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The End Of The Skyline

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M57    259

 

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

 

 

Edited by M57
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Jenn    246

This reminds me of James Blake in some ways.. 

I think this would sound great with orchestral instrumentation.. timpani's, drums, strings, harps, even some trombones or baritones.. either really powerful, or just enough so everything swells around the piano.. up to you

 

I really love how you phrase this: 

Then high winds - they blow us apart
And lightning strikes and we begin to doubt

 

Despite the odd lyrics, I feel like you could craft the symmetry a little better. 

Skyline is a powerful word in and of itself but it's not getting the punch for some reason, at least for me. Maybe if you added more internal rhymes just building up to that one line? I'm not sure though

 

It's dramatic and emotive as it stands, but I do think another warmer instrument would really give it something extra

 

Only my thoughts and I'm excited to see where you go from here 

 

 

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Really nice harmony, especially the sus2 in there.

 

I quite like the current arrangement, to be honest. It's raw and poignant with just vocals and piano, and I really think it suits the song.

 

Arrangements are tricky, because it's so subjective. I could also hear this song with some straight forward drums and a simple but powerful bass line, coming in after a while. And some strings. Though I think it would be easy to turn it into something cheesy. It would require some careful balancing. There's a '90s song that I'm thinking of, that has a similar feel and a suiting arrangement, but for the life of me I can't remember the name.

 

Edit: Ah, it's this one! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1VinBlssgg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Will Sketches

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HoboSage    1,990

I commented on Soundcloud - saw it there before here.  I know you'll add to it, but I wish it would stay 1+1. :)

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M57    259
3 hours ago, HoboSage said:

I commented on Soundcloud - saw it there before here.  I know you'll add to it, but I wish it would stay 1+1. :)

 

Heh heh..

I agree It could stand as a 1+1, but I'd have to revisit the piano part for sure. There are places where it just isn't working right, both with timing and structure.  I'm not worried about it at this point.  Nonetheless, a good amount of it is usable, but I am inclined to attempt to orchestrate this one up. Think Kate Bush percussion and Coldplay/Beatles strings??  I dunno..

 

One decision that's critical at this juncture..

Coming in at 3 1/2 minutes I like the length. I'm thinking it's actually a radio-friendly form, not that it's accessible by most any other measure, but I could squeeze in another verse to tie the disparate thoughts together (..with another disparate thought :blink:). 

Edited by M57

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ImKeN    271

Stunning song, @M57. There's no mistaking when the chorus comes in, like, WOW! The details in the piano playing is amazing, everything sounds ready for production to me. 

 

I don't know if this falls under an arrangement idea, but how about adding a simple melodic hook in the intro(to be repeated again before the 2nd verse etc.). Something that would make your song instantly recognizable within the first 5 seconds? Just a thought.

 

All the best with it,

 

Ken

 

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M57    259
4 hours ago, Jenn said:

Despite the odd lyrics, I feel like you could craft the symmetry a little better. 

Skyline is a powerful word in and of itself but it's not getting the punch for some reason, at least for me. Maybe if you added more internal rhymes just building up to that one line? I'm not sure though

 

Thanks @Jenn,

 

Not sure what you mean by symmetry.   Last week I was vacationing in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Skyline is an allusion to Skyline Drive so it kind of is what it is. I took the pic that you see with the SoundCloud file. Now if that's not inspiration to write a song..

 

Yeah, the lyrics are odd.  That's me too. I have no excuses other than to say that I struggle mightily to write lyrics - but I have at least gotten to the point where I have confidence in them and am not embarrassed by them. ;)

Edited by M57

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M57    259
2 hours ago, ImKeN said:

I don't know if this falls under an arrangement idea, but how about adding a simple melodic hook in the intro(to be repeated again before the 2nd verse etc.). Something that would make your song instantly recognizable within the first 5 seconds? Just a thought.

 

All the best with it,

 

Ken

 

 thanks @ImKeN, your idea gets me to thinking that I can use that little three chord preamble between verses for a solo instrument to set things up.  A Cello or even a French horn comes to mind. Hmm..  I could also try a classical guitar.

Edited by M57

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Jenn    246
9 minutes ago, M57 said:

 

Thanks @Jenn,

 

Not sure what you mean by symmetry.   Last week I was vacationing in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Skyline is an allusion to Skyline Drive so it kind of is what it is. I took the pic that you see with the SoundCloud file. Now if that's not inspiration to write a song..

 

Yeah, the lyrics are odd.  That's me too. I have no excuses other than to say that I struggle mightily to write lyrics - but I have at least gotten to the point where I have confidence in them and am not embarrassed by them. ;)

Respectable :) in that case, they work entirely!!

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ImKeN    271
11 hours ago, M57 said:

 thanks @ImKeN, your idea gets me to thinking that I can use that little three chord preamble between verses for a solo instrument to set things up.  A Cello or even a French horn comes to mind. Hmm..  I could also try a classical guitar.

 

I'm sure you'll come up with a sweet hook! 😎

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Wow.. this is such a lovely song! 

