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Old 12-01-2009, 01:02 PM   #1
Billov
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Default Billov's Bangin' Tunes - new 8-bit track

Okay, they're not bangin, they're just weird :P

Sauerkraut
This is an old one from 6 months ago which I already posted in the PK mixes thread (which is too far down the list to dig up). Hope its not too fagworthy posting it again, I just want to compile all my stuff here not that I have a lot of it... yet.
This was basically my first fully realized track made in Ableton Live. I haven't got much experience with mastering and getting all the levels right, intuition only gets me so far...

Soup Dragon
I finally managed to get back into the swing of things and got this track finished in a frenzy. The mastering really needs some lovin though, I don't know if its dense enough, or if certain parts should be padded out more. Or if I need some deeper bass parts to fill it out.
Any ideas? Some of you guys have experience with this stuff right?

I'll do my best to keep some tracks on the boil and update this as I finish them...
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Last edited by Billov : 02-10-2010 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:23 PM   #2
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Wow, nice stuff! I really liked the tracks. But this kinda music keeps me waiting for the beat to drop... but it doesn't! Maybe that's just a personal preference though, but especially with the first song, I think that if you just turn the drums a bit louder it'd be a banger ;D

The first song was really relaxed, I love it.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:57 PM   #3
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Thanks man, I guess its a little down to preference. I just don't want to do anything too clichιd. But I do want to throw in some surprises now and again, and I'll definitely try make a track that has a huge unexpected drop.

Btw, I haven't forgot about the exchange, I'm working on something right now... I'll try have two pics up tonight.
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:40 AM   #4
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i like sauerkraut, although i think it needs a solid melody. the percussions and effects in it is great, i just found myself making melodies in my head which never appeared. there needs to be something consistent, something comfortable, and something recognizable within the song... not saying that sauerkraut isn't all those things, it just feels a little convoluted at times.

the same thing goes for soup dragon

they're both good tunes, however there's no hook to recognise and recall after actually listening to either. you know when someone doesn't know the name of the song and they're trying to explain to someone else what the song is, they'll hum an excerpt? think of some harmonies or melodies that will work with your songs and try to get that. the best part is you don't need to sacrifice any part of your songs in order to come up with a good hook.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:15 AM   #5
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i'm pretty sure i already gave you feedback on the first one, back in the day, so i'll just stick to Soup Dragon here.

it's got an almost dubstep vibe (with the garage-ey drum programming, and all the delay) but mainly it's Boards of Canada influenced, i'd say.

i quite like the intro, but it needs a few tweaks. the FM type synth that comes in is a bit muddy in places, i'd say it needs to be shorter notes in the faster part of the motif (semiquavers, it sounds like? therefore shorten the notes to demi-semiquavers). you could be right about adding a bass sound to phatten it up in places, but i'd use it sparingly. perhaps just a few long, sustained sub-bass notes at certain points.

the copious use of delay and reverb on the track adds to the atmosphere, but i'd watch some of the delay times on the rhythmic parts, and the feedback levels there too, as it can sound a bt messy and out of control in places (which might be a good thing if used more sparingly). i'd also shorten the outro, as nothing really happens for most of it - nothing wrong with just fading a track out now and again.

pretty good overall, but needs tidying up.

kinda reminds me of the tunes i was making myself, about eight years ago, in fact. I'LL SEE YOU IN COURT, YA BASTART!
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:22 PM   #6
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McGarnacle: Thanks for listening. I agree somewhat about things sounding convoluted at times... That comes with my lack of patience and experience really.... Its very hard to draw the line when you have so many effects and controls at your disposal. I guess the best thing is just to dive in and experiment until my ears are bleeding.

But when you say you want a more recognizable hook/melody... I think thats down to your own music preference. Its part of the function of the music.
On one hand, pop music gives listeners a very recognizable melody (usually tied in with the lyrics)... ie something you can sing along to.
On the other hand, electronic/experimental/ambient music can often move away from the typical pop hooks and structures. Often the melody is hidden or overshadowed by the background instruments. In DnB for example, its usually the drums and bass that lead the music, obvious from the name :P Both of these instruments often swap rolls, bass can become very percussive and rhythmic, and drums can often give the impression of a melody.
My point is that with a lot of the electronic music I listen to... you can't hum the melody. Or the melody is something looped throughout the track, and gives more of an atmosphere to the track rather than a narrative. Melody isn't important when the track offers something else to the listener.

However, I do hold originality in high regards. And I've always wanted to create music that sounds unique. Thats instantly recognizable as my own, and no one elses... I'll probably never have the patience or vision to achieve that, but hey... I might as well try.

Aisuru: Yep, I'd say you're right about the boards of canada sound. I don't listen to dubstep, but I'm sure I've been influenced subconsciously by a million different things... thats how most things go.

I'm not sure if I hear ye right on the FM synth... is that the high distorted synth that comes in about halfway? I think I had an idea of putting a melody in with shorter/faster notes..... I'll try slapping it on and see what happens.

Bass is something I know nothing about. Even though I can play electric bass....
Whats worse is, I have no idea how to balance the bass levels etc... apparently its harder if you're using headphones. You need proper monitoring equipment. So I'll just wing it for the time being.


Right now I'm working on sticking a sample from the Clangers (the childrens show that inspired the name... and perhaps the atmosphere of the track) at the start of the track. Its basically some of Oliver Postgate's narration
Gonna try chopping some clanger's sound effects into the song too, maybe some soup dragon dialog!
I tried fixing some of the sloppy delay. I don't want it to sound too organized... but you're right, its pretty overkill atm.

