Observations on G-Man television music (and G-Man in general) (lengthy)

Discussion in 'Half-Life' started by Iced_Cooly, Nov 22, 2004.

  1. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    After receiving a tip on how to view the sound files for the game (since I haven't gotten to the television part yet), I listened to the music that plays while he is on tv. It is definitely creepy, and if I didn't know any better, I would swear it was made by a band called "Boards of Canada".

    Which got me thinking...on their latest album "Geogaddi", a lot of their music uses a technique called backwards masking, where playing something backwards produces a different sound or voice. One song in particular, if played backwards, sounds exactly the same as when you play it normally.

    The G-Man TV song really intrigued me, and I decided to take it into Cool Edit and reverse it. The end of the song retains the laughing you can hear in the background, which I didn't find too surprising.

    However, the beginning of the song is exactly the same when you play it backwards.

    Stuff like this really creeps me out for some reason, but I am very fascinated by it.

    This brings me to another point: the first time I heard the G-Man speak in Half-Life 2 (the intro on the train), I knew something sounded odd. A lot of people comment how his speech pattern is very weird, but I have a feeling something else is going on here. Certain words like "different" and "place" sound as if they were recorded with the actor ready the word backwards, and then reversing it. Confused?

    A similar method was used on David Lynch's show "Twin Peaks". For one of the episodes, he had actors trained to deliver their entire lines backwards. Then in post, the footage was played backwards and the end result is incredibly eerie speech.

    (here's a website for anyone interested in backwards masking: http://www.triplo.com/ev/reversal/)

    I have a feeling this is what was done for G-Man's speeches, but a little more complicated. Some of his lines are delivered flawlessly, without that awkward feeling that I can't really describe...I am guessing that when G-Man's dialogue was recorded, certain phrases were delivered backwards by the actor, and other lines were delivered normally. Then, the backwards (now forwards, but eerie) words were intercut with the regular dialogue, creating his odd speech pattern.

    Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? I am really interested to hear some ideas.
     
  2. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    Actually, I should mention that the footage for Twin Peaks was not played backwards. However, if you play the footage backwards on your own, it will produce what is really being said.
     
  3. evil^milk

    evil^milk Tank

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    *shudders*
     
  4. RaBiD WeAzEL

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  5. Shadow][

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  6. RakuraiTenjin

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    Wow. That is freaky. I've heard of certain voice tones sounding the same backwards, but the music being the same backwards.. the notes themselves. Would be hard to even WRITE that.
     
  7. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest


    Eh...I don't believe in any of that "hail Satan" or "Satan is God" crap that people always claim to hear in songs played backwards. It's always so hard to make out....I think people will hear whatever they want to hear.

    However, I am fascinated by things that are actually intentionally masked like this. It all has to have SOME relevance to the story. Why would a song playing while G-Man is on tv be the same backwards? There must be a connection between his irregular speech pattern and the song that plays in relation to who he is.
     
  8. RakuraiTenjin

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    Is the laughing the G-Man's voice? This is crazy. They went through the trouble of composing this one sound thing to play when he shows up on TV, with a crapload of eerie stuff on it.

    Irks me that it's the same backwards and forwards.
     
  9. Mr. Redundant

    Mr. Redundant Newbie

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    see now thats the kinda psychological shite I would have like to have seen in something like doom3... that might have made the atmosphere worth while.

    hopefully F.E.A.R. gets it right. (its monolith so thats a plus)
     
  10. Shadow][

    Shadow][ Spy

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    can someone fill me in on the gman "tv" ive never actually found it, i did find a really small half broken TV in nova prospect showing a closeup of gman, but the tv went blank in like half a second i looked at it
     
  11. red_LED

    red_LED Guest

    same thing happened to me. I also couldn't find a TV with gman saying stuff on it.
     
  12. RakuraiTenjin

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    The location of one of the TV's with this music is:

    Right after the week long teleport there is one. Right after DOG flies away on that combine dropship, right when you climb into the rubble/smashed building you can hear the music.. follow it to the TV.. GMan is on the screen, then the TV turns off
     
  13. Mr. Redundant

    Mr. Redundant Newbie

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    thats the same Tv, it shuts off a split second after you see it, thats where the music is coming from.

    there is no TV with the G-man talking however.
     
  14. Moto

    Moto Tank

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    See, this is why I love Valve and have so much respect for them as a developer. They just do these little things that are so cool. They create these little hidden things with a hope that someone will find them. It has to be rewarding for them when they read about how someone discovered one of their little hidden pieces of story.

    Like how that one guy found out how the zombies screaming is just a lot of noise and the words "God Help Me" played backwards. I love how they made physics puzzles this time, those were great.

    They're so good about keeping a sense of mystery with the G-man. He's almost scary. I keep thinking I'll see him close up through a window or something, but not be able to get to him.

