From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Ma-ma-ma-magic.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Songs posted!

Thanks to you both for starting the thread and linking to the lyric thread. Thanks Pigfarmer for handling that so often and for all the cover art you send in, too.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by SamECircle »

Eh, off tomorrow morning and nothing better to do with my late night than listen to these!

Phlebia - Siiiick instrumentation! Couldn't possibly be heavier. And the lovely, death cab style vocals on top, even if mixed low, add complexity. Your lyrics are very cool and psych-metal-appropriate; sometimes I think you give yourself too many lyrics to quite get through... Regardless, this is really impressive, with a lot of structure and thought for a fast contest, so it's got my vote.

Sly Eli - Wow, I think this is just lovely. The chord progression is very sophisticated and really works with the mood you're evoking, and there is something wonderfully '90s about the falsetto overlays on the chorus & outro. And the lyrics do a good job toeing the line between ambiguity and obviousness. A strong start to the week - this one has my vote too.

Vom Vorton - Wow, very rough & raw; gives me similar vibes to the great band 'The Fall.' I can't quite parse your lyrics but they sound heavy!

late heavy bombardment - Very dark lyrics, while the music has a strange, salsa-ish vibe. Sort of haunting and Lynchian! Strange vibes.

Brown Word & The Big Whine - Very well-executed, very heavy metal. A little tonally harsh in places, but honestly that's likely just my taste, not a flaw. Great drums.

Lichen Throat - Sort of eerie! The effect of your fairly close-mic'd vocals with everything else sounding a bit distant or reverby is somewhat disconcerting, and I don't know if that's intentional or if you were aiming for something more obviously pleasant, like the lyrics seem to indicate. In any case, you successfully evoked a mood, which is all music can do really!

miscellaneous owl - Very heavy, and the combination of metal with very rhythmic lyrics almost reminds me of "clipping." or something. The vocals are a little distorted and hard to hear, maybe intentional but I think it distracts from the overall effect. But overall, I dig the dissonance! (and your lyrics are very finely crafted, great reference.)

Duncan Martin - I like the lyrical approach, and all the cool details you pack in! Some of your vocal harmonies are amazing, others are a little harsh. And the overall mood doesn't shift enough to me, I think you need more peaks and valleys. Cool sound, though.

The Magnetic Letters - Hahahahaha!! The "twist" made me laugh out loud. This is a brilliant and finely executed joke... can't say it quite functions as a song, but props nonetheless.

IRC USM - Very medieval chords! I dig it. I think a less echoey, higher-mixed vocal (along with perhaps a more natural drum kit) would help make this sound more vivid, but it's a very firm slab of metal!

Cazzaro taro - I dig your vintage vocal style, very '50s-novelty-song, which, combined with these goofy lyrics, works really well. A few of the rhythms in your melodic line struck me as a bit awkward, as if you had already written the lyrics but weren't sure how to sing them. Try coming up with tunes and then adding words, this may lead to more natural-feeling lines.

brother Baker - Hits hard! Well-structured, well-performed metal. You really sound like you know what you're doing. Not my genre, and I can't really understand your lyrics, but just for finesse you have my vote.

Night Sky - Your horns make me so happy. I'm not sure what the prevailing mood here is (ie, how should we feel while listening to you describe these events?) but your lyrics are vivid and I like your sound.

JP Nickolas - Very nice guitar tone. Some of your vocal harmonies are either slightly off-pitch or just very jazzy and harmonic. Some of your lyrics are spot on, but I'm not sure about the near-quote of the hiphop catchphrase "Tick tock, ya don't stop" in the chorus.

Hot Pink Halo - Wow, very 'Laurie Anderson.' Or maybe Imogen Heap. Your lyrics are honestly amazing, and while this is perhaps too avant-garde for my tastes, with the screechy strings and all, I admire your distinct aesthetic.

Thieves of Reason - I think your vocal is way too high in the mix, and a bit distorted, which makes it honestly hard to hear what's behind it. I like the theatrical voices though, and where i can hear it your metal guitar sounds great.

Moody Vermin - Very heavy! Guitars squealing all over the place... almost sounds like crickets! Ultimately perhaps too manic for my tastes, but well-executed. The solo in particular is very good.

0ratorical0rator - Very quirky and odd! I like the parts that sound almost like a distorted version of a '50s song, a backwards lawrence welk song or something. The hyperpop vocals are cool, if abrasive.

Good stuff all :) hope you like my track
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Catherine Wacha has been added to the fight.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by oratoricalorator »

CazaroTaro- omg the lyrics in the first chorus are so funny. the whole reminds me a bit of devo or pere ubu.

miscellaneous owl - ooh this feels legitimately heavy… the spoken/whispered vocals are so good and and I love the “white” in the background of the singing sections. I’m into it. The vocal delivery here is just super good

Brown Word and the Big Whine - i like the “raw” quality of the guitars. the vocals + growls work super good. The vocal delivery feels really compatible with the music. I kinda wish the vocals production were more sparkly and spacey to bring them out in front more. the breakdown kinda felt a bit out of nowhere.

phlebia - ooh nice opening riff. i like the recording quality a lot, paired with the rhythmic content it feels like an an ever morphing, hazy, viscous object. this kinda feels like metal Dinosaur Jr. maybe because of the vocal delivery and the wah. and i like the shifts between double time and half time. maybe this tune could be pushed in terms of the chords? i could imagine it being even more drawn in if the guitars moved farther away from the harmonic center more often during a section, but that’s just my preference.

vom vorton - the vocals feel very free in a super nice way. I could imagine some sick iron maiden-like lead guitar harmonies on this track… maybe on ur next metal track?

night sky - i love the energy and honesty in the vocal delivery. the lyrics have a nice sense of whimsy. the chords have a really nice flow in the chorus. Personally i thought you could cut down the number of solo sections for concision, but i like it this way too.

irc usm - i like the sense of atmosphere here and the chords in the chords. feels very grand and prophetic. some of the fast vocal rhythms felt kind of funny tooo me, but i like funny.

duncan martin - fun to hear you singing loud with distortion. vocal harmonies feel really good and lively

brother baker - reminds me of Embrace, the seminal DC emo band, especially the vocal delivery! love the passion here. if you put some saturation/distortion on probably everything and “humanized” the drums a lil, it’d feel like the emo that used to get me through the day.

orat0rical0rator - i like this one cuz i made it. i like contrasting my voice with a vocaloid, feels like evolution

sly eli - that minor chord the chorus is suprising! i feel like it really works the first half of the chorus, but perhaps on the repetition you could subvert the expectation again by making it major or going to a different chord. ii really like this one, the instrumentation so lush. sunny and sad at the same time…

lichen throat - love the guitar sound, maybe it is midi? I like in any case. I like the guitars in the bridge and the time switch section.

