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About M57

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  1. What is "Music" to you?

    I'm in with a qualified NOPE. I'm definitely in the "music is organized sound" camp. And that includes Mr. Cage's 4':33", which challenges the definition (more on that later). However, I also believe that music is a decidedly human construct. Until we can conclusively prove that birds "sing" and are not simply communicating, what's to distinguish bird song from a human conversation? Now if you want to argue that human conversation is organized sound, and therefore music, then all bets are off. But that argument exposes a slippery slope, doesn't it? For that reason, "organized sound" is much too broad a descriptor for me, and so I must argue that the definition of music needs to be quite a bit narrower. Music is sound organized for sound's sake. Let me give examples.. Consider the clickety-clack of the train as it passes by on rails. Music? No! - But discover it and record it, or transcribe its rhythms and you begin to draw it into the realm of music. Same applies to bird "song" (a misnomer if ever there was one in my opinion). Does simply recording birds making bird noises make it music? Well, the more you organize it for sound's sake, the more it becomes music. We need to ask how much conscious editing was involved? You wouldn't go out in the field with a recorder in the middle of the night to record them, would you? My point: There's a degree of intentionality involved in simply recording sound, but we're looking at the fringes of the definition to be sure. If Mr. Cage decided to deliberately record the sound of sleeping birds, or even better, anesthetized some birds and put them on the stage so we could listen to them sleeping in concert, what's to say that isn't music? He's simply editing with drugs. On the other hand, Mr. Cage is challenging our definition with something I consider to be much more in the realm of Performance Art. Of course, from there we get into drawing the much more subjective distinction between music and music-AL. Would you go to see a performance of 4'33" to see it or hear it? Mind you, you can play it on your own piano at home with as much technical proficiency as a concert pianist.
  2. Very Nice. When I first read the lyric I thought that the facetiousness of the 'smile for everyone' line seemed was somehow lacking, but as soon as I heard the music - I heard shades of Eagles (like New Kid in Town) and I knew it would work. I have one nit and two suggestions. My nit: the emphasis on the word "pretend" is backwards.. It's pretend, not pretend. I only bring it up because you are consistent with the "rules" of scansion everywhere else. My suggestions: I think this would really groove nicely if you bumped it up a good 4+ BPM. (Listen to New Kid in Town - I didn't but I bet it's faster). I found the mix a bit too thickly slathered with verb sauce but that's just my taste. In fact, if you could bump it up a few BPM, I'll bet you would find that you could pull out the reverb because you don't need to fill in the air with as much sound. All in all, well-performed and well-produced, a strong good tune, hook and write. Congrats. -Mark
  3. I'm not much of a connoisseur of the genre, but I think this is is a killer country tune. Maybe you could work in a couple of BVs with Oos and Ahhs, but really this one is ready to go. The lyric is the star here for sure. Don't know what your intention is, but if I was inclined, I'd be peddln' this one. I can imagine there are artists out there who could take this and "make it their own."
  4. So I was digging into the effects I had on the 2-buss (and piano) and one was the Slate Virtual Tape Machine. Going into the settings, I had the Hiss Automute ON, which I assumed should be adequately taking care of things, but then I noticed there's also a Noise Reduction setting, which was only at about -25db. So I dialed it back until the hiss just about disappeared, but purposely left some. Hiss is part of the tape thing, and I like it. Let me know if I got rid of enough such that it doesn't bother you. Hey GB! Thanks for listening. Glad you enjoyed.. It is a rather large snippet, isn't it? I do intend on a little more development, but not much. I'm kicking around how to tack on a piano solo and then a repeating reprise of the chasing the speed of light hook. I'd really like to keep the whole thing under 5 minutes. That said, following it up on the EP with something related (which is @HoboSage's idea) would be icing on the cake for sure.
