Mix Logs

Hey There Lurker

Submitted to DistroKid | Hyperfollow here

This one is part of a weekly game on the Indie Music Feedback discord server. Anyone can play, its a random genera assignment game where each person rolls a dice of around 118 possible genres, and then has a week to make a track.

The “story” of the track is a lurker wandering down a dark alley on Soundcloudand stumbling upon the Somewhat Incognito Soundcloud page. Hearing voices reflecting off the walls, a bit scared, the listener continues forward. A strange figure peeks around the corner and whispers ‘hey there lurker, do you follow me?’ as the listener gets cast into a well of off-kilter bangors, the track slowly turns more and more into a SI sound and leaves the listener a little perplexed, but now following a new found indie artist.

I rolled Orchestral, the track uses nearly all ‘Orkester Soundson NNXT samplers in Reason. This is a default set of orchestral like sounds that comes with Reason.

Orkester sounds aren’t the greatest sounding things, but I found using Valhala VintageVerb on them, along with HIKU gave a pretty good overall sound. Each layer has slightly different configurations of these 2. I selected reverbs by browsing presets and then tuning them up a bit for the track.

Current Outlook in the DAW (Reason 11) . There are 31 layers, some are sparse however, like backing takes for vocal layers on just some words. The track runs for 3:20 which is close to what I targeted at the beginning (3:30 is what I wanted). The timing consideration is mostly NOT to go long as this will be featured in a single sitting with many other artists and I don’t want to make a 8 min track and keep everyone waiting all day, but I wanted enough time to explore a few ideas within the track.

The colors start starting at the top:

Green: String Section & Piano – All strings are Orkester NNXT presets with some light changes. The piano is a ‘Processed Pianos’ preset (new in reason 11, sounds great)

Light Blue: Wind section – mostly flutes and Flutola (whatever that is)

Yellow: Brass – trumpets, trombones, and french horns

Purple – An upright bass positioned forward

Red – Percussion section – lots of things in here like wood blocks, triangles, mallets, and a few ‘cheats’ like ‘just trash’ and ‘processing’ which are NOT orkester percussion but they fill up some space I wanted better and are fairly subtle in the mix.

Tan – Vocals

On keeping the SI Sound

Most of the games and activities I do, I try to keep a profile close to the ‘Somewhat Incognito’ sound, this one deviates probably the furthest from that of all the tracks I’ve done recently. It does however (I think) pass as a Somewhat-Somewhat Incognito track and a ‘Somewhat Orchestral’ track , which is hopefully passable for the game. I plan on keeping it on my Soundcloud and putting it on Spotify with the rest of them.

It does have vocals, and lyrically its about lurkers on my Soundcloud page.

No feedback this time

It is not going through the usual feedback process to keep the track a surprise for the reveal, which I think is more fun for everyone. I will post it to my Soundcloud on the listening party day.

Mix Logs

Let Me Have Me

Submitted to DistroKid | Hyperfollow here

This track was sort of an accident. I was having a conversation on discord with Striped McCoy (If you are reading this, and have not listened to Striped McCoy, stop now and go do that and come back later… trust me).

One way or another the topic of vocal chopping came up. I don’t usually ‘chop’ much of anything and started asking questions about how its done. Got some great pointers and my immediate thought was – do it to a bass!

LOHM chimes in at this exact moment saying “Justice does this a lot”.

Now the gears are turning hard.

I fired up reason immediately and recorded a quirky bass groove with the idea I would chop and pitch bend it into a new, cool sound.

This is what the bass ended up looking like. It looks like more than it is.

Its not even close to justice bass sound, however i thought it sounded pretty cool and extended it into a chorus section, now could try new things with the mic. I wanted to try something sung loud, as well as something kind of ‘medium’ in intensity. Low intensity I did play with but nothing fit the track.

I also had just received my new SM7B microphone in the mail. I wanted to try that thing out also, so I started singing lines in over the groove.

I ALSO got wrangled into buying Guitar Rig 5 after Murr said he thought it would sound good for my sound. I got the 30 min trial version, and was sold in probably about 10 minutes of that. I did use the full 30 and get locked out. I bought it and kept going.

Guitar Rig 5 is getting really good sounding distorted guitar. It sounds near pro level to me in its quality, with fairly little effort on my part – I am happy so far with the purchase. Its used on all the vocal takes, the guitars, and one layer of the drums. All of these are on guitar rig 5 presets with little configuration.

