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Paloma Faith: 'Picking Up The Pieces'

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Paloma Faith: 'Picking Up The Pieces'

Postby Mike Senior » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:12 am

I’m not a fan of this mix at all. Sure, the vocal is well upfront, but otherwise the sonics feel curiously muffled overall, and it’s very difficult to appreciate the qualities of most of the backing parts because they’re so difficult to hear. For example, I get the sense that the upright piano sound that enters with the first verse could be really interesting to listen to in its own right, but the mix somehow contrives to represent it using all its least characterful frequencies, leaving it indistinct and forgettable. Where’s the mid-range? And why has the woolliness in its 100-200Hz zone been allowed free rein to cloud the vocal tone and contribute to a muddy build-up with the bass when it arrives at 0:43?

There also seems to be masses of murky-sounding reverb, which doesn’t help the clarity any, and I’d certainly have wanted to do some serious EQ of those effect returns myself to draw some of the veil away from the sound. To my ear the string and choir parts already provide plenty of textural padding already, without flooding all the remaining mix space with effects. Now I’d be the first to acknowledge that there’s room for differences of artistic vision where mixing is concerned, but I reckon it’ll be an uphill struggle to woo any sizeable audience with your art if “make most of the instruments difficult to hear” forms an integral part of your production manifesto.
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Re: Paloma Faith: 'Picking Up The Pieces'

Postby Mike Senior » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:14 am

I reread my critique of this mix and wondered whether I'd maybe been a bit too harsh on it -- I'm as prone to the grumps as anyone when my caffiene levels sink below threshold, so perhaps I'd tackled that track a bit too early in the morning, I reasoned to myself. Returning to the mix in an equitable frame of mind didn't, however, do anything to revise my opinions unfortunately! I was, in fact, more wound up than ever by virtue of noticing consciously the way the vocals have been smashed into the compressor -- severely compressing the emotional impact into the bargain, for this listener at least. It just all feels like a wasted opportunity. Or else I'm completely missing the point of this production approach.

I critiqued this mix from the version on the NOW 82 compilation. Needless to say I wasn't inspired to follow that up with an album purchase, so credits for this one come from Wikipedia:

Produced by Nellee Hooper, Jake Gosling
Mixed by Nellee Hooper, Simon Gogerly

For more critiques of commercial productions, browse The Mix Review Index.
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Re: Paloma Faith: 'Picking Up The Pieces'

Postby Guest » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:30 pm

Wow! I thought modern pop couldn't get any worse. The sections are very badly bandaged together as is the Rita Ora track in your other post. Very formulaic, assembly line productions which hardly vary. They don't even have any type of dynamic originality. They start off at one level and build up to the "expressive" moment. People have to listen to a track like Michael Jackson's "Earth song" to hear how it's done properly. Even though you know it's coming he made it work.

The best type of productions of these types of tracks, have to come from Rihanna's and Jessie J's producers.
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Re: Paloma Faith: 'Picking Up The Pieces'

Postby oggyb » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:56 pm

You didn't mention my biggest hate of this song: the vocal melody is all in the same octave. Most of it within a fourth!
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Re: Paloma Faith: 'Picking Up The Pieces'

Postby Mike Senior » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:47 pm

oggyb wrote:You didn't mention my biggest hate of this song: the vocal melody is all in the same octave. Most of it within a fourth!

Shhh! There might be someone from the MPG here...

http://www.mpgawards.com/shortlist.php

I was tickled to find that track/album featured in both the UK Single and UK Album shortlists! Actually, I rather hope it wins, if only to demonstrate the essential truth that one man's meat is another's poison.

:beamup:
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Re: Paloma Faith: 'Picking Up The Pieces'

Postby oggyb » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:55 pm

!
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