Alex Stillhead

Alex Stillhead

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Alex Stillhead

Electronic Music Producer & DJ / Web & Brand Identity Designer
I produce and support electronic music. My own work combines many genres and sits stylistically between dub, drum & bass, ambient, dub-techno, downtempo, post dubstep, deep techno and bass music.

After 6 years, 4 albums, more than 20 EPs and countless remixes and DJ appearances under my DFRNT alias, I decided to switch things up in 2013 and start fresh as Stillhead.

Under this alias, I have released 2 albums and 5 EPs, as well as worked alongside influential producers such as Bop, Hatti Vatti, Tonik Ensemble and Versa.

In addition to my own releases, I have completed remixes for a number of artists including Nick Warren, Mario Hammer, Machinedrum, Rumpistol, Youth and Troy Gunner as well as popular unofficial remixes of Massive Attack and Faithless. As Stillhead, I wrote the score for a short film (and licensed tracks for others), contributed tracks to various compilations (for the likes of Pablo Bolivar's Avant Roots and Traum Schallplatten) and performed live as Stillhead in a number of places including Copenhagen, Tallinn, Riga and even Greenland.

My music has had support from Lulu Rouge, Maya Jane Coles, Nick Warren, Om Unit, The Black Dog, Machinedrum, Pablo Bolivar, Breach, Addison Groove, Laurent Garnier, Blackdown, DJ Mag, Kiss FM, Mixmag, BBC Radio and loads more.

I have also been a full-time designer and front-end developer since 2005, working with various big brands on everything from small marketing campaigns, to full websites, brand identity and more.
music producer, design, record label, music production, music label, record labels, web design, podcasting, music production / mastering, music writing / blogging, music, djing
electronic, electronica, breakbeat, drum & bass, ambient, house, dubstep, bass, bass music, deep house, dub, techno, experimental electronic, dub tech, future bass, melodic dubstep
Edinburgh, UK

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Recent Feedback

Pete Jones submitted media.

Pale Blue Dot by Pete Jones

Alex Stillhead

Thanks for sending this over Pete - it's not unusual to have spoken-word in a track, as you say - although it's fair that I can't think of full speeches that have been used.

Your mixdown and EQing sound pretty good to me - nice and full, and nothing too out of place sound-wise (at least not on my setup), so your headphones must be doing the trick :)

Track-wise, the style probably isn't quite my normal thing, just with it being fairly tech-house orientated, but as this style goes (I've heard plenty of it) it fits, and it would probably site quite comfortably alongside similar tracks in the genre without sounding super-amateurish.

Nice break just before the 1:50 drop - I feel like there's scope for this on a big dancefloor, not just a headphone listening experience.

If I'm honest, I'd love to hear a keychange come in earlier than 3:00ish - I love the progression at that point but I was maybe hoping for that sooner (like, treat it like a radio-edit maybe) - 8 minute tracks can get a bit long for me if I'm not peak-time bouncing in a club :D

Strings and pads sound nice alongside the bass - by all intents and purposes this sounds pretty professional really - I wouldn't be surprised if a label was comfortable picking this up for release either. If you could find a way to get it to some big names, you might find the tech-house DJs would give it some support.

There's a hint of nostalgia about the whole thing for me too - evoking sounds of my trance days in the late 90s, early 2000s - I used to rinse this stuff pretty heavily, although I don't go back to it so much nowadays - but this would totally be at home on a "trance classics" compilation too haha :)

Thanks again for sending - sounds like you had fun making this too, which at the end of the day is probably what counts the most!

Radio Fred submitted media.

Boom Bitch by Radiofred

Alex Stillhead

Very De La Soul sounding (including their sampled track for your keyboard intro inspiration I guess!) and yes, definitely on the money with the pop/avalanches vibe.

If i'm honest its not the sort of thing I normally listen to, mostly since it's fairly up-beat and happy vibe-wise and I tend to shy away from the more pop-sounding stuff but this isn't too bad at all.

Lyrically I can't comment, since I tend to concentrate on production/sounds - but from the instrumental it sounds like lots of work has gone in.

If I had to pick something I'd say your track is sounding a bit thin. I feel like there could be way more layers involved here - lots of subtlety which will round out the sound and make it feel a bit richer - this is what acts like The Avalanches seem to have, which you're lacking a little. Near the 2:45 mark you started layering echoes and stuff and it brought much more to the track - you could do this all the way through then build it even further for this part and you might find it has a more professional sounding feel. That said, the simplicity can be an artistic choice - the punk aesthetic, and home-made values might be something you're looking to put in there.

Either way - not particularly difficult to listen to, nor offensive to my ears, and it's catchy enough that I can sort of still hear it when it's done.

Damian Doucette submitted media.

UNTITLED 2020.314wav by Levitated

Alex Stillhead

Eerie intro noises - gives things a nice bit of anticipation. Lovely sort of "anti-drop" there too - sort of doesn't go overboard, but lets the synth come in. Problem is beyond the drop, I think this one doesn't feel like it really goes anywhere.

I think listening to this, generally I found it enjoyable - but it wasn't doing wild things for me - possibly just because I wasn't really surprised in any way by the track. It came and went in regular fashion, and didn't feel overly adventurous. There were plenty of sounds that I liked, and nothing really offended me, plus no real issues with production of the sounds, levels (mix) or even structure really, but I think it's the sort of track that felt like it would fade into the background on a compilation of similar downtempo pieces.

The thing with downtempo and chill stuff is that sometimes THAT's the point - like, it's background style music - but I don't know if that's where you're trying to take this. I think given what I feel you were trying to do - this sounds too "safe" if you get me. It might be the rhythm and that it's nothing particularly mind blowing (relatively simple drum structure and patterns) or it might just be that there's not one or two sounds really pushing through and doing anything special.

