Monthly Archives: October 2013

Gwen Stefani – Sweet Escape.

The song starts out with a guitar riff that has not much bass frequencies on it placed in the middle of the mix just behind the tambourine that is playing on 2 and 4 of every bar. The tambourine has a slight reverb decay on it and just before the brass section comes in, you can hear a drum sample that has alot of reverb on it and delay as well, which cuts off once the brass can be heard coming through the center of the mix. After which you can hear a high pitch synth sound that sparkles signifying the start of another section.

When the next section starts, you can hear akon’s vocals panned hard left and right and also the synths are panned hard left and right. The drums still stick in the middle of the mix. However, the bass is also seemingly panned to the left and right as well, leaving the middle section very sparse and empty. The brass section is also panned hard left and right. The kick drum/snare and the guitar and tambourine cuts through the mix perfectly with just those elements in the center of the mix, putting the guitar melody as one of the main melodies of the middle section, while the other melodies are pushed to the left and right. Akon’s vocals are very close to the mix, and the entire track sounds very compressed, where almost all the levels sound exactly at the same level (common in most pop songs) During the verse, you can hear Gwen’s vocals come in as very close in the mix very compressed type vocals. You can also hear her harmonies come in from the left with a slight delay towards the end of the syllable. The harmonies are all at the same level as the main vocal line, which appears very close to the mix. Most of the vocals are panned all over the place, giving this cool vibe to the track but still retaining the main vocals in the middle. You can hear the brass coming in and different points as well. The guitar is still placed in the center, grounding the sound down with the same intro guitar sound. Theres a new synth line introduced as well, playing a shimmering like sound that still appears quite close in the mix. You can hear akon’s vocals coming back in with a slap delay on it, and a slight EQed effect that gives this telephone like sound.

Throughout the whole second verse, gwens vocals have a slight slap delay effect, and during the second chorus again you can hear it is just the vocals driving the song. The depth of the track is really empty just keeping the guitar and the drums at the back, while covering it all up with the harmonies and vocals all over the song. The overlapping and multi-layering of vocals can be heard and also singing a call and response covers up the whole front of the mix. The song ends of with the same intro and fades out slowly with a new brass line introduced just before the fade out.

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Jack white – Missing Pieces

It starts out with a electric piano that is slight panned more towards the left, with a slight reverb decay that can be heard after each note. After 4 bars of that electric piano, drums and an electric guitar comes in playing the same riff. The electric guitar is panned right while the drums are also playing the same rhythmic pattern as the electric piano, making it seem like a build up. You can also hear the right cymbal being gently played after every pause, that rings out even once the drums comes back in. Another layer of guitar or maybe Bass comes in playing the same riff as well. It is panned in the middle with a slight reverb on it as well. The intro ends of with all the instruments holding a note but cuts out once the next line is introduced by the keys. You can hear a slight electric guitar playing softly at the background. Once jacks vocals comes in with the rest of the band, you can hear a snare roll. The snare has alot of weight to it and has some sort of reverb on it as well. Two guitars can be heard in this verse, one playing on the left of track and the other playing slightly away from the center and more to the left. The hi hat is panned left and changes over to the right during the pre-chorus part, that rings out perfectly with a good amount of reverb on it. Back up harmonies are introduced at this section, both panned hard left and right.

During the next part, it strips back to just the bass and the kick drum. You can also hear another keys sound panned and placed further away that the original keys sound. You can also hear a slide shimmering sound of a guitar on the left that is almost hard to notice if you dont listen clearly. A open hi-hat is introduced back for the verse and during that verse, it pretty much plays the same as the 1st verse.

After that you can hear a guitar solo, that is panned in the center with a classic overdriven sound and is highly compressed. Mid-way to the solo, a double guitar track is introduced panned to the left and you can hear it fade out back to the same pre-chorus section. You can also hear Jack white playing with his whamy bar that slowly fades in to that pre-chorus.

During this part, it slowly builds up first without drums and then the drums are introduced. You can hear the guitars building up on the right, which is place far behind the mix. Another vocal take could also be heard on the right, with reverb on it to introduce the piano solo. What is interesting during this Keys solo is that, you can hear the main key sound very close to you, which is panned left. There is another keys solo that is pushed far back in the mix, that gives this fullness to the keys solo, which was very essential to that part. During that part as well you can hear the drums further back in the mix, and the crash cymbals can be heard clearly. The song ends of with just the keys and the guitar, with Jack white singing and it ends of with the same riff, by firstly building it up for a second and then ending it off, leaving the listener to want more.

