#1
SORRY FOR THE WALL OF TEXT!

Well hallo thar T&C! It has been quite awhile hain't it? I just got my computer back not too long ago and I've been steady composing (more on Sibelius and orchestra stuff than GP stuff... check the profile ;] ) but I have a new song!

It is titled... Dead Bird! And it has NOTHING to do with Dead Birds! Kinda like how Shawn Lane's Gray Pianos Flying has nothing to do about pianos. I literally told my friend I needed a song name and to give me one... this was it.

Alright, onto the song. It's my first song in this style, though I hope to have added my own touch. This took me a total of 3 - 4 days to write, and the intro tapping sequence I had written months ago. This is also my first song to have a recurring "theme". So tell me how that is!

I would mainly like to know how it flows, how the solos are, the individual sections, any catchiness value, and anything you feel like commenting on.

I got a lot of influence from JR for this one (I stole a mixing idea from ProgBass' new song as well )... but if you can find my main influence(s) (they're actual bands, and there's one or two), you get to name my next song AND you get e-cookies!

So, without further adieu... enjoy!

NOTE: MIDI PREFERRED! AS LONG AS DRUMS ARE MIDI IT'LL SOUND FINE... YOU WILL LOSE SOME PUNCH IN THE CHORUS THOUGH. USE HEADPHONES IF YOU HAVE THEM!

KEEP IN MIND RSE'RS... IT'S NOT MIXED FOR RSE SO SOME PARTS WILL COME OUT NOT MIXED PROPERLY


QUICKEDIT: Don't mention vocals over it... it was written with the intention of being an instrumental.

UPDATE AS OF JUNE 9, 2010: 8:01 PM - I have added a second version with slightly altered drums, the first solo is slightly... changed. Kind of. I got rid of the end tradeoff for now and just added the backing track and an outro. I've also changed the drums sporadically throughout. I still don't really have an idea for the transition at Bar 13... I'll accept any ideas!

UPDATE AS OF JUNE 12, 22010: 2:16 PM - I changed the transition at Bar 13. I like it more, honestly. I added the tradeoff. If it's not good, I'll just take it out! No biggie :] It's definitely better than in Ver. 1 though! I also made Solo 1 less muddy sounding. Took out the guitars in the outro. I think that's it! @JazzDeath: I tried to make the Bridge less "uni-dimensional" but it didn't pan out how I wanted it to, so I just kept it as it is. It's a lot better on real guitar though... jus' sayin' ;]

Enjoy!
Attachments:
Dead Bird.zip
Dead Bird - Version 2.zip
Dead Bird - Version 3.zip
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at Jul 15, 2010,
#2
Hasn't been writing anything he says, focused on other things he says...

The first thing that strikes me is the drums, and their lack of drive. They seem to be taking things away from the song rather than adding, to be honest.

Your transistions, or lack thereof, are slightly off-putting aswell, the sections don't flow into each other like I would expect them to. Sometimes transitioning like that works, but I just don't feel it in this instance. In bar 14 for instance, a volume swell might work in a lower octave to the A note swell in bar 15 as a build up/contrast going into the verse.

The transistions don't have to be four bar bridges etc, simple things like volume swells and quarter note FX lead-in type stuff can make a huge difference in impact if do it right.

The solo trade off thing at the end felt like it should have gone on a bit longer or wet into a new/older section to finish.
And as for the solo, The rhodes was good, but the guitar needs to be more rhythmically aware. It just sounded like it had no purpose; few 16th notes, stop, few more...etc etc


And more good news, I have nothing I want critted, so enjoy your good fortune while it lasts
Last edited by MapOfYourHead at Jul 3, 2010,
#3
Quote by MapOfYourHead
The first thing that strikes me is the drums, and their lack of drive. They seem to be taking things away from the song rather than adding, to be honest.

Any ideas to make them better? I don't know if I quite understand what you mean..!

Your transistions, or lack thereof, are slightly off-putting aswell, the sections don't flow into each other like I would expect them to. Sometimes transitioning like that works, but I just don't feel it in this instance. In bar 14 for instance, a volume swell might work in a lower octave to the A note swell in bar 15 as a build up/contrast going into the verse.

The transistions don't have to be four bar bridges etc, simple things like volume swells and quarter note FX lead-in type stuff can make a huge difference in impact if do it right.


The bar 14 transition bugs me as well... well, moreso how everything just drops out at bar 13. THAT bugs me, but I just don't know how to make it smoother. Any ideas?

And I don't know what you mean by the bolded.