Catherine Wacha - you have an amazing voice, i love the rawness and the grit. I kind of wish the instruments had more grit/distortion/more of an edge to them to match the vocals. I feel like currently they feel slightly mismatched but i think the vocals are super strong !!!! The drum fills are nice too

Thieves of Reason - drums sound super good. Wasn’t sure about the panning at first, but i like how weird this sounds. the vocals feel like so close in the left ear in this way that i like. It does feel unbalanced, but I like the effect. you could maybe even play it up an get weirder with the instrumentation

the late heavy bombardment - really nice and production atmosphere. feels very smooth. i like the chimes. i feel like the instrumentation could open up more in the chorus. In the future, i could imagine your songs having a really dramatic contrasting bridge! i was wanting for more contrast

lean to - i like the classic feel of this, the vocal feel really works for me. reminds me a bit of later Royal Trux… some really nice surprising piano chords. the whole thing feels very cohesive, energetic and earnest. you have a cool voice too

moody vermin - love the wild guitar detail!!! i want the vocals to soar more, i feel like the hover around the same notes/register so much and the energetic songwriting begs for a more daring vocal melody as the song progresses!!! super good job though!

hot pink halo - reminds me a bit of nico’s solo work and the raincoats, i like the timbres. very hypnotic

the magnetic letters - super cute! aghghgh wow the breakdown. ur growling and shredding is really funny

:o
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by SamECircle »

oratoricalorator wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 4:24 pm


lean to - i like the classic feel of this, the vocal feel really works for me. reminds me a bit of later Royal Trux… some really nice surprising piano chords. the whole thing feels very cohesive, energetic and earnest. you have a cool voice too
Thx much! Hadn't listened to Royal Trux b4 but i'm listening to 'veterans of disorder' now & absolutely dig it & see what you mean, although of course the sound is very different with no guitars on mine vs. basically all guitars on theirs. Really appreciate esp the compliment on the vocals - I am much more secure as a songwriter than a performer so it's nice to hear what I'm going for is working.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by gizo »

! Wow !

! Owl !

! Wowl !

I'm getting hints of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, but it's distinctly you. AAA++ Would listen again.

I can hear people screaming "Tekeli-li!" on the dancefloors.

votes[owl] = votes[owl]+1

That is my reviews for now.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by Here, Atticus »

I never mean offence, and please call me out if I’m being mean! I really appreciate the value of receiving constructive criticism and I want to pass along that helpful vibe.

Brother Baker: Home turf! Our potential-genre-dream was crushed a little on this one, I had a headache after vocals day and couldn’t talk for a week afterwards. Mixing: I’m still struggling with vocals and gainstaging, but this is probably my proudest mix yet.

Brown Word and the Big Whine: GET IT! Your growl gives me life. This song conveys that brutalness I was hoping to hear this fight. You nailed it. I really don’t have much criticism to offer. I think the drums maybe might could be a little louder? But I struggle with gainstaging myself so :shrug emoji:

CazaroTaro: I like this song! I like the lead guitar tone a lot. Mix wise, I think the vocals are a little too forward. In the first verse, I love the long slides between vocal notes, but I think you need a microsecond more spent on the initial note. They hit my ear as out of tune, but I can tell they’re starting in the right place.

CazaroTaro: I am all about those panned guitars in contrast. It creates a great effect. Love the lyrics and story. I think you could stand to hold some words a little longer when you sing. The vocals come across a little stiff for that reason, I think. Catchy song!

Duncan Martin: Love the vocals right away. You’re selling a mood and I’m buying it. I want more bottom end from your mix. And bass and snare drums. The cymbals are at a good level, but I really, really miss that kick and snare. This song sounds like Mad Max Fury Road looks, and that’s dope.

Hot Pink Halo: “Enchanting” is the first word that comes to mind. I love unconventional instrumentation and you are serving it in full force. I struggle with the intonation between the instruments at times, but the arrangement is beautiful. Really impressive.

IRC USM: Give me that dirty bass guitar and never stop. I’d take less clean guitar and more distortion in the prechorus(?) at 0:53, but goddamn do you slay me with that riffage at 1:09.
I want the sections with the clean guitar to be either reeled in a little, or let loose to the heaviness. That feels more like personal taste than objective advice though, so take it as you will.

JP Nickolas: This is the level of guitar playing I wished I was capable of while recording for this fight. Good stuff. The vocals are a touch loud in the mix. They feel like they sit on top of it instead of in it. Good god I love the song though. I get early Thrice vibes from your guitar work in the verses (which is high praise from me!). This is a banger the whole way through, super interesting and engaging, and I just wish the vocals were a little lower.

The Late Heavy Bombardment: I am not a fan of the counterpoint between the guitars in the intro and when that phrase is repeated. I have absolutely no criticism beyond that. I close my eyes and float away on this song. Beautiful arrangement and performance. Gorgeous. Easy favorite this week.

Lean To: I’m on board for the whole piano part and it’s all I paid attention to on the first listen. It reminds me of a song by Crash Kings (“It’s only Wednesday” or “Mountain Man,” or maybe a little both).
Ok, my second listen and paying attention: I think the vocals need some of the reverb the piano is working with. They feel a little separated from the mix for that reason. I think there are some volume normalization issues in that they push a little too forward later in the song. Really cool tune, I really enjoyed it!

Lichen Throat: I know I’ve only been around for a fraction of your time here, but I feel like I hear you improve every week. This is your strongest vocal performance I’ve heard yet. You sound like you’re supporting your voice more, singing a little louder and more confidently. It’s dramatically improved your pitch targeting and timing. Love the lyrics, whimsical and clever. Love the crash cymbal at the start of the chorus!!! The mix is great. The guitars are interesting. Man, great job on this one. Oooh, what's happening at 2:00? It feels like we dropped into 12/8. Vocals get a little loud in the mix at the end. But just mix them lower, keep singing loud!

The Magnetic Letters: Ok, fellow power rangers song. HA! You had me in the first half lol. I’m having a great time, but this is not my preferred metal subgenre. The guitar shredding is outrageous and perfect.

miscellaneous owl: This is so cool. This is so good. Ugh, this is so good. The “white, white.” The “white, white, white, white, etc.” This...slams? Shreds? Hits? I can’t find the word, but it’s whichever one is best. Your vocal performance is stellar. Sorry to fanboy. The tritone chord jump in the chorus is dope, but the lead guitar tone sounds a little flacid to me. I think they just need more drive, but I can’t be totally sure. Love the whistle synth in the back half.

Moody Vermin: Metal. I can’t define it in a vacuum, but this is it. The mix needs more low end. The bass sounds nice and dirty, but I’m missing that oomph. The song is great, great direction. Love the guitar work and nasty tone. I really think the only thing I’d change is that missing bottom end. Super fun listen.

Night Sky: I am always thrilled to hear that sax. I know I say it every time and I probably won’t stop. I love the vibe and sound.
This feels taste-based, but I I want a little more reverb on the sax and vox. And to maybe drop them by just the smallest notch in the mix. Cool song as always, man.

orat0rical0rator: I like the vocals against the synth vocals, it’s a cool effect and sound. I like each individual synth choice, but they get lost behind the volume of the vocals. I think the vox need more overall compression or volume normalization. They just grow to dominate the mix and the vibe of the track gets left behind. It’s a jam and I really want to hear it again but gainstaged a little better.

Phlebia: As a former teenager in the early 2000’s, I am always drawn to your penchant for incorporating that nu-metal sound into your tracks. As an obsessive and egocentric musician rediscovering his sea legs, I’m spending equal time listening to your track compared to mine this week. I think that’s the highest praise my subconscious can offer! I wish the vocals were a little higher, and the mix was a little less squashed under that distortion, but motherfucker this is such a banger. Sorry to fanboy again. Ungh, you can feel the drop A. Nothing but good decisions here. Hope the baby didn’t mind the screams at the end, they were worth it!

