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What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

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What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

Postby NorthStar » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:27 am

You all know what I'm talking about. Some albums just take you somewhere consistently throughout the album. Some kind of subliminal unification. All of the songs can be written differently and be varying in both key and subject matter, but there is a consistency to the "feel". I realize how vague, indefinable, and nebulous this questions is, but it's something that's been on my mind. I would rather ask this question to all sub-forums, because I think it could possibly be approached from several angles. Could production be the key to a consistent feel or is it consistent mood from the songwriters? I imagine each album will have its own contributng factors. What say ye?

Thanks
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Re: What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

Postby One Horse Town » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:44 am

This post fits well with the other current one on 'Trust the Song'. IMO production is important but what gives an album uniqueness and longevity are the 'songs' and other 'musical' elements that define it. It's no good French Polishing a piece of chipboard and calling it quality furniture.
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Re: What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:04 am

One Horse Town wrote:It's no good French Polishing a piece of chipboard and calling it quality furniture.

Worked for Hammond for years! ;-)

H
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Re: What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

Postby One Horse Town » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:34 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
One Horse Town wrote:It's no good French Polishing a piece of chipboard and calling it quality furniture.

Worked for Hammond for years! ;-)

H

Indeed :oops: To be honest Hugh, I was trying to avoid the '......no good polishing a ....' analogy.
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Re: What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:03 pm

Good question. I would say, like lots of things in recorded music, it's a combination of things, isn't it?

1 It's how well the songs work together as a set. Subject matter, mood.
2 Very importantly, it's the instrumentation and arrangements for me. (The Beatles are very instructive in this, you can almost tell which album a particular Beatles song is off by the choice of instruments and how they're used.) So if you've got mostly acoustic guitars and gentle percussion, a blazing drum-fuelled rocker might not fit with the groove. Are there loads of layered overdubs and massed backing vocals or just simple 'as live' recordings?
3 It can be how the singer/s use their voice. Look at Dylan. His voice on Nashville Skyline is completely different from his voice on Desire, for example.
4 It can be how they're recorded and mixed. Close-miked and clean or distant miked and ambient with loads of natural reverb and bleed.

There are probably more but those are the ones that spring to mind.
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Re: What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:57 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:2 Very importantly, it's the instrumentation and arrangements for me.

I certainly agree with this wholeheartedly.

Apart from the 'original' track, think also about remixes and 'unplugged' versions - the same song can end up with a totally different feel with a different instrumentation and arrangement.

For me, a classic example of this is Tainted Love

Here's the earliest 1964 Gloria Jones version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSehtaY6k1U

Next, here's the 1981 Softcell version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZVpR3Pk-r8

Next up, my personal favorite from Marilyn Manson in 2001: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkKulSH2nNc

And finally, the 2010 version from Imelda May: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMOgSdc8OAI

Same chord structure, same lyrics, mostly the same notes, yet every one has a totally different feel, and in each case that's down to instrumentation and arrangement.

I rest my case ;)


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Re: What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

Postby pariah223 » Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:44 pm

I feel that music resonates through everyone differently and whether they like it or not, their style and "feel" will inject itself into what they do. Be it producing, or playing. I bet if you took 5 random songs that you like and made your own covers of them.. you would be suprised that they would have a cohesiveness, assuming you were responsible for the playing, rearranging, and recording. I personally fought this for years and never liked it because "it didnt sound like the original" and only recently began embracing my own style. Ive always been intrigued by this as well, but more when i hear an album that to me doesnt have that continuity... is that the result of a diverse musician, or overproduction where the soul is ripped from the piece?
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Re: What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:30 am

Martin Walker wrote:
Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:2 Very importantly, it's the instrumentation and arrangements for me.

I certainly agree with this wholeheartedly.

Apart from the 'original' track, think also about remixes and 'unplugged' versions - the same song can end up with a totally different feel with a different instrumentation and arrangement.

For me, a classic example of this is Tainted Love

Here's the earliest 1964 Gloria Jones version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSehtaY6k1U

Next, here's the 1981 Softcell version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZVpR3Pk-r8

Next up, my personal favorite from Marilyn Manson in 2001: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkKulSH2nNc

And finally, the 2010 version from Imelda May: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMOgSdc8OAI

Same chord structure, same lyrics, mostly the same notes, yet every one has a totally different feel, and in each case that's down to instrumentation and arrangement.

I rest my case ;)


Martin

An this version maybe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0masP4ImQxA
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Re: What factors most contribute to an album having a "Feel"?

Postby Dynamic Mike » Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:39 am

One Horse Town wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
One Horse Town wrote:It's no good French Polishing a piece of chipboard and calling it quality furniture.

Worked for Hammond for years! ;-)

H

Indeed :oops: To be honest Hugh, I was trying to avoid the '......no good polishing a ....' analogy.
And I'll avoid the inevitable 'but you can roll it in glitter' response.

Regarding the OP I think mood is the biggest factor. I can date stuff I've done more accurately from the context & attitude of the songs, than I can from the arrangement or instrumentation. Sometimes you have to just 'write stuff out of your system' and it flows naturally & a theme emerges. When you sit down and try and force a song out, it never seems to sit as well with other tracks.
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