Jump to content


Active Members
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by M57

  1. The meaning of Back in the black in this context is crystal clear.. #1 The phrase is a well-worn colloquialism, and not just for bankers. #2 The word "hope" reinforces the meaning. For that matter, every line in the lyric suggests that use and interpretation. I don't see the problem at all. If someone somehow misunderstands it, or it somehow takes their interpretation to a different place, so be it. It's a lyric - poetry in song.
  2. The End Of The Skyline

    Thank you Sreyashi. No, I didn't really change any of the melodies I sang. Perhaps I phrased things slightly different in places, but nothing intentional. That "pulsating synth" sound is a staccato string section - and a not too unrealistic one imo. I can bring it down in the mix, but as for the sharpness - that's what staccato playing does. I actually do have it doubled with some legato articulations to give it some length. Maybe I can play with that somewhat, but the texture is meant to be driving just a bit there.
  3. The End Of The Skyline

    Well, if you haven't listened to this one yet, you missed the 1+1. I got those virtual string players sawin' away and the thing took a life of its own. Still tweakin'. Any and all.. A river of oaks glides Down the hills that follow the contours into a fog-line And as the clouds fill in the sky Edie asks me to take her to Ashville Then high winds, they blow us apart And lightning strikes and we begin to doubt Then all the things that can - conspire to turn the car around So (that) we’ll never see - the end of the skyline If dragons could give us reminders They’d tell us You’re barely fleeting and you need to be much kinder And take your place between the weeds and stars and gods you can’t understand High winds, they blow us apart And lightning strikes when the words don't count And all the things that can - conspire to turn us all around High winds blow us adrift And lightning strikes where words don't exist And all the things that can - conspire to turn us into clowns So we’ll never see - the end of the skyline Copyright 2017 by Mark Rabuck
  4. The End Of The Skyline

    Thanks Jenn - I agree - I think the vocals are seem a bit over compressed when the instruments first come in. Not quite sure how to fix it. Maybe loosen the compression and automate the fader a bit more. I feel like part of the problem exists on the mastering end of things where I'm finding I really have to crush things because acoustic instruments have so much dynamic range - apparently even the fake ones. Thanks David. Well, its a combination of things. Piano positioning and mic placement may very well be the as if not more important than the pres. I could spend a year jumping up and down from my piano, moving mics and recording a few seconds and not find the positioning he found with a pair of headphones on. There's nothing like real-time feed-back. Even when we were moving the piano around, he would have me play and than we'd move it a few inches this way and that. As for pre-amps I finally decided to take the 500 series plunge and got a lunchbox, which ended up paying for itself with the first pre-amp. I bought the Heritage Audio 4 Slot Rack for $300. Add a Great River MP-500NV for $800 for a total investment of -> $1100. Compare that against buying a stand alone Great River MP-1NV for $1150 and the box just paid for itself. The other is the A Designs P1, which isn't even available in anything other than 500 series. The consultant said having matching (stereo) pres is over-rated. In fact, just the opposite; he loves to mix and match. I'm using two different mics on the piano as well. Crazy. What's even crazier is I used both pres on my vocal. I did a complete set of takes with both of them. My evil plan was to pick the pre I liked and return the other, but what happened is I liked both - for different reasons. The GR with its mojo just flatters my voice when I sing soft - or in exposed sections, while the P1 gives it a presence and sheen that enables me to ride it lower in the mix without it getting lost, so I have less need to spend time getting it to float on top in a dense mix. I'd say I used P1 takes about 75% of the time in this mix, but imo some of the best sounding takes seemed to be with the GR. I could see using the Great River on 1+1's. Believe it or not - other than some very low high-pass filtering say below 50Hz, there's not a lick of eq on the piano or the vocal! Hmm. Actually, I may have to go back and check that - there may be a Slate plug on the vocals that has a little high shelving going on.
  5. The End Of The Skyline

    So this is somewhat of a major update. I re-recorded the vocal and the piano. @HoboSage 's comments about the quality of the piano were sticking in my craw. He was right! Either figure out how to record my piano or punt and use the fake stuff. So I did something about it. I went out an bought a virtual pia... NOOO! WAIT! No way, not yet. I have a fabulous instrument and I'll be damned if I can't get a good recording out of it. So I brought in a recording engineer consultant type. He pronounced my room to be very good sonically! Yea! I installed a lot of treatment so it's nice to hear from a pro that it was worth the time and investment! Next, he turned around my piano so that it actually used the room space - something I had been loathe to do, because I always assumed I should be taking the room out of the equation. Then - and this is my secret weapon.. I went out and bought some very nice pre-amps - a significant upgrade from the what I have been using. The pro took all my gear and while I was playing, made some mic/pre pairing choices and moved the mics around the room while listening in headphones like some kind of shaman. Anywho, brand new piano track. Sure, someone is going to say they liked the original performance better ..but not the recording!! Vocals were re-recorded using the new pre-amps as well (they are different and I actually used takes from both). The difference (technically) is astonishing to me and I'm thrilled. Here's the updated SC file.. Too much verb sauce maybe - especially on the piano??
  6. Unbury Yourself - mix feedback

