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Track Deconstruction: Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’

We’re back with another deconstruction, this time with our Head of Education and Development and master of Track Deconstructions, Ski Oakenfull. In this video, Ski breaks down Bronski Beat’s classic hit, ‘Smalltown Boy’. If you’re new here and not familiar with what a deconstruction entails, it’s where we take a well-known track, break it down to its core elements and recreate it before your very eyes. Want to get your hands on the project file from this deconstruction? Head here – it will only cost you your email address.

‘Smalltown Boy’ was released in 1982 via Forbidden Fruit (a UK sub-label of London Records) and appears on the duo’s debut album, The Age of Consent. The track garnered homegrown and global success peaking at no. 3 in the UK charts as well as no. 1 the Netherlands and Belgium and reaching the top ten in Australia, Canada, France and more.

If you’d like to learn more about producing, mixing, mastering and releasing tracks just like this one, check out our selection of online courses. Plus, get 25% off selected online and LA courses before our offer ends on 9th November with codes: ONLINE25 and LA25.

During the deconstruction, Ski gives an overview of the track’s key elements listing the classic synths which were used to create the song including the Korg Trident and Yamaha DX7. Equipped with his Ableton Push II, Ski kicks off by programming the retro 80s drums into Ableton Live using Native Instruments’ Battery. Before recording in the instruments for ‘Smalltown Boy’, Ski drops some essential music theory knowledge on the track’s chord progressions and bassline. Ski records in the main melody detailing his choice of plugin and the effects he used to recreate the anthems infectious sound.

As is tradition with Ski’s deconstructions, he finishes off by overlaying the track’s acapella to seal the deal. To source the acapella of the track, he used an online vocal isolation tool, Acapella Extractor.

These deconstructions are a tool we use frequently to teach elements of composition and arrangement but to get the full picture we recommend you study with us. The most comprehensive study we offer is our flagship degree programme, the BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering (also available online). We’ve also recently launched a brand new degree – the BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ PracticeGet in touch to find out more.

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