I have suffered this same issue with my own music, so I know how it probably feels to hear this stuff - and I apologies if it's not super helpful - but I think I'd say worry less about making it sound "right" and go to town on messing about - experiment, and really push things. Push the music, push yourself and see how far you can take it - think about structure, think about what might surprise someone, and think about whether it's a track that you're happy to listen back to again and again.

If you have any follow up questions, or any specifics you'd like me to elaborate on, please let me know, I'd be happy to go into more detail if necessary.

Angelo Reale submitted media.

Alex Stillhead

I was thrown slightly with the percussion at the start - took me a minute to get into the swing of the rhythm! I think the main rim/click/tap sound felt a little bit under-processed - but the intro was wonderful. Lots of nice instrumentation - I liked the piano, the strings and the buildup.

I'm not such a fan of the wobbly bassline, but I think that's just because I used to do that myself and feel like I've moved away from that now. Your bassline is solid - and I wonder if breaking it up a bit, so it's not a single tone will allow the rhythm to come through. It might be possible to do some creative sidechaining too, to allow the kick to punch a bit more. The bottom end and the beat sound a bit flat in the mix right now. They might need some space.

The vocal parts are nice, and generally the atmosphere of the track works - I especially like the way it suspends in the breakdown - some lovely sounds here. I would probably want to do more of this in other parts of the track (but that is me being a sucker for melody and instruments now! haha).

I'd say the main thing perhaps missing here though is a hook or a riff - or some distinct vocals which run with the track and provide something memorable - at the moment it's not possible to really whistle or hum the "tune" of this track - there's not something central that gives me something to grasp onto - and if you're looking to make the track memorable and successful in some way then you probably want to try and bring something in.

I'd suggest your rhythm could be shifted too - maybe look at ways of introducing variation, and some different sounds - swing, or shifting things like the kick and snare to make it a bit less "traditional" in setup - just something that will catch people's ear.

You might also want to look at doing more with the main chords/pad/synth sounds - they're very similar throughout and having variation in their sound (low-pass them, or filter them etc) just to give each part of the track something new and varied - might help.

I hope this maybe gives you something to work on - don't be discouraged - it's a nice track and a really great start!!

Damian Doucette submitted media.

An Image Of Radiance by LEVITATED

Alex Stillhead

Nice clean intro - like the verbed clicks as they come in before the shaker - nice buildup of sounds - I wonder if a pad or echoes of a pad might be nice before the key sound and bassline come in. Just a sort of drone/pad/ethereal sound in the background to tie it all together.

I like the bass sounds playing off one another (I think part of it is the low piano note or a double bass sound) - either way nice. Nice things happening up top as this develops too.

I think this track feels a little predictable in its structure. I also think I heard some kicks clashing just after the 2 minute mark - maybe keep an eye on the spectrum  analyser - again just before 2:40. Sounds like maybe 2 kicks hitting in very close succession. Possibly intentional but sounds too close to not be an error. May even be soundcloud playing silly buggers. Hard to tell. Again around 2:22ish maybe?

Anyway - I imagine this being some sort of Portishead instrumental and would be the sort of thing that fits a trip hop singer quite well - some female vocals to bring up the interest and give something to focus on that runs throughout.

Some nice sounds coming in about halfway there as you build out of the break.

I do feel all the sounds here are quite staccato - and I wonder if the track would benefit from (as mentioned before) some pads or longer sounds that span multiple bars and tie things together.

I think you're also running slightly into predictable-loops territory too, where you build things up and break them down in quite a simple structured way and I do tend to warm more to tracks which have less of that - but it's a hard balance to find :)

About the 5:50 mark you have some slightly longer melodic sounds - I'd want to play with more of those and bring them out earlier.

I'd also consider doing something new with the beat throughout - maybe change patterns, or something drastic like moving the snares to the 3rd beat or cutting various bits and shifting them so there's a different, perhaps less predictable rhythm. Maybe some swing? I don't know - you'd have to play with it a bit I think.

I didn't dislike the track - but I don't know if it's something I'd return to regularly - I think I'd want less staccato sounds and more pad/melody to feel like I can enjoy it fully :)

Hope this helps!

Damian Doucette submitted media.

Alex Stillhead

First impressions are GOOD. I'm a big fan of dub, glitchy and deep stuff so this is right up my street.

The sounds are clear, and the mix is excellent - that sub bass really shines through on my system here. All the sounds you're using are wicked. Proper nice dub-techno vibes, but brought back to a roots-style dub rhythm, and lots of consideration gone into the sounds - plenty detail, lots for the ear to find.

If I had one criticism initially it would be an over abundance of sounds - and sometimes deeper dubby stuff like this benefits from a sparser sound, just since it allows someone to really focus on a few elements - and it means any subtle changes often get noticed more. This has lots happening and lots of wonderful development so it's sort of a juxtaposition of cumulative sounds all sitting well in the mix, but that slower tempo and sluggish sub line.

The track feels like it's influenced a fair bit by the psy-trance end of the spectrum. I'd place this in a world where the producer was a big fan of festivals like Boom (Portugal) but preferred to go and play the chill out stage. It would fit right in there.

There are lots of labels that support this type of stuff, and I don't think you'd have too much difficulty getting this signed to a small to mid sized label if that's the way you wanted to go. I'd start with a guy called Alexander Descroix at Iboga Records, and tell him Alex/Stillhead sent you and he'll be able to put you in the right direction and likely recommend other labels too. You might get traction from Ultimae records in France, but I think they're deeper still (to the point of being meditative and kind of dark whereas this track is not so dark in style).

Thanks for sending this - I really enjoyed listening to it!

Alon Friedman submitted media.

