Whole Album for FREE from Benedict
Yes I'm genuine. I am offering my latest album in it's entireity for users of Reason 2.5 (even those with the Demo).
Why? Because I want people to listen and hopefully like it. It's also a good way to show that Reason 2.5 is good enough on it's own.
Me: I've been composing with electronics for 16 years. I started with a Casio CZ-1000 and SQD-1 and some guitar pedals. Later came a Fostex X-26 4 track, Quadraverb +, Emax I and then II, Atari 1040ste w. Prodigy, Boss SE-70, a couple of Macs w. Vision & other hardware synths and bits and pieces. Now I'm totally Reason 2.5.
I wrote Ultravox style songs, then Edgy EBM Industrial, Doomy Metal, Instrumental Soundtrack that flirted with New Age and now this style that I have no idea what trendy (or not so) category it fits into.
Please give feedback as That's what makes it all worthwhile (seeing as I don't get paid).
Re: Whole Album for FREE from Benedict
Okay, this a long (and varied) piece of feedback, and I'm trying to remain as balanced as possible with regards to the tracks.
Search in Space
The opening pad works extrememly well in creating an atmosphere, but at loud volumes it can sound very harsh during the progression from one note to another. In fact, when you turn the track up at all loud it has a very harsh tone to it. I know the last piece of work I asked for feedback on this board was guilty of this too, and it was something I should have been more aware of, but I do feel the same appilies here. I think the fact that you are using an EQ that removes the high and low end and essentially places the emphasis on the mid range frequencies is the problem. Generally speaking, between 250-500hz is an area that wants less emphasis because it can be a real cause of muddy textures in low parts. Sections such 69-85 do not suffer this problem because there is relatively little low end work, but it is something to look out for. The track itself doesn't feel as subtle as I was hoping - I was expecting the same kind of long and considered approach hinted at in the opening, and at times this does return, but it's damaged by the EQ work.
Wheel of Stars
Again, it seems like there is an EQ problem here, but I will not say anymore about that. The actual sound design here is wonderful, in particular the opening space-noise offers an engaging timbre that captures interest instantly. I think it's a shame that some of the other aspects of the sound design let down the smooth atmospheric work, for example, that "piano" NN-XT feels uncomfortable and overbearing, and because the line lacks focus in reduces the power of the rest of the lines. Which is a shame, considering that there are some fantastic pads and brilliant textures here.
Before The Light
The opening atmospheric work is absolutely phenomenal, and I have to say that this is, in my humble opinion, a considerable improvement from the first two. Again I feel that the lead synth is out of place and not really needed, and the EQ work actually places specific emphasis on that 250-500 range, which simply gives it a really harsh sound. I would simply get rid of the lead synth alltogether - the atmospheric pads are more than capable of creating an amazing track on their own.
Adrift in outer in
This track I absolutely love. The opening synth work is divine, and the rhythm that you introduce is extremely well handled, offering a wide rhythm to guide the track through. The ring string patch can seem a little sparse though, and I'm not entirely sure whether it needs to be there or not. I think that something along those lines does need to be there, so perhaps softening the sound with a filter could offer a better balance? Regardless, the track is well worth a listen.
All of your tracks seem to be following a pattern now - wonderful opening, dissapointing synths, wonderful synths, weird mix. I'd say this has the best balance, in that I'm not picking up any of the harsh frequencies that I have in your other tracks, and the pad (once you get used to it a little better) does actually follow a very relaxing chord sequence, and reminds me a lot of Vangelis' work for the Bladerunner soundtrack (an album that I absolutely adore). Oh, and by the way, the vocal work on your track here is outstanding, I'd love to hear more of it throughout the track. It's used well as a piece of the music, rather than just an irritating sound effect.
The rhythm work here is absolutely fantastic again, offering a very dynamic synth texture, but I really am a lot less keen on the synth work. For me it simply does not have any subtlety and simply becomes overwhelming very quickly. I'd have a more gradual development here, and perhaps consider working to produce more sounds in line with that wonderful Nize sound. I must add that the brassor sound is hideous, and I'd get rid of it full stop.
