Eric Oehler

Eric Oehler

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Eric Oehler

Musician, Engineer, and Occasional Curmudgeon
I've spent 3 decades making music, 2 decades making electronic music with my band Null Device, one decade recording all sorts of stuff for other people, and about 15 minutes trying to figure out what to put here.

Over the years I've dallied in folk groups, jazz trios, baroque ensembles, industrial noise-punk bands, and my own electro-pop noodlings.  I've recorded anything and anyone; from rock to raga, keyboard to kanun, dulcimer to dhol, and I've basically loved every minute of it.
music producer, mixing, mastering, mix engineer
electronica, edm, downtempo, classical, world music, ambient, synthpop

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Nick Kardan submitted media.

Got Bass? by Khoda Leon

Eric Oehler

The intro is good, nice ear worm with the phasey effects.

The biggest issue is that the titular bass is overwhelming things.  It’s got too much sub and it’s sucking the pulse out of the kick drum.  A little surgical EQ ir some clever sidechaining would likely fix that.

The downsampled middle bit is a nice way to approach the breakdown.  That sort of thing adds interest.  I think the repeated vocal sample could benefit from additional effects and effects automation over the course of the song to keep it from getting too repetitive.

The use of reverb and delay is pretty spare, which is I realize fairly standard for the genre, but I think a few sounds here or there could benefit from some additional spatial effects - maybe not always, but just automate a reverb or delay swell once in a while - just to give the mix a lightly more roomy feel and continue to grab a listener’s ears.  With stuff this reliant on a few repeated hooks and a straight beat, it’s pretty paramount to throw in subtly variations to keep it from sounding “loopy.”

Nonetheless, if this came on in a club, I’d dance to it!

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Live Deliciously by Jason Kendall

Eric Oehler

This qualifies as a "toe tapper" I think.  It's well-written and well-produced and doesn't overstay its welcome.  My only criticism is that I can't quite tell if the string samples are supposed to sound like a real string section or a deliberately fake one.  I'd almost think a mellotron string sound might work best there - too realistic and the arrangement could veer into syrupy territory.  Slap some deep plate verb on vocals and you can end up in Neko Case alt-country land. :) 

The song could be easily positioned as sort of an alt-rock/vaguely-country-influenced crossover kind of thing, a la something like The Wallflowers or whatever the most recent iteration is (I'm not hip to that scene unfortunately) so you could pitch it towards college rock outlets, or even geographically target it towards more country-friendly areas.  I admit a lack of knowledge of good outlets for the genre beyond a bunch of low-power college radio stations so I'm afraid I can't offer a ton of help in that regard.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Eric Oehler

(sorry for the delay.  I've been out of town).

There definitely is a good song in here.  Needs a little cleanup, sure, but I think it's got potential.  Some judicious EQ on the strings and horns, maybe a bit of arrangement on those lines where they don't quite fight as much for attention (counterpoint!) but otherwise it's pretty solid, in terms of the hooks and lines.

I like the shuffly feel of this one.  You'll really want to emphasize the punchiness of the guitar and bass to really bring that out.  Judicious use of compression and maybe even transient shaping.  The reverb on the vocals is a nice touch, in a sort of vintage way.  Maybe even bring that out just a touch more for that sort of retro-rockabilly feel.

The fadeout seems a bit long, though.  You might want to get to the scat bit at the end a little sooner, or add more to that big everything-at-the-wall bit towards the end, like maybe even a recap of the chorus while the horns and strings and all that are playing - make it the loud climax of the song.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Eric Oehler

Mixing on this is really well done.  Tasteful piano.  The vocal takes are excellent.

The Melotron-ish pads at the beginning are quite nice.  They add a nice ambience.  You could even amp-up the tape-loop quality of them for a nice effect.  The guitars at around 1:50 are subtle, although I think the transients on them are a little sharp.

The drums in the extended outtro are a smidge on the boxy side, especially the snares.  An extended instrumental outtro is a bold move, and while it mostly works to add drama, it doesn't feel like there's *quite* a clear ending there.  It might be nice to, instead of just doing a fadeout at the end, recaptitulate the refrain with vox once and end more definitively - as it stands it feels like two related songs that are tied together at 3:00, but not quite one song, if that makes sense.  It's not a critical issue, but it might really help put a bow on the track if some vocals came in at the end.

Nice work overall!

Nicolás Cóppola submitted media.