Sly Eli: Hello again, active listening. This is really well constructed and thought out. Great chord movement and feel. Great mix. You’ve captured bittersweet-ness in music, and I love it. IDK if it’s cheating to reference another review, but I have to agree with oratoricalorator on the minor chord in the chorus. I think a minor/major play would have been really effective in either order. The horns are really nice in that last section. Great song and engaging listen!

Thieves of Reason: I like the song right away. But then the vocals are way, way too loud. I really like the panning decisions you made. I would double up that chuggy guitar riff throughout to provide a little more to the rhythmic base. The song is really cool, but the vocals are just way too loud.

Vom Vorton:
Metal. Musically and lyrically, you’ve nailed it. I don’t have much to offer in the way of criticism, the performance and direction are great. The drums feel sort of...unnatural? to me, but that might just be my ingrained drumming sensibilities. I can’t really pinpoint it. Great song!
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

Here, Atticus wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:33 pm
Phlebia: As a former teenager in the early 2000’s, I am always drawn to your penchant for incorporating that nu-metal sound into your tracks. As an obsessive and egocentric musician rediscovering his sea legs, I’m spending equal time listening to your track compared to mine this week. I think that’s the highest praise my subconscious can offer! I wish the vocals were a little higher, and the mix was a little less squashed under that distortion, but motherfucker this is such a banger. Sorry to fanboy again. Ungh, you can feel the drop A. Nothing but good decisions here. Hope the baby didn’t mind the screams at the end, they were worth it!
It's funny, I did so many fights without going straight for that "nu" tone...then kind of did it as a joke like 20 songs into a streak and have really just been rolling with it. Anyway, the screams were done in one take cause I just couldn't do very many of them. And I never actually got them to pitch (B5), I kept falling short at A5 or so. Pitch correction software and heavy compression is awesome.

And yeah I also totally get the getting stuck on your own track, happens to me a lot. It's your baby, you know?

I never could quite get the mix sitting right -- but so far it seems to be received well! Thanks for the comments.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by mholland »

Here, Atticus wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:33 pm
Night Sky: I am always thrilled to hear that sax. I know I say it every time and I probably won’t stop. I love the vibe and sound.
This feels taste-based, but I I want a little more reverb on the sax and vox. And to maybe drop them by just the smallest notch in the mix. Cool song as always, man.
I'm glad you like the saxes, and I don't tire hearing it, so don't stop on my account. I should add that although I haven't posted reviews for a few weeks, this is the third week running that my review notes have approvingly referred to your "unhinged vocals," which I mean as deep compliment. On the reverb issue, this is a thing I struggle with. I tend to get freaked out by the distancing/echoing properties of reverb, and fall back on tape delay with zero feedback, and really short delay times. I think I need to experiment more with this aspect of my mixes outside of the time pressure of Song Fight due dates, because I always chicken out when the chips are down and the song is due.

I'll do my best to actually post my reviews this week!
Night Sky is Sally on lyrics, Steve on drums, and Matt on the other stuff
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by Here, Atticus »

mholland wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:54 pm
I'm glad you like the saxes, and I don't tire hearing it, so don't stop on my account. I should add that although I haven't posted reviews for a few weeks, this is the third week running that my review notes have approvingly referred to your "unhinged vocals," which I mean as deep compliment. On the reverb issue, this is a thing I struggle with. I tend to get freaked out by the distancing/echoing properties of reverb, and fall back on tape delay with zero feedback, and really short delay times. I think I need to experiment more with this aspect of my mixes outside of the time pressure of Song Fight due dates, because I always chicken out when the chips are down and the song is due.

I'll do my best to actually post my reviews this week!
Deal.
Whoa, much appreciated. That's more or less specifically what we aim for vocally, thank you.
I tend to think of reverb as a crutch for a bad performance/mix, so I'm never sure how much is appropriate either! A little's enough, but how much is a little?


P.S. Phleb, pitch correction and compression are my lifeblood. You nailed it.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by slyeli »

SamECircle wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 12:16 am
Sly Eli - Wow, I think this is just lovely. The chord progression is very sophisticated and really works with the mood you're evoking, and there is something wonderfully '90s about the falsetto overlays on the chorus & outro. And the lyrics do a good job toeing the line between ambiguity and obviousness. A strong start to the week - this one has my vote too.
Thanks. I'm glad the falsetto was worth it because I strained my voice doing it, without warming up first, and I wasn't able to go back and tweak some of the verse vocals how I'd like.
oratoricalorator wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 4:24 pm
sly eli - that minor chord the chorus is suprising! i feel like it really works the first half of the chorus, but perhaps on the repetition you could subvert the expectation again by making it major or going to a different chord. ii really like this one, the instrumentation so lush. sunny and sad at the same time…
Here, Atticus wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:33 pm
Sly Eli: Hello again, active listening. This is really well constructed and thought out. Great chord movement and feel. Great mix. You’ve captured bittersweet-ness in music, and I love it. IDK if it’s cheating to reference another review, but I have to agree with oratoricalorator on the minor chord in the chorus. I think a minor/major play would have been really effective in either order. The horns are really nice in that last section. Great song and engaging listen!
Originally the song was in D major but it sounded too sweet and nice so I changed it to G major and tweaked the melody to be D mixolydian (at least I think that's what I did, I'm not strong on theory). I've never understood modes before so it was a bit of an experiment but I think it gave the song a bitter/sweet sound that I like. I tried out oratoricalorator's major chord on the repeat idea and it worked really well, especially when paired with a more optimistic lyrics. I think it works because it pushes the song back into D major (but I could be wrong).

Thanks for the reviews.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

Catherine Wacha - Bass sounds very dull and the drums aren’t very dynamic. You need more dynamics in your drum programming. Vocal is a bit flat in places. Now that I’ve criticized your performance and production, I do like the general feel of this song. I wish it had a bit more structural variety or maybe a bit more going on from a musical standpoint other mostly just 8th notes and simple chords.

The Magnetic Letters - This reminds me a lot of early Butthole Surfers which is probably a good thing cause there was some classic material there. The manic programmed guitar riffs are probably the most gripping part. I would have compressed the vocals a bit more to make them INTENSER.

Sly Eli - I like the string arrangements, they’re delightful. This would probably sound better with a sharper attack on that bass. Oh and those horns, that is delightful. So regal sounding. It’s kind of cool when everything else drops out of the mix and it sounds like I’m at some kind of ball.

Vom Vorton - Metal riff is fun, drums could probably stand to do some crazier stuff, but ultimately it’s songfight and it’s Vom doing a metal song which is definitely something new. The “I am your reflection” part was an inspired addition and I liked the change of pace as it gradually builds back towards the main riff. Nice and drawn out! I would add turntables to this.

Brother Baker - Okay, there we go that’s a powerful riff right at the beginning. This is definitely well thought out and well composed. And the vocals *sound* like they’d give you a sore throat. I hope you drank a bunch of water after this. Some of the riffs remind me pretty heavily of power rangers...which I never watched enough to recognize the music from. This makes me feel like I’m at Hot Topic in 2006 looking for a cool hip t-shirt which is a fine mental association to have with this music. Of course half of my entries sound like I’m at Hot Topic in 2002 looking for a cool hip t-shirt so that may influence the mutual enjoyment of each other’s tracks.