Fried Track by Fried Man

Alex Stillhead


Beautiful sounds on that intro - feels like I'm really going to enjoy this. The stabs of bass sound good - nice reverb, good space in the mix.

When the beat lands it's solid, and feels pretty up-front, which is good - might be worth building up a bit more to the kick coming in - just since it feels like it happens without warning.

Nice chord progressions - nothing overly taxing to my ears, no real challenges while listening, but it does feel more enjoyable to listen to than a standard single-key track.

I like the transition to the second part about the minute and a half mark - nice little twist there, although I do feel in that second part, you're missing something - maybe pads, or some sort of atmosphere for a while.

I think your drums all sound well mixed, so no issues there - in general actually the track sounds well produced, and when that slide guitar comes in it was a pleasant surprise - nice bluesey elements.

It's funny - I hadn't expected things to go entirely this direction when I started listening to so in that respect it's kinda cool - reminds me a little of a a C2C track or something (French turntableists) just with all the different elements. Nice vocals around the 4 minute mark too.

I do wonder if some of these elements that have been introduced could have been hinted at earlier in the track, just to sort of get people onboard with the "theme" earlier perhaps. Hard to know what will work better here.

I like the sections you have, the movement in the track and the way you've put it together. I guess the only thing I feel it's maybe lacking is experimentation - areas where you have idiosyncrasies, or areas where you've decided to go down some wacky avenue just for the hell of it, which can be nice sometimes.

The section after 5 minutes where the bass becomes a bit more apparent feels a little bit cheesy so as a DJ I'd have likely mixed out of the track by that point - feels like there's still new things happening as the track might be better winding down. Almost getting FOMO for the end of the track as normally tech/house tracks tend to show their hands early on, ride it out then return to standard patterns towards the end I'd have said.

Outro is nice - and actually I sort of feel like some of the effects you employ in the intro and outro would be nice to hear mixed in throughout - reverb, giving things space - always gives a bit more euphoria to people dancing or enjoying I feel.

Anyway - generally, to answer your question, yes I think this could be released - whether or not it would be super successful I don't know - hard to tell, and for me personally, it's not quite working yet - but that's only a personal preference. Others who are in to this stuff more may really feel like it's ready to go.

Hope this helps somewhat - or at least provides some food for thought!

Alon Friedman submitted media.

Philophilia by Fried Man

Alex Stillhead

Hey man, thank you for sending this over.

I think the track is lovely - I would say my main criticism is that it's very loop-based, which sounds like a bit of a bonkers thing to say but ultimately structure-wise you've got a very predictable set of things happening - elements coming and going, breakdowns and sounds exactly when I'm expecting them - which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Production-wise you're alright I'd say - I think everything sounds fine in the mix, and EQ-wise - I don't know if there's anything wild or mysterious going on in the mix, but not that I can tell.

I think maybe you'll find that although it's not a bad track, it's also not an incredible track - just since I think it's lacking something to make it stand out - something distinctive, or a memorable line/sound/hook. THat said, normally tech-house stuff like this is more about a vibe.

You may find that you've got a lot going on sounds-wise too, and stripping those back to one or two main riffs/hooks and working on them further that it might become a bit more cohesive, I'm not sure.

Actual sound processing - you may want to do more with your processing on samples/sounds. Go wild with effects - really experiment with things, bring in idiosyncrasies and such - that might cut down on the possible predictable nature too.

Also, don't forget about your kickdrum and rhythm pattern - it's very similar throughout until right at the end and I wonder if switching it up might bring more interest too.

I'd say overall, you're on the right path for sure, but I wouldn't sign the track myself since I think it's just needing something in there to bring it up a level - a hook, some consistency, a theme running through or just some wild processing which sets it apart from other tracks in this genre.

Hope this helps! feel free to hit me up for clarity if necessary.

Lindsey Svoboda submitted media.

Lindsey Svoboda by Let you go (Single)

Alex Stillhead

Hi Linsey thanks for sending this through.

You have a wonderful voice, and you've recorded it with a great tone - sounds very well EQd, and nice mid-low end in there. I'd be tempted to give it a bit more in the higher EQ end, just to let it sit more comfortably above things like the melody.

Speaking of melody, this one is lovely - nice flow, simple enough to hum/sing along, but complex enough that it doesn't sound basic and too easy-access.

Production-wise, I think the elements are all working nicely - good sub/bass, relatively simple drums, but nice work on things like strings, piano and suchlike. No real issues there.

I think overall, my one concern is that it might not be distinctive enough in terms of an R&B/pop song. Generally successful songs have something idiosyncratic, or unique about them which tends to lift them into "is that annoying or amazing" territory, if you know what I mean! This track is pleasant and inoffensive throughout, which is ideals as far as I'm concerned, but it may feel like it's being overlooked because of it's lack of an odd hook or riff.

I'd love to hear your voice in other areas - on different styles, since I think you have the ability to bring something unique to other productions - and actually, it would be amazing to hear you push your voice a bit further too - you sound like you have the ability to go further out and wilder with your range than you've got on display in this song.

I think overall, as I said - no real issues with this one. I'd listen again quite happily to it - but at the same time it's ease of listen for me is almost something worth trying to push - the rules are there to be broken :)

Damian Doucette submitted media.

Alex Stillhead


OK, I definitely like the growling intro, and that initial percussion coming in - very stylish, moody - give it a nice vibe. I recall liking your intro before too - and your sound selection seems very fitting.

All your sounds in the track seem to fit much more tightly now, which is excellent. Lots of nice little details coming in and out throughout which I think keeps things nice and interesting too.

Your breakdown and subsequent half-time stuff half way through is still really nice and the sounds coming in around the 4:10 mark are great - high synths, and I like the bassline hinting at the familiarity of the Sleng Teng bass.

