Jump to content


Active Members
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


M57 last won the day on January 28

M57 had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

248 Legendary

About M57

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    United States of America

Music Background

  • Band / Artist Name
    I am a super nova
  • Musical / Songwriting / Music Biz Skills
  • Musical Influences
    Too many to mention - as it should be. From early to contemporary classical music. Jazz Rock Folk Funk R&B Blues - even what the young folk are putting down. Good music is good music.


  • Songwriting Collaboration

Recent Profile Visitors

3,541 profile views
  1. "Voice" in the context of this discussion is pretty clearly a human voice as opposed to a generic instrument, and by generic I'm referring to an instrument's inability to emit 'words'. I would add that the word 'voice,' when used in a musically academic context has little to do with the instrument playing it. Rather it has to do with the shape of individual line or melody that is being played. Yes, you can assign different instruments to individual voices, but the term itself is about the those melodies in the abstract - irrespective of their instrumental assignments. A 'voicing' is the sum of all 'voices' at a moment in time. E.g. there are millions of ways to voice an A minor chord. 'Voice-leading' describes the way lines (voices) interact over time to create a succession of chords. Sometime the voices move in parallel, sometime in contrary motion, etc to create different 'voicings.' Scat singing is by definition devoid of lyrical content - it offers the singer a way to make their 'voice' an improvisational instrument, yes in this case I'm referring to the voice as an arbitrary instrument , lifting for the singer the constraints of having to sing a lyric. Scat singing turns the 'voice' into a generic instrument and therefore does NOT make for a song. Is there grey area where the human voice is concerned. Sure. Is a one word lyric enough to make it a song? Maybe. If the word is Ahh, I'd say not. I'm OK with grey area. But as far as I'm concerned, being able to generally agree on what constitutes a song and how that word differentiates it from an instrumental is very useful.
  2. Music is a human construct of intentionally organized sound. Birds don't sing songs; they don't even make music. Just because the expression exists doesn't make it true. On the other hand, if you record or sample birds making bird noises, you can turn that into music at some point. For something to be a song, it needs to have rhythmic and/or melodic content and actual words because that's how things roll in my world. The whole Brit thing is confusing. Aluminium should be something like a communal apartment sharing arrangement. However, and speaking as a fifth and sixth grade math teacher, my life would be a lot easier if it the metric system was universal. Inches, feet, yards and miles all throw a big monkey wrench in my solipsistic world view.
  3. Say it

    I really enjoyed listening to your voice on this. And I'll offer my contrarian opinion (well, contrary to @Will Sketches). I think the strongest line is "Please say you hate me to the bone." It conveys the immediacy of the story and speaks to the nature of the relationship poignantly and colorfully. "Please say you don't love me" and most any variant is utterly vapid in comparison.
  4. Table for Two (Acoustic version)

    Agree ..though it doesn't bother me so much in the chorus. I also think the bass is just a bit too busy in general. I'm a pianist, but the analogy works: Back in the day, the guys in the classic rock band I played in use to say I'd be really good if only they could chop off a couple of my fingers. One nerdy crit: At 2:52 the guitar is still soloing Bb blues pentatonic-ish while the chord is a Gb. I think a simple fix would be to switch to a Bb minor blues scale, Gb lydian is what is called for. This tune is MUCH better suited to this genre. Very nice. -Mark
  5. A Color Of The Sky - (FINISHED)

    I have just a couple comments/suggestions, mostly on the production end. My list may seem long, but really, this sounds very good. I'm just hyper-focused on production cause that's the mode I'm in right now. The tune seems great and the performances are excellent. There's a little too much upper bass energy going on (in the 200hz-ish range?); it just a bit muddy down there. Do you record in the same room that you mix? The 'master' is a bit on the loud side - I'd guess it has a DR of 7db, or maybe even louder. I think lightening it up to something like 8 would help to bring out the dynamics and let me crank it more before my ears start bleeding. The guitar and maybe the bass seem louder than the vocal, although they may not be (see below). That said, when the drums first come in, they sound anemic because the guitar is so hot. After a while the drums somehow settle in and don't seem too soft, but that could be my ear adjusting to the mix. The vocal seems a little on the dark side eq-wise. It's somehow feels constricted. Maybe some kind of harmonic enhancement, air, exciter, mojo enhancing technology. Honestly, after listening to this twice, I don't really remember a word or what it's about. No doubt, part of that is because I'm focused on the music, but I think the other part is that you've subtly hiding the vocal in a number of ways, playing, production and arrangement-wise, and it all starts to add up. The single BV doesn't work for me; what's the point a single 'aah'? Why not have some harmonies going there instead? - alla Eagles. Maybe even some words in places. BTW, David's right - the tempo, feel, and that guitar lick are pretty "Already Gone"-ish. That's not a bad thing! The strings don't bother me all that much, although it sounds like a piano-player's arrangement and they totally betray their fakeness when you leave 'em hanging like that at the end. It's your baby, but I think it's a bit of an awkward genre-bend having them there. I think you'd get more bang for your buck with more vocals and maybe some slide guitar in those choruses - although I can see why you are avoiding a constant slide guitar part going on. My $0.02 worth of thoughts, -Mark
  6. Achilles Heel

