Categories
Mix Logs

Algorithms

Current Status: Published to streaming platforms

Check it out on spotify!

Post History:

Feedback has been gathered and revisions are being made. I’m using submithub hot or not in ‘real-time’ in a way, which is probably a bad idea. I bought some credits on there and put it in for 50 feedbacks. It’s been overall doing well, however my grades on ‘production quality’ are low, lower than I expected. I thought I would average in the 70’s. I know im not as good is some other projects, but I feel like im upper middle tier in production quality the 70-80 range. (if there were even a tier system).

I made a bunch of adjustments to get the vocals to sit a little better, I widened up the overall sound , just because it seems like its commonly used in other things im listening to on hot or not.

I swapped the file and am now waiting to see if the rate of upvotes to downvotes changes on there.

Current status of Hot or Not Survey…. i think its a decent ratio but ide like to have a higher number on the production quality score. Im going to focus on that one.

When thinking about doing a track about algorithms , and discussing it on discord, I brought up how it was a difficult word for a song. I thought about various ways it could be said… I did the best I could with it. I did get a submithub comment on this that made me laugh:

BIG OOF on that comment. HAHA! I still like the track myself and think it does a good job of what i set out to do.

On the track

This week on discord, a discussion about the Reddit algorithm came up. We were sort of talking about how there is no way to change how a subreddit behaves in its rankings.

A few days layer Gerry Wass pings me with a note that it might a cool track concept around the idea of “bow down to the algorithm”. Gerry .and I have some history with ‘challenges’, Wish Upon You, was a track I made in direct response to his suggestion to make a ‘vocal forward’ track. It was the first track where I really tried to use lyrics and singing as the main focus and feature. I very much still like that track and think its got a great vibe and message, and It got me out of my shell a little, so I appreciate it for that also.

I told him I would give it a shot, and I’m glad I did. Last week I was talking about timing posts to get position 1 on the IMF subreddit, where you are put onto subscribers ‘front page’ of Reddit, exposing my post to many more people. Most of my soundcloud plays come from Reddit posts, the better they do , the more people hear me in general.

I used Gerry’s idea to make this a light-hearted, dark comedy of sorts, that speaks to musicians out there trying to get heard, which is kind of a running theme in general with this project.

I did a bunch of new things on this track, and included most of the things I have learned up until this point all at once. Im applying pre-mastering for the first time on this release. Im using Ozone to try to widen out the stereo field.

Im also using trackspacer for the first time, ill write more about it later, but its a mixing tool that offers some pretty fantastic ways to bring out parts of a mix.

Whats new with the mastering?

I tried to make the track wider overall, and much wider in the chorus sections for clear sonic divide between the two sections.

I usually apply 0 mastering at all myself, I just export with master bypassed and put it into landr.

Im using the Izotope tools to widen the whole track as part of the master effects chain. I still dont fully understand this and will be playing with it more.

Mid Verse

Mid Chorus – trying to see if i can make the stereo field spread wide and even in the chorus sections, and narrow back in on the verse sections

The Vocals

I put more time into vocal production on this one than i usually do by a good amount. Both in trying to get things to sit in the mix in a way i liked. Its still not great but I think its sounding at least half decent.

I want to record more vocals for the verses, I don’t think ill get an opportunity to do takes like this until the weekend. In the meantime I’m playing with effects, processing, busing the tracks and doing things to that.

I’m starting to think i can maybe get away without new takes by doing a more variety with effects and layers throughout the verses, especially the second one.

The first version did not have the ‘can you get me in the algorithm’ hook lines in the chorus, I added these after I got feedback to try to get a ‘certifiable hook’, I knew what the feedback was saying.

Categories
Mix Logs

Fake Authority

Current Status: Mixing in Progress (Mix Version 2 on Soundcloud)

Mix 2 notes aren’t made yet, deal with it (for now) I will put them in later this week.

Mix 1 Notes

I made some fairly large mix related changes from the WIP going into mix one. Feedback review left me with a short list of key items to focus on:

1- Vocals / lyrics in the first verse & verses in general
2- Width of the mix, Too much in the mid range
3- 2:00 breakdown is a favorite – what else can i do with this
4- Compression / levels of the master and mix
5- Intro guitar too bland

I did a pass focusing on these 5 items. I re-recorded the vocals in the verses , I removed the harsher distorted layer from the entire track.

Stereo imagers and panning were used on many layers, some maxed out fully:

The Percussion:

5 Drum machines, each played on my new AKAI MPD218 – its so much fun!


I got one of these this week, I am loving this thing. I always had played in my drums on the piano, this just feels more natural to do, and allows for easier rolls and fills.

