- Mastering Engineer / Recording Artist
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.
- mixing, mix engineer, piano, music production / mastering, music composition
- electronic, edm, synthpop
- Huntington Beach, CA
You've got a fantastic song here! The whole package, really. A beautiful soaring voice, tight harmonies, up-to-the-hour production, and a catchy song with an anthemic chorus and a universal lyrical theme. The tribal-ish electro break might just be my favorite part! It breaks things up nicely and re-grabs your attention, just when you think you know exactly where it's going. Love the artwork too. Now to complain a little, because that's what I do. 😜 First: “Barely Alive is about facing the feelings I had for someone and recognizing that I was hurting.” I don't think you could be more vague! That could be used to describe any song, ever. I'm looking for something catchy — some elevator pitch — to make people click play on social media. Next: “Barely Alive” is the first song I released this year and I think it’s really indicative of the kind of music that I’m creating right now. Well of course it's indicative of the kind of music that you're creating right now! It literally is the music you're creating right now! It's like making a sketch and saying, "that looks like something I'd draw" 😂 So again, you've got everything going for you with the product. It's the pitch that's lacking! In the future, please include the lyrics. I didn't see them on your SoundCloud either. That would've helped me come up with a way to pitch it on Twitter — which I WILL do right now. Thanks again for sharing this with me!
Sorry for the delay Mike! I just launched a Patreon and I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It's here if you want to check it out: http://www.patreon.com/colortheory Thanks for providing so much background on the song! It really changes the song for me, in a good way. That said, I'm sure 99% of listeners don't know that Robin Hood is the name of a variety of rose, and will think you're talking about our Disney fox friend. The first verse more or less cements that even if you do know your flowers! I'd go so far to say that even when you say "name of a rose", people will assume you're speaking metaphorically. Then again, I suppose you are talking about both senses of Robin Hood. It's a very clever twist on the assignment for sure! I love the flute thingy (don't I sound musically literate?). Since I don't see a credit, I guess it's synthesized? Sounds pretty natural to me. You do a great job adding touches to the instrumentation that help distinguish one song from the other. Dang it, I know the instrument. It's on an old Arcadia song called "El Dorado" playing in thirds just like you do here. I apologize for not Goggling the GINI coefficient, but rest assured I'll have my eyes open for it. Some questionable notes in the guitar solo, and it comes pretty soon after the "flute" solo. I wasn't ready for another break. Honestly, I think the song might be stronger if you dropped the rose altogether, despite the fact that it makes for an interesting songwriting story. That said, you've done a great job of making a "political" topic accessible. Not an easy task! So what do I know? Maybe if you'd established the name of the rose angle earlier on in the song, and continued to juxtapose the hero with the flower, it would work better. I remember your main concern is the songwriting, so that's been my main focus. Mix-wise nothing really stood out. Again it's got a very raw unedited feel, for better or worse. Since you know this isn't a good fit for my followers, and the album is already done, I'm worried I'm not providing much value to you here. I guess it could help inform your future songwriting efforts! Regardless, I enjoyed spending some time with your song.
Wow, that was... 1. Disorienting 2. Fun to watch, for sure! 3. Somewhat incoherent I guess a little like being drunk! The camera placement and red tint do a great job defining the style of the video, but putting the ambient sound up front puts the song itself into the background. The vocals feel buried already for such a narrative song. And bottom line, I was expecting something I could sing along to, and now I feel cheated! In all seriousness, the chorus refrain doesn't repeat enough for me to know when and where it's coming. The guitar solo (essentially blank space) goes on far too long, when you could've reinforced the hook. It's a great concept both for a song and video, but I think the execution could be improved upon. Regardless, it's not a good fit for my Depeche Mode loving following. Hopefully my comments can help you fine-tune! A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions: 1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I missed quite a few words). 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.
Oh hey Mike! I didn't notice you had another one in the queue. Since I already went on and on about the need to define yourself as an artist, I'll focus more on the song this time! Between the two songs, I'm getting a strong nature vibe. You like to name specific places, and I love the concrete imagery. The chorus is strong and really helps tie the specifics nicely. I'm starting to get a feel for the album, and I like the way the two songs seem to connect! The sound of the rushing river at 1:34 was a surprise! Not sure how I feel about that - ha! One comment on the mix - the overheads are too loud. The ride in particular really pokes out, uncomfortably to my ears! The video doesn't do anything to enhance your relationship with the listener. Sure, there are a lot of pretty images, and it helps to evoke a mood, but the range is too wide to tell a coherent story. I'm not sure if 2:35 is personal history. If you'd have started with a photo of a boy, I'd have assumed it was you. That would've been at least the teensiest insight into your life! C'mon man, give me something here!!! 😜 Honestly, the cover art is the most defining element of the video, and it's got some character! Not to dismiss all the work you've put in, but I do wonder if a static cover image would perform just as well as the slideshow. Again, not a good fit for my following, but I enjoyed listening and appreciate your sharing it with me!
