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May composition Challenge


lurksalot
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Congratulations to both @Doctor J and @NickD  on their joint win in a tightly fought end to the April Challenge.

 

After a small discussion the photo has been offered by NickD and agreed by all parties :sun_bespectacled:

 

The preamble ...    " I was messing with vapour and light for a photography project last year, and this reminded me of the smoky, fleapit cinemas of my childhood, but I reckon it's pretty wide open to interpretation."

 

 

image.png.bc05442c3c0c7a4203546caf27e6f8a3.png

 

 

 

Simple rules 

✔️ Entries must be <5 minutes and recorded this month.

✖️ No illegal samples, copyright infringements or other snide goings-on

✖️ No Bagpipes. please no bagpipes, the April fool's day truce now well and truly Expired. panpipes only if you have too.

✖️ No voting for your own entry. We'll know. And we'll shame you.

 

A line or two offering an insight to your inspiration/track choice will be good as well , it works nicely on the voting thread.

 

The Deadline for entries is Midnight on Tuesday 24th May

 

good luck everyone 

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1 hour ago, Nail Soup said:

That is a great picture..... I always admire those who are good with a camera! 

 

You don't have to be good with a camera anymore, with digital you can go until you get it right. This was shot with me hung upside down beneath the projector, camera in one hand while blowing vapour into the stream of light with the other. All while projecting the most colourful picture I could find, a flowerbed, onto the wall. 🤣

 

My old Voigtlander... That's a different story. 

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My contribution to the May 2022 round of the Basschat Composition Challenge, inspired by the picture agreed between last months winners, Doctor J and Me.

 

I get a Mothership, beam me up, vibe from the picture, so kinda fancied the mid-paced, big chorus, funky thing.

Obviously it's a picture of a projector, so the evils of TV gave me my subject matter.

 

It all started with a bass riff, played on the EUB, as everything seems to be recently... this is going to become a habit I think... probably an expensive one!🤣

 

Drums from MT Powerdrums, Guitars are a Westbury Standard through the Helix, Keys are Cubase Elephants 10 standard VSTs. Vox chain is... An idiot--- An SM58--- An Interface--- Waves CLA Vocal plugin, with lots of the tracks for the chorus to big it up.

 

I sincerely apologise for the mini upright bass solo, I just wanted to hear how it recorded... you know... up that end! By the time it came to discard it and replace it with something better, I'd kinda grown used to it.

 

 

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On 07/05/2022 at 20:34, NickD said:

.....By the time it came to discard it and replace it with something better, I'd kinda grown used to it.

 

 

nail on the head here Nick.

 

That is what happens to me every month :lol: 

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Okay, I'm in.  Not having much luck getting Mrs to sing, so I got a vocal sample & chopped it up.

Had an idea for a trance song, picked up the bass & something not trance came out.  But I liked it, so that's the bassline.  Then I set about mixing trance, metal & breakbeat together to come up with this nonsense.

 

 

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On 07/05/2022 at 20:34, NickD said:

My contribution to the May 2022 round of the Basschat Composition Challenge, inspired by the picture agreed between last months winners, Doctor J and Me.

 

I get a Mothership, beam me up, vibe from the picture, so kinda fancied the mid-paced, big chorus, funky thing.

Obviously it's a picture of a projector, so the evils of TV gave me my subject matter.

 

It all started with a bass riff, played on the EUB, as everything seems to be recently... this is going to become a habit I think... probably an expensive one!🤣

 

Drums from MT Powerdrums, Guitars are a Westbury Standard through the Helix, Keys are Cubase Elephants 10 standard VSTs. Vox chain is... An idiot--- An SM58--- An Interface--- Waves CLA Vocal plugin, with lots of the tracks for the chorus to big it up.

 

I sincerely apologise for the mini upright bass solo, I just wanted to hear how it recorded... you know... up that end! By the time it came to discard it and replace it with something better, I'd kinda grown used to it.

 

 

I'm really liking this track.  Great sound & nice playing.

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2 hours ago, xgsjx said:

I'm really liking this track.  Great sound & nice playing.

Thanks... It's a bit of a departure for me, in that it's not wholly depressing🤣

 

I'm trying to get a little more sophisticated, as it still sounds pretty amateur when compared to your track for example. There's a tightness and a slickness to how yours sounds. I've made a conscious effort to improve how the vocals go down recently, and the next thing is mixing I think... groups and buses and sidechaining, etc, mean nothing to me. I need to fix that.

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Funny how we must hear our own songs.  I think your sound quality is much better than mine.  

