My Money's Worth In Blood

July 22, 2010 3:23 PM

So, I've been experimenting with writing and recording pop music - currently in my bedroom with garageband. I'm an amateur. I may have gotten a little effect happy on this one. But hey, it's a start.

So yeah, I'm an old school kind of composer. But I'm trying my hand and doing some pop-rocking. So I thought, what the hell, I'll throw this up on MeFi. Brutal honesty is very welcome.

The song itself was inspired by a story I heard on NPR about a battalion in a remote part of Iraq and how bored they all were because they had nothing to do, and they hoped to get shot at so they could at least have some excitement.

posted by Lutoslawski (8 comments total)

Lutoslawski: "Brutal honesty is very welcome. "

The piano is not in the same acoustic space as the rest, as if the piano was in one room and everything else was in another. I double checked to see if I was not playing two pieces of music at once at first. If you didn't want this effect, it might work to run your master channel through a light reverb and maybe also an extremely subtle waveshaper or tube distortion.
posted by idiopath at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2010

You're totally right. Something was wrong with the piano mix and I couldn't place it. Honestly, I'm not even sure how I want it to sound, but I was definitely not going for a piano in the adjoining room sound!

So you think it would be better to run the master channel through reverb or distortion, or just the piano track?
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:09 PM on July 23, 2010

Pop music is more tricky than most people think it is. I applaude that, first of all. And to add my two cents; you're using a keyboard (and not a piano), which is fine, but the stock reverb and the artificial overtones don't really compliment the landscape you have with the rest of the track. Throwing a little dissipation (i.e. reverb and such) on the keys, and seeing if you can turn off the overtones in the settings of your keyboards (depending on how sophisticated your setup is) could make the world of difference.
posted by SamuraiCarChase at 12:11 PM on July 23, 2010

Thanks Samurai! I'm using a Roland RD700. I can't remember what settings I was using for this recording, but it was more than likely just the standard grand setting. I messed with it a little after I recorded it. I'm not sure how to turn off the overtones - but now that you've brought that up I hear that too. Gotta figure that out. Any other suggestions for getting the Roland to sound as close to a real piano as possible?
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:52 PM on July 23, 2010

(I guess this is why most bands have producers for their records. It's tough to hear your own music in any kind of objective light).
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:54 PM on July 23, 2010

Depending on the program you are using, you might be able to simply line-in your keyboard and see if the audio software will override it for you. That's my thought.
posted by SamuraiCarChase at 1:00 PM on July 23, 2010

You can cut down overtones on an existing track with a low pass filter. I suggested running the master channel to a light reverb (and optionally a very light distortion or waveshape after the reverb) because before it was an "effect" it was designed for creating a simulated space so that a group of electronic instruments recorded line in direct to tape could sound like they were ringing out in the same space (your ears can tell if things are sounding out in multiple simultaneous spaces, and it is a novel and not always desired effect). You may even want to just solo the current keyboard track in the same room that you recorded the vocals in, and then record that with a mic (then the two would sound more "together" than thay do now), then mix that with the current keyboard track, or replace the keyboard track that way.
posted by idiopath at 9:12 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

idiopath: "solo the current keyboard track in the same room that you recorded the vocals in, and then while recording that with a mic"
posted by idiopath at 9:13 PM on July 23, 2010

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