Hi everyone… pretty quite around these parts these days… anyhoo, here’s another song I’m working up for my new album…
Kinda same story as the last one: I’ve had melody and idea hanging around for quite a few years, but never got around to really nailing it down in proper song form. This started out as a fairly rough demo and then I got carried away with it (as usual).
It ended up turning into something completely different to what I originally envisioned, but I got really excited when I saw where it was going, so I kept on the path. I get a strange sense of joy and delight when something turns out nothing like I thought it would and even ends up being (to me, at least) better!
Anyhow, give it a listen and let me know your thoughts. Again, this isn’t the final album version, so always keen to hear suggestions and input. Thanks!
Ooh yay… this is a beauty!! Such a different vibe, love it! From the sleepy sob-sighing guitar twists and turns to the staccato rat-a-tat drumming… there is so much to enjoy here. Love that jazz sense with the blue notes vibe at the beginning, gorgeous. So moody and creates a lovely sonic space… Great lyrics, really enjoyed them. ‘Killing time while time slowly kills you…’ - wish I’d thought of that!! Loved the guitar soloing and the rhythm guitar coming in so wonderfully well… class!!
There is a cool sense of journeying within this song as we listen and the ending was so satisfying when things slowed again, in a very natural and satisfying way. Love the unexpectedness of elements within the song, the smooth twists and still a sense of heart-wrench caught me at around 2 minutes in.
Bashing is pretty tricksy… the only teeny tiny thing I wondered was the opening vox, just having a smudge more space in the mix for the voice to enter, only a nudge that’s all. Loved the tone of your vocals, again, quite a different sort of sound.
So well done - this is exciting and motivating to listen to Andrew! A new album unfolding??
Really enjoyed this.
All the guitar sounds on this bar the rhythm parts in the lead section are mic’d amp sounds. The clean verse guitars are both my Mesa Lonestar Special with the in-built speaker mic’d. The left is my Strat, the right is my Deusenberg.
Cool. The song is based on a really simple 3 chord idea. However, getting it from that point to something more than just a bed for a guitar jam was quite a journey. The bridge part, in particular was a problem for a long time. I knew where I wanted to go, but getting it to resolve back to the key centre in a way that felt natural was took a lot longer to discover.
It was like getting the pieces for a jigsaw puzzle one by one over many years. I had some time to work on it recently and the final pieces fell into place. That was pretty exhilarating.
Yes, this is SSD5 - I’ll be replacing the drums with a real drummer in the final version.
Thanks Tesgin - glad you like it!
Haha, thanks Emma. I always love your descriptions of the music. They are so visual (and accurate)!
Yeah, my usual uplifting stuff!
I’m super-critical of my own lyrics, so it takes me a while to refine the clunky-sounding stuff that I come up with sometimes. However, that phrase just came to me as-is without any effort. It was so simple that I wondered if it had been used before… I was happy with that one too!
Like I mentioned in the OP, the production of the track took me on an unexpected journey. I kind of knew the first part of the song was a fairly solid musical statement. But emotionally, it felt really one-dimensional… kind of maudlin… and I tend to really hate songs like that. I wanted it to go somewhere else more positive, because that is a more true reflection of the kind of emotional arc that inspired it.
I spent a lot of time experimenting with different rhythmic feels to see where they took the song, and I think that was the key to it all. Some of it might seem pretty subtle (like the verses being ever-so-slightly swung), but most of it was pretty overt.
Thanks - yeah, that opening vocal level was tricky. It’s much harder to get lower-pitch vocals to retain clarity, even in a sparse mix like this. Thanks for giving your input on that - much appreciated!
Thanks Emma - Yes, I have 8 songs fully demo’d out at this stage. I have another new one that I just finished writing. I’m aiming for 10 songs in total, so I may dig further into my back-catalogue of semi-completed ideas to get it over the line. Still a lot of work left to be done!
Thanks again to both @Tesgin and @Emma for giving it a listen and replying!
Very tasty. As a guitar nerd I’m liking the volume swells and some of the subtle trem work (like the tiny dip at 1:29). Then the build starting at 2:15 leads to the breakout at 2:51. The solo is really nice and loose, with the only spot around 3:32 sounding a little out of sorts. I know it’s not the final version… and I’m not trying to be super critical. I really like the ideas and cascades in the solo so I hope those ideas make it to the album version! Very cool.
Yeah buddy, I love it! Just a quick listen at work, but I dig the vibe. Nicely done! I’ll come back later after I am able to get a closer listen in my basement. I really like the build up in this one. Nice playing too!
This is great! Fabulous playing… makes me want (need) to practice! I recognize that section at 3:00 the final mix with the guitar tone is fantastic. Not much else to say, other than it’s a great listen. Cheers!
I am digging this number Andrew! Kind of a Government Mule meets Jeff Beck meets Santana thing to my ear. I agree about some of those chord changes like at 2:10, really nicely done. A bit surprising/unexpected, makes you sit up and take notice.
I’m listening on my “middle of the line” computer speakers – not total grotboxes, but not ultra high end either-- they’re Bose models. Excellent balance on the levels, good stereo separation, each instrument clearly audible yet still blending well to make the whole.
Also am enjoying how it gallops away during the instrumental parts in the last minute. I really like how that asserts itself. And as has been said, the playing is excellent throughout.
Hey Iain!!! I’ve been relatively scarce myself lately after changing jobs and moving across the country. Great to see you!
Heard it again in my car and the studio, sounded great.
