The Mosquito

  • Artist: The Gravel Pit
  • Album: Silver Gorilla
  • Label: Q Division Records
  • Year: 1999
  • Producer: Mike Denneen
  • Engineer: Mike Denneen
  • Studio: Q Division (Boston)

Vocals aren't always made sweeter by Doubling, Tripling and more. When your singer is part tenor, part chainsaw (we mean that as the highest compliment), you can layer the vocals for more attitude, and more strength. The contrast between single track vocals and double-tracked vocals is cleverly used to support the story. Layered harmonies add musical richness, while staying consistent with the persistence and stress of the song's mood.

To emphasize his blunt confession that he is a pest, the vocals are doubled in strategic places: "I am a parasite. I am your satellite." and again with "I am a carpet snag stuck in your vacuum bag." There's more of him now. Deal with it. The insincerity of the sentiment is highlighted by a sarcastic, single track, "Sorry." Seems this isn't quite a love song.

Counterpoint harmony lines are a proven way to distinguish a big chorus from a simpler verse. Layering those harmonies with multiple doublings is a frequent pop embellishment. In this mix, it's a pop trick kept raw, courtesy of the singer's delivery, plus slight distortion. Have a listen to the doubled lead vocal with layered harmonies in the ascending lines "Street all filled with filth." and "Rows of Yellow Silk", then again with "Man I used to know." and "Cold and dead as snow." These layers of vocals add emphasis and invite the listener to sing along, without the sweet timbral polish we so often associate with doublings.

Distortion: Electric Guitar
The opening guitar, panned left, is a great example of distortion that has preserved the low end. Push the amp further into overdrive, and you'll get more crunch and fur, but less low frequency energy will remain. As a complement to the tom groove in this intro, it is the perfect tone.

Reverb: Room Sound
There is a touch of natural room ambience in the electric guitar track that opens the tune. A microphone placed a few feet away from the amp is all it takes. It helps set an open, organic setting for the rest of the mix.


Back to the full Recordingography