So congratulations on a successful Kickstarter! i clicked through to YouTube, saw the video, then found your campaign. Very cool! I'm not sure exactly what kind of feedback you're looking for (promotion, production, songwriting?), but I'll just say what pops into my head. 😜 The song doesn't really pick up and establish an identity until the drums come in at 1:30. Up until then, I can't pin you down to a particular genre. It sounds like "old people music" - ha! You look a little like Bruce Springsteen and your voice isn't that far off, so that's where my mind went. When the drums come in, it's obviously you're going for a younger sound. And then the anthemic chorus, and especially the harmonies, remind me of U2. It really comes together nicely, and I'm hooked by the 3:00 mark. I just worry people won't make it that far, because it takes a long time to build. But hey, maybe the waiting is what makes this so satisfying now! I don't think like the video sells the song. The performance footage isn't always synched to the song. It seems more like a highlight reel of the band's history. It doesn't feel immediate. The artwork doesn't really fit either. Production and performance-wise, it's fantastic. No complaints! So the main issue in my mind is creating a coherent package. The video, artwork, and arrangement should serve the song in establishing a clear identity, and it shouldn't take 3:00 to figure it out. 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. That said, I didn't hear the title, and don't know why you named it the way you did. 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.
Nice to "meet" you! Thanks for introducing me to your music. First off, your bio doesn't say anything about you guys. Who are you and why do you write music? Why should someone click play? The release date of your album isn't exactly "above the fold" news. People respond to stories, and want to know yours. You might consider StoryAmp's bio writing service: https://www.storyamp.com/writing_service/about That cymbal that starts in the first verse and seems to play at random times throughout the song is kind of distracting. I can't help but notice it, no matter how hard I try! 😜 If only there were some pattern... (okay listening a second time I'm over it) I really like the nostalgia the song evokes. Obviously you can tell a good story! Now you just need to rewrite your bio accordingly. "Spring of 1980" tells me you're not going for the young indie crowd, but folks closer to our age. Which is perfectly fine. It's good to know who your intended audience is! The recording is pretty raw, but I suppose that's part of the charm. The vocal intonation suffers at times, but same idea. You(?) have a pleasant vocal quality, and I don't mind that it sounds like it was recorded in one take. The fiddle helps distinguish the arrangement and defines your sound nicely. Overall I think you're onto something here, if you can just frame it in a compelling way. What separates you from other bands in the same genre? I don't hear it in the music, so you're going to need to make it clear in writing. It's not really a good fit for my Depeche Mode loving following on social media though, so I can't really help you with a share. A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions: 1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I found them on SoundCloud, but just saying). 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.
Great work Chris! I absolutely love that drop. If it were me, I'd pull back the limiter a dB to let the kick punch through a little more. It's plenty loud! The vocal gets buried from time to time, mostly in the verses, but it doesn't bother me too much because it makes the instrumental feel bigger. I suppose it couldn't hurt to inch them up a quarter dB though. Oh wow, that was over quicker than I expected! I suppose you've got an extended version. I always wonder with bootlegs like this - are you able to repurpose the mix into an original? Seems a shame to let all that work go (somewhat) to waste. I just reposted on SoundCloud and I'll share it on Twitter tomorrow. Keep it up!
Kasson! My first thought is, is going the Fluence route something your PR firm recommended, or are you doing it on your own for the follow-up EP? I'm guessing the latter. My second thought is, WOW! This video is totally pro. Not a hint of "indie" or "emerging artist" or what have you. You went all the way with it! I'm guessing $$$ = ouch, but hey, this is a highlight of your personal/artistic history. Worth it! The dancing is stupendous and mesmerizing, and the story is compelling. It sucked me right in. I especially love the all-pink "dream" sequences. (and as a side note, now you've got me thinking I could actually do a video, if it were this great and I didn't have to be in it) As for the song, I must have heard it before. It totally reminds me of Death Cab for Cutie until the arpeggios come in. I guess then it's Postal Service? 😜 It strikes me as more of a "grower" than a "grabber" but paired with the video, I was hooked. So yeah, I'll absolutely do what I can to help spread the word! I just reposted it on SoundCloud, and I'll share it on Twitter most likely this afternoon, when engagement is at its peak. I'd love to hear your final thoughts on PR vs DIY. Maybe you might want to check in with me in a couple months when I've hopefully launched my Patreon! That's all I've been working on lately.
