Brian Hazard

Brian Hazard


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Brian Hazard

Title
Mastering Engineer / Recording Artist
Bio
Brian Hazard is the head mastering engineer and owner of Resonance Mastering in Huntington Beach, California, specializing in electronic music. His Passive Promotion blog emphasizes “set it and forget it” methods of music promotion, along with a healthy dose of mixing advice. Brian is also a recording artist with twenty years of experience promoting his ten Color Theory albums.

My hourly rate looks insanely high, but I routinely spend 15-20 minutes per submission. I offer mix consultation through my mastering company at $110/hour, and typically end up making less than that here.

No hip hop please, unless you're just looking for mix advice. I've mastered plenty over the years, but I'm no authority, and it's not a good fit for my audience.
Website
Expertise
mixing, mix engineer, piano, music production / mastering, music composition
Interests
electronic, pop, synthpop
Location
Huntington Beach, CA

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Recent Feedback

Anubis submitted media.

Blue Throat by Anu]bis

Brian Hazard

I like the fluttery chopped up piano bits! The mix is well-balanced and the arrangement is moves along at a perfect pace. Just when it starts to feel repetitive, it changes.

The 2:00 section might be a little unbalanced. I'd like more bass and less of the main delayed synth. Still, I love the way it goes from narrow to wide. Really interesting soundstage, and great dynamics!

You could probably get away with calling this synthwave! I suggest you submit to my friend's playlist:

https://www.submithub.com/blog/oneiri-station

Yeah, this keeps developing nicely and even the wind-down doesn't get old. Great work!

I'm happy to share it. Hope it gets you a few well-deserved spins!

Brian.

Henry Alexander submitted media.

Crush by Henry Alexander

Brian Hazard

Don't drum and drive! 😜

Love the anthemic chorus and the spoken word in the post-chorus. Vocal feels a bit too out front, on YouTube anyway. It's hard to trust their encoding.

Chorus strings are a little cheesy, disco-y for the rest of the energy IMHO.

Other than that, the production is solid with the exception of too much compression in mastering for my taste. But I'm a picky sonofabitch.

Solid song, great performance! It's not a perfect fit for my Depeche Mode loving following, but I'll share it anyway.

Thanks for sharing it with me!

Brian.

Tim Kuhl submitted media.

By Demons Driven by Tim Kuhl

Brian Hazard

Congratulations on the new album Tim!

When I was a kid, I had a Swamp Thing vinyl that I'd listen to all the time. It was narrated with people doing the voices way over the top.

I daresay this could pass as synthwave! You should submit it to my friend Ben's playlist here:

https://www.submithub.com/blog/oneiri-station

I really dig the dark and sinister mood! It starts to feel a little repetitive to me around 2:30 fwiw.

I'm happy to share it! It's neat to see you exploring this sonic territory.

Julia Thomsen submitted media.

Sea Energise by Julia Thomsen

Brian Hazard

Lovely piano sample! You've sure got the pedal noises turned way up! Wow, beautiful strings too.

It must be really hard to promote this kind of music, at least in the traditional manner of trying to establish a fanbase. It seems like it would need to be in conjunction with video or at least some broader project. But what do I know?

Fantastic work! That was short but sweet. It's not really a great fit for my electronic music loving following, but I'm happy to share it anyway.

Ah, guess it's private. I don't see it on your profile. Well in that case, I guess the only thing I'd mention critically is that it may be a bit dynamic for casual listening. The swells around the 80% mark in particular. Great for an underscore, but I was tempted to reach for the volume knob.

Henry Alexander submitted media.

In My Shoes (official) by Henry Alexander

Brian Hazard

The press release feels like it says the same thing three different ways. I'm not even sure what the opening line means. Rock has huge shoes to fill, but you guys don't think so, so you said it... why? I mean, I get the attitude, but it doesn't compute. Fwiw.

Looks like you guys are having fun in the video! I'm a synthpop guy, so this isn't really in my wheelhouse, but I can appreciate the rock/blues thing. The air keyboard was especially cool.

Production is solid and the vocal has the right balance of style and substance. A solid track!

Wow, it's over already! I was expecting another minute at least.

This isn't really worth sharing with my Depeche Mode loving following, but I wish you the best with it! Thanks for sharing it with me.

Brian.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Eamonn Conor submitted media.

Like I Do by Eamonn Conor

Brian Hazard

Catchy! Stellar vocals most of the time, but the pitch correction is blatant in spots, especially the three note melismas.