Fly By Wire
That "vocalist" sub is not to my taste at all, but I really like the "Beepoid" synth - I'd consider getting rid of the vocalist, and simply cutting right into that Beepoid sound. The other parts of the backing synth work are okay for the most part, although a little weak at times - and really my mind is crying out for some kind of very rich and wide sub bass to create a much richer texture.
The Space Shuffle
This is a great track, and the panning work here on the rhythmical textures is a well devised opening. Again, I'd ditch the "piano" sound, but I would not alter much else, as you have a very relaxing and airy texture here that sounds both warm and spacy, and manages to create a great soundscape without losing interest.
Inter Stellar Tele
Again you have some fantastic drum programming here, and I really love the bizarre sounds that you have pushed out of Reason. Kind of reminds me of that Microtonic drum machine VST. I have to confess that I really wasn't keen on the Hoste sound, or Subtractor 1, but I can understand that the track would need to have something else working with it in order to create an engaging sound. Perhaps it is worth considering looking into the world of the Malstrom for some pads? I think the Sub is a very capable synth, but you really need to work with effects and automation to get the best results from it. Try taking a look at some of Taron's work to see what I mean ( http://www.propellerheads.se/songs/p...tedAlias=12867 ).
I think the opening sound is great, and I also really enjoy the synth work that comes in after it. Can't stand the "Stractor" sound, or the "Geetare" sound, but the rest of it is highly imaginative, and feels full of life.
See, if only your tracks as a whole were as good as your openings. I don't like the Evoka sound, but that Malstrom sound is awe-inspiring, really creates a very strong atmosphere that I don't feel the rest of the synth work lives up to.
Good opening? Yup.
Less than inspiring synth work following it? Yup.
Great rhythm work? Yup.
I will admit though, I do love that "Sting" sound, very rich synth work.
Tracks 13, 14 and 15 all make me want to say the same things - some nice atmospheric work in accouple, good rhythm work (in 13 in particular), and some synth work that I don't really find appealing.
I hope that doesn't seem to harsh, and that some of it helps. Thanks for sharing the music. :)
Re: Whole Album for FREE from Benedict
Wow, now that's feedback.
Thanks so much for the attention that you have given me and so quickly too.
I think that you have been very correct in many ways about the nice openings and then just losing the way. It's a problem that I have always had to some degree. Perhaps it comes from not really being a musician. Most lines are input with a mouse. I always wanted to be more the sound designer and producer like Jarre or Alan Parsons. Vangelis I love as you guessed.
The harsher sounds are in some part deliberate as I had felt that earlier work in Reason had got too smooth and samey. I wanted things to leap out a bit more and have some of that 70's & 80's rawness like Larry Fast or John Foxx/Ultravox. Maybe they did too much. I never intend my work to played at high volume so mixes are quite skewed towards low levels.
I have printed your comments and will take them home to do a track by track.
Thanks again. Will attemt to listen to some of your work.
Am I "Cheesy" or is it your point of view?
Okay, took your comments home wacked on the CD, turned the volume up a bit (I'm not a loud fan except when it comes to Judas Priest and Frankie Goes to Hollywood) and tried to listen to The New Space Album with your ears.
Interesting, it gave me back that sense of magic that is so hard to have with your own work. Thank you.
I did wonder what it is in my mixes that bugged you so much. Through my Wharfedales it sounded nice, same in my car. Perhaps I need to be MUCH louder.
Something else I noticed, and this is not new to me or specific to your feedback, the sounds/parts that you disliked most were the most melodic.
It seems to me that at some point in the early 90's melody became a rather dirty little secret. Melodic sounds and styles were called "cheesy" and hidden at the back of the collection.
Electronic music went off on such a tangent that it was much more about strange noises and either big or demented beats than expressing a feeling in sound using time honoured traditions. Clever became the order of the day. It seems that as soon as someone strings three notes together in an obvious way then they are discounted.
I'm proudly old school (and no I don't mean Grand Master Flash). I like Rod Stewart, Elton John and Robbie Williams along with my Yes, Tangerine Dream and Buggles records.
The New Space Album contains tracks that deliberately point to sounds, styles and techniques from the 70's and 80's. Blatty brasses and thin digital sounds were important progressions in our artform. Sould everything have to sound like what Aphex Twin did or can Rick Wakeman's work in the 80's still be of equal value?
