You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

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You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:05 pm

The (re)view is stunning.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:14 pm

Songs posted.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby Sober » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:20 pm

Listened a couple times through while driving today. Interesting batch. Some good ideas in every tune. Good to be back, everyone. Full reviews to come.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby vowlvom » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:03 am

Bridger - I really like the way this starts with the arpeggio and vocals. It’s never quite as appealing to me once the big guitars join in but it’s well-written and performed. The vocals feel a little too dry to me and they get a bit overwhelmed by the guitar as well, but that may well be a conscious choice!

dark side of the attic - everything just feels a bit loose for my liking, like every instrument is playing to a slightly different rhythm. It’s not an unpleasant listen but this didn’t do too much for me.

Glennny - this is appealingly odd, the wandering odd-time-signature (?) guitar riffs and the strange vocal harmonies are very interesting to me. Is there some kind of auto-harmony effect going on there?

Lichen Throat - I like the verse but there’s not really any shift in dynamics for the chorus and it feels a little flat.

Nick Soma - really like those massive, moody guitars and the melodica (?) makes an interesting contrast. This one grew on me quite a bit after a few listens, it’s got something unusual about it.

Pigfarmer Jr - your vocal sounds particularly good on this one! Plenty of energy to it, as well. The half-time shift at the start of the solo takes the momentum out of it a bit though I think.

Sober - enjoyed this one a lot. Really gritty country sound with an excellent lyric, good lead guitar work and a strong melody. That distorted-vocal opening section really grabbed my attention, and I like the shift to a slightly higher register for the chorus.

Vowl Sounds - this is us! When I saw this title I imagined doing something uptempo and kinda synthwave-y but this slice of ultra-melancholy came out instead, perhaps because we were planning an incredibly sad song for ‘You Stopped Fighting’ but didn’t get it finished, and I had to find an outlet for my unused sorrow.

Glennny and Sober are my favourites this time out.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby glennny » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:39 am

Vowlvom,

Thanks for the nice review. I suck at auto-tune (you might say I suck at singing to need to try and be good at auto-tune). This is one of those cases where I should have listened on other systems before submitting. I was rather horrified by the auto-tune affect when I listened in my car and at work. In the project with my headphones, it seemed alright to me, but it's glaring when I listen elsewhere.
Anyway, i just did gift of music for Albatross, it was a Pretenders song in 15/8. So I was in the very odd time sig mood. So for this song I made the whole thing in 13/8.
One of these days I'll fix the vocals.

I should review all these soon. I love this fight, lots of really cool songs! Nice to hear Nick Soma again!
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby Sober » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:21 am

Bridger: You obviously have an awesome voice. Embrace the Ben Gibbard-ness. I love the ambition of the arrangement; getting traces of SOAD's "Toxicity," and even CKY's "Disengage the Simulator." The verse rhythm guitar is so far ahead of the beat I want to cry. The vocals all sound a bit thin - there's probably some EQ or compression tweaking to do. With a bit of mix work and time correction on the guitar, this would be Songfight perfection.

dark side of the attic: This is an absolute mess, but I don't hate it. The the poorly played auto-quack guitar, the terrible sitar-sounding lead, the disjointed rhythm... there's so much that doesn't work here that, when it does, it's really satisfying. I'd be interested to hear this with a more... traditional production approach to see if I actually prefer it. I do like your voice; you pull off a "low effort" sound very well, which I'm jealous of.

Glennny: Had a hell of a time trying to find the time signature. The walkup guitar line at 0:40 does a great job of getting me to feel the 13 groove. I really like the synth sounds, and how virtually everything sounds. Vocals are dry to the point that they feel like they aren't part of the mix at all - like someone recorded themselves over a karaoke track. Yeah, the autotune gets a little out of control, but the vocal still manages to be pitchy in a lot of places - try more takes rather than leaning on the tuner. Interesting listen!

Lichenthroat: I appreciate that you probably have no real instruments to work with, so I won't harp on the MIDI sounds. I will say that you gotta figure out a place or time where you can sing louder. It's very Songfight to sound like you're trying not to disturb mom in the next room. As it is, the delivery in an uninspiring, pitchy mess. You've put together a well-structured song here - I can hear potential, but it's far from realized here.

Nick Soma: The melodica is cute. Back off the bass and bring up the vocal and snare a bit. Barely getting any bass from the kick. Probably the best execution of this week's optional challenge, intentional or not. Love the progression, really like the guitar lines throughout, though it seems to get off-beat in places. Your voice is well-suited to this style, but I'd like to hear you lean into a bit more - go full Ville Valo, and follow that up with a bit of tube warmth.

