Compo Status :: Round 89 Voting :: Ended 2015-01-29 00:00:00 *CST () :: 7 Votes

Looking back by juolac

Round 42
Author juolac
Title Looking back
MP3 Link
Module Link
Filesize KB
Score 5, 4, 4, 4, 2, 2, 1Total Points: 22 (7 Votes)
1st Place Vote5 Points2nd Place Vote4 Points3rd Place Vote3 Points4th Place Vote2 Points5th Place Vote1 point

Authors' Notes


A little tune about nostalgia, lost love and lost times..
This project was some therapy against the boredom that comes to me every autumn..
Some computer nostalgia in the instrumental part too :)

At 3:30 am and a few hours til deadline... I must submit.

Hope someone likes it.



Comment by tenfour on 2009-09-28 11:57:15

Cool tune - nice momentum, not too long, nothing overdone really. Strong intro. I really love the drums. SID voicings are really well done; captures the best qualities of that sample and of the style. Vocals sound weak. After the SID solo, I wish the vocals had the same shimmer, but they sound a bit dull in contrast; maybe it could just use more dynamic contrast. I feel like the instruments are going somewhere but the vocal track doesn't follow, dynamic-wise. Kudos for the bonus at the end :)

Comment by Knetter on 2009-09-28 15:22:50

Beat a bit 'squarish'. The vocal blends nicely with the chords in the first part, but looses it a bit in the second part (where it goes higher).
Like the different parts of the tune following up each other.
haha do I hear playCold ;) ?

Comment by sim on 2009-09-30 15:30:46

First impression: Is this organic I/o singing?

I am not able to comment on the mix of tracks (especially if there are vocals in it) since I do not have clue how to do it. As a " normal listener" I thought the vocal track too loud(?) and I would have liked to hear a female voice instead.

What else? The melodies of the SID/LEAD track(Pattern 8) are just awesome. Tried to replace rhe sdc samples by some piano/ePiano samples and the result (just my point of view) was even better...

Maybe my favourite track in this competition.

Comment by juolac on 2009-09-30 19:22:52

First: Thanks for commenting! Always fun to see that what's a flaw to someone is a strength to another judge :)
Music is as always a question of taste.

The drums;
could have gained some from putting in more fillings and breaks and yes, if I have had more time I might have done that.
But I still think the overall feeling fills its purpose.

Its my own voice;
taking it at the limits of my ability (and I know it's very limited so to speak :)
@sim: It's as female I can manage to sound ;)
Mixing voice is indeed a tricky part. Some might think it's too loud while some think its to weak.
(headphones vs hifi equip vs car stereo greatly changes the listening experince)

Must say that the 'Syba' sample was very versatile! we all used it differently yet suitable :) To me it was baseline and 'SID-arpeggio-base'

Since the deadline I thought more about lyrics and have worked on it.
(Poethic and a bit thoughful, for being a person with limited english vocabulary anyway)
Now it feels like a complete song and I will also try to sing it with more powerful voice and re-take those weak parts ;)

*** Lyrics(at my comfortable pitch):
Leaves are falling through the sky, will it sleep or will it die?
When summer turns september, who can blame for looking back?

Now we have to choose our way, it's getting darker ev'ry day
And we're starting to remember, who can blame for looking back?

** Piano break

*** Lyrics(at my comfortable pitch)
Things have changed since I met you, we have another point of view.
Is it possible to mend, Or is it bound to be the end?

People tell us: Don't look back, keep the pace upon your track.
But, should we never break the chain, to improve and start again?

** SID Solo

*** Refrain:(higher pitched)
You tell me those where the days, t'was so good in so many ways
Who can blame for looking back, When we're off the beaten track?

People sometimes say it straight, we live the life that we create,
we have the right to change of heart, so make yourself a brand new start.

Soft break/another instrument solo

*** Finale(at my comfortable pitch):
Wind is blowing in my hair, I'm breathing in the autumn air.
Still, it comes yet to my mind; Was a future there to find?

So who can blame for looking back?
Who can blame for looking back?

Comment by Airmann on 2009-10-03 15:01:19

Hey Joachim,

wow this is really a nice one !
It seems that I'm really compatible to your melodies and style, means I'd say I'm kinda fan of yours.

I like:
- the still positive atmoshpere even if it's an "leaves fall" song
- like your singing and the vox. Level seems to be just ok.
- The "good ol times" SID bridge/C Part is very nice. Transition in Pattern 10/11 I like most.
- bassline and drum programming very nice: general rythm, bongos and snares.
- chord and adlib programming.
BTW: Did you use the Coldplay rythm structure as template ? BTW: Coldplay bow nuss llick sounds very authentic !
- good arrangement not -too long. Changes steadily and keeps interest up
- I really like the Melody but it sounds familiar (as I've heard somewhere else before but maybe it's just the chord progression )
- Track Level seems balanced in mix

I don't like:
- Master Level in mix (at least in XRNS) much much too loud (10 db ?). It clips like hell. Maximizer ?
- You didn't use panning. Pan strings and atmos out of center (in pre mixer). Much better IMO
- Less reverb is more in most of the cases. You do grouping (what is good), but the reverb is pretty intense and
you send pretty much. I think it's a bit too much
- "you tell me those were the days" vox is a bit out of tune.