    I was in the prison level (E3 Bugbait vid) and I saw a security camera. So, I walked up to the camera and saw some real time footage of what was going on in the level. So I hit the use key and cycled through some different camera views when all of a sudden, the G-man walks up to this one window, looks up at the camera, straightens his tie, and casually walks away while a fierce battle between combine soldiers and Antlions is going on right behind him.

    Anyway, it's just cool how, even after we finish the game, we will be able to find out more clues to the story by playing with sound files and stuff like that.

    Valve = teh rox. :cheers:
     
  15. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    God...there's just so much going on in this little track...

    The first part has someone talking in the background, it's like an echoey voice, almost like you're hearing her (I'm assuming it's a female voice) in a large, empty room. The speech is being played one way, and then played reverse immediately after. You can prove this by reversing the whole thing, as that little bit sounds exactly the same forward as it does backward. There's too much going on in that particular part to be able to tell what is being said...I wonder?

    One of those things that will probably never be revealed.

    I REALLY have to commend whoever made this though, because as I have said before, this sounds exactly like a song that Boards of Canada would make. They are famous for making songs that somehow remind the listener of their childhood. It's hard to explain...

    But I remember reading an interview with them, and they were asked what it is that makes their sound so significant (the second part of the G-Man song is what sounds exactly like them). They told the interviewer that there is one specific thing they do to their songs that make them sound so old and faded, but they won't say. Whoever made the G-Man song certainly knows how they do it.

    The more I listen to it, the more I am convincing myself that it was made by Boards.
     
  16. Moto

    Moto Tank

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    Wow, that's really awesome.

    I don't remember who it was that posted that thread about what the G-man said in the beggining if HL1 where you hear his voice through the glass as he talks to a scientist. The thread got rather lengthy as people came up with what the obscure conversation was about.

    EDIT: Nevermind, I found the thread. It's really interesting. It's all about translating the conversation the G-man and the scientist had at the begging of HL1 in a sealed room. All you could hear were vague, muffled sentences, but Trigger Happy got us started with translating them into clear sentences.

    I know it seems wierd that we would do this back then, but you have to remember, we were trying to get every little bit of info we could. Hype was so great and we all wanted the game so bad. In a way, I miss waiting for HL2.

    Anyway, here's the thread:

    http://www.halflife2.net/forums/showthread.php?t=24511&highlight=g-man+scientist+talking
     
  17. spitcodfry

    spitcodfry Newbie

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    I agree. Just finished the game, and after hearing what G-Man had to say I immediately began thinking of time travel and the possibility that the G-Man is capable of orchestrating events however he so chooses.

    When I was in the HL2.net's chat room during the countdown party on the 15th, I got one of those silly ***** fake spoilers that popped up. Obviously we didn't get this info from the game, but one of them said (fake spoiler) G-Man was Gordon from the future. Now that you've mentioned the whole time distortion effect with his voice...and it does sound similar to the Lynch's TP effect...it just makes me wonder. What if his voice sounds like that because of a time distortion effect that has been placed on him because of time travel? His rhythm may be all off track with our world (a side effect of time travel). Yeah...I'm reading a lot into this...not saying that fake spoiler actually IS a spoiler...but it does make me wonder about G-Man's existence and his role in the story at large. Guess we'll have to wait till the series concludes to find out (great ending btw imo).
     
  18. T.H.C.138

    T.H.C.138 Newbie

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    g-man is all over the place...

    in the section of trains with the snipers..at the end thats blocked by 2 traincars..he is walking away on the other side of them

    time to play "Where's the G-man"..I have also seen him on multiple TVs...well at least 3..

    does anyone know if you can find G-man "spawn points" in the maps?

    and also what is the name of the G-mans music file?
     
  19. skumbuzzul

    skumbuzzul Newbie

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    Interesting.
     
  20. ThrasherX9

    ThrasherX9 Newbie

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    Those mumbles from the First HL certainlly shed some interesting light.
     
  21. czrsink

    czrsink Newbie

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    As far as voices when records are played backwards go, I always remember this calssic from my 'rave' years.

    "That was one great rave if I saw one" - that's what you get when you play 'The Dominator' backwards. The Dominator was some hardcore techno track from about 91 or 92.. Can't remember who it was by.

    I've always wondered what was being said in that discussion between the G-Man and the scientist.
     
  22. VodkA-HLC-

    VodkA-HLC- Newbie

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    Just downloaded boards of canada twoisom, geogaddi, maxima, hi scores, music has the right to children, beautiful place, and peel session. I am always down to get music that other people listen to rather than listen to what the tv or the radio forces me to. Question about how you said it makes you feel like a kid again? Makes me feel like I want to dangle from a string like that zombie in the beggining of Ravenholm. Freaky music and would do great in a video game.
     