Thanks for sharing your new one with me Natasha-Leigh! It's a strong song. One of those Roar-ish female anthems that seem to have been so in vogue the past few years. The production and performance are solid, and I love that vibraphone line. It makes for a cool hook. The snare is totally 80s. It's so mainstream though. Maybe that's what you want - for it to be universally accessible - but it doesn't feel like you wrote it. It's too generic, and lacks concrete imagery or any unique personality. There's no "edge." It feels like you're reaching for Lana Del Rey, but it's closer to Katy Perry. That said, it might be a great candidate for sync placements! I could imagine it in the end credits of a film. I've got a couple problems with the lyrics: First off, "pressurized"? I mean, it's kind of clever but distracting when it should clearly by "pressured." And this stanza is pretty clumsy, chronologically speaking: And if I hold back I know I will regret that Then 80 and look back It would be much clearer if it was: And if I hold back now I know I will regret it When I'm 80 and look back I appreciate your including the lyrics! It would also be helpful in the future if you'd 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 can't think of anyone to connect you with, but definitely check out SubmitHub for blog reviews. Here's my review of the service: http://passivepromotion.com/these-59-music-blogs-will-listen-to-your-song
Love this! The basic beat & warm piano reminds me of Deadmau5 in the good old days. But pace of the build is spot on, and the chorus drop is supremely gratifying. Really, really great work! I can't stop moving around, and I don't dance. 😜 So I'll absolutely share it, and I appreciate your sharing it with me! I've really got nothing critical to say. Usually I look for a thing or two to nitpick, but really, I'm at a loss here. I hope you weren't working on this for two years! It sounds fantastic though, so I suppose it wouldn't be a total shocker. I do have some comments on the bio though! There are quite a few typos, to start with. But it's not immediately clear to me how "electronic music tempo" would help one defeat obesity. You look to be a perfect weight from what I can tell on your Twitter page, so I wondered if you were supporting a cause rather than working on your own body. In any case, I'm not seeing the connection. Generally producing music = sitting at a computer = getting fat. This is my experience anyway. 😬 The ending about Ohio (I'm originally from Toledo btw) doesn't really make sense. Ohio artists felt hopeless, but now? I'm not sure what you're getting at. Starting with the anecdote about Markus (who I assume is Kap Slap, but you never really clarify) is fantastic, but if you could make it a little more clear how getting into music helped you lose weight, that would really tie it all 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.
Great album title (Bad Things)! It reminds me of a little series of songs I did called "The Bad Song of the Week". Takes the pressure off, doesn't it? You might want to upload a higher resolution version of that album cover to Bandcamp. I think they ask for 1000x1000 minimum? Or is it 1200? Regardless, yours looks very pixellated. The link you gave you SoundCloud doesn't work! Okay, I'll watch the video now... 😬 Until I see you actually playing, I have a hard time connecting the people in the video to the song. Partially because nobody plays in time with the music. Even the kick drum! But your running around with the lobster and gas mask is priceless! Now we got ourselves a video. 👍🏻 It would've been helpful to see you singing the first couple lines, so I knew who the artist was right off the bat. The recording is super lo-fi. It has a certain charm I suppose! But it makes it hard for me to comment on the mix or mastering. It sounds like it was dubbed off a cassette from the 80s that someone found in a box in the garage. The kick drum is practically nonexistent most of the way. Wow, I was not expecting the end to come when it did - out of nowhere! I'm not familiar with BlankTV. How is it that they have over half a million subscribers, yet your video has less than 1K views after 6 months? Something doesn't add up. This isn't a good fit for my electronic music loving following, but I appreciate your sharing it with me and hope my thoughts are helpful! 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.
Molly! I'm super honored that you'd give me an exclusive on the video, but I don't have a blog! Well, I do, but it's a promotion blog, not a music blog. I'll definitely share it on Twitter, but please feel free to spread it around! I write about SubmitHub on my blog, and that would be one possible way to secure an exclusive (I don't think my tweeting it counts): http://passivepromotion.com/these-59-music-blogs-will-listen-to-your-song The video is great! And yeah, kind of creepy in the way you describe. The shadowy figure comes off to me as representing our internal darkness - anxiety, fear, all that good stuff that follows us around wherever we go. I was definitely engaged and paying attention the whole way. Downright mesmerized! So great job with that. I'm running where you filmed most days. I mean, exactly where you filmed. That bench you were laying on, for example! I was there a couple hours ago. And the river jetty. Or did you go to two? That bridge crosses the San Gabriel, but I thought I saw you near the Santa Ana too. Anyway, I'll stop location scouting. 😜 Btw you're kicking butt on Spotify! I'm really impressed. I may have a lot of Twitter followers, but I'd rather have more people actually listening to my music. You and your manager are obviously doing something - probably a lot of things - very right, so huge congratulations on that! I'll go ahead and tweet the video right now!
Really cool stuff! I hear 70s. The baroque intro starts with a Stairway to Heaven-esque chord progression. Then you've got those lovely Queen harmonies. Was that a Roland Space Echo performing the delay? I'm not so sure if those are the best kick and snare samples you might use, but when everything's in, it has a Sgt. Peppers sort of feel to me. Vocally I hear a hint of Maroon 5, which doesn't support my 70s thesis, so let's forget I ever said it! I hope the track will develop past 2:14! You've definitely got something going here. I wonder how the vocals might sound if they were mixed a little more up front - less effects and a teensy bit less mud/warmth. They seem just a hair cloudy to me. I know you want the effects to mirror the "ghost" thing, but still. Great work! I'm excited to hear how it turns out.