Orion's Belt Hotel by Nicolás Cóppola

Eric Oehler

This definitely has a space-lounge vibe going.  The drums are good-sounding, nicely understated while still setting a vibe.  I think they could benefit from a bit more variation, though, just to play down the "loopy" aspect.  Maybe a small fill here or there to punctuate a phrase, or bring in the more complex hat part earlier, and where that is now add a shaker or tambourine or something, just to keep a little forward momentum. If you're feeling way out there, a subtle tabla loop could give this s but of s "Buddha bar" flair.

My first instinct was to add a little more reverb to the whistly lead sound, for a more vangelis-y effect and to push it back into the mix a bit where it's so exposed at the beginning, but after a while I stopped thinking about it so it might not be necessary. A subtly bass might help that last half of the song feel a bit more climactic, too.

It's definitely well-suited for the chilout kind of environment - I can definitely picture myself hearing this in my favorite high-end bar.  I think to promote this your best bet is to pitch it towards "lounge" compilations and direct-music services that sell streams for places like upscale bars, spas, salons, etc.  this would be a tough sell for radio play, being so ambient, but it has commercial potential as a mood-setter.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Jason Kendall by Make Big Plans

Eric Oehler

Very nice hook on this one, and extremely tasteful "modern indie" production.  The big hall vocal reverb suggests something Lumineers-ish.  The mellotron/organish sound is a bit aggressive and is sort of obscuring the "warmth" of the guitar in the intro, though, and I think the chimy guitar would make a better focus (maybe even adding something 12-string-like would help fill that out, although I am not a guitarist so ymmv).

You even have room to go a little bigger on the climactic choruses, maybe add more vocal overdubs (a second vocalist doing harmonies would be great), or a vocal countermelody, or even strings or something similar, just to really hammer that final hook home.

Nicolás Cóppola submitted media.

Warp Gate 1039 by Nicolás Cóppola

Eric Oehler

It has a very definite krautrock kind of feel, which is both a blessing and a curse - on the one hand, it's a well-done example of the genre, but on the other it's VERY hard to promote an 8-minute synth jam, unless you can target it specifically to fans of Can, Neu, Tangerine Dream, etc.

I would suggest a few things - maybe bring out the little twiddly synth flourishes in the background - they're there, but I think they will help the track stand out if they're occasionally a bit more prominent from time to time.  Also, a 4-minute radio edit,basically condensing everything from about 2:45 onward, might be an easier "hook" to grab people before you hit them with the full epic.  

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Eric Oehler

Well, this is kinda fun.  Two production comments, though - the vocals feel a little washed out under the effects, and I think the snares might need a strong attack transient - they splat nicely but they don't have enough "crack", so either maybe a few more milliseconds on the compressor attack or maybe a transient shaper should do the trick.  Other than that, fun.  And...short!  I can totally see this in a shoe commercial. :)

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Eric Oehler

Very nice track.  Good melody, love the shifts in dynamics, and the vocals are really impressive - that sort of gravelly Lenny Cohen-intimate thing works really well for this song.  Also I'm a sucker for deep vocal reverbs.  The piano samples used could maybe be a bit less "bangy" - the quieter riff seems about right but the alternating notes one feels a little sharp and clashes slightly with the more restrained feel of the song.  Might be cool to use that in the later loud part, but in the intro it's a bit much.  Also I'm sensing that the vocals could use just a tiny bit of de-essing - a few of those reverb tails grab on to sibilants and stand out more than you probably want.  The shift in dynamics at the end is great - I think you could make that even sharper relief.  The drum leads into it nicely, and I think at that point you could just full-on with the electric riffs, let them really punch in.  I don't think you need to fade them in quite as much as you do here.  You could even condense some of the repetitions of the riffs in that section, so it's tighter - I get there's a new element coming in every time, but it might work just as well if a couple of things came in at once each time, because it's almost *too* subtle.  Might also be cool to punctuate the end of that section with a bigger hit of some kind - big cymbal crash, guitar sound, whatever to really underscore the quiet fadeout after've got something there but it doesn't seem quite punctuate-y enough for my taste.  Maybe that would be a bit over the top, I dunno, but it might be worth a try.  

But a really well-written song overall.  

Digital Slumber Party submitted media.

'Skip The Day' by Digital Slumber Party

Eric Oehler

I'm always a sucker for videos with timelapse stars.

I really like this one.  I think it's my favorite so far.  Very BTish, although without the ridiculous stuff he always coats his tracks in these days.I could see this one in particular being remixed in a bunch of different ways - various beats, beatless, etc - to be useful for a variety of sync licensing.

My only quibble is that big soaring square lead that comes in periodically with the melody gets buried in the wall of sound.  The piano at 3:45ish is a little hard on the attacks, too.  Might wanna pull the velocity back a teeny bit so it sounds a little more natural.  That's a personal preference, though, and I've spent the past week playing with old 90's piano libraries so my perspective on that may be off a little.

