Beware of Darkness

February 18, 2007 5:52 AM

First of all, hello.. long time mefi reader/listener and I just registered a few days ago. I heard this song for the first time about a month ago (don't laugh) and fell in love with it. I've listened mainly to the acoustic version and only a few times to the other version. I couldn't sleep tonight so I recorded this version, which is kind of a mix between the two. Let me know what you think about it, (ie: do I suck at guitar / singing / recording / making posts, etc...).

posted by dujoducom (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Don't feel bad about not having heard this until last month. More embarrassingly, I've heard Spock's Beard do this -- it is, in fact the title track of their second album -- and didn't realize it was originally a George Harrison song until I just now Googled it. (I highly recommend the Beard's version, just BTW.)

This is a pretty nice arrangement -- is that a real violin or synth? Either way, it works great. I think the vocals are a little off-key in places, though. You've doubled the vocal, it sounds like, which generally works to make the vocal sound ethereal and intriguing, but in spots your two takes drift off-key in different directions, which is distracting.
posted by kindall at 8:36 AM on February 18, 2007

First of all you don't suck, and even if you did, that's kinda besides-the-point of Mefi Music as I understand it.

It's funny that all 4 of the things that you mention are all improved by the same activity: practice.

I think your guitar playing is fine, but a bit uneven. This is something that plagues 99.997% of musicians to some degree, so don't sweat it. If you don't have one, get an electronic metronome that has a light and also lets you plug in an earpiece, and set it and listen to it in one ear as you strum along. It's not particularly fun, and lots of people bristle at fundamentals, but it will go a long way towards evening your "internal clock".

Did you sing and play at the same time on this track, or record them separately? I think your singing is okay but just much too timid, and you seem to be struggling with some pitch issues. I think some of that is you being too restrained and not breathing. You can sing SOFTLY whilst still using lots of air and supporting your tone. Try this: singing is all about the diaphragm; get a deep belly full of air, and use as much air as possible to sing as quietly as possible, to where it still sounds like "singing" and not just breathing. Your diaphragm and breath control are the bedrock that your vocal chords rest upon. Also remember that since you are using a microphone, you can always sing a bit louder and just turn the level down.

Another way of saying this is that you should be working every bit as hard, if not harder, when singing softly as singing loudly. Singing soft is the hardest thing you do as a vocalist.

It almost sounds (to me) like you recorded the vocals first and then the guitar part. I'd strongly recommend the opposite. That acoustic guitar will really help your pitch if you let it.

Your recording is fine. That is also a skill which is never truly maximized. There is always room for improvement. But you're doing the right thing, recording things, and listening to other things here. There are some posters on MuFi that do simply amazing things on "home" equipment.

Glad to have you here. Keep posting.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:44 AM on February 18, 2007

I'm glad you decided to sign up and that you posted this here. I haven't heard the original, but this one sounds lovely man, definitely keep them coming.
posted by micayetoca at 10:37 AM on February 18, 2007

Thanks for the great feedback! It's nice to have some objective criticism. Those are some good observations / tips Yonaxs and kindall. I'm definitely more confident in my guitar abilities than my vocal abilities which I've just started testing in the past year or so. It seems that there are just some note changes that I have a really hard time hitting consistently and it can really spoil the performance, or in this case recording. And even though I don't think I'm tone deaf there are some times when I really can't tell I've gone off key unless someone points it out to me and I adjust to hear the difference. It usually happens at the start of a new note where there is kind of a pitch adjustment that I make getting to the correct note.

I'll give those singing tips a try Ynoxas, I'm pretty much completely untrained in singing, I've read a couple articles online and have gone through a lot of trial and error. I can say that I'm far far better than I was a year ago, so it's nice to see progress ;)

Funny you should mention playing guitar while singing, I recorded the guitar first and then the vocals, but I did it separately so I would have more individual control over the guitar and vocals after they are recorded. I've found that I sing better while playing the guitar though, so I usually hold the guitar in my hands and "strum" air while I sing.. it works to a certain extent but I think I'm still better while actually playing.

The strings (there is a violin and a bass) are both synth, I was messing around with the modulation wheel on my midi controller to get some variation and I think it really helped a lot to give them more character/emotion.

Micayetoca, you should definitely check out the original versions, they are great!!

If I can finish some originals I'd love to post them and get feedback!
posted by dujoducom at 6:48 PM on February 18, 2007

Sorry I'm late to the party, Wow! This is a beautiful song and I think you nailed it down really well. There were some moments of true greatness there. There was NO suck here at all. Awesome first post!
posted by snsranch at 4:37 PM on February 19, 2007

I just found this through the randomized player and I quite like it.
posted by micayetoca at 1:42 PM on March 31, 2009

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