Skipping Stones (please help)

September 13, 2008 9:47 PM

hey home recording kids: i'm trying to get this song ready for my lady's birthday. could use some help with the mix. I need advice by monday nite. going for cute. what's working / failing? what needs polish?

i've never really recorded or mixed properly. i'd kinda like to step it up for this.

she likes:
early 90s alterna-pop.

stuff i've played for her she likes:
the national
bonnie p. billy
andrew bird
okkervil river
modest mouse
islands (tho not his voice)
the decemberists...

i could kiss you with my dirty mouth
and you could come and drop an ice cube down by brain
somewhere out there is a good reason for everything
so we don't have to explain

and you can tell me I got pretty eyes
and I can love the seam where your arm meets your side
and our thoughts can track like siamese twin skipping stones
somehow always synchronized

and we could be a powder keg
or we could a mess with legs
we could be a summer storm
underneath the sheets

so let me wake you up with stupid jokes
and you can't paint me into corners all night long
and when I tell you I am going out to take over the world
yeah I bet you'll come along

and we could be a powder keg
or we could a mess with legs
we could be a sumemr storm
underneath the sheets

you and me, babe, they'll write fire code for us
the bad kids sings our songs at the back of the bus

and we've got all of the time in the world

posted by es_de_bah (10 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

go a head and nitpick. tell me if a certain measure is bugging you. this i a labor of love, so i can probably make it better if you tell me.
posted by es_de_bah at 9:51 PM on September 13, 2008

Dude, are you serious? If your lady doesn't appreciate this as-is - well, she has some serious appreciation problems. It's a good song and a very sweet song too. My lady would be beside herself if I wrote her a song like this.

However, since you're looking for nitpicking, the drums sound a little flat to me. Unfortunately, drums are the instrument I don't play so I can't explain it a whole lot better. The cymbal sounds nice and bright but the snare doesn't have quite the same pizazz. It may be that the cymbal is too bright?

If you're looking to sound twee like the decemberists, there's a guitar line that sounds sort of accordion-like after the back of the bus section that could pop out a little more.
posted by smartyboots at 11:02 PM on September 13, 2008

mixing isn't an issue in something like this, it's good enough. If you like it than keep it homey, if she doesn't than whatever but I thought it was sweet (sweet as in awesome, not sweet as in "oh that's so sweet"). I could do without the weird screaming thing kicking in around 20, the rest sounded pretty fucking awesome.
posted by BrnP84 at 11:51 PM on September 13, 2008

I liked the screaming, it made me laugh and was definitely cute. It's a cool song, and I like that you've brought your vocals up higher than in the other stuff I've heard from you.

I think you could change the accent that comes in around 1:00 right sfter that little solo guitar line, it's getting lost in the last few beats. You're going "da-da-da-da da-DAH da-da", but I think it would be stronger if you lost the last couple beats on the drums-- "da-da-da-da da-DAH" and let it ring out. I don't think you'd have to change the guitar part, but you can't really tell until your hear it.
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:38 AM on September 14, 2008

Hey es_de_bah, this is really effing good! I've listened to it three times already and I think the only thing that could be improved would be bringing up the lows and mids a little bit. It sounds just a little bit like AM radio. But damn, she should be impressed, this kicks ass!
posted by snsranch at 4:08 PM on September 14, 2008

The reason that several of us are using variations of fucking/effing in responding to this tune, is because you can't hear really how much we liked the song we type as opposed to listening to us tell you. This is really, really fucking good. As in, 10,000 people should be listening to this in the next few days linked from every which direction. As in, you should be warming up for any of that list of bands she likes. How could she not totally melt? All of the last lines, especially the fire code/back of the bus are totally playful and pull off giving you a glimpse the boundless horizon of a thrilling new thing.

I'll stop there, before I make a fool of myself. Seriously, though, I've liked all of your stuff, but the concept of getting this as a birthday present? She's really lucky.

Ok, so you asked for nitpicking, and I tried, but I could only come up with a couple things, and even they are mostly just a matter of taste. But here goes:

1. I think that some of the panning is too severe. At least on high quality headphones, my brain said "wait, why can't I hear any of the guitar in my other ear at all?" or "the bass panned is making the mix lopsided" especially during the first minute before everything kicks in. It's not a matter of not spreading the tracks at all, but simply that you could pull back and not pan so hard. Also, I might experiment with subtle reverb on one of the guitars and/or vocals so that you could have more 3-dimensional space to the mix. I like the wet Gilberto Gil-ish falsetto part, but everything else sounds really dry to me, when you could have a few (subtle) gradations of dryness/wetness.

2. Some of the guitars sound a little brittle to me, emphasizing a couple higher frequencies that can fatigue the ear. Do you have a two-pickup guitar, and set it to just pick up the more trebly one? If so, you might want to either reduce some of 3750-4000hz and around 2000hz and/or boost the mids some.

Great song.
posted by umbĂș at 7:08 PM on September 14, 2008

That first sentence was an editing casualty, but hopefully you get the point...
posted by umbĂș at 7:09 PM on September 14, 2008

thanks guys. I bassed up the guits a bit, centered things a bit, and reverbed up the vox. in other news, reverb is totally a verb.
posted by es_de_bah at 3:14 PM on September 17, 2008

I'm too late for Monday, but you gotta give us an update. How did she react?
posted by micayetoca at 2:16 PM on October 8, 2008

very late response:
she cried the first time she heard it.
we got engaged late november.
i now have a beautiful hand-painted guitar she made me for christmas.

still not sure if she's that big on the song....
posted by es_de_bah at 9:56 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

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