 

For this song, I tried using the Accusonus ERA 6 AutoEQ along with Isotope Neutron 3 on some of the higher pitched sounds.  The master channel is 2 EQs, one set to mid & a HPF set at 30hz, then another set to sides and the LPF at about 240hz to put the lows in mono.  Then isotope Ozone 9, a very small room chorus (NI RC48 using the "Studio Aura" preset), Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor & then Brainworx bx masterdesk classic just to bring the LUFS up.

 

I've found layering a couple of compressors, each doing a very light job seems to work well.

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There's no comparison for me, in terms of production.... and you've just demonstrated why that is.... I don't do anything like that.

 

I don't understand how to look at it as an overall track, just individual parts, then try to pan and use the sliders as best I can.

 

Those drums are pretty handy and they're pre-placed in the field, and they sound quite alright as they are... just a mess with velocities here and there.

The EUB was straight into the interface, and then a touch of compression (Cubase's own).

Guitar, I just got a sound I thought suited in the Helix, recorded one left and one right, one on both pickups and one bridge only, just for a bit of difference.

Keys were just from Cubase, just as a bit of texture.

Vocals were single track for the verse, and 4 tracks for the chorus, and I picked a couple of different presets from Waves CLA and fiddled with the sliders.

 

After that I got up the mix console, played it through a few times while fiddling with relative volumes until it sounded ok to my ears... job done, export!!!

 

I think half of it is my lack of understanding of what I need and why I need it. Currently ,I'm basically looking at it like a live recording. Sort the individual sounds, mix it all together, and spit it out. I've always been more into the writing bit, but as the stakes in here increase rapidly I could do with learning more. There's not a month goes by when I don't think 'How did they do that?, or 'why cant I get my parts to sit in the track like that?'.

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The drums on your track sound fantastic.  I'd be tempted to pop a little bit of parallel compression on them just to give a touch more punch & see how it sounds, but then it might be too much.

 

I think all the instruments in your track sound like great quality instruments & having a good sounding instrument to start with makes the rest of the production a whole lot easier.

 

I think my issue is that I'm not happy with my initial sound from any of my instruments, so I try & fix it with different plug ins.  The only way to change the instrument sounds to something I like, is to buy better quality instruments.  My Sterling Sub Ray5 doesn't sound anything like the quality of the MM Bongo I tried, but I can't afford anything better just now & I find most of NI Komplete's sounds aren't production ready either.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, xgsjx said:

The drums on your track sound fantastic.  I'd be tempted to pop a little bit of parallel compression on them just to give a touch more punch & see how it sounds, but then it might be too much.

 

I think all the instruments in your track sound like great quality instruments & having a good sounding instrument to start with makes the rest of the production a whole lot easier.

 

I think my issue is that I'm not happy with my initial sound from any of my instruments, so I try & fix it with different plug ins.  The only way to change the instrument sounds to something I like, is to buy better quality instruments.  My Sterling Sub Ray5 doesn't sound anything like the quality of the MM Bongo I tried, but I can't afford anything better just now & I find most of NI Komplete's sounds aren't production ready either.

 

MT Powerdrums - Free if you don't mind having to restart the track every time you re-open it, or for a small donation you can make that go away, which I did after a few weeks messing about. I heard them on someone else's track a few months ago and I was impressed. I have no idea what parallel compression is, or what it does. It's going on my list, thanks!

 

My guitar is a cheapy, but I like its sound. My stepfather gave it to me a few years ago after owning it since the 80's (and never once to my knowledge playing it). It does have something though. We did an album last year, and lacking a guitarist, I copped for doing it... lots of YouTube study in a short time. Faced with the rack of quality guitars at the studio, I still did 95% with the old Westbury, just a sprinkling of Strat here and there.

 

I'm still not sure about the sound of the EUB. Got a bloody great mute on it, and I think it's closer to an upright than a fretless now. I think we both know the only way to get the sound I want... It's not going to be cheap, it's going to take a lot of space, be a pain to transport, and I don't think I can make it happen right now. I can't stop playing the damn thing though, and I'm seriously considering trying to do our usual rock stuff with it.

 

If I can learn what I need, I don't mind buying a few plugins. I just need to dedicate some time to research.

 

 

Edited by NickD
Caught by the Fuzz!!!
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3 hours ago, NickD said:

There's no comparison for me, in terms of production.... and you've just demonstrated why that is.... I don't do anything like that.

I'm glad it's not just me that doesn't understand what to do once I've actually recorded the instruments.  Like you I end up using the mixing desk to set levels and possibly panning tracks a little but any EQ and compression tends to be on the individual tracks.  I know things could sound better if I knew what to do - I did a Soundcloud auto master on one track and was astonished at the improvement.

