‘Call On Me’
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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