The chorus really takes it up a notch! Quite anthemic. And the bridge is a nice change in tone and texture.

Those high ad libs at the end are tasty!

This isn't a great fit for my synth-loving audience, but I'm happy to share it in case it helps. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Brian.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Ricardo Temporao submitted media.

Brian Hazard

The opening has a Beatles vibe! I like to keep the pop filter at least six inches from the mic. 😜

What a great idea to just film yourself recording and create a video out of it. You've done a great job assembling the footage into something interesting, that helps draw attention to the song.

If I'm being nitpicky, the vocal pitch on some of those long notes is questionable. I wish the drums entered sooner, and I guess what was the chorus didn't really feel like a chorus.

Love the lyrics though. That central image is fantastic. I know the feeling!

Genre-wise, this isn't a great fit for my #synthfam following, but if I pitch the utility angle of the video, that might get a few views.

Hamish Anderson submitted media.

Out Of My Head by Hamish Anderson

Brian Hazard

Six feet people!

It's nice to hear great songwriting. Really interesting chord progression and the arrangement is tastefully sparse.

It sounds a touch muddy via YouTube but other than that, no technical complaints.

Just so you know, my audience is a bunch of synth-heads and I think my profile even lists electronic genres exclusively, but I'll go ahead and share this. Hopefully it'll get you a few more well-deserved views/spins, but it's not exactly in my wheelhouse.

But hey, a great song is a great song!

Bobby Jo valentine submitted media.

In the Middle of the Question by Bobby Jo Valentine - Topic

Brian Hazard

Beautiful! Your voice is lovely.

I hate that this is now a thing, but the intro is probably a little too long for the impatient masses.

The strings really take it up a notch, and the piano another.

I've got nothing critical to say. Great song, solid performance, no technical issues.

This isn't really the sort of thing my Depeche-loving following is into, but I'd be happy to share it. Thanks for sharing it with me!

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Brian.

Kayla DiVenere submitted media.

This Isn't Fun Anymore by Kayla DiVenere

Brian Hazard

The production is straight ahead mainstream pop, complete with the little vocal samples in the back that I'm hearing so much these days. The bass is the most distinctive part to my ears, with a Rick James flavor. The vocals are solid if standard. No complaints, but I'm not hearing anything that sets this apart from others in the genre.

While I like the way the arrangement just sort of grooves along, I was expecting the chorus to take it up another notch. The end came as a surprise, far earlier than I anticipated. I felt like there was a lot more room to explore and expand, but I suppose it makes sense commercially.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Henry Alexander submitted media.

Trouble Maker by Henry Alexander

Brian Hazard

Cool 80s style video! I'm reminded of INXS, in both the look and sound.

Starting with silence like that could be problematic, but I'm over it once the track kicks in.

Tell your keyboardist he's doing it wrong. 😜

Wow, what a short song! I guess it works.

I really have nothing critical to say about the song, mixing, video, or performance. Great work!

I'd be happy to share it on Twitter, which I will right now...

Brian.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Haus am See by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

I listened to the original first, and I like yours better! How many languages do you speak?

I'll get it out of the way — too loud. Both the overall track and the vocal level over the backing track. There's just no reason to pursue this volume level, because both YouTube and Spotify are just going to turn it down. Visit loudnesspenalty.com if you don't know what I'm talking about.

By the end, the vocal level works. It would've been better to start quiet and build to this point though. It would make for a more satisfying build, instead of the sense that the entire track is gradually getting quieter due to the compression and limiting in mastering.

I found the original a little boring, but this arrangement manages to stay interesting enough to hold my attention, again despite the language barrier.

Happy to share this too! I'll schedule it to give the first one some time to breathe.

Hope you're staying safe and healthy Natalie!

Brian.

Jake Elmendorf submitted media.

Brian Hazard

An important message at an important time! Hey, maybe that'll be my tweet.

Solid songwriting with a strong chorus, especially the soaring falsetto.

Production-wise, there's some room for improvement, with the exception of the strings. The piano and especially the drums sound unconvincing (the tone/samples, not the performance). The pitch correction on the vocals, especially in the first verse, stood out in a bad way to my ears.

Now that I scroll down and see the team behind it, I'm doubting my own ears, but my first impression was that piano and drums had that "General MIDI" programmed character to them. Granted, I'm not on studio monitors at the moment.

Hope this one does really well for you, and that I can get you a few well-deserved listens!