Pigfarmer Jr.: There are a lot of instances where vocal accents fall on syllables that wouldn't be emphasized in natural speech i.e. I try to hush all of these dark thoughts. It's hard work to make those square in the lyrics, but it makes a world of difference. A song like Paul Simon's "Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes" is a masterclass in singing sounding conversational. Solo is too long for the level of playing (granted, there are plenty of examples in the archive of me playing longer, worse solos). Shorten the solo and repeat the chorus rather than leaving us with an awkward, sudden ending.

Sober: When writing, this felt very Townes Van Zandt, but during recording it moved towards... whatever this is. Brown Bird? Felt very rushed on this. Would have liked to spend more time on mix elements, and polishing the last chorus. Should have put the time in to having vocal harmonies on the chorus, as well. Still, it felt good to dust off the rig. First time recording my dobro, and was surprised by how tough it is to get a decent performance out of it.

Vowl Sounds: Very Dido. You have a lovely voice, would like to hear a bit more focus/push in the performance, and a mix that didn't mud over you. Ack, please anything but fake trumpet. The vocal rushes a bit, in the chorus particularly. This seems like one of those songs where the title feels inserted - "Black Mountain" could be any three-syllable phrase and the meaning wouldn't really change (another case where there are certainly examples in the archive of me doing the same thing). Good ideas here, and it's always nice to hear a female voice - look forward to hearing more from you.

Neat group this week. Bridger and Nick Soma are my top picks. Good to be back!
Last edited by Sober on Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby vowlvom » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:51 am

glennny wrote:I suck at auto-tune (you might say I suck at singing to need to try and be good at auto-tune). This is one of those cases where I should have listened on other systems before submitting. I was rather horrified by the auto-tune affect when I listened in my car and at work. In the project with my headphones, it seemed alright to me, but it's glaring when I listen elsewhere.


Hehe, if you were aiming for subtle pitch-correction then yes, you kinda failed. But I think it sounds really cool and unusual as an effect!

Sober wrote:Ack, please anything but fake trumpet.


Nothing on our track intentionally aimed for trumpet, but I guess if you don't like the sound(s) then that's small consolation. The words "fake trumpet" would fit into the chorus in place of "black mountain" though which I find oddly pleasing.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby lichenthroat » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:11 pm

Sober wrote:I will say that you gotta figure out a place or time where you can sing louder. It's very Songfight to sound like you're trying not to disturb mom in the next room.

Aside from making me laugh, you have a good point here. When I was recording this, I was torn between trying to make it sound sad and heartfelt vs. more aggressive and angry. I think this indecision showed and resulted in a below-average vocal performance, even by my low standards. In the last few days, I've noticed that the way I've been singing it to myself is quite a bit different than how I recorded it. I tried rerecording the vocal tonight, so here, in honor of your comment, is the "Wake Up Mom" mix of Black Mountain:

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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby ujnhunter » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:56 am

Great songs everyone. Bridger, Sober & Vowl Sounds got my votes, with Nick Soma coming in close... wish the vocals were higher up in the mix... I was super late on this fight... originally had an idea for a song that I was going to use as an excuse to use my 5-string bass for some black metal... but never got past a chord/structure idea... then Friday after some bad news wrote and recorded this: https://soundcloud.com/ujnhunter/ujn-hu ... k-mountain (Song Fight!, not Instrumental Fight!, I know... but I felt like this suited the emotion I was trying to get out better than any words ever could...) Hopefully one of these fights soon, I'll get in with a legit entry!

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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby Dark Son » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:24 am

Here is a slightly cleaned up version of Black Mountain for Sober.
Not sure what you meant by more traditional production approach , but I did edit out a bunch of stuff that should never have made the first version,
and tried to balance the sounds a bit better. I kind of liked the rhythm guitars playing counter point to each other and the bass at the beginning so I left that .
I think the cleaned up version helps the rhythm somewhat , but it could really use a good solid drum track to keep it together.
Please don't expect a new song as I used all the same tracks, but it is an improvement. That little section from 1:24- 1:28 was for the dischord option in case
anyone was wondering why that got left in .

black mountain remix.mp3
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby lichenthroat » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:47 pm

Bridger—Very nice mix. All the instruments sound good, as does the vocal. The verses are more interesting than the chorus. This reminds me, just a little, of a band called Split Single (which I really like, but which no one else seems to have heard of). Good work.

dark side of the attic—I have to admit I couldn’t tell much difference between the original and revised versions. Well, they sounded a little different, but I wasn’t sure which to prefer. There are moments on here that sound absolutely perfect, like at “…strange little smile” and at some of the chord changes. There are other moments where the sounds seem disconnected from each other. Maybe you need the less cohesive parts to make the moments where everything comes together sound as good as they do; this is a question better answered by someone with more knowledge of music theory than I have. The lyrics are funny.

