Sad13: “I’ve always just come from the background of wanting to cram in as many layers in as possible”

(Image credit: Supplied)

In the age of ultra-hi-fi headphones and dozen-channel stereo systems that allow every for click and pop in a mix to be heard with lifelike precision, more and more artists are embracing the mindset that “less is more”. Artists like Billie Eilish, Lorde and Kevin Parker have forged entire careers out of soundscapes as bare as could be, often built up of a simple drum beat, bassline and vocal. It’s an interesting approach to music, where the ambitious and meticulous structuring of minimal elements can make a song hit just as hard as one lathered in effects, epic guitar solos and multi-layered vocal tracks that take weeks just to track.

But of course whenever one trend flourishes, so too does its antipode. For acts like 100 Gecs, Sleigh Bells and Crystal Castles, the idea that “less is more” would almost certainly result in mean-spirited scoffs. If your track’s Logic file doesn’t send the studio PC’s air vents red hot and whirring like a jet engine every time you hit ‘preview’, don’t even bother with it. Throw on at least another 17 synth tracks.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…