Curious Urges 2013 and 2022

This song was written and recorded in 2013 originally, and alas the midi files are on some archive hard drive somewhere I have yet to find. However, I had the lyrics in Google Docs, and I had a wild hair to rerecord it with my current, more advanced VSTs, so I fiddled around with a 100bpm version based on my memory of the old song. Sure, I listened to the song since then, but it had been awhile. I had always considered this song to be particularly well structured and fairly straightforward, and I created the new music a few days ago, and it sounded so close to the original melody/chords/arrangement I thought, what the heck! I’ll try to sing the song to my music. On about the second try I stumbled through the entirety, and although it was really rough, it was promising enough to pursue further. But it did sound too slow to me from my memory, now that I was hearing it, so I sped up the tempo to 120bpm, decided I liked that a lot better as Reaper of course speeds up the vocals as well, so I resang it to 120bpm but more precisely. This time the new version was snapping into place with the vocal timing, and I was able to use stretch markers and edits to correct a few spots that seemed to need it. Finally, I added a harmony vocal track and stretched it to fit the already stretched main vocal, and I was pretty pleased with the result.

It then occurred to try to find the original song and compare how close I was on the temp/key/phrasing, and when I did I was totally surprised I not only had selected the same temp and key, but the vocal phrasing was also extraordinarily lined up.

So I thought again, what the heck! How would it sound to add the 2013 track to the 2022 project and render a mix? To my continued surprise, the two songs’ music lined up perfectly, and the two vocals were only off a tiny bit in a handful of spots.

So here is the 2013 original-

And here is the 2022 new version by itself-

And here is the 2013/2022 mix with no edits-

I’m considering leaving it that way, but I will probably adjust to vocal timing on the 2022 track to exactly fit the 2013, just because, what the heck!

So here is a last mix with only the old lead vocal and new harmony stretched to fit and some volume tweaks-

Honestly, I don’t think I could have done this on any other song I’ve ever written. And so many songs I can’t even remember the melody or words from just the title. The two extremes…

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Hi Steve,
You have been busy!
Glad to hear your different versions, and truly lovely surprise to get them synched up like they did.
This is a miracle in itself!
The old lead vocal is a bit on the softer side, and I pick the “last mix”, but the vocals has to come up a bit.
If you can post the lyrics, it would be nice.
Nice project, and your technical/musical recording touch is still there - Bravo!!!
Thanks for sharing.

It is softer on the old, so I might do one more to boost them a tad.

Here’s the lyrics!

Curious Urges by Steve Bancroft

you said that a true friend
would not depend on trust alone
true friends would require proof
and facts would hold their own

and I thought I had always been
one true friend you could depend on
still I resist believing I was ever wrong

a human mind is fraught with flaws
fragile logic frayed by time
desire to reach the peak of happiness and peace
blinds us to those we stepped upon in our ever noble climb
reminds us life we never own, is just a day to day lease

I said if it’s answers that you seek now
what do you think if they make you cry
do you let go, do you let it end
will you even know if you’re just pretending
or do you cling to it til the day you die

sometimes facts are guesses
mere mathematics proving what
the likelihood that head comes up
after tails for the 99th time

the coin flips, and the chance is
fifty-fifty heads or tails every time
but the truth observed in the aggregate
appears to predict what is to come
to a gambler in his prime

curious urges, itches to scratch
culminations of dreams like eggs to hatch
defying control, we just do our best
ready or not we must take the test

come, friend, take the path again
remembering what is left behind
for one day we may go back
if we choose so, if the way we still can find

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Hi Steve, just listening through all the different versions -

I hope I’m not saying the wrong thing, but I think I really prefer the simplicity of the first version. I think the unadorned track means the lyrics aren’t competing to be heard.

I like how this song has a fairly straightforward melody too. The repeated chord progression and melodies allows the for the complexity of the lyrical phrasing to exist. The pauses in the instrumentation on the original create interest and punctuation in the arrangement.

I find the newer versions really… relentless… There needs to be some light and shade. It’s often quite a good exercise to take out instruments at times, and listen to the impact it can make.

