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Seeking professional review of latest electronic production
Old 21st November 2002
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Thumbs up Seeking professional review of latest electronic production

I play a variety of instruemnts, keyboard, guitar, simple percussion instrurments (simple until you try to keep in time), vocals, etc., and record everything thru a Mackie VLZ1604 mixer into a 24-bit Echo Layla24 audio card, and mix it down in SONAR2 on WindowsXP.

I mix/process everything using a lot of the Waves plugins, Recycle2, and SoundForge, and also the low-pass filter plugin I wrote (FilterKing).

I have never gotten any professional reviews of my music, and every time I post a request for feedback, or suggestions, my posts mostly go unanswered, but a friend suggested I try here.

I'm mostly interested in recording/mixing/mastering, and use of effects-- what did I do good, what sounds like crap? Unfortunately the recording is a 192kbps mp3, but that should be okay I guess. At least it's not a WMA (Oops, I probably shouldn't say that, don't wanna get fired!)

I wanted to do something downtempo, mildly annoying, with a bit of funk, utilizing a tempo-sync'd, filter+pitch LFO breakbeat (I love my Yamaha A5000 sampler and Recycle2!), an electric slap bass (a tweaked out Roland Fantom patch), and mix in some soulful old tune (Dusty Springfield's The Look of Love) and turntable effects (scratches done with CD on Numark Axis8). Additionally I wanted to try a monster flange across all 34 tracks, and have it sound phatt as hell, a la Armand Van Helden, but I think I fell short.

Aside from the keyboards (MS2000R, Fantom, Prophecy, DX200), guitar (Blade/POD), sampler (A5000), turntable (Numark Axis8), etc., I also play a gourd (a dried up, hand-carved squash (?) Simone brought back from Mexico) and a cabasa. I performed the finger snaps (AKG C 3000 B) too. (Tricky!)

http://www.cnw.com/~nelson/Dusted_by_a_DJ.mp3

It may be interesting to note the turntable scratches are from a Britney Spears interview. Occasionally you will hear her say: "I love working out." (That's what I'm scratching with.)

Enjoy, and as always send me any feedback. (Or not!)
__e
Old 21st November 2002
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Ok, understand my comments come from a radio oriented point of view, even with "club music".

I think the intro was a bit long, and did not like the flanger over the whole mix. My opinion is to flange one important part, while having something else keep a solid foundation for the listner. Otherwise it's like a sonic acid trip.

Also, intro's should be short, and catchy. Get to that beat faster.

Then once the beat starts, it's cool, but it seems to take a little too ling to get from addition to addition (different sounds, i mean).

I like the female sample, and the scratching, very cool.

With the beat reverse in the middle, make sure it follows the tempo, i believe it was a little slow.

The only other big thing is, I think your song needs "something else". You need to add a catchy repetitive melody, to tie the whole thing together. I know you have that piano sound on the slow part, but that's even still more of a background sound. You need an instrument to "play" what a vocalist would sing. The "main meldoy" if you will. When the beat picks up, you definately have th groove of the drums, and the effects sounds, but I would add a main melody.

Then at the end I would kill it faster, the slower part, combined with the flange and the length of time it takes is too slow a death in my opinion.

I did like all your sounds, effects and beats. (although like I mentioned i would focus the flange on one thing)

Hope that's the kind of stuff you were looking for.
Old 21st November 2002
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Thanks, I appreciate it. Yes, that's some good feedback! A lot of the things you mention, are things I sort of feel too. I actually wrote lyrics for it, but couldn't find anybody to sing them (that's why I call it a "dub" mix). I didn't think the flange worked out too good either, and I also think there's something missing. Errr. Part of the problem I think, is that I got inspired, and came up with some good stuff, but then working a full day job, it sort of lingered too long, and as I came back to it over and over again, I sort of ran out of the inspired creative ideas for it, and just got burned out on it, so it winded up being too contrived, not enough spontaneous creativity.

I think on my next project, when I get into a groove with something, and I'm feeling inspired, I plan to take a couple days off work, and try to finish it up while it's still fresh.

Also, I was asking too about the overall recording/mixing, like does the mix seem hot enough, too much bass (muddy), or not enough highs, etc., any suggestions in that department would be welcome too.

Thanks again,
__e
Old 21st November 2002
  #4
Jax
Lives for gear
 

raucous,

The first thing that stands out to me is the timing of the intro/outtro beats being in 7/4. Well done because often when people use odd time signatures it's too noticeable and jerky, leaving the listener cold. The groove to the drum tracks is all there.

I think a real bass guitar would do wonders for the track, but I almost never like synth basses. A breakdown somewhere in the middle of the song would be good, with the bass and drums getting more intense and busy. Maybe throw in some different drum sounds and a wee bit of distortion on the bass if you develop a breakdown.

