Bash this cover - Flume by Bon Iver

Bash this cover - Flume by Bon Iver
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#1

Original:

My Cover:

Hey guys! So I’m taking a break from making new music to study and practice. I’ve decided to study Bon Iver’s album: For Emma, Forever Ago. This is the first song from the album. Rather than just try and transcribe the songs, I wanted to do covers for them. This is my first one. My main goal was to mimic the song as much as possible, (without being super meticulous.) My secondary goal is to rely on my performances rather than editing, so the song is based around a single live take (as shown,) and I didn’t edit any of the overdubs either. I just spent a little time mixing as I went, and wanted to rely more on the performances than any mixing tricks.

I believe that there’s some brass sound in the later part of the song, in addition to the ebow stuff, and I didn’t try to emulate that. (Does it sound like brass to you?) I used to play the trumpet but I don’t think I have it anymore.

So yeah, how do you think I did? I’m most interested in if you hear something in the original song that I didn’t pick up on, comments about the performances, overall sound… or whatever stands out to you. This is more of a “song study” than an artistic endeavor. Thanks for listening!


#2

I think it sounds awesome. Obviously the mixing style is very different, but I prefer yours over the original.

The original was mono and doesn’t have much high end to it, which makes it all feel a little more cohesive, whereas yours sounds like I can hear each performance more clearly. Whether that’s good or bad is up to you, but I prefer yours.

The one thing about yours is that your e-bowed guitar got pretty harsh when it started to rattle. I think a simple low pass filter on that would tame it a lot.

I don’t know if that spacey thing on the original is brass. It sounds to me like a distorted guitar that is e-bowed (or maybe scratched) and filtered pretty heavily, with massive amounts of reverb. But it’s so heavily processed it could be almost anything.


#3

A couple of timing issues. Getting back in after the break down is the most obvious. Mixing wise i would want to do some more but that is not the point so. Nicely done from me. I look forward to hearing the next one.


#4

I don’t think the original is all in mono. Maybe he didn’t pan the vocals as much as I did… But you can definitely hear the ebow stuff coming in on the left and the right. That may be the only bit that’s panned though. I hadn’t noticed the lack of top end… but yeah actually now that I listen again I can hear it. I think he just used an SM57 for the vocals so maybe that’s why there’s not as much crispness there. I didn’t think to try the same. Maybe for the next one. Thanks for the feedback!


#5

Yeah I didn’t know how to time the first kick drum hit coming into the third chorus because there was nothing to go off of haha. I didn’t worry about it too much, and noticed that in the original he wasn’t always perfectly on time so I figured it might contribute to the vibe of the song.


#6

Lovely rendition Cristina. I was unfamiliar with the artist and song prior to this, and like Boz I much prefer your version. (The original is def not mono, I listened on cans and it’s quite clear.)

Agreed with red about the timing issues as you come out of that little breakdown thing (I dug how you kind of looked around waiting to come back in!), and there is some errant noise from bumping the guitar or something that I’d want to edit out in that area too.

I’d probably drop the level of the e-bow stuff by a db or so if it were me… just a tad much in places.

Otherwise really nicely done!


#7

Awesome - really well done…I think you captured the vibe of the original nicely, while still putting your own stamp on it.

Re: The discussion about the original song:

There is a LOT of incidental noise on the track. My guess is that they decided to make the noise a feature of the track, as there much bumping of guitar bodies etc in the “breakdown” section from 2:35 - 2:50. Check out the big “pick hitting the guitar body” noise at 49 secs… This kind of thing would usually attract all sorts of negative comments here on BTR, but here there would seem to be a deliberate tactic to leave that stuff in to create a specific vibe.

The mix is actually an interesting study because it starts out with all his trademark vocal layers being pretty much mono, with only the ambiance and e-bow sounds providing the stereo interest as the song goes along. Then when the big chorus hits at 2:50 after the breakdown, the vocal layers and harmonies break out to full-width stereo. This is a super-effective tactic for creating impact and an ‘exclamation mark’ in the arrangement.