The mix/levels don't sound too bad here, although I imagine a push in mastering would bring it all up and it would end up being a bit brighter which would top it off nicely.

I think this is definitely a big improvement - largely because I don't have anything bad to say here - very well done on this.

Keep up the good work man!

Corey Tarter submitted media.

Alex Stillhead

Like the intro - cool panning and interesting sounds! Also your flow and the beat sound pretty good - I'm not 100% sure if the sub is in tune, but that's probably down to the rest of the track being somewhat atonal. You might have been able to go deeper with the sub bearing that in mind.

Definitely a fan of the rhymes, and the effects you're running your vocals through on the chorus are great. Some hints of Odd Future on the go here too, which is nice - that kind of rough and ready feel to it.

One or two bits where you're maybe over emphasising syllables, which I'd want to relax on a bit, so the flow felt a bit more natural - but that's only a couple of points.

The sound design on the breakdown about halfway through is nice - atmospheric which is a nice break. Sets it up nicely for the second drop.

I'd take out the auto-tune singing stuff towards the end - that took me out of the track way too much and didn't fit for me - felt like a mix into a new track or something - not really in-keeping with the feel of the rest.

Definitely potential here for this though - I think it has relative underground appeal/potential - my only problem is I can't do much for you promotion-wise, as I don't have a huge outlet for this style of music.

Mixdown seems fine - maybe a little heavy on the sub (but this sort of thing tends to be) - vocals are audible nicely and nothing seems out of place volume or levels wise.

Hope this feedback helps some - sorry I can't get you to many other people though - I don't have much in the way of hip hop type contacts.

Damian Doucette submitted media.

JUNO DUBSTA by Levitated

Alex Stillhead

Nice atmosphere to begin with - always a fan of rain :) Nice solid kick pattern and the hi synth line is nice too. Not anything that I've not heard before, but not badly put together.

The pluck sounds that come in don't do it for me sound-design-wise, but they don't sound completely out of place.

I think about the 1:40 mark where the cymbal hits and it sort of relaxes into a groove with the sub is nice - feels like the track has laid back into something here and released the tension a bit.

I can appreciate you're trying to go somewhere with the bassline too - although the remainder of the track still feels quite loopy at parts.

Lovely sounds in the breakdown at the 2:50 mark - reminiscent of some of Mike Sheridan's earlier work (which I think you'd enjoy if you don't mind slightly more experimental stuff).

The sounds here are nice and clean - well put together, and nothing really stands out as bad or out of place. Normally that would be a great thing - but the flip side to that coin is that, also, nothing stands out enough as a hook or riff to get my teeth into - there's no excitement or particular element to catch my ear (normally I guess some sort of vocals would do this, but it doesn't have to be).

The mark at about 4:32 where you introduce a new sound and the beat goes half-time, kinda wonky - this is more like what I'm talking about - something to get my teeth into. I don't think the bassline works here, but the rest of the track at this point really comes alive - it's far more engaging.

The synth top lines that come in after this part too add something lovely - a bit more aural interest.

This is better than I'd say about 80% of what I get sent (not on Fluence necessarily but all the stuff I get sent every day) - so that's something - but it's not got that hook or that particular interest to grab me.

It's also missing some mystery in terms of sound design - I want something to sound like "whoa, how did they do that?" or something to be such a unique sound that it makes me excited about trying to hear it again or isolate it in some way.

I can see you developing your sound into something that would fit nicely on the Ultimae label or something reminiscent of the early Nordic electronica scene - keep at it, and don't be afraid to go really weird with it :)

John Sager submitted media.

Come Back by John

Alex Stillhead

First off, this got my foot tapping for sure. Nice tempo, a solid start and I didn't mind the sounds being used.

It's relatively clear you're quite taken by arpeggiators, and appreciate synths that keep moving - I hear it in all the synths, including the bass :)

I felt myself wanting some longer pads or sweeping sounds to come in by about a minute and a half, just to keep things interesting, since this is where I started to get distracted.

I like the chord progression introduced after the first breakdown (2:25 or so I think) - nice to hear the bass take a different route, and the removal of some elements here was welcome. I think with lots of synths it can start to get too busy too easily. This block felt like a nice variation on the first part too. You could probably have gone a bit further though and still kept it feeling like the same song - if you want examples, Djrum is VERY good at that sort of thing (different feel, same track, somehow consistent!).

After the 4:00 mark, we're back to something relatively recognisable and I guess I was hoping for more at this point - either a major change, or a different feel - breaks, a broken beat, a different sound, some vocals, something new - anything really. After 4 minutes of the same sounds I got tempted to skip things on a bit - I felt like I wasn't going to get anything new by this point.

In general I think the track is a relatively solid start - but it does have a distinct feeling that it's missing something - whether that's a recognisable hook, some vocals, something where a sound has been processed in a different way to make it unique, or something else, I'm not sure - but I think there's room for this to really develop into something far beyond where you have it right now.

If it were me, I'd look at taking all your existing sounds, duplicating them and playing with them all to see where you can take them - then re-introducing parts that sound new and interesting. I'd also want to break things up to remove some of the monotony you have going on right now.

Pads and longer sounds too - I think those will help bring this to life a bit.

Most tracks that sit along this techno/tech-house/prog line usually sound very similar and I think I'd want to introduce something that made the track sound different to the rest - as it is, I don't know if I'd really notice this enough in the midst of a set in a club to feel like I wanted more - there wasn't a defining moment, nor any breakdowns or buildups that felt dramatic enough.

I also felt like there wasn't any of that magic I feel when I don't know how something has been made - I've written about this a bit in the past but generally if I don't know how something has been made, I'll enjoy it more because there's a mystery and a real intrigue for me. This tracks not quite there yet for me in that respect.

