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“Most of the time, it’s not so much the equipment as how you use it. I’ve heard people with really cheap studios do great recordings, and I’ve heard people that have worked in very good facilities come out with awful sounding recordings. So it’s how it’s used, and the quality of the engineer.”- Frank Gambale

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Current Tape Reviews

Dance In My Head
 
Artist Name:
Stan Keightley / Hopewell Water Rights
  Title:
Dance In My Head
 
Date Posted:
September 2009
 
Genre:
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

PC with RME Fireface 800 interface running Cakewalk SONAR 6. Mics: AKG C4000B, Oktava MC-012 x2, Audix i5, Shure Beta 52, Electro-Voice RE20; Chameleon Labs 7602 mic preamp/eq; Martin D-15, Fender ’84 USA Strat, Gibson L6-S, Ibanez RKB900, Sonor Drums, Nord Electro2 keyboard.

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Production Notes & Credits:

“Dance In My Head” is a male vocal acoustic based rock song. Stan wrote, performed and recorded the entire track with the exception of the drums, which were played by Dan Miles.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 2
Recording: A pretty solid effort here by Stan and Dan. We dug the Nick Drake approach to the recording. For those of you unaware of the late Mr. Drake, his introspective songs were delivered in a delicate, whispery, close-miked fashion, accompanied by a lightly strummed F style Guild acoustic guitar featuring some of the deadest guitar strings ever recorded. Virtually ignored during his drastically short life and career, old Nick has reached icon status in the folk world over the past few years.

Ah, but we digress! Back to Stan and “Dance In My Head”. Along with the lead vocal and guitar, Stan has done an excellent job recording and presenting his backing vocals. The swooping, haunting nature of their arrangement is quite effective and is definitely a welcome addition here.

Less to our liking were the hyper active bass guitar part and the wild electric guitar solo at the outro of the song. We found the tone of the bass to be muffled and lacking in definition, and its busy nature reminds us of the old “I get paid by the note” Cheech and Chong routine. As for the electric guitar, you’ve heard us talk about the benefits of “shadow and light” in song arrangements, but in this case we fear that the near savage intensity, coupled with the harsh ragged tone of the electric guitar, is rather more of a detriment.

Suggestions: Let’s start with the bass first, shall we? Back when Nick Drake was making his seminal recordings in England, many of the bass parts were performed on upright acoustic instruments, and Stan may have been attempting to re-create this sound using an electric instrument in its place. Regardless of the source, we would advise him to simplify the part, and clean up the muddy tone a bit so that its voice can make a statement in the mix.

As for the electric. If Stan’s intention was to shake us out of our listening bliss, then by all means he succeeded. Granted, tone is a highly personal matter to most guitarists; still, we feel that a rounder, warmer tone could still have lifted the mix at the outro, without causing such a disruption.

Summary: A nice nod to one of the masters.

Contact: Stan Keightley, stan@hopewellwaterrights.com.

About: Marty Peters

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