#8

I had not noticed the widening of the vocals on the final chorus! Great observation. That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m trying to learn by doing this.

Bonus fun fact: you probably wouldn’t realize this unless you had perfect pitch or tried to play along with the record, but many of the songs are tuned to a different reference pitch. For example, Flume is close to A = 425. I believe only 2 of the songs on the album are in standard A = 440 tuning, and they both have a more uplifting feeling. I can’t be 100% sure if he did this on purpose or out of some kind of relative-tuning laziness, but I like to think it was on purpose. I think it totally works, and I’m going to play around with it myself.


#9

Wowser, this is good. I don’t know what you did your vocal, but it works. Guitar is so clean…love that. I have never heard this song before, but to me this is so much better than the original. so much better hearing the real deal. congrats

Sincerely

Paul


#10

For the most part it’s a good likeness of the original, other than the key change and the tone of your voice. I was going to nitpick about the vocals being so loud in comparison to the music but if you’re recreating the original then that would be what you’re shooting for and an accurate depiction.

You did a good job with this. The one thing that I heard on the original that I don’t hear on your version is the vocal that is sang an octave lower than the main melody. I think it starts on the second verse in the original song.

Nice work!


#11

Yeah I moved the whole thing up a whole step for two reasons: so that my vocal quality would be closer to the original, and so I could reach the octave down harmony part. I guess I didn’t mix it loud enough, but it is actually there! In the second verse at least. Good observations. :slight_smile: Regarding the vocal tone–how do you think I could make the tone of my voice sound more like the original? I mean obviously I won’t sound like a man, but are there any techniques you think he’s using that I didn’t incorporate?


#12

Honestly, I wouldn’t try Cristina. I think the timbre of your voice is right on target as is. I get that it was your intent in this exercise to get as close to the original as possible, but I think you’d be compromising your own voice’s, well, voice by going any further. Just my two cents, adjusted for inflation…


#13

I agree with Dave, your voice is fine where it is. Your rendition changes the feel and mood of the song, makes it sound a bit more dark and brooding. I had not heard the original prior to this, and listened to yours first, and preferred the feel of it. It is very well done.
As far as comparing it to the original, yours does have a little buildup in the low middle that could use some eq if you are trying to match up, and I think there’s a slight conflict with the guitar also. In the original, it sounds like it has been high passed a bit more, and there’s also a little more high end in the guitar, which makes it stand out more in the mix at the same overall level. If I were to make any suggestions, I would just say try to get the elements in your mix just a touch more distinct. A little more bite and a touch less low middle on the voices, and getting the guitar to not compete would make this great. I can’t put the exact words to it, but your version sounds more “important”, and just needs some shine to be elegant.


#14

There’s two ways I can think of that might work, or at least they may get you closer to the original version.

The first approach and the one I think would be more likely to work is to re-record the lower vocal but try to change the timber of your voice in your performance. We all have ways to make our voice sound thinner, thicker, deeper, raspy, etc. It might be more challenging for a female voice to replicate the lower end of a male voice but it’s worth a try.

Another thing I would try is adjusting the eq in the lower frequency range and the mids/ lower mids. The frequencies you boost or cut would depend on what works specifically for your own unique voice. I think the first approach is more likely to work better though.


#15

Hi there Cristina, I’m late to the party here… hard for me to squeeze in music time at the moment… lovely song and loving your treatment of it.
Others have covered a bunch of stuff so I’ll just mention a couple of thoughts.
I found your opening guitar ever-so-slightly ‘thin’ sounding and wondered about just a little more reverb room sounds in there - maybe just a slight thickening for the -knock- sounds? Hmm, your version sounds really great… but you are wanting to sound more ‘alike’ the original, then I’d try playing with parallel compression on your lead vox and playing around with eq’ing that compressed track, just to broaden the frequency range a little? You could just add excerpts of that treated voice … I love playing around with that stuff…

Hah… but I am so caught up in non-music stuff at the moment I question myself on that (rolls eyes at self) so take my comments with a grain of salt (and maybe tequilla) and I shall just play your track again and enjoy your music-making. :slight_smile: