Rainmaker (album)

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jeanette_c
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by jeanette_c »

I recently heard - and applied - another trick to make strings sound more natural: mix them with tron strings. there are free sample libraries. Double each string part with a note perfect copy, but mix it in very quietly. Still, one of the free "big libraries" is a good and less cumbersome approach, from a mixing point of view.
The electronic drums: the stereo out worked well for everything but the kick. There are a few ways to work around this: remove the kic from the stereo mix and get it on its own. Send your stereo drum track to busses with highpass filtering, especially for the reverb. Or use two or more filtered copies of the original stereo track and then feed those into separate effect chains. So use a very low lowpass filter to isolate the kick, a version with a good highcut to remove the kick and a lowpass filter that removes most of the hihats... Or you could use sidechain gating, this would require having something to trigger the sidechain, i.e. another kick/snare copy or a sound that always plays in sync with those elements.
Vocals are difficult. Very dynamic and if you don't view yourself as a singer, first and foremost, then vocals tend to be something to sit on top or embed into the rest. Perhaps, you have a trusted pair of ears or two to find a more objective perspective. Beyond that: good lowcut, EQ'ing, compression and automation over sections. I often cut my vocals into sections, so I can process vocals for the verse, chorus and the quiet part separately. With better automation capabilities I might not go that far. :) An audio engineering vocalist had this to say: try to cut around 1kHz and 10kHz in most instruments, because these are vocal bands which help to understand the lyrics. Use delays, best sync'ed to the song's tempo. The shorter the delay the more back in the mix the instrument is. It's an almost spatial thing. Adjust them and then lower them so far that you can't actively hear them anymore. With drums she sometimes goes as short as 1/32nd and with vocals as long as 1/2 note. I sometimes use that in busy, bigger arrangements.
Thanks for your detailed explanation of your bass creation and layering. Layering is a powerful tool and fun to work with and it has so many applications and approaches. From complex timbres, to subtle accenting, certain frequency support or surreal parallel processing. :)
Thanks again for a wonderful album!
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by folderol »

Colours came out well :P
Almost seamless transfer to Rainmaker. This was interesting, but frankly I found it overlong for a single track.
'Forlorn' made a very good closing track.
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by psyocean »

Serious music and songs. Interesting hear it, progressive staff. Beautiful elements of ancient folk.

My respect for you, Maestro!
Guitar and synth tales... https://www.youtube.com/user/Psyocean/
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by Rainmak3r »

jeanette_c wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 10:45 am I recently heard - and applied - another trick to make strings sound more natural: mix them with tron strings. there are free sample libraries. Double each string part with a note perfect copy, but mix it in very quietly. Still, one of the free "big libraries" is a good and less cumbersome approach, from a mixing point of view.
Ah that's a good tip, I'll have to try! From time to time I do add strings from other libraries as well, but it's often KBH Strings when I need a more slow-attach and sustained effect, or one of the string libraries from Spitfire Labs for some quirkyness.
jeanette_c wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 10:45 am The electronic drums: the stereo out worked well for everything but the kick. There are a few ways to work around this: remove the kic from the stereo mix and get it on its own. Send your stereo drum track to busses with highpass filtering, especially for the reverb. Or use two or more filtered copies of the original stereo track and then feed those into separate effect chains. So use a very low lowpass filter to isolate the kick, a version with a good highcut to remove the kick and a lowpass filter that removes most of the hihats... Or you could use sidechain gating, this would require having something to trigger the sidechain, i.e. another kick/snare copy or a sound that always plays in sync with those elements.
Sounds like a lot of work :mrgreen: With Hydrogen in particular this may require me to separate the patterns I write for kick and for the rest, and have them overlap, which is possible but also cumbersome to do: it would be a bit problematic also when recording the different parts, as I'd have to somehow mute some of the patterns selectively. I guess a possibly easier way to deal with that might be to "filter" the MIDI instead, e.g., using qmidiroute, to selectively drop some messages (e.g., kick note on/off) in some cases, or the others, but that would require Hydrogen not to render the audio directly, and just send MIDI to a different host for sequencing.
jeanette_c wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 10:45 am Vocals are difficult. Very dynamic and if you don't view yourself as a singer, first and foremost, then vocals tend to be something to sit on top or embed into the rest. Perhaps, you have a trusted pair of ears or two to find a more objective perspective. Beyond that: good lowcut, EQ'ing, compression and automation over sections. I often cut my vocals into sections, so I can process vocals for the verse, chorus and the quiet part separately. With better automation capabilities I might not go that far. :) An audio engineering vocalist had this to say: try to cut around 1kHz and 10kHz in most instruments, because these are vocal bands which help to understand the lyrics. Use delays, best sync'ed to the song's tempo. The shorter the delay the more back in the mix the instrument is. It's an almost spatial thing. Adjust them and then lower them so far that you can't actively hear them anymore. With drums she sometimes goes as short as 1/32nd and with vocals as long as 1/2 note. I sometimes use that in busy, bigger arrangements.
Compression is indeed one of the few things I'm doing a lot for vocals, since a friend suggested that as the voice needs to be as "stable" as possible, especially in refrains for instance. There is a bit of EQ here and there, but not a lot. What I'm definitely not doing much is carving room for frequencies as you suggest, which would be helpful not only for vocals but also when things get busy with a lot of instruments (which is why some of my more complex parts always sound muddy). I did add some delays to the vocals, but mostly for "effect" rather than spatial placement, so that's a good tip too.
jeanette_c wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 10:45 am Thanks for your detailed explanation of your bass creation and layering. Layering is a powerful tool and fun to work with and it has so many applications and approaches. From complex timbres, to subtle accenting, certain frequency support or surreal parallel processing. :)
Thanks again for a wonderful album!
Thanks again for listening!
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by Rainmak3r »

