As the music continues to pour in by the bucketload we’ve chosen another track this week to analyse. We’ll be updating this page throughout the week with more feedback/comments from our various roving writers and industry bods.
The track this week is called ‘<3’ which (we assume) is pronounced ‘Heart’ by The Spectral. Listen below and read our thoughts beneath:
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/91324452″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Huw Price: The acoustic guitar thing is an ok idea but the sound has a processed, DI type quality that annoys me on principle and it sounds a bit lumpy with the drum pattern the second time around. The drums lack drive and punch and I find the bass sound makes the track sound a bit boomy and sluggish. The chorus vocals seem a bit too exposed but it’s fairly catchy and I liked the breakdown. Maybe lifting the hats and cymbals would give the track some extra momentum and open things up a tad because the midrange sounds a bit congested at present.
Alex Holmes: I like the eclectic style and unpredictable nature of the track as it keeps things interesting throughout. The synths and programming are excellent, but the drums could do with some beefing up. This could be a case of selecting some thicker and more processed drum sounds (the artist packs from Loopmasters are good for this), or maybe try some parallel compression to fill out the sound. The intro starts with quite bright guitar and synth parts, and the drums sound a little muffled in comparison when they come in, so you might want to brighten them up with some EQ as well.
Finally, I think the vocal in the chorus could come down in volume a bit as it currently feels like it’s sitting on top of the track. Maybe a touch of chorus or reverb would also help it settle better…. Looking at your SoundCloud, I think I prefer the instrumental of this tune, simply because it allows more space to hear the musical details… And the great synth sounds!
Liam O’Mullane: I agree with Alex, there’s some nice programming going on here with the synths, but they do sit in the same virtual space a bit too much. It would be nice if all the different sounds had different stereo width aspects to them for adding stereo dynamics. The opening guitar is very out of place in terms of its frequency balance and makes everything else seem dull afterwards. It’s also a little out of tune to my ears. Again, as Alex said, the shaker/hat parts are quite dull.
The vocal is interesting with the modulated vocoder type of backing layer. Quite a crazy little tune with some nice ideas, the mix just has some very disproportionate elements that jump too far out of the mix at times in terms of volume and frequency balance. 2:02 could be made much more spaced out with bucket loads of delays and ambience which dries up before the final chorus. It might be worth getting another person in on the mix here for a subjective view to help you portray some of the great musical ideas in the track.
Like making more of a sonic change for the section at 1:27 for contrast and making more of a dynamic shift for the 3rd chorus. The timing and ending points of parts could do with being tightened up a bit as well. But I love the driving energy of the track in general and it’s quite catchy too.
Keith Gemmell: I like the eight bar intro with the dry acoustic guitar and synth sounds, the combination of which is unusual. The next eight bars (instrumental) are a bit muddy sounding to my ears. Maybe some more definition between the kick drum and the bass. A tighter kick set against the rather wooly sounding bass might help in that respect. The snare could do with beefing up as well. The vocal is very upfront, a good thing really, but I find it hard to distinguish the lyrics and I’m not keen on the chorus/vocoder effect. A cleaner vocal set dead centre with a touch of reverb would sound better in my opinion – less gimmicky. It is quite a catchy tune, though, in an eighties sort of way. When the acoustic guitar returns it sounds sightly out of time with the drums.
It’s a very busy track and with a lot going on in the mid range. I agree with Liam, a second pair of ears and a good deal of EQ tweaking will probably sort it out. The song and arrangement are fine and the synths are great with plenty of good ideas instrumentally. I’m not keen on the sudden ending though. All in all, with some remixing it has the makings of a catchy driving track. Lots of promise.
Andy Price: An interesting track – the vocals have a somewhat emotionless quality to them which I actually think works rather well. The song could do with a tighter production I feel, the rhythm needs some serious analysis yet the different musical elements do work very well together. The guitar sound does have a bit of a dry quality to it. I agree with Keith in that it sounds somewhat retro/eighties but I don’t think that’s a negative. Overall I think the track has a lot of potential but needs to be re-looked at and recorded again