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14 minutes ago, Nicko said:

I'm glad it's not just me that doesn't understand what to do once I've actually recorded the instruments.  Like you I end up using the mixing desk to set levels and possibly panning tracks a little but any EQ and compression tends to be on the individual tracks.  I know things could sound better if I knew what to do - I did a Soundcloud auto master on one track and was astonished at the improvement.

 

Nope, you're not alone!

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14 hours ago, NickD said:

 

Nope, you're not alone!

I’m in the same club 😂

 

however, 1 thing I have sussed,  is that to get a decent sound coming out of the DAW , you have to put a good sound in to it .

Not necessarily the quality of the instrument , though I’m sure that is important , but playing technique is the thing, if it’s played well chances are it will sound ok.

voice quality on vocals for instance, record a nice sounding voice , a touch of compression and reverb , set the level and that’s it .....

 

 

 

just like my voice 😁😁

 

I’m never going to get to the production standard I originally aimed at, but just try to get more competent at getting a better played recording , though that involves too much cut and paste at times 🤦‍♂️

 

 

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1 hour ago, lurksalot said:

voice quality on vocals for instance, record a nice sounding voice , a touch of compression and reverb , set the level and that’s it .....

EQ on the vocals is a big thing for me and I sweep across the frequency range until I find something that highlights the best of my voice (rather takes the worst of my voice out) but as you say GIGO is fundamental.

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One thing I can't do is sing.  I sound awful & can't hear the notes.

 

But I have worked with a few different singers & found the vocal chain (that's what effects to use) can vary.

 

For the Mrs (she sang the December 2021 BC comp, if you want a listen), The effects used in order were D16 Frontier ( a free self adapting limiter), Native Instruments Solid Dynamics (a compressor), an EQ with a slight boost at 250hz & a slight cut at about 800hz, & then quite a cut at the 5.6khz up (the mic picked up too much treble), a de-esser & then Isotope Ozone 9 Elements (using a slightly tweaked version of the Pop Vocal preset).  I then have 3 effects sends, Bus 1 is to a settee delay on 1/8 notes & blended in very slightly (-19 db), Bus 2 is to a chorus (Arturia Juno 60) & again blended in very slightly (-19db) & Bus 3 is to a reverb (NI Raum, using Vocal Hall preset) & blended in about 35%.

 

I then doubled her vocal for the backing vocals, panning one hard left & the other hard right, lowering the volumes & then sent them to the one buss using the same signal chain (but with some slight tweaks to soften them a bit).

 

Another tip is to use a sample delay on the vocal & delay one side very slightly.  This will help make the vocal thicken up.

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Posted (edited)

For what it's worth (that's to say : very little...), my 'Tip Of The Week' is simply 'Less Is More'. A convenient point of view for me, as it happens, as I have Official Cloth Ears (when I say 'cloth', think several layers of thick blanket under a duvet, not cheese-cloth...). I can't hear 1 db, and 'slight', to me, means 3db at least. I have tried 'tweaking' stuff, but for many years now have taken to using almost none of the bells and whistles which my PC has at its disposal. I use Reaper for DAW; the Cockos compressions supplied are always 'on', with a NY drum bus for any drums I'm using ('live', programmed or samples; whatever...) and a NY Glue on the Main (Output...) track. There may be occasions where Fx are used, as Fx, using my 'broad brush' technique, and I have on a few occasions resorted to mastering stuff such as Ozone presets or the like, but nothing I've ever found or used has made any of my sow's ears into silk purses. I listen, many times, during my composition phases, and judge, for better or worse, the results by this simple expedience. Of course, this can be realised by listening to my Challenge output, where the inate qualities of my music are marred by my inability to better the Production, which is why I garner so few votes, mostly. Those efforts that have won, on occasion, have, however, no better treatment than any other. My conclusion is, then : if it's to be voted on, the Production matters far, far less than the Composition itself (gauged against the Composition of the other entries...). As best as possible, then, but no need to overthink anything. Less is often More, and no-one will hear or notice that subtle 1db in the upper mids (least of all me...).
Just my tuppence-worth. B|

Edited by Dad3353
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Posted (edited)

Here is my contribution to the May 2022 Basschat Composition Challenge, inspired by a picture chosen by the previous (joint...) winner: NickD.
I started off with a blank sheet and doodled some chord sequences; this was the result. My apologies, any link to the picture is un- (or sub-...) concious and fortuit.
I finally settled on M-Drummer (two tracks...), a couple of string tracks, a bass, guitar and sax from BIAB and that's about all. Some tinkering with levels, my standard Cockos compressions, all in Reaper.
Thanks for listening, if you already have; if you're about to, enjoy.

