Surfing on a Wave of Spacetime

Surfing on a Wave of Spacetime
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So this I made after The Thickness of Now. I am first attempting to get the vocals correct on the first release by using the recommendations on Now. Also am using a line in Now for the title of this song.

Other than that, this is an entirely different style of music. In my mind it is semi progressive surf rock. I use tempo markers extensively, at the beginning and end, as a bonus feature!

It isn’t warm and fuzzy like TTON, much louder, so I had to make slightly different vocal decisions, but I think my diction is mostly understandable. Title came first, and melody/phrasing for the title line came last, but it felt to me like it was inevitable.

Surfing on a Wave of Spacetime by Steve Bancroft

We get up in the morning the way we always do
Nothing rarely changes our routine
Looking in the mirror as we brush our teeth
See the same face we have always seen

There isn’t a new answer or fresh attitude
We’ll take this day the way took the last
Once again with a little grain of salt
Making our future from the past

Some things come so slow
Thank god it’s not a crime
When you’re surfing on a wave of spacetime

Decisions, decisions, waiting to be decided
Some we will decide today
Sometimes we will know everything about them
And yet they will have to wait, have to wait

Or maybe we will manage to forget it
Maybe we won’t get around to it
Maybe we’ll try and substitute it
With something that just came to us

Today could be the day
When locked in the curl of smooth liquid glass
You’re hanging ten as you shoot the pier
Or it could be actually your last

But that’s a great feature of our universe
We don’t know the future of any man
Intelligent guesses or not so much
We don’t always stick with the plan

Some thoughts come so slowly
Thank god it’s not a crime
Sometimes super fast
When you’re surfing on a wave of spacetime
Surfing the wave of spacetime
When you’re surfing on a wave of spacetime

Interesting track… I like the concept behind it - the varying timing changes mirroring the theme of the song. In practice, I’m not sure its a complete success. There is a lack of melodic focus to the composition…

Again: Melody and hooks are King in my book. Tension and release are the men of power in the King’s court - they get the work done. If there is not enough melody/familiar melody (hooks), then the balance between tension and release is lost.

To me this song sounds like all tension. I’m waiting for the release of something familiar and “catchy”, but it never comes. Catchy doesn’t have to mean saccharine or cheesy. Familiar doesn’t necessarily have to be repetitive.

You have the concepts, the imagination, the ideas, the lyrics. My suggestion would be to work harder on the melodies and hooks. Try something: Try to write the catchiest, hookiest, thing that you can. Go completely against your instinct to make it “intelligent”, “cerebral”, “progressive”/ whatever. Don’t worry about cheesiness; don’t worry about “credibility”. Don’t even worry too much about originality. Just put your head down and come up with something people will want to whistle or hum to. It might be harder than you think. It might be as easy as falling off a log. Whatever it is, once you get it, try to incorporate it into your current style and remember: tension and release are the forces that keep people listening.

The vocal: It still sounds pretty muddy, muffled and distant to me. I’m guessing there is some fairly substantial reductive eq needed in the 200-400hz zone to clear up the vocal first and foremost. Without hearing the raw vocal track, it’s a bit hard to suggest exact frequencies, but it is definitely somewhere around there.

If you want your lyrics to be understood without having an accompanying lyric sheet, then you need to work on really clearing those vocals up. Cleaning up the low mids will help get rid of that “swallowing the mic” sound, and as I mentioned before, using higher pre-delay values on reverb will stop the vocal sound like it is coming from the back of the room (which it still does).

As I said above, the elastic timing is a very cool idea, but combined with the unfocused melody, it just adds to the constant feeling of tension and no release.

Apologies in advance if this critique sounds a little harsh. I don’t want to be unkind, but I also don’t want to couch the critique in such a way as to bury the main points. That said, keep in mind this is all my personal viewpoint and in no way do I consider it to be the be-all and end-all of things. Music after all is one of the most subjective of arts.

I want to also say that I really applaud your imagination and creative drive - That is something to be admired.

Wow @steban, I’m really impressed! I’ve heard a lot of your work and I have always liked much of it but it seemed there was always something that sounded, well, amateurish I guess. But here we have great instrumentation that supports the vocal lines with lots of variety, And the vocals, well lyrics were always your strong point and your singing pleasant but occasionally too much off key but here your singing fits and is even stretched at points and still is on key, very nice! And the drums fit! You’ve certainly grown and that’s the most we can ask of any artist really.

What @ColdRoomStudio says here is a good point I agree. The art he speaks of is appealing and valuable and those skills are certainly a worthy addition to any artist but I don’t miss it here myself.

There are a lot of good ideas in this song. It starts off really well with that opening lick and your vocals come in on time. I like the idea you had of speeding up the tempo but it seemed to come way too quickly. While it was speeding up I almost felt like the song was falling apart, but then at 49 seconds the song kicks in with a consistent beat, the electric guitar simulations and keyboard orchestration, and I’m liking where things are going. So now I’m thinking this song is back on track. Lots of nice little instrumental ornamentation and colours…but I’m not hearing a “SONG” song. I feel like the vocal melody is just meandering and was just made up on the spot while you were recording it. It’s almost like you’re singing from the pages out of a book and accepting any melody that you improvise, without trying to get something more solid and memorable. I’m probably not explaining myself very well. I agree with ColdRoomStudio’s post. Your music seems to be getting better and you have good ideas but I think your vocal melodies and vocal phrasing is your biggest weakness. But jeez, I like the way you ended the song! Dramatic! I like the way you slowed it down at the end too!

The music in this song deserve a way better vocal. I’m talking about vocal melody AND phrasing. You don’t need to be a great singer to have that.

Production-wise, I find that your vocals lack clarity and I’m wondering if it’s because the reverb/delay that you’re using on your voice. As Andrew alluded to, it would be interesting to hear your dry vocal track so we could find out if that muffled vocal sound is coming from the recording or from the effects, the processing and/or the EQ.

This is another strong effort from you. The music is enjoyable and interesting. I just think you should try to create a better vocal for it.

Thanks everyone for all the excellent feedback! The song began with an idea to do something like a Ventures or Shadows tremolo/reverb guitar type melody but to make it a little more than that. The music follows a very strict chord pattern, but it is a little bit monochromatic(?), at least it doesn’t deviate melodically, requiring a lot of instrumental variation to keep it going. And singing to that kept me very limited. I think it does meander as I too am new to the song and uncertain how to best sing it.

So what happens is there are spots I think work very well, and others which aren’t as established yet, and the indecision is noticeable. However, this is a side effect of trying to sing this at all. But I probably sing it much better eventually. It reminds me in places now a little like Muse, but that guy can really sing big,

I will share soon the uneffected vocal track, with the volume/timing/pitch fixes, and just see whether anyone can make it better. I struggled to get it to where it is! I probably should resing it anyway.

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