Today's Tragedy

This is very much a work in progress. Right now it’s just a drum loop, bass parts and a guitar part. And the vocal is very rough - just a “place holder” for now…

This came about last week. I was driving my son to an appointment. We regularly drive past a house with a flag pole out front. The flag was at half mast - again. He asked what is was for this time? “I don’t know, I can’t keep up…”

Updated (5/4/21):

Latest Update:

Today’s Tragedy

Woke up today, to the sound of morning news
A plane crash school or shopping mall, none get to choose
Another flag at half-mast, I don’t even wonder why
The sun is shining birds are singing, it’s good to be alive
…It’s good to be alive

It’s the sins of the father, it’s because of the mother
It’s my right to carry, as much as another
It’s the crazies that do it, not this friend by my side
Casualties of the swamp, then we bury them in lies
…they’re buried in lies

It’s my liberation, conceived as my right
I’ll live and breathe free, you wear what you like
You don’t see the way I do, so what you say is all lies
To hell with all your rules, it’s your right to die
…It’s your right to die

Today’s tragedy, the stars have aligned
My cheeks have long dried in the winds of these times
I hope you get yours, because I’ll sure get mine
A knee on the neck, of what’s decent and kind
…What’s decent and kind


Listening on headphones.
Love that start, having read the opening lines, it was not what I expected feel wise. Really enjoying the sounds. The drums work really well. They sound very, for lack of a better term, real. Not overly processed but here in the room with me, which, given the synths sound very ethereal, works well as a contrast. Love the vocals and the lyrics, but I’d like the vocals louder and more up front. The snare is masking them a little in my opinion. Has a Springsteen meets Floyd element to the push and pull that I am really digging.
You’ve used the introduction of elements well so that the longer instrumental sections are not just the same thing but as before but with a solo (if you follow what I mean).
Yep, overall I am thoroughly enjoying this song and would more than happily listen to more of the same, but the vocals are too low overall to have the impact that they should have, especially given the content. They are treated well, just need to be louder.

Lastly, love the spaced delay sound of the bass. Is that what you have done? Panned a delay (maybe even had the delay a touch louder than the dry signal?) on the bass, or is it a plug-in delay effect? Whatever the case, it’s cool

Great song!

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Thanks for the listen, Daniel. I’m really flattered you like it. :slight_smile:

It’s still just a faders up rough mix with a scratch vocal, so yes, the vocal is mixed low. It’s mainly a “placeholder” so I can work on the arrangement. I’ll probably add a breakdown in there too for some variety.

I love that delay sound too. For me, first is was The Wall, then the Joshua Tree cd sealed the deal and I figured out how to do it on bass. That delay has shown up a couple of different times over the years in various bands. :slight_smile:

So yeah, it’s basically a .8 note delay. As you said, the delay (wet signal) is turned up about equal to the dry note. Then turn down the Feedback so you basically get one note delay. Then you play off the delayed note, if that makes sense. You can feel once get get the rhythm going. :slight_smile:

Then you can embellish with different delay lengths, ping-pong, modulations, etc.I used mainly the Kuassa Delay, Ik’s Tape Delay and EchoBoy Jr. Mostly the Kuassa for the main .8 delay, then embellished it with other flavors and lengths.

While recording this, I found out you can create feedback on the Tape Delay too! You just ride the Sustain knobs after the initial signal. You can hear it in the intro on the bass harmonic. Maybe other plugins do it too, but I just figured it out. Fun stuff! :slight_smile:

PS. If you’re trying to do this while playing through an audio interface, latency is a total PITA…

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I can only imagine. I would be doing it post for sure!
I’ll be interested to see what changes you make to the song’s arrangement. I really enjoyed it.

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Hey Mike, this is cool - it has a great groove and vibe to it. The vocals have a bit of a Bruce Cockburn (remember him?) half-sung vibe about them. The instrumental part of the song reminds me of the type of sparse, moody, hypnotic groove of The Wallflowers.

I agree with Dan about the vocals - they need to come up - we need to hear the story… but I understand this is also basically a demo in progress.

Production-wise, I really like what you have happening, and I can hear layers of ambient guitar building behind the music too. I think, if the production is handled right, you can really build a sense of menacing intensity behind the lyrics. The vocal delivery is really important too - in terms of building intensity.

Inspired and heartfelt piece! I’m really diggin it, and looking forward to how it develops!


Well, that’s the thing too. If you just play the “dry” portion, it’s actually quite a lame and simple part. :slight_smile: Playing off the delay is what makes it work.

Thanks Andrew! I always appreciate your input and perspective. Regarding the vocals, it’s funny how that worked out. I just put them down to help work out the arrangement. I had no idea where/how to fit them in so just kind of did what you hear. Now it’s kind of growing on me. If the vocals end up being me, I’ll definitely redo them.