Seriously, this one is some good stuff.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Stay Right Here by Jason kendall

Eric Oehler

This isn't my usual area of expertise, but this is a pretty catchy tune.  I really like the shuffle beat and the bridge.

A few concerns: the gang-shout "hey!" is well-produced, but it sounds a little bit too much like "hey, look, we're referencing the Lumineers" (or any other of the folky indie bands that have tried this recently).  It fits the song but it's gotten to be a bit of an indie-rock cliche.  I wonder if there's something you could do to separate it from that, maybe some additional echo or a different manner of phrasing it.  That's a tough one.  I'd also like to hear the vocals in the later choruses really "go for it" a bit more.  I like them sort of subdued in the early chorus. but towards the end...seems like that's the climax of the song, particularly the last chorus before the clarinet solo (love the clarinet solo) - so really tearing into that seems like a good way to go with that.

I'm not sure if you can do anything about it, but the brass feel like they need to be a bit punchier and clearer, especially at the intro.  Clarity can probably be accomplished with EQ, but the punchiness seems inherent in the performance.  I wouldn't go full-on mariachi staccato, but the attacks on the brass lines seem a bit tame.

I love that clarinet solo so hard.  Almost thinking you could have some smaller dialed-back variations in other instrumental breaks.  Not full-on solos, but just something to differentiate the multiple recapitulations of the brass theme.

Digital Slumber Party submitted media.

13th Floor (demo) by Digital Slumber Party

Eric Oehler

Nicely dramatic, powerful track.  Totally has potential to be a soundtrack kind of piece.

If you want to bring out the trancy-ness in this, I'd suggest a little more separation between the bass and the high end.  A lot of the instruments lie sort of in the midrange and they're getting sort of piled up there.  I'd also maybe sidechain more stuff to the drums, so they punch through a little harder.  

The breakdown at around 2:40 is important; you may want to build up to it even a little more, so the contrast between loud and quiet is stronger.  Maybe even kill the sub bass there for about 8 bars so it's more dramatic.  

I'd also like to hear a little more variation in the main theme after that breakdown.  That's the climax of your song, so I'd say just go freaking nuts there.  Add some modulations or a countermelody or a some alterations to the sound.  Some fist-in-the-air kinda stuff.  Maybe even a 1-bar drop before hitting that, while cliche though that is these days, it does work for a reason.

It sounds pretty impressive on my studio rig.  I would however recommend a/b-ing it on a lot of lesser systems, since that massive, woofer-eating sub-bass may not translate well to cheap earbuds or bone-shaking car-kickers, and you don't want your entire mix to sound either too thin or nothing-but-woof.   

Nice work overall.  This one's gunna sound massive when you're done with it.

submitted media.

Machines by Twi§ted

Eric Oehler

Okay, first off, I love those strings.  It's so nice to hear string portamento done in a reasonable way.

The mixing and sound design is pretty tight on this (I admit the kick at 2:30ish isn't my favorite - a bit too "late-90's industrial" for my tastes but it all works after 3:40).  Arrangement feels a little bit excessive in spots - the intro before the beat kicks in could benefit from being shorter than 1:30 - it could come in around 1:07 and I don't think it would be any worse off.  I'd also like to hear some more variation in the vocals, maybe a change in the harmonies or the processing once in a while - the changeup at/after 5:10 is kinda great and I'd love to hear more along those lines.  The vocals sound really good, I'd love to hear more of those in general, because they really stand out.  It really sounds great around 3:40 when the snares come in, and then again when the vocals come in again at 5:40 but I think the track would have more "grab" if we got to those parts much sooner.  There are lots of bits that repeat a few times, and it seems like if a few of those repeats were cut down a few times this would be a really tight track.  In general, this seems a bit like a really fantastic 5 minute track trapped in a 7:40 extended-dub-mix body.

There's some nice buildup and breakdown in here.  That really helps the song.

To promote this track, you may want to commission a few house mixes or something similar, to get the track into some clubs.  That may hopefully drive the exposure of the original.  The original's a bit too dense and poppy for a standard club night, although maybe an edit would work on a more pop/synthpop oriented night.  I'd certainly suggest promoting it towards college radio or indie-dance podcasts and blogs, especially if you can edit it to something a bit shorter.

I dig the sound, overall.  Based on this I'd completely be willing to check out your other work.

Digital Slumber Party submitted media.

630 AM by Digital Slumber Party

Eric Oehler

Really nice programming in this.  Those drums hit nice and hard, too.  It's a pretty nice slab of ambient-ish dubstep. Mixing separation is good, each sound is clear, nothing is really overpowering...well done.

