbly and foot-rottingly difficult it is to run across the ploughed surface of a field without accidentally snapping your ankle? Or for that matter how razor-sharp the broken stalks of wheat are down at ground level that would easily lacerate a waif's shins were she to spin with abandon, arms outstretched, prior to being angrily told to piss off by an outaged, red-faced farmer]
zen_tom, May 09 2011

       Ironic references to the wheatfield/ floaty dress/ summer's day/ fey singing school of advertising can only be just round the corner, with the commercial interrupted by the tractor firing up and a shout of "GET ORF MOI LAAAAND!!" (followed of course by the "118 118" or "WeBuyAnyCar" music).
hippo, May 09 2011

       It's worse than that I fear. Ever since it was revealed to the world at large that Ridley Scot used to do adverts, everyone who films adverts has decided that it's the sure path to film industry success and mega-bucks. Consequently, they are all trying to make adverts into art pieces or sit-coms or rom-coms or soap operas or anything else that they can think of that will scream out to any Hollywood executives that happen to be watching that "I am a really, really good director and I'm just doing this as a stop-gap job on my way to super-stardom. Please hire me now...please?".

Ben Elton (remember him?) got it right in his original stand-up routine. "Coca Cola...it's a fizzy drink'.
DrBob, May 09 2011

       //Umm, removing, not attaching.// No, that's the DEgaminator. An early prototype of the Terminator. The original plan -- to send it back in time to assassinate Edith Piaf -- was abandoned due to an intractable grandfather paradox, and then it was superseded by later models.   

       A sad story: obsolescent, can't get spare parts, it ekes out a meager living as an abattoir worker, removing legs.
mouseposture, May 09 2011

       I've decided to upfeature the Degaminator. It now incorporates speech recognition software, and a "Replace" function. For example, vapid, meaningless non-rhyming poorly-scanning lyrics such as:

"n' my heart aches for the
breaking glass which my
soul has never seen"

will be seamlessly replaced with:

"n'I just can't be arsed to
dig out my thesaurus
this'll have to do"
MaxwellBuchanan, May 09 2011

       Volvo. They're boxy, but good.
infidel, May 10 2011

       It's a fine line. The "Ronseal: it does what it says in the tin" school of advertising can be over-done too.
hippo, May 10 2011

       And you can wear the empty box as a hat!
infidel, May 10 2011


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