Near enough to perfect... (Bent Straight reviews)

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crumpart
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Re: Near enough to perfect... (Bent Straight reviews)

Post by crumpart »

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I’ll try and get to some reviews today but don’t know if I’ll have time before the new songs go up. I decided pretty early on in this one to go for an “all art school all the time” approach for this one. I spent most of my MFA about ten years ago trying to understand Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and trying to visually make curves out of straight lines, so that was where my brain immediately went when I read “bent straight”.

To that end, I set up my song like I would set up one of those artworks, giving myself a bunch of time-based parameters to see what I ended up with. I started out in 3/4 with an intro at 88bpm, then I changed the tempo incrementally with each verse. Verse 1 is 96bpm, verse 2 is 104, verse 3 is 112, verse 4 is 120, the first four bars of verse 5 come back down to 112, the next four are 104, the first four bars of verse 6 are 96, then back to 88 until the end. I set up a drum beat to record everything to, then deleted it at the end and and recorded the heartbeat kick loop using the midi keyboard. It felt right to let that land on 4/4 time, so it makes what I think is called a polyrhythm (something I keep trying to set up and try but I always get nowhere; this time it just happened kind of naturally). On top of all that, I automated the guitar track to pan in a curve from right to left, reaching its arc at verse 4, then panned the synth line from left to right, also reaching the peak its arc at verse four, except I also dropped it out completely during that verse and it comes back from verse 5.

This is all a lot, I realise, and I know not everything works well, but it was a fun experiment. The first thing I’d change if I were to make it again would be to simplify the melody and probably change to a more comfortable key.
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Re: Near enough to perfect... (Bent Straight reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

thehipcola wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 5:54 pm
lichenthroat wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 9:53 am
Fussy Britches—Your execution on this is pretty good, but I don’t think this style of music usually works very well. The instrument tones fit an energetic sound, but the arrangement is more on the languid side, so it feels incongruous.
Thanks for the review! I don't normally reply to reviews, cuz taste/opinion/meh. But - I'm interested by your articulate, yet rather vague review... so ...

By way of response, overall - I submit - because I like contrasts and stark transitions. Incongruous is a great compliment, so thanks. Not sure what you mean by "don't think this style of music works very well", because - what style of music is this? To me it's a mishmash of hardcore, alt/rock, with a bit of psych rock/prog thrown in for good measure. Is that a style you've heard elsewhere? (genuine question, because I'm not very "out there" looking for the new hotness in music these days), and maybe this is a tried and true but overused formula. That would be ironic to me, but certainly not impossible - we are often so derivative in our music. I mean we - as in all of us musicians. But if that's your way of saying, "genre bias" - cool as well.

Languid is interesting as well - can you explain what you mean by that? Don't feel you need to, (because you certainly don't have to explain or justify taste to me), and also don't be afraid to say you think it sucks, if that's how you feel. Languid suggests something phoned in, to me anways - is that how this sounds? I'm genuinely curious. As a footnote, heavy rock often struggles on SF! - and that's fine with me, doesn't bother me to know if folks don't like the heavy, the crunch, the dirge, the scream, whatever... or the reminiscent nod to something they didn't like previously... I'm almost 50 and have a 15yr old daughter - so daily reminders that "my music" sounds old to some are plenitful. haha. That said - If that's not it at all, please elaborate. I'd love to understand what makes this seem languid to you. By the way - you get the word of the day for using it. :)

Now, I was only one part of the FB songwriting effort, so I'm only speaking about my goals - but to me - writing-in juxtaposition is attractive - I seek out the left turns, the weird structure, and try to also keep it reminiscent/familar enough to not just be flat out noise. Obviously that's wholly subjective - but to me, the joy in composition is more often felt in weird turns and surprises, and atypical pairings of stylistic sections, than standard narrow-lensed efforts that stay well within established boundaries of a genre/style/era... Who knows, maybe you heard none of those and decided that because it's got some riff rock hallmarks, it wasn't for you? That's fine too. On the other hand, sometimes I love to play to the trope just 'cuz it feels good at times to give a nod to where you came from, what you aspired to at one time. Depends on the mood and especially the band name. Ha. Anyhow, thanks again for the review. :)
Wow, I've gotten a lot of requests for clarification this round of reviews. I'm not sure if I was unusually forthcoming or just unclear. Anyway, I'll try to explain more, but as I mentioned the first time, my inability to verbally explain this concept was the spark for me to learn more about how music works and go from a big music fan but complete non-musician to the completely amateurish composer SongFight is now familiar with. All of that was a long-winded way of saying that my opinion may still be unclear after more explanation.

The dichotomy that I have in mind is what I think of as languid vs. energetic; these are terms that I use internally because I don't have music theory vocabulary to express myself in universally understood terminology. If I describe a song as languid, I intend to refer to a feeling that the song is dissipating energy in some way. I don't mean phoned-in at all; I'm referring to a mood that the song evokes. Maybe I can illustrate this with some examples; languid songs include Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen," The Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road," Alice in Chains' "Rooster," and Sun Kill Moon's "Ben's My Friend." Songs that I would refer to as energetic, in contrast, create a feeling of building energy. This is often, but not always, correlated with the speed of the song (The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" is obviously an energetic song), but there are some slower but still energetic songs, such as Live's "Lightning Crashes," or miscellaneous owl's entry for "The Dregs." As a matter of personal taste, I do tend to like the energetic songs more than the languid, but there are still many good songs I would characterize as languid; I quite like "Ben's My Friend," for example. I'm not sure, however, what musical characteristics actually cause these differences in my perception. It may have to do with the chord progression, the temporal distribution of notes, or something else entirely. I have no idea how clear this explanation is to anyone other than myself; I'd be eternally grateful to anyone who can explain this concept in music theory terminology.

