Back in my days of being in a band, I was fortunate to find myself embraced by a collective of enthusiastic and kind bloggers. There was a real sense of community and mutual respect for each other. Bands would be shared around and everyone would contribute their thoughts on the music, which for a small band like ours was utterly invaluable. As such, you became aware overtime of the artists that were popular with the bloggers, and Wullae Wright was one of these that kept popping up on my twitter feed. A couple of hours ago he sent me a new song of his to listen to, and so now as a blogger myself, I felt obliged to return the favour that had been granted to me by so many of the other people in the circle. This, a collaboration with a “Dizzy Harold” who I have not heard of before, is their latest work – but sadly it just doesn’t quite work for me.
The word collaboration scares me – especially when it comes to unsigned/indie bands. In my mind, it creates images of two artists who have their sound coming together to fuse them into a hopefully good record. But as we all know, small-time musicians are extremely protective of their sound or what influences them, and so what I often hear, sadly, is music that sounds like two musicians have forcefully welded their music together to make a Frankenstein like creation, and decide to call It a collaboration. That isn’t a collaboration. That is a remix. It’s almost sampling. There is rarely any give or compromises made when both artists need to prove something, and unfortunately “I’m soldier” by these two artists falls into this category.
The first thing that struck me was that it sounds messy. Vocals are masked by glitch’y electronic sounds that first made me think I had another tab open playing music (and I really did check if I had anything else playing). Unfortunately I didn’t, and so I resided to the fact that this would be two songs welded together. Random jitterings of electronic sounds frustratingly drown out almost every element of the song which sound like they are in fact worth hearing – especially the vocals which seem like they’re fighting their hardest to swim against the current just to be heard. The underlying beat and synths which although aren’t ground breaking, lay the foundations for what could have been a good song, and vocals as a standalone section are again an element that would have sounded substantially better in another song. But alas, there is zero cohesion between any element of the song to my ears.
There are also some issues with the mixing – the volume swelling an unusual amount throughout the song, whilst low pass filters (the effect it sounding like you’re hearing music from behind a wall) are dotted randomly across the sections; damaging the flow of the music. It just feels like there isn’t any logic to the structure, which is frustrating to anybody’s ears.
Not knowing exactly how they crafted this song, my theory is that “Dizzy Harold” came up with the backing track (with some input from Wullae), which was then sent to Wright for him to put vocals over the top, and voila: finito. If this is indeed true, the issue with this is that both artists wanted to demonstrate what each of them had to offer; NOT what they could produce as true pair. I doff my cap at the electronic sounds made in this song – I couldn’t do that – and I also acknowledge that the vocals have some skill to them – but the fatal flaw in this arrangement is that it sounds like the song was written without the other in mind. Nothing about the music compliments Wullae’s attempt at vocals, and in all honesty I am seriously impressed that he managed to put a melody over it at times. At the same time, Dizzy Harrold is obviously going for a contemporary, glitch sound that just isn’t achieved with vocals over the top. This was a case of conflicting interests right from the start.
I wanted to like this song. I had high hopes for liking this song. But there is much to be learned from this piece of work. Collaborations require an understanding between both artists that the outcome must sounds like a piece of work made by ONE artist, and not two. Musicians must in part concede their own tastes in order to make music that will gel properly; even if it isn’t quite what either of them want. If, after all of this, Wullae and Dizzy are happy with this song, then perhaps it is my taste in music that doesn’t match up to theirs, but deep down, I have a feeling that one of these two is happier about this song than the other.
The times we learn most is when it goes badly.
Onwards and upwards.
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