IRC USM - Well I definitely love all of the sustained notes in the vocal melody. And the “White Morph rides on the wind” part came out really cool. Guitar part indicative of someone who understands the rhythmic element of an engaging metal riff! I liked this one a lot. I find it hard to critique but it sounds like a band my friend Aaron would have worn on a t-shirt back in the day. Your voice does not make me think of Maynard, but some of the longer notes bring him to mind.

Brown Word and the Big Whine - That galloping chug is nice and heavy in your face. Drums coming through nice and punchy and well programmed! Nice harsh vocals especially beginning halfway through. This is a pretty good example and it really takes off in the back half of the tune. Clearly a connoisseur of the genre.

oratOricalOrator - Wow, this is harmonically all over the place. And I believe it was you that told me to move away from the tonal center more. I must say, you practice what you preach. This turned out fascinating! The pitch shifted vocal parts I think would have worked a little better if they were more stable pitch-wise, but that’s just for my ears.

Owl - The only misstep I see here is that the transition out of that first verse was done in a way that kind of sucks the momentum out of the track. Beyond that one transition that doesn’t work for me, every other aspect of this is pretty enjoyable. Am I hearing you dub-in echoes of “white white white” during the second chorus. Once it transitions into the driving hard rock section with the theremin I’m hooked. This reminds me a lot of Jucifer’s faster songs pre-2008. The ending payoff was inspired.

Cazaro Taro - Oh hey, it’s the new wave guy again! An enjoyable tune for its short length. I’m puzzled by the last note on the ending, it just doesn’t really resolve. Otherwise it kind of takes me to a scene from whatever cool 80s TV thing is on in the background. I guess that is to say, maybe I’d like to hear a bit more going on with the vocal melody because I just listened to this twice and I can’t remember the hook at all.

Phlebia - If you like that wah sound get a DOD FX25B.

Duncan Martin - Cymbals are really high in treble compared to the rest of the mix. Vocals are entertaining. I think the drums would benefit from a little bit more than just kicks and hats. Where’s the snare drum? Actually it’s funny to me how thin these drums are for some reason. I didn’t hate this but I probably won’t return to it.

Hot Pink Halo - These are some of the coolest harmonic structures I’ve heard from you. And the vocal modulation gives this an otherworldly feel. While the violin and flute tracks are occasionally somewhat pitchy it gives the track sort of an otherworldly feel at times. And then that instrumental break midway through is haunting, I feel like I’m about to do a seance or stumble upon an occult ritual in the woods. Honestly - and I think you’ve read enough of my reviews at this point to know how I typically respond - this is fucking good and I hope you follow this ethereal muse further.

JP Nickolas - Man this is uptempo rock stuff and I’m feeling the energy behind it. The transitions are a little bit all over the place and the tough guy metal vocals need some more oomph to them. I feel like you should be YELLING HARDER. Piss off your neighbors! Something about the rapped vocals kind of remind me of Body Count. The breakdown was fun. I would have liked to hear more of it. Melody could maybe use a better performance to, it’s often a bit pitchy. This song gets really really cool at 2:37 and stays in a great groove where you’re showing off your musicianship and I love it. I wish the rest of the song sounded more like the “non metal” portions to be honest.

The Late Heavy Bombardment - This is some good relaxation music, a wonder thing to listen to while typing up SongFight reviews on your laptop at 11 pm after a long day. I love the slow organ chords with that slow leslie on them. The wind chimes and a few elements of the composition make me think of Disintegration/Wish era The Cure which is totally fine by me. The strings are a great touch. This just sounds nice and is one of my favorite entries this week. The end kind of just peters out though…

Lean To - Is that a VST or just a really old piano? It sounds like a really old piano but that can be spoofed. I like the chords on this one quite a bit. They’re really fun. I wish the rhythm did something more interesting than a 4/4 stomp with a few fills for a bit. And then at 1:58 you do and the rhythm just kind of falls apart with the drums getting out of time and the vocals rushing ahead and yeah, very sloppy sounding. Could have been performed better. Dug the keys. Didn’t hate it.

Lichen Throat - Man. I was burning some brush the other day cause I just had way too much privet all over my property, and had a bunch of old pine wood and miscellaneous wooden debris that needed to go. Anyway, I had to go get my son and tell him to roast a marshmallow or 3 cause I couldn’t let a good fire go to waste. Anyway, this song made me want marshmallows and I liked it.

Moody Vermin - The riffs on this are pretty rad, and I’m digging the clear thrash influence on it. Would like to have heard the vocals really sing out more intensely, this sort of song needs to be BELTED and this is way too calm to be engaging. Could use a bit more low end. Like EQ that guitar riff and then compress it, it’s not chunky enough. Guitar work during and after the spooky interlude is great and I really love the part with all the harmonics. And a solo! Oh my god tapping and whammy dives yay. And some non-standard time signatures. Yeah this is one of the better metal songs this week.

Night Sky - You’re right, this doesn’t sound like Morphine. Something about your vocal delivery, especially at the beginning of each verse section, where you just lapse into this free-wheeling long-winded vocal structure, sound really cool. This would really benefit from a live rhythm section! Sax work is lovely. I like the rhythm to it a lot.

Thieves of Reason - Vocal is clipping! Execution is kind of sloppy. Work on your mic technique. The different guitar layers are sometimes out of sync. And then there’s this one lower guitar that volume spikes all the time. It’s like a train of a bunch of short riff recordings, but they don’t always seem to go anywhere. Like they start and stop and then just weirdly fade in and out and I don’t understand the structure of this song at all. Near the end where it fades in this mental descending riff. But yeah what’s with this start/stop lurchy broken machine rhythm and fading in and out of stuff and stereo...stuff I don’t know about it I’m scared.
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jast
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by jast »

I haven't reviewed in a while. I listened in randomized order, but the reviews are ordered alphabetically. I wrote these while listening and didn't spend that much time on them. I may have missed some details. Sorry not sorry!

Brother Baker: In one word: convincing! The vocals don't always quite flow, and more importantly it feels like you were afraid of high frequencies and cut them all away, leaving the mix a little flat. The static mix could use some tweaks, too - one of the riff guitars sticks out a little and the guitars overshadow the drums and vocals slightly. All that said, though, this is definitely one of the best in this fight.

Brown Word and the Big Whine: Interesting special sauce on the guitars. The flip side is that everything sounds MASSIVIZED... except the vocals. Just to be clear, that's not a performance issue, it's a mix issue. Sounds a bit like the instruments and the vocals were mixed by different people and then just combined. The vocals are cutting through just fine, but they sound oddly thin compared to all the other stuff. It's less noticeable on the growls but to a lesser extent they suffer from the same issue. Other than that, this is great!

Catherine Wacha: A small nitpick here is how the drums sound very, very programmed... but we're not all drummers, and I do empathize. I like the guitar sounds - they sound quite generic to my ears but it all works together which is a lot more important than how unique it is. Unfortunately everything else pales compared to the biggest issue - your vocal phrasing. You like to drag the notes to kingdom come. There is not necessarily anything wrong with that... but there are ways to do it that give it an overall "on pitch" sound (based on what listeners perceive as the "centre pitch" of each note), and you often don't really make it work that way. I'm having a hard time ignoring that, unfortunately, but I suppose overall this is a nice if a little "I'm sure I've heard this before" (there's nothing wrong with that per sé, but it's an indication that there's plenty of musical space left to explore).

