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Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

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Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:26 pm

Hi everyone,

I've begun production on the next album for my prog rock project, AS FOLLOWS. As it's essentially a one man + musicans-for-hire type of situation, I would love another pair of ears (or more) on the current state of the mix. I think I'm pretty happy with it, but if anyone has the endurance to make it through all 13+ minutes and you hear something untoward, I would love to know about it!

You can access the audio here, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rdhTdO ... sp=sharing

Lyrics below:
THROUGH DARKNESS INTO LIGHT

a. DAWN BATTLE
Mist on the field
In the coming dawn
Our enemy revealed
Guide my hand this day
Rising up with hearts of steel

Forest deep
Lay down and sleep
Into deep slumbers I’m falling
Wake thee from thy dream

Hear her sing, sweet Tinuviel
Casting a spell over my heart
Elf-King daughter’s song

b. REALMS OF TWILIGHT
Realm of Sauron/Evil power/Torturing the Elves
Twisted treason/Evil reason/Prey upon his fear

Dark illusion/Dark conclusion/Wife back from the dead
Son of Morgoth/Sets in motion/Tragedy for all the Elves
Evil plans are sown in the darkness

In his leisure/Take the treasure/From the Iron Crown
Stone upon his brow is falling/Rolling on the ground
Iron tower/In his power/Shadow on the land

Hunt Carcharoth/With my brothers/Battle ended, take my hand
Evil plans are sown in the darkness

c. INTO THE LIGHT
Stone within his hand
Part from mortal land
See his spirit leaving
From his final stand

He enters a Realm of Light
Crying aloud for him
She lives on!

Hound of Valinor
Faithful to the end
Speaking out a third time
Listen now, my friends

He enters the Realm of Light
Valinor calls to him
She lives on!

Simaril restored
Beren gains her hand
Magic song returned
Sounds out across the land

They enter a Realm of Light
Crying aloud for him
She lives on!

With the passing years
Slowly does he age
Then one day he breathes his last upon this stage

He enters the Realm of Light
Crying aloud for him
She lives on!
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby CS70 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:57 pm

Just went thru it the whole 13m with the LCD-X since it's evening while reading a newspaper on the internet.

First a totally subjective but unbiased opinion on the music - which is not my normal cup of tea at all: it rocks! Starts a bit subdued and I was like "ok, hope it's not 13 mins of noodling", the first sung track is better, and then it truly becomes epic. Loved it. The last half is awesome, liked the dynamic in the arrangement and the vocal treatment (perhaps the only thing I felt lacking in the first song). And I am NOT a prog lover.

Hats off. :clap:

Now back to the mix. It's a good mix: you can hear everything, the changes are well done (the various gear changes work well), pannings are cool and the balances are different from song to song but not in a way that distracts from the content.

Sound-wise, it sounds a bit late 70s. The mix is "thick", it does not have that pristine clarity and separation and surgical level precision on vocals that you have in modern mixes (but it's not a modern genre, in a way). Note: it is not a criticism at all: it really fits the genre and the era, to me. Bass was a little light in the can but again it fits the sound, it's way before the thundering basses which we hear nowadays.

I guess it's not mastered? If so, and you want to preserve the character, it's important to tell the mastering engineer.

Really lovely music. I'm gonna actually listen to it again.
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:28 pm

Thanks much for the quick response! I'm very glad that you enjoyed the song even though it's not to your usual taste! I really try to make prog accessible and melodic, though I do tend to have long-ass noodle session as well. :)

You are correct, this is not mastered yet.

My approach is decidedly old-school, I suppose, and I don't think I could make it sound 'modern' if I tried, I just don't think my ears are keyed into that sound at all -- you are right, I think, in your observation that most prog tends to look backwards instead of forwards when it comes to sonic aesthetics; I mean, let's face it, we're still venerating bands like Yes, Genesis, and Jethro Tull as the paragons of prog some 40 years later ...

Thanks for your insights on the mix, as well! I hope the song holds up to your second listen!! :)
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:43 pm

Just having a listen on my non-studio headphones on my laptop - so definitely more of a consumer environment!
Thoughts as I listen:
Opening couple of minutes or so the guitar could come down for me, it's a bit overpowering.
When the drums kick in at about 6 minutes, I think they could have a bit more oomph before dropping back to their current level when the guitars come in.
I'm more of an americana/singer-songwriter type myself and I know the balance tends to be different in rock, but there are places where I'd like the lyrics to come through a bit stronger, e.g. around 9:30. Might just need a bit of fader riding to bring up the ends of some of the words.

I'm never that good at judging reverb on headphones, but to me the overall mix sounds a bit dry. For example at about 4:39 there's a fractional pause in the guitar and it sounds very dead, compared to, say, the arpeggios in this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkaR-r9ZfIY (though there's clearly a lot of drone work filling in the gaps there).*
I get that feeling again around the 12 minute mark as well, when the arrangement strips down a bit.

