Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

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Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

I've got my tinfoil bent in *just* the right direction.
Last edited by Pigfarmer Jr on Mon Dec 05, 2022 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies prefight)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Please place your lyric here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12394
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Songs posted!
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by Jerkatorium »

Dammit I missed the turnover. I'm sorry, I've submitted a Radio Galaxies song late, band name Hanky Code. If you have the time and inclination, please add it to the fight (no rush, obviously). If you decide not to that's fair too, I need to learn somehow.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by AJOwens »

This is going to get confusing, because two versions of the same song are up, under "Guitarz and Vocalz" and "James Owens." The first one was recorded with Shawn during my visit to Ottawa. The second was put together in Dartmouth, with Keith from Truro on drums.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Jerkatorium wrote:
Wed Dec 07, 2022 1:25 am
Dammit I missed the turnover. I'm sorry, I've submitted a Radio Galaxies song late, band name Hanky Code. If you have the time and inclination, please add it to the fight (no rush, obviously). If you decide not to that's fair too, I need to learn somehow.
I'll add it when I have time.
AJOwens wrote:
Wed Dec 07, 2022 5:38 am
This is going to get confusing, because two versions of the same song are up, under "Guitarz and Vocalz" and "James Owens." The first one was recorded with Shawn during my visit to Ottawa. The second was put together in Dartmouth, with Keith from Truro on drums.
Is that not what you wanted...?
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by AJOwens »

Lunkhead wrote:
Wed Dec 07, 2022 9:40 am
AJOwens wrote:
Wed Dec 07, 2022 5:38 am
This is going to get confusing, because two versions of the same song are up, under "Guitarz and Vocalz" and "James Owens." The first one was recorded with Shawn during my visit to Ottawa. The second was put together in Dartmouth, with Keith from Truro on drums.
Is that not what you wanted...?
I'm fine with it, although I didn't expect the entries to sound quite so similar. . . Anyway, I was just hoping to alert people. I can see how it would be disconcerting.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by crumpart »

Jerkatorium wrote:
Wed Dec 07, 2022 1:25 am
Dammit I missed the turnover. I'm sorry, I've submitted a Radio Galaxies song late, band name Hanky Code. If you have the time and inclination, please add it to the fight (no rush, obviously). If you decide not to that's fair too, I need to learn somehow.
I hope to submit one tomorrow, primarily because I've written the whole song and don't want to waste it. Time, inclination, etc. as above.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by dirgetheband »

Absolutely Credible – Nice piano playing. As cool as it is on its own, I feel like it’s a little too busy under the verse. Other than the business of the verses, this song has a really nice grasp of dynamics. In my grunge-centric world, I really want a fuzz guitar on the chorus to push it over the top. I see that, like me, it’s been a hot minute since you submitted a song. Welcome back and nice song.

BSS – Nice use of the space-y synths. Where’s the kick? It’s completely absent as I listen on my stereo. I like how the lead pulls the melody back in at 2:40. Nice touch. Overall a very competent, well arranged tune, typical of yous guys.

Caravan Ray – This made me chuckle. Real KrautRock vibe.

Dirge (that's me!)– So I got some new toys lately and two of the cooler ones appear on this (a Boss RE20 and a Green Russian clone by Dongeomac). Lots of 7th chords in the “verse”, which just sound so good through the Space Echo. I was going to have the second half of the “bridge” have this spiraling guitar solo but ran out of time and just repeated the first half. Rushed mixing job results in a too-heavy buss compressor, but it gives the song this warbly sound that kinda works. I google’d “Radio Galaxy” prior to writing. Made me think about turning into radio waves upon death, flying around in space forever.

Guitarz and Vocalz – I’d rather hear this with an acoustic, rather than the Vox-y electric. I think many of the issues with this version are addressed on the other submission.

Inflatable Vegetables – Dump the drums and see what it sounds like; the bass/sub-synth provides all the rhythm needed on this one. The “radio active” part is a pleasant surprise, and really puts a cherry on top on this one. That’s when the drums should come in. Killer.