CazaroTaro: Wow, super clean and crispy mix! Except for the vocals - but admittedly vocals are always a big challenge if the technique isn't super solid. Listening to the whole thing, it's maybe almost a little too crispy. Possibly you overdid it a little on the highs in the drums. Still, the biggest potential for improvement is in rebalancing the vocals in the mix. I can't think of anything else to criticize. Curse you!

Duncan Martin: Interesting palette of sounds. I'm liking what you're doing here but you're doing it a little long for my taste - to sustain something like this, change it up a little more over the course of the song. The biggest issue is the layering of vocals. I'm not sure whether it's due to filters you put on the vocal takes, or because your mic is a little on the cheap side, but the tracks sound a little horny/honky, and if you layer several of them that effect only gets stronger. You might be able to combat that by finding the frequency range that is doing it, and cutting it back a little on all of the layers.

Hot Pink Halo: I appreciate the experimental aspect of this, but along with it come several small things that irritate me quite a bit. The resonating filter/delay/reverb thingy you put on the vocals has some very unpleasant (to me) frequency peaks in it, and the recorder performance sounds fairly beginner-y. In terms of composition and arrangement I think all of these tracks are competing for the same octaves and frequencies which is not only devilishly hard to mix but also makes for a rather unbalanced sound where everything is crowding the same small subspace of the whole spectrum. Personally I think this is a good indication that some of these tracks need moving into a different octave, a different rhythm, and/or a different instrument.

IRC USM: I kind of like this, but I think the mix falls short. The vocals are not really punching through. The guitar sounds are great (though I feel like the rhythm guitar is too bassy on the attack), but the drums are kind of just doing their thing in a corner of the room and the vocals are struggling to stay on the surface and get some air.

JP Nickolas: Nice opening! The guitars aren't all perfectly in tune but it's not too bad. The weakest part of this is the harmonizing vocals which have trouble staying on pitch and getting a solid attack on the notes (the two are often very related). Bass track feels slightly underpowered to me, and some of the rhythm guitar maybe a tiny bit too strong. I love the solo and the transition into the next section.

The Late Heavy Bombardment: Nice job. The thing between first chorus and second verse, is that supposed to be a viola? If so, it sounds very fake and the rapid changes in velocity are very puzzling to me. Some nice elements added in the background, I love the twelve-string sound in this. My main beef with this is that it's breathy voice throughout. It's really hard to maintain listener engagement that way - which is a fancy way of saying "I get bored". No mix complaints - that's a first in this set of reviews!

Lean To: Interesting! The detuned piano sound is great for this. I think the drums are a little too quiet in the mix compared to everything else. My main focus, however, is on the vocals. I have two comments on this. Firstly, some of the tracks sound a little sloppy. I recommend soloing each of them before you use a take for the final product. Each of them needs to sound "okay" on its own (and when playing it with the instrumental), that way you avoid the combo sounding a little off. Secondly, with vocal harmonies getting the balance between tracks right makes lot of difference in how well the result works. Normally if you have one lead melody, you'll want it to stick out a little more. Make it slightly louder, compress it a little less, and maybe compress the harmony lines slightly harder and put a bit of a low-pass filter on them so they fade into the background a little more. Also it's kind of hard to be perfectly consistent in your loudness, which is where compression can help and for some more drastic peaks (or valley), a bit of volume automation may be the best choice.

Lichen Throat: You know what you need to work on (side note: you're doing better with the timing in the double time chorus thingy, where you have longer notes and don't need to fit in a tons of syllables. This tells me the foundation is there and you can definitely get a lot better at this stuff). The guitar sounds a little "rapid fire". It's programmed, right? What's your workflow for that? I'm curious. I suspect you're placing notes with the mouse - it's really, really hard to humanize a performance that way, unfortunately. Overall the accompaniment sounded more "thought out" to me than some others I've heard from you, which from my perspective looks like progress in the writing/arranging department. Nice!

The Magnetic Letters: Nice little tune! Good choice of instruments and accents. UHHH. Okay, you totally got me! Honestly I'm a little disappointed, though, because the intro part feels a lot more polished than what you transition to. That second part really sounds like a rough sketch where you couldn't really figure out how to make it "do something". I mean, this was certainly an idea worth trying out... but I think you'd best commit to it a little more to make it really effective. That said, I suspect this is not a genre you have a lot of practice with, in which case this is just a phase all of us have to go through. It gets better. ;)

miscellaneous owl: Excellent opening - sounds perfectly balanced, too. Unfortunately when the vocals come in, that's the end of that. I can't make out a single word. Your mix needs to make room for the vocals when they kick in. Your song sounds like the singer is trying to make it in a project where everyone else is just pretending there's nobody there. In truth, of course, the guitars are never this much more important than the lead vocals.

Moody Vermin: This sounds like you put a substantial low cut filter on everything... which is a bit unfortunate, because that robs it of virtually all the low end energy, and you can't really rock out to something this thin unless you try really hard. Other than the vocals not quite being able to deliver the amount of energy this song would ideally get, this is done quite well. The semi-whispered vocals are a little hard to make out. In summary, the main issue in this is the mix. Do another mix on this one in a few years and it'll be like night and day!

Night Sky: This doesn't really interest me, given the focus on the saxophone with the vocal melody being completely unremarkable in comparison (maybe because of limitations you're struggling with in terms of vocals? A common theme here at Song Fight...). The mix reflects the same bias: the saxophone is much louder and clearer than anything else. While that makes it shine, it hurts the overall mix - everything else sounds like an afterthought. Turn the sax down a mite, turn everything else up. Even if you don't want to.

orat0rical0rator: This all kind of fits together, which is an important milestone in itself - and not necessarily easy if you put so many somewhat weird things together. The change-up around 0:50 is great, but the vocals aren't quite up to the task and the filter on them sounds really unpleasant to me. I really wanted to like this but I feel it's a little undercooked - and putting on more effects may be tempting but doesn't necessarily help. Still, I think this could be elevated to a higher level just by reworking the production aspect of it, which says good things about the compositional part.

Phlebia: The guitar tone in the intro is sublime, unfortunately the rhythm is a little shaky. Unfortunately, the very noisy/cymbal-y and oversaturated drums combine with this to a huge mess that is almost painful to listen to. Mixing these kinds of things is really difficult to do well, admittedly. You need to do a lot of managing so that the noise from different tracks doesn't build up too much in the overall mix. Sometimes you actually need quite heavy-handed carving that totally destroys some of the individual tracks if listened to in isolation, but then the combination is lots better. The song itself is good, it's just a huge challenge listening all the way through with all this noise build-up.

Sly Eli: I like the overall mood and the things you've put together - the strings sound a bit canned but no big deal. Some nice bells and whistles. The melody feels a little repetitive to me, especially in the verses. I think the biggest flaw is the static mix. The guitar is always a little too loud, some of the brass accents come on a little too strong and - on the other side of the coin - everything kind of overshadows the vocals a little. It's something many people do if they don't feel that confident in their vocals... I don't know if that's your reason, but if it is - ignore it. Turn them up a little more anyway.

