Richard Tracey

critique
Glass (added a mastered version for comparison)

15 posts in this topic

Hi all - I started this yesterday morning as I was going to do a hip hop track to post up for Aloproductions. It kind of took a different route and then I thought about the track @Steve Mueske posted recently with the short different parts woven together and decided to try something like that. It's not as technical as Steve's track, as I am so far away from that level, but felt there was something interesting in this. So, looking for some feedback on all aspects of it - I feel like it needs something else in there, something big near the end, but any suggestions and critique would be welcome.

 

Cheers

 

https://soundcloud.com/moodman-1/glass-08032017-1621

 

 

Okay - I purchased Ozone 7 Elements today and wanted to do a quick comparison of the same song, but with one of the master presets. I tweaked it slightly and this is it - it was the Electronic preset. Let me know what you think of the difference and does it feel like a mastered track?

 

I should add I lowered the stereo out volume by 5.5db prior to mastering and reduce the threshold in Ozone so that the Loudness wasn't ear splitting, which is why they both sound about the same level. There are other plugins on this track, which help to boost the volume of the overall track - this is more for the clarity and whether you can tell there is a difference.

 

https://soundcloud.com/moodman-1/glass-master-09032017-1413

 

 

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I like it! Really trippy sort of feel to it, and some interesting progressions there. I also like the way the drums kick in! 

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Very nice sounds in there Richard. I think the mastered version sounds slightly more polished...not much in it between them though.

 

To me it felt a bit long for such a short track... It feels like it needs vocals to me. For a spacey instrumental I personally either need to feel a groove so it moves my body, or otherwise I need to feel like I'm immersed in another world (which usually means something more ambient, less full-on)... I didn't really get either from this so I craved a vocal to keep my interest.

 

Hope that opinion is some use. Again, very nice sound!

 

Dek

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15 hours ago, calumt17 said:

I like it! Really trippy sort of feel to it, and some interesting progressions there. I also like the way the drums kick in! 

 

Cheers Calum.

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I can see this working well for a backing track in a movie. I think if there was something visually going on with this playing it would be fully complete. For a song where you would just be listening say in the car, it feels like it could use something. But, as I said, without that something it could work as-is when providing a soundscape for something visually. 

 

I think both recordings sound good. The second mastered one maybe seemed to have just a bit more clarity, if that makes sense?

 

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7 minutes ago, MonoStone said:

Very nice sounds in there Richard. I think the mastered version sounds slightly more polished...not much in it between them though.

 

To me it felt a bit long for such a short track... It feels like it needs vocals to me. For a spacey instrumental I personally either need to feel a groove so it moves my body, or otherwise I need to feel like I'm immersed in another world (which usually means something more ambient, less full-on)... I didn't really get either from this so I craved a vocal to keep my interest.

 

Hope that opinion is some use. Again, very nice sound!

 

Dek

 

Cheers Dek - I'm going to keep this as an instrumental. Was trying to do something different, a bit like Steve Mueske posted recently. I feel it needs something bigger coming in, just trying to work out what. 

 

You think its it's a long track, for a short track - I feel it needs to be longer, but didn't want to go there.

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1 minute ago, Just1L said:

I can see this working well for a backing track in a movie. I think if there was something visually going on with this playing it would be fully complete. For a song where you would just be listening say in the car, it feels like it could use something. But, as I said, without that something it could work as-is when providing a soundscape for something visually. 

 

I think both recordings sound good. The second mastered one maybe seemed to have just a bit more clarity, if that makes sense?

 

 

'Cheers Randy - I tried to do it as a backing track type of thing. It needs something more, I'm just trying to work out what though. I want a bit more dynamics going on.

 

I'm glad the second one sounds better, as that means Ozone is working. I just wanted everyone's opinions to see if it done the job or not.

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1 minute ago, Richard Tracey said:

 

'Cheers Randy - I tried to do it as a backing track type of thing. It needs something more, I'm just trying to work out what though. I want a bit more dynamics going on.

 

I'm glad the second one sounds better, as that means Ozone is working. I just wanted everyone's opinions to see if it done the job or not.

 

Yeah, it's hard to do a backing track when you really don't know what you're actually backing. I remember long ago before I started playing guitar again I did this 48 Hour Film project. It was really fun watching them add the music to the video as it went along. I thought about it as I knew I was a semi-musician and could probably do it. But I also thought I would surely have to see the video playing to really give it the feel it needs.

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I guess I should add that doing it blindly may be harder but not impossible. Like you're suggesting adding something to it could help. If I think in terms of a backing track where things are moving along and then something exciting happens, obviously the music would change to support that. So even doing something along those lines would allow for the song to be cut/pasted/arranged in ways where the music is in synch with what's happening on the screen. 

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Looking at other comments...I can imagine it as a backing track. I think the 'rules' change then... you don't want anything TOO interesting as it will support the visuals.

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I've been here ten years (two different accounts / long story) and I did not know you could tag someone in a post. I just saw this. First, I am very honored that you thought of me, especially with your track being as cool as it is.  As far as the version comparison goes, I actually prefer the first one, though the second is tighter and has more control of the low end. The thing is, Soundcloud streams these at 128kbps, so it really f*cks with the depth and clarity of the sound. The most important things are to roll off the low end, don't over-compress, and use some form of dynamic EQ (if you can).

