Ali Pips from Portland, US, has just released her latest single, Vicious Ballet. It has been in our ears today at the Send Me Your Ears studio.
For lovers of prog rock, this song is most definitely for you. Unashamedly unique, Vicious Ballet is the kind of song that you might like on the first listen, but as lovers of prog rock will know, by the fifth listen you will be absolutely hooked.
The big breath in at the very start of the song, straight into Ali’s characterful and strong vocals grabs your attention immediately and lets you know you’re in for something really quite special.
Vicious Ballet is a collection of different sections, with lots of different instrumentation and drawing on so many different styles of music that it blew our minds. And not only that, Ali has managed to pull it all together without for a second it feeling as though you’re jerking between styles of music for the sake of originality.
The rise and fall and compositional landscape of this song really is a joy to listen to. There are sections with just piano and vocals, other sections with a kind of 70s funk guitar. There are moments that you could be mistaken for thinking you’re listening to a jazz album and then suddenly, a heavy rock guitar section with all out drums. Then back to almost classical style piano again. This really is a quite sublime demonstration of genre bending! There are even some seriously musical theatre moments. This is just so creative!
Ali’s voice ties everything together. Well recorded vocals mean that you pick up every single nuance in her voice; from the breath, to the creaks and vocal fry, through to some beautifully controlled head voice. Add in some moments of fantastic harmony vocals and you really do have a recipe for a prog rock anthem.
Seriously quirky, and yet very tastefully done, Vicious Ballet takes the listener on a journey. For lovers of Tori Amos or Fiona Apple, Ali Pips is the real deal.
From a production perspective, we felt the master is a little heavy in the low mids. a drop in the 200-500 range will help balance out some dominating frequencies, together with a slight shelf boost of the bottom 2 octaves. A wide boost of the top 2 octaves will help make the track sparkle a little more and bring out even more of Ali’s characterful vocals.
Vicious Ballet is a thrilling ride. Ali Pips has managed to produce a wonderful niche-market prog rock song which, pitched to the right radio music directors has a great deal of potential to garner significant airplay.