Thieves of Reason: This is a little too unstructured for me to enjoy, but that's just personal preference. Not bad, sounds a little raw but not in a bad way. The biggest problem is the static mix. The centre vocals stick out in the beginning and later they are almost inaudible. The vocals in the left channel start out too weak and then become too strong. I mean I can tell you were going for a "morph" here, but I think you overdid it a little, and at their loudest both of them are too loud compared to everything else. The guitars are a little strong in comparison to the drums, too. Finally the centre vocals sounds like they were recorded on the cheapest microphone possible - of course sometimes you can't get the equipment you want, in that case it just helps to be aware that there's no way to "fix" this in post processing and in fact you're going to have to do extra work just to minimize the damage to the overall sound of the mix. Consider it an extra challenge, I guess.

Vom Vorton: This sounds rock, IMO it's a bit unfortunate that the drums are compressed like there's no tomorrow. Sucks the life right out of it. I don't think you even needed to push the master this hard. Some of the rhythm guitar gets a little noisy and might have benefited from finetuning the distortion a little or doing some small EQ adjustments. The saturation on the vocals is more sensitive to some notes and vowels than others which makes those sound a little too saturated. Vocals are a little shaky in some places, particularly on the titular line - which is a shame because normally you want to give that line a little extra weight. In terms the static mix, after listening all the way through I think the guitar was a little too loud overall.
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Duncan
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by Duncan »

jast wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:31 pm

Duncan Martin: Interesting palette of sounds. I'm liking what you're doing here but you're doing it a little long for my taste - to sustain something like this, change it up a little more over the course of the song. The biggest issue is the layering of vocals. I'm not sure whether it's due to filters you put on the vocal takes, or because your mic is a little on the cheap side, but the tracks sound a little horny/honky, and if you layer several of them that effect only gets stronger. You might be able to combat that by finding the frequency range that is doing it, and cutting it back a little on all of the layers.
Thanks, and thanks all for the reviews so far. I appreciate the composition tips -- it is a bit boring to be 3 identical verse/choruses and then its over. You are absolutely correct about the equipment being shit. This was a poorly-made DIY guitar that my father-in-law was given in lieu of payment for something. The mic is a shitty dynamic mic off craigslist. Drums are Casio "orchestra set" played by me who doesn't know much about drumming or heavy metal. It's then mixed in Reaper using ThinkPad speakers and the handful of Linux-compatible plugins I could find. Anyway, I figured it's better to try the optional challenge than to simply have references to heavy metals. As sleepysilverdoor said "I don't hate this, but I probably won't return to it." Then again, it's kind of cool too.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by jpnickolas »

jast wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:31 pm
JP Nickolas: Nice opening! The guitars aren't all perfectly in tune but it's not too bad. The weakest part of this is the harmonizing vocals which have trouble staying on pitch and getting a solid attack on the notes (the two are often very related). Bass track feels slightly underpowered to me, and some of the rhythm guitar maybe a tiny bit too strong. I love the solo and the transition into the next section.
Thanks so much! I really appreciate the review. Can I press you a bit for details on the bass being underpowered? I just got a new bass VST setup and was actually really worried it would be overpowering, but turned it up anyways since I've gotten the feedback a few times that I tend to have a weak bass section. Is it just not loud enough, or should I be eq'ing it differently? And is it too underpowered the whole time, or just in certain sections?
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by SamECircle »

"Lean To: I’m on board for the whole piano part and it’s all I paid attention to on the first listen. It reminds me of a song by Crash Kings (“It’s only Wednesday” or “Mountain Man,” or maybe a little both).
Ok, my second listen and paying attention: I think the vocals need some of the reverb the piano is working with. They feel a little separated from the mix for that reason. I think there are some volume normalization issues in that they push a little too forward later in the song. Really cool tune, I really enjoyed it!

Lean To - Is that a VST or just a really old piano? It sounds like a really old piano but that can be spoofed. I like the chords on this one quite a bit. They’re really fun. I wish the rhythm did something more interesting than a 4/4 stomp with a few fills for a bit. And then at 1:58 you do and the rhythm just kind of falls apart with the drums getting out of time and the vocals rushing ahead and yeah, very sloppy sounding. Could have been performed better. Dug the keys. Didn’t hate it.

Lean To: Interesting! The detuned piano sound is great for this. I think the drums are a little too quiet in the mix compared to everything else. My main focus, however, is on the vocals. I have two comments on this. Firstly, some of the tracks sound a little sloppy. I recommend soloing each of them before you use a take for the final product. Each of them needs to sound "okay" on its own (and when playing it with the instrumental), that way you avoid the combo sounding a little off. Secondly, with vocal harmonies getting the balance between tracks right makes lot of difference in how well the result works. Normally if you have one lead melody, you'll want it to stick out a little more. Make it slightly louder, compress it a little less, and maybe compress the harmony lines slightly harder and put a bit of a low-pass filter on them so they fade into the background a little more. Also it's kind of hard to be perfectly consistent in your loudness, which is where compression can help and for some more drastic peaks (or valley), a bit of volume automation may be the best choice."

Thanks for the notes all! I doubt I quoted you using the correct formatting, so if it looks funky that's why. I think you're all spot on about the mix issues; this was only my second song working with a new AT2020 vocal mic, which isn't difficult equipment but I'm just still getting used to it. Listening back, I hear exactly the volume normalization issues you're talking about, and if I get a chance I'll fix all those, so I appreciate it. I intentionally wanted a "reverbless" live/raw sound, I wanted it to sound kind of like the band at a bar that has more soul than technical ability... and that's only partly an excuse for my own lack of technical ability. It is a real, probably-about-sixty-years-old piano; I compose everything on that piano but I don't always put it in the songs because, frankly, I'm just not that great at playing the instrument (or any instrument...) and I'm just more interested in songwriting than production so it's hard to put the time into the less-fun half of the hobby. I have a hard time writing songs "for my own voice" and I often find, having written a song, that I can't really sing it the way it's in my head. Not sure what to do about that.

As for jast's very detailed notes on the vocals, which I do appreciate; I understand what you're saying about making sure every track sounds good alone, and believe it or not I recorded a good 12-15 takes (like 3 each for each harmonic part) before soloing and selecting the four best... I just think my idea of 'best' has more to do with emotion than technical perfection. When I let myself worry too much about technical perfection, I find it really kills my ability to enjoy performing, and ultimately this is just a hobby for now so I'm gonna continue to err on the side of messy vocal takes, while taking into account the notes on volume (some of which will again come naturally as I get used to the mic.) I do actually have the 'main' vocal line much louder than everything else, and less compressed. I like the low pass filter idea though, smart.

I hope everyone liked the songwriting component, I'm happy to get compliments on the chords.

Oh and I dug those Crash King songs and hear exactly what you're talking about.
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by jpnickolas »

Man, I wish every week could be metal week. This was so much fun! I think to be fair, we should have a "showtunes/musical number" optional challenge to make all us metal folks equally uncomfortable.

Vom Vorton
Ayyy, nice fuzz. I dig the groovy riff. A few forgivable sections where things seem to oddly speed up. I REALLY like the spoken word section. The whispers on specific words emphasize very nicely. I think you could have stuck with the spoken word through to the end and held on to that great dramatic energy.

miscellaneous owl
The flat harmony you sing on the first and third Tekeli-li of each chorus is awesome. This song is super menacing, with a steady crescendo of panic. Not sure exactly what a Tekeli-li is, but I don't want to meet it. Current front runner, although I'm only on song #2, so we'll see how strong the week is. Plot twist from future Nick, the week wasn't strong enough. This is still the front runner for me.