Interesting track! I'm not sure what to make of it. I hear hints of Ventures surf rock, but then the production is more modern - almost artificial with the panned cymbals. Which I find more and more distracting as the song progresses. Lyrically, the only way it makes sense is if it's a girl named Summer. It would be nice if it doubled as making sense with the season, but it really doesn't. I like the poetic turnaround from "you're not coming back" to "I'm not coming back" but I don't feel like I understand the story at a deeper level. It's also confusing because you're saying goodbye, but apparently it was a long time ago. Maybe I'm overthinking it. 😜 According to SoundCloud, it's an old track, so I'm not sure if my feedback will help. It's not really a great fit for my following on Twitter anyway, as they tend to be Depeche Mode fans. A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions: 1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, and saw most of them in the cover art, but still...) 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!
Sorry to keep you waiting Matthew! Molly's voice is compelling! And I have to say, it's so refreshing to hear a non-EDM remix, that nonetheless sparkles with a tasteful amount of production magic. The piano/strings break after the second chorus is unexpected and refreshing! The solo is cool, but volume-wise seems to sit above the vocal. Maybe you could pull it back a bit to preserve the proper scale. That's the only thing critical I have to say. I love it! I'll definitely share it later this week. 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.
Sorry to keep you waiting so long Mussa! Very kind of Matthew to refer you. So I'm not sure what to make of the video. It seems like stock footage of different cultures, interspersed with studio and live shots. Maybe we're supposed to appreciate the contrast, but it doesn't present a clear or compelling story to me. Production-wise, it's mostly passable but has some issues. Most pressing are the drums, which are super fake sounding. It's especially obvious where they're exposed during the guitar solo. There are occasional intonation issues with the vocal, but no deal breakers. Just enough though, to give it an amateur veneer. The master is too compressed, making for muffled sound overall. YouTube's encoding could be at least in part to blame. The selling point to me is the anthemic chorus, which strikes me as blatantly U2 - not necessarily a bad thing! I didn't really connect with the lyrics. They strike me as a bit too "political" a la "We Are the World" - with no personal connection to bring it home. For all I know, the song could be deeply meaningful to you, but that didn't come across to me. That said, I'll go ahead and share it on Twitter with the U2 angle, and hopefully it'll get you a few more listens! 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.
Feels very Christmas-y, probably because of the snow-peaked mountains and hearing Christmas music everywhere this time of year. Beautiful soaring vocal! Just when I think it can't go any higher, it does. The arrangement is lovely and timeless. Gorgeous strings and piano. The bass is super tasteful. I'm racking my brain for something critical to offer, but I'm not coming up with anything. It's really solid all-around. Hmm... at 3:40 it feels like the beat jumps... or something? Kind of threw me there. A couple more times in the coda too. Maybe I'd get used to it after a couple more listens. The video is good for what it is. Obviously you could create one more suitable to the song, featuring the singers, but it would cost big bucks to match the production value of the audio. I'd be delighted to share it! In fact, I'll do that tomorrow. I'd do it right now, but engagement wouldn't be so great on a Sunday. Thanks for sharing it with me!
Love your mini-bio! It's funny and accurate at the same time. My initial thought is that the vocals could use de-essing! "I'm flush with dreams" has lots of sibilance built in, and it can be really biting. Next up, the mastering is super aggressive, unnecessarily. You could back it off 2-3 dB and still be louder than most stuff out there. It'll make for a much more enjoyable listen. The kick will punch through in a satisfying way, rather than how it's currently muted and pillowy. As for the song itself, I love it! Thanks for including the lyrics. I'm hearing some James Blake, some SBTRKT, but then you've got that folky thing in there too which compliments it really well. I'd just like to hear a little more warmth from the mix, a little less in-your-face. It's not your style. Regardless, I'm happy to share it! I've already reposted it on SoundCloud and I'll tweet out a link this week. Thanks for sharing it with me!
Wow, this promises to be dark! The groove reminds me of Goldfrapp, and the guitar of Flock of Seagulls "I Ran" That blood red forest looks amazing. In a haunting sort of way! Stellar production and performance, a very catchy song, and an eye-catching video. I think you've got a winner here! I'm not quite sure how to introduce it, but I'm happy to share it with my following on Twitter! 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.
Hey Sam! Wow, 50 SoundCloud accounts? Yeah, I'd consolidate! Unless they are vastly different stylistically, I don't see the point. Unless it's to minimize the impact of a copyright violation, like the vocal in this one. Hypnotic, dark, and heavy pretty well sums this up, and I really like it! I'm not sure why you'd want to minimize the dark and heavy aspects. That's what I find most compelling! The mix and arrangement are great. The hats are too loud for my taste, but loud hats are kind of a recurring issue for me. I'd say the biggest issue, not just with this track but with your entire approach, is lack of direction. With the track, there's no clear sense of where it's going. I enjoy the ride, but I'm not hearing a structure. More importantly, as an artist, there's no sense of identity. Visually, with both SoundCloud accounts, from the profile banners to the song art, it's completely incoherent. I don't know who you are, what you look like, or what you stand for. Budi's article is a great place to start figuring that out: http://budivoogt.com/artists-guide-getting-more-fans-social-media You're clearly a talented producer. I'd pick a style/sound and start building a following behind it! In the meantime, I'll share the track and hopefully get you a few more spins.