I do thank you for your feedback and have taken it in. I'm NOT cross with you I just feel a bit like you missed the point a bit because you only saw me as you expected/wanted me to be - something we all do I know.
Dipped into a couple of your later pieces and liked the sounds on my computer speakers at work. Didn't have time to explore them as music.
Re: Am I "Cheesy" or is it your point of view?
I listened to your mixes on some different speakers (including my own car stereo) and there still seems to be this resonance somewhere that bugs me. Too hard for me to pinpoint exactly, so I apologise that I cannot be more specific.
As for melodies in electronic music, well, I have to disagree with you. Melodies didn't fade out or become cheesy just on their own. Boards of Canada make a lot of melodic music that really feels emotive and powerful, Unkle's Never Never Land was an album rich in varied melodies and harmonies (What Are You To Me? Is one of my favourite tracks from Unkle of all time). In my mind melodies themselves seem to me to still be around, but cheesy synths are less common.
There is *nothing* wrong with cheesy synths (I made a track recently specifically to have cheesy Beverly Hills Cop synths sprinkled over it), but in my mind cheesy and ambient don't go. When you compare the afformentioned cheesy synths of 80s pop with the amazing work of Brian Eno (a lot of which is a decade older for a start), the Brian Eno synths don't sound cheesy. In fact, I was listening to Ambient 4: On Land last night, and it never ceases to amaze me just how beyond his time Brian Eno was in terms of sound design and intelligent use of atmospheric sampling.
If you had mentioned that the synths you were using were deliberatly "old skool" then I would have looked at the tracks in a different light. The problem is that when you combine those old school ambient synths with some truly amazing contemporary sound design (which I believe you had in a lot of your opening atmospherics) I'm not sure whether it's all intentional. I have to apologise for a misunderstanding on my behalf.
One other thing - you listen to "Yes"? Fantastic! You're about the first person in a million that I've found also listens to Yes. I was listening to Relayer this morning, and loving every minute of it. It's a shame Prog Rock gave way to the lacking rock of modern times, they don't make albums like Camel's "The Snow Goose" any more eh?
Just abit of advice to everyone!
When making a track, the worse thing to do is use top of the range speakers. If you use crappy speakers & get it sounding perfect on them then the track will only sound better on quality speakers.
Any one care to disagree?
That doesn't make any sense...
Poor speakers colour the sounds that you are hearing, so therefore getting a perfect sound on poor speakers means that there's a good chance you are letting them colour your sound. As such, listening to them through different speakers will show up a lack of bass/too much bass, high end distortion etc...
Ideally mastering speakers should be used that do not colour the sound at all - I believe this is the only way to know for sure that your mix will as good as it can be on other setups.
I'm not referring to good quality hi-fi speakers (these are designed to make what you hear sound better, and so colour the sound a lot), but actual mastering speakers.
Trying to mix your tracks through poor speakers doesn't really make sense to me.
Sometimes no sense can make the best sense of all
Thats probally why my music doesn't make sense. The greatest thing about poor production is that sometimes it works, have you ever got a sound in your track that isn't really there. A sound that just appears from nowhere but sounds great. Must be some sort of feedback or something, lets take barbara Ann by the Beach Boys, they just recorded that as a mess around in the studio but they thought it sounded so great that they would just leave it as it was & release it. The production on that was poor but good.
So maybe the best way is to use both methods, theres somethings that technology won't change.
Anyone else care to share production tips or experience's.
Ahh, you're making more sense now.
Yes, good example, but there are still "buts".
Big one here; but doing that kind of on the spot recording has a hit and miss chance of giving successful results. To garuantee you know what you're hearing will sound good, you do need mastering speakers.
Or you need to know your speakers well, which is the only way for me to get a half decent sound from my own mixes, as my speakers aren't suited to mastering.
"Decent" is in the ear of the beholder....
...I tend to agree with kc on this one. If you record your music so that it sounds good to you on the crappiest of speakers, then it stands to reason that it'll still sound pretty good or better on great speakers.
Like in painting, if you get the values right, the colors take care of themselves...
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