She thought to see Dragons

emmasong
She thought to see Dragons
0.0 0

#1

Finally some studio time… I’ve had a bit of a crazy old life lately but have managed to record a brand new celtic song and have been playing round with some acoustic instruments including a new hand drum I made which is great fun!
As usual, I tied myself up into complicated audio knots, won’t bore you with the details :grimacing: -
any suggestions/feedback??

I’ll include the lyrics as it feels a bit mumbly…: I have been endlessly tweaking but am sure there is a bunch of stuff fresh ears will hear…thanks!!!

She thought to see Dragons, by firelight by moon,
she thought to see dragons, but all that she saw
was the sweep of the bristle, the brushing of the broom

It’s a runaway sadness, the daring to dream
a whispered forgettery, bite at the gleam
Taken in taken under, your heart blown asunder
you reach as you stumble, the heartbeat to fall

In a call (lost in calling) a fall (lost in falling)
a day drowned at dawning, so brightly the break
forever unmaking the risks that you take,
and a life without risk, sure that’s no life at all

Mix 3


#2

Very cool Emma! I would just suggest that the drum performance sounds a bit scattered and “off beat” since there’s really not a direct beat to follow. The meandering continual drum fills (?) are kind of interesting, but I found them distracting too. I was hearing something more like a marching snare drum beat, slow tempo of course, and a bit random on the beat as well, but something a bit more predictable. I’m not sure, but I actually think it could fit in with the flow of the piano and such. Soft hits for sure, kind of a tentative vibe (or it could fluctuate emotionally with the song sections). I’m hearing numerous drum rudiment patterns that could be used (I used to be a drummer, you know :slight_smile:) It would be cool to have some snare drum rolls in there too, but that might be a challenge to make it sound natural if you’re using a VI.


#3

Cool track! I like the celtic vibe.

Just one nit for me: The drums sound overly transient-heavy. I’d like to hear more bloom and sustain. There is a slight sense of cognitive dissonance in that the drums are very soft, yet the attack of the transients always seem to suggest harder hits for me.


#4

Emma…she’s back

Love the intro with your beautiful voice nestled in. Wow, your vocal performance is spot on and believable. Piano a little loud for me. Just a tad. I find the drums you created work very well, but I suck at midi drums and I know you hate them too:) The risks that you take:) :slight_smile: Harmony excellent might want to cut one db. Love when it gets all quiet again:)

Now you talk of dragons?? What concert did I see last night you ask? Peter Yarrow of the original Peter Paul and Mary singing of course Puff the magic dragon. It very well might have be the most entertaining musical experience I have ever attended. What a beautiful wonderful 79 year old man. He sang flawlessly with his son playing bass on an inverted galvanized pail, clothesline, and broom handle.

So glad you are back in the studio. I have missed hearing your sweet voice. I just had a little scare with a spot on my lung that ended up being a calcification from a previous unreported pneumonia. I got shit face and resultant hangover for the first time in ten hears. ha ha The best to you dear friend.

Sincerely

Paul


#5

Nice one emma. I would agree with andrew, more boom less click.


#6

Emma… great atmosphere and beautiful voice! Like Stan, I was also getting a soft marching snare in my head. A bit of a martial feel. The Queensrÿche version of ‘Scarborough Fair’ comes to mind. Really well done.


#7

@Stan_Halen [quote=“Stan_Halen, post:2, topic:1572”]
Very cool Emma! I would just suggest that the drum performance sounds a bit scattered and “off beat” since there’s really not a direct beat to follow. The meandering continual drum fills (?) are kind of interesting, but I found them distracting too. I was hearing something more like a marching snare drum beat, slow tempo of course, and a bit random on the beat as well, but something a bit more predictable. I’m not sure, but I actually think it could fit in with the flow of the piano and such. Soft hits for sure, kind of a tentative vibe (or it could fluctuate emotionally with the song sections). I’m hearing numerous drum rudiment patterns that could be used (I used to be a drummer, you know :slight_smile:) It would be cool to have some snare drum rolls in there too, but that might be a challenge to make it sound natural if you’re using a VI.
[/quote]

Hey Stan,
thanks for checking this out…
Yeah I’ve clearly not ‘nailed’ the drums but not for the lack of time and effort haha…
Now, a funny thing… in the middle of the track, I have got a separate snare track with a sort of snappy marching beat but clearly it is too blurred so am guessing there is just the suggestion of a snare that triggered your thoughts?