folderol wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 10:58 am Colours came out well :P
Almost seamless transfer to Rainmaker. This was interesting, but frankly I found it overlong for a single track.
'Forlorn' made a very good closing track.
Thanks, glad you liked it! On Rainmaker itself, I'm afraid very long tracks are something I love instead, so I'm very partial to those: I actually felt it was not long enough :mrgreen:
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by Rainmak3r »

psyocean wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 4:13 pm Serious music and songs. Interesting hear it, progressive staff. Beautiful elements of ancient folk.

My respect for you, Maestro!
Thanks for your kind words, they're really appreciated!
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by PieterPenninckx »

That's an incredibly fast production time for an album, without noticeable impact on the quality. Well done!

I haven't finished listening to everything yet. Same remarks as the others: your voice is great and it suits the music; I think it may be mixed in more prominently.

As for strings: this is indeed hard to get realistic with the tools available. I've posted my personal (but labour-intensive (bye bye productivity)) approach to strings in another thread. The issue -- in my opinion -- is that the sample libraries have an envelope per sample, whereas a realistic performance has an envelope per phrase. (This is not entirely correct, since a note change does have impact on the volume curve.) I use a lot of manual tweaking to go from an envelope per note to an envelope per phrase. I believe/hope a good (and probably expensive) sample library with legato patches (as opposed to only "short" and "long") can maybe take away the work of tweaking the note transitions; then you only need to define the volume curve per phrase. If you go so far as to buy a sample library with legato patches, I'm curious to hear your experience with it.

Time to do the dishes. I'll listen to the remaining tracks later.
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by Rainmak3r »

PieterPenninckx wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 7:24 am That's an incredibly fast production time for an album, without noticeable impact on the quality. Well done!
Thanks! I was indeed surprised by how quickly it came out, but I guess working on multiple tracks at the same time rather than "perfecting" each one before moving to the next one (as I usually did) helped quite a lot. In fact, most tracks were born the usual way, where I got an idea and I started working on it, but this time I didn't linger too much on any of them, unless I felt I was close to something; most solos were recorded or re-recorded at the end, for instance. This is why Desert Rain, which was the last song I composed, was also the first one I finished. This allowed me to work on different things when I had some time.
PieterPenninckx wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 7:24 am I haven't finished listening to everything yet. Same remarks as the others: your voice is great and it suits the music; I think it may be mixed in more prominently.
Thanks for the kind words, but apart from the hidden bonus track I'll make available to everyone soon, I don't think you'll hear my voice again anytime soon :mrgreen: Time for some more instrumental music now.
PieterPenninckx wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 7:24 am As for strings: this is indeed hard to get realistic with the tools available. I've posted my personal (but labour-intensive (bye bye productivity)) approach to strings in another thread. The issue -- in my opinion -- is that the sample libraries have an envelope per sample, whereas a realistic performance has an envelope per phrase. (This is not entirely correct, since a note change does have impact on the volume curve.) I use a lot of manual tweaking to go from an envelope per note to an envelope per phrase. I believe/hope a good (and probably expensive) sample library with legato patches (as opposed to only "short" and "long") can maybe take away the work of tweaking the note transitions; then you only need to define the volume curve per phrase. If you go so far as to buy a sample library with legato patches, I'm curious to hear your experience with it.
Yes, you're spot on about the technical constraints. To be honest, though, even if such a library came out, I wouldn't buy it: this is a hobby for me, and 99% of the fun is experimenting with the open source and free tools we have available. I'm wasting enough money as it is on SafeCreative and DistroKid :mrgreen: Besides, almost certainly it would be a Win/Mac only VST anyway, and using it on Linux would be suboptimal to say the least.
PieterPenninckx wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 7:24 am Time to do the dishes. I'll listen to the remaining tracks later.
I hope doing the dishes didn't depress you so much that you didn't finish the album :lol:
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by oscillator »

