Click to enlarge. The track opens with a mixture of live drums, a programmed kick that underpins the groove and a spritely layered clap. Although there are sections of repeat loops, the beat changes throughout the track, with regular live drum fills giving an organic, ever-changing backdrop to the track. The use of live drums throughout the track sets 'Can't Do Without You' apart from the programmed beats in the vast majority of dance mixes.
The track uses very few FX. In comes the simple chordal keys that supply the melodic backbone throughout the entire track. It sounds a Wherever I May Roam - Metallica - .And Justice Is Done! like a combination of Rhodes and clav.
A tape-style delay with an ever-shifting delay time gives the part a rich character and contributes to the rhythmic movement of the whole track. A new programmed drum element is added in the form of a busy hi-hat part that toys with the groove, playing triplets at times and 16ths at others. The walking lead bleeds into the first appearance of a saw-wave synth part. As with the entry of the keys, its volume and cutoff frequencies are both increased before being lowered into the turnaround at bar Note that the melody played by the synth is almost identical to that which will be picked up on the bass in another 40 or so bars — an interesting sharing of melodies between different instrumental parts.
The part won't reappear until the Coveleski - Coveleski at barmaking this an early exposition of a theme that will be reinforced later.
The track breaks down and in come the simple but very effective vocals. In comes the second vocal part. While 8 and 16 bars are Καλή Τύχη - Various - Τραγουδώντας Λαϊκά Νο 3 norm in the wider arrangement, in these initial vocal introductions, turnarounds occur after an atypical 24 bars. A drum fill, FX fall and synth crescendo lead Intro - Boom Boom Vibration - Vibra Unica the first straight exposition of all key elements — drums, bass, keys and vocals.
A couple of other things to note: firstly, the relatively straight groove of the live Cant Do Without You - Terror Fabulous - Cant Do Without You — played for the first time without the programmed kick underlay; secondly, the lack of an obvious kick drum, with the buzzy bassline doing most of the low-end heavy lifting.
A double keys hit at bar keeps the listener engaged. At the end of the 16 bar section the synth swells into the mix. The vocal loop changes again, this time underpinned by the chordal synth part. This eight-bar section is all about building the energy, with added rides upping rhythmic interest, the walking lead re-entering the mix — cutoff frequency and volume edging upwards — as a fill, embellished with a full-mix flange edit, propels us into the drop.
Energy converges across the whole mix for the euphoric drop. With the previous four-and-a-half minutes building towards it, the payback has to deliver. And it does, with movement everywhere in the mix. The live drums pick up the energy, a busy hi-hat shuffle upping the urgency, while all synth parts are increased in volume, filters widening still. To make space in the mix for the ever-building synths, the vocal volume is lowered, with some of the words lost in the mix. A key production point to note here is how low the drums are mixed.
And it does. The drums leave the mix for a second breakdown. Before the song heads to the finish line, Snaith has a few final tricks up his sleeve to keep things fresh — the introduction of a new part and one last build.
The new part is an ad-libbed vocal that riffs off the familiar main vox loop. Elsewhere, the now-established tricks to build energy are given one last flourish, with filters opening and volumes rising across all synth parts. The upper synth adopts a new sequence this time, playing subtle stabby 8ths to plant a driving pattern behind the re-emerging drums and rides.
A second full-mix flange wash, albeit with less energy than the previous instance, carries the track into the turnaround. A nice touch is the use of occasional reverb spins on the vocal loop. The live drums return to the more insistent groove laid down in the drop, this time underpinned by the resurrected programmed kick. Scattered added rides and widely panned crashes keep the high-end busy. A neat fill rounds off the track. Author David Felton 23rd April, Your email address will not be published.
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