    There seems to be too much energy in the 100-200Hz range when the full rhythm section comes in. It may be conflict between the bass drum (it almost sounds like a floor tom) and the bass. I would start with the drum and try to filter out some mud.
  7. Charon (new vocal and new mix) - 07/08/2017

    Richard, I'm a baritone just like you. If you send me a mix minus the vocal (you don't even have to give me the whole thing) I'll record a verse or so. I can try to come close to your phrasing but with less attack on the beginnings of words to model how you might try to do it. - OR if you like - record an alternative - the way I might approach it. Just PM me with your email - Uhm.. and give me the weekend.
  8. Charon (new vocal and new mix) - 07/08/2017

    +1 It's not that anything is technically far off - it really is a matter of your musical aesthetic. Metal players get on top of and push the beat, while some jazzers play so far behind the beat you think they're playing in a different time signature. Listen to Mingus's "Ah Um" sometime. I get the sense that you like to phrase behind the beat a bit, and if you combine that with the comment I made about your articulation in an earlier post, it's just unusual - not wrong per se. I'd say if you're aware of what you're doing and like it, don't change it. It's you.
  9. Charon (new vocal and new mix) - 07/08/2017

    Sounds much better to me. I don't remember much of the comments I gave you, but I do remember the vocal had more pitch issues before. It does sound quite different than I remember. Yeah, there are still a few places where the pitch is a little ambivalent. I think it's not so much about your ability to sing in pitch (or use auto-tune), but I'm noticing that you both over-aspirate and over-accentuate the very beginnings of a lot of your words, which not only tends to start you off above the pitch, but also creates a disjointedness in the lines. There are times when I think this technique actually works in the context of this tune, but I feel like because you do it ALL the time it becomes more of a tick than a purposeful artistic expression. Just a thought - I may be way off-base. One other thing I don't remember is that sawdusty insect-like noise that seems to be part of the bass on the right hand side - for instance at 1:47-1:48. It's an interesting effect at first, but over time it begins to grate on me. It's minor and probably intentional on your part, but I just thought I'd let you know. -Mark
  10. @Jenn Presets are a great way to start, not to mention to learn how to use an EQ or any effect like compression, etc. Start with the preset that sounds the best, then get in there and tweak it. At the very least, try and figure out what you like about it.
  11. Pulling down that 'shelving' filter at 10k will make it "darker" not so much softer. If you're looking to soften things, try a little dip at about1k (that where the nasal sound is), and then maybe 4k, but there's a lot of presence and detail there - be careful. 6k and 8-9k is where the sibilance is. Anyway, I think the vocal is EQ'd nicely - I wouldn't change much. That dip at 200 might be a little overdone, taking the bottom out of your voice, and maybe there's a little too much sibilance in the 9kish+ range. But really, the way to alter these things is to use your ear. Anyway, the song is infections. Strong, strong tune - I can see this easily breaking through in the pop world. I love the clapping "hi-hat" and the bass line, but that hook is killer. Yeah the line "another kiss or another miss" doesn't exactly work right. You don't have to use the word "miss," and the end word doesn't even have to rhyme with 'miss' as far as I'm concerned. A close rhyme like "Another kiss would do the trick" works much better for me. Congrats on a great song. -Mark The 'rap' break is a really nice arranging touch, but I find the vocal performance there is lacking in places. I doesn't have to have that hip-hop swagger, but there are places where it just isn't "musical" to my ear.
  12. The End Of The Skyline

    Hah, I lived in Monterey (as a child), but I've never been to Ashville. Of course I'll probably never get there because I may never see the end of Skyline Drive. Thanks for the kind comments. I feel like every song is an adventure in so many ways, but this one is challenging me on the production end. I wonder that it's a lot easier to grab a couple loops and slap 'em around until they sound good, then play a few real instruments where you have control over every aspect of the sound. Fake orchestral instruments, though they sound great, come with a finite, no make that small variety of articulations and timbres, and I think that makes it much harder to figure out how to make them sound good, if not close to real.
  13. The End Of The Skyline