With respect to your song specifically, I think my initial review may have been overly reductive. You've got a lot of different things going on in different sections, and my previous comments were more applicable to some sections than others. The part from 0:00 to 1:20, for example, I perceive as "languid," probably because of the descending melodies; to me, this section evokes a feeling of someone struggling unsuccessfully against restraint. (Here, I refer to the emotion of the song, not anything that you're doing as a musician.) The chorus does not convey quite the same sense to me. Overall, though, I feel like the composition has sense of inertia that is somewhat at variance with the aggressive tone of the guitar. Although songs with this combination of sound and tempo tend not to be to my taste, this is by no means a bad song, and I find nothing to nitpick about the performances.

I don't know if this is helpful or not, and I apologize if I've written anything that you find objectionable. This is an area where I struggle to find adequate, accurate vocabulary. I think you're an excellent musician, and I have noticed that you tend to bring your own sense of originality to otherwise familiar genres, which I definitely appreciate.
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Re: Near enough to perfect... (Bent Straight reviews)

Post by thehipcola »

Hey thanks for the reply Lichenthroat! Much appreciated. Nothing objectionable at all - no offense taken (or intended with my questions to you either). Just curious and I understand better what you're getting at now. Thanks again!
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Re: Near enough to perfect... (Bent Straight reviews)

Post by SweeneyToad »

super quick reviews!

phlemia - this is great, i love this, catchy and funny idea for the title, be careful with praying the gay away bro! i heard that can be risky!

2paco - this is cool, and groovy, i can't wait to be free one day! release me from the quarantine shackles! awesome solo at the end!

fussy bri*ches - this sounds like something from the 90's, i love it. and i think matt pinfield would like it to, good job bro!

sweentoad - this is my song, it's about aliens and stuff! i want to believe!

seaweed guy - this guy is better at fruity loops than me.

vom vom - this is good, it sounds like something from the trainspotting soundtrack, a lot of your stuff does. i love that movie and i love that sound track. pulp is one of my favorite bands. good job yo!

james ownin - this is super chill and i like it. i love songs about hammers. especially that one from atom and his package. this was really good, what is the instrument that kicks in at 1:45? i love that sound and have always wanted to sample it. good stuff man!

wreckin - this is pretty cool, vocals could be a little louder. any song that talks abbout eating a block of cheese gets a vote from me. you're weird. i love it. good stuff!

cave guys - this is rockin out and then your vocals sound like something from the 80's, i love this, it's really really good, i feel so nostalgic as it reminds me of my early 20's when i would hang out with my friends every sunday at a club for 50 cent mixed drinks and 80's music. good times!

tales about dig it - i dig it! this is so great, i wish i could have been there for your entire recording process, i wish i could hang out with you in real life!

grumper mikey - holy crap this is awesome, this might be my favorite one of the fight, you rule my dude. i really like music like this, please enter more fights, again, this was awesome!

amme momo - cool intro, this song sounds like something from the beatles mystery tour album, that's my fave album by them, hence my fave song by you thus far. good stuff man!

hot damn hey now! - your vocals are trippin me out, in a good way though, this is weirder than usual for you, i love weird music though, cool lo fi indie rock style to this one, i'm feeling it!

brown word to your mother - oh yeah, nice intro, cool vocals, you sound like you don't give a whaaaaaaat, the chorus gets weird, again though, in a good way, this was really cool.

grossest with the mostest tones - this is dope, you guys have a really cool style, i feel like with your name you guys should be a ska band, please give us a ska punk song one day. this was tight though, fo sho!

berken social scene - this was really good, i love that little synth in the back, it really ties the room together, awesome drum machine too, good song!

tomb and wubadubdub - lofi indie style, kind of emo too, i love it because i love all those things, don't judge me.

car, van, bluray player - 90's alternative vibe, i think matt pinfield would like this too. i'm pretty sure matt pinfield is my spirit animal, so i like this too!

lit throat - you sound intoxicated, i like it though, it reminds me of something i'd see at an open mic where the guy on stage is like really really high, ah that's what that smell in the parking lot was. cool song!

pigframer jr - this is really catchy from the get go, it reminds me of a song i'd listen to on repeat on my little record player when i was a kid, i used to do that to 'got my mind set on you' by george harrison when i was like 5 years old. good stuff man!


i voted for everyone!
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Re: Near enough to perfect... (Bent Straight reviews)

Post by AJOwens »

SweeneyToad wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 5:27 pm
what is the instrument that kicks in at 1:45?
That's the Flute patch from a Yamaha CP-40 Stage Piano. Played straight, it sounds a lot like a real flute. Played the way I did, it sounds like the Mellotron the Beatles used on Strawberry Fields. By using the 4/4 beat over a 6/8 backing, I hope I added something different.

PS For my occasional flute solos, I use a real flute. This is the first time I've used the synth patch.
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Re: Near enough to perfect... (Bent Straight reviews)

Post by SweeneyToad »

AJOwens wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 6:25 pm
SweeneyToad wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 5:27 pm
what is the instrument that kicks in at 1:45?
That's the Flute patch from a Yamaha CP-40 Stage Piano. Played straight, it sounds a lot like a real flute. Played the way I did, it sounds like the Mellotron the Beatles used on Strawberry Fields. By using the 4/4 beat over a 6/8 backing, I hope I added something different.

PS For my occasional flute solos, I use a real flute. This is the first time I've used the synth patch.

ah ha very interesting, thanks for the info man!
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Re: Near enough to perfect... (Bent Straight reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

BSS and The Gross tones tie!
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Re: Near enough to perfect... (Bent Straight reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Congratz, BSS, on the win.
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