  5. The Perfect Line

    I likey, but I would tell the story in a more conversational tense. Oooo kay I had to find something to say that's wasn't cliche Then choose the exact right time Until then, try again and again 'Till I crafted the perfect line V 1 No way to wait until it’s too late So I gathered up all my nerve to quick-design my perfect line Not a fastball but more of a curve There like a star shining at the bar Her face glowed in the dingy light I was peaking through from every view I coulda' sat there all night V 2 Now there I went but I didn't know She coulda been way out of my league But she owned my eyes so I had to try I couldn't just sit here with only intrigue Then came time for the perfect line She looked at me as I start to shrink I couldn't speak and start to freak She whispered may I buy you a drink V 3 I told her yes I like your dress She looked at me with big blue eyes My mind went numb; who's that dumb? Please oh God just let me die! She smiled again to let me in Then she reached over to touch my hand The perfect line fell outa my mind And it turned out better than I ever planned (Outro) Ya know I had the perfect line Set up there in front of my mind Where it had gone I’ll never know But now she’s with me wherever I go
  6. I'm not sure if you understand my point, but I don't think your effort was (entirely) wasted. I too cannot cannot listen un-critically. The wasted time and effort subsequently used to construct a helpful post with the idea that the recipient will use the information is what I'm talking about. Yes, it's often the work involved in constructing the criticism that goes to the core of my learning process as well. That's one reason why I post on the music of other much more than I post my own music. Like you, I listen critically it to all music, unsolicited or not, but not on paper or in written form. That takes additional energy and time. If I'm going to add physical work and extra time into the equation, I would just assume that I not be the only person benefitting. With that thought in mind I would point out that if I am writing about music for which no improvements are likely in the offing - any constructive criticism is somewhat by definition reduced to simple criticism ..and therin not only lies the "waste," but also the potential for bad feelings on all sides - especially if the poster is just looking for a pat on the back. If the policy is that folks can post music in any state as long as they want criticism, then so be it. I am simply asking what the policy is. I don't want to rock the boat. My intention is to use the site in a way that conforms to its policies. BTW, I just found the Self Promotion forum - for some reason, I didn't see it before.
  7. Fair enough - I'm simply trying to gauge the thoughts of the community on this. Personally, I don't want to spend my time and energy critically listening and commenting on things where I feel that my constructive input will be ignored. Granted, I can elect not to listen and comment, but truth be told, I don't even like spending time parsing through posts that don't meet my admittedly personal criteria. For instance, I don't want to listen to instrumentals (which are allowed). That's an even bigger time-suck because it can take a while before you figure out there are no lyrics. My work-around - I simply don't listen if the lyrics are not posted. But gauging the intent of a poster of a song with lyrics included requires a little more scrutiny - and time. Honestly, I feel I'm being taken advantage of when I click on blatantly promotional posts. On the other hand, I can see that it is not an entirely black and white issue. Of course the poster may very well want a detailed critique which would then inform future work. i get that - but I see in that logic a very slippery slope where the site simply becomes a dumping ground for promoting works. I'm new to this site, but given my experience with other similar sites I see it as a scaling issue. I would suggest that the site simply creates a separate forum for showcasing completed works (and perhaps for reviewing instrumentals as well). Posters can ask for critical comments there as well. Seriously, if it was done well, I might participate. On a related note, I have to admit I'm not a fan of seeing a member's SC spotlight in their signature - it just muddy's up the page. A showcase link for individual members (maybe with fee for certain features) comes to mind as a possible solution to all of the above. I know I would click on it. EDIT: The other solution that comes to mind is to have a separate forum for works in progress, and where constructive advice is solicited.
  8. You know, I've never figured that out - it's all done in the box so I don't see how it could be pre-amp noise. The piano is the only thing in the intro that creates real noise. It could be a gain-staging issue. When my mixes hit the naked 2-buss they sit in the -12db range and maybe peak at -6db but it's digital damn it. I should have tons of headroom.
  9. I just wanted to inquire about the policy regarding posting songs where it's pretty clear that the poster has no intention of making any changes to the work. I understand that a poster could be interested in how to better the song for performance purposes, as well as to gauge what works and doesn't work with the intention of using this information as they write new material. However, this line of reasoning can be seen as a slippery slope, inviting anyone who has recorded anything to post it for promotional purposes.
  10. The "Forces" could be the elctromagnetic, weak, etc. (I.e, the forces of grand unifying theory), and emptiness is a big part of it. Of course, if you're a conspiracy theorist, the forces could be something much closer to home, but I'm not even going there. Anyway, we're really good at figuring out how to get through walls. Really it's the size of the emptiness that guards us AND protects us from being visited by others - and better than any wall ever could. In my mind still, the vastness of space (not to mention the whole relative time thing) makes the prospect of interstellar travel seem close to ridiculous. Knowing what we have just discovered about the ubiquity of habitable planets. and given that our ability to look around will improve significantly, it be very telling if we don't find any signs of intelligent life out there vis-a-vis electromagnetic means or detection of things like chlorofluorocarbons or other pollutants etc. on exoplanets. Come to think of it, if advanced species out there that can travel - we've been showing our cards for about a hundred years. Forget trying to figure out how to get out there - more prudently we should getting the welcome wagon ready and hope that we're not just tasty morsels. Normally, I'm a vignette kind of guy, but this is such a cool idea!!
  11. @HoboSage Yeah - I've been thinking about the possibilities. There's something about having them both in the same place in the mix that's unsettling (in a good way) ..I kind of like the idea of the robo-guy being "part of" real-guy (They're mixed 50/50). If I add more vocals, all bets are off and I'll probably experiment with a lot of panning.