The arpeggios that come in early in the song and reappear a lot seem a smidge static though - the rhythm is pretty basic and they don't do much other than beep as they follow the chord progression.  Later in the song they modulate in an interesting way, once - perhaps throwing in a variation here or there, or adding some filter modulation (or if you're feeling saucy, crank some OscFM periodically) just to keep it from seeming too exactly repetitive.  Maybe even change how it follows the progression every now and again, so it's not always locked to the root of the chord. It might also help keep that chord cycle engaging.

Really nice work.

Tom Cella submitted media.

This Broken Resolution by Rare Facture

Eric Oehler

Musically this is pretty great.  Very nice eurodance feel, very progressive-trancy.  Sort of slots in the Above and Beyond/Ajunabeats category.  With some slight alterations to the programming/remix (like some of the au courant sidechain compression) it could probably be aimed at of an EDM/Radio1 kind of audience, too.  The mix is clean and well-balanced, there's no midrange mud or excessive sub-bass, so on the whole, big win in the technical department.

The vocals, particularly at the beginning, are a little pitchy.  You'll really want to nail that down since that's the first foot forward and a casual listener might be willing to disregard the track based entirely on that.  Maybe some different EQ or FX on the vocals, too, to strengthen them in the more assertive ranges - they're right now a bit thin, and you probably want more of a chest-voice kind of thing to project through the mix and give it some gravitas.  More Peter Murphy, less Neil Tennant, I guess (well, not to that extreme, obviously, but it'll help keep the vocals from being swallowed up).  Even some ADT or multitracking to thicken them might help.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Girl Who Will Break by Jason Kendall

Eric Oehler

The vibe of this track seems to lend itself to a sort of ambient, wide production, but not too cluttered with filigree.  I could see going the Lana Del Rey route.  So maybe wide jangly guitars, vocals, bass, drums and strings, and that'd be about it.  Everything would have to slot together nicely, of course, but that kind of reverby, spaced out feel would probably be appropriate.

I would definitely consider adding some more "vibrant" strings - you've got a pretty great start with those sort of atmospheric string pads, maybe get some sort of additional motion in there, like instead of homophonic strings, get a little counterpoint going with the lower strings, or if nothing else, split the rhythms of the lwoer stirngs into something a little more driving.  An intimate chamber-ensemble sound would probably be best if you could wrangle it.  But I'd also recommend only doing that if you could get either real string players or a really good string samples, because synth strings wouldn't work well.

A good, solid bass part would help anchor things too.

I think the first set of repetitions of the chorus goes on a bit long - you could tigthen that bit up a bit, sand save the "here's the hook" bit until the end.  You might not need need the final keychange, basically running through the chorus a few times and ending by 5 minutes.  You'll want to keep this arrangement pretty tight and punch if you want to pitch it towards film.

That first "drum loop solo" seems like it could be a good spot for an instrumental break...either a short few bar drum fill leading up to the second verse, or maybe a guitar solo.  It's a good spot for that sort of thing.

Hope that's useful.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Cry by Jason Kendall

Eric Oehler

It's got a good clubby vibe, and the vocals are nicely up-front and kind of Robert-Smithy.  They're strong and mixed well, and it's a good performance.

The chimes are a bit loud and kind of dominant in the midrange, which is making them sound a bit congested and fight with the vocals a bit.

Your hook is really that layered theme.  You want to bring that out as much as possible, 

The hi-hats are too loud, and a bit, er, boring, frankly.  They're way too high in the mix for something that just goes "tsss" for several minutes on the offbeats - maybe try a combo of a little less volume, and a shorter decay time or a clickier closed hat sound - or add variations to the pattern.  Maybe save the open hats for "special occasions" like the big climaxes.

The drop at around 3min in is nice and is a great little break from the relentless oontz oontz of the kick/snare.hat combo.  You might want to drop the kicks out for four bars here or there, or cut the snares during a verse, or even drop all the drums for a measure right before a chrous or bridge (killing them for a few beats during the swoop up to 1:10 would be pretty dope).  Maybe vary the pattern once in a while with a half-time few bars or a syncopated snare hit, or some ghost snares or...basically something to keep it from being 5 solid minutes of whomp whomp whomp.

I think overall the arrangement can be tightened a bit - pull out a loop or two of the hook/chorus thing in the outtro or the middle bits, maybe throw some sort of modulation on a synth sound here just to avoid straight repetition.  It's like a tight 4-minute dance track stuck in a 5-minute dance track body.  It's *almost* there.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Eric Oehler

Got kind of a Church/Brendan Perry vibe going here, which is good and not too terribly common right now.