One thing I notice on all of these is that the lead vocal seems to be panned way to the left… is that intentional?

In any case, I think this track has some really interesting lyrics, and I think the melody works really well. Arrangement is the key to taking the track to the next level IMO.

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strange coincidence indeed! Great lyrics and great voice. I dont think I have heard your voice clear in a mix before. I thought that was kind of your style (we have some very unique styles here).
But this voice deserves to be heard as the lead vocal ! Great control on the lows and vibrato is real nice.

I prefer the old mix 2013. It has more clarity.
And yes, voice is panned hard left.

Thank you for the reviews! I just learned a few minutes ago the David Gilmour Black Strat replica (they start at $4,000) I saw at the (temporary) Pink Floyd Museum in Los Angeles in January was made by this guy that I went to school with since elementary school; he still works at the Fender Custom Shop (he has made Eric Clapton Strat replicas also). I bring this up because your vocals always reminded me of Roger Waters, and instrumentally the song (first mix) sounds like something Pink Floyd might do. It all sounds good to me! Now listening to the second (2022 new version) mix: your vocals remind a bit more of Jim Morrison on this one. Sounds pretty good, but I like the original better to be honest. Now the third (2013/2022 mix with no edits): I like this better than the second mix, but still like the original mix best. Now the fourth mix: vocals are lower in volume: probably better in the chorus, and less good during the verse. I think this mix gets second place overall. I still like the original mix best: nice song and lyrics!

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I really appreciate everyone comparing these versions, and when I heard 2013 after creating 2022 I was surprised it sounded as good as it did.

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I was interrupted, but this was very helpful. I had a lot of fun with the new gnarlier VSTs and all, and I do like how they sound, but as Andrew pointed out the new arrangement was relentless. Perfect word, dude, and the original has a lot more space, plus my vocal wasn’t too offkey or anything, although maybe panned to one side too much.

So I am going to try at least one more mix without the relentlessness of the new arrangement, just a dash of energy to sections, and try to vary the song in a likable fashion with a needed restraint.

i suggest keeping the vocals dead center. A touch of delay and reverb and let your voice carry the song. Instrumentations are great but the lead instrument here is your voice imo.

So I let it all sink in a couple weeks and finally applied the great advice everyone offered, and here is Mix 5-

I decided to try using the original lead vocals and instruments and used the new new lead vocal to be sung at a lower volume like a harmony, panned slightly I think, which I think brought the volume and clarity of the words up just enough. And then I used the new harmony vocals but trimmed strategically , and I think that worked surprisingly well. I ditched the new guitary riff sound for a mellower sound at a lower volume, did the same with the piano, but I kept the drums (loud)and bass (down a tad).

Often I find the instrument tracks often get too loud and need to be turned down a few decibels, and my new version was guilty of that. My old version was bassless and drums quiet, so this mix once tweaked seems to me to be copasetic with old and new.

I consider this a done deal now! Thanks all! Let me know what you think.

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v 005 is definitely sounding more pleasing to listen to and better mixed.
as for the vocals, I think they were recorded with pre-panning (likely due to mic placement. I saw your mic was positioned to the left in one of the videos).
Lead vocals are still panned left, though not bothersome, and you can definitely leave it that way…you may want to reconsider the mic placement for the future. If not, you can simply pan the vocals 30 degrees right and turn the volume up by 3db. That should do the trick.

Hi Steve,
what a fascinating process, re-claiming your song and then finding the replication…
The song must have a powerful imprint in some way?

Well, I listened to 4 versions and have to say, there is a quality in the first/earlier version, that really shines for me. A quieter, more ‘sincere’ aspect to the vocals that I really enjoyed. Sincere is a strange choice of word perhaps, but there was a real authenticity in this version that I didn’t find in the subsequent recordings.
Hmmm, I seem to be dwelling on ‘owning the song’ these days, which is something of a metaphysical concept, but for me, implies a seamless flow between lyrics voice and instrument. Present absolutely in version 1.

Ahh, just reading the comments and yes, there is for me a sense of relentlessness, a stridence coming through, which was not there in the original. Cool lyrics!