Contextual Research Task – Track Analysis

The track I have chosen from my ‘reference tracks playlist’ to write about and which is indicative of the music I am working towards making, is Bon Iver’s

‘10 d E A T h b R E a s T ’.

I like the structure/lack of, for the lyrics of this song. It doesn’t follow a universal ‘verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge’ pattern and does what it wants.

Being an avid fan of Bon Iver and Vernon’s voice, I love the distortion and vocoder sound as well as the cracks in his voice and falsetto. He embraces the imperfections.

Atwood Magazine talk about the production of the track and Vernon’s influences:

‘Right away the sways of both rapper Kanye West and singer-songwriter James Blake, whom Vernon has performed and worked with in the past, can be tasted in the layered production work and fuzzy, yet colourful, details.’ (O, Seville. 2016).

I would love to mix the layers and expressive, ‘fuzzy, yet colourful, details’ of Bon Iver’s instrumentation with an electro/indie pop style in my track. The range of instrumentation Bon Iver use in this track, from brass to samples and cow bells, inspires me for my track to use a variety of different sounds.

Technically, the kinds of modulation and distortion Bon Iver use in this track is also something I want to try and apply to my track.

Throughout ‘10 d E A T h b R E a s T ’, there’s a constant drum rhythm which holds the expressive, ‘random’ elements together. However, for a small section (around 1:15), this rhythm subsides which emphasises the space left for the brief softer sounds. I’d like to create this sudden variety and shifts in my track as it makes it more interesting and less predictable and creates dynamic and contrast within the song in regards to other instrumentation and lyrics.



Seville, O. (2016) TODAY’S SONG: LOVE AND FEAR WRESTLE ON BON IVER’S “10 D E A T H B R E A S T . Available at: (Accessed: 15 January 2017).



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