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Mike Senior
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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me'
      #983255 - 20/04/12 09:52 AM
Even if I inhabited a twisted parallel universe where I actually wanted to hear the word ‘Sunshine’ sung by either of the Gallagher brothers ever again, I’d still have some reservations about the vocal on this record, specifically as regards the balancing of its occasional falsetto notes. The nub of the issue is that a falsetto delivery has a completely different timbre to a note that’s sung more normally, especially if the singer has to strain to hit the pitch in question, as is normally the case — the 2-4 kHz register will tend to be emphasised by forced high-register singing, whereas a weakness in this spectral region is part of what tends to give falsetto its naturally softer-edged character. As a result, mixer settings that work for normal singing won’t necessarily do for the falsetto.

In this specific scenario, things are OK during the verses — Gallagher isn’t pushing his normal voice too hard, so the tonal disparity is less pronounced. It’s in the choruses that things really come to a head: he pushes his normal voice up to claim the high E-flat that was formerly sung falsetto, giving it a much harder edge by comparison with the even higher falsetto words “whole” and “storm”. Of course, it doesn’t help that the backing texture also becomes richer in the critical 2-4kHz area at this juncture, masking it more strongly and thereby pushing the falsetto words even further into the background. The “storm” at 2:29 is about the best of the lot, but even that one takes a noticeable step backwards relative to the notes either side of it. To my mind, the evenness and intelligibility of the line could have been improved a good deal with a stiff dose of 3kHz boost on those two falsetto words in each chorus — perhaps from an automated EQ. The move to falsetto isn’t the only ‘gear-change’ you can hear in this vocal performance, though, because there’s also a less pronounced one audible during “running from people who can” and “sucking up my soul”. Again, those lines submerge slightly beneath the backing, so similar automation tactics could probably have helped a little there too.

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A complete mixing method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1391
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #983256 - 20/04/12 09:57 AM
I reviewed this track off the (presumably eponymous) album, which gives the following credits:

Produced by Noel Gallagher & David Sardy
Engineered by Ryan Castle, Paul Stacey, Jan Kybert, and Matt Howe. (It's not clear which specific tracks each worked on.)
Mixed by David Sardy
Mastered by Ian Cooper

The falsetto issue I raise in the above critique has always been a big concern for bands in a Coldplay/Travis/Keane vein, because of the way they tend to make use of the switch to falsetto as an expressive tool. (Whether they do this naturally or in a calculated manner is open to debate...) As such, there are plenty of examples of mix engineers grappling with falsetto delivery on record. A couple of good ones are Coldplay's debut hit 'Yellow' (mixed by Michael Brauer) and Keane's 'She Has No Time' (mixed by Spike Stent), both of which manage the vocal balancing better than on 'Death Of You And Me' to my ears.

It's also interesting to note that the falsetto balancing problem recurs on the album's second single 'AKA... What A Life'. However, if you do have a listen to that track, check out the great little 'mute botton solo' at 1:12. It's so easy to program this kind of thing in at mixdown now, but that doesn't make it any less effective at renewing the listener's attention.

For more critiques of commercial productions, browse The Mix Review Index.

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Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete mixing method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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jaminem
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Joined: 19/03/01
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Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #983291 - 20/04/12 11:27 AM
Mike, unfortunately I am unable to appreciate your appraisal of the mix of this song due to the horrific use of rhyming summer in the 'city', isn't it a 'pity' and the girls are looking 'pretty' which frankly sounds rather 'sh***y' and stops me from listening intently

Horrible GCSE lyrics, what next? crying in the rain....

And this from the guy that wrote Wonderwall...

its wrong, all wrong...


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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1391
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: jaminem]
      #983303 - 20/04/12 11:43 AM
Quote jaminem:

Mike, unfortunately I am unable to appreciate your appraisal of the mix of this song due to the horrific use of rhyming summer in the 'city', isn't it a 'pity' and the girls are looking 'pretty' which frankly sounds rather 'sh***y' and stops me from listening intently




He's a repeat offender. It's the "sister" / "missed her" / "blister" that still sticks in my memory...

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Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete mixing method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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narcoman
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Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #983307 - 20/04/12 12:00 PM
... some things are best left unsaid....


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Beat Poet



Joined: 21/01/12
Posts: 174
Loc: Hertfordshire, UK
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #983333 - 20/04/12 01:52 PM
Initially I thought it was the best song on the album, but that thought quickly gave way. It's one of the more immediate ones live though.