The guitars are a bit loud and "woody", and sort of overwhelming everything else.  Perhaps instead of quite so much reverb on the guitars, add a bit of delay to give them some depth, and accentuate the jangly high end on them and pull some of the mids out to give more space to the vocals.  Especially since the guitar is primarily chordal strumming and no soloing or fancy rhythmic work, you don't need that to be the focus of the mix.  Bring those vocals out!  Might be kind of cool to dial the guitar back a ways and replace the reverb with a more Eno/Lanois "shimmer verb" to give it a lot of atmosphere and brightness without necessarily requiring you to add much to it.

The drums are barely audible - which is kind of causing the track to feel a bit more languorous than it really wants to be - if they'er audible, and maybe a really tight, snappy kit sound, they might give a little more propulsion to the track without it feeling like you added "rock drums" to a ballad.  Just something to give it a little more of a rhythmic or syncopated pulse than the more static guitar-chord-on-the-downbeat thing that's driving it right now.

The biggest issue is the vocals - they're EQed sort of oddly in a kind of aggressively lo-fi waywhcih saps them of presence and some intelligibility, and they sit too far back in the mix.  There's some nice Bowie-ness to them, but they're too distant for that to come through with much impact.  And they're kind of pitchy in the melismatic parts, most notably at the beginning, and that's the worst place for that to happen because that's the first thing anyone hears.  At the key change at 2:50ish - that's a pretty gutsy modulation and it's not telegraphed in any way by the music so you really need to stick that "boy" dead on pitch for it to not sound like you yourself didn't know it was coming, and right now it feels a bit tentative.  It's one hell of a modulation to do though, and big props for risking it.

Track's got potential, but it needs a little shine to it.

Derrick Dickey submitted media.

Eric Oehler

This is pretty nice.  The mix is clean and there's a nice amount of space between the instruments. Maybe a wee bit of sidechain compression triggered by the kick/snare to really make those punch through the mix more would be helpful, but that's a personal preference.

My only criticisms are that the melody/hook line is a bit static - it's just quarter notes rising and falling most of the time, and it feels a little predictable.  Maybe syncopate a note here or there or throw in a melodic variation every few iterations.

Also maybe vary the kick-snare pattern a bit more over the course of the song - start with a simple boom-bap kind of thing at the beginning and stick with it and slowly get more complex as the track builds.  Right now it feels like the same 4-8 bars are looping.

Other than that, nice mix.  I'd play it in my car.

Derrick Dickey submitted media.

630am (demo) by AMWI

Eric Oehler

I like the sound design a lot here.  Another nicely mixed track, a lot of openness and space in the mix.  Might want to bring the open hats down a smidge, or vary the pattern a bit from the disco-offbeats, just so they don't become the focus of the song.

The breakdown at roughly 2:40 is a crucial part to this song - I'd recommend making it even more dramatic in terms of contrast with the rest of the track - really contrast it with the louder bits - pull out the drums completely except maybe as a leadin to the melody coming back in, then really smack everything in at 3:05.  Maybe even double the drums with something heavy so it has even more impact for that last minute of song.  Basically make that the climax of the track.

Derrick Dickey submitted media.

BlindEye (demo) by AMW1

Eric Oehler

A galaxy of golden bass.  Nice dynamic work with the breakdowns.

The drums really deserve to be brought out in this one.  Maybe layer the snares a bit with something a little throatier like a dubsteppy snare. and really bring out the attack in the snare you've got now, with a transient designer or something.  

The glissando-y square(ish) lead seems a bit loud in the mix (it comes in at 2:38 and 4:30).  Since you repeat it a few times in a row, you may benefit from some additional automation on filter cutoff or some other effect after it's been presented. Or maybe transpose it up an octave (or, if you're really feeling crazy, just a 5th) for an iteration here or there.

Maybe a little more buildup to the ending, too.  You've got kind of everything going and then it just stops with a cymbal hit.  I think I see what you're going for but it doesn't *quite* feel like the tension/release thing is quite there.  Maybe add a riser over the last few measures and really hit that cymbal hit hard.

Nicely soundtracky overall.  This would be something good to pitch for synch licensing. 

Chris Euton submitted media.

Dravidian Daydream by ADeight (Chris Euton)

Eric Oehler

Got some nice bounce in this track.  Real potential here.

My only comments -  there're a lot of musical ideas going on here, and occasionally it feels like a few of them don't really get time to develop.  We get 4 bars and then they;re gone.