Even I like it the way it is... simple, with maximum focus on the melody, voice and lyrics :001_smile:

I can definitely hear some cello, though, in some parts of the verses. And some soft violins during the changeover from chorus to verse or even as a musical bridge. Yes, some of the sentences run a little longer but they can still be worked out to fit better rhythmically, without chopping off any words  (I think... I hope).

 

Really like it, even as it is right now!

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HoboSage    1,990

Then all the things that can conspire to turn the car around
So (that) we’ll never see - the end of the skyline

 

And all the things that can conspire to turn us into clowns
So we’ll never see - the end of the skyline

 

The first line of each of these couplets is an incomplete thought about "all the things that conspire,"  which is dependent on what follows in the couplet to complete it, and what follows through the second line line doesn't - it just continues the description.  Part of the problem is your use of "that can."   I would suggest the first line for each couplet use something like "It seems everything's conspiring to . . .."  That would not only have these couplets present complete thoughts, but give you some nice internal rhymes too.  I think being a bit less wordy, with that tweak you could sing those lines with a better prosody as well.

 

 

 

Edited by HoboSage

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M57    259
4 minutes ago, HoboSage said:

Then all the things that can conspire to turn the car around
So (that) we’ll never see - the end of the skyline

 

And all the things that can conspire to turn us into clowns
So we’ll never see - the end of the skyline

 

The first line of each of these couplets is an incomplete thought about "all the things that conspire,"  which is dependent on what follows in the couplet to complete it, and what follows through the second line line doesn't - it just continues the description.  Part of the problem is your use of "that can."   I would suggest the first line for each couplet use something like "It seems everything's conspiring to . . .."  That would not only have these couplets present complete thoughts, but give you some nice internal rhymes too.  I think being a bit less wordy, with that tweak you could sing those lines with a better prosody as well.

 

 

 

 

Hmm... I was thinking "all the things that can.." was clever.  Not quite Yoda-speak but a nice little turn of a phrase nonetheless.  The statement is definitive - It doesn't "seem" like - it is.  Just in case it wasn't clear - the meaning is "All the the things that can will conspire... "  I think that makes it an independent clause, no?

"And everything we know conspires to turn us into clowns" could work, but it doesn't scan quite as smoothly.  I'm sure I could come up with alternate solutions if I'm wrong.

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HoboSage    1,990

As is, you just have a description of all the things that can do this and that, and you never then say what about them -  and all the things that can conspire to [turn car around/turn us into clowns] so that we'll never see the end of the skyline . . .. ???

 

 

 

Edited by HoboSage

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Oswlek    87

Great stuff, Mark.  Your songs are always evocative and this is no exception.  I'm a sucker for dramatic piano lines, so this one would pull at my heart strings even if that were all it was.

 

The visual imagery in the lyric is up to your usual standards, I have no complaints there.  There are a number of times when it sounded like the piano and vocal tripped each other up, but those will be fixed with just more practice.  So I'll focus on the stuff that felt more intentional.  

 

1)  I'm not a fan of the delivery of the opening line.  Even if I weren't aware of the whole. "don't feature propositions in the melody" prosody thing, it would have struck me as somewhat clunky.  I sang it a few times and I think it sounds wonderful like

 

"A riveeerrr.... (of) oaks.... glides"

 

2)  The falsetto in the chorus grew on me as the song went on, but I still think the opening high notes ("high winds") would sound better if they were shortened, perhaps with an echo as punctuation and to fill the space before the next line.  It's hard to get my idea across in print, so if this piques your interest I'd be happy to do a quick recording or something.  

 

Terrific song. :)

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M57    259
14 minutes ago, Oswlek said:

Great stuff, Mark.  Your songs are always evocative and this is no exception.  I'm a sucker for dramatic piano lines, so this one would pull at my heart strings even if that were all it was.

 

The visual imagery in the lyric is up to your usual standards, I have no complaints there.  There are a number of times when it sounded like the piano and vocal tripped each other up, but those will be fixed with just more practice.  So I'll focus on the stuff that felt more intentional.  

 

1)  I'm not a fan of the delivery of the opening line.  Even if I weren't aware of the whole. "don't feature propositions in the melody" prosody thing, it would have struck me as somewhat clunky.  I sang it a few times and I think it sounds wonderful like

 

"A riveeerrr.... (of) oaks.... glides"

 

2)  The falsetto in the chorus grew on me as the song went on, but I still think the opening high notes ("high winds") would sound better if they were shortened, perhaps with an echo as punctuation and to fill the space before the next line.  It's hard to get my idea across in print, so if this piques your interest I'd be happy to do a quick recording or something.  

 

Terrific song. :)

 

Spot-on with the preposition comment - that should be an easy fix.  When I first started I was just blowing through figuring it was a 'sketch' and not really paying attention to such things.

 

Yeah, I think the falsetto thing is right on the edge regardless of how well I perform it.  Again, I didn't sing it as well the first time - though I think I got better at it as I warmed up.

