Sharkus - Tomb

July 31, 2010 9:24 PM

My first attempt bringing live instrumentation to my Garageband exodus. I have messed with making it louder, but it makes it sound way too flat, so my apologies to you and your music knobs. Either way, this is a song about a tomb. Not necessarily death, as the metaphors mix if you look too much for the meaning. Rock music does these sorts of things.

I suppose I should also apologize for some of my shoddy lead guitar, or even my not-always-tuned vocals. I'm working on it (and posting the progress is part of that).

posted by SamuraiCarChase (4 comments total)

Man, you've got all the pieces in place here, but the mix is really undermining what's otherwise a mostly a totally solid construction. Vox are way too hot compared to the rest of the mix, but really it's everything else needing to come up in the overall mix, yeah. Rhythm section is just lurking in the background throughout.

The break at about 2:00 to 2:30 kind of falls apart but it's hard to say objectively whether it's an arrangement or performance problem or if the poor mix is just failing to let things work the way they should. A big dynamic drop and a noodlier solo isn't a bad call production-wise but with this recording it's a drop from already-muted to i-can't-even-really-hear-what's-going-on so it really doesn't flatter the solo bit on top, all else aside.

I like the screamy vox element that start showing up about 2:30. It does sort of emphasize the relatively sweet-and-nasal character of the lead vox, though, and makes me wonder if you would want to consider experimenting with throwing some kind of distortion on the lead vox as well to harden up the sound a bit to better fit the tone and theme of the song. The late hook of "it's a tomb" comes off a little too, well, nice and neatly annunciated in context. Something a little more growly and loose there would sell it to me better.

What's your recording setup like? You say you had trouble bringing up the volume, and my impression listening is that your source audio might have just been recorded at a way-too-low level for everything but the vox. The good news there is that sort of stuff is really easily fixable with a little bit of experimentation.
posted by cortex at 9:16 AM on August 6, 2010

Since submitting this, I have definitely stepped up on a lot of my quality issues. Moving from just using vocals to instruments has really changed a lot of how I approach garageband, and Tomb was the proof that mixing is an area of music I have sort of ignored in my approach thus far, with the "let the sound guy worry about mixing me" giving me no years of experience in all of my gigging thus far. The way I'm approaching submitting music is to force myself to put stuff that humiliates me into doing something better, I suppose. That, and most things are mixed with a pair of headphones on that do a lot for mixing it in the first place.

My setup is an m-audio Fast Track (yes, super cheap, but I found it for a little over $100 and it's my first audio interface. i'm not wealthy enough to be lavish.) lined into my macbook. Since I live in an apartment building, I can't really blast my amp, and working weird hours forces me to just line-in and run everything that way. Just a strat, a p-bass, and an old (needing to be replaced) shure sm-58.
posted by SamuraiCarChase at 1:29 AM on August 7, 2010

Oh, man, I totally identify with that line-in-in-an-apartment approach. I did that for years, using a Fast Track USB as well. Totally serviceable little box, it does what it's supposed to and doesn't really get in the way. I only recently picked up the next beefier Fast Track because I wanted phantom power without having to go through an extra mixer/preamp (to make the whole laptop-recording thing a bit more mobile) and to get a little more direct rather than fiddly control over levels management. M-Audio makes nice little boxes.

Anyway, posting stuff you know has problems is a totally decent approach, yeah. Plus it makes for an interesting time lapse as you build up the set of recordings, which as a listener I always enjoy—being able to hear not only where someone is but where they've been in terms of production etc. is a really neat experience. Like looking at the archives of a long-running webcomic and seeing how much things have changed even if they change was so gradual that you didn't really notice it at the time.

I look forward to hearing whatever's next!
posted by cortex at 7:30 AM on August 7, 2010

Yeah the song is awesome and catchy in a good way. I agree with what's been said re: mixing issues, just keep at it!
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 5:34 PM on August 9, 2010

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