Wow, this is mastered very quietly! As a mastering engineer, I'm a huge fan of dynamic range, but I don't think you'd lose anything with a couple more dB of limiting. The vocals feel like they're sitting on top of the mix rather than inside it (not so much the female vocal at 1:30, which is at a better level). Okay I'll stop - you weren't asking for technical advice! I love the melancholy drifting of the track as a whole. And I always love hearing piano, though it sort of meanders repetitively without any clear sense of direction. Here goes playthrough number two, now that I've got the volume up where it should be! Thanks for including the lyrics. Poignant stuff! Which clashes mightily with the first line of your bio, since this is more or less the opposite of funny. Reading the bio before listening made me take the song a little less seriously until I knew for sure it was meant to be serious. I don't have any specific promotional advice for this song, but I do have my promotion blog at http://passivepromotion.com if you feel like taking a look. This is a big ask of a listener though, since it's a relatively long track with no obvious hooks. This isn't a perfect fit for my Depeche Mode loving audience, but I'll share it anyway in the hope that it gets you a few more spins. Thanks for sharing it with me!
Thanks for sharing this with me Clay! My first thought is, wow, this is mastered too loud for the style. Next thought - the drum overheads are at least 6 dB too loud. I'm hearing too much of the cymbals, and too much brightness from the drums overall. Panning the guitar riff in the intro so far to the right strikes me as odd, fwiw. The tambourine at 1:30 is crazy loud to my ears, and could come down 12 dB or more. I like your vocals! And I love the tempo change! But I'm surprised it's over so soon. I feel like there may not have been much of a song in there, but here goes another playthrough... Yeah, it's really just a few lines of vocal, eh? There's no hook, or anything I could sing back to you after hearing the whole thing twice. I didn't even catch the title! I think it's safe to say, while the musicality and performance are there, this isn't a lead single. 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. Fwiw, this isn't a great fit for my following anyway. They tend to be Depeche Mode, or at least electronic music, fans. Thanks for sharing it with me though! Hope you find my comments of some value.
Congratulations on your crowdfunding campaign thusfar! Looks like you're doing great. You've obviously got a lot of dedicated supporters. I really like this! It's like chamber-inspired trip hop with much, much better drumming. :) The vocal style is distinct and colorful and the visual imagery is compelling. Love the warmth of the strings and piano. Is that a frog in your hands? Hmm... Well, good thing you're both strong swimmers! I wasn't expecting the song to end when it did, fwiw. It felt a little abrupt. Not that it should've been longer, but the structure wasn't clear to my ears at least. I'd be happy to share this with my following on Twitter in the next few days. 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.
Those horns remind me of Pet Shop Boys! Mix feels a little thin and pushed in the high mids. I'm wanting more low end, especially from the bass. I feel like I get that to some degree at 1:44. The kick is pretty up front, but I'm not hearing much if any bass to support it. Really like the 2:18 section, but its relative volume makes me feel like there's too much compression overall in mastering. A little glue is great, but it gets really messy, especially with the horns in. I wonder if you've got a really slow release going too, because when the kick comes in after a quiet part, it really stands out. Then after a few bars it recedes. I'm guessing you're self-mastering, in which case I'd encourage you to find a pro to partner with! I'm not just saying that to drum up business for myself. There are plenty of accomplished mastering engineers working in the genre. Just stay away from Fiverr! Oh wow, wasn't expecting that ending to creep up so quickly. To my ears, it could've used a lot more time to wind down. From your comments on SoundCloud, it sounds like the track is already up on Spotify, so I won't wait for a tweaked version to share it. Which I will do this week!
The artwork is brilliant! And of course I love the piano, so you hooked me as soon as I clicked play. It's mastered so loud but it doesn't sound wrecked. Kind of a Madeon thing going with the smashed kick/snare. I don't know if I could call it a drop, but I love the 1:20 section with the heavier sidechaining and tom fills. Very cool "processed choir" around 2:30. Between the voices and piano, it really feels more organic than electronic. No easy feat! I was anticipating that 1:20 section again, but I guess not exactly. It built up nicely but now it's backing off at 4:00. That's not necessarily bad! Overall you do a great job of keeping things interesting without adding too many elements. Hmm... after just listening for these few minutes, my ears feel fatigued. And they were totally fresh! So maybe the heavy limiting is problematic. This is a long shot, but is there any chance there was a sample rate conversion problem somewhere along the way. For example, when clients track at 44.1 KHz and render at 48 KHz because they think it will sound better, it destroys my ears. Or maybe you got crazy with some of the silly Ozone modules or something. Whatever the issue, the ear fatigue is definitely something to be addressed! My ears were completely fresh when I listened, so I feel confident in saying it's your track. That aside, I really love it and I'll definitely share it on Twitter. Thanks for sharing it with me!