Noticed a few small things after looping it for a few times while making lunch lol …
I noticed at 1:37 , the guitar solo - it seems like 2 guitar takes were cross faded and comes off mildly apparent , unless of course if you were looking for that kind of attack on the guitar. It is hardly noticeable on phone speakers or earbuds.
Another small thing is at 2:47 vocal hook “to turn yourself around” , slightly glitchy, either a minor click or a pop sound or a very very minor timing issue … could also be energy difference between the syllables “to - turn” might need some smoothing
2:33 s when the chorus comes in - the energy of the guitars and vocals is very slightly interfering with the tighter bass that is playing a lovely pattern. While bass is trying to keep up, it might need a bit of eq riding there (this is in a nitpicking/preference zone because I love a good bass guitar)
2:54 (this one is a suggestion) the fading vocals , “fade away” , the first fade away is a bit more muted than required, I think it could be more upfront, then gradually fading away.
Cool, thanks Jamieson! The volume swells are a cool technique I’ve been using pretty much ever since I picked up the electric guitar, but I don’t think I’ve ever used them on a recorded solo before. That’s definitely a Mark Knopfler/Jeff Beck/Roy Buchanan thing… I’ll probably end up trying a few more ideas for the solo before I land on the final version. I do like the “arc” this one has, so hopefully I won’t wreck that!..
and, Oh damn! The part at 3:32 is my favourite! I guess it’s not to everyone’s taste, but I love a bit of “notes falling down the stairs and just managing to land on their feet” action! There were other parts of the solo I thought I could improve on, though. Thanks for the listen and comment - Much appreciated!
Hey Mike - Thanks! Hauled out the ol’ Yamaha fretless bass for this one!
Thanks Blair - Yeah, pretty happy how the guitar tone turned out too!
Must be my uplifting lyrics! Not sure what is more dour: “Killing time, while time slowly kills you” or “Shorter of breath and one day closer to death”
Hey Iain! Awesome to hear from you, mate! Glad you dig the song…
Yep, I’m an authority on Life Getting in the Way! Don’t feel bad about not having time for music - It only took me 12 or so years to complete my first album!
When you get to it, I know it will be worth the wait! Rock on dude!
Dave!!! Long time no speak! Great to hear from you!
You hit the nail on the head with Jeff Beck… "'Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers " was definitely a BIG inspiration in the song structure and the guitar melodies.
I think my wife might have similar speakers for her computer - are they the self-powered ones with the angled front? Good to know it works on them… I’m really loving using Sonarworks 4 to flatten out the low end response on my system. I’m finding the final mixing process requires a lot less guesswork.
Thanks mate! I really appreciate you taking the time to listen and comment - much appreciated!
Hey Michelle - Wow - thanks for taking the time to listen so carefully and comment so succinctly!
Guilty as charged! I’d overdubbed that intro to the solo while I was experimenting with guitar sounds, and I liked the one that I overdubbed better than the one that I had played to introduce the solo. I went with that even though I hadn’t paused at the end of the playing. I faded it down to reflect more accurately what the lead guitar would have done, but you’re right, on close listening it’s pretty easy to pick out.
When I initially listened to the finished vocal, I noticed the word “to” wasn’t really enunciated clearly, so I dropped it in later - I probably overcompensated and hit that word a bit too hard. You’re right - it sounds unnatural. It bothered me when I heard the final mix back, but by that point, I was like “it’s still just a demo - leave it be”!
Glad you noticed the bass - As I mentioned above, it’s my old Yamaha fretless that I got for free from a friend. I kinda went a bit berserk with the sliding and noodling there - probably overplaying a bit TBH, but I did love the movement it gave to the groove… Good suggestion though - I did absolutely minimal automation on this mix, so a bit of active eq’ing might work well in that part (as long as it doesn’t fight the vocal too hard).
Yeah, I definitely need to finesse that part for more impact. I wanted to get the general idea across, but again, I found myself getting bogged down in tweaking automation, so I decided to leave it be for the moment.
Thank you once again for your excellent comments - you definitely confirmed pretty much all of the shortcomings I was noticing in repeated playbacks. Much appreciated!
Thank you for the review! Now your song: sound quality is excellent all around. Nice guitar and bass playing, and singing! Nice melodies all around. I think it is radio worthy. Nothing to gripe about from me. Very nice song!
wow man. This may be my favourite so far. I would just add that I was wanting a little more punch (?) from the bass, not volume per say but more of the thump in the chest. I too am getting a Pink Floyd vibe.
Hey Eric - Thanks mate! You know I would never have thought “Pink Floyd” when working on this song, but now that you & others have mentioned it, I can see a connection. I don’t mind that at all!
Re: The Bass - I used a much simpler processing chain than I usually would, mainly because the Yamaha sounds so much fuller, richer and more sustaining than my other bass. The other side of that is that it probably has a much smoother note attack as well - maybe that’s what you’re hearing?
I was initially unsure I had anything decent going on here but getting some positive feedback has been reassuring. Thanks for listening and commenting!
Wow, really love how you’re stretching out on this, both on the guitar and your vocal range. You mention that it was originally a fairly basic structure, but there are a ton of ideas weaving around in the song.
One thought; maybe as you bring the bridge in at 2:20, you could do a two beat dead stop followed by a quick drum fill to set off the chord changes there. By the way, the chord melody there is outstanding. Maybe I’m just missing the jarring effect you often employ, but a stop might be worth a thought.