Spoken word, please bash mindfully

Spoken word, please bash mindfully
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#1

This is a “self-help” exercise in the form of a meditation. It is faster paced than necessary probably, so that it can be used as a demo. I’m interested in how it sounds in terms of audio and emotional connection. Pretend you are involved in the personal growth mediation exercise, and let me know how it feels for you.


#2

Well I can never resist the opportunity for a mindful meditation… :mask:

A few thoughts as I’m listening… yes, the pace feels a little quick but fine for a demo. I’m finding the flute sounds a little distracting at the beginning… my ear is drawn to its melodic line rather than the words… this may be because I play flutey things but my preference would be to have non melodic sounds during the speaking, more atmospheric than melodic? e.g. waves and distant gull cries… Ahh, you do that nicely later on through the track.
Nice tone to the vocals, a warm companionable quality that is calming… I’m hearing a little sibilance on the vocal from time to time… Not sure how much detail you are after but it occurred to me that at the Breathe, it would be great to expand that, describing the process of the body integrating the breath…

And now I’m curious… are you venturing into this market Stan?
Nice meditate thanks… :smile:


#3

Thanks Emma! There is a fair amount of compression on the vocals that accentuates the sibiliance I’m sure. It didn’t become a problem that I felt I had to address, and to some degree I want all aspects of the voice to be present in this type of recording, which gain attention to the spoken word. The Onomatopoeia of the Breathe were my idea, perhaps beyond the intention of the writer, but were accepted as a creative embellishment by same. It could be carried further, but this is relevant to the writer’s intent and so I would have to gain approval to take it more in that direction. (not a bad idea, BTW).

Yes, this is where I am venturing with the voiceover aspect of my performances. More into the self improvement and meditative aspects. This one came quite naturally, and others may follow. It’s not the accepted path, I must say, but it’s the one that is calling to me. At some point, you have to be authentic to who you are and what you believe in, no matter what others might say. That can apply to most anything in life. I choose to speak to those who wish to embrace their own truths.


#4

Well, I’m not the one to ask about how it connects to me emotionally, as the only thing it brings to mind is the “Brad Goodman” episode of The Simpsons… or perhaps the “Sensory Deprivation” episode… so yeah…not my bag…

From a sonic standpoint - very nice! Pleasing vocal tone, nice frequency balance, and good dynamic control.

In addition to the sibilant comments of Emma, I can hear some plosives really popping my subs (for example “pace” @ 12 secs). Not all the the plosives are bad, but some do need attention. The sibilance too, is intermittent, so a little bit of automation or manual editing may be in order.

Hope that helps!


#5

Thank you!

The plosives were definitely challenging … what you hear was already treated drastically with at least two plosive editing excursions. The sibilance I have to say is somewhat intentional, as this is intended to evoke the sensory experience of the Highly Sensitive listeners of this meditative exercise. It’s a bit different, and perhaps counter-intuitive to the normal audio adventure, in that each sonic experience is intended to evoke a certain response. So in that sense, it is different than a musical perspective is all I can say. It is something I might end up addressing, but so far I would say probably not, as it is intended to be more of a sensory experience than a sonic experience.


#6

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“Small rocks are laying in the path.”

Should be lying. Or “small rocks lie in the path.”

I can’t really comment further, the content is not my thing.

Sounds like you’re reading from a script though, so not as convincing as it could be. It’s possible to learn how to read from a script naturally. Bearing in mind the subject matter and the intention of the delivery, I think it would be worth making the effort.


#7

I was listening on a system with a sub, and that’s how I picked up on some of those plosives. I tried listening fairly loud too, for that specific reason. I may go back to that system and listen again, for the effect you are describing. I haven’t checked on multiple devices for translation, as I would for music, so there’s that as well.


#8

Ah, yes, I can see that would be grammatically correct. Interesting point. I will bring it to the attention of the script writer.

Oh yes, that’s actually a fairly challenging thing. I know it is very challenging for many others too. The solution is probably to memorize the script, so that the delivery comes off more naturally, but that can require a great deal of time. It was my first exposure to the script, so it might make sense to give it another shot, but the question is always about time in that case.


