AUD451.2 – Technical Analysis Report Guy Cooper – Pearl Jam / Do the Evolution

Pearl Jam – Do the Evolution

3 minutes 54 seconds
140 BPM – 4/4 – D minor

The track I have chosen to analyse is ‘Do The Evolution’ by Pearl Jam (Vedder, E. Gossard, S. 1998, Track 7). ‘Do The Evolution’ was recorded in 1997 and was produced by Brendan O’Brien. It was recorded at Studio X in Seattle and Studio Litho in Washington. and then released on Feb 3rd 1998 by Sony Entertainment Inc on the album ‘Yield’ (Pearl Jam. 2001).

The song is 3 minutes and 54 seconds long and is around 140 bpm, the song fluctuates between 139 and 142 bpm and was therefore not recorded to a click track. The tempo was calculated using a tempo tap app on my phone called ‘Metronome’. The song is in D minor with the guitars and bass in standard E tuning, this was identified by analysing the bass melody and finding that it fits the D minor scale using the circle of 5ths. The song’s lyrics were written by Eddie Vedder, with the music written by Stone Gossard. (Pearl Jam – Do the Evolution Lyrics. 1999).

The members of the band are

Eddie Vedder – Vocals
Stone Gossard – Guitar
Mike McCready – Lead Guitar
Jeff Ament – Bass (although Jess Ament didn’t play bass on this song, Stone Gossard played the bass line)
Jack Irons – Drums
(Pearl Jam. 2001).

I chose this track due to the blend and panning of the 4-main distorted guitar and bass parts and the energy matched in the vocal performance. The song has a grunge rock sound with the mid-distorted guitars and heavy drum distortion, though the cymbals are not distorted. The vocals also have a heavy distorted sound, similar to a megaphone. The two guitarists work as one with a dry, raw, rhythm base and the 2nd doing lead lines with reverb and delay. The lyrics deal with the basic topic of the evolution of man and moving forward. Upon further research, I discovered that the song is based on the book ‘Ismael’ (Pearl Jam – Do the Evolution Lyrics. 1999).

The instruments used in the composition are as follows and are shown section by section in the following ‘Song Structure Map (Appendix 1)’.

Intro
Rhythm Guitar (strato-caster)
Vocal Yell

Verse
Kick, Snare, Hats, Crashx2
Bass (distorted)
Rhythm Guitar
Lead Guitar
Lead Vocal

Pre-chorus
Kick, Snare, Hats, Crash x1, Ride
Lead Guitar (Clean with delay)
Rhythm Guitar

Chorus
Kick, Snare, Hats, Crash x1, Ride
Distorted Bass
Lead Guitar (Clean with delay)
Rhythm Guitar
Lead Vocal

Chorus Riff
Kick, Snare, Hats, Crash x1, Ride
Distorted Bass
Lead Guitar (Clean with delay)
Rhythm Guitar
Lead Vocal

Bridge A/B
Kick, Snare, Hats, Ride
Clean Guitar
Distorted Bass
6 Part Gospel Choir

Solo/Bridge
Kick, Snare, Hats, Crash x1, Ride
Distorted Bass
Lead Guitar (Distorted with delay)
Rhythm Guitar
Lead Vocal Yells

Song Structure Map (Appendix 1)

The song structure map shows the progression of the different sections of the song along with the respective measures and time markers of each section. There are two interweaving rhythm guitar parts, one distorted and panned to the left and the other with less gain and panned to the right. The drums, bass and vocals carry through most of the track except for the intro, pre-chorus and bridge. The song also ends with a burning sample to mimic the end tail of an explosion.

Pearljam evo 

Spatial Map (Appendix 2)

The section I have chosen for the Spatial Map is the verse, which shows the mono drums, bass and vocal and the panning of the distorted rhythm to the left and the cleaner rhythm to the right. The track is very separated in the panning. There is some very slight reverb from the drums just outside the mono field, but it is still a mono reverb applied. This separation was analyzed with the use of a mid/side filter (Moylan, W. 2014).

Spatial Map 

Multilayer Stereo Localisation and Distance Location Map (Appendix 3)

The multilayer stereo localization and distance location map below shows the stereo panning and separation as the track progresses. Again the mid/side filter was used to identify the location of each instrument throughout the track (Moylan, W. 2014). The graph also shows the distance location of each instrument in relation to each other.

Multilayer Stereo Localisation and Distance Location Map 

Loudness Map (Appendix 4)

The loudness map below shows the dynamics throughout the song from the vinyl version of the song. The sections are listed along the x-axis and the loudness on the y-axis. The map shows the increase in loudness and intensity as the track progresses.