James Owens – I love the lyrics. Your vocal delivery is really unique; I like the way you almost turn “saying” into three syllables. Of the two “versions”, this one is my favorite. I wish your drum loop was bigger, fatter, more present.

The Late Heavy Bombardment – Immediately thought “this is cool”. The subtle fade in of the acoustic band at 0:45 is killer and ditching the halftime drums at 0:56 is genius. Like, before you know it, the whole “band” is there and it sounds great. Unfortunately, the chorus kinda sucks the life out of the tune. It’s good, but I loved what I was hearing in the verse/bridge; why not just keep going on that path? I like the way it ends, too, with the intermittent static, but would have loved to hear you groove on the verse progression for a bit longer. Nice approach to the title, using “radio” as a verb.

The Magnetic Letters – I like when the melody follows the bass. Some of my favorite bands use the bass as more of a melodic instrument; you did this well. The instruments all sit nicely in the mix and the arrangement. The chorus gets a little clustered lyrically in spots. Nice synth lead – or was that a theremin?

The Mellfire Trifecta – Another Vox-y sounding guitar. Y’all sharing the same amp this week? I really like how the rhythm section drops out at 2:30 – and completely air drummed it’s return at 2:45. Like, I’ve heard that on a thousand songs and still love it. Nice work. I do think this could benefit from a thicker guitar tone.

Paco – Another “radio as a verb” interpretation. The chorus is great; it really pushes the song forward nicely. Holy hell, what is the solo? Sounds like a slide whistle through a Big Muff. I love it.

WreckdoM – This is the sound James Owens should have used on his tune. I wish you turned the chorus up to 11; the verses rock but like other tunes, the chorus takes a step back when I look for it to do the opposite. The last stanza doesn’t work for me – with the suddenly lurching bassline it’s like a whole different song. This would be a great 1:30 song; drags on at 2:00. The overall vibe is top notch.
DT
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by AJOwens »

dirgetheband wrote:
Wed Dec 07, 2022 1:23 pm
James Owens – I love the lyrics. Your vocal delivery is really unique; I like the way you almost turn “saying” into three syllables. Of the two “versions”, this one is my favorite. I wish your drum loop was bigger, fatter, more present.
It's an electronic kit, but a (very steady) live drummer. I added some hall reverb to the bridge part, but I left the rest of it dry. Good suggestion, thanks.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by crumpart »

Super Duper Late Entry Submitted (sorry)
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

I just added the Hanky Code and Hot Pink Halo late songs to the fight, adding them to the RSS feed in a minute.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by gizo »

Lunkhead wrote:
Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:26 pm
I just added the Hanky Code and Hot Pink Halo late songs to the fight, adding them to the RSS feed in a minute.
Yay!!! Thanks Lunky!!!
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by crumpart »

Lunkhead wrote:
Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:26 pm
I just added the Hanky Code and Hot Pink Halo late songs to the fight, adding them to the RSS feed in a minute.
Thanks!
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by dirgetheband »

Reviews for "late" entries:

Hanky Code - What the hell happens at 0:40? Absolutely hysterical mash up of back-porch banjo blues and robot-voice synth rock. Don't get me wrong, it works but I would have had the two "voices" layered together at 1:28; first stanza banjo, second robot, third banjo, and final with both together, y'know? Love this.

