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OUTTAKES THE SEQUEL

Mixing Up Michael

October 25, 1987|Belma Johnson

Count on it: When Michael Jackson releases a new album (in this case "Bad"), Motown reissues material from his old Motown days. Latest exploitation comes Friday, when Motown outdoes itself--this time electronically manipulating Michael's voice to create a "new" Jackson tune for an LP called "The Original Soul of Michael Jackson" ($8.98 for the LP and cassette).

Instead of the obscure songs Motown's re-released in the past, the new album is full of former hits like "Got to Be There," "Rockin' Robin," "You've Got a Friend" and "Dancin' Machine."

But "Dancin' Machine"--while featuring Michael's voice--is not his singing. British producer Nigel Martinez messed around with Jackson's voice through a process known as "sampling."

"Sampling is just another form of recording," Martinez said. "The computer takes a voice, memorizes it, and puts it into a number code. So you can manipulate the digits any way you want, and it will give you the sound back in the way you edited it. The computer remembers everything about the voice, all the characteristics. You can tell the computer to say a word backwards or whatever you want. I sampled every individual vocal line--every word, every syllable. So I had Michael Jackson's voice at my fingertips.

"Then I took some of (Michael's) famous ad-libs off (the hit) 'ABC' and put them on 'Dancin' Machine.' I wanted to make it sound as natural as possible, like Michael sung it with the new track. I've obviously always wanted to work with Michael. So I got a tickle out of this."

No comment from the Jackson camp.

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