CazaroTaro
Fun story this one paints. It ends pretty abruptly. The line "Mother’s egg was a little cooked off" sticks out as not fitting - nothing wrong with the line itself, I think it's just the AABB rhyme scheme before it, I expected this one to rhyme and have a similar cadence with the one before it. I dig the chords during "That's how she became the white morph". It adds some good movement to the song.

Brother Baker
Oh man, the fake out at the beginning. I expected it to go directly from thin guitar to honkin' boy, but the clean chord really hit me good. I think you could have dropped the intro riff down an octave or two in the verses and really had something thumping, especially as the guitars came in right after the intro. Oh yeah, that's the whiny singing I live for. It reminds me of Belmont. I'm desperate to learn how to sing like this. You've got some guitar doodly doops around 1:30 that I would have turned up in the mix, but I'm also a bit obsessive with guitar so others may disagree. Damn good job on this one, I like it a lot.

Moody Vermin
Really great chaotic solo. A real Slayer style one. I think there may have been too many stacked dissonant bits in this song, since I had a hard time latching onto any one melody. I do appreciate that there doesn't seem to be a single boring part in this song. Counter to the criticism I have, the consistent barage of guitar scrapes, bends, and high notes add an interesting texture.

The Late Heavy Bombardment
I like the call and response of "Where are you" "You left me..." . It sounds like the "You left me" is coming in harder from the left ear, but only slightly, giving it a very natural feel. I also dig the existential dread made infinitely harder by needing to face it alone. The tone of this song is solid start to finish.

Thieves of Reason
Oof, that left vocal is far too loud for comfort, and the right one is rough. I didn't finish listening to this one.

Brown Word and the Big Whine
Excellent drum intro. I'm digging the screaming doubles of your vocals. I'm a sucker for the natural harmonics in your main riff. I get some great Maiden vibes from the riffing in this song. I liked it a lot. The line "No in between" felt a bit silly and dropped me out of the epic mood near the end, but that feels like more of a nitpick.

orat0rical0rator
I'm having a hard time deciding if I hate or love this. I'm feeling a real lack of middle ground. Especially towards the end, it feels like a friend playing a record backwards to show me the devil spawn voices, but I'm actually vibing out to it a bit. Everything feels unhinged in a very intentional way, and I love how the synths come in around the 0:50 mark. I wish I could give more feedback, but I'm not sure if leaning less into the weird or more into it would make things better.

Hot Pink Halo
The lyrics here are great. When you sing them, the lines themselves blend together in a way that I can see as mesmorizing but that I'm personally not a fan of. It feels like I'm missing a place to catch my breath. Otherwise, the instrumentation is very pretty and I like how the penny whistle (flute? piccolo? I can't tell) is adding texture to the upper end.

Lean To
Welcome! I like this intro vibe, it's real groovy. Vocals feel a bit all over the place... not so much pitchy as it is several competing melodies. I keep shifting focus between different tracks, spending more time context switching than paying attention to the song itself. It would have been good to choose a lead line to be louder, and have the rest as quieter background accents. The piano itself sounds really good and lays a great foundation for your voice. Around the 2:10 point, the piano gets real loud and drowns out everything else, though. Could have been a nice point for a piano solo actually, since it seems like you were trying to add more focus to the piano anyways. But yeah, either the piano at that point was too overbaring for the vocals or the vocals were getting in the way of your piano. Also, more of a nitpick, but there were ~10 seconds of empty time at the end of the song you could have cropped out. Good job overall, and I'm looking forward to hearing more of your songs!

Night Sky
I really like the internal rhyming here! I think the sax counts as being made of heavy metals, so that's a technical check in the bonus challenge. As much as I love metal, having the last few songs be non-metal has been refreshing, and makes me more excited for the next ones coming up. I dig the tone on your background guitar. It gives me surfer vibes. What are you using for pickups and effects on it? It sounds like lipstick pickups with a juicy reverb, but it's far enough out of my wheelhouse that I don't really know. I think you could do something different with the vocals during the chorus (double them or harmonize?), since I feel like it's not quite hooking me like I'd hoped. Potentially just a stylistic difference, but I'm struggling to figure out why I'm not being drawn to the chorus as much as I'd like to be. Sax solos are hella tasteful, and well sprinkled into the song.

Sly Eli
Fun odd time signature right off the bat set with the cymbals. Is it 3/4? I've never been great at anything outside of 4/4. These strings and horns are awesome! This may be a winner for me - as much as I really want metal to win this week, it's neck and neck with Owl's song! I'm just a real sucker for supporting strings like this, and they're soooo well done here. Small nitpick, but the way you sing "watching TV" sounds a bit awkward, and can probably be stretched out more. I noticed it in a few other lines, but this was the only one that stuck out as distracting. Also, the guitar sounds like it has a touch too much treble and some compression to compensate (I might be wrong about the compression). If you aren't already, try using the neck or bridge+neck pickup selection to have a more muted tone that you can compress less. Pretty minor, though.

The Magnetic Letters
lololol, this one gave me a good chuckle. I appreciate how much I'm learning about the deep power ranger lore. Are the intense guitar solos some ridiculous midi, or a regular solo sped up by a lot? It's hard to give a real criticism of this one. Some of the vocals sound pieced together from several takes, although I take it screamy vocals aren't your cup of tea. Either way, this was delightful all around.

Lichen Throat
I like the take on the prompt! When I first heard "Time to eat my favorite snack: Cylinders in a plastic sack." I assumed this would be about mozzarella sticks. You've really been doing great with incorporating more interesting harmonies and accents into the backing instruments. The chorus is also really great and singsongy. In some lines, you seem to be having an awkward time fitting the whole line into the measure. For example "Dad and Uncle at the campsite". It might be good to edit those lines down to be more manageable. There's also a part around the 2:00 mark speedup (which sounds really cool btw!) where you're playing chords back to back that don't sound great. It seems to be a limitation of the midi guitar, but it sounds pretty unnatural to have the scrape across all the strings at such a fast pace. Otherwise, all those guitar riffs sounded really good. Also there are parts where you go a bit too low for your range where it may be better to go up instead of down (~1:39 for example).

Phlebia
I really like the chords around the 1:05 mark. I really appreciate the dedication to the fungi - which I should expect from such a fun guy (☞゚ヮ゚)☞ ☜(゚ヮ゚☜). The heavy use of technical fungal terms is pretty awesome. I mean, you rhyme paranoid with amaloid, how can anyone not love it? That sound from that bass is so thick I could cut it with a knife! A lot of sound at 2:18 that maybe could be mixed better, but I have no idea how. I'm normally not a fan of the hard cut off as an outro, but it works really well here given the descent into noise at the end.

Duncan Martin
Oh, this is a good intro. Before the lyrics come in, it feels like the intro to an action movie, like it's pitch black and as we see James Bond the strings come in. You pick up a lot of energy during your verses that I love, but it kinda fizzles out by the time the next verse starts. I would have loved to see you replace the solo'ed cymbals with a bohemian rhapsody style headbanger riff. Basically, this had a lot of potential, which I think is the hard part to get, but just needed a place for that potential to go. The lyrics are pretty fun. Some of them are awkward when fitting them into the song, and maybe could have been edited down more.