Loudness Map

The song starts with a single rhythm guitar playing the main riff with a high pass filter removing all the low end at around 500hz, this HPF switches off after 4 bars and gives the introduction of the drums and 2nd rhythm guitar more impact. The intro guitar is panned hard left and a 2nd rhythm guitar comes in after 4 bars and is panned hard right in contrast. Both rhythm guitars are dry in relation to time-based effects but have had light compression applied. The saturation from the tube distortion has reduced the dynamics of the left rhythm guitar, but this is less noticeable with the right panned rhythm guitar with less gain. This offset stereo rhythm guitar blend is similar to that used by Led Zeppelin in the track ‘Immigrant Song’ (Led Zeppelin. 1970. Track 1)

The song transitions from the intro into the 1st verse with a big screaming vocal yell “Woooooo”. The vocals are distorted with a tube type distortion applied in the mix, I can hear the dry vocal along with another distorted copy in the mix and both are set in the mono-field. The vocal has some light reverb on it with a very short decay of around 200ms (Rindel, J.H. 1995). The compression on the vocal is heavy, set around 4:1 or higher with a short attack and release. The crushed vocal sound is partly from the tube distortion and also by the brick-wall limiter that follows the compression. This was identified as part of the mix and not the master limiter through the comparative analysis of the vinyl version and CD version of the recording (Vedder, E. Gossard, S. 1998. CD/VINYL). The vinyl master has more dynamics in the mix (as shown in the loudness map appendix 4) sitting at around -13 LUFS, compared to the 1998 digital CD version with -9 LUFS and the remastered 2005 version that is on the streaming sites sitting around -7 LUFS. Through analysing the 3 different versions and particularly the vinyl version, you can see and hear that the master mix is not brick-wall limited, though the vocals still sound heavily crushed in all three versions, suggesting that it was done in the mix prior to mastering. The same is true for the drums, bass and guitar parts. The vocal is also sitting up front in the mix as seen in the spatial map appendix 2 and distance location map appendix 3.

The verse has a blend of a heavily distorted rhythm guitar panned to the left and a cleaner rhythm guitar panned to the right to allow more space for the drums, bass and vocals in the centre of the mix.

The song changes into the chorus through a pre-chorus and this only happens once in the song as seen in the song structure map appendix 1, the song’s structure only has 2 verses at the start with the chorus’s being broken up later in the track with bridges and a solo. The pre-chorus introduces a new guitar tone with a single low level distorted lead guitar panned hard left, this lead guitar part has some reverb similar in decay to the main vocal and again has some light compression on it, but is much more dynamic than the verse rhythm guitar. This guitar part is set against the same drum sound as the verse and this section also introduces a clean guitar chord strum on the right with a light chorus effect and again reverb.

The chorus returns with the wide panned guitars and the bass, kick, snare and hats in the centre of the mix with the vocals. The lead guitar riff comes in during the 2nd half of the chorus panned in the centre and takes over in the mix from the vocals helping to keep the energy of the track building. The overall loudness increases through the chorus and again in the solo and chorus riff sections that follow as seen in the loudness map appendix 4. The track is constantly building and lead mostly by the lead distorted guitar riff. The drums and bass are mixed relatively low in the mix and provide a very solid base for the rest of the instruments. The song has no toms in the fills and accents are done with the use of snare rolls and fills. This high energy grunge rock track does not follow a standard structure of any type, but increases in tempo, volume and intensity as it progresses.

The bridge consists of a prominent vocal gospel choir singing O’s and follows the lyric “There’s my church, I sing in the choir” (Pearl Jam. 2001). It also has a simple kick, snare, hats beat that is set closer than the choir vocals. The gospel choir parts consist of 3 layer voices with heavy reverb and some light delay set around 250ms, they have a light compression and are set behind the drums, which appear closer and drier in comparison. The main vocal is also below the choir in a very light tone and not distorted like the rest of the track.

The bass and guitar build back into the main chorus section along with the main vocal, but this time with much louder vocals than the 1st chorus, which gives the track a building and ever-increasing volume and energy level throughout. The solo/bridge has a heavily distorted and delayed guitar solo, the solo guitar returns in a similar tone to that used in the pre-chorus section, it has heavy compression and limiting with some light reverb and longer delay around 250ms. It also contains some vocal yells and accents. The last chorus riff section has very distorted vocals that blow out and lose control to give a very frantic and high energy tone. The song ends with another 10 bar chorus riff section than slowly fades out.