    This is a great start. Nice voice. Your singing is very appropriate for the song. The lyric looks good to me, though I'm not really focusing on that. Your piano playing is very nice - though I'm sensing a few punching related artifacts that I would be smoothing out in the piano roll editor. I'm having form issues with this one. Are the last two lines of the first paragraph are really the same as the first two lines of the third paragraph, musically speaking? Kind of a pre-chorus? Anyway, the form issue I have has to do with the I V IV V phrases in the verse. Sometimes it's two, sometimes it's four. The last line of that "but always get" and "but we all know" are harmonically ambiguous. I don't know if that's intentional or if you just haven't made up your mind yet. Part of what I sense as a form problem might be related to the constant riffing on the piano. which while well done and interesting, is not necessarily unified. That, and it's constant, leaving little space for other instruments - (I assume you're looking to add more) and starts to get a little sacchariney over time. But even if you weren't going to add instruments, I don't sense an underlying style holding things down - like an alberti bass approach for example. I suspect that to some degree it goes back to the way you recorded it. Did you punch section by section? -Mark
  7. A Table for Two

    Funny, I picked up on the bossa thing when I was listening to the first recording. This is going Steven Bishop, which is a step in the right direction. The way you are playing the guitar is very bossa. I think it's worth sneaking back some electric guitar. Lead licks.. What's that Santana tune..?? Ahh.. "Game of Love"
  8. A Table for Two

    CapM, You shouldn't feel bad about bumping with a response. Strange as it may seem, those of us who take the time to listen critically and especially offer advice appreciate getting feedback to our feedback (there's a learning process there too, right? Just as long as it doesn't become a loop. (Ouch, the metaphor is almost painful.) But seriously, dialog is a good thing - as long as you're getting somewhere, let us know what you're up to and bump away!
  9. A Table for Two

    I agree with Pahchisme; your vocal sound REALLY good on this. I think the song is super solid and the mix is great.. BUT style-wise, I think the production doesn't quite hit the mark where the genre (both music and the lyric) is concerned. Here are my thoughts/suggestions as I listen.. This is a straight-ahead love song, yet the drums and even the guitars hit so hard in the chorus, especially with that unusually placed stab right after each line. I hear that you want to inject punctuation of some kind, but it should be blooming (not puffy), and not angry. Maybe try less distortion, or even an acoustic. Also, I hear what you're trying to do by layering the guitars in the verses, but the playing is so busy and the production is so dense, especially at that tempo. I'm not saying it's too fast, but the way you're producing things, it "feels" too fast. We're it mine, I would cut down on those scratch guitar wicky-wickys and experiment with something more interesting with the snare than that straight hard hitting back beat - maybe add some drags and double hits. Assuming you're using virtual drums, I might dial in some swing to get that snare to lay back a bit - that might take care of the feeling that it's being pushed all the time. Just my subjective ramblings.. This is a really nice song. -Mark
  10. Love Promenade

    Emily, I "love" the melody and changes in the "Love" part. The lyrics are stunning, evocative and moving, and your voice grows on me as I listen. I've noticed what I consider to be a lot of growth in your writing and I've been very impressed by this and your last offering here. So here goes with the critic part.. I think I could grow to 'love' the verses too. That sweeping arpeggiating synth with the portamento in the verses is actually kind of cool, but it's just a tad lower mid-rangy and bloated for such a fast-moving part. Maybe some high-passing or a little scoop in the 200hz range so it doesn't muddy things up so much?? I don't like that it gets so quiet between the chorus and the verses. I think you can retain the sense of space without bringing things down to nothing. I always ask myself if the song would be better served with percussion and my sense is that while you don't need anyone playing 'time,' there are places where I think cymbal and tom work could really make an impact and give the song more motion. In fact, I can imagine a number of orchestral approaches that could help paint this. All and all, it's a wonderful piece. Congrats. -Mark
  11. Mix # 3 Autumn Leaves

