“Pacific Highway is a top quality track in every sense. The production is crisp, clean and clear and this is as a professional sounding track as you are likely to find anywhere on Soundclick. Pacific Highway is a very soulful offering, smacking of the kind of bread and butter “Bristol Sound” trip hop that I listened to through the late 90’s. Pixiegut’s melancholy vocal is great, and the repeated line of “it’s still morning” fits the mood that Northcape sets out with his music as this is the kind of track that you need to listen to at 5am in the morning to feel its full force. I found that it is very easy to get lost in Pixieguts‘ voice and miss Northcape’s arrangement, which offers lush pads, rhodes, guitars and almost offbeat breaks. That isn’t a criticism… far from it in fact! To me that is a key indicator that the balance is just right – neither part over powers the other. That said, I feel that Northcape‘s track would stand on its own without the vocal – but the vocal becomes the icing on what is an already very tasty cake. I’m going back to listen again!”
“The future is very bright here…
Why do some words sound like and describe what they actually mean? Words Like gash, cut, mutilate and hot. Thankfully the last word ..HOT.. describes to a tee the Vocalist that I have just discovered. I have heard many female vocalists over the years, some of which have been average, some good, but this lady is excellent. I just love flicking through OMD websites looking for something different. When I saw a link to an artist called Pixieguts, I thought Hmm I hope the word ‘Pixieguts’ is not one of those words mentioned above. The image the artist tag brings to my mind are poor little Pixies laid about with their insides out, get the picture? Yeah I am sure you do…
Gladly the name does not describe the vocal talents this lady possesses. When I heard her voice my eyes widened, lips bowed downward and my head tilted slightly to the right. Yeah it was an acknowledgement of respect and talent to what I was listening to.
The vocalist in question is Marie Craven (sounds so much better), otherwise known as PIXIEGUTS based in Queensland Australia. Her voice has a trained clarity about it that is very un-common for an independent artist. Ever listened to a singer and thought as your listening what did they say? Me too, Marie’s voice is perfectly clear with a clarity that puts her a cut above most you will hear. Clean, that’s best word to describe her voice. Unlike many other vocalists out there with a tone and clarity that can sound muddy. Looking at the amount of tracks this lady features on, I have the feeling that I am not the only person that has noticed.
Marie has featured on many tracks, her voice suits some styles better than others. Each mix is ok, but some are better than others. Maries voice deserves a quality production and a solid structure to accompany it, anything less is a waste.
Take for instance…
I especially like this track, for two reasons. Firstly, the producer has allowed Marie to use her vocal range. Secondly I love the quality of music on display. The track is very dark, almost menacing with a ruff edge that’s like sand paper. I am not sure where the mix was mastered. Usually I have found the producer usually completes the final mastering. If I am right on this occasion, I think that the producer has a lot of respect for Marie. What makes you think that I hear you say? Well, he has not over imposed his music upon her vocals. If anything he has tilted the balance more in-favour of the vocals. This is more prevalent as the track opens, this is a great move! This is where the vocals are your focus, the music takes a back seat just to add atmosphere and body. This to me donates respect and it is abundantly clear. As the track unfolds a balance is struck between the two elements and a very strange almost odd, but excellent and cool sounding unity is established. The temptation for every producer when mixing vocals is just to take one shot stabs. Its easier to do mix vocals like that see, not so many key changes to make as the vocals shift from note to note. This is why I found this track odd in its sound. Both the vocals and music shift keys in different places also the vocals are an octave higher. This to me sounds so odd and yet so cool and fresh sounding. This indicates great musical nous and shows the ability to explore the boundaries.
“Dementio13 is the producer and you will see a review of this artist here soon…
Given Marie’s excellent voice and the right producer to support her. I feel that she really does have a fighting chance to break it into the mainstream. All it takes is to get the right hook, a catchy rhythm and a cool vibe, that’s it. Look at Dido for example she was around for years, then she was sampled on Marshal Mathers (Eminem) ‘Stan’. That was it, BIG TIME.
That’s all it takes, just keep on pushing Marie.
PIXIEGUTS is a cut above the ‘good’ and is well worth your attention.
Top quality vocals with deep and stylish music of the Electronic variety.
Very highly recommended.”