Masks... a new Emmasong to bash please

Masks... a new Emmasong to bash please
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I mixed this initially for a video installation and needed it to be relatively gentle as part of a continuous play thingie in a gallery exhibition but now I’ve re-mixed it as a standalone song.
Because I’ve worked with it so very much, I’m struggling to get a fresh perspective. I’m deliberately putting it for bash without the video but the pictures have become such an integral part of it for me, I’d love to get some fresh feedback on this …

I was experimenting again …


the first time I saw
you were wild as a bright
bitter mask of forgetting
the armour you wore

the next time I saw
you were he you were me
you were all I could see
all those masks that you wore that you wore

and now that I see all those pieces of me
the colours dissolving the collage unfolding
the first time I saw
you were just me

the third time I saw
you were mine you were everything
mask upon mask upon mask that you
wore that you wore

and now that I see all those pieces of me
the colours dissolving the collage unfolding
the first time I saw
you were just me

Some tiny tweaks:


Hey Emma,

Good to hear your music again! Just listening on 2.1 computer speakers at work, but this sounds very good.

I love the ebb and flow of the underlying musical bed - those backwards-sounding, constantly evolving textures really add gravitas to the lyrics.

I think you have a good balance between sounding gentle and soothing while still having emotional impact on closer listening. I’ll have another listen on better speakers when I get a chance.

Nice work!


Holy crap Emma I have this lump in my throat and about to shed a tear. Really got to me. jeeesh

What a vocal delivery that was. Powerful my friend. So many elements swishing about. Really great stuff. I always have the same feeling when first hearing your stuff that it would be best suited in movies.

I know you are looking for mix stuff, but everything I heard was great. Especially the intro…and you said you couldn’t sing high??? Gotta put this on some good speakers and listen again. Glad you are in gear again:)



Wow. Thanks for sharing that Emma. Your arrangement works beautifully and the balances are spot on - nothing to distract from the song. I love all the backwards notes, the strings, the crickets and other noises - the soundscape you created, then tied together with a cozy little piano melody. A perfect setting for your always thoughtful and imaginative lyrics. Everything is so well done! And I simply LOVE that after a very pleasant “musical” listen, I get to go back and read through and absorb the thoughtful lyrics. Bravo!

Honestly, I feel so privileged to be able to pull up IRD and listen to such talented artists on here like you! Keep 'em coming! :+1:


Hi Emma,

I like the collage of sounds played backwards, which resonates nicely with the lyrics.

In the mix, I’ve noticed two things:

  • some high frequency content in the backwards stuff, that sounds like digital artefacts to my ear, not very pleasant since it is sustained and pretty much all along the song
  • a tad of harshness in the vocals (hi-mids), on those moments when there is more intensity

Great work anyway!


Hi Andrew, thanks so much for checking this out and your wonderful descriptors.
I particularly appreciated your comments on the balance between the elements as I wanted an edge but not too harsh. If you get the chance I’d love to hear your feedback on a different sound system.

O Paul, you are too kind! So glad it 'caught ’ you though…
And I must confess to a cheat… although I did sing some of the high notes, I also used a synth choirboy thing in the intro to try to paint a scene I had thought in my head.
I also used a field sound bite of cars swerving around in a tunnel that I rather liked… :wink:
Yep it is so good to be back working again!!! Yay…

Yay… thanks so very much Mike… twas a rare pleasure to read your words…
And I loved your description of the cozy little piano melody holding things together as that really did describe the concept I was striving for… :sunglasses:

Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply… And yes, I do know what you mean. I made a conscious decision to keep those artifacts… even though they did sound a little relentless on one set of headphones I was listening through. Similarly with the vocal harshness… I did soothe a couple of more strident peaks but made the decision that the harshness fitted with the intensity of the emotion and caused a discomfort in the listener that fitted the mood I was trying to create… but… I’ll be the first to admit that this is a delicate balancing act and I may well have got it wrong.

My original mix that played in the exhibition was much sweeter and more soothing because it needed to fit in a secondary role to the drawings but with this version I wanted it to reclaim some of that ‘bite’…
You’ve given me things to think about some more - thanks again!!


Just listening on my studio monitors. Still sounds great! One nitpick… the ending cuts of a little too suddenly… that’s all!:beerbanger:


Outstanding work Emma!! Really love the entire production. No nits to pick, athough I do agree with Andrew that the end cuts off a bit too abruptly, I’d like to hear that car engine fade away for a bit longer as it drives off.



Haunting. I love the atmosphere added by the ambient textures and warbles. Makes me think of something Richard Barbieri might have done with Porcupine Tree. The entirety of the piece sets such a mood! Very nice.


Thanks heaps for that Andrew… and yep, the timing for that ending was linked to end credits and I’d not thought about it at all since… done!

Thanks so very much… Yay… as as per Andrew… yep, ending now stretched. :beerbanger:

Yay… thanks so much!! I’d been so immersed in this I had lost my perspective… so cool to read your feedback thanks!!! And I had to look up Richard Barbieri… some cool sounds there for sure!


Thanks so very much for the feedback… have updated with a couple of tiny tweaks… just stretched the ending a little and did cut out some of the upper freqs in the backward sounds… mostly I didn’t mind it but through one set of headphones it was a little too annoying.

Time to move on I think… working on this one was interesting though, just breaking my moulds a little more… :smile:


A courageous arrangement, Emma! All that daring ambience like a swirling counterpoint to what otherwise is a lovely traditional melody. It is mixed a little hot, as if bordering the edge of normal rather than landing squarely in the center. I’m sure the more refrained event version was very moving as well.

The lyrical structure as written is very poetic, and I was wondering how you were going to handle that phrasing. Surprisingly you were able to keep it sung as written with the shifted line breaks and seem to make perfect sense.

You are such an experimental traditionalist, which I think makes your music more exciting and even more beautiful.