I'd like to hear more sonic modulation on the sort-of-plucky lead, since that seems to be the main hook.  Could be just adding a little delay or reverb occasionally, or a filter sweep or something.  Just so it's not exactly the same every time.

Mixwise this is good.  Could maybe use a bit more separation of instruments in the midrange and a smidge more definition on the top end - with all the big fuzzy analog sounds in the low mids they're sort of dominating much of the track's frequency space.

Great track.

Chris Euton submitted media.

Scented Secrets (new 2013 mix) by ADeight (Chris Euton) / DIgital Dlumber Party

Eric Oehler

Really nice atmospherics on this one.  Very chill.  I dig.

My only quibble is that the main drum pattern is a little frenetic.  There's a lot of kick drum work in there for such a chilled track.  I mean it's a fairly standard break pattern, but especially since we don't get a ton of "body" to the kick, we're getting a lot of the click in the same sort of space as the snare drum.  Perhaps yanking a few of the pickup kicks would open up a lot of room in the mix.

The ananlog harp sound at the end is great.  Very Juno-60.  I'd love to hear that EQ'ed such that it stands out more from the piano (or EQ the piano such that it doesn't bury so much of the harp).

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Seraphina by Jason Kendall

Eric Oehler

I'm not hugely versed in the trappings of pop-punk, beyond a few records here or there, but here goes...

From a songwriting standpoint, this is pretty solid, and the performance is pretty good.  The bass is particularly well-done.  It's pretty much a textbook 3-minute pop-punk song.

The mix is a little muddy, though, particularly in the low-mids.  The drums could use a bit miore snap, the bass could use some more attack and punch, and there's a lot of frequency argument between the drums, the bass and the low end of the guitars.  Judicious EQ should help with that.  Notch out some 200ish hz on the bass and pull up the higher end, try and pull some of the "woodiness" out of the snares at 500hz, maybe get some NY compression going on them to beef them up a bit.

But the biggest hindrance is you have two pretty solid hooks - the vocals and the guitar - and they're quite often in conflict with each other.  And usually the guitar wins.  While the guitar performance is quite good, it's not the part you want fans to be singing along with and waving their lighters in the air for.  Dial it back just a smidge in volume (except at the solo of course) and maybe cut back the presence a bit, and then bring the vocals up and give them some shine in the upper mids and maybe even the airy high bands juts so they're super-present and in-your face.  Maybe a bit of wetness with a slapback delay or plate verb to give them some space.  You may even want to cut the guitars back in a few more places, for a bar or two, just to really let the vocals  cut through and give the whole track more impact and dynamics.  

A few extra overdubs on the chorus, maybe even hard panned left and right, just to really make that chorus pop.  Doesn't have to be overwrought or polioshed up like a Jimmy Eat World track or anything, just a few simple mix tricks that give the track a boost without sacrificing the in-your-face-ness of the track.

It's certainly got a lot of potential as a song; the lyrics are good, and cacthy; the vocal melody has a singable hook; it's just shy of having quite the right mix and balance. Right now it has "this is gunna be big in my hometown" vibe to it; with a little tweaking it could be a "this is gunna be big.  period" kind of single.

Max Rosengren Falk submitted media.

Eric Oehler

This is a very catchy track.  There's sort of an edgy post-U2 vibe to it, with the soaring choruses and bridges and helicopter guitars.  My own preference would be to bring up the synths a bit in the choruses, but that's only because I'm a synthpop guy.  This strikes me as being great remix fodder, too.  Make some kits, find some unknown electropop guys to put weird spins on it, you've got yourself a killer single.

Otherwise this is pretty much radio-ready.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Cry ( Grey Mix) by The Bessemer Process - Jason Kendall

Eric Oehler

There's a lot of potential here, but some issues that need to be addressed before this is ready for prime-time, so to speak.  It's an interesting combo of dance and rock, almost venturing into 90's WaxTrax territory, which is ripe for mining, but it needs a bit more impact and some production cleanup.

First off, despite EDM being a bass-heavy genre, this is way too bass-heavy.  The sub bass renders basically everything else indecipherable.  It's basically completely overwhelming your kick drum.  Some low-cut in there and a lot of notching EQ to carve out space for everything is absolutely required. All the "energy" in the song is going into reproducing the super-low frequencies and that's stealing focus from the drums and synths. At the very least you probably want to sidechain-compress most tracks (but not the vocals) to the kick drum.  It'll give you that very-modern dance music "pumping" effect and also get the bass and stuff out of the way of your underlying pulse.