    2nd David's Beautiful song -- also second the delayed entrance of the strings. Second also that the strings tend to be too loud (though not all the time). Although I think part of it is that you're playing the strings like a piano with block chords and there are just too many voices putting out a lot of lower-mid range energy that muddies up the waters. One solution (that I use) is to play the strings in multiple takes, 1 voice at a time. This will create not just a more sparse texture, but good and interesting voice leading (..and you'll know when to stop!). This is really not intended to be a shameless plug, but in this song, I used a single viola patch and played only 1 note at a time! Notice how I bring the strings in and out of the arrangement in a way that helps to delineate the form. That, and with the addition of other instruments like the piano and the oboe, the strings sound lush - you would never guess it's a monophonic part. The other comment/crit I have about your string writing is that it's a wall of sound - it just never lets up - and about 1/2 way through the tune, my ears are burning. It's not like this is classical music with a lot of dynamic range - you've compressed the bejesus out of this puppy and I feel like there's no space and no breathing, which makes it double hard to follow the form. My suggestion there is to lay off the strings - bring them in - take them out - bring them back in, etc If you feel a great need to have them playing all the time - at least give them rests or opportunities to play marcato, etc.. Imagine them as real players. Do you see their bows moving ALL the time? Anyway, that's my $0.02. Really, this has so much going for it. interesting phrasing (you break up the lines nicely), solid playing - nice melodies and harmonic motion. All in all, Very impressive. -Mark
  12. Night Stripper demo with vocals

    I get what others are saying, but I can also appreciate what you're doing and how tricky it is to do it. I think what is confusing folks is that it kind of sounds like a 'cover' of the song (but with alternate lyrics), AND it also sounds like a "copy" of the song in terms of the instrumentation and arrangement - think "Tribute." Usually, when people cover something - they put a unique musical stamp on it, and when they are paying tribute, they don't mess with it - especially not the lyric. My opinion: By changing the lyric by using a well-known song and being faithful to so many elements of it AND changing the lyric, you suggest it is parody. BTW, I do this all the time where I work. At least a couple times a year, whenever a long-time employee retires, I am tasked with taking a well-known song - writing a custom lyric to it and performing it with colleagues. I've probably written a few dozen of these over the last 10 or 15 years - and without trivializing the value of the end-product (I put a lot of work researching and writing them and though some of them are fun or funny, others are quite serious and heart-felt), I would still characterize this type of cover as a parody.
  13. Daily- Critique wanted

    I would add that using a third party instrumental loop as a fundamental harmonic underpinning of a song risks setting yourself up for a copy-cat production, at least in part because it's more likely to be a "standard" progression - style - etc.
  14. Hey thanks @Nelson Pawlak. I don't doubt you're right about the form when it comes to the accessibility 'norm.' The lyric informs the form in pretty much all of my songs. I can't imagine it any other way. For better or worse, very rarely does that approach result in what would be considered a pop form - heck, often my songs don't even have a proper chorus - I've come to terms with that. @wallabie Thanks very much for listening and your comments. Yeah, my monitors are not the best, and the space is not perfect (more on that later) and so my mixes are about 95% informed by headphones. It's a bit frustrating, but I agree - it sounds about 3Xs better in headphones (with eyes closed - in the dark lol). I have a few theories about why that is, but I'm fairly confident that it boils down to the fact that I'm mixing in the same room I record in, and even with tons of treatment and bass traps, I'm pretty sure there are a couple of frequencies in the 150-300 hz range that are whack in the space. I try to record everything acoustically - even the piano - so any room anomalies build with every take. I've done a bit of research on it and I'm under the impression that it's quite common in that range in smaller rooms, and it's very difficult to tame in rooms with lower ceilings (mine are 8') without the aid of pro analysis gear/software AND a lot of experimentation moving things around to find the sweet spots for recording and listening. I don't know that I'm ready to go down that rabbit hole. As for 'how' - all I can say is I'm constantly learning. I've learned a ton from participating in forums and I spend a ridiculous amount of time (way too much) mixing/tweaking/automating/experimenting with different techniques. If you can identify something specific about what you liked, I'd be happy to try and explain how I think I did it. Honestly, the fact that it doesn't sound nearly as good on speakers frustrates the hell out of me, but other than that - I'm pretty happy with this mix and I'm going to start trying out some mastering options. I'll probably start with https://ariamastering.com/ . That's what I used on this tune, and the ARIA master was better than what I was able to do myself, and definitely worth $19.
  15. Daily- Critique wanted

    That's crazy similar - On the one hand, the changes is the very standard ii-V-I, and the voicings/fingerings are also quite standard for that progression on guitar. Yeah, he uses a few variations here and there with turnaround chords (like Bb6), but the same key, same fingerpicking pattern, same tempo, and showing up a couple of weeks after your post? That's just a little creepy.