Oh, I like this album a lot! I think this is awesome songwriting!

My favorite is Heartbreak, I'm weark for this kind of repetetive songs, great singing too, although I would like to have it more upfront (or louder).

Rainmaker comes 2nd, awesome arrangements and sounds!

So I bought the album, so I can listen to it offline at anytime! I enjoyed it very much!

One thing: I think you can make some of the synth sounds move "evil" and bring them more to the front. Just sometimes. Also, the singing is good, I would like it to be more prominent. And maybe some more treble in the pads and strings?

Thanks a bunch for making this and sharing with us!
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

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oscillator wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 4:37 pm Oh, I like this album a lot! I think this is awesome songwriting!

My favorite is Heartbreak, I'm weark for this kind of repetetive songs, great singing too, although I would like to have it more upfront (or louder).

Rainmaker comes 2nd, awesome arrangements and sounds!

So I bought the album, so I can listen to it offline at anytime! I enjoyed it very much!

One thing: I think you can make some of the synth sounds move "evil" and bring them more to the front. Just sometimes. Also, the singing is good, I would like it to be more prominent. And maybe some more treble in the pads and strings?

Thanks a bunch for making this and sharing with us!
Wow, super-thanks for buying the album! :o You really didn't have to, so I'm incredibly appreciative you did! This means you're the only one that can also comment on the hidden bonus track as well, so I'm very curious about what you think of that :mrgreen:

Heartbeat is indeed one of my favourite tracks in the album, so I'm really excited you liked that one the most: I wanted something atmospheric like Stripsearch by Faith No More and Night Hitcher by Major Parkinson, but also things by Conception and Veni Domine. The pseudo-ebow guitar parts were fun to try and replicate, as I channeled the Pod X3 guitars through an additional "coat" of Rakarrack and the sustain effect (in particular extending the Angel's Chorus preset, that I've often abused in the past to do a lot of things).

For synths I never do much, so I mostly rely on what good software like Yoshimi and Surge can give: often they're dynamic enough that I really don't have to do anything, and in other cases a bit of layering by piling two or more different synths playing the same thing on top of each other helps a lot. The layering is indeed what I tried to use to make the synths in Heartbeat as "evil" as possible (there's even an "evilous" preset from Surge :mrgreen: ). But you're right that sometimes a bit of treble would help, especially for strings where they could be made more "passionate": I actually did a bit of this in Chasing Clouds, where you can hear that in some of the string phrases, the tail has a bit of vibrato, which was done by manually adding some bender automation to the MIDI track in Ardour. Needless to say, even doing that tiny bit was a chore, since it's a manual and tedious process: if there were an easier way to apply vibrato-ish qualities to a MIDI track I'd probably do it a lot; when I use my guitar-to-MIDI adapter it's easy to do (I just need to bend the string!), but results are also messier on average, since the adapter is not very precise, and so you get some jumps that have to be manually cleaned up afterwards.

Thanks again for purchasing the album: if there was a heart emoticon in the forum smilies I'd use a ton of them here :lol:
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Re: Rainmaker (album)

Post by oscillator »

I liked the bonus track a lot, something different, a perfect track to end the album a second time! Sparse, in a good way.

So....thank YOU! :)
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