The high-hats are mixed a little loud, and they're a bit...static.  The 909-style hat is fine, sort of de rigeuer for this style, but I'd go with a shorter decay on it so less of the listener's attention gets focused on a repeating pattern and it's more just a backbeat.  Maybe vary the pattern a bit more.  You probably want a sharper and treble-ier -attack on the kick drums, maybe some layering or transient-shaping on the snares to make them pop would be a good idea.  You kick/snare combo is the soul of a dance track, and you want that to be driving everything else.

The real strength in this track is in the distorted (and later doubled) lead, and in the bowie-esque vocals.  I'd recommend bringing the vocals to the fore a little more, maybe removing some of the "telephone filter" effect except maybe where it would have the most impact - either have it in the chorus or the verse but not both - and when you have that lead, do something fun with it - modulate it, automate some effects, play with reverb and delay...something so it's attention-catching each time it appears in the song.  It's your hook, so you want it to grab people's ears and keep them engaged every single time.

The sample at the end is clever, but you might be a bit at risk for sample-clearance issues if that recording isn't authorized.  A slim chance, yes, but better safe than with a large lawsuit on your hands. submitted media.

Eric Oehler

I...I don't know what to make of this.  I usually expect to be reviewing music, since that's my area.  Social media expertise is a bit, um, weak for me.  I mean, if I were good at it, my own band would probably be a lot more popular.

It's a clever ad, although the central gag of "everybody's tweeting/hashtagging/instagramming all the time" has been done by a number of high profile advertisers already in various forms, so it might be tricky to stand out and not have someone think you're a funnyordie video.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Anywhere But Far by Jason Kendall

Eric Oehler

Overall, this is a nice track, very reminiscent of Glen Philips and some of the mid-90's radio-friendly guitar-college-alternative (for which I have a distinct fondness).

Arrangement wise, everything is in the right place and fits the arc of the song nicely, although I think the guitar solo in the bridge could be a bit feels like the wah guitar solo just gets going and then vocals are back and it's over.  Feels like that should be a climactic point for a soaring instrumental and it kind of ends before it gets going.

As for the mix, things are generally pretty solid (the nice round bass sound you've got is killer for this sort of thing), but a few things might level it up - both the guitar and the strings seem to be a little "boxed in" by their room sound (or cabinet sound).  The guitar especially, since it's so prominent.   A slightly twangier/janglier guitar tone for that loop might help focus that a bit  - the tone's a little on the dark side to be providing the hook, so ti might just be a case of rolling off a little more low and turning up the treble knob a tiny bit (or EQing the recorded track a little differently) just to give it a bit more air.  I'm not sure how you recorded it, but it may be better suited to mic the cab closer or go for a drier main signal, then post process with some subtle delay and reverb to give some more space, especially in the top end.  Another trick might be to try some sort of microshifting/multitracking on just the upper mids and highs to get some stereo imaging on the guitars without taking them "out of focus" or overwhelming the mix.  It's a tricky one, but you have a few options, so if you can, just play around with it in a few different ways.  Since it's the first thing anyone hears, you want to make sure that it's memorable.  You could even start it one way, then dial it back a bit as the song progresses so it fades more into the mix once the vocals come in.

For the strings I'd either back off the room sound a bit, or go all in with a more lush reverb, depending on whether you want those to be "intimate" or sort of "syrupy."  Honestly I think either would work in the context of the song.  Right now they have a bit too much of an indecisive setting about them, like they can't decide whether to be important to the mix, or just atmosphere, so they kind of split the difference.  

Drums sit nicely.  Maybe a tad hot on the snare, especially since it's one of those thumpier snares and not as snappy as on some kits.  It's refreshing to hear a track these days where the kick drum isn't the focus of the song!

The vocals are very well-performed and recorded.  I'd make them even more prominent in the mix, especially in the choruses.  Maybe even multitrack some more backing vocals just so they're huge when you hit those spots (the trick is mixing them without swamping the lead...I know it can be done, I'm just terrible at doing it myself).  A few subtly automated effects, like maybe just a touch of delay on the first word/phrase of a verse ("Can I...") would kind of underscore the "here it is, a new verse" and give a little drama to that pause between lines.  

Overall, solid track.  The main challenge seems to be in just carving out a little more "space" with it, giving it that final "cinematic" polished quality that someone looking to do soundtrack sync would want.

Christopher Rose submitted media.

Eric Oehler

All of a sudden, it's 1982 again, and I'm listening to "Speak and Spell" on my walkman-knockoff...

The vocal production on this is excellent, and surprisingly modern given the obvious influences (bonus points for using the phrase "peer review").  You may wish to consider for future tracks throwing a little more melisma on the vocal cadences, to make them a little less syllable-on-a-beat (I listened to a few of your other tracks for fun and it seems like you have that going already on "Control").  That can be very effective.  Also, if you can find one, getting someone other than you to sing some of the backing parts can really flesh out a track.