For 13 minutes that goes very quickly! I'd completely agree with CS70 that it sounds very much a production of the era, the section around 8 minutes gave me a really strong Floyd vibe. :)
Going to be a bit busy this weekend but will try and give it a proper listen in the studio. :thumbup:

* P.S. that version of this song appears to have been uploaded a bit hot. My copy isn't that distorted!
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:44 pm

I listened to the first 30 secs* then had to stop, I will listen to the whole thing on my studio monitors tomorrow at some point, I love prog and was/am a huge fan of Yes, JT and Genisis so I know exactly where you are coming from.

* Which I liked......
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:59 pm

blinddrew, thanks so much for the detailed analysis! I shall give the sections you mentioned a critical listen and see if I can grok what you're hearing. As I'm sure you are aware, at one point you can just get deaf to your own song at this point (after demo/recording/reamping/editing/balancing/mixing) where something that jumps out to a casual listener may not even be noticeable to me!

Re: the reverb level, I found it to be a bit too wet, and dialed it back, so maybe there's a happy mid-point where it's wet enough for some reverb tail, but not super wet. You are totally right, though -- I prefer a very dry sounding mix, personally.
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:02 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I listened to the first 30 secs* then had to stop, I will listen to the whole thing on my studio monitors tomorrow at some point, I love prog and was/am a huge fan of Yes, JT and Genisis so I know exactly where you are coming from.

* Which I liked......
Thanks, really looking forward to your thoughts! Having released three full length AF albums, I have grown accustomed to getting flamed by prog fans lol. (Prog Archives categorizes my music as 'crossover' prog; ie, it's prog rock not prog rock, if you take my meaning)
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:04 pm

blinddrew wrote:J
For 13 minutes that goes very quickly! I'd completely agree with CS70 that it sounds very much a production of the era, the section around 8 minutes gave me a really strong Floyd vibe. :)
Going to be a bit busy this weekend but will try and give it a proper listen in the studio. :thumbup:
Almost forgot to address this -- thanks very much for the kind words! Hopefully this will pass muster in the studio, and if not, I'm all ears! :D
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:08 pm

Ben Asaro wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:I listened to the first 30 secs* then had to stop, I will listen to the whole thing on my studio monitors tomorrow at some point, I love prog and was/am a huge fan of Yes, JT and Genisis so I know exactly where you are coming from.

* Which I liked......
Thanks, really looking forward to your thoughts! Having released three full length AF albums, I have grown accustomed to getting flamed by prog fans lol. (Prog Archives categorizes my music as 'crossover' prog; ie, it's prog rock not prog rock, if you take my meaning)

Which just goes to show how useful (i.e. not useful) such categories are. At the end of the day it's just music, either you like it or you don't like it. :thumbup:
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:15 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:
Ben Asaro wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:I listened to the first 30 secs* then had to stop, I will listen to the whole thing on my studio monitors tomorrow at some point, I love prog and was/am a huge fan of Yes, JT and Genisis so I know exactly where you are coming from.

* Which I liked......
Thanks, really looking forward to your thoughts! Having released three full length AF albums, I have grown accustomed to getting flamed by prog fans lol. (Prog Archives categorizes my music as 'crossover' prog; ie, it's prog rock not prog rock, if you take my meaning)

Which just goes to show how useful (i.e. not useful) such categories are. At the end of the day it's just music, either you like it or you don't like it. :thumbup:
Oh, I totally agree, categories are daft lol.

However, getting into the Archives is good for record sales, so ... lol

You would not believe the debate that raged between the admins as to what sub-slice of a sub-slice my music belongs in lol.
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:54 am

I agree with Blinddrew's thought about the intro guitar being a little high relative to everything else but apart from that, having listened through the whole thing I thought it sounded very good.

Great music as usual Ben, there's a huge amount to enjoy in there!
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby innerchord » Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:21 am

Seeing as you described this as Prog, I just had to have a listen. :smirk:

Can you clarify what state you feel this mix is at? Is it a rough demo, or a final mix which you're about to release?
There are some pretty huge problems in some frequency areas, hence it wouldn't be fair to comment until I know the track's current status.
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby CS70 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:03 am

Ben Asaro wrote:Thanks much for the quick response! I'm very glad that you enjoyed the song

It is one song? :bouncy:
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:42 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:I agree with Blinddrew's thought about the intro guitar being a little high relative to everything else but apart from that, having listened through the whole thing I thought it sounded very good.

Great music as usual Ben, there's a huge amount to enjoy in there!
Okay, I'm going to have to give that intro guitar a look into, thanks!

Thanks for the kind words re: the music as well, appreciate it!
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Re: Could use another pair of ears on this mix (prog rock content)

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:42 am

CS70 wrote:
Ben Asaro wrote:Thanks much for the quick response! I'm very glad that you enjoyed the song

It is one song? :bouncy:
lol yes!
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