No-one has mentioned the broom, am wondering if I underplayed that, I had a lot more sweeping but ended up cutting it back, does it sound like a broom???
It’s a 3/4 beat and I don’t mind it being a bit disjointed - I didn’t want a waltz beat but will re-visit that for sure - ta!

@ColdRoomStudio [quote=“ColdRoomStudio, post:3, topic:1572”]
Just one nit for me: The drums sound overly transient-heavy. I’d like to hear more bloom and sustain. There is a slight sense of cognitive dissonance in that the drums are very soft, yet the attack of the transients always seem to suggest harder hits for me.
[/quote]
Thanks Andrew - Great to hear from you ta!!
Yeah that big hand drum is the culprit… it is drenched with transients… as are the bass and descant wooden recorders and I suspect the drippy reverb I poke in from time to time is messing things up more… the drum sounds fantastic live, but even in my ‘dead air’ studio it has the most dense frequency range. I’ll have to play round with it some more, this was my first recording with it and I layered it with the SD drums, trying to combine the midi and real… hmmm, more work needed… all good though! THanks again!!
@redworks

Thanks red… great to hear from you and yep… I agree too… hehe…
did you notice the broom sweeps by the way??
Gawd I tied myself up in knots with the layers, yet again :smile:[quote=“skua, post:6, topic:1572, full:true”]

@skua
Emma… great atmosphere and beautiful voice! Like Stan, I was also getting a soft marching snare in my head. A bit of a martial feel. The Queensrÿche version of ‘Scarborough Fair’ comes to mind. Really well done.
[/quote]
Hey there skua, great to hear from you ta!
And yeah, as I said to Stan, I did actually pop a wee martial snare bit into the middle part but am guessing it is so buried in the mix that it just gives a suggestion rather than a presence?
As usual, I spent a ridiculous amount of time tweaking trying to turn the thing into a ‘something’ that my ears have become quite numb… oopsy!! :smile: Thanks again for your kind words!!!


#8

@feaker [quote=“feaker, post:4, topic:1572”]
Emma…she’s back

Love the intro with your beautiful voice nestled in. Wow, your vocal performance is spot on and believable. Piano a little loud for me. Just a tad. I find the drums you created work very well, but I suck at midi drums and I know you hate them too:) The risks that you take:) :slight_smile: Harmony excellent might want to cut one db. Love when it gets all quiet again:)

Now you talk of dragons?? What concert did I see last night you ask? Peter Yarrow of the original Peter Paul and Mary singing of course Puff the magic dragon. It very well might have be the most entertaining musical experience I have ever attended. What a beautiful wonderful 79 year old man. He sang flawlessly with his son playing bass on an inverted galvanized pail, clothesline, and broom handle.

So glad you are back in the studio. I have missed hearing your sweet voice. I just had a little scare with a spot on my lung that ended up being a calcification from a previous unreported pneumonia. I got shit face and resultant hangover for the first time in ten hears. ha ha The best to you dear friend.
[/quote]

Paul, How lovely to hear from you…
yeah, it’s been a mission to get back into music… I spent 8 days babysitting the grandlings and puppy and thought my back was broken haha…
Fortunately it wasn’t! The 16 month old was um, manic… the puppy forgot it was was house-trained and my stepmother fell over and broke another hip…
o, those are the main things… hmmm, now I think about it, the list is much longer - how ridiculous and no wonder I felt stretched… hehe…

I mixed up midi drums with a new big fat hand drum I’ve made… it has a luscious sound but a bit too frothy round the edges at the moment… will have to play with it some more. And yeah, the levels of my piano and backing vox are always contentious… I’ll live with them a bit and see how I feel… today, I shall re-visit those drums later on and see where I can take them. I always struggle with that balance between keeping the ‘natural’ resonance of things plus making a satisfactory recording… ach well… I am nearly a musician again not just a domestic goddess haha.

Fantastic to hear that you are still hale and hearty!! And as for Puff the Magic Dragon…
gosh… [grin] And he can still sing then? There is hope… yay!!!:relieved:

Winter has set in here… cold (relatively!) and wet…
best wishes to you!!


#9

Hi Emma,
Again a lovely song. I’m not sure I got the lyrics right: they seem to be somewhat fatalistic?

