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About RobAsh15

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    Don't abuse your muse...
  • Birthday 20/03/1962

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  • Interests
    Music, books, blockbuster movies, great steaks, golf, loving on my wife, loving on my three pugs, playing out with a band, football, fast cars, really big and dramatic thunder storms, alternative lifestyles, legalizing pot for both medicinal and recreational use...

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  • Lyricist, Composer or Both?
  • Musical Influences?
    clasical, blues, 70's and 80's hard rock and metal
  1. A night in Louisiana

    Blazas, For my money, the vocal is buried in the mix. Your singer friends sounds lie he;s laying down a killer vocal for this. Be nice to hear it clearly, above the music. Also, I'm thinking you could maybe cut the reverb by at least half and more than double the clarity of this mix. There's so much reverb on this that it's making mud out of what seem like killer performances. The guitar work, lead work, harmonica and vocal all kick ass. All that reverb is killing the tune. If you can play guitar like that, why did you limit your lead work to just the solo? In a typical blues tune of this type, the lead guitarist would be doing fills and licks all through the song. after the vocal, behind the vocal... there are a dozen opportunities in a song like this for licks and fills. The song is missing a LOT of flavor because those extra flourishes on lead aren't there. I like the tune. I agree the drums aren't really very impressive, but I think a lot of that has to do with the mix and the issue with the reverb. Clean up the mix and cut that reverb (by a mile) and the drums will peek up a ton. Level the vocal up, and let the basic tracks, EQ'd properly, do the heavy lifting work on this track, Blaz... you aren't helping things by layering on all those effects. Great tune, off to a great start. I hope you do another mix and post again. I'd love to hear this cleaned up.
  2. John, Your mixes are not all bad. My mixes are not all good. Like yourself, I am an amateur, and have much to learn. In the 70's reverb was much more widely used, and used to a far more aggressive degree, than it is now. That's what I meant by saying your mixes have a 70's type sound to me.
  3. I was actually referring more to the mix, than the style.
  4. David, you are such a sweet, gentle spirit...:-)
  5. Syrian civil war

    This is brilliant. Not much more to say.
  6. Insanity prevail

    Boy, were you right! The longer you listen the more this pulls you in. Congratulations on developing a sound that should be perceived as quite fresh. I hope it takes you as far as you want to go. Unlike others, I think the arrangement on this is fine up to the solo. The lyrics towards the end of the song are amazing. The ending sounds a bit contrived. I sure hope you put some more work into how to end this... otherwise, the song is really great. Despite the application of tremendous compression, the mix/master sounds very clear and rich. Great job. Great tune.
  7. John, I think the tune is a solid piece of work. I think the vocal is suited to the tune. I am not sure the mix is the best it can be. To me, there is too much reverb on the vocal. A lot too much. If it were me, I'd consider cutting the FX on the vocal by 70% at least. Dry the vocal up, and use EQ to separate it form the music bed. Just a suggestion. The music on this is very well performed. The mix on the music bed is perhaps a bit "hollow" sounding... but solid. All in all this has a real period sound to it, as if you were trying to make it sound like a song done in the early 70's. Not sure if that was your intent. Of course, this is only one man's opinion. Feel free to scan it and then can it. RA
  8. Hubris

    Hey bro... Just went and listened to this for the first time in nearly a year. Does what I hear there reflect you having done work to clean up the vocal? Because it's either that, or the song is easier to parse after a second or third listen. Just noticed the difference and wanted to mention it. Hey listen... my latest is a cover, so i don't really know if I can post it here. But I'd really appreciate it if you'd listen and leave a crit. You can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/rob-ash-15/veteran-of-the-psychic-wars-by-rnd-080916 Peace!
  9. Mix feedback?

    Gods below... this is the first time in at least two years I've posted a comment on The Muse. How much experience exactly do you have mixing? I am like you... not a pro or formally trained, but I've been recording and mixing now for about 8 years. Here's a link to my latest: https://soundcloud.c...s-by-rnd-080916 Like or dislike is not important. What you might care about is the layering of various components. At some points in my mix there are two vocal tracks, drums, bass, three keyboard parts, and three guitar tracks all playing at the same time. The song is the work of two people. Me and a guy who does all the guitar work. My stuff is often RAW, but his comes in with effects already added to the tracks. I can get him to minimize this, but in the case of this tune, he was aiming for a sound that was similar to the track we were covering, and he was right to assume he was better able to produce that matching tone. But that leaves me with the task of mixing tracks that are basically raw with tracks that have delay, reverb, compression and even phasing already added to the track. No matter what I do, there is a limit to how far I can push the tracks he sent me. I certainly did NOT want to add more FX to them. In fact, all that I felt comfortable with doing in the end was some light EQ to push them around in the mix. And, of course, the eventual general compression/gating/limiting I added to the master also affected those tracks as well. But you run into the problem of competing effects before you ever get that far. I needed to add delay and reverb to the vocals to get the sound you hear on the track. But you can't just say "that sounds good" and be done with it. What if the FX you choose for the vox conflict with the effects on the guitars? Phasing often becomes the big issue to worry about, but then again, it can also be your friend. Keep massaging until the phasing goes away and you know you've gotten it pretty close. The best advice I ever got about mixing was to force myself to do as complete a mix as possible without adding a single plug in effect, or reverb, delay, compression, gating, limiting, etc. Using only levels and EQ, try to make the mix sound as close to the final sound you want as you can get. With it being so easy to obtain literally thousands of plug ins which will allow you to massage a track or a mix almost any way you can think of or desire, people are getting lazy about using plain old EQ to get their mixes right. If you aren't getting 85-90% of what you need in a mix using JUST EQ, panning and levels, you probably aren't relying in EQ and levels enough to get the mix you want. I still struggle with mixes. So my advice is such that you should always keep in mind I am not a pro. But then again, most of what I am saying is general enough to apply regardless of the messenger. I thought the mix sounded good. Clean and clear. But, like others, I think the level on the synth and the guitar needs work. For me, it wasn't just a matter of them competing with each other, it was also a matter of subtlety. The guitar is loud. Just loud. All the time. Some of that has to do with you having produced it on a keyboard. If there is any way you can go back in and build a more natural ebb and flow of volume levels into that track, I think it would help a lot. Short of that, I'd use the recordable faders in my DAW, on the mixing board, to adjust the levels on the guitar as the track plays... so that it has some subtlety that matches the emotional context of the music as it plays. Once you have the sequence recorded exactly right, you are done, the faders will move, in time and exactly as you programmed them, every time you play back the track. Those changes will also, obviously, be mixed into the cake when you produce a composite master track. The same could be done to a lesser extent on the synth, but what it really needs is to fall off when the guitar is meant to be dominant. If you leave too many components up near the top of the range, volume wise, you make the listener work too hard to try to hear everything. It is hard to know what to comment on, because I don't know your skill level. I hope all of this isn't too general. If it is, please don't be offended, I am only trying to help. One last thing: you mention you rely on headphones to mix. That could be a problem. For most engineers I have talked to, the rule is: "record using cans, mix using monitors". Beyond that, most will tell you they actually go back and forth (as I do) between cans (headphones) and monitors. This is also the first, and often the best start to making sure your mix sounds good on multiple playback platforms. Hope this helps. I also hope you publish a more complete mix when you have pushed the mix a lot further, on a more complete composition. Cheers.
  10. Not much to say really. Sorry for that. This is brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed the listen. This seems fully realized to me. I read some of the other comments, and to me, they seem like stretches... trying hard to find something to say critically. Advice is great and all, and another mind might take a slightly different, or even a hugely different take on this, but the way you have done it up here is awesome. So, one again, sorry, but I just don't have a lot say about this other than IT ROCKS BALLS..... Color me a fan.
  11. Kingdom come

    The ones here that really kill me are the ones where the poster says something like: "We threw this together last night after a long party, so this is really just a rough first draft kind of a thing..." and then when you listen, the song is just ridiculously good. Kind of like this one, heh? I was really caught in the groove on this almost from jump street, so it's beyond me to pick nits on the lyrics and such. And as others have said, the mix is tight. You and your buddy both play very well. Your singing is... well, let's just say you vocals are totally listenable. You sing with tremendous "feel" and passion. I particularly liked the way you set the listener up in the first part of the song so they they might think you had limited range, only to have you kick it up, not once, but twice, later on. Nicely done, that was. A seriously groovy song. Reminded me of James Bond movie songs. Oh, and I am fairly sure I hate both you and your mate. Talented basterds. More, please! PS: I began to write this near the end of the song associated with this post. As I wrote, two more of your songs played on Soundcloud. I still reserve judgement on your partner, but I definitely hate you. .....Take no offense at this, brother. In my weird way, this is the highest compliment I can pay you.
  12. Jon, Brilliant music, bro. All the way around this one has major balls. The vocal works well too. The Ozzy bit really meshes with the music bed well. The lyrics are the weak link. Aside from the comments many have made that there is little or no differentiating between the pattern of the verse and the chorus, I also feel you focused far too much on the absolute application of the phrase "human remains" as used y you in the song as is. I kept hearing something like this: "Feeding your lust - seek pure material gain, eat your own heart 'til nothing human remains. Your soulless gaze reveals the ice in your veins, child of evil - nothing human remains." I guess what I hear is the use of the phrase "human remains" as more of a pure rock hook. You set it up that way, but then seem to get stuck on trying to use the words in a totally literal way. Dude, it's rock and roll! Bend the meaning, play with reality... do whatever you have to, want to, need to to make it work, but also to make it cool. As far as the verses and choruses sounding too similar, you could also simply switch from the low Ozzy thing you are doing during the verses to more of a Ronnie James Dio-esque, higher voice for the chorus. That way the higher register vocals create the difference instead of the lyrical pattern. Just a few thoughts and ideas, my friend. Whatever the case, the music for this is solid. Very cool and metal all the way. I sincerely hope you decide to work the lyrics and the vocal performance just as hard. The tune is most definitely worth it.
  13. Hubris