Hot Pink Halo - The sparse instrumentation works really well for the verses but I want something to kick it up another notch at 0:36 for the pre-chorus/chorus. The overall dynamics just aren't there. Something distorted/fuzzy or a fuller synth or some background vocals, maybe? Banjo here, too? Man, the theme this week is Vox amps and banjos. Nice tune.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by crumpart »

dirgetheband wrote:
Sat Dec 10, 2022 9:37 am
Reviews for "late" entries:

Hot Pink Halo - The sparse instrumentation works really well for the verses but I want something to kick it up another notch at 0:36 for the pre-chorus/chorus. The overall dynamics just aren't there. Something distorted/fuzzy or a fuller synth or some background vocals, maybe? Banjo here, too? Man, the theme this week is Vox amps and banjos. Nice tune.
Hey, thanks for the review! This was all done using GarageBand and Logic instruments (started in GB on my iPad so I could use the screen keyboard then mixed in Logic) and samples because I’m about to move house and all the music gear is packed up. Would’ve loved to do some background vocals, but time and inner ear pressure were against me. The banjo type instrument is from a loop for an instrument called a Guzheng (the internet tells me it’s a Chinese zither type instrument), which i dirtied up a bit.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by WreckdoMelle »

BSS - Bonus for weird little radio sounds. Good subject matter and catchy chorus. You guys always sound great!

The Magnetic Letters - Really pleasant and the harmonies give it enough of a weird touch for a spacey feel. The minor breakdown is really cool.

WreckdoM - I think of all the many waves passing onto and into and through our bodies constantly, that is to say I consider it for an instant and decide why worry as it can't be helped. Imagine how over vast distances and widely broadcast they travel only to meet me. What is the likelihood of any of this coming to pass, questions of that nature spring to mind - paradoxically, the likelihood seems to increase the larger all of creation is thought to be. But that's not to detract from this egocentric examination of being at the center of everything. We did this in one day.

James Owens - The music is really good! I like the trippy synth and the bass keeps it interesting. The person in the song does sound quite confused though.

Hot Pink Halo - Good to see you back. I dig the space noises. Bass sounds great as do the synths. Nice breakdown. I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Caravan Ray - Suitably weird sounding all the way around. I did indeed dance.

Hanky Code - This is really good. What I like: banjo, the slide guitar, the words, robot sounding vox, the synth solo, vocal harmonies, the rockin' bass at the end, the guitar solo. What I didn't like: nothing, it was perfecto.

Absolutely Credible - Pro-sounding piano. Suitably epic sounding and the vox are well suited to this style. Good hook, pumps the energy.

Guitarz and Vocalz - I like this pared down rendition. The guitars remind me of The Who, of whom I approve, sonically. I will say the person in the song still sounds mighty confused.

The Mellfire Trifecta - This is really rocking and the guitar has a cool tone but it is a little forward in the mix during the verse. Good breakdown and pumping coda.

Paco del Stinko - Bass rocks, and the synth sounds great. This music is really badass and tough and the vox are superb. Yeah man, you're back to full powers! "It would be a travesty if there's nothing above" - chef's kiss. My favorite of the fight.

Inflatable Vegetables - I like your vocal delivery against the understated drums. Bold choice of clean searing guitar but it sounds very good. I really like the grandiose second half!

The Late Heavy Bombardment - I really like how this builds - and each additional sound sounds cooler than the next. There's a chord change in there when it all comes together that is reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Shit gets weird here and there, which I love. Neat!

Dirge - Creepy dreamlike intro, nice, and then a guitar with a great tone - approve. Slow dancing at the end of the night in a dystopian tavern, or more like, going home lonesome (lyrix seem sad)? Big buildup + a pulsing outro which is almost transgressive in its pulsing-ness, and I approve of it also.

Wow y'all! Such a strong fight! This could go in any direction.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by Jerkatorium »

This was a great title. “Radio Galaxies” is what every Song Fight title should be: widely interpretable, but still narrow enough to give good direction/inspiration. It sparked the imagination and led to several sets of great lyrics. It evokes space, communication, distance, technology, reach and wonder. Almost everybody’s lyrics are excellent and inspired.

I try to limit my votes to less than half of the competitors, which means I’ll try to only vote for a maximum of 6 of these songs, but it’ll be difficult to choose.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Absolutely Credible: Lovely opening verse and a wonderful lead vocal performance. That voice is utterly seductive. The lyrics sound great too, I wish they’d been posted. This whole song is great - though if it was me, I’d add backing vocals to the choruses. The song might be just a little on the long side. Vote.

