Big Thief – Mother

Over the last two years that has been a growing critical acclaim for this Brooklyn based band. With their talented lead singer / guitarist Adrianne Lenker and their unique approach to song arrangement, it’s easy to see why. If you haven’t already, I strongly you suggest you check out Big Thief.

This song can almost be heard as two versions of the same song. Starting with a cleanly picked acoustic guitar and Adrianne’s present vocals, the song feels almost unaccompanied. Under the surface are droning stereo organ tracks along with tack piano. I spent a lot of time trying to get the tack piano to fit in the mix with the acoustic and I ended up almost completely removing it from the mix. To my ears, it just didn’t work in the song. The acoustic guitar had two tracks; one with a mic near on the acoustic and another on an amplifier in the room. I took this chance to treat the amplified acoustic track with the Waves J37 Tape Emulation and used the wow / flutter to create some vibe on the track.

After two verses of this the song crossfades to a full band version pulsing with anticipation. Two guitars, bass and drums are brought in with upright piano and additional organ accompaniment. I ended up doing some side chain compression on the piano and organ parts, ducking down when the kick and snare hit. This allowed some room in a pretty dense mix towards the end of the song. I have been recently loving the new Little Plate from Soundtoys and used this heavily on the piano here. This songs unique arrangement allowed for some creative license in the mix and I am happy with the result.


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