    It's nice as a 1+1, but I never envisioned it that way. I played the piano sparsely intentionally in order to make room for other parts. It was a sketch from the start. I'm enjoying the hell out of arranging it, though I think I need to make some parts edgier and less melodic, like those French horn lines. If anything I can see culling the piano in places (or certainly re-playing some parts) and adding some non-orchestral synthy/soundscapy effects and possibly even some world percussiony parts in places. Bottom line: The orchestra gives it much more dynamic motion, plain and simple. I have a feeling that, at least in part, you don't like it as much because I'm not executing it well enough, and for that I have no excuse, but it is what it is. Right now I'm investing time working out a new vocal chain by re-singing the vocal. I can already tell the pre-amps I'm auditioning are better than the one that's currently in the recording. No doubt you guys will complain that you liked the old performance. Then I'll replace the piano part entirely and rename the song.
  14. The End Of The Skyline

    Hell, and I was going to publicly make it clear that you were right. Every other time I listen to it I hear it wrong and I have to remind myself that it's OK - I'm the artist. Of course, it didn't help that you were so damn adamant that my play on words didn't make sense. I'm not mad at you bro; it's meant as a complement and it means that I take your crits seriously. My wife didn't get it either, but we've been married way too long for me to get all verklempt over it. As for orchestration, I hear you - and I'm already conspiring to bring in a few musicians to double or replace parts. Flute and strings for sure - Just like I did with oboe and strings on Monterey. Luckily I have colleagues that are happy to come over. Winds get get to stand alone, and my approach with strings is to blend them such that the recorded strings are as dominant as I can get them and keep it "perfect." The virtual strings sound damn good to me, so my only intent is to get them to sound 'human.' Read: flawed enough that you think they're real. Not that I don't want flawed playing per se, but you know what I mean. Having a real wind player means I can re-write the part in places that are more exposed, and with articulation that would just sound totally fake as a virtual instrument. The Fr. horn sounds good in other settings. It's got to go in the intro - I'll probably pull it this morning. I have a few more ideas that I'm going to experiment with, but I'll keep the first verse as blank as possible. I'm planning on having a recording engineer consultant over to help me with the piano sometime this month. Once I solve that problem, I'll be able to get you off my back - not that you won't find some other way to harass me. I'm actually counting on it. Don't disappoint me. EDIT: I'm not hearing any guitar parts at the moment, classical or otherwise, but I'll ruminate on it. I think you mean for me to scrub the entire orchestral approach, but at this point I'm feeling rather committed. What I'd really like to get in there is some percussion - big toms and maybe a snare throwing down a rumbling beat like an army way off in the distance. I just can't figure out how to pull it off.
  15. The End Of The Skyline

    I could try singing it differently the first time - maybe even "fix" it so it's grammatically correct, which would set up the meaning for subsequent goes. Honestly, I wasn't trying to cover the piano. I just felt like it makes no sense to have the orchestra come in halfway through the tune, so a bit of foreboding arranging seemed to be in order. If anything, the French horns sound cheesy to me there, it's one of the few places where the instrument doesn't sound anywhere near real to me. Hypothetically speaking, if I was to replace the piano part with a better recording - or a fake instrument Do you think I should take the Fr. horns out?
  16. What's not to love about this? Awesome hook, lyrics, singing, arranging. I even like that crying synth patch that should by all rights be annoying. The percussion is infectious. I'd be jealous if I was scared of happy. -Mark
  17. The End Of The Skyline

    @JennThanks so much for your very thoughtful and helpful advice. I've been aware of the lack of bass and I'm trying to figure out how to fill it in. The double bass sounded like poo, and the cello just wasn't cutting it. I may play around with an electric ..maybe even a fretless. What do you mean when you say bring up the volume before 1:40? are you talking about the orchestra? Surely not the piano?? As Hobo David pointed out, the piano is the problem right now. I'm definitely going to re-record at least some sections, not just because I don't like what I played, but because it's got all kinds of technical issues on the recording end of things. As far as the "final pound" is concerned, consider the lyric. "We'll never see the end of the skyline." Never three times I say! Text painting demands that I not only don't resolve things, but rather I leave them hanging on a good dominant structure. This is art! If I was just trying to write a song, I'd end it on a big 'ole C minor chord and cash my check. Thanks again Jenn. Really, I very much appreciate your thoughts. @MonoStone I'm having such a good time making the music that I'm completely not focused on noise - No doubt I have no business trying to be an engineer and musician. I probably don't think I have low pass on a damn thing. I'm just hyper-focused on the music and I wonder that my almost septuagenarian ears can't hear that worthless hissy stuff anyway. Thanks for the heads-up, Dek -Mark
  18. The End Of The Skyline