Jagwar Ma – The Throw

The start of the song makes use of a high pass filter on the entire master track which consist of synths and drums and other instruments. You can hear it slowly get louder as well by slowing taking away the filter. While just a bar before the vocals come in, you can hear a vocal sample that is panned hard left and right that has reverb as well. The vocals are not filtered down but has alot of slap-back delay and reverb, which was sung on top of the filtered tracks. Slowly, the filter is taken away from the snare, that comes in randomly and you can hear the presence of the snare much more clearer, which is place in the center of the mix, not too far behind the mix. The song still sounds very-mid rangey till the point where the actual bass comes on with the drums. Just before the bass comes in, you can hear a slight droning guitar that has alot of reverb on it building it up to the drop of the bass, while the drums does a snare roll as well. When the bass comes in, you can hear the bass really upfront, that follows the beat of the kick drum. During the next verse you can hear the filter again, on the drum track for about 4 bars and the bass is lowered down in the mix as well to give space for the lead guitar to cut through the mix. You can also hear a synth-like sound that appears on the left and right of the track. The next part the kick drum is increased in volume and the snare’s filter is gone again. A new added hi-hat can be heard, that is very dry and cuts through the mix with its hi frequency hits, giving a good groove to the song. During the interlude, you can hear two vocal tracks doing different lines one panned on the left and one on the right. The left vocal line has more presence in the song, while the right is placed further behind and appears softer. While the vocals are doing that, the middle section of the mix, you can hear some percussive elements going on very clearly, along with droning guitars that made it very atmospheric and gave the ambient feel to the song. The droning guitar leads in to the drums again, it also has a harmonic effect on the guitar, which fades out mid-way through the other section. A vocal sample of “yeah yeah yeah” can be heard, even though it is EQed in a way that gave this distorted feel to it.

During the next section, the percussions were even clearer, the filters were gone and you can hear the different pannings going on. The dance kick drum can be heard in the center of the mix, you can hear the clap place further in the mix, almost very subtle. You can still hear the vocals fading out as the drums get more intense and a new vocal line is added, placed behind all the percussive elements. You can hear a synth line as well that is playing a rhythmic type melody, that increases in intensity as the build up gets heavier. The clap cuts out and you can hear a droning guitar line on the left and the synth line has more grit in it. During this part the vocals does a hi vocal line with alot of decay on it, and fades in to the next section with the claps back on.  A delayed vocal line can be heard that is panned all over the place, while the synth gets alittle softer and the drums get a little softer as well. The kick drum cuts out and a filter is added to it for about 4 bars, and then it kicks back in again but with a lesser impact. The song ends of with electronic type drums that wrapped up the whole build up.

Bon Iver – Holocene

The song starts out with two acoustic guitars that are panned both left and right place very upfront in the mix.  You can also hear a subtle piano key bass note that comes in, along with a slide guitar that is placed further in the mix, with the use of reverb. The vocals later come in, that is slightly panned more to the left, however another layer can be heard mid right as well. The reverb of the vocals are panned in the middle, which gives this cool effect of the vocals collectively singing together even though panned away from each other. It also appears very close to the listener even though there is evidently a lot of reverb on the vocals, which i presume was used as an aux track that was panned in the middle of the mix. You can also hear a harmony vocal line that is placed in the center of the mix. The keys get louder as the drums come in, with a clap sound that is placed behind everything and a snare roll or a shaker that is washed out, simply just to give a taster of the rhythmic aspect of the song. And before the next verse again, the drums fades out and comes back in on the 2nd bar of the song. It comes in with a right cymbal and a cymbal crash that was panned left and mid-right respectively. What is interesting about this part is that there are 2 drum racks that are placed very well in the mix. The drums that is panned on the left doesnt play a snare roll while the one panned on the right plays a snare roll, giving this weird rhythmic texture to the song. The drums panned on the left is also playing hi-hats including the one panned on the right. Both drum tracks are placed behind the acoustic guitar through the use of reverb, pushing it just clear enough to hear but not too full on.

You can hear a clear bass line that comes in further in the song, that is panned both left and right. The bass then plays one note which cuts out all the drums, while holding the note. The vocals fade in, while you can hear a harmonica like sound that is auto panned left and right, while the acoustic guitar fades in slowly and gets louder and louder. The synth line is getting louder and fades in, while you can hear a hi-hat roll increasing in volume coming from the center of the mix. After which, a snare roll is introduced, which is also faded in and increased in volume. The reverb gets louder as well as it crashes in with cymbals. During the last outro, you can hear horns being played and you can hear the drums now pushed back further in the mix! The song ends off with the drums hitting the cymbals multiple of times, while the bass rings out and the synth rings out.

Hot Chocolate – No doubt it

The shimmering like synth sound fades out in the intro as it increases in its filter analog synth sound, making a lower like synth sound. While another synth line is introduce that is place just in front of the starting synth line. The hi-hat cuts through the mix clearly place nearer in the mix compared to the synths. The kick drum comes in with the bass as well. A guitar Wah effect can be heard very softly behind the bass in the mix, while the vocals are placed in the center of the mix drawing most of the attention to the vocals. You can still hear the shimmering synth sound far behind the mix, giving a good depth to the song. Another synth line is introduced again also placed in the background, while the vocals increase in level introducing the chorus.

