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Audio Refugees • View topic - Montcoal

Montcoal

The old AudioRefugee Review Forum - where we kept the fire burning for a few years while we were building the Audiopolis Review System and website.

Montcoal

Postby zxyz » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:42 am

Montcoal.
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Re: Montcoal

Postby zxyz » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:23 am

..
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Re: Montcoal

Postby Krispy » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:00 am

Ah, this must be the song from the collab forum that I deliberately paid no attention to, cos I wanted to hear the finished thing without prejudice.

I'm gonna be honest, I don't like the drums. Immediately. They're machine-like and too lite for the guitars, which I do like. Neither do I like the fact that the first vocal line comes in late; it's emphasised by the punchiness of the music behind, and I don't think it's a great way to introduce yourself.

The vocal lines are pretty consistently draggy throughout, except when they're not, and then something nice happens. "Maybe it was just the way the night sky looked so peachy grey" is an example of niceness. The words manage to fall somewhere near the drumbeats and there's a pleasant cohesion, enabling one to relax.
Lyrically, there are some rather good bits, but you don't sound angry enough Stebs (doesn't the company already owning your soul make you wanna grit your teeth?). Considering the uh...contentious subject, the vocal delivery is rather mild-mannered. Bruce Springsteen wouldn't have done it like that. :D

I don't know who or what is doing the bass, but it sounds more like a 'what'. I suppose this might be a compliment to somebody. It's not really doing anything wrong but it's not exactly a feature.

The guitar on the verse reminds me of VH's Ain't Talkin' Bout Love but the end from 2:33, with its repeating guitar riff, spoken 'commentary' and fade really, really reminds me of the outro of Rush's Countdown. Even the little bass run...it's actually quite spooky.
The guitar playing is pretty alright, I did notice a couple of fumbles but they kind of fit with the other looseness.

The song's an interesting marriage of Rock and Art Pop from about twenty-five years ago which deserves a few listens. I'd like to hear you really work on this to see if it could turn into a Rawk Anthem, but I don't suppose that'll happen.
And yes, I am being quite hard on you Stebs, but that's because the new Accessible Stebs is not the same as Expresso Stebs.
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Re: Montcoal

Postby windowman » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:11 pm

I'm gonna have to agree with Kim about the drums. They're just not happening, or they're happening too much. That recurring 16th note fill is intrusive. It sounds like one of those bar drummers who shows up one Sunday a month to 'sit in with the band', and then won't leave the stage until you set his family on fire.

The bass doesn't bother me, but it's lacking definition...kind of a non-tone. Almost an afterthought, when it could have really used a ballsy approach.

The guitar parts are decent, but I'm not digging the tone. It's got that Rockman tone and...IS THAT CHORUS?

I like the vocals. Reminds of an 80's New Wave singer, but I can't recall who right now. With a hint of Warren Zevon.

The melody is cool...If not Top 40, hit material. But it really works with the lyrics.

I dig the tune, but it doesn't sound like it's finished, at least not the mix. I don't think you have to add anything, but redoing the drums would be a huge help.
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Re: Montcoal

Postby steban » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:11 pm

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Re: Montcoal

Postby zxyz » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:34 pm

Thanks you-all for the responses! The non-stop looped drums are myfault. I don't have the programming skills of some, Kimmers ;) . Thanks for the guitar compliments. I do try me best. Yeah, I do like Stebs singing in this song, too. The bass is no rickenbacker and i'm no chris squire, lol..
Glad you-all like our widdle tune so far. It was (and is) a fun project.
oh-and ps,- for Wade. I don't know what a rockman is, I've got a home-brew concoction, and.. yes, that is not a chorus peddle. :D
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Re: Montcoal

Postby cjdenecia » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:50 pm

..... I've already said loads about this during development. but a few last comments on this mix and the song as a whole.

