Compo Status :: Round 85 Tracking :: Ending 2014-08-05 00:00:00 *CST () :: 2 Entries

Nine Pixels of Blood by tenfour

Round 46
Author tenfour
Title Nine Pixels of Blood
MP3 Link http://carl.ript.net/sdc/sdc46_tenfour-NinePixelsOfBlood.mp3
Module Link sdc46_tenfour-NinePixelsOfBlood.xrns
Filesize 5964KB
Score 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3Total Points: 47 (11 Votes)
1st Place Vote5 Points2nd Place Vote4 Points3rd Place Vote3 Points4th Place Vote2 Points5th Place Vote1 point

Authors' Notes

Comments

Comment by waterhead on 2010-02-03 07:33:33

Nice 80's styled tune, with good singing IMHO. Dunno why, but reminds me (positively) on the one or other Phil Collins song. Also like the echoed chip-like sound of your melody. Minimum issues with light cracks on starting/ending vocal samples (missed some fadein/fadeouts?) but a good tune in any case! And extra-points for the "fighting down the weaker self" and showing us your singing voice! Really good work! ^^

Edit: like the lyrics!

Comment by Knetter on 2010-02-03 08:06:31

Just listening through my built-in speaker at work. I like it A LOT! Good progression. Very pleasant voice. Can you post the lyrics?

Comment by Airmann on 2010-02-03 10:38:48

Vocals are excellently done, whole song is fantastic. Will inspect XRNS later

Comment by tenfour on 2010-02-03 15:02:06

This is my 2nd song with lyrics I've ever written, and the first one i've ever recorded my own voice on. So needless to say I was very timid to submit it, but yea I think it's best for us all to just put out what we have. Actually I am quite proud of this song because it was pretty new for me, and I think it sounds pretty nice. I spent a LOT of time on the tune, and almost no time on the lyrics; they just fell out of my pen one morning. Same with the melody. waterhead: yea i'm not surprised that it sounds like phil collins; i am a Genesis *maniac*, and I can't help but maybe display their influence.

Especially at sdcompo, there should never be any hesitation really in experimenting or branching out because the community seems to be so constructive about comments - nothing like you'd see from youtube or other communities...


lyrics:

tracing street light raining
textured stop sign spatter

laying still a stranger
on his wristwatch midnight
turn him over
(he's) thin as paper

smoking metal outline
framing chasing capture
locked up inmate
escaped too late

interlude

9 millimeter drawing
sketchy disaster waiting
frozen, silent
blank expressions

best intentions, famine
filling dinner, erased
maybe next page
inspiration

Comment by tenfour on 2010-02-03 19:16:19

Another quirk about this song is that everything is tuned to A=432, instead of A=440. Reason: there is somewhat of a conspiracy theory and a small community that assert that A=432 is more "in tune with nature", and also less communist, and opens up your heart chakra and who knows what else. Well, I'll let you make of it what you will, but I figured that whether I believe their claims or not, I'd go for it and see what happens.

Comment by tenfour on 2010-02-04 06:45:22

waterhead: where do you hear problems with the vocals? is it in the .xrns or in the .mp3?

Comment by Knetter on 2010-02-04 10:33:22

This is freaking awesome...[now listening over headphones].
I'm speechless....ENVY your incredible voice and lyrics. OK, if I'm reeeaaly critical: the thin chords sample loop can be a bit improved....

Solo contains nice modulations. Maybe ending is a bit "cheesy".
I like the background metallic woosh sound a lot.

A CLASSIC FTW!

Comment by juolac on 2010-02-04 11:46:48

Intro drums and feeling reminds me of SAGA's Scratching the surface, like that alot!
Very pleasant voice you have there! As Knetter stated. Envy! :)

@The A=432 post. :D May the spirits be with you and may you get closer to nirvana :)

Fuzzy FTW!

Comment by irrelevnt on 2010-02-05 04:02:16


Great work on the track.

I heard about that 'slightly adjusted' tuning too, but with an alternate middle c note.
I actually made a special tuning sample for it, which isn't on this drive, so i can't look it up...

forget the actual hertz, but it's probably in tune with the A in this song.

Comment by Marko on 2010-02-08 06:41:03

Airy song and good, clear singing voice.
At first listening I associated this track style with Miami Vice music by Phil Collins.