During the chorus, a synth line blends in with the vocal note, which comes in from the left and then to the middle. During that chorus the bass line sticks out again , while the drums are still kept very soft but you can hear a short crash in that appeared very dry in the mix. The synth line plays the same melody as the vocal line giving this strong emphasis on the melody.

During the second verse you can hear a shimmering sound that appears from the left again, and it does a build up to the chrous, with a low bass synth place far behind the mix. The song ends of with a transpose sound with the same groove and same rhythm and the vocals takes a step back with the use of reverb while the melody of the song gets carried out with the synth and the bass line giving the groove. The song then ends of with a fade out.

Michael Jackson – The Way You Make Feel

It starts off with a lion roar and an auto panned 80s Tom electronic drum sound that could be heard throughout the whole track. The hi-hats are placed in front of the mix, which pans from left and right and a open hi hat can be heard on the left. The analog bass sound sticks in the middle on the track, and a synth line fades in panned on the left to introduce the start of the verse. The synth line that has a pulsing rhythm to it which is placed in center of the mix. The snare has a gated reverb sound that is common in most 80s music and has this cool call and response effect to the bass. Once the vocals come in, placed in the middle of the track, you can hear the synth line place further back in the mix with reverb while the vocals is place in front of the mix. Just before the chorus a Michael sings ” The way you make me feel ” and the music stops, signifying the start of the chorus.

During the chorus another percussion is introduced, with the claps panned hard left and right which has a gated reverb on it as well. During which, the vocals do a call and response effect to the main line of the vocals, which is panned hard left and right as well, without much reverb on it. The backup vocals is on the same level as the main vocals and it is compressed as well. The back up vocals is also layered with harmonies and the same exact vocal line.

During the second verse, you can hear a wah effect that appears in the middle of the track and the right of the track. A trumpet or saxophone can be heard as well that carries the melody. It is place in the middle of the mix and is panned left and the reverb of that track can be heard on the right. During which the chorus is introduced again with the Toms leading it in. During this chorus you can hear the horns still playing and can be heard on the right of the track.

The interlude just after the second chorus, you can hear a new percussion instrument, that blends in with the toms giving more emphasis on the beat. a synth lead line is played panned in the middle, while the vocals come in lesser with the use of reverb not as full on as the start of the track.

The track ends off with a small fade out that starts around 20 seconds left to the song.

Radiohead – Lotus Flower


It starts out with a bass line that rings out for awhile while the drums fades in slowly, while being placed in the center of the mix. A snare like sound comes up slowly from the left and cuts out at 20 seconds. After that another flanger effected sound can be heard from the right, along with a guitar sound that has reverb on it that slowly builds up in its sound. You can hear claps coming up from the left as well and slowly a kick drum increases in speed and all the sounds panned left and right stops. The guitar still continues playing a harmonic liked sound panned to the left. Claps could also be heard around the left of the mix, really subtlety and it is dry as well, making it sound really close and near to the mix. Another layer of kick drum can be heard on top of the original beat that gives this extra percussive sound that appears really near in the mix. Thom Yorkes voice comes in with a reverberated sound, but still retaining its closeness in the mix. The bass still drives the melody of the song, covering most of the low end of the mix. During the pre-chorus, the same washy snare sound is introduced on the right.

During the chorus, the bass cuts out and a moog synth sound can be heard in the middle, covering most of the mids. Along with that is the vocals placed above the synth sound, while the drums still retaining its original beat. Before it hits the next verse again, the vocals has a long decay time that goes on for a very long time and cuts out once the vocals are back on. During the second verse, you can hear the hi-hat panned in the center while snare sounds can be heard from left and right, giving this call and response effect. During the interlude to the next chorus, you hear the drums being pushed back for 5 seconds while the claps are more evidently and the guitars playing a harmonic like guitar pattern. It cuts out again, and the drum track is pushed further back in the mix with the use of reverb till thom yorkes vocals comes back in. You can also hear the delayed hi-hats placed both left and right, giving this messy percussive feel to it. It ends of with Thom Yorkes falsetto voice drowning with reverb while the bass comes back in. Further in, you can hear a huming melody with alot of reverb place further in the mix, just covering most of the mid section. Ultimately, the track made good use of depth and different rhythmic aspects to keep the groove going.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Soft Shock


