Kinda proggy alt-rock thing

Kinda proggy alt-rock thing

This is a song I wrote about 3 years ago that’s never felt like it belongs with any particular project. Recorded the drums at the end of 2015, vocals at the beginning of 2016, bass and guitars about 3 months ago.

Structure’s a little mental. Lots of bridges. And couldn’t quite get the kick and snare feeling like they properly smashed it. Not sure what it was.

But nonetheless, felt a shame to let it die.



That’s an excellent song! I see what you mean about the kick and snare. I think that the snare is just too muffled sounding. The problem with your kick might actually be that you need a bit more oink and grind on the bass guitar. There is one more thing that I noticed. Since you have so many great things going on in the mix, you balanced them almost too equally. This makes the song a little hazy because there is no main part to focus on. Ok, I’m done ranting.

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Song is great. Playing and performance all sound great to me.

I see what you are saying about the drums. I think the snare has too much low end boost. You can increase the impact by getting the right compressor on there instead of trying to fix it with EQ.

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I hope not, dude! This is an intricately arranged tour de force, and the performance is unblemished. Maybe run an effect that will enhance the drums and bass, give them a bit more presence. It is as if they are slightly too compressed on the high end I think.

It is a hybrid of pop and prog and metal ala Rush and Live and Toto, anthemic with grand vocal harmonies, angstful insightful lyrics. I think it could be on a modern rock mix or two. And like most songs in that group, it has an emotional flatness stuck on pretty high, and it could benefit from a dramatic variation at some point to have set it apart within that group.

However, the crossover of genres already does keep it more interesting to me. It is a noble project.

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A good observation, and I think it’s interesting that so often mix issues and arrangement issues go hand in hand - I found the same haziness when coming up with the guitar arrangement, I couldn’t get it down below about 12 tracks of guitars with different sounds which were dotted around the track. Then there’s the bass riff, the way the verse has two or three different iterations, the “chorus” comprised of two totally different sections that feel more like bridges, the endless actual bridges, the middle section… in every sense, it’s an awkward song and I think that’s why it’s never fit with any project I’ve done since I wrote it.

I think you’re right about the snare. I do have a tendency to push snare fundamentals too hard.

Yes! You’ve put your finger on it. The bass should have a lot more overdrive and probably is the key to pushing the song through the various sections while adding some coherency to the whole thing. This is why producers are a good idea!

I’ll take it! And you’ve spotted the issue with the bass too. Maybe I’ll revisit it.



What a cool song! Great performances, and I love the solo at 2:17! I think overall the mix sounds really good.

The snare sounds a bit like a tom. It’s hard for me to pick out. And weirdly–I’m listening to this on headphones so maybe that’s why–but the middle feels a little bit empty to me? There’s a lot going on on the sides, but there’s this weird vacuum kind of feeling to the middle. Now that I’ve noticed it it’s really bothering me, haha, like I can’t hear any instruments in the center. Ahh!

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Getting the bass happening would probably fix that.



I don’t understand this song at all, everything (but mostly the vocal, in this case) is in the bass or guitar range, it doesn’t extend above that octave anywhere. So everything is just ‘playing along nicely’ - it doesn’t go anywhere.


Technically, its actually recorded and mixed pretty well.



Have you tried using a “reference track”? When I first heard this the intro gave me a very Tool vibe. Looking for something that sounds fairly close I think “H.” (track 3) off of Aenima has some similarities in composition. It seems like the rhythm section of Bass/Kick/Snare needs some clarity and cohesiveness of tone, tying them all together as it were. I do think more overdrive on the bass and maybe more saturation on the snare (or right compressor as Boz suggested) plus more ‘click’ in the Kick could help tie them together. The transients seem kind of weak, maybe even too much compression on them already? The old phrase “separation and clarity” comes to mind.

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I have to admit I don’t really understand this bit, I’m trying to get my head round it - I’d have thought the range of parts in a male-vocalist band with guitar and bass is pretty much always going to be such, isn’t it?



I like it. On my cheap work headphones it does seem rather L and R with little in the middle. I don’t have a problem with the non-standard structure. Why be normal? This made me think of Anathema at times… cool song and thanks for sharing.

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Didn’t you know? It’s not really a valid vocal track unless the vocals hit lower than the low E (real vocals go below a 5 string bass’ B) or higher than an E playing on the 24th fret. None of the pansy 22 fret guitar stuff. Every song should feature at least a few notes above an E6.



It sounds like you are just singing notes from a pentatonic scale (I guess its Fm, the same as the guitar bass parts). Hope that helps. :slight_smile:



It’s cool - I was just trying to work out how to take your post constructively because I couldn’t work out what you’d have done differently.



I find it hard to express because Im 90% engineer /10% musical background (i.e. almost nothing but listening to and recording other people for 20 yrs) - but yeah, treat the L.VOX like the L.GTR. And that really should make a difference.

Let us know!

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I’m listening to this through my headphones/ laptop.

Sounds good to me. I like the guitar parts weaving in and out through different points of the song. It helps give the song life, dynamics and dimension. Nice!

The first negative that I noticed was that the bass didn’t cut through the way I would have preferred. It seems too soft and lacking any bite or presence. It’s not that it sounds bad, but I think if it cut through with some bite and clarity it could sound much better.

You could make that snare slice through the mix with some snap/ bite/ high end presence. It sounds muffled and because of that it lacks impact and presence. The kick drum sounds decent to me.

I have no problem with the absence of a fixed and solid chorus.

Good job on this song!

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Well, I was a huge Tool fan back in the day! I think in the songwriting/ arrangement school I probably took more from A Perfect Circle, but well happy with a Tool comparison :grinning: Think my ears are still ringing from seeing them back in 2006 in a theatre in London.

Have to admit I don’t tend to use reference tracks too closely - I do listen to stuff while mixing, just to make sure I’m in the same world. But, for example, the drums I recorded 3 1/2 years ago, and I was still learning about how I liked to tune drums, place overheads, capture the room etc. Not to mention at the time that the 6/4 & 5/4 grooves on the kit were about the limit of what I could play. I think if I was comparing it closely to Danny’s virtuoso level playing and kit with melted down cymbals for shells recorded in world class studios by professionals, I’d shoot myself :rofl:

The Bass guitar is the number one problem with the mix, I’m pretty sure. Everyone who mentioned it is quite right, and some of the other problems mentioned would largely be solved by making it sound better and giving it more prominence. It was my first attempt at making a bass patch in the Line 6 Helix (all the guitars are Helix) and I think I made the clean track way too muddy sounding, and the overdriven track too fizzy so the fuzz floats over the top rather than properly connecting with the body of the bass. If I could get a nice grinding, transient heavy, punchy tone that carried lots of energy, things would take a turn for the better.