The track needs something to stir it up, otherwise, it just kinda sits there once the drum groove has settled in. I think you achieved the "mildly annoying" part with the chirping synth, but I like the panned scratching. I would set the chirp synth back and off to a side, with faint 16 th note rhythmic delay patterns to make it more interesting. Maybe bring down the snare a few db, too. It's seems a little too pointy and in front to me.

The flange could maybe be less intense, because it seems to thin out the top too much and turn the bass to mud at the other end. I would add a little in a touch of chorus along with the flange, and take the flange off the whole mix when it happens, only using it on the chirpy stuff and the hi hat.

Sorry to be a little long-winded, but there are two more things I think could juice up the track. Pick two or three James brown guitar chords and have them give a melody, rise and fall to the song, with the guitar mostly playing funky 16ths, with a little wah in the appropriate places. I can also imagine a good synth or highly tweaked recorded sound playing the role of a singer here, except taken to the realm of a singer riffing rhythmically and harmonically over the track since it would be an instrument, not a voice.

I'd also put reverb on certain snare hits to accentuate and foreshadow what's happening in the song, using the 'verb the same way I use rimshots when I want my snare to "sing" instead or "pop".

Hope this all makes sense and helps somehow!
Old 21st November 2002
  #5
Jax
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BTW, if you couldn't tell, I love collaborating on pieces. Even if it's only on the 'net.
Old 21st November 2002
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Thanks Jax, that is some great feedback. Although I had been of a mind that I was not going to go back and work on this track any more (just want feedback to improve the next production), I think now I will go back and try to follow up on some of your suggestions so I can learn them.

I think everything you suggest will help me produce the kind of music I really like, i.e., Daft Punk, Armand Van Helden, etc., electro-funk-house.

Also, I think your feedback on the flange, as well as the other post indicate that I was wrong to try to pipe everything through a flange.

One thing about Armand Van Helden I can't figure out, is how he can get away with playing a bass and drum riff for way too many measures, but you never get tired of it, is it like the big analog hum, or a mild, mild delay, slight pitch/velocity delta, or reverb that keep it fresh, and keeps you from thinking it's monotonous? (I just don't get it-- when I try that I can't bear it for more than a measure, there's something I'm missing that keeps a really monstrous bass/drum riff from getting stale, or tiresome.)

Thanks for the great suggestions, this is certainly the sort of valued feedback I need to improve.

Also, any thoughts on where I might find the kind of guitar/james brown riffs you're talking about-- I try and try to play cool disco guitar riffs, but I can't. The guitar in the song is me (burst chords/delay), but I think I need a wah-wah, to get the starsky-and-hutch, wooka-wooka, thing, so I better just search for the riff samples, as you suggest.

Peace,
__e
Old 22nd November 2002
  #7
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cut the intro/outro (there doesn't seem to be an organic relationship between them and the song).

You've got a nice, groovy, groove which sounds to me like the first 25% of a song.

Now write the vocals, harmonies, additional sections that will propel it forward.

The repeated "bs" (right below middle c) get kind of ordinary. There's probably more interesting midrange stuff you could come up with.

The flanger sounds a little gimmicky.

The worst thing music can be is boring.

My cat's breath smells like cat food.

-MattiMattMatt
Old 22nd November 2002
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the high level feedback, driving home some of the points brought up in earlier posts. I think maybe if I can implement half of Jax suggestions, I might have the other 75% of a tune.

I must disagree with one point. The intro uses the same bass/tempo, and breakbeat as the middle of the song. Into's are used in house music a lot as a way for DJ's to blend one song into the next.

I think I agree that the scale is off from the rest of the tune, though, so I kinda agree with you.

Thanks again,

Peace

I think I have 20 better trax on my http://www.mp3.com/spaztek site, BTW

__e
Old 24th November 2002
  #9
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re the intro -- What you are saying makes sense. I hadn't thought of that, but I think you are right.

Regarding the scale or the repeated Bs, my comment was not so much on the note itself (it's not like it is the "wrong note"), but that simply repeating a note 6000 times gets boring. Voices, instruments, polyphony, melodic riffs, samples of sweaty fat people sitting on vinyl chairs -- anything to make it more compelling would be good.

Old 24th November 2002
  #10
For getting gtr on stuff there is a new plug in by the same folks that make the very popular beats plug in - Stylus.

"Virtual Guitar?"??

I dunno what its called but it is supposed to have formed the backbone of the new Justin Timberlake chart topper...

A keyboard but non gtr player chum of mine is all excited about it...

Old 24th November 2002
  #11
Here for the gear
 

virtual guitarist is good but its just like a souped up drum machine. you cant change the rhythym of the guitar strumming past a few (ok a lot) of basic types, as its sample based... does sound great at what it does do though
Old 24th November 2002
  #12
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Kamurah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by MattiMattMatt
My cat's breath smells like cat food.

-MattiMattMatt
His name is Mittens.....
Old 26th November 2002
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Now THAT'S a face!

heh
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