 

I will be trying out some mic/preamp configurations in the next week because I have a couple pres coming in the mail - I and may very well re-sing the entire thing.  I'm also hoping that the sound there (on those falsetto lines) will fill in on the arranging side of things.  I'll definitely keep your suggestions regarding effects.  It's good to have plans B and C in your back pocket.

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M57    259
25 minutes ago, HoboSage said:

As is, you just have a description of all the things that can do this and that, and you never then say what about them -  and all the things that can conspire to [turn car around/turn us into clowns] so that we'll never see the end of the skyline . . .. ???

 

No,    "All the things that are able to conspire..    I.e. All the things that can "possibly conspire against us" are conspiring to turn us into clowns.  The difference is subtle, but if you put a big pause after saying the word "can" and stress the word as you say it, it changes the meaning of the sentence.  I can sing it in a way that more clearly brings out that meaning, but I rather like that it is so easily misinterpreted/misread.  FWIW, I was very aware of the problem as I was writing it.  Just like I knew "on to logical thoughts" was how people would hear the line in Touchdown.

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HoboSage    1,990

You're not understanding me, Mark.  You just say that the things that can conspire to turn car around or turn us into clowns so we don't see the end of the skyline . . . end incomplete thought.  You don't ever say that they ARE doing that - or anything.  It's just a noun described with a long adjective phrase.  There's no verb having the described noun actually doing anything. 

 

 

 

Edited by HoboSage

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M57    259
8 minutes ago, HoboSage said:

You're not understanding me, Mark.  You don't ever say that they ARE doing anything.  You just say that the things that can conspire to turn car around or turn us into clowns so we don't see the end of the skyline . . . end incomplete thought.  No big pause fixes that problem.

I think I do understand you - at least I think I'm aware of why you are saying what you are saying.  Hypothetical question. Would this make more sense...?

 All the things that can will conspire.. OR  All the things that can can conspire..

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HoboSage    1,990

See my edit.  You're still not understanding me. :)  It would be like if I said: "All the foods that have hot spices that can makes my eyes water so I can't see in front of me," and I said nothing else.  Wouldn't you then wonder: Yeah? What are you trying to say?  What about such spicy foods?  Did you eat some?  Did that happen? 

Edited by HoboSage

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M57    259

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.

Edited by M57

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HoboSage    1,990

Arrrrgh!  LOL  I give up. :)  

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M57    259
1 minute ago, HoboSage said:

Arrrrgh!  LOL  I give up. :)  

:) I want a second opinion from another doctor before I just sign up for the surgery.

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HoboSage    1,990

Answer my question two posts above this one.  Wouldn't you wonder that?

Edited by HoboSage

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M57    259
9 minutes ago, HoboSage said:

Answer my question two posts above this one.  Wouldn't you wonder that?

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.

Edited by M57

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Richard Tracey    273

This is a beautiful track Mark and really suits being just piano. Please, please keep it that way.

 

I can't wait to hear the next version once you have carried out any tweaks. I think David has already mentioned a couple of the things that I would have pointed out, but it is a fantastic starting point and the lyrics really pull you in.

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M57    259
7 hours ago, Sreyashi Mukherjee said:

Wow.. this is such a lovely song! 

Even I like it the way it is... simple, with maximum focus on the melody, voice and lyrics :001_smile:

I can definitely hear some cello, though, in some parts of the verses. And some soft violins during the changeover from chorus to verse or even as a musical bridge. Yes, some of the sentences run a little longer but they can still be worked out to fit better rhythmically, without chopping off any words  (I think... I hope).

 

Really like it, even as it is right now!

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.

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M57    259
5 hours ago, Richard Tracey said:

This is a beautiful track Mark and really suits being just piano. Please, please keep it that way.

 

I can't wait to hear the next version once you have carried out any tweaks. I think David has already mentioned a couple of the things that I would have pointed out, but it is a fantastic starting point and the lyrics really pull you in.

 

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.

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HoboSage    1,990

I know I've mentioned this before, and you probably want me to shut my cyber-mouth about it, but as a big fan who wants you to sound as best as possible, I gotta mention it again - As a recorded instrument in your recordings, I think your digital piano sounds better in a sparser arrangements.  It's simply less noisy.   Of course, it's also a lot easier to edit and mix.  And, it's not as if your digital piano doesn't sound great or doesn't sufficiently convey the nuances of your playing, because it does both.  :)

 

 

 

Edited by HoboSage

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M57    259
41 minutes ago, HoboSage said:

I know I've mentioned this before, and you probably want me to shut my cyber-mouth about it, but as a big fan who wants you to sound as best as possible, I gotta mention it again - As a recorded instrument in your recordings, I think your digital piano sounds better in a sparser arrangements.  It's simply less noisy.   Of course, it's also a lot easier to edit and mix.  And, it's not as if your digital piano doesn't sound great or doesn't sufficiently convey the nuances of your playing, because it does both.  :)

 

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.

Edited by M57

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