That said, I think it's definitely a step in the right direction - you're not doing anything WRONG here, per say - I just thing it sounds like it could be worked into and built upon far more, to get this to a level where you would be more likely to get it signed or see success if it were released. Often I find all these things need are a little bit of time, and a re-visit in a while with fresh ears - write down what might be missing or not sound right, re-visit again and then sort anything you hear.

I hope this helps!

TJ Phillips submitted media.

Alex Stillhead

Initial impression - techno, tech-house, something deep. Interesting...

When the bass kicks in it felt maybe ever so slightly big and boomy - could be my audio setup, but could also be too much stereo width, might be worth just giving the low-end sub a look over in a spectrum analyser. It's nice though, I like boomy usually - just aware this might feel too big on a system.

Nice synth arps coming in and out, and is that a vocal sample I hear? I think there's some nice detail on the go here.

This feels like somewhere between psy-trance (which may or may not be an insult haha), tech-house and maybe some of the early harder trance stuff I used to listen to back in the day. Feels nostalgic in some way.

Your lead synth progression - the third set of notes (chord, I guess) feels a little bit out of tune or out of place (2:41 mark).

By about 4:10 I was starting to get a little bored - not because of the structure per-say but I felt like I was hearing the same sounds over and over.

Odd right-pan thing happening at 4:40 ish - felt like a mistake. I guess it wasn't, but on headphones it felt a little unpleasant with the hard-pan.

So generally this is pretty hi-energy all round. Lots of intense sounds all over - all well processed, and the mix is solid - and I wonder if this is because I normally listen to less techno-based tracks - but I was sort of waiting for something almost human to come in - a vocal line, or a "real" instrument to kind of give it that organic element. It's a very tech/robotic sounding track.

Don't get me wrong though - I imagine this could be signed to a label that released this kind of music, but I would worry that if you came back to this in a year, you might feel it had aged a little. My advice would be to sit on it for a couple of months. If you're still happy having left it (digest some similar tracks in the meantime) and you still like it - then send it to labels that would be interested, you've got nothing to lose.

I'd also suggest playing it in a mix alongside tracks you like or think it should be able to stand up to - that benchmark should help you figure out if it's good enough. It'll also help you make sure your mixdown is 100% (I think it's good though - no real issue there aside from the sub initially).

Hope this all helps!

Patrick Mc Eleney submitted media.

Alex Stillhead

Hey Patrick!

This is beautiful. The animated scores is actually not something I've seen before, and I think it's cool (as someone who used to be able to sight-read it's nice to see) - The lyrical inclusion also, of course, helps highlight your vocal content which I like, since your unique vocal delivery might be lost on some people. I like the style of your vocals, but you may find (in general) that it's a bit of a Marmite approach - some people will really warm to it, but some may find it harder to get into.

The video is great - the only thing I found myself less keen on was some of the areas of the video felt like they had been over-sharpened (or some sort of sharpening-edges effect filter) - mostly on the brick wall. I wasn't sure about having the lyrics super-imposed onto elements in the video either - I think (and I might be more boring in that respect) if it were up to me I'd have kept them in one place throughout, but I can absolutely see your thinking behind it.

Song-wise I think it's great - it's hard for me to feed back from a song-writing point of view, since my expertise is more in the electronic realm, but the appeal of the singer-songwriter style is there for me - the piano and cello are well played, and the recording quality is absolutely acceptable here.

One production-related thing I'd say is, if I was producing the track, I'd want to put more reverb on the cello, so it didn't feel so close in the mix - I think there's a danger that it takes over at points, and as nice an instrument as it is, this song is about you and the piano - and I think with a bit of reverb, the cello would sit a little further back in the mix (maybe volume down a touch) and it would feel a little smoother too. This may be a style choice however, since it might end up creating a completely different effect.

Really enjoyable though - and a nice treat to wake up to this morning, thank you! :)

Bobby Engel submitted media.

Huh. by Last+First (Robert Engel)

Alex Stillhead

Hey, sorry about the slight delay in getting to this. Thanks for submitting :)

First impressions are this is really nice - definite folk elements, and lots of nice things happening - the aahs, and the guitar parts.

I guess for me, this is slightly harder to judge in terms of production value, since my realm is most definitely electronic music, so levels-wise I guess it's OK, but it may need something of a polish to get it sounding CD-ready - but that may be down to a mixing and mastering engineer.

Track-wise there's a nice downtempo vibe to the whole thing - it's "comfortable" sounding - and would probably quite happily sit in my downtempo/folk playlist without sounding out of place.

I also quite like the slightly loose feel to it all - the fact that it's not super-tight, and things like the claps, the drums and such all have something of their own personality.

Drum-wise I'd probably want to get rid of the room reverb, and look at making sure they were micd up to get the best sound - but everything else sounded find recording-wise.

I'd love to hear the track with more vocals, just to see how it felt - there was something quite "interludey" about this - like it would sit nicely as an interlude on a Sea & Cake early album, or even early Sam Prekop.

The song structure seemed OK, but I guess with lyrics and a clear chorus, it would maybe feel less like an interlude and more like a "song" in the traditional sense - but it really depends whether that's a direction you want to take it in.

Ultimately it's a nice track - it's fairly inoffensive, and although I don't feel it's breaking any boundaries sound-wise, I think if you're happy with it, then that's often enough - and I can hear that it's been played with a sense of enjoyment, there has been care and attention put into it - and I think an album of this sort of stuff would be great, assuming there were some perhaps more song-style tracks.

I hope this is useful information for you - you may have better feedback from someone more used to helping those in the folk/indie realm.

AK Akhyo submitted media.