Berkeley Social Scene: Super fun rock. Great lyrics (so post them). Excellent drum work, excellent guitar work, excellent everything. Catchy, hooky, it’s everything I want in a song. Whoops, there goes another BSS song onto my playlists. Vote.

Caravan Ray: This is why I had to put the word “almost” into my earlier “Almost everybody’s lyrics are excellent” comment. Don’t get me wrong, I mean I like arpeggiators and such (and I used some in my own entry), but this sounds a little low-efforty in both composition and execution, at least compared to most of C.R.’s portfolio. This was not unlistenable, and I never skipped it when going through the list.

Dirge: This song is well-paced and arranged well. I feel like the bones of this song are good, sweet and poignant, and I think that cover versions of this will sound amazing. But the doubled lead vocal is out of tune with itself, and that compression is distractingly bad. For me, those errors undermine any pathos the song might otherwise inspire. Yet I can still hear the really cool song hiding inside this recording.

Guitarz and Vocals: Distorted guitar without drums is a pretty strong choice. Good composition, and I really like the chord progression and melody. The vocal performance seems a little lackluster - though I fully realize me saying that is like the pot telling the kettle “hey you’re a pot.”

Hanky Code: This was a 2-fer; a group on Discord has monthly art challenges and November’s was to do one piece of art four ways. My interpretation of that challenge was to do four song verses in four different styles: folk/country, synth pop, a cappella, and rock and roll. Thus no chorus and no bridge. Yes I was late submitting to the Discord challenge too.

Hot Pink Halo: This is lovely and I’m all in. I think some backing vocals might have improved the song, but it’s also great as is. I like the layering of the instrumentation. Great lyrics, I enjoy the vocal performance, and the melody is wonderfully catchy. I compare it favorably to Bananarama (not intended as any sort of backhanded compliment/insult). Vote.

Inflatable Vegetables: David Bowie is back from the dead. I love when the guitarmonies peek in, it was a great choice to make us wait for those. I love the crescendo to the epic rock ending. If I was being nitpicky I could probably find something to dislike about the mixing/mastering, but why bother when I’d rather just sit back and enjoy this fabulous song. Vote.

James Owens: Guitarz and Vocals, but with thin electric drums. Not sure which version I prefer. Probably the GnV version.

The Late Heavy Bombardment: Excellent and epic but it gets unnecessarily repetitive at the end. And I’m a bit of a tempo junkie so this number is facing an uphill battle when it comes to engaging me. Excellent regardless. Vote.

The Magnetic Letters: You know I love good backing vocals so it’s vote vote vote from me. This song has great lyrics and a sweet melody. That theramin(?) sounds a little uncontrolled during the mid-song instrumental, but I’m good with it anyway since it’s interesting. The whole vibe of the song is happy and laid back. What’s not to like? Vote.

Mellfire Trifecta: Okay I don’t like that distortion setting, and I think adding one more backing vocal track during the bridge (a harmony for that aaaah track) would be a vast improvement. But I love absolutely everything else about this song. The lyrics and vocal performance are fantastic, and those good harmony vocals are sure to get my vote every time. Vote.

Paco Del Stinko: The first time I listened through this list of songs I hit a couple in a row that were somewhat low-energy with slower tempos, so I decided to treat myself and skip ahead to this Paco song. I was not disappointed. Amazing, rockin’, barn-burning, jam out-kicking, energizing, excellent performance, great lyrics, terrific attitude. What a gift. Vote.

WreckdoM: This is fantastic. Kim Gordon meets Mick Jagger singing ‘Shattered’ during a Pixies concert. Energetic, inventive, fun and unpredictable. This is fabulous. Vote.

