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Friday, February 5, 2016

Michael Jackson "Thriller" Instrumental Track

Bruce Swedien image
Engineer Bruce Swedien
Michael Jackson was a star for a long time before Thriller, but the iconic album made him a superstar. Here's the instrument-only track (with some background vocals) that is a model of excellence, from the production (Quincy Jones) to the engineering (the Godfather Bruce Swedien), to the great performances. Take a listen.

1. Check out how the song develops, with something new happening in every section and in every 8 bars of the verse. Either a new instrument enters or a main instrument moves to a new register.

2. Listen for the synth on the left side during the chorus. It's difficult to hear during the final mix.

3. Bruce Swedien is a master of ambience. Check out how each of the instruments are in their own space, from the synth pad to the handclaps to the guitars to the horns, everything fits so well. Especially listen for the parts where you can hear the reverb tails to hear how they fit into the song.

4. Listen for the percussion in the last verse around 3:10. Again, it's something that's easily missed in the final mix.


fireflyva said...

I was never a big fan of Michael Jackson, but the engineering and mix on this song is impressive. I love listening to the reverb and how well it fits in, and how everything fits into its own space. Swedien's work is impressive to say the least. And it's helpful to hear the song without the vocals to appreciate what's going on with the music.

Anonymous said...

I've always marveled at how thin the kick drum sounds on the intro.
I think this is the work of a brilliant engineer who realized the power of the song is the bass line and the way it comes in later, along with a wise producer who got it.

Anyone else would have jacked up the EQ on the intro kick part. I think this would have ruined it. Also note the delicate guitar part on the intro. Sublime and outstanding.

btw- It's a given they edited Vincent Price's voice over pacing to be compatible with beat and rhythm, no?



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