 

My only gripe at this point is the weird interplay between the hi-hat and the filter on the synth. If I had to guess, I'd say that the filter is being controlled by a LFO, but it feels like it is using a different subdivision (or there is a little swing in the hi-hats or some such). My suggestion would be to leave off the hi-hats when the filter is so prominent and bring them back in again a measure or so before the drums kick in each time (so you still have the "oddness" but it also creates a moment of tension). When the drums do kick in it is totally badass. I think you have a winner here!

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18 minutes ago, Steve Mueske said:

I've been here ten years (two different accounts / long story) and I did not know you could tag someone in a post. I just saw this. First, I am very honored that you thought of me, especially with your track being as cool as it is.  As far as the version comparison goes, I actually prefer the first one, though the second is tighter and has more control of the low end. The thing is, Soundcloud streams these at 128kbps, so it really f*cks with the depth and clarity of the sound. The most important things are to roll off the low end, don't over-compress, and use some form of dynamic EQ (if you can).

 

My only gripe at this point is the weird interplay between the hi-hat and the filter on the synth. If I had to guess, I'd say that the filter is being controlled by a LFO, but it feels like it is using a different subdivision (or there is a little swing in the hi-hats or some such). My suggestion would be to leave off the hi-hats when the filter is so prominent and bring them back in again a measure or so before the drums kick in each time (so you still have the "oddness" but it also creates a moment of tension). When the drums do kick in it is totally badass. I think you have a winner here!

 

Re the hi-hats, I'm sure I put swing on the drum, so that could affect the hi-hats and the way they interact with the track. I can remove that and see if it fixes the issue.

 

Thanks for your kind words. I know this is a tricky composition for people to like or get, as it's not everyone's cup of tea.

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This piece seems fine. From my perspective, when people say "I could hear this as background for something" what they are really saying is that the piece doesn't have enough going on to hold their entire attention, though what is there is perhaps suggestive of something and pleasant enough. Just saying that if I got comments that indicated my piece was background, I'd feel that I was missing something (unless of course it IS background for something, in which case we should know what up front). If a painter fills a canvas with blue, people might say "That looks like the sky", but I would argue that painting the sky and painting blue are very different things.

 

And so it is for me as well. It sounds like the b.g. for something because there's not enough going on. At the big change a third of the way in, there is new material, and it stays interesting after that, but the structure is strange that you repeat a very short figure with very little variation for the first third of the piece, then all of a sudden a bunch of interesting stuff happens. I'm not saying it's wrong per se, just that it's odd that it establishes itself as harmonically minimalist, then changes its mind a third of the way in. Messes with my expectations a bit, again, not saying it's wrong, just that it struck me as odd.

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8 minutes ago, Jim of Seattle said:

This piece seems fine. From my perspective, when people say "I could hear this as background for something" what they are really saying is that the piece doesn't have enough going on to hold their entire attention, though what is there is perhaps suggestive of something and pleasant enough. Just saying that if I got comments that indicated my piece was background, I'd feel that I was missing something (unless of course it IS background for something, in which case we should know what up front). If a painter fills a canvas with blue, people might say "That looks like the sky", but I would argue that painting the sky and painting blue are very different things.

 

And so it is for me as well. It sounds like the b.g. for something because there's not enough going on. At the big change a third of the way in, there is new material, and it stays interesting after that, but the structure is strange that you repeat a very short figure with very little variation for the first third of the piece, then all of a sudden a bunch of interesting stuff happens. I'm not saying it's wrong per se, just that it's odd that it establishes itself as harmonically minimalist, then changes its mind a third of the way in. Messes with my expectations a bit, again, not saying it's wrong, just that it struck me as odd.

 

Cheers Jim - I feel the track is something you could put on and it could just be there in the background. I've been listening to a lot of piano type music again recently - like Ludivico Einaudi, Nils Frahm and Max Richter - who all at some point do minimalist, but with nice little melodies floating in and out. It's the kind of music I can put on and fall asleep to (Max Richter even composed an album just for that purpose named.... Sleep). That was the kind of thing I was going for, it could be used to open up an album, or could be used for background music elsewhere. 

 

I think it needs something else, but I can't put my finger on what it needs.... I could probably make the whole track a lot more dynamic, but in my mind to do that would mean extending it by about a minute or so.

 

There are actually 4 different parts going on, all with varying parts of the same chord structures. I tried varying the instrumentation on the last part, which is the longest part, but I may add a different instrument to the other parts to make them feel different.

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Everyone's cup of tea or not, your work is a welcome addition to the stable of fine work our members have shown here.

 

I felt the difference between version one and two was quite distinct. Steve offered an in depth analysis of the two tracks that I cannot top or effectively add to, but I agree with him that Izotope, and the preset you used are, in fact, evening out and smoothing the bottom on the track with a fair amount of grace. I think cutting the track before hand probably helped a lot. Izotope products taken as a whole tend to push levels excessively in an effort to help amateur mixers achieve the loudness of modern tracks. It's what their customers want, apparently. Personally, I prefer WAV products. The overall cost may be higher, but you can choose form numerous similar choices in a given type of VST so that you can more easily and directly work towards the sound you want.

 

I also am not sure I agree that this needs to be focused in such a way that it sounds more like the backing track to something specific. If you make it that way, you pretty much tie it to a single visual association. If you leave it as is, or in other words, self-defining, it can potentially be used on many different projects. Many, many actual professional applications of background music indicate a preference for more generalized, non-associative pieces such as yours. As long as the music fits the emotive content of the scene, the fact that it is less specific actually becomes a benefit, not a detraction.

 

I guess this is all just my way of saying; "Cool track, Rich!"... or; "Cool track, Trace!"

 

...as the case may be.

 

 

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