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jaminem
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Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #983338 - 20/04/12 02:00 PM
Quote Mike Senior:

Quote jaminem:

Mike, unfortunately I am unable to appreciate your appraisal of the mix of this song due to the horrific use of rhyming summer in the 'city', isn't it a 'pity' and the girls are looking 'pretty' which frankly sounds rather 'sh***y' and stops me from listening intently




He's a repeat offender. It's the "sister" / "missed her" / "blister" that still sticks in my memory...




Yeah I kinda took that as 'tongue in cheek' rather than this which is more 'head up arse...'

Edited by jaminem (20/04/12 02:00 PM)


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narcoman
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
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Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: jaminem]
      #983365 - 20/04/12 04:41 PM
Quote jaminem:

Quote Mike Senior:

Quote jaminem:

Mike, unfortunately I am unable to appreciate your appraisal of the mix of this song due to the horrific use of rhyming summer in the 'city', isn't it a 'pity' and the girls are looking 'pretty' which frankly sounds rather 'sh***y' and stops me from listening intently




He's a repeat offender. It's the "sister" / "missed her" / "blister" that still sticks in my memory...




Yeah I kinda took that as 'tongue in cheek' rather than this which is more 'head up arse...'




i'd go with limited prowess.... ooooooh naughty me.

I've always thought Mr G was a great spokesperson for modern musical arts but not so much a capable practitioner. Know what I mean? Love to hear him talk about music, seems a decent chap.... but put the guitar down


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Chaconne



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Posts: 1340
Loc: Oxford
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #983367 - 20/04/12 05:00 PM
He he - spot on. He is quite a funny bloke, pretty sus, and he knows music well. But that interminable strumming!!!

I will have a listen though to see how he does on his own - probably many variations of the Kinks songbook....

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Adam Inglis



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 372
Loc: Gold Coast Queensland Australi...
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #984099 - 25/04/12 03:10 AM
The end of the horn solo sounds like it is nicked from "For The Benefit Of Mr Kite"...

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Adam Inglis
Funboys


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Scouser



Joined: 04/10/04
Posts: 575
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #1019116 - 18/11/12 10:44 AM
I always thought the brothers borrowed rather a lot from the beatles.

Interesting post Mike... By the way I enjoyed your book very much.. I would suggest you think about a prequel..

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BJG145



Joined: 06/08/05
Posts: 3326
Loc: Norwich UK
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #1019128 - 18/11/12 11:43 AM
The guy's not so much a composer as a kleptomaniac.


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #1019167 - 18/11/12 04:38 PM
High Flying Birds? I take it Noel saw Richie Havens on BBC4s 'Sounds of the 60s'.

Quote Mike Senior:

Even if I inhabited a twisted parallel universe where I actually wanted to hear the word ‘Sunshine’ sung by either of the Gallagher brothers ever again...




Don't you mean "SsssUnsssssshhhhhheeeeeiiiiiiiine"?

Quote Mike Senior:

I’d still have some reservations about the vocal on this record




Like the fact that he can't sing for sh*t?


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chew_rocket



Joined: 21/10/09
Posts: 452
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #1019249 - 19/11/12 09:35 AM
Personally a big fan of this record both in terms of song and production. I think Noel is a great songwriter. The lack of much success and poor songs that Beady Eye are pushing out confirms Oasis' success was ALL because of Noel.


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: chew_rocket]
      #1019288 - 19/11/12 01:48 PM
It's never ALL because of one person. The success of Oasis was also down to producers and the "Manchestoband" image people wanted to assimilate and appropriate. The recent success of Noel has much to do with the fact that more people like him as a person. That's just how people are.


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Beat Poet



Joined: 21/01/12
Posts: 174
Loc: Hertfordshire, UK
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #1019367 - 19/11/12 11:52 PM
Noel was definitely the brains, but Liam was the rockstar frontman who young lads wanted to be.

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Stoney



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 570
Loc: London
Re: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: 'Death Of You And Me' new [Re: jaminem]
      #1019399 - 20/11/12 10:32 AM
Quote jaminem:

And this from the guy that wrote Wonderwall...






Wonderwall lyrics are good??!! - they're only fractionally better, so maybe A-level rather than GCSE (IMO).

Edited by Stoney (20/11/12 10:34 AM)


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