 

 

Edited by Dad3353
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Here's my entry for the May comp.

In the picture I saw the light.... so theme of song is 'seeing the light'. Musically it is a nod to the various spiritually-tinged songs on the Velvet Underground's 3rd album.

 

Technical details: DAW: Studio One; Drums: Programmed piano-roll with a 'Led-Zep' kit, plus live shaker, tambourine and wooden-scrapey -thing; Bass: Vantage Avenger; Guitars: Squire Tele and Vox Standard 25; Keys: Studio one piano and organ; Vocals via Behringer condenser mic.

 

Lyrics in spoiler:

Spoiler

Lyrics as follows, plus the refrain "when we see the light" :

We will walk the righteous road
We will touch the mother lode
we will stand out from the crowd
We will speak our thoughts out loud
We'll spread the word 
you will have heard

 

Stay awake all night long
hear the birds sing their song
curtains cracked by morning rays
this is how we'll spend our days
I'll be with you 
We're born anew

 

It's the dawn of a new age
turn over a new page
our sins are in the the past 
good times are here at last
We'll start again
there's no more pain

 

 

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I'm afraid my contribution has vocalisations...

The picture reminded me of the Moody Blues' Malapropic misquote of Milton, which further reminded me of a schoolmate who swore his dad had just bought a new Austin Fandango. Hence a song about cars ending in "O", which obviously meant a weird jazzy ambient bit sandwiched between 2 slabs of Funky Cockney and Groovy Scouse...

 

 

And for those interested, tis all recorded in Ableton. It started as a first-and-only-take bass noodle to click track, with guitar noodles (Strat, btw), funky and otherwise added after as were the drums (mix of EZ Jabo Sparks, Addictive and programmed vis Impulse keys pads). Guitar has some Bias Amp, Bass has a touch of Objeq Chorus. Vox double tracked, smeared in Raum reverb and Vocal Splitter with 25ms delay between them. Everything had a light sheen of Ozone 9 Greg Colibri mastering preset, and all slightly saturated using Devastor...

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This is my entry based on the picture chosen by last months winners NickD and DoctorJ

 

This track probably needs a lot more doing with it, but ...

a) as mentioned above , I've got used to it and

b) my old jalopy of a PC was able to handle this to this point ,

 

this is obviously as nature intended it ,  a tale of unrequited love with tunnel references :D

 

 

Technical , Ez drummer with lots of played midi additions, bass and guitars through waves GTR3 FX, vocals messed with CLA vocals , and a splash of ozone 8 to wash it over.

I think it works better louder than Soundcloud wants to play it, but that might just be the way my stuff is set up.

 

Lyrics

Spoiler

Ive been seeing my baby for a couple weeks

but she’s still being cold with me

she’d been going steady with a Jesus freak

who watched god channels on TV

 

I didn’t want to rush it but thought it bout time

To go down the tunnel of love

A bit of hesitation but all was going fine

When the blinding light shone from above

 

I tried a little cuddle and some candy floss

She gave me a stare like she couldn’t give a toss

 

She said

don’t get me wrong , I’ll make this crystal clear

beam me up scotty get me the hell out of here

I knew it all along and Im gonna disappear,

 beam me up scotty, get me the hell out of here

 

I guess I pushed to early and a little bit hard

So I tried to say it better with flowers

I went around feeling a little bit scarred

But I was standing outside there for hours

I heard A little voice from  inside my head

Are you waiting for the girl of your dreams

But I realised I wouldn’t get as far as her bed

Cos she had ripped me apart at the seams

 

Id even brushed my teeth and had even tried to floss

When she shouted down at me that she couldn’t give a toss

 

She said

don’t get me wrong, you could get down on your knees

But Id rather get my loving using batteries

I fear for my well being and I don’t want STD’s

I’d rather join the faithful, and sign up for ministry

 

So now I knew Id blown it and I had no way back

She'd only gone and left me in the lurch

At least ive learnt myself a new life hack

I really should have spent more time in church

 

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Please, let me explain !

I had a  somewhat grandiose idea. First I would find a numerical value for the colours of the spectrum, (yeah right). Then, I would convert those numerical values into musical notes that would base themselves around my given value of middle C. 

I would then play the colours in the picture as notes. Well let me tell you, I ended so far up myself that it got painfull !!! 

 

Lpk25 keyboard used to play Spitfire BBC Orchestra, Kontakt sounds and incidentals. Mustang bass and squire guitar, both with amplitude. Ez drums and Mt drums do their bit and t'is all scrambled together in Reaper.

 

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