I mentioned early on that you might should retrack guitars without all the many and various sorta off time licks and riffs. I still believe you'd have been better served to do so but I guess it ain't gonna happen. too bad. they don't jive with the beat.

the bass is there. as stated, it's just that - there. it doesn't add anything to the harmonic structure but it does bring out some lows - so that's good. and tho it is root note based, at least it's not just echoing the guitar so that's also fairly decent. the eq on it, as stated does handle the low low end but if you'd cloned it, eq'd in some definition and compressed the living hell out of it and ADDED it to the bass mix, lowering this current track just enough when adding - you'd probably get some "note" in there. I do barely hear some walks - ever so slightly. they need to be heard while the bottom is felt.

the drums ..... well, you've heard it all. and actually, these days - with all the millions of free samples available. there's really no reason why you couldn't find some really good loops to tie together for this and make them sound organic - right out of the box. looks like if you're gonna continue down this road z, that's pretty much the next step for you. and it's not too tough. and one simple request for loops would probably bring numerous offers of collections from AR members.

the basic chord structure, as stated - familiar. and tho your guitar tone is loads better now than some of your previous offerings to us for review and inspection, you do have a ways to go on getting a good sound .... the chorus fx on them .... well .... I know you like it z but honestly - I believe it's the worst guitar effect ever created. I dare you to record - hell, just play without it. you'd probably find it's like playing an acoustic vs electric, in that it would make you a better player cus you wouldn't be hiding behind it any longer. in much the same way stebs likes to hide his vocals behind verb. don't know why you do it, you're good. you ought to stand up proud and play. tone-wise, I think you should try some eq experimentation in audition with the guitars. yank some mid and mid-low tones way out. pump some lows and highs .... if you just use clone tracks to do it - and pan your results offset from your favored sound, you may find you accomplish a lot - like creating a far more full sound. some edge without just fuzztone. or should I say mudtone.

but you gotta be willing to understand, not many dig this old narrow frequency type representation of gain anymore - if they ever actually did.

be bold. step out of your comfort zone on it.

vocally, I can't argue with the idea that you're just on a plateau stebs. and now you've stated it's exactly what you wanted to do and it's tough to argue with that if it's the truth but I have to wonder if maybe you're just making excuses and wouldn't be better served to just give it another shot and put more dynamics into it. I know I've scoffed a few times when people have suggested I needed to be grittier or be more passionate or this or that cus they might have been so off base on what I wanted to accomplish - but honestly, it's tough to compare my delivery to yours. but I am anyway, and if some would suggest it with me, it really stands to reason that your self compression does need a little bit of a kick in the ass.

that's what you get for getting better at the singing stebs. more is expected of you. learn to live with it and step up your game a little more. no excuses and no rationalizations. you stated you are competent. and you can make choices with your delivery. so do it. move on. work harder to deliver some emotion.

with that said, to your credit, you did clean up some stumbles and some very poorly delivered flow. there's still some flaws in that regard but it's certainly better than the first few takes. good (not great) improvements. tweaking your lyrics would help but I guess that's just something you don't wanna do. ok. but know the fumbling lines will always just come over as clumsy. and also know there's always a way to say the same thing slightly differently.

the capture of your voice hasn't really ever been better though. props to both you and z on that. there's a long ways to go to make it a great solid vocal recording but you've come a long way by removing the verb and doing a few little bits in processing. you could do a lot more with some eq work (as stated in the collab thread I believe) and some big stomping compression - but this is a marked improvement.

with that said, I think your whole vocal line is milliseconds off in the mix. you can say you were trying for a unique attack but frankly, I don't believe it. nor do I like it. it's either a latency issue or it's a misaligned track. of all the people who do lead vocals around here, you, above most - need to be ON the beat. it's not avante garde and it's not artsy - it's just "off". nudge it. you'll like the results and the vocal will nest so much better.

harmony ..... well .... to be sure - you don't actually do harmony so much as alternate lead vocal lines together stebs. it's not really dissonance either. and sometimes it just comes off as .... well - there's no other way to put it - slop. no sin, harmony isn't actually as easy as it seems sometimes and of all the folks here who do harmony well, I'm gonna guess there's years of experience behind us. experience you probably just don't have. but you can get it. your lines would come across much better if you learned standard pop rock harmony. 3rds, 5ths etc. study your favorite singers/songs. learn the harmonies and try to transfer what you learn to your own stuff. you come close sometimes but it's those tougher notes where you lose it. it's the finalizing. getting every note of a harmony right. not just 5 of 7. those 2 that fail kill the line. and it takes practice. lots of it.

ohhhh and did I mention that all of your vocals needs big compression? your vocal track needs to be completely square waved going into the mix. especially cus you don't have a big overpowering and dynamic voice.

so does the ending spoken passage. square wave compression. othewise - it's just mumbled words. and I'm not saying raise the levels. I'm saying level it.

so that's a lot of criticism. but on the positive side, this song is a bit of a triumph for both of you. it's accessible (kim's noting that now it's accessible stebs vs the old espresso stebs) but needs work to take it to a more professional level in both mix and performance. but it's probably the best work on record for both of you without seasoned recording vets leading the way. personally, I'd hate to see you settle for this as it is but would instead like you to keep working on it to make it the best the both of you can do.

maybe you will, maybe you're happy. that's on you. but for me, if you do nothing more - it's still your best. but your best isn't your best. which hopefully - you'll prove on the next one.

and that, is that.
you can't handle the truth.