Might upload the track in progress before I hit the sack...
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billov
I'm not sure if I hear ye right on the FM synth... is that the high distorted synth that comes in about halfway?
nej, the lead sound that comes in about 0:30. not sure if it is FM or not... sounds kinda ring-modulated actually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billov
I have no idea how to balance the bass levels etc... apparently its harder if you're using headphones. You need proper monitoring equipment. So I'll just wing it for the time being.
tell me about it! i've been mixing on headphones for years due to one reason or abother (blown amplifier being the worst). this is why test mixes are important. burn the demo track to a CD and play it on various systems - the HiFi in your front room, a boombox, car stereo... if it's club choons you're doing, make friends with somebody who works at a nightclub and see if they'll let you put on a track before the doors open, to see how it sounds on a club system.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:42 AM   #8
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Good advice sir! I should have something up tonight, I just want to try a few things first.
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:18 PM   #9
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Here we are so far...
http://soundcloud.com/billov/soup-dragon-clangers-mix

I hope the intro isn't too imposing. And I think theres something up with the rocket launch sample when the track kicks in. It didn't come out the way it should have...
But then again... I've listened to the track so many times, I don't know whats right or wrong.

Didn't change too much with the rest of the track, besides fixing tiny little subtleties with the delays and EQs... plus added that little sample at the end.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:46 AM   #10
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Man soundcloud is pissing me off....... had to fix a little slip-up and re-upload the track
So here it is again
http://soundcloud.com/billov/soupdragon
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:38 AM   #11
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to be honest, i think it works better without the samples. it does sound better overall now, so your other changes work.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:45 AM   #12
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I thought it was okay. Well anyway me likes.
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:54 PM   #13
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Howdy.
Just got around to recording in some acoustic guitar and vocals. Mostly so I can play around with them in ableton and maybe see what sounds come out :P
both are short demos... the second one is a cover

-Bleached Whale demo

-Marble House cover


here's the original and theres an alternate video linked on the soundcloud page. Both videos are actually pretty feckin cool.

EDIT: almost forgot to say thanks for the feedback thus far guys. With the Soup Dragon song, I'll leave it for now... but I feel I should change the whole structure of the song around... it just feels a bit too aimless or weirdly paced at least.
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:15 AM   #14
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Bleached Whale sounds quite late-60s... quite psychedelic... a little bit of Pink Floyd in there, a little bit of Love too, i reckon. a bit of Krautrock too - Can, perhaps a shade of Neu! as well. Blonde Redhead.

it's very short though, so difficult to crit properly. i would say that the cymbals need changed though. a different reverb on them would be a start, but i'd say change the sample. i'd go for a soft-beater ride, if you have such a thing. quite like the snare sound, though i'd soften up the other percussion. guitar sounds no bad.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:32 PM   #15
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Cool I'm surprised you made those connections actually. I wasn't really thinking 60's at all, but I guess everything is coming full circle these days.
You're probably right about some of those influences though, probably the early pink floyd and Can stuff... I only recently listened to a bit of Blonde Redhead.

Yeh I know its incredibly short, but its basically a draft I wanted to get recorded so I wouldn't forget it, its hard to keep track of musical ideas unless you record them.
I'd like to build onto it, and get some lyrics for it... but my computer has seriously switched to death-bed mode. Ableton keeps freezing up on me. Makes it really frustrating to get anything done, cause its so tempermental. Fingers crossed I'll be getting a new desktop/laptop soon.
Actually those drums I laid down are all from a Tr-909 vst. So their really oldschool samples, and just laid some reverb on them so they wouldn't sound like arse. I'll definitely replace the cymbals :d

Okey, here's something I've had brewing for a while (getting dusty more like)...

-Return to GoGo Castle

Its sorta chiptune, even though I can't stand listening to most purely chiptune music. I hope my attempt isn't too annoying >_>
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:42 AM   #16
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quite like it. there's a bit from about 0:22 where it suddenly starts to sound very much like a 90s platformer, and i'm not sure that works. it's like the tone of the record suddenly shifts from being an intelligent piece of music (quite Knife-like, in fact... 'knife-like', i like that. sounds like 'lifelike', but isn't. interesting. but anyroad) to becoming a bit of a pastiche. then, at about 0:30 it sounds like there's been a section cut out, and not stitched back together quite properly. at this point, it's a completely different track. it sounds a bit forced when it goes back to the first bit. the middle section wanders a bit, like there was no real direction planned for it. it sounds as though something was going to happen at about 1:30, but then it just wanders back to the first part again. like the first part, but it's a lot simpler, and it's like two different tracks stuck together and forced to cohabit in some kind of 8-bit sitcom. ('8-bit sitcom'... i like that as well. i might form yet another band and call it that... but then not do chiptune, as that would be too obvious.)

i think it'd work better if some of the parts were replaced with 'normal' synths, and if the middle part were expanded upon, and the arrangement was smoother.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:27 PM   #17
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Awesome critique sir.

Sorry i didn't get back to you earlier, wanted to have at least a bit of progress before I posted again.

Return to GoGo Castle WIP2

-worked a bit on the melodies in the middle section
-took out one or two of the patterns, and lengthened the ones I left in
-put a simple 303 bass line under it (some parts need rethinking, i had to lash it on without much listening cause my PC literally can't play the track if it heats up too much >_>
-gave it a intro section
-deepened the rim-snare sample

I think it feels a bit too dense for an 8-bit song, again I'm crap with judging the bass. So feedback would help..

I think giving it some different drum sounds for the middle section could be a good idea, just to make them stand out as a different transition.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:45 AM   #18
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i like the 303. bit too much reverb on the rimshot though, i think. the intro doesn't really flow well into the first melody part, and some of the melody parts don't really flow that well together either. i think, perhaps, it might work better if you used a different synth for the bridge parts, and just used the 8bit synth for the main hook melody parts.
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