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Just A Spark, electronic minimalistic music

Share your music, collaborate, and partake in monthly music contests.

Moderators: Scoops, Moderators (Main)

vesereva
KVRer
 
14 posts since 19 Dec, 2012

Postby vesereva; Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:44 pm Just A Spark, electronic minimalistic music

Hello everyone,

I have been reading the forums recentely and decided to sign up when I finish this track. I am fairly new to mixing and mastering and would like to hear what you think of it. Also, if you are interested in helping out, please point out what you think of the composition.

I recorded the track in Studio One 2 and used mainly the plugins from the DAW. The exception is the DC1A compressor, which I used in relaxed mode on the 2buss for some glue.
Since I wanted to be somewhat minimalistic, I wrote the track without too much harmony (I generally like melody against a bass).

Did I do the mixing and bringing up the volume without losing too much of the dynamics right?

Here is the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUZbx6gLAp4

Thanks in advance ;)
My music on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/vesereva
On SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/vesereva

Gear: AKAI MPKmini, Behringer BCF2000, Studio One 2 Producer, Notion 3, ESI nEar 05, DC1A, NoiseMaker
ghettosynth
KVRAF
 
4266 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:30 pm

So, I like minimal, a lot, I mean really a lot. I'm not really feeling your track. To me, minimal makes a lot of room for individual sounds to really sound good and grab you, but, that also means that if they don't, then the track can fall flat. To me it sounds like the production is lacking overall. It sounds like you focused on arrangement and are doing the standard "add sounds until it fills out" buildup. Minimal tracks don't often need so much DJ friendly buildup because they simply don't have as many potentially clashing elements.

When the bass comes in there's no anticipation at all, it's just there, and not in an interesting way. I like the sound that's dominating at 2:35, it comes in earlier but I looked at the time at 2:35. I think that it would sound better if you didn't change its pitch. I can't help but think that I would really like to hear that in the intro, don't fade it in, just play it. Your percussion is so nondescript in the intro that you've lost my attention before the track has a chance to get started. The drop at 2:55 or so is also surprising and nice, and, it sounds nice when repeated. Then the track just ends and I'm disappointed again.

tl; dr: good start, interesting sound in the middle, use it to make the intro more interesting, focus on a more cohesive sound, in minimal every sound counts.

disclaimer: Ghettosynth is just an opinionated talent-less jerk, his criticism should be taken with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila.
Jesse Gorter
KVRist
 
454 posts since 30 Nov, 2004

Postby Jesse Gorter; Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:33 am

More difference in dynamics (the notes being played), would work wonders.
I would drastically change the volumes to create more contrast in the rhythm. Now it feels bland.
vesereva
KVRer
 
14 posts since 19 Dec, 2012

Postby vesereva; Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:04 am

And I removed some of the dynamics of the middle part to make it more "even". You never stop learning, I guess. Thanks for the feedback.
My music on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/vesereva
On SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/vesereva

Gear: AKAI MPKmini, Behringer BCF2000, Studio One 2 Producer, Notion 3, ESI nEar 05, DC1A, NoiseMaker
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Frantz
KVRAF
 
2776 posts since 18 Jul, 2008, from New York

Postby Frantz; Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:35 pm

I think the composition is good and don't have any problem with the way it builds up. I do think the sounds are the weak point and makes the whole thing fall flat as ghettosynth said. I guess you don't have a lot of experience with sound design yet. I suggest getting one or two well known synth plugins and possibly purchasing presets for them and replacing all of your sounds. I think the same tune with better sounds would be quite good.
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vesereva
KVRer
 
14 posts since 19 Dec, 2012

Postby vesereva; Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:12 pm

Thanks, I indeed don't have much experience with sound design yet but am ready to learn. What synth would you advise me to get to replace the free NoiseMaker I am using right now? I am somewhat on a budget...

And do you know of a good read about sound design?

Thanks again and take care.
My music on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/vesereva
On SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/vesereva

Gear: AKAI MPKmini, Behringer BCF2000, Studio One 2 Producer, Notion 3, ESI nEar 05, DC1A, NoiseMaker
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Frantz
KVRAF
 
2776 posts since 18 Jul, 2008, from New York

Postby Frantz; Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:38 pm

vesereva wrote:What synth would you advise me to get to replace the free NoiseMaker I am using right now? I am somewhat on a budget...


Simple questions like this have started wars on KVR. :)

There is a whole forum for beginners: Getting Started (AKA What is the best...?)

Why don't you read through it and then ask your questions there if you want more input.
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seismic1
KVRAF
 
6840 posts since 13 Mar, 2009, from UK

Postby seismic1; Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:38 pm

I think Noisemaker is a very capable synth and can produce some very nice sounds. It's just a question of spending some time with it :)
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seismic1
KVRAF
 
6840 posts since 13 Mar, 2009, from UK

Postby seismic1; Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:25 pm

I thought the mix was pretty good although I felt there could have been a small EQ cut on the lead synth at about 600Hz between 1:15-1:25. I wasn't crazy about the "kick" right at the beginning of the track. It sounded a little lifeless, and I felt that the percussion could have used some reverb to make the track a little more interesting.