On My Mind by AKHYO

Alex Stillhead

First impressions: Liking the strings (even though they are slightly fake sounding - KONTAK instrument maybe?) - the vocal has been really over-used, I'd avoid using the On & On acapella - it sticks out (and also you'd not be able to clear it if a label wanted to sign the release). Also it feels a little out of tune at points.

The beat is nice enough - but the 4-4 kick, snare thing feels like it might be more interesting if there was more happening - not just the reverse cymbals and odd reverbed/ping-ponged hats.

The bass is OK, but it would also be great to hear more variation - which I suppose applied to the chord progression - it remains the same throughout and even with the breakdown, it would be great to hear the chords change or have some sort of chorus or vague song structure happening.

The single cello-type string is nice when it comes in on the breakdown - for a good example of how this works, check out a producer called "Tonik Ensemble" he uses strings/cello to great effect. I believe they're real though, not synthesised.

Ultimately I think the track is *fine* - but it feels very loop-based, and part of the magic of a great track for me is when I don't hear how it's been put together - or when something takes me by surprise - either a sound (great sound design) or the level of detail, and variations involved (which can also be sound design - but to a degree also structure and musicality) - I think this track could definitely progress into something amazing - but for me right now it feels a little unfinished.

Sure - you could probably drop it into a set of tech-house type stuff and it would be OK, but I'd want more from it - I'd really want to push it, experimentally and take more risks. It feels a little like you are holding something back - you've made this maybe thinking "what will people like - or what has everybody else done" which leaves you with quite a generic sounding track - but if you allow yourself to explore a bit more, you may find that it opens up new avenues of exploration which then mean you can take the track in totally wild directions.

Of course it's up to you - but I'd spend another few hours working on this and pulling some bits out - adding others, and maybe playing with the structure.

Mixdown-wise it sounds fine - no major volume or balance issues.

Sound-design-wise, I think you could craft the strings a little more, or try to find either a better synth sound, or better source for the strings - they sound a bit plastic or synthetic right now. It may even just be a case of adding some reverb - or some air/noise to them.

The beat design could be a little more interesting - right now it's very regular and predictable - and I'd want to play more with the percussion - get some other beats and syncopation on the go - see what happens.

I hope this all helps - and apologies if it sounds really harsh! I believe in honesty, since it'll help you get better results.

TJ Phillips submitted media.

Depth Perception by philtr3

Alex Stillhead


It's funny you mention games - I can actually see this working in a game - it has the intricacies, the detail and the energy which all feels quite "arcade" to me. I can definitely tell you've improved too - it's really nice to hear.

There's lots happening in this track - and there's lots of stereo width - I am getting things coming from all angles, which is really interesting.

I think the structure-wise this has the nice break-down in the middle, but I'd consider getting more experimental with that side of things. Drop the track right down to just a bassline and low-passed sounds, or just a hi-hat and bass or something like that - you have lots happening - but I feel like after a while it's hard to single-out one sound over the other - it becomes a sort of blend of everything.

Energy-wise the track is good, but it tails off a little towards the end, there's not so much in the way of drama, or tension.

I once got told that it's nice when tracks tell something of a story - so you may wish to try and incorporate that into it - but it's going to depend on the use of the track really - this may work well in a club somewhere, but less so for home-listening.

Sound-design-wise it's fine, and the mix also sounds fine to me - I guess now you need to find a way to inject a story, or drama, or some soul into the track.

Also - it may be worth considering key-changes and maybe more melodic elements - that's my personal preference talking, so it might not be your thing for this stuff - but I sort of felt myself wanting a change in pace, or change in tone after a few minutes.

Hope this helps!

Matthew Hall submitted media.

Talpazan by Squeakstar

Alex Stillhead

Listening to the intro, the sounds feel a little on the thin side - maybe just down to percussion being centred - but just before the beat kicks in there's a nice flurry of snare sounds where they expand to left and right.

It's an interesting first section with that sort of squelchy loop - I felt that perhaps it was lacking in the low-end, since often techno of this sort feels a little sparse or unfinished without that booming low-end, whether it's a beefed-up kick or a sub-line of sorts.

Your percussion and drum sounds feel very single layered. I'd probably want to look at layering them up with more samples, to give them a bit more punch, and maybe allow them to take up a bit more of the frequency spectrum. You'd be surprised what a few extra drum layers will do - even if you don't notice much difference to begin with.

Although you have a few different defined sections, and the introduction of various other elements - there's something of a lack of progression in the track for me - it feels like a handful of elements are being brought in and out, but not necessarily with any real reason, or narrative. I'd like to see more of a story of sorts - some more engaging transitions, and maybe experimentation with ways of introducing or removing new sounds, so that it doesn't sound like they're just being turned on and off.

In general the track has me tapping my foot, and I dare say that in a set of similar material it wouldn't feel totally out of place, but I don't feel that it's going to turn enough heads in a set to make it a main-stay of my DJ box for example. I think I'd be wanting more of a cohesive groove.

There's also something to be said for allowing all the elements to gel. I'm not sure if these all do or not - there's almost a feeling that the track was done with hardware or a modular synth - in that the sounds feel a bit raw.

Another thing to mention may also be breathing room - building elements up is one thing, but also breaking them down effectively too - I don't know if this helps much actually, you do have build ups and break downs in here, but there's an element of clunkiness to them.

Lastly it's worth mentioning texture here too - there's something of an absence of texture in your track - anything from subtle noise, or keys in the background, however quiet or inconsequential, may help bring a feeling of cohesiveness to the track - at the moment, the sounds all feel like they exist somewhat in isolation, but for example the long drawn out sound at the 4:30-4:40 or 5:40 ish (that echoes out at the end) mark brings a bit more togetherness to the track, so I'd want to probably use much more of that throughout. Using relatively thin drum sounds without something to hold them together often makes things sound a little unfinished, which would be my worry with this.