Comment by chunter on 2010-02-08 17:04:49

The tuning of 'A' has changed through the eras, there is no real secret to it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_%28musical_note%29

I do hear your influences very clearly in this song, and it is very well done. I have a sort of weakness for progressive rock and 80's music, so I liked this one right away. This actually reminds me of Tony Banks' solo albums ("Lion of Symmetry" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l7oGwM3yXI ) or 80's Marillion ("Chelsea Monday" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbr9F_asKeQ ) in its arrangement and terse lyric. Well done! (I apologize to anyone that can't watch the videos due to any sort of international blocking, I can never tell when they're doing that sort of thing...)

When I notice that I am making a tune that sounds like Prog, it is usually this kind of arrangement that I am emulating.

Your vocal is good, what I suggest next time you sing is to make sure your mouth is close to the microphone next time: please practice lining your mouth up so that the microphone does not hiss from your breathing or pop from letter "p" and "b" sounds. It takes some time but you'll like the result.

Also, please practice singing a double to your own voice. You won't always like the sound, but it's a good habit because when it works, it works extremely well, creating a thick vocal that is easy to hear over the mix of instruments. In the Svox channel you seem to have the right idea (roll off frequencies that have nothing to do with your voice, run result through strong compression) but the reverb on the other side, while it sounds nice, looks unorthodox. Instead of using a lot of gainers, you may be better served feeding your chain a louder signal (turn up the "instrument volume" on your sample) or use a soft-knee compressor after the reverb and use a lot of "make-up".

By the way, the signature Phil Collins vocal sound is through a Beyerdynamic mic (yes, a dynamic) through a rather strong compressor with a hint of delay that ducks while he is singing.

You achieved a great vocal sound regardless, so there's no need to be shy about singing. Good job!

Comment by Airmann on 2010-02-08 17:28:31

Agree about Phil Collins. I recognized him, too, without that the others mentioned it.

Inspected XRNS (listening with headphones):

really nice smooth overall mix, though it's a little little bit washy / intransparent - most probably of reverb in MST, I guess.

In general I really like your MST track. Funny: it looks almost identical to my MST track in Avatar0_5.

And since you used reverb and I used "mp2reverb" I digged into the topic and found out, that mp2reverb
is not very usefull for mastering purposes (small rooms and early reflections are better, mp2reverb was made for "late reflections").
But nonetheless I've the impression that the reverb makes the mix slightly washy. if you omit it you can hear the difference.
Maybe too wet ? Maybe the problem is that it's not high quality enough / metallic sounding ? Maybe it's because it reverbs lower freq like bass and kick, too ?
I'm not sure !

Moreover, I'd turn up the volume of the voice-total just a little bit. Maybe you could also decrease the width of the mp2reverb
in SVoxTotal would also center the vox a little bit more / make it more dominant ? I'm not sure, too !

The combination of 80synth bass and ac bass works very well. Like that smooth sound.

At all this is a fascinating 80-style song which I totally like. Thumbs up !

Question: what equipment did you use for recording and mixing ? I'm really interested.

Comment by Airmann on 2010-02-08 17:43:52

In addition to Chunter:

1. Chunter, interesting techinque to avoid hiss and pop sounds. I use a pop-shield, but it's of course better if there's nothing that pops and hisses (means optimize the source)

2. Regarding closeness to mic: if one sings too close into the mic one gets a colored sound (more bass-freq). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_effect_%28audio%29. This can sound nice, but you should be aware about what you're doing.

3. I've read in one of my books that the Phil Collin's voice was always double two times and tuned a few cents up and down. All three tracks were mixed down to create the typical Phil Collins' sound. I've the exact values if you're interested. Sounds similar to Chunter's "voice thickening" technique.

4. Stings' voice was also mostly recorded with a Shure dynamic Mic.

Comment by chunter on 2010-02-08 18:05:40

@airmann: Sting and Phil Collins used the same producer in the 80's.

Depending on your microphone, you actually -want- the proximity effect, but you're right, it takes practice to get it to sound just right or you end up with boomy popped 'p's.

Was also reminded of this song called Monochrome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyPN12AM8B0

Comment by tenfour on 2010-02-08 18:33:53

I used a cheap large diaphragm condenser mic I got from Thomann -> MP tube pre-amp -> 20 USB audio interface which doesn't even have a brand on it. I recorded directly into renoise.
For pop reduction, I used the following technique:
1) trial & error ("oops that sounded terrible, TAKE 36")
2) giving up ("oh whatever, i shouldn't spend so much effort on this")
3) technology (putting my winter cap over the mic. actually the first verse was sung without this cap over the mic, that's why i have a separate EQ for it.)