Lyrically this is kind of an embellishment of a frustrating week I had at work the few weeks prior. Dave Grohl said in an interview once “Lyrics should be like bumper stickers.” And this track is really kind of one of those.

Main VOX:

Cut at 197 ramping down. they are whiny and I want some low there to try to balance that a bit.
Top to bottom:

3 M-Class EQ’s : These are being used to subtract db from harh tones in the take. I scan for these and pull them down.

Selig DeEsser: This helps with harsh S sounds mostly. It adds a little polish to the overall sound as well.

Guitar rig 5: Set to the ‘many vocals’ preset (so manly)

HIKU: I just put this bad boy on everything, it makes things sound more crisp and clear in the mix and thats about all i understand about what its doing. Some kind of stereo / multi band effect.

Pump: Also used heavily – its basically a sidechain simulator.


Feedback is now gathered:

Overall very positive.

Neon M Suggested a guitar solo before the last chorus – i am totally on board with this idea and am trying it out.

Several suggestions to thicken the backing vocal, and bring it back in the mix. I will try this.

Suggestion to try to slightly thicken the lower layer the verse vocals to tame the ‘whine’ slightly – going to try this.

I want to also add more drum fills – (drum repetition mentioned)

The last chorus vocal / outro still does not feel right to me.

Mix Logs

Space Grave

Submitted to DistroKid | Hyperfollow page here

I wanted to slow back down a bit and do something a little lighter than Come With Me with a less serious lyrical tone. I set the BPM to 100 and put in a drum beat.

Lyrically the concept is about the idea of us currently living in a simulation while our real selves are cryogenically frozen in space after the failure of a space mission. (i know its odd, but thats what came out.. dont know what to tell you). It was supposed to be kind of silly / dark humor, but it didn’t really come out that way. Its asking a matrix-like question of if you knew you were actually frozen in space and could be recovered, would you want to wake up from the simulation? My answer, probably no.

It posed some challenges. I got wrapped up in the idea of having that extra count before the first chorus. Spent a bunch of time just trying to get that to feel good. Im not sure it worked but i do feel like theres something in there. It pushed the rest of the track out one count into the normal grid and messed with me a bit with timings later in the track.

I’m experimenting with a new effect – Valhalla Vintage Verb – and am playing with settings, and ways of using it in general.

The more I tried to work on this, the worse I felt it was getting. I decided to let it be and close the book on the track. I like the way it sounds overall, I have a few gripes but im OK with them.

Final Version Version 2 (05-13-2020):

I’m mostly just tinkering with vocal effects and ways i can mix it, i still plan on replacing the takes. I did do some adjustments to effects and EQ and compression on various layers. I thickened up the electric bass in the first (no vocal) chorus. I adjusted the kick drum during the bass solo to better align with the bass part. My new mic comes tomorrow and I’m excited to try new takes with it (hopefully tomorrow). Testing out High-Balanced LANDR settings for more compression, which i usually do not use (this version has it, last was open-medium)

Version 1 (05-11-2020):

I got my first rounds of feedback and started making adjustments.

Vocals got a bunch of cleaning, trying to pull out anything that kind of muddies up the sound of them they still arent good. I still want to re-take them but its unclear how long my new mic is going to take to get here. They still dont fit right and need more work but i need to go to bed.

A bunch of eq’ing adjusting saturation, compression, distortion etc just to get things cleaned up a bit and finer tuned in their sound.

I will probably still work on the ending more yet, a new take possibly there with a new melody or something.

The bass solo area needs a little adjusting with timings and feel.

More tuning of effects on various layers still wanted.

Subtractive eq’ing of vocals more still needed.

Notes from feedback:
The 2nd chorus vocal needed to stick around longer
The pulsing reverb synth got to loud in db
Vocals were too hard to understand layers were clashing
The wobbly bass in the 2nd verse has mixed opinions

structure complete (05-09-2020) Theres a fair bit of refinement needed I think. The high end feels lacking still, the mix does not feel right. The vocals I want to re do when my new microphone gets here, if it takes too long i may do a new take on a SM 58 instead.

Early Concept

I got a few hours in over the weekend on it and maybe 2 hours during the week since then. So its still very early phase of the track and not quite ready to post yet.

I have posted some early exports to the IMF discord.