    OK, I was able to work on this today. I decided to go orchestral. There are just a few places where I'm hearing a few extra notes and tweaks. @HoboSage now that piano is driving me nuts. Gotta do something about that. It sounds really bad where I was doing a little flex-time with it. I've never done an arrangement quite like this before. Getting the articulations right is tricky. I can see myself tweaking this until they cart me away.
  19. The End Of The Skyline

    Thanks @symphonious7 Yeah, writing lyrics is not my idea of a good time, but on the other hand, getting them out can be cathartic. I may make some changes but I don't consider this one to be any worse or better than others I've written. Lyrics for me are personal and they are usually at least somewhat purposely obtuse, so I totally understand and even expect people not to get them. On the other hand - "making a connection" is somewhat more important. It doesn't matter if you like them or not, it's more about how they resonate, bring out memories or create memories/images, so when you say, "they're not hitting me." then they've failed. But just like music, lyrics are subjective thing. Funny thing - on another songwriters site (I participate in two), one of the members remarked that he read the lyric first and was hesitant to listen to the music because he was worried that the music may not stand up to the quality of the lyric. I'm not kidding. I've only heard from a few people about the lyric, but if the two of you are any kind of indicator, I guess I can expect a diversity of responses. As for the music, I'm not at all prolific. I only write a handful of songs a year and I do my best to make them all quite different, both in texture and genre. Yet you're the second person who has mention Ben Folds, who I had never heard of until recently. I've listened and have to admit that I don't get it, but I guess that's to be expected because his music is not part of the playlist of my life. Yeah, it's a sketch - so the first high notes are dodgy because I wasn't warmed up. The piano isn't recorded wonderfully and it's not unlikely that I'll go back and re-record most everything. Yes, I'm looking to orchestrate this one - strings are my first choice. Strangely, you and I are in the minority where the arrangement decision comes in - most folks comment that they like this as a 1+1. Thanks again for your honesty and thoughtful comments. -Mark
  20. The End Of The Skyline

    Thanks David, I'm mixed about this. I definitely hear where you're coming from. I'm not at all content with the sound I'm getting right now. I'm still experimenting with how to mic the damn thing and as you know, I'm one stubborn old man. Up until now I've always been using a stereo pair and various other close and room mics and blending. I know there are phase and comb-filtering issues but I'm determined to keep on plugging for the time being. Unfortunately, my weighted keyboard is caput and I hate playing a plastic 61 key toy of a controller. The other part of using a controller is it's too easy to cheat and go in and edit things. I was raised Catholic; guilt is part of my work aesthetic.
  21. The End Of The Skyline

    Hey Richard, I remember the good 'ole days when half of the posts in these here parts were 1+1's. I take it as a compliment that you like it that way. It use to be that a 1+1 was the litmus test of a good song. Nowadays it's practically the exception to the rule, what with loops and everyone having 128 tracks at their avail. I'm not sold that this is a pure 1+1 song, and actually think it's asking for a little orchestration. You can kind of tell by the way I try to work the piano in the spaces. I just feel like the piano shouldn't have to do all that noodling. It's close, and I promise I'll keep it a 1+1 if I can't bring something better to the arrangement table.
  22. The End Of The Skyline

    Thanks @Sreyashi Mukherjee I'm definitely trying out strings. They are tricky because I pretty much hate canned strings. If I can get the articulations right, they have a chance of making a big impact. Otherwise, they're getting buried in the mix or canned. There really are a number of ways I can take this. Right now, I'm staying away from percussion, though that's what I originally had in mind. Who knows, I may end up with two very different orchestrations/arrangements.
  23. The End Of The Skyline

    Yes, I agree that sentence doesn't work. I believe I understand exactly how you are interpreting mine. It is the way I would interpret it on first read as well. What's wrong with this? "All spicy foods make my eyes water so I can't see in front of my face." I'm simply doing the yoda turn of a phrase thing like All foods spicy make my eye water so I can't see in front of my face. I'm not a linguist but 'can' is some kine of modifier/adverby thing the way I'm using it. "All the things that can" is one big ole honkin' noun.
  24. The End Of The Skyline

    I want a second opinion from another doctor before I just sign up for the surgery.
  25. The End Of The Skyline

    All things red conspire - All things that bleed conspire - All the things that are able to conspire = All the things that can conspire. It may not be perfect English but as poetry it works for me. "Can" means "are able to." I don't think I need a verb. My head hurts.