I said I’d only vote for 6 maximum but I really want to vote for 9. Maybe 10 if I vote for myself. Maybe 11 since I’m on the fence about Dirge. No stakes, so I’m probably voting for 11 this week. But in that case I might as well vote for all 14, right? Ugh, I’ll sleep on it.
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by crumpart »

Jerkatorium wrote:
Mon Dec 12, 2022 12:43 am

Hot Pink Halo: This is lovely and I’m all in. I think some backing vocals might have improved the song, but it’s also great as is. I like the layering of the instrumentation. Great lyrics, I enjoy the vocal performance, and the melody is wonderfully catchy. I compare it favorably to Bananarama (not intended as any sort of backhanded compliment/insult).
Bananarama were HUGE in Australia when I was an eight year old girl spending my Lunches and Little Lunches in the Shelter Sheds at school coming up with group dances to premiere during Show and Tell. I’m pretty sure we had one for Venus that involved a show stopping jump off the bench seating. I’ve been mainlining The Bangles for the past two years, but I definitely have a childhood Bananrama soft spot and would now like to cover Love in the First Degree (Toshiro gets hilariously irrationally angry at any mention of their name because they all just sang the melody; lol.)
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by WreckdoMelle »

Jerkatorium wrote:
Mon Dec 12, 2022 12:43 am

WreckdoM: This is fantastic. Kim Gordon meets Mick Jagger singing ‘Shattered’ during a Pixies concert. Energetic, inventive, fun and unpredictable. This is fabulous. Vote.
Thank you sir. Our first Kim Gordon comparison, we’ll take it. I honestly hadn’t appreciated Sonic Youth deeply enough but I just the other day saw a live rendition of “Cool Thing” that blew me away. The drummer is a total beast, and I had no idea what was required for such a, in my opinion, understated tune. Kind of like Get Back, you think it sounds simple but when you go to play it, you get surprised.

Thanks everyone for the reviews, and where applicable, the votes <3
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Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by AJOwens »

Absolutely Credible: This is a real tour de force. In all its parts it has impressive potential. The background has a cardboard quality; it would benefit from more instruments, as well as more prominent parts. The opening is almost oppressively mellow, riffing on soft-focus minimalism; in context I think it's supposed to be lulling or mesmerizing, but it feels a little Perry Como. Then it snaps awake into a disco vibe, but with a soft edge on the singing. The mellow returns, then the disco comes back, then the song launches enthusiastically into a bright pop chorus, which is hammered home a few times after a short digression into progressive art-rock angst. All of the bits are good, with imaginative tunes, harmonies, rhythms, and arrangements, but it's a lot for one song.

Berkeley Social Scene: This is a cool entry. Good sound, good arrangements, good structure. Nice solo. There's enough here for a vote. A lot of the colour in this song comes from the lead work. The chorus is a little dry without it, and in the second chorus, the synth doesn't fill the same space.

Caravan Ray: The synthesized digeridoos and dashed, echoed notes build a starry image suggestive of radio communications in space. A great trance track, which would really come together with robotic pitch correction for the vocals.

Dirge: This appears to have been recorded live in an underground cave. With its heavily reverbed guitars, I think of it as quaalude rock, the sort Robin Trower used to make. At first it's ragged, but once it comes together (as the drums come in), it gains a solid momentum. The change to a sharper fuzz guitar moves the song a bit closer to a Radiohead sound.

Guitarz and Vocalz: Shawn's take, with space noises over a brief live recording. After our short initial writing and recording session in Ottawa, the song continued to evolve, but in some ways this version sounds better. Two versions of the same song? We'll call it a Squirrels thing.

Inflatable Vegetables: The ironic mid-sixties crooning is somehow well-matched to the complex three-in-the-morning lyrics, with their sour-grapes lament for unrecognized magnificence. The song holds interest like a dangled watch, trickling out pointedly hackneyed arrangements until it suddenly explodes into arena-scale glam-rock at around 1:50. Gets a vote for matching mood to lyrics.

James Owens: The optional challenge provided the musical inspiration. A recent, purely academic interest in pareidolia (the tendency to imagine patterns in things) and apophenia (the belief that those imagined patterns are real) guided the lyrics. The synth riffs on the first line of the Star Trek: TNG theme. I'm voting for my own song (I don't always).