But the real restriction here was the fact that I am shy about my voice so I only sang when my roommates were gone. Turns out this is quite rare, so I had about 2 hours to record everything.

I actually did double my voice an octave higher in the last two verses. I edited it a lot to make it in tune with the original, and to remove all the consonants because my rhythms are all off. I tried a unison doubling too, but i threw it out because i couldn't get the rhythms to be in sync and well my roommate came home before i could get it right. :) The original reason i wanted to try this is to create a natural method of creating a stereo image for the vocal track. In the end the stereo effect to me is acceptable, but I like this idea of thickening the vocal track with that.

Well also I could probably learn some expression :P I played this for a friend and said the same thing, and she told me basically "well, the song isn't really ABOUT anything, so what exactly could you hope to express??" - point taken.

I put multiple gainers in different tracks, for at least two reasons:
1) i just tend to prefer to leave the recorded samples alone, and do all processing live, if possible
2) the different gainers serve different purposes in the xrns... the first one boosts the volume to a certain acceptable point, then another one which i turn on/off during the song when i want to automate the track vol. i do this to make automation simpler. changing the actual gain setting in a single gainer gets complicated for my mooshy brain.

The reverb .. well I am trying to create a more analog, washy, full mix. So for this tune, I started out looking for sounds with a nice wide analog spectrum, and something that isn't perfectly robotically precise. I even created pitch envelopes to waver the sounds a few cents just to create some natural phasing "noise". Back to the point.... I started out thinking i wanted to write a very analogue 80's synth pop tune, so I listened to a few and realized that extreme use of reverb is a common theme. Turns out, if i turn off the MST reverb, the song sounds more modern. So I messed with it until it helped smear the mix a bit to make it fuller, but without taking away from the clarity of the tune. I actually like it, but I should take a look at mp2reverb to see if it sounds better. It's true that I tend to throw in something without really knowing if it's the BEST tool for my specific goal. I just recently started making informed decisions between 4-pole / moog / butterworth filters.

The mic is an instrument and requires practice for sure. I will consider doing another vocal tune to use your suggestions. The comments are indeed the best part about sdcompo, and this is why.

Comment by Airmann on 2010-02-08 18:35:47

@Chunter: I'd say the usage of the proximity effect depends. If it fits to your voice and if you like the sound it's nice. Otherwise there's a reason for bass lowcut switches in mics. But thanks for reminding me to the effect itself. I'll do more experiments with my mic next time.

Comment by Airmann on 2010-02-08 19:05:52

Hey tenfour: if you did your MST dsp's just by experimenting, you were indeed really lucky. Almost everything (DSP components, dsp order, and parameters) is done as described in my mastering book.

Usage of a reverb in MST has IMO nothing to do with analogue 80ies vs. modern sound. It's just a standard component for the mastering stage. Moreover, washiness and analogue warmth are IMO also not the same. With washiness I meant: frequencies overlay each other and fight for dominance (masking principle). Not good in the 80ies and nowadays.

I'm usually very carefull with master reverb in SDCompo rounds, because for mastering purposes you should use the best HQ reverb you can get. You can easily ruin your song with a LQ reverb. But in your case it generally fits (with the mentioned side effects). In the end the overall outcome is the most important thing. Not rules from books. But it's always good to know what you're doing.

BTW1: I tried mp2reverb in MST during my XRNS inspection - didn't like it, makes it too distant. But you could try to move MST reverb into a send track and use a lowcut filter before / after reverb ?

BTW2: cool recording technology with the cap :-D !

regarding expression in lyrics: don't tell Knetter, he envies you for the lyrics ;->

Comment by tenfour on 2010-02-08 19:27:42

the real reason he envy's me is because we have better fries in belgium!

Oh and for those interested in the specifics of my recording gear, it's a Cabella's $2 knit hat, Maroon color.

Comment by Chotoro on 2010-02-08 19:33:54

Wonderful throughout!

The dist+chord at 3:33 is just so.

Comment by Airmann on 2010-02-11 15:22:21

Hey tenfour, I fear I've probably been a bit too nosy ... see Chotoro's Track

BTW: hey, since I've never been to Belgium - what's so special about the Belgian fries :-) ?

Comment by organic_io on 2011-04-12 14:42:27

Carl, I really like this one. I've been listening to it lately. Really nice melodies, progression, and atmosphere. It's just got "something special" about it :)

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