Brian.

No Momo submitted media.

Brian Hazard

You had me with the title. Even though I don't really understand what it means. 🤔

A good friend of mine is putting together a similar album Inspired by Reznor/Ross, minus the excellent concept.

Your guitar work sounds a little heavier and less polished (maybe not the right word) than those references. I guess it's not too far from NIN's Broken, which precedes his soundtrack work.

The dynamics are fun and right on the edge of too much. Kudos!

As a soundtrack, this totally works, but as a standalone work, I'm not sure I'd be inclined to fire it back up. I suppose that album would need to be taken in as a whole.

Really nice job! I'm totally happy to share this. Thanks for making it easy with such a succinct and catchy elevator pitch.

Brian.

District Authority submitted media.

Intense Feelings by Zion The Don

Brian Hazard

That opening confused me! Thought it was the track and then it was over. Don't worry, I'm easily confused. 😂

Pretty dark subject matter for the age, but I guess that's the reality. I'm worried about the video and COPPA, since it could be characterized as "for kids." Anyway, I'm sure you've seen all the YouTube drama.

I'm not sure the plot came through as clearly as it could've, but there was some dramatic and eye-catching imagery, so kudos for that.

As for the track, the mix was okay and the production was pretty stereotypical for the genre. Musically I didn't hear anything fresh or memorable. I can't sing the hook back to you now that it's over. It felt like it ended too soon, but I understand the impulse to create short tracks in the current environment.

Then again, hip hop isn't my thing. I even say "no hip hop" on my profile. It's not a good fit for my audience so I never share it.

Good luck with the track, and sorry I can't do more to help!

Brian

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Mine by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

Natalie! Lovely song and video.

I love how it eventually resolves to major, but only for a few seconds and we're back to the minor and mysterious.

Must have been a fun video to make! The dancing is wonderful, not that I'm in expert in these matters. Cool that you "got your feet wet" too so to speak! 😂

The ending section is really powerful, epic and yet enigmatic.

I think this is my favorite thing I've heard from you. Great work! I'm happy to share of course.

Happy holidays and all that good stuff!

Brian

natalie bancroft submitted media.

A Modo Tuo by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

Lovely! Of course I have no idea what you're singing, but the gentle rising lines have a certain optimism in them that we could all use right around now.

Oh, I know "tutti" 😂

This has got to be a tough time #1 to be pregnant, if the image is current, and #2 to be a performer. At least #1 isn't interfering like #2 as it normally might.

As usual, I feel like the mastering is a little too aggressive for the semiclassical style, but it gets the job done.

Happy to share this! Moving on to your other submission...

Brian.

Samir Moussa submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Congratulations on the feature! Fantastic!

Fun performance video too. I can't help but notice the chorus piano line isn't accurately reflected by the keyboardist. Odd that he's wearing headphones too. Whatever — these are things a fellow keyboardist notices! 😂

You've got a catchy song here, as I'm sure you know as it's been out for a couple years! I see it's on your 2016 album on Spotify.

Obviously you want to do whatever you can to piggyback the exposure from the film. What if you released it again as a single, titled "Dance With Destiny (from Turnover)"?

I'd absolutely positively run YouTube ads for search terms related to the film as well.

I'll do my part in tweeting it out, though I'm not sure how much it'll help!

Brian

Henry Alexander submitted media.

A Song That Rang On by Henry Alexander

Brian Hazard

Staring contest — IT'S ON!

Kidding aside, this is super cool. Your voice is fantastic, and I love the style of the video. Nice use of synth and piano as well.

This may be your first video, but clearly you have experience making great music. Or else you're working with someone who does!

I don't have anything critical to say — the mix, mastering, and arrangement are great. I'm no expert in making videos but I like what I'm seeing!

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

I'm happy to share this on Twitter as well, though I don't know how well it'll do among my Depeche Mode loving following.

Keep up the great work!

Brian.

Robert Dugdale submitted media.

Sadie by Rob Dugdale

Brian Hazard

You get right down to business!

The recording feels a little rough, especially the drums. They are sitting pretty far back in the mix, but maybe that's okay. The snare, and to a greater degree the toms, are muddy.

The arrangement leaves little room for the vocal, and in fact I have a hard time making out some of the words, despite the fact that the level is clearly high enough.

The alternate sections (like 1:25) are a breath of fresh air. The hard panned guitars leave room for the vocals and everything is so much clearer!

