Monthly Archives: September 2013

Blondie – Atomic

The guitar melody in this track is very distinct due to the way it is mixed. Panned hard left and right, it gives this wide sound, which can be seen in the starting of the track. During the verses and the choruses, the guitars are less prominent and is taken over by the synths. The drums are placed further away in the mix, with the use of reverb on the snare hit, which has a slight pre-delay on it. The disco like bass – written parts is placed in the center of the mix. The vocals has alot of reverb added on it and during the line “atomic”, the vocal tracks are panned hard left and right.

The interesting use of synth and appregiators can be seen in most parts of the track. This effect can be seen as a rhythmic gesture that works with the bass line and the drumming. It builds up towards the end, while the vocal tracks start coming in. A little reverb is added to it, placing it on the same width as the drums, giving this pulsing effect to the rhythm section.


Foals – Everytime – Holy Fire 2013

The drums in this mix is placed very far behind the mix. With the toms almost muffled and blurred gives this wide sound to the song. The guitar is panned hard left and right, with plenty of delay on it. The bass is almost seem far behind the track as well, as it blends in with the sound of the toms. However, the cowbell that is played throughout the song, cuts through the entire mix, giving this constant groove.

The vocals is mixed with alot of reverb and delay, giving this droning and dreamy feel to the entire song. As the song progress, both the bass and the drums are pushed nearer to the mix. Less reverb is given to the drums and the bass has an overdriven sound to it. The song builds up to the end of the song with the drums having more impact and the vocals retaining its dreamy reverb effect on it. A lead guitar line is placed in the middle and cuts through the mix with its high frequencies.

Ultimately, i thought the track was planned very well and it had this build up effect to the track with the use of reverb. As the reverb gets lesser, the song has more impact, giving it a clearer rhythmic section.

Justin Timberlake – You Got It On – The 20/20 Experience – 2013.

The wonder about this song for me is that every little sound can be heard throughout the entire mix. It is parked into each frequency pocket properly and no clashing elements can be heard. Interesting moments such as the vocal harmonies is panned hard left and right, gives this loud full sound. The vocals is doubled with this soft auto-tunned vocal track placed further back away from the main vocals.

The soft hi hats panned on the left gives this groovy element to the song. Claps placed in the middle and at certain points is emphasized with double tracking it and panning it to left and right. The bass has not much sub on it and its placed somewhere in the middle of the mix and works together with the kick drum, giving this interesting pausing effect on certain parts on the song. The song writing is planned out very smartly such as the guitar panned towards the left, which acts more as a rhythmic element then a melodic element. The synth line which has reverb on it, has this call and response effect with the main vocal melody.

Ultimately, this track is written well and constructed properly, towards the end it ends of with strings. The strings are placed further back in the track and while all the tracks are faded off, the strings stand out and ends the mix with a wide stereo image.

Janelle Monae – QUEEN – The Electric Lady.

This song starts out with a steam like sound, which introduces a groovy guitar line and a tambourine and a kick drum. The guitar track has abit of overdrive on it and apart from that a very soft vocal line can be heard just before the actual singing comes in. The kick drum is EQed and all the mid and high frequencies are taken away. The kick drum works well in this track in terms of how the kick drum is fitted in the frequency spectrum and can be heard throughout the track. The snare is sometimes introduced at certain points of the track and placed in the center. The snare cuts through the whole mix and is placed really well in the entire track. The tambourine as well comes cuts through the mix, due to the space left in the middle. The funky guitar line is placed weirdly behind the entire mix, giving this not too full on sound but still retaining its groove. The vocals are right in front while the back up vocals are pushed to the sides of the mix. For example the “whoas” just before the chorus has a slight build up pushed to the sides, leaving space for the middle of the mix such as the drums to kick in to the chorus.

Some percussions are placed at some parts of the track such as a bongo and is panned at the left. Snaps are panned hard left and right, giving this full rhythmic element to the song.

