Reverse reverb, also known as backwards reverb, or sometimes reverse echo, is a sound effect created as the result of recording a reverberated signal of an audio recording played backwards. The original recording is then played forwards accompanied by the recording of the reverberated signal which now precedes the original signal. The process produces a swelling effect preceding and during playback.
Guitarist and producer Jimmy Page claims to have invented the effect, stating that he originally developed the method when recording the single "Ten Little Indians" with The Yardbirds in 1967. He later used it on a number of Led Zeppelin tracks, including "You Shook Me", "Whole Lotta Love", and their cover of "When the Levee Breaks". In an interview he gave to Guitar World magazine in 1993, Page explained:
During one session [with The Yardbirds], we were recording "Ten Little Indians", which was an extremely silly song that featured a truly awful brass arrangement. In fact, the whole track sounded terrible. In a desperate attempt to salvage it, I hit upon an idea. I said, "Look, turn the tape over and employ the echo for the brass on a spare track. Then turn it back over and we'll get the echo preceding the signal." The result was very interesting—it made the track sound like it was going backwards.
Usage in music
Reverse reverb is commonly used in shoegaze, particularly by such bands as My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3. It is also often used as a lead-in to vocal passages in hardstyle music, and various forms of EDM and pop music. The reverse reverb is applied to the first word or syllable of the vocal for a build-up effect or other-worldly sound.
Use in other media
- Brad Tolinski and Greg Di Bendetto, "Light and Shade", Guitar World, January 1998.
- Interview with Jimmy Page, Guitar World magazine, 1993
- That's The Way It's Gonna Be review by Richie Unterberger at AllMusic
- Fennelly, Mike (2001). "Magic Time Box Set liner notes". albumlinernotes.com. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- on YouTube
- Priore, Domenic (1 July 2007). Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock'n'roll's Last Stand in 60s Hollywood. Outline Press, Limited. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-906002-94-7. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- "WHOLE LOTTA LOVE by LED ZEPPELIN". Retrieved 5 January 2018.
- O'Neil, Bill. "Page's Studio Tricks III (Backwards echo)". Retrieved 5 January 2018.
- Audrey. "The History of Reverse Reverb". Retrieved 5 January 2018.
- "Tips for Recording Your Own Spooky Audio To Scare The Kids On Halloween". Home Brew Audio. 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2018-05-12.