The solo trade off thing at the end felt like it should have gone on a bit longer or wet into a new/older section to finish.
And as for the solo, The rhodes was good, but the guitar needs to be more rhythmically aware. It just sounded like it had no purpose; few 16th notes, stop, few more...etc etc

I agree with this. I wanted the trade-off to go on longer, but I was running short on ideas haha. As for the solos themselves, I feel the first guitar solo is more rhythmically aware then all the others... the guitar in the trade-off... I don't like it much. I'm not too good at making non-improvised solos.

You know... I can't tell if you liked the song or not xD

EDIT: y'know... after going back and listening to it without the guitar solos... I might just take those out haha
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at Jul 3, 2010,
#4
Quote by DiminishedFifth
Any ideas to make them better? I don't know if I quite understand what you mean..!


They actually sound alright after a second listen.

But I think the snare should have more of a presence, to push the song along more. At the minute your snare hits just seem fairly random and non-flowing. Ghost hits (like ghost notes) can add so much as well if you put them on off beats or if you use them accentuate the main snare hit. I've also been very fond lately of putting snare rushes in my drum tracks leading up to the main snare hit, but that's more of a personal preference (Think "4" by Aphex twin, but toned down slightly in the case of your song, as it wouldn't really fit).

And as for understanding, I'm afraid you'll just have to listen to drums as you would a piece of harmony you're analysing.

Quote by DiminishedFifth
The bar 14 transition bugs me as well... well, moreso how everything just drops out at bar 13. THAT bugs me, but I just don't know how to make it smoother. Any ideas?

And I don't know what you mean by the bolded.


My mind is blank as I write this.

That reverse cymbal in bar 4 is basically "quarter note FX lead-in type stuff"....I thought you wrote dnb.... ..you should know all about that haha.

Quote by DiminishedFifth
I agree with this. I wanted the trade-off to go on longer, but I was running short on ideas haha. As for the solos themselves, I feel the first guitar solo is more rhythmically aware then all the others... the guitar in the trade-off... I don't like it much. I'm not too good at making non-improvised solos.


Ah my dear fellow, solos, improvised or not, should fit the song. Are non-improvised solos really so different from improvised ones?

And speaking of solos, a lot of the stuff I hear on here is very lick-based with each lick starting on the "1" of each bar...and I hate it.

Your first solo was good, and it flowed, somewhat. Have motifs that start a beat before the bar and change on an offbeat...mix it up a bit.

Quote by DiminishedFifth
You know... I can't tell if you liked the song or not xD


Sounds pretty good, but I've been been listening to and writing stuff from the other end of the spectrum lately so....y'know...
#5
Quote by MapOfYourHead
They actually sound alright after a second listen.

But I think the snare should have more of a presence, to push the song along more. At the minute your snare hits just seem fairly random and non-flowing. Ghost hits (like ghost notes) can add so much as well if you put them on off beats or if you use them accentuate the main snare hit. I've also been very fond lately of putting snare rushes in my drum tracks leading up to the main snare hit, but that's more of a personal preference (Think "4" by Aphex twin, but toned down slightly in the case of your song, as it wouldn't really fit).

And as for understanding, I'm afraid you'll just have to listen to drums as you would a piece of harmony you're analysing.

Alright, that makes sense. My lack of understanding could be because of lack of sleep.

It's weird you mention Ghost Notes on the snare... I used to do that all the time. I even did it a little bit in this song. Guess it's just not prominent enough.

My mind is blank as I write this.

That reverse cymbal in bar 4 is basically "quarter note FX lead-in type stuff"....I thought you wrote dnb.... ..you should know all about that haha.


Haha try to write dnb. I just don't normally refer to that stuff as that. I usually just say "fade-in with X", where X = some sort of FX.

Ah my dear fellow, solos, improvised or not, should fit the song. Are non-improvised solos really so different from improvised ones?


Yes. They are different ;] But this isn't the place to discuss such things!

I do agree they should fit the song though.

And speaking of solos, a lot of the stuff I hear on here is very lick-based with each lick starting on the "1" of each bar...and I hate it.

Your first solo was good, and it flowed, somewhat. Have motifs that start a beat before the bar and change on an offbeat...mix it up a bit.

I tried that... I just couldn't remember any of the stuff I played. That's the real problem.

Sounds pretty good, but I've been been listening to and writing stuff from the other end of the spectrum lately so....y'know...

Completely understand. :]

Thank you for listening/critiquing though!
#6
Hey, critting as I listen: the lead at the start is nice, and the rhythm that complements it, but perhaps consider making it more than just a repetition of two patterns, or maybe vary up the rhythm somewhere. You've got sixteen bars to play with and they kinda feel a bit repetitive (though start strong, so the problem isn't the riff!)