One of the best part of the song, is when the saxophone line is introduced. It is panned to the right and comes in very softly, while the vocal cuts out. It has reverb on the track and its placed further back in the mix. An additional saxophone line is introduced to the right giving this full saxophone solo.

Haim – Falling – Days Are Gone 2013

The song starts out with an electronic kick drum sound that has delay on it. The delay pans the kick sound from right to left, giving it a round sound to the track. It kicks in with a snare sound pan in the center of the track and a vocal shout. The vocals come in straight after the snare roll. The rhythm guitar panned to the right gives a pulse to the song without a beat to the track apart from the kick on the 1. The vocals have a slight slap back delay put onto it. Just before the actual beat comes in, a synth line is introduced, the bass comes in straight after that, with a clap and snare sound placed in the center of the track.

During the line “falling”, a delay is put onto the vocal track. This delay effect emulates the same effect as the start of the song. Towards the middle of the song, more reverb is added to the drums giving it a bigger sound and making it seem as if the drums is further as well. The bass follows the kick drum of the song, giving it a tight rhythm section. Some of the toms are panned left and right, giving a big drum sound. A synth line is played towards the second verse onwards. The synth is pushed back in the track, giving this distant sound which kinds of wrap the entire track.

During the guitar solo, the lead guitar is panned hard left, while the line “falling” is manipulated with alot of delay, this emphasizes on the title track of the track. During this section as well, alot of vocal panning was used and alot of layers were put into it. The emphasis of the word “Falling” is constantly practiced throughout the song.


Earl Sweatshirt – Burgundy – Doris – 2013

Earl Sweatshirt – Burgundy

The start of the song starts with sampled keys and horns, which has this clicking sound, which I thought was very interesting. The snare kicks in the song, where the vocals come in.

There are two main components to the song; one of which is the rapping and the drum beats stands out as well. At some points of the song, there is this sampled vocal line that has a distorted radio effect on it. Towards the middle of the song, theres a pitch manipulation added to the vocals, making it very low.

The rhythm section is very interesting as the kick drum covers most of the low frequency. It has a long decay time on the kick drum and the snare is panned both right and left at certain hits. It gives the illusion of many drummers playing the same beat. The use of the snare and toms building up at some points has alittle reverb added to it to fill the depth of the track. The hit of the cymbal emphasizes on certain snare roll hits. The hi hats has reverb on it and is placed much further in the mix. Ultimately, the song has not much of a structure (Hip-hop) and feels as though it is all over the place, giving this cool effect to the song. The horns or violins are panned hard left and right to give this wide orchestra sound. There isn’t much bass in the mix except a soft fuzz synth bass and the kick drum itself. It also ends off with a cool synthesizer panning from right to left.

Leon Gabriel Wan

Aloe Blacc – I need the Dollar -Good things- 2010 –

Aloe Blacc- I need the dollar.

The start of the song has a bass and the keys playing on every beat, introducing the type of song.

The call and response vocal technique “ hey, hey” is panned to the left and right.

There is an interesting part of the song, which is after the 1st chorus, where the horns is placed slightly in the middle and the vocals is placed further back in the mix with alittle bit of reverb and panned slightly to the left, giving more emphasis on the horns. The horns is that carried through during the verse and chorus panned towards the left. And always changing during certain parts of the song.

The drums are kept very minimal and quiet in the mix, giving way to the horns and vocals to standout in the mix. The bass plays a funky and groovy bass line, giving a constant drive to the song.

Towards the last verse and last chorus, the horns play this riff, which is aligned with the vocals of Aloe Blacc. The Horns as well follow the call and response technique towards the last part of the song as well.

Leon Gabriel Wan

Arctic Monkeys – Do I wanna Know? – AM – 2013

Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know.

Opens with 2 bars of a simple drum beat just kick and a low clap sound/snare. It is hard to identify the effect on the drums, but it feels like its layered with multiple drum sounds, giving this massive drum sound. The claps have multiple layers that are panned to the left and right, giving this wider sound. This carries on throughout most part of the song.