Anyway, I loved the flutes! I won’t repeat comments on the transients in the drum sounds, but a thought did occur to me: why not use an acoustic guitar for the rhythmic effect (if you want rhythm) and use the handdrum for a more basic kick -like rhythm (cutting out most of the higher frequencies with a shelf)?


#10

Hmm, I had thought it was all my own creative impetus … but it may have been subliminal suggestion. :slight_smile:

I was going to say the same as Aef after seeing his comment and remembering your mention in the OP. But you say you actually used the hand drum in the tracks. I guess I thought it was MIDI toms or something, not sure what to listen for or what type of drum you made. I got a Native American shaman drum last year, and though I have been a drummer I had to work with it, as a natural skin took work to find a tuning and resonance I liked. It took months to really tweak to my liking, and needs to be manually tuned each time (usually with a wet cloth on the head to lower the tone). I’m curious what type of drum you made, and what your experience was in constructing it. I considered doing a “kit” they offered for mine, and may do that in future, but for my first I had the drum-meister make me a nice professional drum with buffalo hide and Deodar cedar (Pakistan) hoop shell. It is also an experience finding a good way to mic and record the drum. The acoustical capture is much more important, and much less documented than the standard drum kit close mic techniques.


#11

It sounded fine to me, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it as a sound effect, but when I heard it I got the sense of a person sweeping a broom that seemed to interleave with the lyrics. It didn’t seem like too much or too little, but in line with the Goldilocks principle - “just right”. :relieved:

When I was thinking of the snare drum march, I was experimenting (in my mind) with a waltz 3/4 at times, but at other times it seemed that timing with an extra beat (effectively a triplet +1, or a customized 4/4) would have worked well. Maybe put one drum in each section as a feature; the snare in some parts, the hand drum in others, but make them a bit more prominent and a featured part of the song.


#12

@Aef [quote=“Aef, post:9, topic:1572, full:true”]
Hi Emma,
Again a lovely song. I’m not sure I got the lyrics right: they seem to be somewhat fatalistic?

Anyway, I loved the flutes! I won’t repeat comments on the transients in the drum sounds, but a thought did occur to me: why not use an acoustic guitar for the rhythmic effect (if you want rhythm) and use the handdrum for a more basic kick -like rhythm (cutting out most of the higher frequencies with a shelf)?
[/quote]
Yay, thanks for your comments… yep it is a fatalistic one for sure, and reflecting my domestic sense of entrapment!! :wink:
Fortunately life moves on!!
Great idea with the guitar but… I don’t play one very well… made a conscious decision a few years back not to progress with that as ‘everyone’ played it… [grin].
Am continuing to explore the hand drum dilemma in fact I think I’ll start another thread on that one… will link it to Stan’s post following yours…
A big issue with me is I love the authenticity of acoustic instruments and struggle with that fine line of taming them to fit within a mix while still maximising their frequency range - if that makes any kind of sense?


#13

Hi Stan,
yep it sounds similar to your shamanic drum… I started a new thread about it, hoping to get some pointers : Tips and Tricks for playing my new Hand Drum?
We soaked our hides in a bath tub for some hours and then stretched them out over the frames. It was a magical kinda thing… certainly makes the instrument feel a part of me… but… now I want to work closer with it and it’s a whole new learning curve! It has a deep thrum to it that works wonderfully in a live situation but threatens to sound like bees in a fog in a production. My wooden recorders have a similar fluctuation with weather/humidity which changes their pitch. It resonates really nicely with the big bass recorder… yummy tones… just quite challenging to mix. O, plus the small thing of learning how to play drums haha…
:wink:

I’m so glad I have a redwood frame… others used the native timber kauri which is about twice as heavy… it can stillbe a physical challenge just holding it up for a while… I’ll become a warrior woman, [grin].


#14

While the thought of learning a new instrument may seem ominous, drums are very primal. If you already have a sense of musicality (which I know you do) this should come quite naturally. Just feel the drums the way your ancestors did several generations or centuries ago would have. It’s in our cells, in our DNA. You can do it. Tune into your body when you are playing, or think of how you dance to rhythmic music. It’s all there.

I like the new movie Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot. She is the epitome of the warrior woman. I know it is a challenge to hold up the drum. It’s like push-ups or any other exercise, you only get better by actually doing it. :wink:


#15

Good point I guess. Musical limitations can work great in inspiring creativity.