Caius! So great to catch up with you! Let's see if I can help... So obviously the intro is too long if this is meant to be a "single" (whatever that means these days). Vocals are definitely too loud, by at least 2 dB. More when she moves up to her higher register. That's the problem with online groups and forums. Non-pros tend to urge you to keep inching up the vocals because maybe they can't understand a word or two. So far I'm mostly okay with the music mix. Hats might come down a couple dB, but I'm really sensitive to highs. Okay, now I'm at 2:55 and I feel like the vocals are more like 4 dB too loud. I mean, REALLY LOUD. I'm guessing there's plenty of reverb and/or delay on the vocals, but the pads are swallowing it up. It sounds almost dry. You could try bringing the pad down. I want the vocals to sound more lush, but if there's no space for the effects to decay, it ain't gonna happen. At 4:00 I'm feeling like this is going on too long. Not that it has to cut off at 3:30 or anything, but I didn't hear anything new or interesting in the arrangement to justify another chorus. That said, it winds down nicely. Let's try another quick spin... I notice that instrumentally it seems much louder in the beginning. Maybe you're compressing the hell out of the master bus? Don't do that :). So yeah, the intro mix all sounds great, and the hats don't seem too loud either. Once the vocal comes in, the balances start falling apart. Now I'd say the vocals are at least 4 dB too loud throughout. It's very karaoke. The vocals sit above the mix, not in it. Obviously professional mixing would go a long way, not to toot my own horn too much. But even then, the vocals will need to come way down before the compression in mastering can be the light glue it needs to be. Otherwise it'll just be grabbing onto the vocals. TLDR; bring the vocals down Thanks for sharing this with me! I love the lyrics and the concept btw.
Unclassifiable? No offense, but this sounds like dozens of other bands I've heard, just not as well produced. Frank Zappa you are not. Blues rock maybe? It leans towards easy listening. Yeah, the chimes and chanting are a little unconventional but that stuff doesn't come in until later, and most people won't make it that far. Regardless, you don't do yourself any favors by portraying yourself so enigmatically. The vast majority of people won't bother clicking play. Professional mastering would go a long way. The mix is heavy on the vocals and hi-hats/tambourines, which gives it a karaoke feel. Non-lead guitar is a bit buried. Don't get me wrong - the mix is mostly fine. Nothing is disastrous - it's just not quite in the pocket. That said, there are some promising and interesting elements, and I think you've got a lot of potential. Dialing in the promotional stuff should be your top priority right now. A couple more 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. This isn't really a great fit for my audience, who are mostly Depeche Mode devotees. I still appreciate your sharing it with me!
Not bad for a scientist! ;) But seriously, I really like this. The closest reference I can think of is James Blake, especially the little vocal melismas during the spoken section. Maybe I hear some SBTRKT in there too. I'm particularly impressed that you worked on this for a full year and didn't wreck it. Man, I love how that synth lead comes in around the 2:30 mark. Intuitively I'd think you'd put it in the space AFTER the vocal refrain, but there's something satisfying about the two lines juxtaposed. I'll definitely share it if I can. I'm not sure what service you submitted it on. It's clearly not SoundCloud and I don't see the YouTube icon. Feel free to email me a link if you don't see a tweet within a week: email@example.com 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 keep up the great work!
Interesting idea to film yourself in the studio, as a teaser for the song and album! Clearly you're just lipsynching though. I was hoping it would be a little more raw, with some joking around, to give us an idea of your personality. Still, it's a solid angle for a promotion, assuming you follow it up with a "real" video and a great song. That said, I don't think it's a great fit for my audience, who tend to be Depeche Mode freaks. 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.
Hey guys! When I saw "hip-hop" on SoundCloud I was ready to pass. Glad I didn't! That's got to be a mistake, right? I like that you've got specific questions, but I don't think I'm going to be much help on two-thirds of them! I haven't got a 1-2 sentence description, but you definitely remind me of Savage Garden. As someone who has always promoted direct-to-fan, I don't have any label references for you. But I can see potentially sharing your stuff on Twitter in the future when it gets a little more polished, and you never know who might hear it! As for the production and the song itself, I've got plenty to say... First off, obviously professional mastering would make a big difference, but I'm sure you know that. The biggest issues are: 1. There's no hook. I listened to every note and gave it my full attention, but if you asked me to sing something back at you, I'd be at a total loss. 2. The structure is ambiguous at best. It sounds like it starts in the middle, the chord progression seems asymmetrical in that there may not be an even number of bars, and there are no drum fills or changes in the instrumentation to differentiate one section from another. It just kind of meanders on the same drum groove and bass line. The extra synths all sound like one-finger arpeggio presets. Not interesting, and taking way too much space in the mix. There are no instrumental melodies, and no vocal harmonies. The 2:40 section in particular has some really ambiguous chords that seem to clash. There's just no sense of direction or forward momentum. It feels like the whole track is comprised of a bunch of 4-bar loops that you launched in Session View of Ableton - maybe a couple 3 bar loops too ;). Wow, that's a lot of stuff. But you get the idea! I suggest finding a song you love and stealing the structure: 8 bar intro, 8 bar verse into a 2 bar riser, 8 bar chorus into a 1 bar break, etc. And make each of those sections sound different from one another! A couple more 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. Hope that helps! I think you guys, and even this track, have a lot of potential. But it's not ready to shop to labels just yet! Brian.
