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I'm back from the grave and I've been making music. I'd love some constructive feedback

iglidanteiglidante Registered User
edited May 2012 in Artist's Corner
I wrote and recorded this new song, "Help Me Make It Through The Night", on Saturday. I tweaked it on Sunday, and a bit more today (Monday). Now, I think I'm ready to get some outside feedback. I know there aren't that many musicians in the AC, but I've gotten some good pointers before, so I figured I'd share this WIP and see if anyone had any thoughts.

The style is 80s/New Wave, if you're curious. Everything you hear is by me.

Posts

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    This is pretty good. One thing that stands out to me is that the vocals are getting lost in all the instrumentation. The whole thing sounds pretty 'dense' to me, which isnt necessarily a bad thing if you can make sure the vocals get their due.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    I liked it overall, but had two small nitpicks.

    1) They keyboard that starts in the intro (the dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee) that's overlaid on the guitar is really, really annoying and out of place. It's not so much the tone that's being made, but the instrument. The guitar sounds good, and that ruins the guitar.

    I dig that it's 80's/New Wave, but it sounds like when you're singing you're trying really hard to imitate a voice or accent, almost like you're trying to be Hugh Grant in Music and Lyrics. It sounds like it's not your natural tone and pronunciation, so you might want to try another track singing more naturally. Your voice is really nice though.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    This is pretty good. One thing that stands out to me is that the vocals are getting lost in all the instrumentation. The whole thing sounds pretty 'dense' to me, which isnt necessarily a bad thing if you can make sure the vocals get their due.

    I really have been fighting to get my voice mixed well, but it has been difficult to say the least. I'm not the strongest singer, and I have a hard time making my voice stand out without it being shrill or overpowering. I do love dense mixes, I admit.

  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    I liked it overall, but had two small nitpicks.

    1) They keyboard that starts in the intro (the dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee) that's overlaid on the guitar is really, really annoying and out of place. It's not so much the tone that's being made, but the instrument. The guitar sounds good, and that ruins the guitar.

    I'm not sure what you mean here. The intro is an electric guitar playing arpeggiated chords (left channel), bass (center), and another electric guitar playing a lead riff (right channel). Which did you not like?
    I dig that it's 80's/New Wave, but it sounds like when you're singing you're trying really hard to imitate a voice or accent, almost like you're trying to be Hugh Grant in Music and Lyrics. It sounds like it's not your natural tone and pronunciation, so you might want to try another track singing more naturally. Your voice is really nice though.

    Hmm. I do sing in a different voice than I speak, and I'm not trained in any way, so I sort of have a few different ways of pronouncing things depending on my mood. This is another song where you can really hear my voice well, but that I sang in a different way (I think). Do you think it sounds more natural?

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Its ok to have a lot of instruments and sounds, but make sure everything has space. You can do this with panning and frequency cuts and stuff. That way you dont have tons of instruments all fighting for the same sonic space which can turn things into mud. I mean, for the style of music, you will want some of it to a certain extent, maybe the keys and guitars overlaying to make them blend together, but the vocals should have their own little pocket of sound.

  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    Its ok to have a lot of instruments and sounds, but make sure everything has space. You can do this with panning and frequency cuts and stuff. That way you dont have tons of instruments all fighting for the same sonic space which can turn things into mud. I mean, for the style of music, you will want some of it to a certain extent, maybe the keys and guitars overlaying to make them blend together, but the vocals should have their own little pocket of sound.

    I tried to do that, scooping frequencies and boosting others, to give everything its own space - but it sounds like I didn't do enough of it.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    iglidante wrote: »
    I liked it overall, but had two small nitpicks.

    1) They keyboard that starts in the intro (the dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee) that's overlaid on the guitar is really, really annoying and out of place. It's not so much the tone that's being made, but the instrument. The guitar sounds good, and that ruins the guitar.