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Re: Montcoal

Postby steban » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:18 am

Thanks for the unbiasedly and knowledgeable review, ceej, I really mean that.

The specific recording and performance tips you bestow are never ignored, even when the 'final' version may not reflect all of them. To your credit, and everyone's, the song improved significantly already, and thanks.

I'm sorry about the new wave vocals, I think z's treatment worked surprisingly well with the raw recording and my performance. It could be better, and the common element is we could be better in every department, and that's OK by me right now. Z and I had a great experience on this one, enough to desire a repeat moreso than a redo, so that is important.

I do think we all have these lofty goals, I think Mark hopes at least one of his songs will give him a claim of fame after death, and can't we all say that? We play our hearts out to the best of our equipment and abilities, and still we wonder when will we find the song to be remembered by. It is downright discouraging!

And what if that song is not the one we would ever have predicted, because it was wrong in so many aspects? Well, we have to get there first or it's a moot point.

In the meantime, there is only the next song. A good idea, bad idea, incredible idea, and will anyone detect it in its early stages? But what happens is when people have a successful collab, in the sense that many parts gelled, even if there are many problems or criticisms, which of course even the best productions will have as it gets down to style and who knows what detail, well, they exponentially expand their chance to go a bit farther than ever before.

You call it the 'accessible stebs', hehe, and I grant you I, like most of us here, I'm making progress. But you know, I have a grand song idea on the horizon, and ol' zxyz might be inclined now to help make it a reality as it will require some help to get it to stage one, much less a final stage. I wouldn't be surprised if it weren't up here as another collab offer.

Oh, it may not pan out as I hope, but we have to dream, and try.
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Re: Montcoal

Postby zxyz » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:46 am

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Re: Montcoal

Postby windowman » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:26 am

It's not that I don't like you dear, but I prefer women that wear their asses in the back.
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Re: Montcoal

Postby Steve Ison » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:45 pm

I'm amazed with the mileage you can get out of such an over-familiar,cliched chord progression Steban...I genuinelly really like your vocal lines-and on this your vocal sounds really good to me..Its definitely what appeals most to me on this track..You've got a kinda dark Lou Reedy croon-and for once all the vocals here are in tune!..I think its the really natural unaffected conversational approach and a sort of heartfelt honesty which really appeals to me and gives a resonance and sense of freedom to such familiar chords bringing out something fresh..I read some other comments and i disagree that it needs to be more emoted..Your approach here is subtle and empathetic-in keeping with the vibe of the lyrics..
If you gave maybe a top selling US pop/rocker those chords and asked them to write a song-it might sound superficially more commercial-but tho they could probarbly cod-soul vocally to the max,it wouldn't have the sense of heart and honesty which you've got-and why i like this..
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Re: Montcoal

Postby HUD » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:11 pm

I can only echo or better chorus Fx what's been said.
Pretty decent. Best I've heard from Stebs in a lot of aspects, but GET ON THE FKING BEAT GDAMMIT, dood. You're screwing up your chance here. Timbre good. Notes are there. But get on the m'fcking beat. You're killing me. TAke it a-frikkin-gain. Or your wasting a golden chance NOT to have something you'll regret sooner or later.
I like the guitars okay I guess. They seem to be a pretty good backdrop for Stebsy. Drums...too much same pattern for me, too many same fill. If you programmed them, maybe look for some reinforcement with alternate snare & kick sounds. I actually had a live drum track where I pasted in snares and kick, zoomed in way close. What I hear sounds kind of dull.
Don't drum loops until you investigate. yeah, there was a drummer who laid down a pattern, but you make it yours with the rearrangement thereof, and the sound is way more real than this...and provide some more creative spark I've found.
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Re: Montcoal

Postby zxyz » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:14 am

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Re: Montcoal

Postby cjdenecia » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:23 am

you can't handle the truth.

nor do you want to ...
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Re: Montcoal

Postby zxyz » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:33 am

Yeah, just kidding. I'll be 25 this year.
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