The Guitars (its not me):

This is a dr rex patch that I layed out the chord progressions on. I cant play it cleanly enough with either my technique, or the guitar itself. My only electric guitar hums like crazy and I cant yet figure it out. This is the same way I started Put it Online, and it was the first thing I made when starting in on the track.

The Electric Bass (it is me):

These I record in DI and use guitar rig 5 on, im double stacking GR5 on many of the layers for a big ass sound (suggested by LOHM).
This is that Muse like heavy heavy bass distortion, guitar rigs in the chain.


The Sub Bass:

Sitting underneath the electric bass, is the sub bass, that super low ATARI game sounding bendy bass. It fills up the ultra low part of the sound and offers a good amount of character that I think enhances the groove.
This is a preset square bass, Im adding some extra grit with softube saturation knob, and bringing out the wavetable like sound more with HIKI. The eq is removing some of the 1-4k ish range to open up that area a bit, the low end is being boosted hard here, it does have a HPF cut on it on the channel at 35hz, i may bring this up more.

Higher EQ Things:

This group represents things that sit higher in the eq, synths, theres a little left panned bass line in the 2:00 bridge (green) other parts are synths and strings.

Intro

I made this track on the weekend of 07/18/2020. The track is currently out for feedback on both reddit and discord IMF communities. I usually stage feedback, but will do one round for this track. I have some new ideas developing around how soundcloud treats a posts age. Early activity seems to give more overall plays over time. Im seeing if I concentrate ALL my feedback plays into a short timeframe, does it change how the SC algorithm behaves? – This probably wont answer that question, but it might give us a peek.

I had been struggling to find a new concept or groove that I wanted to make a track out of for almost 2 weeks. I went through probably, 5 partial track ideas before landing on this one, I threw all those out. I may revisit some but it just was not feeling it.

Saturday morning I went to try again and decided to start with the same process that I used on Put It Online using the Dr. Rex and guitar samples in Reason. The groove started to come togeather.. and I was into it – FINALLY!!! haha!

I didnt know what to do for the lyrics, i am not a political person , and this has some clear political undertones. I asked my 4 year old what the song should be about and he said ‘a monster with big hands and a big face’. The original take literally said just that, but it started to conceptually make sense. The idea of ‘Fake Authority’ or kind of dominant leadership that has probably skipped in line through education and life to get where they are. I think it could work from either side in a political persons viewpoint, and decided to just go with it despite having reservations.

Production wise, there were a few things I wanted to try on this track. One was double stacking Guitar Rig 5 on a bass wit ha DI bass preset being the first of the stack. LOHM suggested i try this to get ‘really phat’ bass. I LOVE the way it sounds its super full and robust.

I also listened to the new Oliver Tree album this week, the way they processed his vocals got my attention. I wanted to try heavy handed saturation layers to see if it sounded like tracks of his (for the produced sound).

I also picked up Trackspacer – which is not yet in use – I plan on using this in my mixing phase to bring out the vocals more, and maybe a few other things.

More detailed screens and information about the production coming soon.

My reddit post for feedback is here:

Categories
Mix Logs

Weird Day

This track was made week of 4th of July 2020.

I was reviewing my stats for the last few months, some of my top played tracks on soundcloud are faster bpm / electronic leaning tracks with an industrial vibe (Come With Me, Stir Crazy, Waiting on Forever). I thought I would do another one along these lines and see if the trend could continue or not, I bumped the BPM up to 135 and started in on a new track.

I started with the quirky electric bass line, which is actually not a real bass. I used reason electric basses for it. I preferred the programmed / fakeish sound for the style of the track. I played it in on my Keystation 61, and quantized aggressively.

There is no main standout part of this track, I think this is a ‘production track’ in that its not about the lyrics, the bass playing, or solos, its just a wild and over-the-top production that is fun to listen to.

I wanted to spend more time in Izotope Trash, and used it a lot on this track. Trash has a lot of presets to browse, i started with combing through those while the track was playing to see what it did mix wise. I found a few i liked and put them it on various layers and places.

I’m going to start twitch streaming production as i do it, its not the most entertaining thing to watch, but it makes a nice video record of what im up to and in a way people can watch and ask question in real-time. I think its a good fit for the project. I will post 2 twitch videos per track , for a bit. First in early phases, and another one while working on feedback revisions.

Twitch VODS:

Updates after feedback review: Trying to extend the track, and bringing out the kick (night 1)

Compiled feedback and change idea review

Some of building the track on day 1

Just a small section of the rack, its huge as usual. Heres that electric bass mentioned above (bottom left. Its a ‘fake real bass’ with an amp, saturation , HIKU, and a pump.)