    I'm not sure what you mean here. The intro is an electric guitar playing arpeggiated chords (left channel), bass (center), and another electric guitar playing a lead riff (right channel). Which did you not like?
    I dig that it's 80's/New Wave, but it sounds like when you're singing you're trying really hard to imitate a voice or accent, almost like you're trying to be Hugh Grant in Music and Lyrics. It sounds like it's not your natural tone and pronunciation, so you might want to try another track singing more naturally. Your voice is really nice though.

    Hmm. I do sing in a different voice than I speak, and I'm not trained in any way, so I sort of have a few different ways of pronouncing things depending on my mood. This is another song where you can really hear my voice well, but that I sang in a different way (I think). Do you think it sounds more natural?

    god yes... voice in song #2 is so much better. Use that voice when you sing. That was a good song.

    and what I'm talking about in song 1 is the 10 quick notes that sound like you're spamming a key on an old casio electric keyboard starting at second 3 which goes over the soft guitar underneath. They don't compliment each other. I'd try removing that track. I personally think it would sound better. It's your music though : )

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    Oh shit, I know what you're referring to now: That's actually a little bit of the lead guitar that I flipped and chopped up to create an odd intro sound. I thought it was kind of fun, but I can see how maybe it's not the best fit. I'll have to think about that one a while, I guess.

    As for my singing: The problem that I run into is that my voice changes a lot depending on how softly/forcefully I'm projecting, and what notes I'm trying to hit. The song you liked was a soft acoustic arrangement, so I was able to sing very quietly and enunciate things differently. When I raise my voice (I guess it's my chest voice, when I get louder), it gets sharp and almost yelp-y, if that makes any sense. Basically, I've got...four, I guess...timbres:

    - Soft, low, and gravely, where the pitch almost gets lost (example)
    - Cleaner, with more clear pitch (example, that you already listened to)
    - Loud and clear (the song I originally posted)
    - Loud and shouty (example, wait for the chorus)

    I literally do not know what to do with my voice half the time (maybe more than half the time), so when I do land on a result that I like, I feel really lucky.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    The loud and shouty and the second one you posted that I liked both sound good, and they both sound like your voice. Soft and gravely and loud and clear sound like you're trying to ape Marylin Manson or a British new wave accent. Pitch, tone, etc are all fine, they just come out feeling forced because it's obvious you're trying to perform them in a style.

    You've got a good voice, just stick to the way it naturally sounds, (Loud and Shouty, Cleaner with pitch)

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    You've got a good voice, just stick to the way it naturally sounds, (Loud and Shouty, Cleaner with pitch)

    I think the reason it sometimes sounds like I'm aping a British accent is that I started singing by imitating one of my favorite singers (Ken Lloyd), and his delivery has a lot of British touches. So, I got used to my vowels coming out that way, and I actually have to consciously force the pronunciation that sounds more natural to your ears. The unnatural one is what comes out without any thought. I used to do the low, gravely style exclusively because it was all I was comfortable doing.

    I really appreciate the compliment, but know that I apply a LOT of pitch correction to my voice to get it to stay in line. It's my weakest link by far.

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Oh yeah, just listened to the second song and the voice sounds much better. It sounds much more open and less forced and much more natural. You might want to consider doing a few sessions with a vocal coach. That can make a huge difference in how relaxed the singing can come out. I can hear in the second song what you are talking about... that you have to work at it. A couple of sessions with a vocal coach and you'll go from being a good signer to wow i think.

  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    Oh yeah, just listened to the second song and the voice sounds much better. It sounds much more open and less forced and much more natural. You might want to consider doing a few sessions with a vocal coach. That can make a huge difference in how relaxed the singing can come out. I can hear in the second song what you are talking about... that you have to work at it. A couple of sessions with a vocal coach and you'll go from being a good signer to wow i think.

    That second song, Triumph and Sin, was my favorite vocal recording for a while. I recorded it back in December. I'm always trying something new, trying to see if I can get a better sound. I've considered doing an entire album of acoustic tracks, but I can never seem to write that many of them.

    I know you're right about vocal coaching. To be completely honest, it kind of scares me. I've made quite a few songs since I started singing, but I've never actually sung in front of anyone. I get nervous even recording my singing when my roommate is in the apartment upstairs with the door shut. I know that's silly, though.

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