I don't entirely dislike the track - but it's probably not something I'd go back to again and again I'm afraid.

Hopefully this gives you some more to refer to mate - thanks again for sending this my way :)

TJ Phillips submitted media.

Deep Inversion by philtr3

Alex Stillhead

The intro sounded pretty solid - all the elements seem to work well in the mix, and no real balance issues from what I can tell. Nice use of panning left and right for some elements too. I'm not entirely sure without a spectrum analyser, but if your sub/bass is in stereo - it might be worth cutting that down to mono. My mastering engineer often call me out on that - it might sound nice on headphones, but I believe it's not such a good idea.

I think by about 2:50 ish I was hoping for something in the way of a high-line, or a melody of some sort to come in.

The breakdown at 3:11 felt a bit clumsy - like some odd fading issues and then the acid mid-line that comes in feels a bit loud, and maybe a touch unprocessed - Also, the way it pumps, makes me think it's being compressed against something.

The line at 3:48 ish I'd have maybe brought in a little earlier - but if I'm honest, I have a tendency to get impatient with tech-house/prog-house these days, since when I'm DJing, I'll want to mix the next track in sooner than later, and then you miss the good part of the tracks.

Your track is actually quite busy - and this is a pitfall that some producers come across - it's very easy to add and add to the track - layer upon layer, and often if it fits then the assumption is it will work - but often just because you *can* do something, doesn't mean you *should* :) - less is sometimes more, and especially when you hear the track on a HUGE system - some of the elements might get lost, and then it becomes more about spending longer tweaking and processing the sounds you have, instead of just adding more.

So with that in mind, I'd want to probably remove a few of the elements (at least from time to time, if not everywhere) - and make more of the melodic elements - look at utilising some more reverb and delays for the higher elements - you can create the illusion of space with some well placed reverb - in fact you can even use reverb to place things differently in the mix, which can be quite useful.

If it were my track, I'd take out the acid style lines, and look at the melody closer - I'd maybe simplify the drum pattern and percussion and work on making that shine too - getting all the sounds really crisp (EQ everything - not drastically - but as a rule, you want to be cutting down on frequencies that you don't notice in the mix - and the EQ will help you space things out on the spectrum and get things sounding crisper - just remember to be gentle! hehe)

I'd also likely go deeper on the bass and look at areas with way less elements - but to be honest, I"m not a prog-house producer, and my productions often have parts where things get almost silent! Your track here is obviously much more orientated towards club/mix use.

The last thing I'd say - which I feel I often say to people, is the track is lacking something unique - and this is a hard one to grasp and explain, only because it's quite intangible - it's almost not even something you can *do* per-say - but basically if somebody was to do a blind-test and listen to this track (assuming it was mastered and polished up ready to go) alongside another progressive house track - how would somebody know it was *yours*? Where is your uniqueness, your signature sounds - some of the best producers (the ones I was familiar with anyway) had a certain sound - I could tell an early-era James Holden remix or a Luke Chable remix from a mile off - they have something that is distinctive. Now, this may be something that just comes with time - I'm told my tracks have my signature throughout, but I can't necessarily pinpoint it, or hear it all the time - but others seem to be able to - so it's going to be hard to put into action - but it could be recurring sounds, a favourite synth, a particular way of programming drums - but ultimately, the bottom line is the track needs to stand out (without being crazy or bonkers of course) - but enough for people to think *I NEED THIS TRACK* - they have to want to hunt it down. The more time you spend crafting, the more likely someone will want to find it - people can often subconsciously (or consciously I guess) hear the amount of effort that has gone into a track - and that can pay off big time.

I hope this has been helpful! Thanks for allowing me to listen to your track, and all the best with pushing your sounds!

Matthew Hall submitted media.

Tribbles by squeakstar

Alex Stillhead

The off kilter percussion and rolling scattered drums on this threw me initially but actually they have a really hypnotic quality to them!

All of the elements used within the track I think work together, and in terms of mixdown, it seems to sound fine - there might be a little too much in the very top-end of the spectrum, but that could just be personal preference.

There are a few things that I'd say about the track in terms of general feel.

Normally I really get into a techno track when it "rolls" - when there's some sort of fluidity to the movement of the loops. Whether minimal or maximal, normally I feel the track has to propell its self along - this sounds very hazy and can often just be down to something like syncopation or a particular loop structure - but I felt this track more "chugged" along - less in the way of flow to my ears - it's a hard thing to pin down, but it may be down to the scattered drum pattern.

I tend to go for tracks where there's a mystery regarding the production methods - but for at least the first half of this track there was a very clear build-up loop-based structure - I would look into ways to make this stuff less obvious in future - the simple adding and removing of sounds needs to have more thought put in in order to really add that intrigue and mystery. I want to listen and think *whoah, how did they make THAT happen?!*

The breakdown at the 4:10 mark felt like it came too late in the track - I think it would have been nice to see more break downs and build ups before this point.

I think in general - it seems like you have all these great elements - but I'd want to sit with all of this in the DAW and do a "deconstructed" version - where you break down and build up more bits. Get crazy with stuff, really push it much further out in terms of which elements are on together at the same time etc.

As far as standing out amongst other techno tracks - I think this has the potential to do that, but I'd want to mess about with it a bit more before it had those idiosyncrasies that tend to make something unique. Don't be afraid to go beyond what you might consider "safe" - you've always got the undo button, so get caught up in the wild nature of some of these sounds - try techniques you've never done before.

I think the other area that was lacking a little bit here was the bass - the sub was evident throughout, but never really felt like it had played a crucial part - it never emerged above the noise of the rest of the elements, and it was very much a constant in the track - that may be something of a requirement for techno of this sort - but why not drop it out at more parts - bring it back in at others - change the pattern, see how the subtleties of changing the bass pattern affect the rest of the track.