  23. Nindoze

    Nindoze Newbie

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    is there any way i can get some boards of canada songs short of certain p2p programs?
     
  24. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    VodkA-HLC - I'm mostly referring to the little "diddies" or whatever you want to call them in between tracks on their albums. Music Has the Right to Children is probably the best example, because Geogaddi was meant to be more of a chaotic journey than anything (they were quoted as saying it's similar to being Alice in Wonderland with a damaged mind, or something to that effect). A really good example is on either Twoism or Hi Scores called Everything You Do Is a Balloon, particularly the beginning. That song is classic Boards.

    They have also produced what I think the end of the world would sound like...it can only be found on their webpage, www.music70.com.

    A lot of my appreciation of BOC came from reading about all the little things they put into their songs. Play "A is to B as B is to C" (from Geogaddi) backwards and a whole whack of new things are introduced. "Dandelion", aside from the Leslie Neilson sample, is played entirely backwards, as is "I Saw Drones". Also, "Corsair" is the song I was referring to that plays backward exactly the same as it does forward.

    But I could talk about BOC all day...

    I wrote Gabe lastnight asking him how the song was made, as well as how they did G-Man's speeches. I got this reply today (not from Gabe):

    "The music is all Kelly Bailey's and he's never told me how he does it so he probably won't tell you.

    Marc Laidlaw"

    Heheheh...like I said, it's just one of those things that will probably never be answered.
     
  25. pomegranate

    pomegranate Newbie

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    Iced_Cooly, please tell us how to extract the audio tracks, particularly the one you're referring to.
     
  26. Reaktor4

    Reaktor4 Newbie

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    Huh? thats impossible, unless one half of the song is the other half reversed
     
  27. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    pomegranate - I'm using a program called GCFScape. You can use it to open the sound GCF file and have a look around. The file is called "radio1".

    Reaktor4 - Have a look at this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...9?v=glance&s=music&n=507846&vi=samples#disc_1
    Click the sample for "Corsair". Once you hear it you realize it's not that big of a deal that it sounds the same backwards, but it's interesting (I think) nonetheless.
     
  28. Solver

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    Just listened to radio1.mp3, so reminds me of the X-Files. So in the second half of it there's this weird screeching noise... after reversing, it sounds interesting, though I can't pick anything particular up.
     
  29. Reaktor4

    Reaktor4 Newbie

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    It is just the same half reversed then but they can get away with it since its just one long continuous drone. Does that even qualify as music?
     
  30. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    It's not one half of the song playing, and then the other half being the first half reversed. Rather, all of the elements of the song play sound the same backwards as they do forwards. I can't really explain it...

    Yes the song is "one long continuous drone" but it is meant to be. In relation to the rest of the album, it serves to wind down all the strangeness that ensued before it (and does a wonderful job of it).

    I see it as music but it all depends on your definition of music, really.
     
  31. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    It's not one half of the song playing, and then the other half being the first half reversed. Rather, all of the elements of the song play sound the same backwards as they do forwards. I can't really explain it...

    Yes the song is "one long continuous drone" but it is meant to be. In relation to the rest of the album, it serves to wind down all the strangeness that ensued before it (and does a wonderful job of it).

    I see it as music but it all depends on your definition of music, really.
     
  32. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    Whoops...sorry for the double-post.
     
  33. Reaktor4

    Reaktor4 Newbie

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    Thats the same thing when you think about it, whether the waveforms are perfectly symmetrical or not.
    And if you listened to the first half, then the second half reversed and its exactly the same then thats, obviously, the same thing as saying both halfs are just the other half reversed.
     
  34. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    Fair enough...
     
  35. Reaktor4

    Reaktor4 Newbie

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    and yeah i guess it is music, but would anyone really wanna listen to it?
     
  36. Beserker

    Beserker Newbie

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    It's perfect backround noise when doodling on net or stuff. Somehow it keeps playing inside my head! My brains! AARGH! It's weird but I still wanna listen to it >_<
     
  37. perrkele

    perrkele Newbie

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    The radio track definitely reminds me of Boards of Canada. As Iced_Cooly (great track btw!) said, it's so much like BOC that it could have been made by them. If someone played me the track and asked me who did it, I'd say Boards of Canada within a second.

    Boards of Canada are pretty famous actually, especially among other musicians and critics and so on. It wouldn't be a miracle if Kelly Bailey has heard some of their stuff and tried to imitate their sound (which he does very well!). If Bailey said that he has never even heard about BOC and yet created a track like that, I wouldn't believe him!
     
  38. perrkele

    perrkele Newbie

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    ARgh, double post.
     
  39. Iced_Cooly

    Iced_Cooly Guest

    Hahaha...I completely forgot that my name is a BOC referrence! I've been using it for so long.
     
  40. Asuka

    Asuka Companion Cube

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    Very interesting read.
     

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