Glenny—This sounds like a lost song from Yes, with all of the delight and the slight sense of inaccessibility that the comparison implies. Well recorded and mixed, as usual. The sustained low instrumental notes are really cool.

Lichen Throat (me)—I concur with the complaints about my vocal; I like my revised version better, but it’s not great. I felt like I wrote a decent song and lyrics, but the final outcome just wasn’t as interesting as I had been imagining. I also feel like I got completely outclassed by Sober—more on that later.

Nick Soma—I’m confused by this song. It sounds like it’s going to burst out triumphantly at “imaginary walls,” but then it turns into something else entirely. I like the “fade to black” part. I get a sense that I if I listen to this a bunch more times, it might suddenly sound great. I’ve been continuing to enjoy your back catalog, and it’s interesting how some of your songs are immediately accessible, while others take a while to (almost inevitably) grow on me; this may be one of the latter.

Pigfarmer Jr.—This is one of your better vocals. You’ve done a lot with the drums, while keeping mostly to a simple beat. I didn’t mind the long guitar solo, particularly the last half. The ending is a bit abrupt, though.

Sober—I thought I was so clever writing about coal mining, and then I found that you did it too, only with better performances, a better story, and better songwriting. This is great—not much more to say.

Vowl Sounds—Love the echoing vocals. I’d like a little more of a hook somewhere, but this is a very pleasant listen. One of the instruments does sound like a trumpet to me, but I don’t find it at all objectionable. Your voice, as always, is divine.

Ujn Hunter—This instrumental sounds good. I wish you had had time to make a full entry.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:30 am

Bridger - I like the vocals performance and the melody. The incessant keyboard line was a touch too much for me, although I thought it worked very well with the guitars and in the more full arrangement sections. The vocal was nice and upfront until the guitars kicked in and it disappeared just a bit. BUT... I really dig this song. I'd really, really dig it with just a few tweaks to the mix.

dark side of the attic - The two rhythm guitar lines just don't seem to match up timing wise very often. I liked the melody line but the delay and the overall sound in the mix just didn't do enough for me dynamically to keep me interested throughout. I like what you were going for well enough (that relaxed vocal delivery works for me) but it just doesn't quite make it, imo.

Glenny - "Try not to die." Reminds me of that line from Outlaw Josey Wales, "Endeavor to persevere." There is one spot in when the vocals start that struck me as off just a hair and the feel with them gives me a slight sense of dissonance that is kind of cool but also kind of...I think it builds a bit of tension without a resolution. (I'm not saying they sound bad.) And the strings under the rhythm was tasty touch. I like the guitar arrangements: the repeating lines, the rhythmic bits. I think you've given me enough to digest that this will grow on me with repeated listens.

Lichen Throat - The lower range vocals sound cool, but it's a bit hard to hear in the mix. It's still just a tad too pitchy for me, but I don't dislike what you were going for. Again I like the music, I think you have a creative take on it. But it may be a bit repetitive overall. I'd love to hear you build up to the chorus... maybe the verses more sparse or even half the verses... or it might be cool to have the whole song be an anticlimax until the last few lines. Something to give the arrangement some movement.

Nick Soma - I like the melody and the vocal delivery, but struggle to hear the lyric. It's just a hair too buried for me... well a lot too buried. I went to look for the lyric and I don't see it. I like the song a lot but I feel I can't get the full effect without knowing what the hell is going on.

Pigfarmer Jr - I hate that the intro guitar is loud and then abruptly drops with the vocal coming in. Kind of a cool throwback to the old blues-rock that kind of predates the Pigfarmer Jr stuff. I like the singing here more than most P.J. songs. The timing on that first guitar hit going into the half time section is just enough off that it annoys the hell out of me. I like the lyric (which is a preface to a FAWM 2017 song written for @hoopshank who passed not long before then.) But the execution and mix are both just a bit less than I was hoping for.

Sober - This sounds like a 40 Rod Lightning song and I really like 40 Rod Lightning songs. I think it may benefit from a slight tempo increase to give it a real cowpunk feel, but this really does work very well for me.

