This is the opening track of the Planet of Beautiful People concept album/musical that Steban, Stan Halen and Ingo Lee have been laboring over in the Collab thread. This is an ambitious project and we could really use your help with mixing and production suggestions.
I really like the dramatic intro and the voice over. Would have been cool to hear a female voice, or a high male falsetto singing one octave higher (or harmonizing) along with the lead vocal towards the second half of the singing part.
This brings up images of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and theatre/ movie sound tracks. I get a tiny bit of a Bowie vibe too.
Hey guys, you’ve made a great start. I pick up a major early Brian Eno vibe here, circa Here Come the Warm Jets and Before and After Science. Couple things get my attention here.
First, I recognize that you’re going for a non-standard, unconventional melody line for the main “Planet of beautiful people” phrase, but it’s not working for me, one or maybe two of those notes are sufficiently different from the backing chord that it rings my “dissonance” alarm bell-- just a wee bit too zesty.
Second, it’s basically the same four chords repeated for almost five minutes, and it got repetitive to me after a while. Again, I understand that this is likely a very deliberate choice for reasons to do with supporting your overall visions. But there could be some more stuff worked in there to hold interest, such as less robotic drumming and a bit more going on with the bass (Eno’s stuff is a great example of that), let it take a larger role in the ensemble.
Had one listen on my MD7506 cans and spot-checked a few spots afterward, and overall the mix and blend of instruments is in good shape. There are a few spots where the short delay on the lead vox makes some mouth-click noise somewhat noticeable, might need some surgery there (or probably easier to just retrack those bits).
Looking forward to seeing where you go with this… hope this helps!
Thank you @Wicked for your kind words and suggestions. You are right that some BGV would be a good addition to the song I think. My singing is pretty weak but I am hoping that as we continue we will either get some volunteers to help with that; or maybe if we’re able to put together a good representation of Steban’s vision we can ask some of our friends to add some harmony.
Thank you @Chordwainer for your encouragement with this project. You and Wicked have mentioned some of the works and artists that are either an influence or can serve as a guide as we work on this which is very useful.
You have hit on two of the problems that songwriters always face, when to use repetition and when to add in some non-standard elements to “flavor” the mix. I hear the song as a light “synth-pop” piece, so while I usually prefer stronger harmonic foundations in music, for this genre I can accept this song harmonically; and the occasional “outside” notes help to add enough variation that I do like this song as is. But following your suggestions would definitely improve this though, so we will consider making some changes.
One of my main concerns here was how the overall mix would be heard by knowledgeable ears so I’m glad that it works for you on that level. I will double check the “clicks”.
Yes you have definitely helped us here, thanks again!
Hi I commented on this earlier. I love that into. The spoken word is so clear. I know all the words are necessary, but I kept thinking there might be some special effects because of the length of it all. My friend had a sound exactly like that cranks up at three minutes from garage band. (that is cool) Can’t quite hear the lyrics around the four minute mark. If it matters, some of the vox notes are slightly off. Planet of beautiful wanders a bit and then people is spot on. Just sayin. Please don’t get mad.
Hi there @feaker no way are we gonna be mad about getting good criticism from good artists!
Yeah this track is long, sorry about that, it’s actually two tracks put together but the first one doesn’t make sense by itself I thought so I put in the song with it. @steban posted the first version of the song by itself earlier but we remixed it so we wanted to know what you guys thought about the new mix and the intro too.
@Stan_Halen does a great job with the narration as you say. Steban sings the song and those “outside” sounds are intentional, that’s a style we like, and other artists do it too sometimes, but it’s not something that works for everybody.
Thanks for listening and commenting!
When Steban first posted the song months ago, before starting the Collab, I commented that I got a early Roxy Music vibe, which Brian Eno was a part of.
Eno has done so many things I didn’t think of him as being part of Roxy music but I went back and checked it out and I hear the connection. It looks like Eno is doing mainly cool synth stuff, I don’t know how much he influenced Roxy Music’s overall sound but it does sound like Steban was influenced by the whole vibe of it.
Here’s a tune Eno did with John Cale on their 1990 collaboration Wrong Way Up (a tragically underappreciated album IMO, highly highly recommended) called Spinning Away, and it is a great example of what I was thinking of with my first comments. It’s five and a half minutes of the same four chords, yet they make it endlessly interesting and varied-- dig what’s going on with the bassline (I can’t tell if that’s a sequenced bit or if played on an actual bass…).
I also love this tune for its highly evocative lyrics, really paints a picture (pun intended)…
Hey, I’m writing as I’m listening.
For the first part, the mix is quite good with nothing wrong to me, it really matches the song.
The voice over is to dry and “uneffected” to me: I expected some glichtes, many random noises, a rumble, distorsion…
The second part, I found that guitar arpegios hide the vocal+FX a bit. It seems that some notes are a bit off, like the tonal scale isn’t the chromatic scale
On the production side, I wish the song (second part) has more section so that it doesn’t seemed that loopy.
I also found that some sounds (drums, choir, acoustic guitar) seem to come from some kinda MIDI expanders (Yamaha MU, Roland SC…) and sound a bit “cheap”…
By the way, I hope you reached what you had in mind because it’s some kinda journey I found
That’s a beautiful track with a great arrangement CW, thanks for posting this. The bass is quite intricate as you say. I would guess it’s a live player; it would be quite a challenge to program or play it either way! It reminds me of Francis Rocco Prestia.
Thank you Ncis, for your comments and good suggestions. We will definitely consider what you say both for reworking this piece and for our future efforts. I’m sure @steban and @Stan_Halen appreciate the support and encouragement from you and others here at IRD.
Thanks to everyone for the constructive bashing!
As a “future” piece of music, I wanted to introduce controversial aspects that do not sound completely right to our “present” ears. To say it is all planned that way is not true, but I was hoping to conjure some of that along the way. Three hundred years in the future would have so many iterations of rock and pop etc. in reality we all might have problems appreciating what is being done at any point in time. For that reason alone I think over fixing it might detract from its futureness.
I can barely accept modern buzz rock as rock, and I find much of my classic rock now sounds like modern country, so I’m already confused within one lifetime!
No doubt we have midi instruments and repetition issues, and I’m sure 300 years from now they still will. I think we are playing it more contemporaneously than realistically so that it by and large sounds like music we might like, hehe.
Ha, I was surprised to learn that is a ‘real’ word!
Thank you (ingolee) for the review of my song! Now your song: interesting intro, I like it. The talking part is a bit long for me (unless something visual was happening), but otherwise good; for a few seconds I wondered if it was William Shatner. I like the female solo vocal and female chorus sound. Main male vocal and instrumental melodies during that time are pretty bizarre. All of the audio quality is quite good! Is ingolee from a particular state or country? I’m always curious where people are from when they comment on my music.
Hi Aaron, thank you for commenting on our work here. Your thoughts are very perceptive and we appreciate them and we will definitely keep them in mind as we work on this collaboration. The collaborators on this project are Stan Halen, Steban and Ingo Lee and we are all from various states in the US; Ingo in California.
The material so far is written and sung by Steban who has a great imagination and uniquely creative song writing ability. Narration is by Stan Halen who is quite skilled at voice over work and Ingo has done the music so far. This piece is the opening work in a concept album that we are still working on and we hope to post more of it here soon.