Unfortunately they jump up in perceived volume due to too much compression in mastering, which isn't ideal. They should feel smaller so there's a bump into the chorus.

I'm not sure how I feel about the strings at 2:09. They feel out of scale, way louder than they would be in a room with the other performers. On the other hand, I can hear it. 😜

The backing vocals don't sound consistently in tune, but there's not much room for them anyway.

Fwiw even if the mix were incredible, this isn't a great fit for my Depeche Mode loving following, so I likely wouldn't share it on Twitter.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along.

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Hope that kinda sorta helps!

Brian.

Will Peake submitted media.

patience by 404 not found

Brian Hazard

You're off to a great start! It reminds me of Beck. I'm not hearing the hip hop, and the only thing "space" or "psychedelic" about it in my mind is the delay on the snare.

Mix-wise it's hard to say too much about what is arguably an experimental track, but the shaker in the right channel is way too loud for my tastes. Same with the second verse pad in the left channel.

I don't know about getting an all-star group together unless you've either got a lot of money, or you've already established yourself through another project. And premieres are totally overrated. But you could try SubmitHub and see if anyone bites!

Overall I like your voice and the vibe, but it feels like half a song. Then again, the trend these days is to keep it short to match our attention spans!

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Good luck with the release, and thanks for sharing it with me!

Brian.

Bryan McNamara submitted media.

Wake Up by SMPL

Brian Hazard

I like the piano tone and the overall melancholy vibe!

The drums seem too loud until the main groove comes in at 1:21, especially the kick. Put another way, the non-drum intro elements could come up to put them in their proper scale.

Not a huge fan of the cowbell. SNL jokes aside.

The sub bass is a bit much both from the kick and bass. The bass could probably come down a dB or two, but I like a lot of low end so I'm not offended by it. 😄

The little synth lead that comes in after the main piano vamp gets lost. Then you go into Ableton Live 4-bar loop syndrome, where a new part. I guess 8 bars. But it just kinda meanders alone until the outro.

Speaking of the outro, there's distortion on piano in right channel at end.

Overall it feels pretty raw. It's obviously unmastered, but I'm not hearing a lot of tonal or dynamic control (EQ & compression) on individual channels. Fortunately you picked a solid piano sample so the foundation is strong!

Bottom line, feels like a demo — the seed of an idea, but not a fully formed piece.

Bryan McNamara submitted media.

Dance Away by SMPL

Brian Hazard

I guess I'm hearing these out of order. Fluence fed me "Wake Up" first.

Bass (detuned 808?) seems a couple dB loud again, but otherwise the mix so far (one minute in) is good. The kick sits out front of the rest of the drums, but that's fine by me. I have a thing for quiet hats/cymbals.

The piano feels distant, almost vaporwave-y. I like it!

So again, this feels like it's all set up in Ableton session view, and you're just firing off the clips at 4 or 8 bar intervals. There are no chord changes or different sections — it's just one loop with different parts muted at different times.

Again, some cool sounds and the seed of what could be an interesting idea, but you haven't taken it anywhere yet.

Bryan McNamara submitted media.

Ambiances by SMPL

Brian Hazard

Alright, third time's a charm, right? 👍🏻

That open hi-hat on the downbeat reminds me of Rihanna "Umbrella".

Love the reverberation around the piano, and the way the drums are pushed to the back. The bass sits nicely in this one.

Timmy 😂

This definitely wins for most interesting chord progression. There's no sense of really moving to a new section, because it all stays close to the tonal center, but it feels a lot less repetitive than the other two.

I was surprised to hear it cut out so quickly when we were just getting started.

I'd say this is the most realized of the three. While it still feels more like a piano doodle than a completed track, there's some sense of forward progression, through the Timmy sample and the arpeggio and then it sits there for a bit, then teeters and falls off a cliff. 😜

The piano chord at 2:25 jumps out of the texture, reminding me that you could definitely use some (more?) compression!

Bottom line, your whole SoundCloud page looks like a production diary or musical dream journal. Either you need a story to tie all those bits together, or you need to start doing the hard work of fleshing those ideas into complete tracks.

Hope that kinda sorta helps! While I don't think anything is ready for sharing yet, I did enjoy spending some Sunday afternoon time with these.

Brian.

submitted media.

Fly in the Ointment by Bart Moore

Brian Hazard

I'm not sure what to make of this, but I like it! If you hadn't included the lyrics, I would've understood about 50% of the words.