I really like this! It's sort of lo-fi, and there's a bit much compression over the mix as a whole, but that character reminds me of Smiths and The Housemartins - simply because I don't have a more current point of reference for your style. The chord progression is really interesting, particularly through the guitar solo. Your(?) voice is very pleasing, and the harmonies work well to highlight the chorus. This isn't a great fit for my audience, but I'll share it anyway. 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.
Love the piano! Just beautiful. Your voice too! I was expecting a band to come in, but the piano virtuosity continues. No complaints! I'd prefer a shorter reverb for more intimacy, but that's a nitpick. The mastering is unnecessarily loud. Louder than a lot of dance music! I know the arrangement is thin enough that it's not doing much damage, but it sets a poor standard, and will be difficult to match with a fuller arrangement, or even just a louder piano track. This isn't a perfect fit for my audience, but I'm going to share it anyway, in hopes that it will get some traction. You're very talented, and I really enjoyed listening to your song!
Yep, sounds like Numan! This is more human sounding than I expected! I heard a couple sloppy flams in the build-up, but I guess the lack of quantization is appropriate. And welcome! The meat of the track is tight. The mix is solid, though I personally would prefer a little more warmth. The encoding doesn't help there. Vocals sound great! There may be a little too much compression in mastering, as that opening synth line seems loud compared to the meat of the track. Or it could be a simple matter of just turning that synth down a dB or two. It would make the full band entrance more satisfying. This is a great fit for my audience, and I'm happy to share it on Twitter! Look for that this week. Thanks for sharing it with me!
Promotion is a daily grind for me too, but I don't think it's out of our control. Luck comes to those who put in the hours! I'm hoping this beautiful melancholy piano track isn't a reflection on how difficult promoting music is! 😜 Clearly this style of track is more suited to licensing than trying to hook listeners directly. Especially since there's no hook! The atmosphere seems perfectly suited to film. The slow build is satisfying but demands more patience than most will give over social media. Of course, I'm happy to help by sharing it! But it's only one small piece in the puzzle. Have you got a publisher? I'm really happy with Marmoset. Maybe worth a look?
I had to compose fugues in college, and this isn't a fugue! It's certainly more enjoyable to listen to though. 😬 The hats at 1:07 seem crazy loud over here. They're super washy too, most likely because of SoundCloud's crappy encoding. My ears are relieved when they cut out at 2:04. Oh no, they're baaaacccckkkkk! Seeing as they effectively make the rest of the mix impossible to focus on, I'd scale them back as much as 12 dB! I can hear there's so much cool stuff going on underneath. That deep rich bass. The lovely brass. The twinkly arpeggios. Really a cool groove! But those hats just decimate it. The bongos (congas?) might be a touch loud too. I'm wanting more kick/snare/bass. When the fundamentals are lost, so is the groove. Not that you need to turn those up - they're plenty audible when the hats aren't smothering them. Despite my reservations with the mix, I really love the track, and would be happy to share it with my following on Twitter. Thanks for sharing it with me!
I was ready to give up on this one after the "September/remember" rhyming cliché, but things got interesting shortly thereafter! First off, "my wife" changes everything, because of course we assume you're referring to a man. Hmm... And then drops the f bomb. Very skillfully placed, I might add! I really like your brother's production, especially how he uses that harp(?) sound as a lead. Very organic and uncluttered. The rhyme scheme in the second verse breaks down rather obviously. "End/pretend" is the only actual rhyme, and "from/moron" is a bit of a stretch! But that's okay - it works. There's definitely too much compression in mastering. Other than that, nothing struck me as off technically. I just reposted on SoundCloud, and I'll share it on Twitter tomorrow. Great track! For some reason Fluence doesn't think you wanted me to share it, but I assume since it's public on SoundCloud, you do. I'll just use the SoundCloud link.
This is the strongest track I've heard from you yet! Both in the production and vocals. It's a solid straight-up pop song with an anthemic chorus. I love the 80s flavor. I hear it especially in the synths and use of reverb. I'm very much reminded of Rihanna's "Anti" album (a good thing!). Thanks for including the lyrics! They're pretty generic (no offense) but that's a strength in that they're universal. Still, I would've liked some concrete imagery. I'd be happy to tweet this when it goes live. Feel free to email me to remind me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also try SubmitHub for blog placements! I review it at http://passivepromotion.com.