The synth line that creates this pulsing effect panned hard left and right gives this big width of the song. The snare sits further behind the mix along with the kick drum. a synth line can be heard in the middle of the mix as well, while the vocals sit perfectly in the middle of the mix. It does not seem too close to the listener and its placed further behind the mix. Theres a reverse reverb guitar sound that is introduced later in the mix that colors the song. It is placed further in the mix as well panned both left and right. Next up is the next verse where it strips back to just the vocals and the original synth line,a kick drum and occasionally a hi-hat hit. A snare roll introduces the next section of the song, the pre-chorus ish part, a synth line is introduced again, with the reverse reverb guitar again. During the 2nd chorus, you can hear toms being played on the left and right of stereo image. During the bridge, a new lead synth line is introduced that is higher than most of the frequencies in the mix, cutting through the top part of the mix. And the bridge ends off with a snare roll again, a semi-build up to an impactful end with just the cymbals crashing in with the kick drum. The interesting use of synths throughout the whole song, gives this pulsing electronic feel to the song, that is dry in sound and didnt have much time-based effects on it. The vocals even though soft and weak, it complements the harshness of the synth sounds that went very well in the mix.

James Blake – Retrograde

This song is really minimal in terms of instruments and the song has a intimate/dark feeling to it. The song starts out with just his keys and the hook line of the song. The song then fades in with more reverb on his vocal line that fills up the entire mix and the drums is introduced. The kick drum has not much presence on it, just a low thump that fits in perfectly. The 808 clap sound is very dry and place very near in the mix. The cool thing about his vocals is how that his vocal seems so near in the mix, it still fades out perfectly with the reverb. Up to this point all the tracks are placed in the center of the mix, leaving the left and right empty but just his reverberated vocals to fill the space. The vocal hook line is still playing just behind the lead vocals his singing. They both take turns to absorb the reverb, giving this pulsing effect. A synth bass is introduced, drowned with reverb as well but however the keys and the bass reverb pushes the decay time backwards giving this weird sense of depth, while the vocals fill up the width of the song. Next up is a synth line that is introduced just as James Blake sings ” suddenly im hit” The synth line slowly fades in like a bomb and comes in perfectly and just stays on that one note that slowly increases in intensity by adding more layers to it and it slowly fades out but still retains its strength, with james blake adding more vocal lines and layers it, the mix wanted to shift your concentration from his different melodies and the synth line. The rhythm section still kept as simple as possible and the song ends of the same way as the introduction of the song, followed by a small fade out.

Jeff Buckley – Lover you should have come over

It starts out with a droning effect, followed by a harpsichord or harmonium that is panned from the left and followed by it being placed in the center filling up the entire mix. It has this long reverb effect that gives the song a sense of depth. The song starts out with 2 acoustic guitars panned left and right, while the drums just keeps a simple rim hit that has a lot of decay time. Gives a nice effect to the start of the song, while jeff buckleys voice sticks close to the listeners ears. The middle section of this part of the song is just the rim hit and jeff’s vocals that gives this intimate empty feeling to the mix, while the acoustic guitar strums away on the left and right. A kick drum also could be heard, playing on the one of every bar. The bass placed in the center of the mix as well just plays it very softly, backing up the vocals of Jeff. Soon after a lead guitar introduces the next section of the song that panned from the left to the right while the guitar is still playing the same thing. And soon after the lead guitar is panned sometimes both on the right and the left. Further in the song, a snare roll is introduced but not fully. The song is just building up towards the middle of the song, and finally a drum roll is introduced and a cymbal hit introduces another section, which is panned to the left. The guitar has a pitch effect on the track and jeff’s vocals gets louder and stronger.

Further in another drum roll can be heard. During this section you can hear all the toms clearly in the mix as though its in front of the mix. During this part a stop could be heard where the drums hits the snare and the instruments all cut off till the next section. It comes back in with a cymbal crash panned both left and right, signifying another part of the song. The harmonium is being played here again, while the drums plays a simpler beat, just a hi-hat beat with the snare and it slowly builds up again with the Hi-hat getting opened. A drum roll is introduced again to signify the next part of the song. The drums plays on the right and you can hear an organ panned on the left, just playing below the acoustic guitar. It brings it back down again, with the drums playing the kick and the rim hit. The reverb on the Rim blends in with the mix and just before the next part again, a Tom hit placed on the right is introduced. The next part of the song has more vocal layers added, singing just below jeff’s vocals. The choir liked vocals, introduces higher harmonies and different layers. As the song gets louder and louder it brings it back down, with ” maybe im just too young to keep love from going on” it has the back-up choir singing still.

After that small quieter section, it brings it back up with a drum doing a small build up and the organ doing a sweep to introduce the next section. The organ sweeps from the left to the right and soon after the drums gets heavier and heavier. The snare sound gets clearer and more cymbal hits can be heard both panned left and right, while jeff buckley still singing in his falsetto and it ends of with a more mellow drum beat again with the organ still playing. Overall the song gives you a good sense of how a song builds up and builds back down by just adding more layers but not making it muddy. The drums is one of the most essential component to introduce certain parts and Jeff’s voice still stays in the main focus while the rhythm section goes crazy.