I thought the guitar was a little too present from the beginning, but the vocal is even moreso. The overall effect is a bit edgy and fatiguing. The performance is solid though!

Oh hey, it's over 😂. It felt like you were working towards a chorus, but it never arrived.

Going for a second listen, yeah, a little more warmth and a little less shaker would go a long way.

It feels a bit like a novelty song, which I've had said about my songs before in a rather dismissive way, so I'm not sure that helps.

So instead of novelty, it's more like the soundtrack to a movie I haven't seen, with all sorts of specific concrete imagery, which is of course welcome and encouraged — but it leaves me feeling like an outsider who didn't get the joke. Or maybe it's just stream-of-consciousness, and there's nothing to "get."

Anyway, there's a lot to like here, and your originality shines through. It's not a great fit for my Depeche-loving audience, though I appreciate your sharing it with me!

Brian.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Perfidia by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

I always have to turn down my speakers for your tracks! As I've mentioned before, the mastering feels way too aggressive for the genre. But now I'm just nagging... 😜

You've got quite a range! And you can roll your r's nicely 💪🏻.

Love the way the arrangement builds, and all those vocal touches are spectacular.

I'm a little confused though — you say all the vocals are yours, but then it says "live performance"? Clearly this isn't live.

Wow, you took it up yet another notch at the end. It sounds positively huge!

Happy to share of course. I hope this is the one that catches on! 🤞🏻

Brian.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Love the story intro! Really sets the tone.

The piano sounds warm and the sax sultry. And your voice sounds wonderful, as usual!

The horns and guitar really fill out the arrangement nicely. Talk about a quality cover! You've made it your own.

Sooner or later, one of these videos has to tickle YouTube's algorithm the right way. Maybe this will be the one that gets the attention it deserves!

I'm of course happy to share it. I'll queue it up for tomorrow!

Brian.

Becca Fox submitted media.

Journey Back (Work In Progress) by Gentleman Brawlers

Brian Hazard

More like Gentleman Ballers, amiright? 😂

... sorry.

I'm hearing 70s funk! Except... now that snare is kinda EDM, which takes me to a different place. The vocal still kind of fits the retro Diana Ross thing. Really digging the vocals. And the cool chord progression! Challenging but not overwhelming.

Honestly, I don't listen to music for pleasure much. I blame podcasts. So my references are limited. I'm thinking Jamiroquai meets Daft Punk. It also reminds me of Röyksopp + Robyn. And a little bit of Disney Electrical Parade, Switched on Bach.

Hmm... the arrangement came all the way back around and now I feel like I'm hearing the beginning again. And then a weird coda and we're out. Not so sure about the structure.

Bottom line, I approve! This is sleek and stylish, and doesn't sound quite like anything else I can put my finger on. I look forward to hearing how it all comes together!

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Samir Moussa submitted media.

Samir Moussa by Sweet Champagne

Brian Hazard

Wow, this is loud! Especially for the style. I don't know if that's YouTube's fault or if it's just mastered super aggressively.

The song is quite simple. One repeating melody for the verse and another for the chorus. I'm okay with it in the verse, but the repeated chorus line feels repetitive. I do like when the two are superimposed!

The vocal is passable but there are definitely pitch issues, but the bigger issue is the recording. It's a beautiful arrangement, but it feels really overcompressed.

I also appreciate the straightforwardness of the structure. You don't drag anything out or linger too long in any one section (other than perhaps the built-in repetition of the chorus).

In my opinion, the weakest link is the recording. Perhaps next time consider hiring a professional, or if this was mixed and mastered by a professional, find another one! The song and performance are quaint and charming, though I don't know who your audience is or how to reach them. Maybe you can find some appropriate Spotify playlists and pitch to those curators directly.

Regardless, it's not a good fit for my Depeche-loving following, so I'm not apt to share this one. Hopefully my comments offer some helpful guidance for the future.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Pandoras Shadow submitted media.

Friends like these by Pandoras shadow

Brian Hazard

That was fun! I like how the video starts by hinting at a story. The singer has a lot of charisma and character, which serves to hold my interest throughout.

In fact, I thought the singer was just an actress or friend of the band until her vocal came in. I was expected a growly dude, so good on you for defying expectations!

That said, I'm not convinced the Disney-esque pure vocal tone complements the music, which has a boomy room quality that makes it sound like it was recorded in a garage and not a proper studio.

The "nah nah" stuff reminds me of J. Geils. Definitely hooky.

