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The Mix Review

Commercial Productions Analysed
Published May 2017
By Mike Senior


‘Call On Me’

The Mix Review: Starley.Once any commercial electronic music style has progressed beyond sheer “Whoa! Cool robot noises!” sonic novelty value, one of the perennial challenges facing producers is how to imbue their synthetic/sampled raw materials with enough humanity to elicit slightly deeper emotional responses. The most obvious way of doing this is by layering in a lead vocal with plenty of grain/ style/ wistfulness/ soul/ lewdness (delete as appropriate). These days, however, the extreme corrective and/or intentionally destructive processing frequently meted out on lead vocals in the name of genre-friendly ear-candy can undermine their emotional immediacy somewhat, as in the case of this recent debut single from Starley. She’s not a bad singer by any means, but whatever unique character she might have had is all but stifled under a ton of band-wagon EDM effects that in themselves aren’t evocative enough to draw me emotionally into the production as a whole.

Which is why the opening acoustic guitar part’s such a lifesaver. By contrast with the vocal, it’s full of plenty of authentic-sounding character, thereby adding a crucial...

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Published May 2017