I hope this gives you some food for thought at the very least - thank you for letting me listen to your stuff :)

Benjamin Schneider submitted media.

Alex Stillhead

First impression was "ooh, this sounds like it's going to be dark!" although as the main bass synth came in and played the more major sounding (almost uplifting chords) it removed some of that mystery and darkness, and pulled it away from murkier territory.

After hitting the 1minute mark and things going WILD! I had a lot of fun actually - the craziness drifts nicely back into that original synth line too.

The synths at 1:47ish felt really good - nice addition. Maybe they could have even come in earlier? By the 2:12 mark the rhythm, bass and synth all working together gave things a very retro-futuristic feel - sort of Com Truise style.

Sounds like around the 3:00 mark it goes into some wild drum & bass thing - I liked that. I'm always down with some interesting tempo-switchups!

Now for the less positive stuff:

I think in general the track was well produced, but it lacked some of the subtleties of the sort of tracks that "wow" me. Maybe it was down to not much in the way of pad/light/air/texture sounds that add layers. The track felt very 1-dimensional.

The drums were "fine" but didn't seem exceptional. I think I'd want to put either more in, in the way of percussion and rhythm sounds - to bolster the existing drumtrack - or I'd want to do more to the drumline to break it up and make it less regular. At the moment it feels a little "plodding" in some sections.

The syntth/bass line - I liked it the best when it was low-passed, and as you brought it up towards the intro, it became less interesting - largely because it was more apparent and obvious in the mix I think - it didn't feel like an overly unique sound - more like a default, which put me off a bit.

For the most part - I didn't feel like there was any mystery within the track. I appreciate the most, the things which I can't figure out how they're made. If there are sounds, patterns, chords and stuff in there where I think "I wonder how that was made" - THAT's what REALLY hooks me into a track and makes me want to play it, sign it, support it etc - with this piece, I didn't feel like there was much I wouldn't know how to make fairly easily - which I think led to the simplicity of the track overall.

Hopefully this gives you some tips for growing your sound in future. Look at using more layers within your tracks - don't be afraid to really layer things up, then look at taking things away one by one till you have a nice balance - you may find you took away what you thought was a crucial piece, but ended up being replaced by something more unique.

Don't be afraid to go super-deep into making or sampling your synth sounds - go for sounds that nobody has made before. As a good example, check "Start From The Beginning" by Egyptrixx. That song baffles me :)

Drum & Bass is a healthy style to be experimenting with at the moment - but if it was me, I'd look at moving from the traditional rhythm patterns and exploring further into the deeper end. There is so much hype/jump-up stuff that if you try to do that you'll end up getting lost in a sea of mediocre tracks - aim to stand out in some way. Look at the likes of the two "Mosaic" compilations that were released on Exit Record for some incredible stuff.

Alessio Papeo submitted media.

Alex Stillhead

Immediately I felt it could get a little tedious in terms of that throbbing 4-4 chugging along, but actually this could probably quite easily set a dance floor going! I think by the 1:00 mark, I'd have hoped for a bit more hi-end, maybe just a real tiny hi-hat click even - just so I didn't have all low-end sounds (handy for mixing purposes, I often don't bring the kick in till last).

Nice breakdown at 1:50, although I think when the beat kicks back in, I'm not sold on the hi-hats - they don't feel quite like they fit in - maybe their syncopated rhythm.

Vocal shops after 2:20 are nice - would have liked to hear a few more, and maybe some more processing on them - reverbs, reverses etc.

Love the synths at the 3:00 ish mark, and when it kicks back in at 3:35 ish the percussion feels much more together and solid. Not 100% sold on the hi synth/key line here though - feels like it's not *dark* enough for the track.

By the time I got to the 4:40 mark, I felt like I was ready to start skipping the track on a bit - I think length-wise, it's worth chipping this down, and maybe working to the 5 minute mark. Maybe just a shorter edit or something - unless DJs are going for the super-long mix, it just feels a little like it's dragging on by the last section.

In terms of sounds - it works, by and large it feels pretty solid and accomplished as a track. In terms of support - it's probably too peak-time for me to support on my podcast or mixes, but should I play live, and require some techno ammo - it's probably a fair choice, although it's not something I'd guarantee playing.

For me, this would sit alongside A Made Up Sound's "Rear Window" - but it misses the mark on keeping the percussions interesting, so it just lacks that special something in that case.

My advice would be keep at it - not necessarily this track if it's set for release - but keep producing, and keep releasing. You've clearly got an ear for the sounds and mix, and I think were you to start experimenting with your rhythms, and playing a bit more with broken beats you'd definitely have my support 100%!!

Fluence Team submitted media.

For the Creative Community by The Fluence Team

Alex Stillhead

Actually like the idea behind Fluence, and it seems to work well as a system. I think the video is pretty slick, and the fast cuts keep it interesting, although I'd change one or two little things here and ther e- mostly design details, like the URL at the end of the video and that sort of thing.

I think it's relatively clear what Fluence does - although the voiceover guy mumbles slightly at the end of his sentences. That said, it's all audible to a native English speaker.

Promotion: This is a hard one and something I've been struggling with myself. I think the biggest part of spreading Fluence is from the users - but instead of just hooking into their email accounts and trying to spam their friends - I'd suggest incentivising users to share or refer their friends perhaps? It's not an easy one - the incentive is that when a user shares their profile they may get people sending them stuff to check.

Maybe you need to target BIG players - celebs of their vertical - the DJs who already get sent LOADS of music - if they had Fluence, people would use it and spread the word. The big artists who's opinion is something people want to get - the problem is hooking these big fish in and getting them to commit to using Fluence I guess.