The guitar riff played at the start of the song is panned both right and left as well, giving it a wide sound as well. The center of the mix is really empty with just the bass and vocals sitting right in the middle. The bass lines are kept really minimal, just playing at every random start of each line of the riff.

During the pre-chorus, there is a shimmering sound of probably the guitar which carries out through to the chorus as well. During the 1st pre-chorus the tambourine is added giving it more flavor on each clap hit, which is panned in the center. The call and response style of vocals in the pre-chorus gives it a sense of build up in the pre-chorus.

During the chorus, there is a harmony of an octave higher singing the same line. Thickening up the sound of the chorus. Theres a constant synth line ( I think) playing on every beat in the 2nd chorus through to the pre-chorus and the last chorus. It is panned in the center and is placed further back in the mix with some reverb on it. There is some string sounds or guitar sounds placed towards the last part of the chorus, which has a constant pulsing effect (side-chained??) that is placed in the center of the mix. It also has reverb on it and aligns with the synth line, which blends in really well, filling the depth of the song properly. The main vocals throughout has a slight delay in some parts of the song and also has this distorted effect on the vocals, which is very evident in most arctic monkeys sound.

Leon Gabriel Wan

City And Color- The Golden State – The hurry and the harm – 2013

City and Color – The Golden State.

A simple snare roll introduces the start of the song.  It comes in with just the kick drum and snare, with a finger plucked acoustic guitar panned to the left. After Four bars, the vocals come in right in the centre of the mix, closed mic and giving it a very intimate vibe to the song.

The verse continues on for a while, and you can hear a harmony come in 2 bars before the chorus kicks in again. The bass kicks in with a fuzz bass tone and a rhythmic strum of the guitar gives it a loud dynamic change compared to the verse. The piano also fills up the chorus. The vocals are matched up with more harmonies giving this more intense sound compared to the intimate feel in the verses. The drums is also playing the right cymbal to emphasize on the impact of the chorus and hits the cymbal to signify the start of the chorus.

In the second verse, the fuzzy bass stays on and the drummer is also playing the right really softly. At some points of the second track, the piano is introduced with reverb on the piano giving more depth to the mix, as it seems like its playing far away compared to the acoustic guitar that is place really near to the listeners left. It is also panned to the right, which show the difference between the acoustic guitar and piano in terms of depth.

In the second chorus, there is an overdriven guitar panned slightly to the right, which is only introduced in this chorus to show the difference of dynamics in comparison to the first chorus. The chorus ends of the song with a change of key and the ringing sound of the fuzzed bass.

Ultimately, the entire song felt like a slow build up and ended off with a good positive key change into major.

Foo Fighters- Rope – Wasting Light – 2011

Foo Fighters – Rope

The song starts of with a guitar panned to the left with a delay effect on it. It then comes in with a guitar on the right, which has an overdriven effect on it. Throughout the entire song, you can hear how the guitars are panned both to the left and right, giving this wide sound to the mix.

The bass is following the same as what the guitar plays and sits in the middle of the mix. Allowing this strong emphasis on the melody of the entire song. There are certain points of the song such as the pre-chorus, bass slides can be heard very clearly. This drags the listener along with the bass slide back into the main melody.

The drums are placed in a way that you are the guy playing the drums. So the hats are slightly panned to the left and the snare more towards the center. The kick drum follows the beat of the main guitar melody, giving a more fuller melody line. During the chorus, he plays the right bell and its panned to the left, which cuts through the mix, giving it a good groove to the chorus. A drum roll can be heard as well during the chorus to signify the change of timing.

The main vocal melody line is placed in the center however at certain points of the song, it is panned hard left and right. It also has this radio effect to his vocals at some stages of the song. The vocals are kept really dry.

The entire mix is very clear and you can hear each instrument very clearly, especially the drums. However, I find that there is not much depth to the song and I find the middle of the mix is very empty. However it is a rock song, so clarity of the overdriven guitars can be heard very clearly even with multiple layers on it.

The end of the song, starts out with the delayed guitar panned left and kicks it with the whole band playing, ending it off with a good rock sound.