September 8, 2012 6:31 PM

OK, this is a shitty mix, I freely admit, but I need to draw a line under it for the moment. Features an underwhelming banjo solo -- in fact the only thing I can play on the banjo as yet -- and a bunch of notes I really can't hit, but I still like it for the way it kicks off at about 1'45, and in particular the lift at 2'20. It's a hell of a lot of fun to play live too.

I've been working on this song for ages but I could never sing the middle bit, until I took a couple of singing lessons. I'm still not totally on top of the pitches but it's a lot better than it was.

I really like the piano part on this but I can't make it sit in the mx without drowning everything else out. And the fucking banjo wants to dominate everything.

posted by unSane (6 comments total)

Words & Music © 2011 J Brownlow

Your voice tonight, it sounds a thousand miles away
Your words are in my ear
Things that I can't hear
And silence tells me that there's nothing left to say
So darkness falls upon
A place the sun once shone, and shone

From the shadows of what's left behind you
I hope this song will find you
And if it's too late to rewind you
I hope the sun don't blind you

If I was God I'd resurrect you from the clay
But I am just a man
I've done everything I can
But I still think of you a thousand times a day
Your love is gone
But mine goes on and on and on and on and on


'cause I would give my soul to see that sun again.
Yeah, I would give my soul to see that sun again.
Yeah, I would give my soul to have you back again.


Banjo solo


posted by unSane at 7:31 PM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's a good song here, but (and forgive me) I'm not sure about the arrangement. It's kind of trying to climb and soar but it's plateau-ing and kind of losing momentum. I reckon one solution here is to pare things down a bit - I think you could lose a good minute out of this, maybe two. Be bold. It's something I'm trying to do more: make your statement(s) and move on to the next one before the buggers can even draw breath.

Anyway, fwiw, I'd start with the banjo instead of the guitar accompaniment. That way the banjo solo doesn't appear as a kind of "whathefuckisthis?" thing later on. And your vocals are being swamped in the more intense bits. That's either you not being confident enough to push the faders up at that point have too much intrumentation going on....or too much competing in the same frequency bands (this I suspect is the culprit).......or maybe all of those things?

And it's maybe too that you're kind of playing a lot of arpeggiated patterns under the vocal and it maybe tends to get a bit tangled? The vocal melody is strong enough not to need intricate support - simple chordal rhythm might be clearer?

I don't need to tell you that loads of overdubs don't usually mean that things get more powerful - they just get more messy and blurred. In my experience the right instrument or inversions or whatever is all you need - piling stuff on....nope. A cranked up electric guitar would perhaps underscore the intense bits more effectively than the stereo-panned acoustics and piano (and the finger-picking still going on too).

Oh and I'd also roll off some low-mid on your vocals - that'll maybe help to make them cut a bit more in the mix. Maybe a 3 - 4 dB cut at about 500Hz and a little 1 dB boost at about 2.25kHz.....or something? Are you using a HPF on the vocals?

Hope you don't take any of that the wrong way mate - you know I'm fond of your material, so this is genuinely trying to help.
posted by MajorDundee at 12:59 PM on September 9, 2012

Yeah, re mix, this is pretty hopeless, I admit, but I ran out of time and needed to get something printed since God knows when I'll have time to come back to this. It was really a demo for the band to get them up to speed on a new song.

Re arrangement -- it's all working for me up to 3'00 and the banjo solo. The obvious thing to do is just end on a double chorus after the bridge and forget about the banjo, but it's way too abrupt for my taste.

What I really want is for the banjo to come storming in and kick your ass into tomorrow. There's a roll that does that but I can't do it consistently... still practising it.

I had idly thought about starting with the banjo instead of the resonator but it's not quite as pretty a part and I kind of wanted to lull the listener into a false sense of lethargy.

You may be right about all the arpeggios. The piano is acting as a kind of pad so one thought was to swap that out for pump organ.

I quite like the sense of space when the panned acoustics come in, but they are probably too hot and could be EQd so they're just tinkling away on the highs.

On the vox I deliberately tried not cutting the mids for once, to make it a bit warmer. But I was also singing super close to the mic so the proximity effect probably exaggerated the mids. There is an HPF on the vocals at about 80-100 Hz, basically just below the point where you start to hear it.
posted by unSane at 4:49 PM on September 9, 2012

PS Major, thanks for listening and -- to you and anyone else -- feel free to lay into my stuff as much as you like. I never take criticism personally -- if I think you're right, great, you helped me make it better... if I think you're wrong, hey ho, we'll both live.
posted by unSane at 4:57 PM on September 9, 2012

PPS Major, where are you in the UK? I have a couple of UK projects now and might be spending a bit more time there over the next few months. We owe each other quite a few beers.
posted by unSane at 4:58 PM on September 9, 2012

Near Bristol unS - I'll get 'em in...
posted by MajorDundee at 12:41 PM on September 19, 2012

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