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Classic Mix

Kung Fu Fighting

by Carl Douglas

Given its enormous sales, this is a surprisingly curious-sounding production. To paint it in the most positive light, it’s certainly very efficient, in that everything you need to know about the song can be heard loud and clear through the window from next door’s portable radio! As a hi-fi listening experience, though, it’s pretty unpleasant in all honesty — it sounds like someone at the mastering house accidentally knocked the 3kHz slider of their graphic EQ, lending the overall mix tonality that peculiarly wearing ’70s tinniness that I associate strongly with threadbare daytime TV repeats, as well as making the high-frequency snare/kick transients and vocal sibilance extremely fatiguing on the ear. The thing about 3kHz is that boosting it tends to make any instrument sound more exciting and upfront, and that’s why EQ’ing individual tracks in solo mode is so risky — there’s a strong temptation just to hammer that region across the board! Whether the engineer of this particular mix fell victim to that pitfall is anyone’s guess, but suffice to say that if any mix of mine ended up as 3kHz-heavy as ‘Kung Fu Fighting’, I’d consider that more than just “a little bit frightening”!