I think this song is one of the most complete in this round. Most things are really well done.
With a more sophisticated mix it would be even a bit better.

It's so far my #1. Maybe I manage to try to remix it a bit.

Cheers :-)

Comment by Necto_Ulin on 2009-10-04 22:45:00

Hi, joulac.

I becomes preconceived when I hear songs with self-made vocal line. I mean everything sounds better, cuter and completed for me. So You definitely pull the right strings :) I have listen Your track in rendered form (I had no chance to open Renoice project) so I couldn't say a word about processing and mixing but I could estimate it over the result I hear and I think You well done. Nice lead since 01:45 and such lovely chip-tune chords with old and kind arpeggio effect. Nice tune and good work, joulac.

Comment by Airmann on 2009-10-06 09:29:25

Hey Juolac: I'll try to have a closer look and try to remix it during the next days. Then you can have a look at the XRNS and compare it to your original version.

Regarding theory of panning as fas as I know of:

First, panning is pretty underestimated by a lot of people, but it is one of the most important aspects in a stereo mix. Means: has a huge effect by little amount of work. The goal is to distribute instruments/sounds which occupy the same frequency ranges to the left/right so that they don't overlay each other any longer.
That's especially effective for legato-played instruments like strings/flute, but also suitable for e.g. Hihats of a drumkit. The effect is a more transparent mix (like Necto's in this round). Some people don't do panning and use stereo-widening DSP's like stereoX instead. This is generally not bad, but tends to sound more thin.
I'd do panning for stereo seperation and if this isn't enough add stereo-widening later on.

So how shall the instruments be distributed ? Answer:

- First as a rule of thumb: everything that is not a lead instrument or lead vocal, bass, kickdrum, snare: out of the center !

- find out which instruments overlay each other with e.g. a spectrum analyzer or spectrogram. E.g. flute and strings. Make notes about their frequency bands

- Now distribute/seperate them to the left and right

- the deeper the frequency band the more to the center, the higher the frequency band more to the side. According to the principle that deep instruments like bass+kick always should be placed in the center. E.g. a deep string could be centered to 15L.

- but never so far to the side that a certain instrument sounds isolated. It shall still sound in unity together with the other instruments

- absolute hard pannings to 50L/50R are ok, but never forget the unity

- generally you have to find out panning amounts by yourself. Means: find out what sounds good, isolated and unified. I think using monitors is better for doing stereo mixes than headphones, because of better stereo location. But there are some open headphones on the market which have a very good stereo and room representation (e.g. AKG 701)

- About the unity of a drumkit: In my mixing book it is suggested to pan the elements of a drumkit like a real drumkit on stage is built up from the listeners view. Means: Open/Closed Highhats slightly to the right e.g. 10-15R (on stage on the left). Bongos slightly to the left 10-20L (on stage on the right). Kick+Snare always into the center, because they give the basic rythm.

- But it also depends on what kind of music you're making and what kind of equipment is used to play your music:
e.g. I had a conversation with Keith303 about the panning topic and he stated that for club mixes the mix has better to be more mono than stereo, because of the placement of the loudspeakers in a club. For the CD or MP3 player version a good stereo mix is of course essential. I haven't done any club mix so far, so if that's your goal my suggestions are sub-optimal.

- Last but not least it may be important that your stereo-mix is also mono-compatible. This is the case when your song is also played over mono-equipment like a kitchen mono Radio or older mono TV. You always can check if your stereo mix sounds good in mono by inserting a mono-switch in master channel (e.g. stereoX) or free plugins like Flux Stereotool (very good!), or a gainer like FreeG Mono. Problematic for mono mixes are phase problems: means stereo sounds with opposite phase kill each other and the result in mono downmix is silence ! In analog music the source of the problems is often microphone positioning and in electronic music the excessive usage of flanger/chorus/phaser and so on. To measure mono-compatiblity you can use a phase correlation meter. I personally use the NuGen Audio Visualizer suite for all of my mixing purposes.

- BTW: 5.1 / 7.1 sound must be mixed stero-compatible like stereo-sound must be mixed mono-compatible !

- I recommend you to read the following book about the topic (this is were I have my panning knowledge from):

This book shall be very deep and professional, too:

And when you think that after reading the books you have it now - I'd say it's not . It's just the basics and you have to practice to really improve your skills.
After reading the first mentioned book it was like standing before a practical wall. I knew the theory, but was this EQ setting ok, this reverb not too much and so on.
That's why I'm doing remixing of other songs from time to time. I think practicing is most important but the theory helps a lot and gives some kind of fundament.

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