Kitchen Consultation: Hayling Price – The Rhythm

This consultation has been published with the kind permission of Hayling Price.

Download or listen to the song ‘The Rhythm’ here:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8068578/Kitchen/Hayling%20Price%20-%20The%20Rhythm.mp3

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Composition

Overall, this song hangs together pretty well. The first two verses and choruses maintain momentum and give the song a clear contour.

Where I think you could direct your focus is to the bridge/outro after the second chorus. This is where the song seems to fall apart a bit – we suddenly lose the structure and shape of the first half and instead meander off into unknown territory. At first it feels like a regular bridge that will return to a final third chorus, but it just seems to lose its way.

Of course, this is very much a creative decision, and I’m not suggesting you conform to a regular pop song structure just for the sake of it. Instead, I suggest you carefully consider what you’re trying to do here. From my perspective, you have a few options:

1) Frame this section as a regular bridge by closing it off with a return to a final third chorus. This will feel satisfying for the listener, but might not be creatively satisfying for you.

2) Extend this section, and make it into something quite different. If your intent is to use this section to take the song into new territory, do so more clearly. If you want to introduce new musical material, do so dramatically. If you want an extended freeform jam, give it a fresh driving rhythm section. What I’m saying is: Make something of it. Make a musical statement – don’t just let it limp away into the distance.

3) Combining both those approaches can be very powerful. Make something special of that extended section and then either return to the chorus as it was presented earlier or express the chorus using the new musical language of the extended section.

Mix

Overall, the mix is not bad. It’s got a good sense of depth and focus.

To improve it, the first thing I’d address is the lead vocal. It’s just a bit too heavy, and could do with a bit less energy in the bottom octave (below about 250Hz). You don’t have to be as drastic as to use a highpass filter – a low shelf EQ will be fine. You probably only need to take it down by about 6dB-9dB. Thinning the vocal like this will help it blend with the mix better, rather than feeling like it’s tacked on top.

The lead vocal could also do with some stronger compression in the chorus. This is because the mix becomes thicker and some of the quieter syllables are getting a bit lost. The verses could take a bit more compression too, but it’s not as necessary because the verses are sparser, allowing even the quieter syllables to come through easily. I don’t know what compressor or settings you’re already using, so I can’t give you specific settings to use. The approach I’d recommend taking is to lower the threshold, increase the ratio, and lower the release time. Again – you don’t need to be dramatic about it – you just need enough to make the level of each syllable more consistent.

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This is an example of a single Kitchen consultation. If you would find this kind of feedback useful for your own music, get in touch with me.

– $20 will get you one consultation (basically the same as this example, but in private, with your music).

– $50 will get you three consultations or one studio demo (where I do an example edit or mix of your music to better demonstrate how some concepts would apply to your music)

– $100 will get you seven consultations or two studio demos.

The consultations can be for multiple songs or multiple revisions of one song. It’s up to you.

You can read more about the Kitchen here: http://kimlajoie.com/site/kitchen.html

When you’re ready, send me an email to kitchen at kimlajoie dot com.

-Kim.

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  1. Thanks for the thorough feedback, Kim. For those interested in hearing more from my group Columbia Nights, see:

    http://columbianights.tumblr.com/

    http://twitter.com/Columbia_Nights

    http://facebook.com/ColumbiaNightsMusic

    • Tom
    • August 4th, 2011

    I think your audio links to the wrong track (seems to link to Non Native Speakers – First Words)

  2. @Tom
    Thanks – fixed!

    -Kim.

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