The drums throughout the track are set in the mono-field as seen in the multilayer stereo localisation map appendix 3. The heavy use of open hats and a simple backbeat kick and snare rhythm on the drums help drive the song. The drums are set further back into the mix than the guitars, allowing the guitars to lead and stand out. The mono panning of the drum kit also gives more space to the guitars in the track. The drums are a blend of close microphones and a mono room, the entire drum bus is compressed heavily with a short attack and long release, which helps contain the drums below the guitars and vocals. Both the snare and kick also have heavy compression and a light amount of reverb is on the snare. The compression and possibly limiting on the snare track helps bring out the hi-hats more and they are phasing slightly with the room mics. The use of the mono drum sound is similar as that used in David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ (Bowie, D. 1977. Track 3), it gives more attention and space for the stereo guitars in the mix.

The bass guitar is also distorted lightly with a Pii Big Muff distortion pedal (Pearl Jam. 2001). It is sitting behind the drums and guitars as the lowest instrument in the mix, providing a solid backing for the other parts. It has heavy compression of 4:1 or higher and remains further away than all the other instruments as seen in the distance location map appendix 3. The bass is also mono along with the vocals, both of which are only in the centre of the mix. The drums are mono, although the light reverb brings the snare and hats slightly into the stereo field, wider than the bass and vocals.

To more effectively analyse the frequency spectrum for each instrument, I utilised a combination of low and high pass filters, a real-time spectrum analyser and my ears as seen below in the screenshot (appendix 5). This separation method is effective when used in conjunction with the mid/side filter to identify different instruments and their frequency spectrum within a full mix (Everest, F. A., & Pohlmann, K. C. 2015).

Screenshot Example of Analysis Method (Appendix 5)

The vocal’s frequency spectrum is active between 250Hz and 16KHz with the entire mix is filtered off between 30Hz and 16KHz. The vocals are strongest around 2KHz with extra energy at this frequency, though they are fairly even due to the heavy compression and cover the majority of the full song’s spectrum. The gospel choir vocals in the bridge are strongest around 4KHz, with their low end filtered out around 300Hz.

The distorted rhythm guitars are high pass filtered around 200Hz to remove the low-frequency rumble and are strongest between 2KHz and 4KHz, dipping in energy around 8KHz. The clean rhythm guitars are similar, but with extra energy around 4KHz. The lead solo guitar is more even across the spectrum, covering from 100Hz up to 16KHz. The delay on both the solo guitar and choir vocals in the bridge appear to have a high pass filter around 800Hz. The bass has most of its energy in the mids and low mid frequencies, from 30Hz up to 800Hz. It is stronger around 500Hz and dips around 200Hz, with some low-end energy around 80Hz down to 30Hz, which appears to have been rolled off in the mastering.

The drums cover the songs full spectrum from 30Hz up to 16KHz. The kick drum is similar to the bass guitar, from 30Hz up to 800Hz, lacking in high-end frequencies. The snare also has its high end rolled off in frequency around 6Khz similar to the guitars. The cymbals have most of their energy in the high frequencies around 4KHz to 16KHz, the cymbals and the vocals are the only instruments in the 9KHz to 16KHz area. The cymbals also appear to be filtered off in the low end around 400Hz.

Overall the frequency spectrum has a mid and high-frequency bias for the song. The low end around 100Hz to 200Hz is mostly covered by the kick, bass guitar and vocals. The area around 2KHz to 4KHz is strongest consisting of the rhythm guitars, snare, cymbals and vocals.

 

References

Vedder, E. Gossard, S. (1998). Do The Evolution [Recorded by Pearl Jam]. On Yield [CD]. Seattle/Washington: Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (1997).

Vedder, E. Gossard, S. (1998). Do The Evolution [Recorded by Pearl Jam]. On Yield [VINYL]. Seattle/Washington: Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (1997).

Pearl Jam. (2001). Retrieved December 8, 2017, from http://pearljam.com/music/lyrics/all/all/20844/do_the_evolution

Pearl Jam – Do the Evolution Lyrics. (1999). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/43315/

Moylan, W. (2014). Understanding and crafting the mix: The art of recording (3rd Ed.). Focal Press.

Led Zeppelin. (1970). Immigrant Song [Recorded by Led Zeppelin]. On Led Zeppelin III [CD]. Atlantic Recording Corporation.

Everest, F. A., & Pohlmann, K. C. (2015). The master handbook of acoustics. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Rindel, J.H. (1995) “Diffusion of Sound in Rooms – An Overview.” 15th ICA, Proceedings vol. 2. Trondheim, 1995.

Bowie, D. (1977). Heroes. On Heroes [CD]. Parlophone Records Ltd.

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