Vowl Sounds - I like the understated beauty in the vocal performance... it just feels right. The rhythm maybe takes away from the vocal for me just a bit. That could be as simple as mixing the vocal up just a hair more or moving the "cymbal" hits down a bit. When the horn sounds hit it buries the vocal even more. But I like the music and arrangement. My only complaint is not hearing the vocal well enough.

Ujn Hunter - Short and too the point. I like the energy that isn't overbearing or especially hard. I completely dig that you didn't add needless vocals but I think this would work very well with a vocalist if you chose to go that way.

EDIT TO ADD: So, I struggle a bit with dynamics in my own music. Building interest in the mix and arrangement. So if I focused a bit on that in these reviews it's because of my own shortcomings, not necessarily because it's especially bad in your song.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby owl » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:01 pm

Pigfarmer Jr.: I like the rhythm guitar and drums a lot, I think they have a really great energy! I wish the level didn't dip down once the vocals come in, the vocals are well performed but feel too loud to me. The dynamic shift in the solo is interesting and I don't quite know how I feel about it! I think it's a cool change but also feels like it crawls a bit at the beginning there. I think it's great once it picks back up again, the length of it doesn't bother me at all. I think I wouldn't mind the abrupt end if you just stopped at the end of that last held lead guitar note (with the lead lingering for a second after) but it does feel a bit disappointing when it just kind of suddenly stops the way it is now.

Glennny:
Love the intro, it sort reminded me of the Cure. This is a really fascinating listen, I like how weird it is between the kind of proggy time signature and the processed, layered vocals. The things building up in the different layers were intensely pleasing to me. One thing that bothered me was that the phrasing/delivery of the chorus sounded kind of awkward to me, I kept noticing that when it came back, unlike the rest of the song where I felt like the lyrics fit into the melody more naturally. (I also really love that it was inspired by The Pretenders! I love that band.)

Nick Soma: Very moody and epic. I really love the key/rhythm change at the "imaginary walls" bit and I wish you had milked that more, made that part longer and the other parts shorter! The rest of the song felt a bit too heavily layered and meandering to me... I wish the vocals were mixed a bit higher and the melodica a bit lower.

Bridger: The arpeggio thing is cool although I didn't think it worked very well once it got into the bigger parts of the song, it got to be a bit distracting, there was something kind of hair-metally about the combination of big guitars and that constant arpeggio going on in the background. Great vocal performance! Nicely done.

Lichen Throat: Great lyrics (I really liked "If cleanliness is next to godliness / Then I must be next to hell." but the music felt too repetitive and dissonant for me to particularly enjoy it. I would really have liked for it to change a bit more between parts, and the kind of clanging crash cymbals were distracting and kept the song from feeling like it ever really flowed naturally.

Sober: The effect on the intro vocals is very cool, it sounds wonderful. I thought this was really well executed overall, I really like your vocals, harmonies would have been great. The drums sound sort of weird and sharp/rattly to me, particularly the snare, but maybe that was intentional for the style.

Dark Side of the Attic: This has a vaguely Hawaiian feel to me?! I think it's whatever that sustained lead instrument is that sounds a bit like a slide guitar, not sure if it actually is or not. The messiness kind of bothers me, at parts it really sort of seems like every instrument is playing a different song, at a different tempo, which made it sort of hard for me to enjoy although I liked the overall sonic landscape and combination of sounds.

Vowl Sounds: this is us! I feel like I owe @vowlvom an apology because he originally had the vocals mixed higher, I said I wanted them lower and more ambient a la Grouper, and of course now everyone has complained about how low they are mixed. Sorry Vom! The lyrical idea, which I guess didn't really come through based on @Sober's criticism that "Black Mountain" seemed like it could have been any random phrase stuck in there, was depression as a kind of physical, geographical manifestation and inevitable destination. Like "The Shining" if instead of a hotel with constant murders it was a mountain with shitty mental health episodes and you keep going back there for no good reason. Hence the hitchhiking ghost prepared for warmer places but constantly getting into cars returning to perpetual winter.

ujnhunter: This sounds pretty cool, well mixed and nice to listen to, it's too bad you didn't get a chance to finish it up in time for the fight.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby Lunkhead » Wed May 02, 2018 8:09 am

Congrats Vowl Sounds.
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Re: You can see quite clearly from up here (Black Mountain Reviews)

Postby owl » Wed May 02, 2018 9:58 am

Tight! Thanks y'all. :)

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