The composition was pretty good although I wasn't too keen on the bass notes between 4:46 and 5:03. They didn't sound quite right. As far as the actual synth sounds are concerned, you should be able to learn a lot by just playing around with them, but there are a few online resources which should help you, among them:-

http://noisesculpture.com/how-to-make-a-noise

and

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/allsynthsecrets.htm

Good luck and good work :)
User avatar
Frantz
KVRAF
 
2776 posts since 18 Jul, 2008, from New York

Postby Frantz; Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:42 pm



I also thought about giving him the link to the Gordon Reid Synth Secrets series, but having read most of the articles and remembering how very technical they can be, decided against it. Suggesting that he stick with just the TAL Noisemaker and figure out how to make his own patches with it, could lead to frustration.

While I agree it is ideal to make your own sounds from the Init patch, not everyone is so inclined. The alternative is to find a popular synth with lots of presets and use them as is or tweak them to fit your tastes. Assuming he is into dance music, perhaps Sylenth1 would be a good starting point.

In short, he has to decide whether he wants to become a sound design guru or a preset whore. :) Both approaches have their pros and cons.
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vesereva
KVRer
 
14 posts since 19 Dec, 2012

Postby vesereva; Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:39 am

Thanks seismic1 and FrantzM for the good resources. Based on what FrantzM said, I rather learn to make my own patches (like I did with this track, not with too good results) than to (only) use presets.

As a side note, I am not too much into dance music. It just happened that I chose a 4/4 kick rhythm for this track. I tried to make it as soft as possible; not to be a "in your face" dance production.

Thanks again for the replies!
My music on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/vesereva
On SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/vesereva

Gear: AKAI MPKmini, Behringer BCF2000, Studio One 2 Producer, Notion 3, ESI nEar 05, DC1A, NoiseMaker
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Frantz
KVRAF
 
2776 posts since 18 Jul, 2008, from New York

Postby Frantz; Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:14 pm

I tried to tempt you with the quick, easy life of preset music but you are instead going to take the honorable path of creating your own sounds. In order to get good at it, expect to spend many months in a monk-like existence contemplating modulation matrices. Perhaps you could wear a robe and grow a beard. :) In the end, it pays off with more original sounding music.

Many of us have gone down the rabbit hole of sound design and lost track of the big picture which is writing music. The common mistake is to start writing a piece and spend weeks or months tweaking sounds and then not know how to finish the composition. To avoid this, my advice is to either work on sounds before starting a song or write the song with generic sounds and replace them later with original sounds after the composition is complete.

Also note there are many approaches to sound design. Seismic tends to use light effects so his synth sounds are clearly audible. I often build elaborate effect chains where the effects are just as important as the original synth sound. At the extreme end, you have polyslax who can somehow conjure up mysterious worlds of sound where the sound design is a big part of the composition.
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seismic1
KVRAF
 
6840 posts since 13 Mar, 2009, from UK

Postby seismic1; Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:06 pm

FrantzM wrote:Also note there are many approaches to sound design. Seismic tends to use light effects so his synth sounds are clearly audible. I often build elaborate effect chains where the effects are just as important as the original synth sound. At the extreme end, you have polyslax who can somehow conjure up mysterious worlds of sound where the sound design is a big part of the composition.


That's a pretty good analysis. I certainly build my tracks up from presets. The trick with this methodology is finding a complimentary set of sounds. Historically, I declare a track "finished", and then sit on it for a couple of years. When I revisit it to mix and master, I often spot little facets of the original track which I may find undesirable. I might then start tweaking the original presets in order to improve the sound, hopefully. Occasionally, I might decide to replace the patch completely with one of my own design. I find this easier to do at this stage when I am fairly certain of the overall sound that I am trying to achieve.
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Frantz
KVRAF
 
2776 posts since 18 Jul, 2008, from New York

Postby Frantz; Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:29 pm

seismic1 wrote:Historically, I declare a track "finished", and then sit on it for a couple of years. When I revisit it to mix and master, I often spot little facets of the original track which I may find undesirable.


Interesting. I didn't realize this was part of your working method. It makes sense because you can approach a track with fresh ears a couple of years later. Normally I wouldn't have the patience to put something away for years. I like to finish things and move on. However, I just listened to all of my old material and found a couple of pieces I want to redo. One is from 1999. They are in the queue after I finish a current piece. It should be interesting given the advancements in music tech and how my tastes have changed over the years.
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seismic1
KVRAF
 
6840 posts since 13 Mar, 2009, from UK

Postby seismic1; Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:02 pm

FrantzM wrote:
seismic1 wrote:Historically, I declare a track "finished", and then sit on it for a couple of years. When I revisit it to mix and master, I often spot little facets of the original track which I may find undesirable.


Interesting. I didn't realize this was part of your working method. It makes sense because you can approach a track with fresh ears a couple of years later. Normally I wouldn't have the patience to put something away for years. I like to finish things and move on. However, I just listened to all of my old material and found a couple of pieces I want to redo. One is from 1999. They are in the queue after I finish a current piece. It should be interesting given the advancements in music tech and how my tastes have changed over the years.


I wouldn't describe myself as patient. This is just a workflow that evolved from coincidences and realisations. I do think it's true that a 2-3 year hiatus allows me to hear a track with "clean" ears, removing any prejudice or attachment that I have for a piece. A couple of my tracks were almost unrecognisable after the revisitation process. I had become so disenchanted with them.

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