Hi everyone,

The following short piece is the result of a project from the area I'm in where people were asked to talk about their town. This was in celebration of the play 'Our Town', which was at the auditorium. 

Anyway, I used electronic sounds with a girls voice who spoke about her town and her family. The track isn't mastered yet so it might be a bit quiet. In fact, unless you have great speakers, you may want to do headphones. Those of you who are electronic music savvy, give me your tips on what is working or if a sound could be tweaked. I'm using the program Reason. Then, I'll take general ideas on the piece as a whole.

Thanks!

NowItGetsSeriouslyDark.mp3

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Replies

  • There are some aspects of this I like. It fits in with the modern "Chill" style (slow music without a lot of melody, but with lots of other sounds blended in, including human voice) which I am a big fan of. The melody is interesting and the voice is interesting. I think there's a germ of something strong here. IMO the piece could use more "layers" - that is, more sound - perhaps percussion (which features heavily in a lot of Chill) or other types of sounds. As it stands I found there is not enough going on as the piece develops to keep my interest fully. Thanks for posting and please continue!

  • That's a good comment, thank you. With your suggestions I think maybe a drone could fill it out in places and maybe some ambient percussion sounds. I'm working on a different project with voices, horn, and water sounds that I may have you listen to when it is complete. Thanks for your suggestions!

    Gav Brown said:

    There are some aspects of this I like. It fits in with the modern "Chill" style (slow music without a lot of melody, but with lots of other sounds blended in, including human voice) which I am a big fan of. The melody is interesting and the voice is interesting. I think there's a germ of something strong here. IMO the piece could use more "layers" - that is, more sound - perhaps percussion (which features heavily in a lot of Chill) or other types of sounds. As it stands I found there is not enough going on as the piece develops to keep my interest fully. Thanks for posting and please continue!

    NowItGetsDark (electronic only piece)
    Hi everyone, The following short piece is the result of a project from the area I'm in where people were asked to talk about their town. This was in…
  • Hi Kristofer, I am trying to grasp what you are saying. I appreciate your comments. Maybe my description was confusing, but this wasn't a piece for stage. In general, I tried to make the words match up with what is happening musically, and actually the music was composed after the words were chosen. Any singing you here actually comes from the same track of this girl talking about her town and family. I just used a vocoder to force the pitch to change. Generally, everything you hear are only cuts from the original track. Sometimes the voice is electronically slowed down, distorted, pitched, etc.

    As far as effects go, what did you hear in regard that you would call "childish?" I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm just wondering what you heard. 

    This is probably the third or fourth thing I have done with voice, and if I'm understanding you correctly, I agree with you. The spoken words and the ambient/melodic sounds seem separate. I will look into ways to mix them better. I think having this track mastered would help with that too.

    Thank you for listening, Kristofer.

  • Riley, while I was listening to your song, I was reminded of the Chill song "Sleep at the Swamp," by Potlatch. It has spoken word, song, dreamy music, and all sorts of subtle background sounds. I consider it a successful work because despite the fact that it mostly consists of the same elements repeated over and over, there are subtle variances - sometimes the percussion is there, sometimes it drops out - every now and then a new sound suddenly appears - the rapper/singer has a mesmerizing voice - and the fidelity/production values are top-notch. It maintains my interest for over 7 minutes http://youtu.be/S2TlqOzJJoQ

  • Thanks for clarifiying. As with everything in music, art, theater, etc. it is about intent. Jackson Pollock could be reduced to childish when compared to the technique used by Manet. I have been to the museum and heard passersby use the phrase "my ___ year old could have painted that." That's hard to listen to. I would urge you to reconsider that language when discussing music because much of it has to do with intent and how you feel when you listen. Of course you are right that pop music would sound strange as piano reduction, but it isn't meant for that arrangement and it shouldn't be judged that way. 

    I do agree that there is some balancing to be done with this piece yet. The piece is about a marriage between the musical and atmospheric elements, so that definitely needs to happen to make certain aspects of it work. One challenge I am finding also with this kind of music, which you may be able to verify, is that much of your experience also depends on how you listen to it. If you listen to Pink Floyd on your laptop speakers, it is a much different experience than listening to them on a set of good speakers. This is similar to the vinyl vs. digital issue as well. There are so many possible set-ups in the home and elsewhere.

    I do appreciate your insight Kristofer, and that stage actor analogy is great. I will work on making the mix more convincing. Thanks!


    Kristofer P.D.Q. Emerig said:

    Riley,

    I believe I actually stated that, at times, although they did a good job at montages of voice, sound effects, etc, Pink Floyd even failed to come off as completely convincing, thus childish, to me. 

    What I mean by childish, or unconvincing, is not that their idea (or yours presented here), is without merit at its core, but that if you are successful in the atmosphere you are trying to achieve, the listener should not be thinking about it, or aware of your effort, but merely feeling it. The margins we are discussing are subtle, like the difference between watching an actor who evokes thoughts about how well they are acting their role, compared to one who causes you to momentarily completely forget that you are watching a drama, although the two might be reciting from the very same script.

    Note that there is a plethora of impressive sounding music, particularly in the pop realm, that wouldn't sound like much, except "childish", if presented in a simple piano reduction.

    When you're going for atmosphere, rather than raw musical content, the importance of curb appeal and polish increases dramatically, in my opinion. I don't regard my criticism as unreasonable, because I am acknowledging that what you are trying to achieve requires, at a minimum, some adroit production technique, and probably some very good instincts, to avoid sounding corny or trite.

    On your last paragraph - I think you get the gist of my critique.
     
    Riley Roberson said:

    Hi Kristofer, I am trying to grasp what you are saying. I appreciate your comments. Maybe my description was confusing, but this wasn't a piece for stage. In general, I tried to make the words match up with what is happening musically, and actually the music was composed after the words were chosen. Any singing you here actually comes from the same track of this girl talking about her town and family. I just used a vocoder to force the pitch to change. Generally, everything you hear are only cuts from the original track. Sometimes the voice is electronically slowed down, distorted, pitched, etc.

    As far as effects go, what did you hear in regard that you would call "childish?" I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm just wondering what you heard. 

    This is probably the third or fourth thing I have done with voice, and if I'm understanding you correctly, I agree with you. The spoken words and the ambient/melodic sounds seem separate. I will look into ways to mix them better. I think having this track mastered would help with that too.

    Thank you for listening, Kristofer.

    NowItGetsDark (electronic only piece)
    Hi everyone, The following short piece is the result of a project from the area I'm in where people were asked to talk about their town. This was in…
  • This song is really cool. You're right that the production value is high. It sounds like it has been compressed and the track has a shimmer (more than just the actual sounds). Thanks for sharing that. After all the comments here, I think I am going to look into getting some good mastering software. 

    Gav Brown said:

    Riley, while I was listening to your song, I was reminded of the Chill song "Sleep at the Swamp," by Potlatch. It has spoken word, song, dreamy music, and all sorts of subtle background sounds. I consider it a successful work because despite the fact that it mostly consists of the same elements repeated over and over, there are subtle variances - sometimes the percussion is there, sometimes it drops out - every now and then a new sound suddenly appears - the rapper/singer has a mesmerizing voice - and the fidelity/production values are top-notch. It maintains my interest for over 7 minutes http://youtu.be/S2TlqOzJJoQ

    NowItGetsDark (electronic only piece)
    Hi everyone, The following short piece is the result of a project from the area I'm in where people were asked to talk about their town. This was in…
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