There are 7 drum kits used, these i play in segments via my keystation. Some percussive sections repeat and others i play all the way through for more variation. A big part of the ‘Somewhat Incognito’ sound (i think) is the densely layered percussion, and my style of doing it.

Several Serum synths, 3 Complex-1’s , A fake real bass, Tons of percussion, and layers of VOX. And some recorded guitar and shaker eggs.

The “POOF” Snare

Those 4 poofs on the bottom were Murr‘s idea, I love them- I learned something new here, there is a beatboxing term for a “PF Snare“. And when murr suggested a POOF im honestly not sure if this is what he meant. Some googling lead me to a term called “PF Snare”. I didnt know what this was until this track, and Murr‘s comment. Its basically a hard P and F sound at the same time beatbox style to make a PFFT kinda sounding vocal snare. I love the idea and what they do in the song (they hit at the end of first verse every other bar. However i need to work on them in regards to the mix a bit more i think. I think I want it to sound like its coming from all directions more, more high end to it as well.

I did a bunch of them in a row into my SM7B microphone. I took 2 that I liked and split them into 4 total layers.

I have not yet put the track out for feedback. I want to work on it a bit more yet before doing that. The 2nd verse needs more variation. I think might want to double the 2nd chorus and make it evolve a bit in the 2nd pass before ending.

In the context of the song, its a garnish of detail, but one i really like:

The distorted guitar part at the beginning is 2 layers panned and with varying guitar rig presets. Its got a really cool sound to it i think and fits in the mix well.

The High Voice

Getting those silly voice effects out of Nepune pitch adjuster. Its set to A Natural Minor with a 5 semi ton upwared transpose, and an uptick on the formant shift. Correction speed is set to high to make it more synthetic.

I’m using trash to get some extra character to the higher frequencies of it. Nectar to clean it up and even it out, pump to open space, and a retro transformer just because i thought it sounded cooler like that.

Theres a few things i think are part of my ‘sound’ at this point, which is the pump and HIKU, I use them EVERYWHERE The rest of the ‘high voice’ vocal is all this chain above. Neptune is doing the high voice part. Audiomatic Retro Transformer gets some tape like texture to it. Trash is distorting it a bit.

The MASSIVE Synth

There is this huge thumping kick drum like synth that hits throughout the track and is the most dominant sonic force in the layering. Its a serum preset called Downunder with PHATstat saturation, HIKU, and PUMP added in the reason rack.

The part is played on a keyboard and quantized.

Categories
Mix Logs

Mini Vacay

I wrote and recorded this song between 06/23/2020 and 06/30/2020

Released.

Now on all streaming services

Final Note:

I didn’t do many extra passes on this one. I listened to it a bunch of times, and yeah , there are for sure problems with the mix. Theres still static in the bass guitar part, the ending doesn’t land on its feet, the vocals in the ending you can hear the headphones. I did run some extra de-essing before publishing, but other than that I decided to let the track be. Overall I am happy with the track and enjoy it.


Feedback Gathering is now in progress. I posted to IMF reddit, I made some adjustments after discord community review and posted it a day or so later. I also added the sub bass layer to the outro after review, its much better with that bass there.

The post is located here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/IndieMusicFeedback/comments/hj9ru2/somewhat_incognito_mini_vacay_i_miss_vacations/

This one didn’t get a ton of momentum with upvotes or comments. I however did get a couple more mentions of bringing the vocals out more. I think the 2nd pass when the vocoder layers exist needs some attention on the ‘primary’ vocal. Also the pre-chorus builds aren’t where I want yet.

I think the track is technically ‘structure complete’ , i may extend the outro a bit longer yet.

Things I want to do yet include :

Fluff up the pre-chorus guitar riff build that drops into the chorus (in 2 different ways , 1 for each time)

More EQ and effects passes tuning up the mix

Possibly record a new set of vocals for the 2nd verse. (I may not)

About the track:

This is the first ‘real track’ (bass house isn’t a real track) that uses Serum as the primary synth. I showed it in this weeks live community review session in Discord. Moonglow suggested bumping up the vocals so I went back in, and did some work to bring them out more all around.

On the Lyrics.

Its a straightforward summer bop, a crowd pleaser of a wonky pop tune. I started this track with the intro bass riff, a very simple pop-punk esq distorted chug that carrys on through the first verse. I did a short weekend trip last weekend (it wasnt a city trip) and the idea for a song about short trips in general came to me. I live in eastern PA and think about the kinds of things people might do on the weekend, a trip to Philly is a common thing to do). I already have a song about vacations (Big Break) it was the first song I did as ‘somewhat incognito’ and its nearing in on a 1 year, I think a having 2 vacation songs is ok… right?