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Return of the Masked Man (Work in Progress)

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Mark Wayne, Jun 30, 2020 at 6:02 AM.

  1. Hey everyone,

    I'd like some feedback/criticism on a track that I've been working on as of late.

    What I'm mainly wondering is whether this track would "make sense" to others when listened to, or whether it seems messy/random, and where things can be tightened up. My choice of orchestration is admittedly a bit unorthodox (I prefer synth keyboards, melodica, and rough textural pads), but I try my best to keep things exciting with different colors.

    I use FL Studio for everything except for the melodica which I play live. My melodica playing on this track is not great at all, I mainly just wanted to get the idea out there and try my best to keep it in time with everything else.

    I didn't get any feedback on my previous submission (my first post ever here), but it's no big deal since I feel like I've progressed on my own quite a bit since that track. I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this track, though.

    Soundcloud link below:

  2. I think you did a pretty good job I find that it was well structured throughout. What I could give as feedback is maybe that I feel like your ideas could be developed a bit more.
    Mark Wayne likes this.
  3. Umm....

    You gotta have more independent parts happening. Right now everything is in unison.

    Yes, I know you have a drone and this high hat.....but ... imagine if these were real people play those parts at a gig.

    They would be even more laid back than the bassist and drummer of this tune. Their parts are 10xs more difficult than your too!

    I can dig the choice of instruments. That does not matter.

    Have a listen to this piece. It has a similar harmonic gesture as your...... look at how much more you can vary it etc......

    Mark Wayne likes this.
  4. Thank you @Bjarke Tan and @Doug Gibson for the feedback!

    When you say that everything is in unison, are you referring mostly to the call-and-response phrase that begins at 0:16? Listening to it again, I agree that this section throws a lot of voices at the listener abruptly, and they are competing for attention.

    I've decided that the drone isn't at all necessary in the whole beginning section (everything up to 1:20). Having just a hi-hat and one synth piano in the first 8 bars is fine for establishing the rhythm/feel.
    I've also decided that the melodica doesn't need to be introduced until 0:32. After the first 8 bars, the call-and-response phrase can be handled by a second synth, and then given more strength by the melodica.
    Since this allows for more "breathing room" in the beginning, I'm thinking of adding a xylophone/marimba to add more decoration to the rests between phrases. I might not, though, since it could cause the bars to be more "busy" again.

    In any case, doing the above allows the section beginning at 1:52 to have more of a punch, since it restates everything previously, but accompanied by a kick/snare pattern and a drone. It creates a more grounded, secure sound as opposed to the previous floaty, airy one, if that makes sense. Of course, there's the big question of where to go from there, since I haven't really decided how I want the track to end. I've envisioned this piece as something that sets a vibe, but doesn't tell a cohesive story with real movement, so just fading out smoothly might be sufficient. We'll see though - I'm going to play around with it more, and something more interesting might come up.

    Also, the drums - I could definitely be doing more with those. This track literally has one hi-hat pattern and one kick/snare pattern - you're right, anyone playing those parts live would be very relaxed, maybe even bored.

    I'm glad, though, that structurally there aren't any big issues. I watch (and re-watch) Mike's Unleashed episodes a lot and notice that many pieces are criticized for not having a clear rhythm or structure - in other words, it's not clear what the musician is trying to "say".

    I'm liking Mingus Mood. The descending parts in the introduction do remind me of what I have going on in mine. That piece is definitely far above my current level of understanding, but it's something to strive toward! Also, in Mingus Mood, what is that sound at 1:28? It sounds like some kind of chime or bell, but it's very faint and doesn't look like any of the three musicians made that sound. It almost sounds like someone's phone went off, but it fit so well with everything else that I'd be surprised if it wasn't part of the piece.

    Anyway, thanks again. If I tweak this piece and come up with an improved version that I'm more satisfied with, I'll update this thread.
  5. Coma, not bored.

    Please do!

    I never said that. I just have to only give bullet points. First, just work on getting strong foundation of composing.
    Don't get ahead of where you are. I don't mean that in a mean spirited way...... I have been there, and everyone has to go thru it.

    You did really well to get where you are musical, (acknowledge that) and now we can sort of getting to composing 101.

    If you don't know it Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" would be a great download to get.

    The first thing I would say is to turn off everything but bass and drums. Start learning how to write drum parts.

    Get a solid foundation, and worry about structure or other more abstract concepts later. Learn simply how to make people want to listen to your piece

  6. Got it, and point well-taken! I'm listening to "Kind of Blue" right now and can see why it would be valuable to study the pieces on that album.
    I'm also considering purchasing one of Mike's masterclasses but still have to decide where I want to start with those.

    The beat you added in "Food For Thought" has given me some good food for thought. There's a bit of funkiness that wasn't there before.
    It also started to remind me a lot of the original Super Mario Bros. Underground Theme (inspired by "Let's Not Talk About it" by Friendship).
    I've played my fair share of Mario games, so I wouldn't be surprised if the underground theme influenced me to write this piece.

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