All in all, I'm not sure what to make of this! It's certainly unique, but the video and recording aren't quite up to professional standards.

Regardless, it's not a fit for my Depeche-loving following. I'm not sure what your audience is to be honest! Have you tried ReverbNation Crowd Review or Drooble Reviews Marketplace? Maybe running the song through one or both could help you dial in your targeting.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Oblivion by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

Hi Natalie! I can't think Oblivion without thinking Elder Scrolls. You probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Clearly I haven't heard the original.

Lovely strings. Vocal seems quite loud. Something odd happening pitch-wise at 0:40.

Ooh I really like the way this builds, and the blue notes in the melody, which you execute soulfully!

In the melisma at 1:54, it feels like one of those notes should be a half-step higher! Anyhoo...

Wow it's gotten a lot louder by 2:33. The vocal level feels about right now, whereas up to this point it was clearly too high. I know I have to automate the level, and even the compressor threshold, to rise and fall with the rest of the arrangement.

Really beautiful singing at the climax!

I'll definitely share this! Right now in fact...

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Such a spacious mix! I love how the guitar makes it feel so wide. The tambourine is about 10 dB too loud for my tastes though, and overwhelms my ears.

Impressed as always with your vocal performance, and the songwriting. The feel-good vibe is contagious. I bet you had a lot of fun hanging at the beach for a day to film the video!

Wow, I thought it was going to go for another 30 seconds at least. You could've stretched out the ending with some ad libs, but I guess I'll survive. 😜

Happy to share it on Twitter! Thanks as always for sharing it with me.

submitted media.

Brian Hazard

That voice! 👍🏻

Fantastic vocal performance! Wow.

That said, the vocals are way too loud in the mix. All of them, not just the lead. I can barely hear the bass. It's really pronounced when the vocal drops out and returns at 1:35.

I suspect you could do a lot more with the arrangement. It feels super truncated. The overall vibe is like a Calvin Harris or David Guetta vocal feature, but the music is totally shortchanged to highlight the vocal, which I don't think you can get away with in pop EDM.

So it's not quite shareworthy for me at this point, but it's got a ton of potential! I'd focus on making a musical bed that's strong enough to stand on it's own, and then insert the vocal about 3 dB lower and compare to similar mixes. Maybe Zedd would also be a good reference.

Hope that helps! I really like what you're doing.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

submitted media.

Unreliable by Asymmetrical

Brian Hazard

Super catchy! Love the distinctive vocal style, and the guitar hook (especially over the moving bassline in the second verse).

I mostly listen to electronic, but to my ears, this falls somewhere between Smashing Pumpkins and Jimmy Eat World.

Great structure! It backs off right when it needs to and builds right back up.

Technically, I've got nothing. The mix and master sound as fantastic as they could through YouTube's encoding.

Oh hey, there's a click at 2:12. 🤔

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Even though it's not a perfect fit for my Depeche-loving following, it's got enough of a retro feel that I think we'll get some traction. I'll go ahead and share it! Thanks for sharing it with me.

Kat submitted media.

Serendipity by Kat

Brian Hazard

Hope you had a great Christmas Kat!

Great vibe and sultry vocals! Reminds me of Fiona Apple.

That little guitar break really does sound like infinity, and I particularly like the otherworldly backing vocals in the following verse.

Thanks for including the lyrics! I definitely wouldn't have decoded some of the words (like "ridiculous") but I love the stylings even if they affect intelligibility.

Mix-wise, the vocal feels just a bit too up front, but it's always hard to judge through SoundCloud's encoding. It's a pretty sparse arrangement to begin with.

I'm happy to share this with my followers on Twitter, and I think I'll use your description because it really sums things up nicely! Thanks for sharing it with me.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

The Christmas Song by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

Man, Desmond can get up there! You two sound great together. I wish he were a little louder in some of the harmonies, especially in the coda.

I've spent the past few hours reviewing different sampled pianos, and this isn't one of the better ones, but once it's in the mix it sounds great, especially with the brushes from the drums to conceal the details.

I wonder if Desmond's spoken intro for you could be a dealbreaker in some contexts. It's certainly cringeworthy from my kids perspective - I can say that for sure! I thought it was kind of cute, but maybe a bit too out front.

Anyway, despite my distaste for Christmas music in general, you've done a wonderful job here, and I'm happy to share it!

Brian.

Jared Simmons submitted media.

