Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to Alec Berlin’s latest single, ROYGBIV.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Alec Berlin moved to New York City twenty-five years ago after completing a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance at Boston’s New England Conservatory. It is very evident in his playing that Berlin is a guitarist’s guitarist. His playing is smooth and effortless and keeps the listener engaged and on their toes from start to finish.
A spectacular jazz-style intro sets the mood for this instrumental track. The instrumentation is tight and enthralling. Effortlessly throwing in interesting rhythms and diminished chords, ROYGBIV is a masterful journey into the musical mind of Alec Berlin.
ROYGBIV is a smooth-sounding track. One which we would feel more than happy listening to whilst driving down the highway. In fact, it almost feels like the theme tune to a TV show – perhaps something like Top Gear. There are touches of the Allman Brothers in the performance and writing.
We love the cool chords and key changes that creep into the jazzy sections, and we were particularly impressed with Berlin’s ability to bring the listener back in after an unusual section with some more conventional rhythms and familiar scales. This, we would imagine, will garner plenty of new listeners for Berlin as fans of more traditional musical styles can tiptoe into a more complex listen whilst being placated occasionally with more traditional sections.
The drums are beautifully stereo and the band are tight. There are some superb octave pedal sections and the tone on the guitar changes perfectly to match each section. With some super-smooth jazz guitar, Berlin effortlessly changes to a more Steve Vai-like tone occasionally, and with some extra instrumentation filling out the sound, this track truly is an absolute delight to listen to.
From a production perspective, we think a boost around 70-75Hz would thicken up the kick a little adding some extra punch to the low end. A small but wide boost centred around 600Hz would fill out the mids a bit too. A cut in the 2-2.5kHz range would reduce some slightly harsh tones in some of the lead guitar parts and finally a boost across the high mids and highs centred around 8kHz would add to the brightness and presence in the track. Maybe even a high shelf boost in the top octave too. A light compressor/limiter and maybe 3dB of make up gain would add to the overall warmth in the track as well as raise the volume to match similar releases. As always, these are just some ideas from us.
Alec Berlin’s, ROYGBIV is a stunning display of virtuosity and musicianship. This is world-class guitar playing from a seasoned performer. Fluid playing, intricate sequences and a general laid-back feel make this a very smooth and pleasing listen.