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skitzigol

Debut album - performance/producticion/writing critiques welcome!

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[color=#34495E][font=Lato, sans-serif][size=4]Hi all,[/size][/font][/color]

[color=#34495E][font=Lato, sans-serif][size=4]My debut album has just been released and I would welcome any comments (good and bad!) on the composition, production and performance.[/size][/font][/color]

[color=#34495E][font=Lato, sans-serif][size=4]Ten tracks of DIY punkish-noisy-guitar-pop recorded at home in Logic. All guitars and bass DI’d through a Focusrite Scarlett and recorded/mixed/mastered within the box.[/size][/font][/color]

[url="https://jigsaw-records.com/products/cracked-actors-one-act-plays-cd"][u][b]https://jigsaw-records.com/products/cracked-actors-one-act-plays-cd[/b][/u][/url]

[color=#34495E][font=Lato, sans-serif][size=4]Tj.[/size][/font][/color]

Edited by skitzigol

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Good afternoon, Tom...

Disclaimer: I'll admit to not having listened to all of the tracks all the way through, but enough, I hope, to not betray the 'vibe'.
That said, it's a very good example of what can be done in a home studio environment. The recordings and mixing are well up to the standards of many dedicated studios, with maybe a slight reservation on the choices made for treating the vocals. Nothing seriously wrong; just a tendency for 'sameness'. Some might consider that to be a quality, of course.
The compositions and arrangements are mostly of a pattern: intro, verse, chorus, verse etc, but this suits the lyrics well enough, and gives some homogeneity to the album, too. There are variations, but nothing shocking. The overall impression that came across to me (take this as a compliment...) was early Elvis Costello, with smatterings of 'Jean Genie'-era Bowie, some Boomtown Rats; maybe a little Lou Reed buried in there. The standard of playing is fine; more than adequate for the genre, on all instruments. The singing has at least the advantage of being clear enough to capture the essential of the lyrics (always a problem for me, what with being old and having cloth ears... :blush: ), but one could not say that he's ready for Glyndebourne yet.
Altogether, then, a worthy production, well worth the modest sum asked for; I've heard much worse at far higher prices from established 'name' groups.
Well done; congratulations to all concerned, and especially those able to get such a consistent drum sound into the mix. Surely not done in the bedroom..? :huh:

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[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]@Dad3353 - - - thanks ever so much for taking time to have a listen and offer your feedback... that's very kind of you![/font]

[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]To give a little more background, this was my first venture into the world of DAW recording and mixing having previously done everything on an old 8-track Tascam unit. Composition-wise, I pulled together a set of short and fast songs I had written over the years that ranged from some brand new material to what was my very first stab at writing a song from 20 years ago (track 3), albeit with new lyrics and a slight arrangement change... if a three-chord song really has an arrangement ! I'm forever starting things and leaving them unfinished, so my goal with this album was to keep everything as simple as possible and see if I could finally come out with a finished project that would give me the opportunity to learn the DAW as I went along.

I don't have any engineering training, but enjoy reading about engineering and production in Sound On Sound and the like. The creative process is what interests me most, and I've come to realize that mixing is very much a part of that. All the guitars and bass parts were recorded through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 using Logic's amp simulators, with a reliance on pre-sets for much of the plugins when mixing. I didn't record any amp sounds - everything was DI'd. Vocals were through a cheap and cheerful T-Bone SC 300 large diaphragm microphone (£30 at Thomann!) in my untreated bedroom. Once I was happy with a mix, I exported the song as a wave file then put it back into Logic and used the mastering plugin for a bit of EQ and loudness. I didn't really do much extra at this stage other than a multi-pressor and stereo-widening.

In terms of performance, I actually recorded and played everything myself...... although the magic of the consistent dum sound is courtesy of Logic's very helpful drummer option. I do dabble in drums and I have an electronic kit, but thought I'd keep this project simple and save the headaches of quantizing my loose-limbed playing for the next album! I'm not a vocalist and never have been. In fact, I've always been very self-conscious about any singing, even karaoke or backing vocals in my old bands. I tried to find someone who might be keen to do the vocals but realized that, actually, the best thing I could do was get over my fear and do it myself. I know they aren't particularly strong, but it has definitely given me a lot more confidence. I consciously tried to bury the vocals in the mix because they are the weakest part of the songs.

Once it was done, I contacted a couple of labels whose stuff I listen to online and heard back from Jigsaw Records, a tiny shop/label in Seattle who agreed to put it out. I'm really happy that I finally got something done and have my record up on the streaming sites and available on CD... so that goal has been realized. I'm also pleased that I've learned quite a bit from the process and am still learning now through your comments. Two big areas for me to follow-up and address on my second album will be:[/font][list]
[*][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Be braver with the levels and FX used on my vocals - maybe take more care and time over recording them.. layering/background vocals etc... and maybe some vocal lessons![/font]
[*][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Learn more about EQing and how to bring out certain parts in a mix, especially mid and low range. Hi and low pass filters are on my lesson plan![/font]
[*][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif"][color="#34495e"]Be more adventurous in arrangements and writing choices, adding some variation on the old verse/chorus/verse. [/color][/font]
[/list]
[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Finally, thanks again for your input![/font]

[font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Tj.[/font]

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[quote name='skitzigol' timestamp='1510071547' post='3403751']...[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]the magic of the consistent dum sound...[/font]
[/quote]

Now that's being a bit [i]too [/i]harsh..! :lol: :P

Thanks for the background info. Very interesting, and all the more credit to you for getting such a clean result; I'm impressed. I'm also very impressed with the drums; I was sure they were human-played, and well played at that. That they turn out to be 'drums in a box' is, to me, an extra lump of kudos due. You obviously have benefited (benefat..? :unsure: ) from your previous experience with analogue gear, and that will doubtless continue.
I'd be wary of reacting too strongly on my sole comments; best to garner a few more pairs of ears, as tastes and fashions in music have very different appeal to different folks. We (Basschat in general, and the 'Recording' section in particular...) always welcome opportunities to hear new talent, especially when it's so finely expressed. Keep 'em coming, in your own time, and again, 'Well done'.

Edited by Dad3353

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