Daydream by Vipid

Brian Hazard

Your ocean sounds suspiciously like tape hiss Jared! 😜

This is really nice and chill. I especially like the way you integrated the bass and guitar into the mix. It doesn't build much or have a clear sense of destination, but I guess that's part of why it feels so relaxed. It feels like the sort of arrangement you could trigger entirely from session view in Ableton Live.

I don't have any complaints or constructive criticism about the mix or mastering. It's all pretty straightforward and works well to my ears! As best one can tell through SoundCloud's encoding anyway. MAYBE the snare feels a touch up front.

Alright, two listens through and I don't have much else to say! I'm happy to share it with my followers on Twitter. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Brian.



G P submitted media.

Brian Hazard

The video got off to a rocky start, but... 😂

The violin is wonderful and provides some much needed character to an otherwise bland arrangement. That said, it can't save the song from feeling repetitive. It's just three chords, the same melodic line over and over, and no real chorus or build to anything. It starts as it ends, and doesn't really go anywhere in between.

The vocal quality is mostly fine, but it feels a bit pushed, occasionally resulting in pitch problems - especially the trailing note of the phrase, which doesn't always work with the chord even when it's in tune.

The lyrics are vague and unspecific. You might argue that they're universal, but it doesn't feel like we're talking about real people here. Specific details and concrete imagery would go a long way towards an emotional connection with the listener. Even just some sensory details (cold sweat, sound of laughter, fading darkness, grinding of stone, etc).

I totally thought the rocks said "elfin" at the end, as in "of elves." And then I realized it was "el fin." Doh!

So I don't think it's quite at the level it would need to be for a share, but I do appreciate your sharing it with me! Hopefully you find the feedback helpful for your next song.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (it would be nice to have them all in one place)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Brian.

submitted media.

Tell Me by Haywyre

Brian Hazard

First off, I'm super jealous you're on AWAL! They turned me down. Bastards. 😜

Always a treat to see someone who can actually play! And who can use extended harmony fluidly. I'm guessing this is your actual live setup.

I love everything about this, especially the piano solo! This is going to make me sound super old, but it reminds me of Joe Jackson in the 80s.

Slick production, great groove, and the vocals are soooo funky.

I'm scratching my head to come up with something productive to say, but I'm at a loss. You've earned a new fan!

I'm happy to share it with my following on Twitter. In fact, I'll do it right now. Thanks for sharing it with me! I'm excited to hear what's next.

Brian.

Suniel Fox submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Perfectly melancholy. The brass is spectacular!

The opening verse vocals feel a touch dry, maybe a little loud, and there were a couple spots where I felt uncomfortable with the intonation. Once it hits the chorus, it's great.

When the groove comes in, it doesn't feel quite as heavy as it should. Definitely part of my issue is that the high-frequency point on the kick is way too pronounced. Also, the kick feels too loud relative to the snare. Maybe they could meet in the middle.

The second verse vocals are wet enough, but there are still minor pitch problems. And a major one at "remind." It's 90% there but doesn't quite sound pro.

Yeah, the drop at 4:00 again doesn't satisfy the way I think it should. The drums just don't settle back into the mix. I'm looking for a deeper kick, a meatier snare, and less brash hats — a little more sophistication.

Suggestions aside, it's a great track and I'd be happy to share it when the time comes! Feel free to email me at colortheory@colortheory.com when you have a link I can share. 

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Keep up the great work!

Brian.

submitted media.

Thinly Veiled by Soundxscape

Brian Hazard

I'm not sure what the genre is either! Trip hop? Synthwave? Lofi hip hop?

It's a nice little groove for sure, though it feels a little too loose. It's like the shuffle is uneven to the point of being almost random at times. I love that it doesn't feel overly quantized, but a little tighter would be an improvement IMHO.

I'm wondering why your SoundCloud tracks are titled session 1 and session 2. To me, it makes it sound like they may be demos, and people may feel less inclined to listen to demos.

The bass is borderline too loud but otherwise the mix is fine. Nothing in the mastering stands out to me, which is probably a good thing.

As for the composition itself, it's just a four-bar loop without much sense of build. It just kind of rolls along. But hey, you tagged it ambient — that works.

It's a tough sell, but I'll go ahead and share it with my following on Twitter. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Brian.

submitted media.

Party Life on Maui by Gera El Ruso - Kosmos Studios Maui

Brian Hazard

Hey Gera!