  12. @AndyLeF THANK YOU so much for your time and thoughts on this! They are incredibly helpful, at the very least because they expose and illuminate sections that can be easily be interpreted differently than I expected - which BTW is wonderful on the one hand, but also because you've offered some great suggestions. My goal with a lot of my lyrics is to ride those fuzzy waves and provides a rich enough a setting, yet enables listeners to create personal and unique versions of the narrative. So my 'personal' narrative is that the voice is that of a member of a smallish crew on a ship full of "frozen strands." The lifespan of one of these crew members is about a million hours (114 years). If I had them looking out of portholes, it would be more clear, but that just seemed ridiculous. This isn't Jules Verne's ship. So they get windows. I don't remember what "born to be forever" was about, Maybe a poor allusion to the idea that this crew member was born on the ship and lives his life carrying out the mission of keeping the species on their mission to forever.. "He's on the ship for what seems like forever??" I dunno - I forgot. I'm amenable to changing the line - but it does seem like reasonable poetry to me.. Do you have any other suggestions to replace it now that you have a bead on my narrative? "The promise of space" (not being cramped on a ship forever). The fact that space is a place does confuse things. Habitable land is of course the goal of the mission. I'm all for changing that line; I'm pretty sure I was never quite happy with it. "Infinite" isn't quite right, but it's the right idea and your instincts here are on the money. "The forces guarding us" is a loaded phrase. Call them God for lack of a better word. These forces keep all living beings in their places by placing a chasm of untraversable emptiness between the civilizations that sprout and die in the universe, keeping them from interacting and thus protecting (guarding) them. So the endless sea of silence makes the wall unnecessary. Besides, it's blasphemous to even try to cross it. For some reason I thought that would be clear. Dawn and dusk don't exist on the craft - and of course gravity will be artificial, so there's no natural tether - so the fact that you like the tether line intrigues me. you are envisioning it in a way I was not aware of? - at least not consciously. The tether of the destination maybe? "Pushing" the ark - yeah - a bit weird, but it sings OK. I wasn't sure what the method of propulsion was - photon sails maybe? "and does the universe even care" I think I like that better than what I have Again, THANKS for reminding me that even though I'm considering not adding any more verses, it doesn't mean that I should close the book on the lyric. If you have any additional thoughts or suggestions, I would very much appreciate it if you could toss them my way. -Mark
  13. 'P R O U D ' -BY- T H E I N T I M A T E S

    Sounds like you're promoting your music and not really looking for a working critique. Are you willing or able to make any changes to the mix or performances at this point?
  14. Mucho thanks for your input @TC Perkins Great feedback! I think I took care of the esses on the vocal - hopefully it's enough. I think sibilance and hiss doesn't bother me as much as it does most people so it's good to get feedback. Other than that, I'm tweaking some of the note choices and a doing a little extra volume automation in the harmony part. Someone on a different forum also suggested an instrumental, so you're not alone with that opinion - and seeing as I'm at a loss where building on the lyric is concerned, I'm seriously leaning on going in that direction. One thought I had would be to put the piano solo where the second verse is now - but the more I think of it, if I put it at the 3 minute mark and make it shortish I should be able to keep the whole thing from turning into a Frankenballad. I'm considering some additional vocal treatments, mostly natural but we'll see - and I'm thinking a fretless bass would sit nicely in this mix. One other thought: You mention the missing powerful section and I'm trying to think of ways to make that work - it could be tricky to execute. I haven't heard opinions from many people at this point and I'm sure most will try to discourage me, but if I was to bring a drummer/percussionist in on the track, who or what music would you recommend I ask them to "channel?"
  15. Hey TC, I think you have two great songs here ..Cut to the chase - The music is wonderful, but it doesn't necessarily service this lyric well for me, and the lyric is the lead in this one. The changes in the verses work for the most part - they have a bit of that modal minor-ish sound to them. But really, from there I'm feeling a disconnect musically. The melody, the way you sing it, the busy arrangement and especially the drums, are all more suited to a happy cruisin' down the highway kind of song - or perhaps a fond memory love song. The drums are just rockin' too hard for me. On the other hand, I wonder that you could make it work if you take the arrangement (and especially the drums/percussion) more in a Cold Play "Clocks" feel. Get rid of all those crashes, make the set smaller, even consider a cross stick on the snare in places and bring the high frequency density down on the whole mix in general. I would also suggest not singing out all the time, let your vulnerable side through, let your voice crack and fall off in places. Simplify and get things down closer to their essences. Generally speaking, I think your vocal performance needs to be more intimate and more dynamic with an emphasis on your softer side. Of course, all of the above is highly subjective, but those are that thoughts that would be going on in my head if I was producing this one, where I'd be tempted to talk you into saving the music for a different lyric if you're too attached to the arrangement. -Mark