Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from Malaysia’s, Alternate Jane. Higher Ground is released today, February 17, 2023.

Speaking of the inspiration behind Higher Ground, Alternate Jane says, “When the person you love isn’t who you think he or she is, will you follow them into the rabbit hole and discover the whole truth?”

Higher Ground starts with some interesting sounds and synths with an acoustic guitar. When the vocals come in, they are layered and with several additional harmonies.

Strings are a great feature of this track, giving it a dynamic, soundtrack-like feel. Alternate Jane mentions that it was inspired by James Bond soundtracks and we can definitely hear that.

Between vocal lines, there is a lot happening, with interesting extra guitar riffs of particular note. The rhythm changes keep the listener interested and add to a truly dynamic soundscape with great use of rise and fall.

Alternate Jane’s vocals reminded us a great deal of Sixpence None The Richer vocalist, Leigh Nash, as well as her lower notes sounding like Natalie Imbruglia. Alternate Jane’s head voice notes are well-controlled and a real pleasure to listen to.

We enjoyed the breakdown section with close mic breathy vocals that built with the addition of strings and extra vocals and percussion.

Higher Ground is a well-written song with a great deal of potential, and one which we could see used for sync licensing in a movie.

Ideas from our ears

A boost around 125Hz would add some warmth to the low end. The vocal track would benefit from a cut around 250Hz to reduce some occasional ‘muddy’ tones. A fairly large boost (8dB?) in the top end centred around 12kHz would improve the brightness and presence in the overall track. For additional brightness, a single-band compressor on the top 2 octaves with some make-up gain can really help. Finally, a light compressor/limiter on the whole track with maybe 5dB of make-up gain would add a final touch of thickness as well as raising the volume to match similar commercial releases. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.

Final thoughts

Alternate Jane’s, Higher Ground shows some great potential. An artist who is truly pushing her own boundaries and developing her creative side.

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