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Artist Analysis: Jamie Cook (Arctic Monkeys)

August 23, 2018

 

Jamie Cook, One of the founding members, lead and rhythm Guitarist of Arctic Monkeys has a very distinctive style of guitar playing that subtly develops across each album. One thing that is most constant about Jamie Cooks playing is that he often plays in the background of the song, complimenting the voice of Alex Turner without getting in the way of the vocal melody and lyrics which are the main focus of the songs.

 

Jamie’s style tends to switch between these subtle ambient background sounds and melodic textures to a more heavy in your face rock riffs, which he extenuates by changing the tone of his guitar from a clean sounds with lots of reverb, to a more high mid fuzz, he also uses a lot of tremolo effects in his playing.

 

Jamie will often use the minor pentatonic scale as a base for his playing but often incorporates notes from the natural and harmonic minor scales.

 

In order to show these claims in context we shall have a look at the songs One Point Perspective from Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino and also Why Do You Only Call Me When Your High from the album AM. Links to audio examples will be provided underneath the score extracts. 

One Point Perspective Audio Example: https://www.soundslice.com/slices/zzYcc/

 

This is an extract from halfway through the first verse of the song.  The main foundations of Jamie's lead comes from the C minor pentatonic scale, with the addition of the 2nd from the natural minor and raised 7th from the harmonic minor scale, which gives the melody a sense of tension and adds the feeling of mystery.

 

 Why Do You Only Call Me When Your High Audio Example: https://www.soundslice.com/slices/XzYcc/

 

This extract is taken from the second verse of the song, here they make clever use of three guitar parts, and the first guitar plays along with the bass-line to add more thickness and texture. In the background there is a combination of two guitars one guitar plays a repeated riff using quaver notes, this helps to keep the song moving along and fills in the empty space usually taken by the hi-hat of a drum. The other guitar plays a slide from the 18th fret to the 11th, this is cleverly placed at the beginning of each phrase right before the vocals start, it almost serves as musical punctuation and the added effects of delay and reverb give the track more depth and space.  The whole track is made up using the F# natural minor scale, simple and effective.

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