I do think some of the blippy noise is a bit prominent in the mix, fighting with the vocals.  Maybe a little more low-mid punch on the bass, too, and a little less on the attack there, but only just a smidgen.

I'm not sold on the cartoon voice bit in the bridge - doesn't seem to fit the darker aspects of the song.  That's a purely stylistic choice, of course, but I think it might be a little more impactful if it were a bit grittier - maybe a bitspeek effect or something.

As for blogs and websites - well, there are a zillion of them and they change regularly.  You might want to give something like Hits In The Car a try, since they seem to go for synthpop.  Otherwise, I'd recommend doing legwork on; doing a search on something like "vince clarke", "erasure" or "omd" or whatnot (I hesitate to say "depeche mode" or "gary numan" because their recent output will get you some false positives) and a large list of blogs should come up, most of which would be amenable to this sort of thing.  You may have to do some sorting, as while the retro 80's thing is very much in vogue right now, the stuff that dominates the blogosphere is sort of an arch, ironic take on it, not as much the more earnest, traditional synthpop.  However, this could probably appeal to the Kavinsky/"outrun" crowd, so tracking down blogs that play his stuff - Earmilk, Music We Like, etc - might be worth your while too.

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Eric Oehler

Well.  The songwriting is solid.  The performances are solid.  As far as the arrangement goes, the prime suggestion I have is to vary them a bit more in terms of effects and instrumentation from the verses.

The best way to de-Beatle it would probably be to change the way things are processed.  Make the vocals drier and cleaner, maybe even compressed a bit more in the verses, so they're more up-front, and save the lush reverb for the choruses.  Maybe multi tracking and wide panning them in the choruses so the contrast between verse and chorus is more dramatic would do it.  Modern mixes tend to be more bass-forward, too - a little punchier bass attack and a heightened presence in the mix would go a long way in that direction.

I like the subtle guitar processing a lot but the vintage phaser does sort of scream "Rubber Soul."  You should consider saving that effect for certain passages - that bridge would be perfect - and maybe trying something else for the verses (a tempo delay or even an Eventide-ish shimmer verb, but you do run the risk of sounding like U2 instead).  It's a matter if personal taste, but try experimenting with switching effects in and off between chunks of the song to add a little more sonic contrast and modernize the sound.

Unfortunately the simplest way to modernize a song is to alter the drum processing; but you don't have a drum track so that's out.  A bold move, I might add, to anchor your track to the bass for rhythm.  It works for this track but might make it a harder sell as a single, especially for radio play, if that's a consideration.

Hope that's helpful!

Jason Kendall submitted media.

Eric Oehler

A generally solid track.  I would recommend doing something a little different in the arrangement in possibly the second or third verse to distinguish it from the previous verses, maybe even something as simple as changing the background vocals slightly, so instead of the same "la da da da" there was some extra variation or possibly even a bit of unison to emphasize bits of the lead vocals.  Some sort of overdubbing harmony vocals on the chorus/refrains would also sound pretty awesome.

I middle-8/bridge with a guitar solo would also do wonders.

From an actual performance standpoint, the vocals are nice - in tune, intelligible, good tone.  The guitar work in the very beginning seems a little less confident than it should be, though.  Since it's just a demo version I'm going to chalk it up to that.  Everything else is solid, although again, a bridge would do wonders, as the rhythm section feels a smidge repetitive.  Admittedly, that's what rhythm sections do, but something to break up the loop-y feel.

Production-wise, everything's placed pretty well.  I'm not 100% sold on the wide stereo vocals for the whole thing, though.  They sound a bit phasey and while that works great as an effect it's a bit distracting when it's the whole thing.  My recommendation would be to use that effect for choruses, and keep the vocals on the verses centered and prominent, and achieve the rockabilly vocal effects primarily through a little bit of slapback delay or spring reverb.  You could also mess with EQ a bit for the vintage mic vibe, but that can be tough to do without sounding cliche (although when it works, it works well).  The goal is so that when the choruses do come in with the wide vocals, it'll grab the listener better and feel less like just an extension of a verse.  I also think the drums could have a little more presence - while this isn't a barn-burning rocker, what with the brushes and shuffle beat, their attacks are still getting a little washed out and might benefit from some tightening, maybe with a transient shaper.

Catchy track, though.  Good hooks.  I think the primary improvement would be to emphasize the hooks in the "all the pretty dancers" refrains and maybe the leadups to that part.