AUS220 – Genre Analysis

Hey guys, this trimester I am studying the AUS220 module at SAE. This trimester covers Post-Production, Live Sound Production and advanced studio production techniques.

For my first blog post of the trimester, I will be analysing the similarities and differences between two songs, both of a different genre. I have chosen to compare the drum & bass song “Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix)” by The Prodigy with the dubstep track “Promises (Skrillex & Nero Remix)” by Nero. Both remixes are well-known within their respective genre. This analysis will hopefully help me understand the comparisons between drum & bass and dubstep.

(1) Rhythm

Both songs utilise a 4/4 time signature, however they both differ in tempo. “Voodoo People” has a fast tempo of 174 BPM while “Promises” is much slower, clocking at 140 BPM. The drum patterns in the drops also greatly differ; In 1 bar, “Voodoo People” has a kick on the first beat and another kick between the second and third beat with a snare on every second beat. Conversely, “Promises” mostly consist of a kick on the first beat with a snare on the third beat. Both have rolling hi-hats (in 1/8ths) with slight variations to maintain the energy of the song. Ultimately, both songs’ drums are loud and prominent in the mix.

(2) Melody

“Voodoo People” has a repetitive and simplistic melody that plays throughout the song. As a result, the melody can get stuck in people’s heads. On the other hand, “Promises” melody (that is the one that plays during the drop), is more complex and therefore less memorable, however it is more interesting and can engage with the audience on a more entertaining level. “Promises” also opens with a dark piano verse while “Voodoo People” opens with a guitar-driven rock verse.

(3) Harmony

In “Voodoo People”, the melody is backed by electric guitars and bass. These instruments play the chord progression which supports the melody. Conversely “Promises” uses a haunting arpeggiated synth which adds to the dark nature of the drop. Both harmonies repeat throughout the drop although “Promises” has a more complex instrumentation; automating the bass so it changes over time and also adding synth chords to add variation. Both songs use a sub bass to add fatness in the overall mix and also to support the respective backing instrumentation.

(4) Timbre

Both of the melodies in the remixes are played by a harsh, abrasive and distorted synthesizer lead. In “Voodoo People”, the melody consists of a distorted and overdriven square lead while in “Promises”, the melody is played by a growling, wobbly bass (typically created in FM synthesizers). “Promises” also includes a harsh sawtooth lead which appears every 4th bar in the drop. While “Promises” relies more on synthesized basslines to drive the song, “Voodoo People” relies more on real, distorted instruments to supply the energy.

(5) Form/Structure

Both songs incorporate the following structure:

  1. Intro
  2. Verse (or breakdown)
  3. Chorus (or drop) – where the energy is at its highest
  4. Verse
  5. Chorus
  6. Outro

In addition, builds (i.e. parts where the energy of the song is increasing) transition between each section. The intro of “Voodoo People” starts off with the melody and backing guitars undergoing a delay effect before a rock-influenced breakdown starts the song. The verse begins when the main melody plays. In contrast, “Promises” intro doubles as the verse as the piano and vocals start the song. Overall, it is structured a lot quicker than “Voodoo People” and therefore prepares and hypes the crowd for the drop. Finally both songs use drum rolls and white noise riser to build up the energy as they transition into their respective choruses.

 

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