The Late Heavy Bombardment: This has an excellent groove, starting off a little slowly but developing nicely through slowly changing colours. The lyrics are thoughtful, but the reliance on the repeated title phrase starts to wear out despite the continued build in the music.

The Magnetic Letters: A gentle and pretty love song, with a jazzy syncopation in the well-controlled lyrical rhythms, octave doubling on the vocals, warm acoustic guitars, interesting harmonic turns, and radio communication noises that blend into the vibe. Deserves a vote for loveliness.

The Mellfire Trifecta: Starts off bouncy, emphasized by the scan of the lyrics, but this effect dissipates as the rhythm guitars become less crisp-edged. The production feels quiet; I had to turn up a little to get the full effect. Arrangement changes in the bridge and subsequent sections keep this interesting, but only at the end does the song really come together. The way "to. . . . ward the mountains" stalled was distracting.

Paco del Stinko: A punchy, energetic, sound with eccentric, angular lines,a chorus full of excitement, a strange dark bridge, and a solo that sounds like radio noise. The lyrics put a nice twist on the title, expressing a sort of vain hope that is oddly moving. Gets a vote for quality and out-thereness.

WreckdoM: A raw CBGB sound with kicking drums, a driving bass that carries the song, a guitar with the intensity of hornets, and in-your-face vocals that sprawl across the music like a crowd-surfer over a crowd. The song ends abruptly, unexpectedly, almost fizzling out. Gets a vote for attitude.

Post-post entries:

Hanky Code: This song has a fun energy. Like Absolutely Credible's entry, it goes through various phases, used here to build up a negotiation across galaxies, I guess. Nice slide guitar. The boilerplate composition makes me wonder about this being a late entry; I'll have to re-read the pre-fight.

Hot Pink Halo: The music has a light pop sound due to the sparse, elegant synth arrangement and hopping rhythms, but the lyrics are dark, mysterious, earnest. They're both good, and I especially like the way the lyrics reveal their surprises, but the two aren't in the same emotional space. Also the scan is sometimes seriously forced. Your voice has a pleasing tone, but some vagueness about landing individual notes in the busy melodies. The solo has a cool oriental charm, accentuated by the background murmuring.
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dirgetheband
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:52 pm
Instruments: Guitar
Recording Method: Pro Tools 8 M-Powered, Dell XPS 630, M-Audio Delta 66/44, Tascam 488 & 424
Submitting as: Dirge
Pronouns: He/Him
Location: St. Louis MO

Re: Let's get loud and luminous (Radio Galaxies reviews)

Post by dirgetheband »

Jerkatorium wrote:
Mon Dec 12, 2022 12:43 am

Dirge: This song is well-paced and arranged well. I feel like the bones of this song are good, sweet and poignant, and I think that cover versions of this will sound amazing. But the doubled lead vocal is out of tune with itself, and that compression is distractingly bad. For me, those errors undermine any pathos the song might otherwise inspire. Yet I can still hear the really cool song hiding inside this recording.
So, this is so on the point. The mixes (and songs, in general) that I submit here so frequently suffer from one of two (if not both) maladies:
  • With my inability to have any confidence whatsoever in my vocals, I often think "You know what will help one shitty vocal take? A similarly shitty but not identical vocal take layered on top of it!" Why I do this, I do not know.
  • Over-compression on the master buss or final mix in a vain attempt to make the song "loud". As much as I hate the loudness wars, I participate in it, at least here.
This goes back to Hollywood Wax, way back in '08 or '09. I've been doing it forever.

BUT NO LONGER! For the next entry (The Last Good Year) I made a specific, concerted effort to let only one vocal take be the lead (with additional takes serving as harmonies and very clearly pushed to the background) and I kept the buss compression to a painful minimum. I think when we convene on that title that you'll notice significant improvements on both fronts. I appreciate the guidance and am happy to receive the criticism. Cheers!
DT
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