#9

Hi Don’t know nuthin bout this kinda thangy. I do know that you have a great spoken voice. I have a very good visual for sure. I usually will go up the tough path without a bonus at the top:) Ya I can hear the sib like on choice…chosing others etc.
Not more to pick on. Interesting:)

Sincerely

Paul


#10

Actually, it probably won’t make any difference. You’ll still be reciting ‘parrot fashion’, so it will probably still sound unnatural.

The solution is to learn how to read a script while sounding natural. I do it by role-playing. I imagine I’m sat in the pub talking to a mate. It makes a big difference.


#11

Thanks Paul!

Hmm, the sibilance thing is coming up a good bit. I may work with that and see what I can do. I don’t want it to sound ‘destructive’ at all since the vocal is prominent and exposed in this. In a dense music mix, the sibs can be treated without altering the perception of the vocal performance a lot. I think this is different, but I can try it and see what is workable.


#12

Yes, that’s the standard approach (not necessarily in the pub though). And in this performance I was in the role of a coach leading a person through a visualization exercise. I felt that I did it well, but it’s also a fairly new genre for me, and a different voice than a casual conversation.

Since you consider yourself very accomplished at sounding natural, would you mind posting an example of a spoken word voice recording so I can hear what you are talking about? :slight_smile:


#13

I irregularly do spoken word, and I often am criticized for not sounding comfortable with what I’m saying, sounding like I’m reading lines off a page. It is a fair point as it is more akin to acting than singing, as a good actor gets so into the role you believe he/she is actually saying this to you.

In this case, Stan, the production is near perfection. The background music is pleasantly nondescript as I retain none of the tune, just the ambience. The vocal delivery is also very smooth, and first listen I discerned no fault. The second time I succumbed to a little hypercriticism and felt it was a little bit emotionally flat overall.

And even if the purpose is to meditate by, I wished for a tad more melodrama, the nervous anticipation and barely controlled joy of discovery. Too much and it again sounds contrived, ‘acted’ out, or just plain weird, hehe, so it is harder to win than it may seem.

All vocals are subject to this same issue, and achieving a compelling ‘authentic’ delivery is almost the art of introducing strategic errors in the performance that strengthen the illusion.

That said, I’d give this delivery a B+, maybe an A-, but just shy of Oscar winning. You are in the ballpark, and it is so easy to not line up the emotions with the message and just justify it for artistic license.


#14

Nicely done IMO Stan.

The only thing that jumped out to me me is that there is a little sibilance issue? Not too bad but could do with looking at I think.


#15

An A- was not meant to be negative, Stan. You are already so good I’d certainly keep pursuing this idea if I were you! The words themselves were quite effective, and each one you do will evolve as you introduce new sounds. Waves lapping on a moonlit beach, rain and thunder in a jungle hut, frogs, who knows, but each will be a little better than the last most likely. You may be hypnotizing people by the end…


#16

Thanks for the kind words Steve!

I suppose there could be more liveliness to it, exploring a bit more emotional ground. By “strategic errors” I assume that you mean I could have been a bit looser with it. I may be perfectionist at times, which can translate as stiffness. Good feedback, and as you say it will evolve as I do more.


#17

Thanks FD!


#18

Hi Stan, You have a pleasant sounding voice well suited for this kind of domain. I’ve listened to the clip twice and the only grief I find is the sibilance The other bashers’ went gentle on you, There is a lot of sibilance here, less when the volume is lowered but still evident. You mentioned the vocal was heavily compressed, could it be possible you were too close to the mic? I may be mistaken but I would think the recording room would have to be very dampened (dead) to record this type of presentation and allow you to pull back from the microphone somewhat and be less demanding on the microphone and compression. Don’t get me wrong the mic is really picking you up - too much. Your thoughts?


#19

Thanks for that perspective, yes the amount of sibilance is very clear to me now (had to take some time to get some distance from it). I’m working on reducing it without impacting the performance in an undesirable way.

And yes, very astute as to the recording process! I didn’t record this in the vocal booth as I would normally have done. I recorded it in front of the DAW working in conjunction with the script writer. It was a collaboration, and so that just worked out better for workflow at the time. I was closer to the mic so that the room would not factor in as much, and that is probably what gave me the excess sibilance (and some plosive) problems. I thought I was off axis enough to diminish this, but apparently not.


#20

This could maybe use a de-esser.