Oooh… liking this Mike! Lovely chill sparse laconic vibe…
I love how you have translated something grim into music, can’t wait to hear more!


Very cool @miked, great sounds and ambience, the bass carrying the whole thing, it definitely sets the mood and tone for the message here. I think the vocals are right for this, you can redo them as long as you don’t lose that dark feel they have now. This is a perfect reflection of the nightmare that haunts our society, thanks for posting.


Thank you @Emma and @ingolee! :pray:

This a very cool vibe you’ve created, Mike!

I really like how the bass and drums work together and the synths are sweet too. Great groove!

I realize this is a demo so I won’t nitpick the vocals too much. You’ve already stated that they were basically “place holders” and will be re-recorded. I’m looking forward to hearing the finished product! You’ve got a real good one here!!!


Wow, really liking this Mike!
I can only repeat what is already said… Maybe just one tip: keep this rough mix as a reference. You could easily overproduce it and loose the initial feel (I know, I do it all the time…). I like the driving bass, it sounds great (and thanks for telling us how you achieved it), as well as the pad-like guitar in the background. The lyrics grab you, the undercooled half-spoken vocal is very suitable. Maybe add a bit of extra sound candy (doubling and /or harmony on a few frases, maybe some spatial effects mixed in) but keep it simple. It reminded me a bit of some old Peter Gabriel song maybe early Genesis, not sure) where later in the song he would sing in full force an octave higher. That might work here. Or a (female?) background vocal not singing the same line but a long extended repeat (“Ill get mine” and “decent and kind”) over the top? This is getting my creative juices flowing Mike!
The groove is great. No need to do much about it except maybe add to or change the fills and accents a bit.
Have fun working it all out. This is really worth it!


Thanks @Wicked and @Aef!

Some good points and ideas in there Evert too, very much appreciated!

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Hi Mike, nice work. Are those your vocals?
I like the arrangement and the track overall. Since the drone frequency of the snare is so prominent, you may want to tune it closer to the key of the song. Its a bit flat.

Your song has a kill bill theme kind of vibe. If you take note of the snare in the Kill Bill track, the snare sort of carries the track and it is pitched to the 3rd below
Great work as always!


Thanks Michelle! Yep,that’s me.

Neat idea! I wouldn’t have thought of that. I started palying, then found a loop and recorded. I wonder how I could do that with a loop though? Maybe slice out the snare hits? Hmmm… :thinking:

Do you mean this one?

Wow! I LOVE this! Those drums are fantastic. There are lots of element ideas to study in this one. Thanks Michelle!

It reminds me of an Art Of Noise track… Dragnet, I think.

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This is a wonderful tune. I has so much potential as you tinker with it. The keys is my favorite part, it gives it a richer sound. The only think that stands out to me, which probably won’t to anyone else is the snare. It sounds like its right up next to the speaker, while the rest of the song is farther away. It also has a tinny sound to it. It sounds like a cross between a bongo and a snare. If it was more of a snare kind of sound and less bongo maybe. Great work, plenty of space in this song. You should be proud of it.

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Thanks James, that is very nice to hear! :pray:

This seems to be a recurring “issue”. I DO like the sound of the snare but definitely need to do some mixing on it to fit it in better. Its just a drum loop, so things like tuning and isolating it are a bit trickier. But thanks again, It’ll definitely get some attention! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hey miked,

Nice song! I like the theme and the lyrics, I guess they really reflect the mood of most of the world right now (even though I can only guess, being lucky enough to live in an isolated, safe place).

The song is repetitive and I get that this is part of the mood, it does sound good indeed with this never-ending drum pattern. However, the intro is too long in my opinion. I actually thought this was an instrumental version and I was really surprised to hear the vocals starting after so much time in the song.

The drums don’t sound very realistic, especially the cymbals but I’m not sure you can do something about it. I would make the drums much more ambient, especially the snare. And I would add more ear candies here and there to keep the listener entertained.

I’m curious to hear the final result. Good job!

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Hey Jean-Marc, thanks for the listen and the kind words!

I’m fine with that. :wink: The Cure’s Disintegration album is a big part of my “musical genetic make-up”.

The drum loop actually is real drums. It’s one of the loops that come with Studio One. I came across it one night, set the tempo on my delays and started playing along. I would love to have a multi-track of these drums though so I could do more tweaking. Before I’m done I may try to figure something out.

Definitely in the works!

Thanks for all the input, it’s very much appreciated!

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I updated the song with a guitar solo (courtesy of a friend over on the AMC forum) and some other tweaks. It’s not “properly” mixed yet and things start stacking up at the end, but I’ think the arrangement is close. Just a few for parts and I think it’ll be “done”… And yes, it got longer. :slight_smile: