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View Full Version : Choke - 3 Songs - Ground Song / Sick and Dead / Spidervibe


kindafishy
09-22-2010, 10:08 AM
Last post for this band.

All songs for the EP that I've dubbed 'The Forty' are now posted on ReverbNation. There will be no more :(.

http://www.reverbnation.com/thechoke

The newly released songs are:

Ground Song - I like this one. It's like a radio friendly rock song to my ears. I always sang along with the vocalist during the chorus even though they wouldn't give me a microphone. The bulk of the music and lyrics were written in about an hour and the intro was filled in a few weeks later. Written in 1993.

Sick and Dead - We had studio time booked, but we were only playing covers at the time. We were trying to figure out what to record for fun and the other guitar player in the band was just strumming out this progression. The bass player started jamming with him and it sounded so cool. Nice bass line. The singer grabbed a psychology book out of his backpack and pulled some cool quotes out of it. Written in 1992.

Spidervibe - Product of the early 90's. There's some pretty cool stuff going on in here. I love listening to this one for some reason. Expecially the end. The end kind of makes you want to jolt your body like you are getting little electric shocks or something. I don't know. Just ignore me. This leans a little into our heavier side. There are a couple pretty infections grooves here too, I think. Written in 1993.

Any comments are most welcome. Hope someone enjoys a few listens.

As always, crank it up.

sammydix
09-23-2010, 06:27 PM
Are there any versions here I don't have? If so, let me know so I can download.

kindafishy
09-24-2010, 05:13 AM
These are the final versions you already have Sammy.

kindafishy
09-24-2010, 05:17 AM
The bass player wrote a bio that I've put up on reverbnation, if anyone is interested in reading a short blurb about this band. It was twice as long and much more entertaining than it is now, but it had to be slimmed down to fit in the bio area.

Here are some box.net links to these songs too:

Ground Song - http://www.box.net/shared/z890ct240s
Sick and Dead - http://www.box.net/shared/3va6ofzbuq
Spidervibe - http://www.box.net/shared/8ajhrxrruj

kindafishy
09-25-2010, 09:36 AM
Gimme some sugar baby.

Lots of people listening, nobody giving any thoughts. Usually, that's bad... Good? Bad? Not as strong as the other material? Advice moving forward? Like it? Don't like it? Am I posting too much stuff? Getting tired of hearing Choke? Hee hee. Too many songs in one post?

I posted my favourites in the other two threads, so I think those are stronger, song-wise and mix-wise.

Anyway, I am hoping, as always that I can get some feedback about what I am doing so that my next mix (working on it now) is better. I'm thick skinned. Hit me. I want to keep improving as a mixer, but that's hard to do without constructive thoughts on what I've done.

Thanks REAPEARIANS!

ScalerWave
09-26-2010, 07:32 AM
Of the 3, I liked "SpiderVibe" the best.

Do you have all the individual tracks to each song or just the final mix from where they were recorded?

kindafishy
09-26-2010, 10:29 AM
I like that one best too. I've got the individual tracks.

I did the mixes you were listening to. This was really a 'restoration' project. The tracks were in very rough shape when I started.

Not to say they can't be better. I know they can as my experience as a mixer is pretty limited. I've done the 'booksmarts' portion of the program. I understand technique and theory behind mixing very well. Just have to build up the experience portion of this journey.

It's truly amazing how quickly one's objectivity can be broken down. I can listen to other mixes and very quickly pick out problems and possible solutions. When it comes to my own mixes, I get too close to them too fast. I suppose that separation from the material is a learned skill that comes from experience like so much else in music does.

ScalerWave
09-26-2010, 06:32 PM
My main nit is the drum tone... they need to be brighter... at least the snare. Maybe it's just a personal pref.

kindafishy
09-27-2010, 05:35 AM
Thanks for the feedback SW.

I can hear how a brighter snare would fit. The drums do sound as intended though because I wanted them to have a thick dullness to them. The kit was Pearl Masterworks, and had a full, thick, dull overall sound (at least how our drummer always had them tuned/dampened), so it falls in line with the sound of the band.

For better or worse, these mixes do sound like I want them to sound because they are pretty representative of how we sounded rehearsing in the living room or playing bars. Well, Ground Song isn't quite there. The guitars were extremely fizzy to begin with. I was able to get a lot of the fizz out, but much remains.

Your 'main' nit is the drum tone. Any other suggestions? Anything goes. Anything. As stated, I am working on new material now and I am hoping for my mixes to keep improving going forward.

Sheppola
09-27-2010, 06:33 AM
I like all the songs.Good song writing and performances.I think there could be some better EQ carving to get things a little clearer.I don't mean separation but to get a better clarity sonically.For example on,"Ground" the main guitar becomes a little fatiguing on the ears.
On Guitars I almost always put ReaEQ on them with a High pass filter around 120Hz and around 16K Low pass and or below so no,"Invisible" content gets through to interfere with lower or high frequencies.You could,"Duck" the guitar ever so slightly when the vocals are there just to help the vocals come through.Not much just really subtle say half a Db.

Great stuff though :)

flatpickle
09-27-2010, 07:11 AM
"Ground" sounds too narrow once the distorted guitars come in. It seems like it goes from a wide spacious clean beginning, to everything in the middle. Also the vocal could use a presence or volume boost, it's a bit indistinct. The snare sounds just fine to me. It's too long, or doesn't have enough variation to support its length.

"Sick and Dead" guitars sound fizzy once it gets to the "hard" part (after the intro, which sounds good). This one's too long, also.

"Spidervibe"--the distorted guitar sounds much better on this one. The vocals sound better, too. I think part of the difference is the stereo imaging--the guitars are panned out, so the vocal rides in the middle. Still, the vocal is a bit soft, and the song is too long.

Are you intentionally striving for a shoegazer sound with the vocal?

kindafishy
09-27-2010, 08:23 AM
I like all the songs.Good song writing and performances.I think there could be some better EQ carving to get things a little clearer.I don't mean separation but to get a better clarity sonically.For example on,"Ground" the main guitar becomes a little fatiguing on the ears.
On Guitars I almost always put ReaEQ on them with a High pass filter around 120Hz and around 16K Low pass and or below so no,"Invisible" content gets through to interfere with lower or high frequencies.You could,"Duck" the guitar ever so slightly when the vocals are there just to help the vocals come through.Not much just really subtle say half a Db.

Great stuff though :)

Thanks Shep. Very happy that you like the material.

I understand what you mean in regards to getting things clearer. The guitars were recorded, due to inexperienced musicians recording and an inexperienced engineer, with far too much gain/distortion. Nobody knew enough to say otherwise. They are very thin and brittle sounding to begin with. Not excusing myself from doing better with EQ, but this was a turd polishing job. It can definitely be better though.

Thanks for the HP/LP tips. More and more, I can see that in a couple years I will revisit these mixes, start over and improve them. I appreciate the advice, it will be put to good use.

kindafishy
09-27-2010, 08:49 AM
Great critique, flatpickle. Thank you very much.

"Ground" sounds too narrow once the distorted guitars come in. It seems like it goes from a wide spacious clean beginning, to everything in the middle. Also the vocal could use a presence or volume boost, it's a bit indistinct. The snare sounds just fine to me. It's too long, or doesn't have enough variation to support its length.

Great ear! The verses are panned in and the intro and chorus sections are sent more to the L/R. Perhaps an incorrect choice to make, but it was done that way on purpose. Is there something I was missing with this sort of technique of going narrower and wider, or is it just not subtle enough? Agreed on the vocal presence comment.

"Sick and Dead" guitars sound fizzy once it gets to the "hard" part (after the intro, which sounds good). This one's too long, also.

We definitely had a habit of stretching 3 minute songs into 5 minutes. We had a song that had two parts that was 8.5 minutes long! I don't think you would have liked it much :). Luckily for you, that is one of the tunes we never completed in the studio. It would have been fizzy as well. Thanks for the compliment on the intro. I like the way that turned out too. Too bad we didn't know enough to capture the heavier guitars as well as the clean guitars. Too much distortion without a doubt. We committed to tape the day it was recorded. No clean signal to work with currently. I suppose I could re-record the guitars, but I wanted to see how far I could take the recordings as they were done.

"Spidervibe"--the distorted guitar sounds much better on this one. The vocals sound better, too. I think part of the difference is the stereo imaging--the guitars are panned out, so the vocal rides in the middle. Still, the vocal is a bit soft, and the song is too long.

I agree, although I don't know why. Perhaps the source material was recorded better for this one. Could have been one of the later songs we recorded. This song lent itself very well to stereo positioning. Strangely, this I was able to mix this song the fastest out of this whole project. I think from a stereo perspective, it is probably the best one.

This song has more variation than the others, but it still sounds too long. Any thoughts on the composition of this one? Two many lead guitar lines? Too many sections? I still write in a similar way, structurally speaking, so I am open to songwriting advice as well as mixing advice if you are inclined to share any thoughts on this.

Are you intentionally striving for a shoegazer sound with the vocal?

Definitely. The band was very much about vocals blending into the music rather than being the focus. We all gazed very much. They all thought it was a bunch of turtles on the stage.

ScalerWave
09-27-2010, 01:49 PM
Well it's all subjective of course.

Nah, I really can't make any suggestions since I have no idea what is actually there already. I would just have to mix it myself and let you hear what I mean. Plus, you said you already like the drums the way they are, so no point in that.

I'm pretty picky about snares.... and drums in general, I guess. I like to be able to see them in my mind. When I picture your drums, it's like they are behind etched glass... heh heh if that makes any sense... or like I'm listening with ear plugs in... but that is only relative to the rest of the mix which sounds bright.

One thing you might want to try for the guitar fizz is pulling down 2.4KHZ about 6db for starters. Pulling down 5K might help... or just sweep the freq band to find the fizz and pull it down.

Also, try Reaxcomp on the Spectral Control preset. Solo each freq band until you hear the one with the harshness. Then unsolo it and try lowering the threshold and/or raising the compression ratio for that band.

flatpickle
09-27-2010, 05:36 PM
...The verses are panned in and the intro and chorus sections are sent more to the L/R. Perhaps an incorrect choice to make, but it was done that way on purpose. Is there something I was missing with this sort of technique of going narrower and wider, or is it just not subtle enough? Agreed on the vocal presence comment.

Probably the thing that threw me was the way you approached the panning kinda backward from what seems usual. It seems like you always hear a center-panned, lofi intro that blooms into a wide, rich first verse. When the sequence is reversed, as in this song, it feels like I'm losing something once the song starts in earnest.


This song has more variation than the others, but it still sounds too long. Any thoughts on the composition of this one? Two many lead guitar lines? Too many sections? I still write in a similar way, structurally speaking, so I am open to songwriting advice as well as mixing advice if you are inclined to share any thoughts on this.

Compositionally, I think the song is good. I don't think there are too many lead guitar lines, or sections. I think the thing that would help would be more dynamic variation and more tonal variation. More of an arranging thing than a songwriting thing.

To me, a 4+ minute song is pretty darn long unless it changes gears in significant ways during the song. These songs have melodic and rhythmic variation, which mostly comes from the lead guitar, but not a lot of dynamic or tonal variation (except for the intro being clean, and the rest of the song being distorted). There's no problem at all with that (to me) if a song is 2:30 long, but over 3:30 is pushing it.

For examples of songs that, to me, do a good job of being long songs, check out "Hummer" from Siamese Dream and "I Wonder" from Blind Melon. Lots of textural and dynamic changes keep you on a journey through the whole song.


Definitely. The band was very much about vocals blending into the music rather than being the focus. We all gazed very much. They all thought it was a bunch of turtles on the stage.

I wish I'd asked that first--it definitely changes things. The choices you made about vocal/guitar levels make sense once I realized that the vocals are being treated as another instrument, rather than the focal point of the song. (I still think a presence boost could help on "Ground", though.)

One thing I didn't say earlier, that I should have, is--good job. These are good songs and good performances. I was so focused on trying to provide useful feedback that I didn't congratulate you on some very good music.

scottedog
09-27-2010, 07:29 PM
Hey KF,

All these tunes totally take me back in time. Great stuff.

Spidervibe was my favourite-sounds like it was fun to crank out.

Makes me miss the old days (...when I had hair.) ;)

kindafishy
09-28-2010, 08:08 AM
Well it's all subjective of course.

Nah, I really can't make any suggestions since I have no idea what is actually there already. I would just have to mix it myself and let you hear what I mean. Plus, you said you already like the drums the way they are, so no point in that.

I'm pretty picky about snares.... and drums in general, I guess. I like to be able to see them in my mind. When I picture your drums, it's like they are behind etched glass... heh heh if that makes any sense... or like I'm listening with ear plugs in... but that is only relative to the rest of the mix which sounds bright.

One thing you might want to try for the guitar fizz is pulling down 2.4KHZ about 6db for starters. Pulling down 5K might help... or just sweep the freq band to find the fizz and pull it down.

Also, try Reaxcomp on the Spectral Control preset. Solo each freq band until you hear the one with the harshness. Then unsolo it and try lowering the threshold and/or raising the compression ratio for that band.

I think that makes sense. You'd like to hear a more gritty, sharper edge to the drums and right now, they have too much of a 'classic-rock-dampness' to them for you.

Tips on the guitar fizz are now in my list of suggestions for if these tunes are ever revisited and I will definitely apply them on my next mix.

I am going to post my current mix before I call it done so I can actually apply everyone's fantastic and gracious advice.

It is truly appreciated.

SW, watch your PM...

kindafishy
09-28-2010, 08:35 AM
Probably the thing that threw me was the way you approached the panning kinda backward from what seems usual. It seems like you always hear a center-panned, lofi intro that blooms into a wide, rich first verse. When the sequence is reversed, as in this song, it feels like I'm losing something once the song starts in earnest.

Creativity without the knowledge and experience to support it doesn't always work out, eh? :D

You're right. Noted for a future remix.

Compositionally, I think the song is good. I don't think there are too many lead guitar lines, or sections. I think the thing that would help would be more dynamic variation and more tonal variation. More of an arranging thing than a songwriting thing.

To me, a 4+ minute song is pretty darn long unless it changes gears in significant ways during the song. These songs have melodic and rhythmic variation, which mostly comes from the lead guitar, but not a lot of dynamic or tonal variation (except for the intro being clean, and the rest of the song being distorted). There's no problem at all with that (to me) if a song is 2:30 long, but over 3:30 is pushing it.

For examples of songs that, to me, do a good job of being long songs, check out "Hummer" from Siamese Dream and "I Wonder" from Blind Melon. Lots of textural and dynamic changes keep you on a journey through the whole song.

Again, excellent advice. Those are great songs from that era. Not making excuses - just some context: You're hearing 5 of the first 12 songs I (we) ever wrote, so we pretty much still didn't know what we were doing. The last, say, two or three songs that we wrote were starting to move past the "let's just get something written" and were starting to explore more focused arrangements, but as the story goes, we broke up before we could go any further with that. We were beginning to rework some of the material too. None of those songs were completed in the studio so I just have beds of them.

I wish I'd asked that first--it definitely changes things. The choices you made about vocal/guitar levels make sense once I realized that the vocals are being treated as another instrument, rather than the focal point of the song. (I still think a presence boost could help on "Ground", though.)

One thing I didn't say earlier, that I should have, is--good job. These are good songs and good performances. I was so focused on trying to provide useful feedback that I didn't congratulate you on some very good music.

Sincere thanks. It means a lot.

kindafishy
09-28-2010, 08:42 AM
Hey KF,

All these tunes totally take me back in time. Great stuff.

Spidervibe was my favourite-sounds like it was fun to crank out.

Makes me miss the old days (...when I had hair.) ;)

Thanks man. Spidervibe was very fun to do - especially the ending for some reason. It was always the second last song in our set. We were nice and loose by that point. Great times. Also, very hair-filled :).

ScalerWave
09-28-2010, 11:57 AM
I think that makes sense. You'd like to hear a more gritty, sharper edge to the drums and right now, they have too much of a 'classic-rock-dampness' to them for you.

Tips on the guitar fizz are now in my list of suggestions for if these tunes are ever revisited and I will definitely apply them on my next mix.

I am going to post my current mix before I call it done so I can actually apply everyone's fantastic and gracious advice.

It is truly appreciated.

SW, watch your PM...

Yeah, I have to say that I'm more into modern sounding drum mixes, Grunge comes to mind again.

Listening to 70's drums like Bonham, Fleetwood, and Henley, it seems the whole mix had that same dampness, maybe an analog thing (no big fan of analog either).

So, it may just be a contextual type of issue where the brightness of the rest of the mix is making the drums sound more dampened than they may really be. Just a thought...no idea really.

Chris_P_Critter
10-02-2010, 11:49 AM
DUDE!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THIS SHIT!!!!

Kinda reminds me of older Soundgarden a little - very cool man!! I like the songs posted, but I am blasting the shiiiiiiiiiiiit out of Stonephish right now!!!

Hell yeah man!!