    The solo was played very well, bro. Performance wise I liked it. It's the tonal quality that is muted... again, just my opinion. If you dig it, leave it. That's the beauty of critiques. You take what you want and sh*t can the rest... I thought your voice underneath all the processing sounded like it could carry the tune. It might be scary for you to attempt, and believe me, I'd understand, but I would be very interested in hearing you redo this and leave the vocal clean. Maybe just a touch of reverb to fill in the background, but nothing else. My guess is if you did that, you'd find a lot of people here saying they like your voice just fine. Especially if you are trying to demo a song that you think might get bought by a real singer. Also, this site, along with another I am on called Songstuff.com are both awesome places to seek collaborations. This tune is a little too far removed from my usual playground for me to try, but I know there are a dozen really solid singers on this site that would do your tune justice. And I highly recommend you try Songstuff as well. Just in case your interested in that sort of thing. On last thought: the power guitars in the background are very cool. Just a suggestion, but I feel like you could bring them forward quite a bit in the mix. Good song, dude.
  14. Hubris

    Well, I'm mildly surprised. Not wildly surprised, but mildly surprised. I wasn't sure if you had the chops to back up the swagger, but you do. Okay, then. Let's get right to it. The first two stanzas of the melody at the very beginning are redundant. To me, the song could begin with the moog sounding lift that occurs at 0:20. Do a couple runs through the core melody, then get right to the first verse. I say this because this piece sounds like a pop radio (my heart is broken) love song. If you have any interest at all in achieving that kind of success, then you need to realize early on that modern radio formatting absolutely demands several things. Extremely short intros, with almost no exception, are one of them. If you get used to this, you will realize that skipping the urge to have a more relaxed into/segue to start leaves you with a lot of additional real estate for story telling, or other musical goodness. Another would be a run time of around 3:30, with a max of 4 minutes. But, at 4:01, with a few edits, you could make this with no problem. That's a pretty progression. It's also really simple and has been used previously quite a lot. That's not a song killer though, because the music really only provides a bed for the lyrics and the vocal delivery, which is the meat and potatoes of this tune. to preface my next comment, i want to say that I first listened to this song without reading the lyrics, the way I would hear it on the radio in my car. Then I read the lyrics, then I listened to the song again while reading the lyrics. It is not impossible to parse the lyrics, Prelapse, but there is no way a casual listener could do so hearing the song the first or second time. The problem is a combination of two things. The first is that the lyrics are verbose. Lots of words in each line, lots of lines. The second is a singing style that, while pleasant enough on the ears, does nothing to enhance the clarity of the lyrics. The story this song tells, and the smooth, easy flow of your vocal are the entire purpose of this song, Prelapse, so the idea that either of these components doesn't work perfectly is a song killer, in my opinion. I would have sung this several different ways until I found the one that allowed me to vocalize all those words with absolute clarity. Having accomplished that, I'd still be inclined to go back and do a ton of word craft on this song, and force myself to justify every single word, and every single phrase, before I leave it as verbose as it is now. Let me really, really clear here: as anyone who knows me here will testify to, I NEVER write a lengthy critique if I don;t think a song is worth the trouble. It's not that I don't want to help folks that are really just starting out... it's just that I think folks at that level need to concentrate on trying to effectively improve only one or maybe two small elements of their work, rather than have to deal with a comprehensive critique such as I am rendering here. I have to have respect for both the song and the artist before I take this kind of time and go to this much trouble to comment. So saying, I repeat what I said above; this song is wordy. Not so much that it requires a restructure, but enough that is affects how the listener is able to hear and understand the story. This is exacerbated by the use of a vocal style that, while very easy on the ears, does nothing to help the lyrics to be understood. I know that you are far from a one trick pony, Prelapse, so I feel confident that, if you chose, you could find alternate ways to sing this that would be just as pretty. It also seems clear that if you can write lyrics that are this good, you can also edit them to make the story easier to glean the meaning of. I do not mean to imply that you need to reinvent the wheel here. Only that this song seems an excellent candidate for precision word crafting, and that demands the perfect voice to pull off. I like your voice on this, but I think it is the wrong application for this tune. As I listen to this again, I am struck by the notion that this is a really nice tune. Easy on the ears, relaxing... I really hope you go back and work on it a bit more. This is a gem in the making. But I don't feel the mix supports the song the way it could at present. You choice to mix everything in favor a muted tones seems a bit excessive... a bit more crispness might be nice, to add a bit of spice. The muted tone on the lead guitar, for instance, really leaves me in a sleepy state... and unless you intend this tune to be a lullaby, that might not be a good thing. Beautiful playing, but not the best choice for tone, in my opinion. In the most general terms, this song lacks clarity and lift. The verbosity of the lyrics, the choice of vocal style, and the muted mix all add to an impression of drowsy incoherence that detracts form what could be a really wonderful little broken heart love song. The lack of lift, determined mostly by a mix which de-emphasizes the very instruments and performances that could supply lift, such as the lead guitar, that could provide the added spice and drama that would really make this song sparkle. A really nice tune, Prelapse. Some very creative work here, and a fantastic foundation. This just needs the last little bit of creative effort to make it really shine. Glad I listened. Hope you post more.
  15. Contagion - Near Final Mix

    No worries, brother man. Sh*t happens when you party naked. Welcome to The Muse.