Yeah same here. I love the sound of an authentic acoustic instrument, but when you record it the sound is too often too thin, too boomy or whatever.
Recording the full richness of the sound of a good hand drum the way you want it is probably a bit of a challenge. How do you get the lows: they’re certainly there, but you won’t get them by close miking I would guess. Maybe a room mike to get the ambience?

wow Stan, right up my alley :drums2:
I’d love to see Emma getting into a rhythmic trance with her drum. Don’t forget to press record Emma :grinning:


#16

Hi Emma

Not getting on here nearly as much as I should…

Anyway, sounds great as ever. My own observations (take with a pinch of salt as always) are that the bass recorder sounds pretty bottom heavy to me at the intro. The drums go a bit off at 2:35/36 - but possibly intentional knowing you :smiley: The drums sound a little bit “crispy” to me overall - but fine if that’s what you want. If you know what I mean.

Now, the whistles sound GREAT. Piano, always great and I love the broom thing going on, - almost interfering but in a good way. Vocals fantastic and more than anything love the half off-mike asides.

Very cool title too it has to be said. Well done Emma, another great one.


#17

Hey Emma,
Another great job as usual. I always try to comment before really reading the other comments so I’m not influenced by what I read by my esteemed colleagues. So, here’s what I have for you:

  1. As always, the feel is there, you get the mood across very well. I thought you did a great job with the positioning and movement on the flutes, and they add a lot to the atmosphere.
  2. Very nice work with the harmonies on the vocals, everything works very well with one possible exception: I think the treatment of the phrase " the brushing of the broom" in the second instance is a bit abrupt. I found myself wanting you to maybe hang on to that and harmonize it to lead into the transition. I’m sure you have a reason for the treatment of the phrase, and I’ve only listened once, but since it’s a major element of the story it just seemed a little out of place in comparison to the way you worked it in the rest of the song. Just an opinion, obviously.]
  3. The drums need a little help, to me more in timing in certain spots than necessarily tonality and level. If I’m correct in assuming this is roughly in 3/4, I’d love to hear a single tympani hitting on the 1 every 3rd or fourth measure way back in the mix to keep the sense of time flowing subtly.
  4. All in all, it’s great, and you can definitely hear there’s a lot of work in there. Pardon me if I hear Martin Barre playing the chords in the background with a Les Paul through a HiWatt, throwing in the sparse fill here in there drenched in the background. You always take us on a trip, thanks for the vacation.

#18

Hey Firedance,
haven’t seen you round here for a while - lovely to read your words ta!!
I was definitely channeling my celtic roots with this one, just sort of made it all up as I went hehe… that boom of the bass recorder was intentional, via a ridiculously deep valhalla reverb bit on it, some ‘cavern of doom’ type setting… :slight_smile: and I think it’s reacting with the deep thrum of the hand drum… going to have a look at it again this afternoon now I’ve read a bunch of thoughts. So glad you liked the pipes… I was pleased with them… but most of all, pleased I managed to write a new song and record it with a chaotic domestic life :wink: which is, why the song has that sort of angst to it hehe… thanks again…


#19

Yay, thanks so much Styles,
fantastic comments, very helpful… I’ve had enough of a break away from the song now to dive in again and re-visit. I particularly liked your thoughts with the drum beats… I did have that regular beat originally and gradually eroded it… I often seem to do that, take away too much… I did use some 6/8 grooves to get me going… I really like the combination of 6/8 and 3/4, my timings are often a bit odd (heh!) as I very much base the songwriting around the lyrics rather than the other way round.

Oooh LOVE the idea of the Martin Barre chords… I often feel so restricted with my own musical/production limitations… it’s funny, a gazillion years ago I was lucky enough to work with Ray Cooper on drums to one of my songs… he was so amazing… just followed my wonky beats without a blink of his eye - I often think of him when I am struggling to find some sort of synergy with my drum tracks… :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone for the awesome bash… so helpful!


#20

Like others have already said, the drums sound too “rock” to me for the track. I think softer drums would sound better. And the timing feels off on the drums.

You know how much I like your piano playing, but I feel like the piano is trying to dominate too much on this. It’s fighting the drums for being a percussion instrument, and the two feel like they don’t belong together. I’d push the piano back a bit, and soften the drums, then see if they still feel like they are fighting each other.