IRC USM
I like whatever that clean chord in the intro is. The chugs are great, and I like how they mixed with the clean guitar towards the end. The electric guitars from ~0:30 to ~0:50 were good, but it felt like something was missing without the chugs. I stopped head bopping around that section. Maybe if you moved that riff up an octave or two and kept the chugs in that section? Overall, liked this one a lot.


JP Nickolas
I'm really happy with how this one came out. I had to wrestle really hard with most sections of this song, but it's the first time I've had that wrestling actually pay off. The lyrics had a fun cadence that I really wanted to preserve in the verses, although I think my timing was off. The "tick tock" was awkwardly fast and not in time. The guitar also felt thinner that I would have liked. I wish I could attribute that to my cheap 7 string, but I think I'm the limiting factor here. I don't normally write anything even remotely djenty. It was a real struggle to tie the chorus and bridge into the rest of the song given the key changes, but I'm happy with the final product of that. It sounds like the change into the bridge wasn't as awkward sounding as I'd expected, but I could have spent some more time lingering on the chorus. I really love how the breakdown and post-breakdown turned out. Also, I learned how to use autotune this week, so hopefully I can spare you all the pitchy vocals moving forward.

Catherine Wacha
I love your raspy vocals. They've got a lot of character. The lead guitar also adds some really great texture. It's a great repeated motif. Same note to you as with Sly Eli - the rhythm guitar sounds a bit thin and if you're not already you should try switching to the neck pickup. I also just despise how bridge pickups sound on clean, so this may be a me thing. Also, if you happen to see this, be sure to post your lyrics to Ye Olde Lyric Archive. Woah, I'm really impressed that you held that note at ~3:00 for so long, although it was a touch too harsh for me. Potentially making that one quieter with some delay/reverb to really fill up the space.
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sleepysilverdoor
Panama
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Location: Atlanta-ish.

Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

jpnickolas wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:29 pm
Phlebia
I really like the chords around the 1:05 mark. I really appreciate the dedication to the fungi - which I should expect from such a fun guy (☞゚ヮ゚)☞ ☜(゚ヮ゚☜). The heavy use of technical fungal terms is pretty awesome. I mean, you rhyme paranoid with amaloid, how can anyone not love it? That sound from that bass is so thick I could cut it with a knife! A lot of sound at 2:18 that maybe could be mixed better, but I have no idea how. I'm normally not a fan of the hard cut off as an outro, but it works really well here given the descent into noise at the end.
I may have mentioned a time or two that I'm a big foraging nut. I also enjoy taking pictures of mushrooms, many of which are posted here. https://mushroomobserver.org/observer/o ... user/10035
"There's a lot to be said about a full-on frontal assault on the ear drums" - Pigfarmer Jr.
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mholland
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
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Location: Davis, CA

Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by mholland »

jpnickolas wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:29 pm
Night Sky
I really like the internal rhyming here! I think the sax counts as being made of heavy metals, so that's a technical check in the bonus challenge. As much as I love metal, having the last few songs be non-metal has been refreshing, and makes me more excited for the next ones coming up. I dig the tone on your background guitar. It gives me surfer vibes. What are you using for pickups and effects on it? It sounds like lipstick pickups with a juicy reverb, but it's far enough out of my wheelhouse that I don't really know. I think you could do something different with the vocals during the chorus (double them or harmonize?), since I feel like it's not quite hooking me like I'd hoped. Potentially just a stylistic difference, but I'm struggling to figure out why I'm not being drawn to the chorus as much as I'd like to be. Sax solos are hella tasteful, and well sprinkled into the song.
Re "heavy metal," there was no way I was going to produce a credible metal track, so I went with the bari for the metaphorical nod. I think you're right that doubled vocals or harmonies could have helped the chorus. On the guitar tone, for one thing I'm always very happy when anything about my guitars garners attention from any of the actual guitar players on here. Anyway, it was the neck pickup of my (import) Hamer (so whatever humbuckers Hamer was putting in its Chinese guitars in the early 2000s), tone on 7 or so. Effects were the "Endless Summer" preset in Logic, except that I turned off the virtual stomp box reverb and turned on the amp sim reverb. So basically some tremolo and a fair amount of reverb.

Edit to add a thank you for the comment on the internal rhyming. I told Sally, and she smiled :)
Night Sky is Sally on lyrics, Steve on drums, and Matt on the other stuff
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Here, Atticus
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
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Re: From Grey to Gandalf (The White Morph reviews)

Post by Here, Atticus »

sleepysilverdoor wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 9:37 pm
Okay, there we go that’s a powerful riff right at the beginning. This is definitely well thought out and well composed. And the vocals *sound* like they’d give you a sore throat. I hope you drank a bunch of water after this. Some of the riffs remind me pretty heavily of power rangers...which I never watched enough to recognize the music from. This makes me feel like I’m at Hot Topic in 2006 looking for a cool hip t-shirt which is a fine mental association to have with this music. Of course half of my entries sound like I’m at Hot Topic in 2002 looking for a cool hip t-shirt so that may influence the mutual enjoyment of each other’s tracks.
They *did* deliver sore throats indeed :lol: I drank over a gallon that day, else I still might be hoarse
Happy we delivered power rangers to the non-diehards. I think I've more or less said it, but 2006 Hot Topic is exactly how I'd describe my formative years. I'd say it's definitely a factor in our shared tastes!
jast wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:31 pm
In one word: convincing! The vocals don't always quite flow, and more importantly it feels like you were afraid of high frequencies and cut them all away, leaving the mix a little flat. The static mix could use some tweaks, too - one of the riff guitars sticks out a little and the guitars overshadow the drums and vocals slightly. All that said, though, this is definitely one of the best in this fight.
I think if I had more time, the static elements wouldn't be so...static. And ugh, I know this about my mixes. Idk why the high end over-bothers me in my music, it always happens and I need to remember to pay attention to it. My non-fight mixes find their home after a week or two and every listening environment that I can use. After writing and tracking instruments each fight, I usually only have a day or less to mix, and I find myself messing up on the things I thought I finally had figured out. Doing a SongFight each week is the best thing I've done for my skills; I'm less focused on making each song a perfect expression of myself, instead just making fun songs that sound good. Thanks so much!
jpnickolas wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:29 pm
Man, I wish every week could be metal week. This was so much fun! I think to be fair, we should have a "showtunes/musical number" optional challenge to make all us metal folks equally uncomfortable.

Oh man, the fake out at the beginning. I expected it to go directly from thin guitar to honkin' boy, but the clean chord really hit me good. I think you could have dropped the intro riff down an octave or two in the verses and really had something thumping, especially as the guitars came in right after the intro. Oh yeah, that's the whiny singing I live for. It reminds me of Belmont. I'm desperate to learn how to sing like this. You've got some guitar doodly doops around 1:30 that I would have turned up in the mix, but I'm also a bit obsessive with guitar so others may disagree. Damn good job on this one, I like it a lot.
Amen and Amen (though I think I could have a lot of fun concocting a showtune too :P )
I spent too much time with AFI and NFG growing up, I couldn't sing another way if I tried (and I've tried)
Unfortunately, I'm a power chord player through and through. Those zippy zoops are lots of comps and poorly played, and sit just gently enough in the mix to obscure that. Thanks for recognizing the stuff I'm proudest of in this one!
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