Dorian Bay - Dream
Believe it or not, the former eastern bloc/Slavic nations are starting to be seen as the new hotbed of activity when it comes to electronic music. Some of the best drum and bass is coming out of places like Estonia and Croatia, and both progressive house and progressive trance are making a comeback in these Eurasian countries which were once only known for classical or folk music, if any. This is where Estonian progressive house producer, Dorian Bay comes in, or at least he hopes to.
Bay released his first single, “Dream” three weeks ago. While the music plays well, like a big room rave tune from the early 2000s, this track has its quirks. It was released on Bay’s own label, Roxten Records. Bay has been doing live performing for the last decade both as a guitarist in bands and as a DJ. His sets are well-known in Europe, and he recently moved to Las Vegas to be nearer to the club scene for which his style was tailor-made.
As mentioned, “Dream” is a trancy, new prog house track with lashings of throwback techno. The production values are clean and there’s a great EQ ratio, with the bass heavy enough to withstand big room ravers but not so heavy that the mids and highs are nonexistent. There’s really just one problem with this track: Bay’s vocals. Unfortunately, when he comes in with the verse, it’s apparent that while he has great harmonizing talent with production, Bay falls flat, quite literally, in harmonizing his vocals. In this case it may not even be an exaggeration to say Bay might be completely tone deaf. It’s an unfortunate element in the song, and completely confusing given the cleanliness of the rest of the track.
It can’t be that Bay didn’t hear the vox clashing with the main musical melody in “Dream”. To wit: if he has a compressor or even just Ableton, Bay must have had the option to tune the vocals. Why he decided to keep them as they were is a mystery. He could have also easily brought in another singer; he’s played in other bands before and worked with other djs, so it’s really just baffling. It may be possible, as is the case with many musicians, that Bay fancies himself somewhat of a musical renaissance man, capable of doing it all. That said, even the most renaissance-y of renaissance characters need training and practice, especially when it comes to singing. Vocal cords and ears need training and the brains attached to said vocal cords and ears need education on music theory and note placement. Not to belabor a point, but if Bay wants to sing along with his own songs, he’ll need a little more training or a powerful auto-tune on that vox track.
Some singers can get away with being flat or a little bit off. Heck, great popular bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Psychedelic Furs have been able to achieve legendary status on the backs of their off-key singers. When it comes to something as melodic as trance and progressive house, however, vocals have to be pitch perfect or the clash is just too severe. What’s really interesting with “Dream” and Dorian Bay is that he’s written such a good musical track, he really doesn’t need vocals at all. After all, he’s working in a genre that not only doesn’t require vocals but some of whose fans don’t even like them. Musically, Bay’s got a winner here. He simply needs more vocal training or just to cut the vox track out completely. Good luck, noble Estonian. Good luck and Godspeed.
Nov 01 2016
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance
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