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Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

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Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:29 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_izvAbhExY

Man, to my ear this has always been great! But comparing to stuff lately, even greater! Want to understand some of what this mojo is.

Man what do you hear? Why is this Sooooo goood. Thank you in advance for your ears!

BTW What I hear happens in the first few seconds of the song (and then keeps going). It's that groove. While I appreciate the vocals, it is that groove that happens for me and whose mojo I would like to comprehend in a mix reference sort of way.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby desmond » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:58 am

No sequencers, no programming, just good musicians, playing well together, with loads of analog gear and tape warmth, with skilled people in control of it all..

But it's the musicians (and the arrangement) that make the groove happen...
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:56 am

Actually, it was all done to a two-bar drum loop!...

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... ayin-alive

Mainly I think it's a brilliant arrangement -- there are tons of instruments but nothing is too busy and all the parts are great in their own right.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:10 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Actually, it was all done to a two-bar drum loop!...

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... ayin-alive

Mainly I think it's a brilliant arrangement -- there are tons of instruments but nothing is too busy and all the parts are great in their own right.

Ok so I can hear the rythm acoustic guitar part now. That was Barry Gibb on the guitar apparently, and that was how the song started with his acoustic guitar groove chugging along.

I always thought that part was some kind of percussion shaker or something. But the way that guitar rythm works against the drum groove is cool.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby James Perrett » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:22 pm

I had the multitrack for an outtake of this track

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FCF6x0YGQg

in the studio a while ago and the magic is all in the performance. It only had the basic drums/bass/guitar/keyboards/guide vocals on it but, in this case, it sounded like it was played together as a band.

I thought that the version that I had sounded pretty good, but the producer obviously thought it could be better, so it goes to show that a great deal of care was taken in those days to get things feeling right.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:11 am

I suspect there is also a shared 'nostalgic warmth' towards songs like this.

This song has probably been played at 75% (or more!) of family engagement / wedding parties over the last 40+ years etc - it's part of our culture and history.
Still a cracker!
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:47 am

Jumpeyspyder wrote:I suspect there is also a shared 'nostalgic warmth' towards songs like this.

This song has probably been played at 75% (or more!) of family engagement / wedding parties over the last 40+ years etc - it's part of our culture and history.
Still a cracker!

I accept that.

But I recall hearing Staying Alive the first time and I remember thinking that it just plain sounded really good.

I just played it for my kids (who had never heard it) and they said it was weird that the audio sounded Sooo good but the video was so bad. They noted that it is just the the way around these days.

I also found out that Barry Gibb wrote this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gqiyqu1GVE

and I recall hearing that for the first time and noting that it had something special in the way it sounded.

Perhaps I was not paying close enough attention at the time, but this Barry Gibb stuff just plain sounds great!

I think there is more to this than just nostalgia.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby wdsteele » Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:26 am

I agree that Barry Gibb is an amazing artist , I thought he was one of the very best performers at Glastonbury 2017, really worth trying to catch his set if you missed it first time around , different musicians , modern kit but same great groove.
Also a lovely moment where he acknowledges his family in the wings in a very genuine manner ; very uplifting performance all in all , easy to see how he could inspire musicians and engineers working alongside him.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby OK1 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:20 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Actually, it was all done to a two-bar drum loop!...

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... ayin-alive

Mainly I think it's a brilliant arrangement -- there are tons of instruments but nothing is too busy and all the parts are great in their own right.

My thoughts also.

Absolutely agree. Great arrangement, bar, by bar, contrast, and each riff has its own place in the arrangement, lots of interest, and you do not consciously notice the changes made throughout the songs. Not sure if counterpoint in the right term to describe this - the presence of complementary non-unison, every instrument/voice has its own melodic line, going in somewhat different directions, yet held together by some cohesive force, the ear is entertained by this cohesive divergence, and remains captured - until the song ends.

With great music, there's also what I would call "magic", something you cannot fully grasp, a coincidence of all the right things, that is very different and special, something you have not heard before in exactly the same way, beyond arrangement something in the production - like all the stars were aligned, and sometimes these things are impossible to repeat. I give an example - the latter version of We are the World - et al, has much better sonics(recorded digitally), than the original, but cannot compare in completeness - like being satisfied after a good meal - same song, but the original arrangement, production/mixing/mastering, etc had the "magic"...

Other ways this is described is vibe, in the pocket, groove.. also I think artists, the good ones, took a lot more time to get things right, to create songs that are so good, you still enjoy decades after. Great timing, between the musicians.

A lot of Michael Jackson's earlier music, has this feature also, in the old days I described it as a new thematic variation, every 10 seconds (or every few bars)- something new introduced, or reintroduced throughout the song that keeps your ear rewarded for listening.... You do not notice the changes consciously, but on critical listening, it's all there in plain sight.

If I may add the great songs have superb mixing, which I consider as a final form of arrangement, getting the levels right - foreground, background, balanced throughout the song.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby blinddrew » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:17 pm

Just want to lob a general +1 to the discussion here. A great record starts with the song, and the arrangement is a critical part of that. You might be able to 'fix it in the mix' but you'll never 'make' it in the mix. IMO of course... ;)

I'm increasingly trying to turn a really critical ear to the arrangement of the stuff I do (solo and band) but I find this is another area where a second set of ears really pays dividends. If you're the writer, performer, recorder, producer (as many of us are) then it's very difficult to distance yourself enough to say, "OK, that started well, but it's halfway through verse two and I'm getting bored now."
That's where a good mate who knows their stuff really helps. :)
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby fruitcake » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:03 pm

I’ll chime in. For years and years I go back to their album Horizontal to figure out how they got that sound. For me the production is one of my favorites. It’s minimal instrumentation, recorded brilliantly, that just really fits well together.
It could just be my taste too. But I find it magical.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby Watchmaker » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:56 pm

pretty sure it comes down to the Music Man amps and the beards.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby blinddrew » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:22 pm

Watchmaker wrote:pretty sure it comes down to the Music Man amps and the beards.
So all I need to do is buy a Music Man amp? Excellent, for a moment I thought I was going to have to study and practice and work hard and stuff. ;)
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:27 pm

Perhaps you'll be half as good without buying a MusicMan amp :D
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby blinddrew » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:36 pm

Well, if I started on the studying, practicing and hardwork and all that stuff, in 40 years, I might* be half as good as the Bee Gees. And then I'd just need to buy the amp. :)



*But probably not! :)
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby Watchmaker » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:39 pm

practice?
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:40 pm

I have exactly the same dichotomy, and I (rather foolishly, with hindsight) sold the MusicMan amp to buy a Boogie a number of years ago..........

I do have a beard though so maybe there's still hope......
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby Zukan » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:43 am

It's all about how you present the flares.
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby Folderol » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:59 am

Zukan wrote:It's all about how you present the flares.
(very) many moons ago I had a pair of mauve brushed denim flares that I matched with a skin-tight almost fluorescent yellow shirt.

Fortunately no images of this exist :lol:
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Re: Why does this sound SOOOoooo good? Stayin Alive

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:04 am

I'd like to say that being young, I avoided all the questionable fashion choices, but in my youth I used to paint three fingernails on each hand with black nail varnish.

I think I'd have preferred the flares.

Also, this thread has inspired me to change my signature!
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