I can totally relate to what you're saying about obscurity versus your desire to promote, but there's no way around it — you have to promote! A good benchmark is splitting your time 50/50 between creation and promotion. There's no reason you can't apply the same creativity you exhibit in your music, to your promotional efforts. Have fun with it! (okay it's not always fun, but it can be sometimes)

You may or may not have seen I have a music promotion blog devoted to "set it and forget it" promotion: http://passivepromotion.com. There are plenty of things you can try there for less than the cost of the latest UAD plugin. 😜

While I don't like to think of competing against other musicians, we're all at least competing for peoples' attention against other forms of media.

As for the song, it's passable but I personally think the singing is a net negative (sorry!). You've got the production chops, so why not collaborate with a talented vocalist who can bring their audience along for the ride? You can start with relatively unknown singers and work your way up. Just be sure not to Autotune them like that! But seriously, you have to have a good ear and some Melodyne skills to make a vocal work while still sounding natural. That's an art unto itself.

On the songwriting front, I wasn't really clear what the song was about, but it didn't seem like the topic was party life. That struck me as a semi-sarcastic comment about your own struggles. Why are your ears popping btw? That doesn't sound healthy! Be sure to monitor at 85 dB SPL and take lots of breaks! 👍🏻

The genre was unclear to me as well. If you can find a dedicated niche, and others making music within that niche, you'll have at least a small built-in audience.

This isn't quite up to the level where I feel comfortable sharing it with my followers, but close! 

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Thanks for sharing it with me, and good luck!

Jody Booth submitted media.

Lonesome On'ry And Mean by Jody Booth

Brian Hazard

You have a magnificent voice Jody! Country really isn't my thing, but I can still appreciate a great performance.

The bands sounds tight and the violin really fills out the arrangement nicely. Clearly you put on a great show!

You didn't ask for help promoting your submission, which is probably for the best in this case. As good as it is, it's not a good fit for my Depeche Mode loving following. I mostly work with electronic music.

I'm not sure what specific feedback I can offer beyond admiring the performance. The video is what it is, a shot from the audience. The song is great of course, which is why you chose to cover it, so I can't give any songwriting advice. The mix is pretty good for a live show, but again, out of your control.

So I guess all I can say is, keep up the good work!

Brian.

ashley smith submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Great artwork! And the track is doing stellar on SoundCloud! 🎉

How did you get 32K spins on this one, but only 242 on your previous release? 

I'm getting a "I Keep Forgettin" vibe, with a hint of "Africa". In the synthwave scene, it reminds me of Duett.

You were worried that you were doing Fluence wrong, but this is great. Some people just write "new single" and don't provide any guidance or idea of where they're coming from.

The vocal samples are fantastic! And the horns. Wow, many moods here! Maybe too many ideas for one track? I dunno.

I don't really hear the telephone connection musically, but it's an interesting title.

All in all, a really chill groove and great mood piece. I didn't catch any really strong hooks, and couldn't sing the melody back to you, but that doesn't necessarily bother me!

I do wonder if the track would do better if you cut out about 20% of the musical ideas, and length, to form something a little tighter and more cohesive, with a clear structure. A radio edit perhaps? 🤔

Regardless, I'm happy to share this. I hope it gets you a few more well-deserved plays!

Brian.

natalie bancroft submitted media.

Someone to Watch over Me by Natalie Bancroft

Brian Hazard

Lovely artwork again!

The pitch correction jumps out at me on the fifth note. Maybe it's because I've been doing a lot of vocal editing lately! It's tough when the vocal is so exposed.

Ooh, those strings are wonderful. Love the direction this is taking!

I know I say this a lot, but the mastering strikes me as really aggressive, especially for the genre. The dynamics feel overly constrained, with the "quiet" parts feeling too loud and the "huge" parts feeling reined in.

The exception is the ending, which works as-is. It makes me lean in just a little bit. Good stuff.

Happy to share it! Keep 'em coming Natalie! 👍🏻

Brian.

Taha submitted media.

Upside Down by T-Nugg the Phoenix

Brian Hazard

Sounds kinda familiar! 😂

Mastering is super aggressive! I had to turn it down quite a bit. More importantly, the "quiet" sections sound as loud or louder than the "loud" sections.

I'm having a hard time understanding the words, I think because the synth pad is so heavy in the low mids. If you cleared some room around 200 Hz, the vocals would be more intelligible.

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along.

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

I'll go ahead and share this because of the Stranger Things connection! Thanks for sharing it with me.