Volume is way up. Here goes! That arpeggio has a space exploration vibe to me. But yeah, I hear the soul/blues too. NIN? Not so much, to me anyway. I grew up on Pretty Hate Machine so maybe I'm just setting the bar too high. The vocals can be a bit piercing at times, though on the plus side, I can understand all the lyrics. Still, it's better to copy/paste them in your submission (next time!). It's got a cool dark vibe, but not a whole lot of movement. After the second chorus, my ears are really hoping for some different chord changes. Which they get to some degree with the piano, for a brief moment and we're back to another verse. So yeah, it's a great track to sort of melt into, but there's no hook. Definitely an album track, no offense! I'd prefer the vocals a bit warmer and deeper into the mix, as they poke out a bit now. Other than that, everything sounds solid to me from a production standpoint. As much as I listened for "the bike" I must have missed it. Very cool concept though. I'd be happy to share this on Twitter! I'm going to call it "electronic rock" unless you have strong objections. Thanks for sharing it with me!
Love the artwork on your SoundCloud profile! Production is solid. Balances are good overall. It's mastered pretty loud so there's not much speaker excursion on the kick, and the snare is a bit fatiguing, but it's not out of the ballpark. It has a little bit of a lo-fi vibe to me, definitely not as smooth as something like Four Tet. The arrangement doesn't feel like it evolves like a Four Tet track either. The energy level is pretty static throughout. By the end it all feels pretty same-y, and it's not exactly a long track. For example, there's a sort of drop out at 1:05, but because of the mastering, it actually seems to get louder. No rest for the weary! Still, I'd be up for sharing it if the mastering weren't so aggressive. Just backing off the limiter a dB would make a huge difference. As for promotion, SubmitHub is probably your best bet. Maybe you've read my review? It's at http://passivepromotion.com. I review some other potentially useful services as well, like Feature.fm. Thanks for sharing this with me! If you decide to tweak this one, let me know and I'll share it! If so, feel free to email me at email@example.com, as the messaging on Fluence can be feisty.
Great photo! You didn't actually solicit it just for this project, did you? Regardless, it's an eye-catcher. I also love your catchy summary of the track on SoundCloud: "A journey through the ritual of summoning the destroyer of worlds." Exactly the kind of sharable snippet we need. This reminds me of my Final Fantasy VII days, summoning Shiva based on her good looks, and not her abilities. Not that you know what I'm talking about! Anyway... Is this really industrial? It strikes me as far too organic and warm for that. The breakdown at 2:00 is absolutely fantastic. What a MONSTER bass! Maybe a bit too much compression in mastering though, as the energy seems to fade a bit when the drums re-enter. No real complaints here! I really like what you've done with this. Structurally it moves along nicely, and the mix is solid. I'd be happy to share it with my followers on Twitter! Thanks for sharing it with me.
Great concept for a track! I guess only one of your many space-related journeys. 👍🏻 The drums, with the exception of the kick (and later, toms) sound a little too off in the distance. I wonder if they were up a dB with less reverb, if they would work better. Maybe they'd cover the synths too much, or be too exposed themselves, but there's my first impression anyway. The start of the second section is abundantly clear! Good timing too. The first section was just starting to feel like it was overstaying its welcome. Maybe it's more that the whole thing has too much reverb for my tastes, making it sound dated. I'd prefer to keep the reverb sparse except on a few tracks, to make them stand out. Kind of an odd area to focus in on, but the mix and structure seem solid for the most part. Good stuff! I'm happy to share it. Except a tweet this week!
The first 0:30 sounds like a hip hop anthem, but then it declares itself EDM. I don't keep up as much as I could, but I certainly haven't heard this style before! For my tastes, there's far too much compression on the master. It makes, for example, the "ah" at 1:10 really leap out. Same with the tape stop effect. It's too brittle, and I'm really missing the low end. Pretty sure that's just the mastering and not the mix itself. That left-panned closed hat is really loud, and a bit grating to my ears. I'm not hearing the piano, metal, or drum & bass! But I like it anyway. For future Fluence submissions, I suggest you 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. It might be a tough sell, but I'll go ahead and share this with my following on Twitter and we'll see what they think. Thanks for sharing it with me!
A heavy synthpop song? Can there be such a thing? Let's see... 😬 Overall I really like this! The chorus is really driving, with lots of energy at just the right moments. I love the concrete imagery in the lyrics, and the structure, especially how it totally changes after the second chorus. And your vocals! That's you, right? I don't remember hearing you sing before, but you've got a really compelling style. The pitch isn't always perfect, but it's off in a passionate and not-at-all distracting way. That said, I've got problems with the mix and mastering. Mastering-wise, overall it's way too quiet. But the fact that the verses seem to double in volume until the bass kicks in suggests heavy-handed compression. As a rough guideline, I'd suggest less compression and more limiting. Definitely stay away from multiband compression. Maybe that's the root cause of all the problems? 🤔 The hats and tambourine are way too loud, and the snare too dry and pokey. I know you could find a better snare sample that wouldn't feel so lightweight. I'd be happy to share this when/if the technical stuff gets worked out. It's a great song!