Loving the piano riff over 17, sounds like some cross between a seedy jazz hole and an old telephone dialing a really long number

Chorus from 31 onward is awesome, but I'd say cut some of the tied and let ring notes out as it all sounds a BIT too big, at least in GP.

I'm actually thinking the solo is a bit of a letdown. Bar 53 sounds like some twisted version of the descending circus theme. I'd consider re-writing that, I see you had a version without the solo here too so maybe you thought the same thing.

Saying that though, the guitar riff at the end is awesome, the E shoved in as the fourth beat of bar 84 sounds really nice, feels like its' all climbed one more step of the ladder. Could you consider having the rhythm shift entirely to E around bar 85 but keep the lead as it is?
#7
Intro lead has quite a Protest the Hero style to it. The chug-a-lug works in some places, but it can get to be a bit overbearing. This has to do with my personal dislike for heavy chugs.

Transition into Verse 1 worked, but I was expecting something more explosive. I think that would should beef up the harmony here with some more synth chordage. The issue here might be sound panning as opposed to actual song writing technique.

Bridge is exactly what I'm talking about. This is what I wanted to hear earlier.

Chorus is absolutely wonderful. It reminds me of Sikth and Textures in one stroke. I like how it's some ambiguous in it's tone. I don't know if I am supposed to feel happy, sad, confused, alert, etc. Good job on emotionally masking it.

P-CTE was a good way to bring back the intro melody. I thoroughly enjoyed this part. The bass and synth this part quite a bit a depth. It's good that it's short, as I would have like more, but there's no reason to dwell on that.

Solo is like wow. It's mind-numbingly good. This part just wrecked me. I'm gunna have to use a 3 guitar melody/harmony crossover solo. I prefer minimalism (and minimal tracks), but this idea has so much potential. I've seen it in use quite a bit, but rarely as effectively as you did here.

Instrumental break is quite fun. I think it's a good way of moving away from the solo. Interspersing this with the djent style from earlier was even better than the bridge.

I like how you strengthened the nuances of the chorus. I didn't remember them being in there before, but now it sounds twisted and delusional. Maybe that was the theme of the song. Regardless, this really takes it to another level of oddity.

Guitar/Rhodes Tradeoff was entertaining, but it was difficult to distinguish the lead lines. I guess that works since it sounds like it's fading out. I advise against fade outs because of: a) overuse, b) almost always sounds like an after-thought (which I'm privy to these all the time), and c) gives no definite conclusion.
I see songs as narratives at their most primal and raw. You have unfiltered emotional tones to work with, giving more insight on yourself and other people.
When a fadeout is thrown in the mix, hardly works because their is no concrete end to the story. It feels cheap.
I'm not saying you should rework the ending. I don't anything that I could suggest to you. In fact, you made it work for the most part. It's mostly a panning issue that I have here (again). The leads are quite strong, but they buried beneath a sea of noise. It's difficult to make out what's going on.
When I silenced the 1st 2 tracks and raised the volume on the 7th one, the melodies strung to life. I say keep all the tracks, but lower the dynamics on the harmony while raising the melodic content higher.


This is an interesting song, one that I will lift a couple ideas from. Don't worry, I won't plagiarize, but there's some ideas that I would to try out now.
Last edited by huevos at Jul 6, 2010,
#8
Intro - Abso****inglutely love it dude. When the drums come in that rhythm is just sick. I love the lead too but its the guitars and drums that kill it in that section.

Verse 1 and Bridge - I think Verse 1 with vocals would sound pretty cool but its the Bridge that really shines as i love the ambience that the Rhodes provides in that section.

Chorus - Some of the notes in the Chorus can clash a bit and it becomes a bit hard to understand whats going on but the rhythms are amazing once again

Post Chorus and Solo - Amazing use of glitch/pan/volume here. A little PEriphery influence here it sounds like. I love it. The rhodes is really the star of this song it makes the song sound so full.

Instrumental Break - Amazing use of odd time sigs and pads at the end of the song. I like how you go from rhythmic in the break to more melodic in the last chorus and outro.

Overall I love the song and yoru use of the different instruments. Maybe watch your individual notes in the leads to match up with the chords youre playing behind them. GREAT JOB


C4C? https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1332433
#9
Intro: It's a great hook. The drums are agressive and the tapping line comes out a lot better once the percussion comes in. I don't really like the transition at bar 14, and I think you should come up with one more short phrase in order to smooth it out more.

Verse I: The 15/16 sig works very nicely here. The flow is great and the Rhodes part is pretty haunting.

Bridge: I like this bass part and the chords ringing out here. Don't change a thing.

Chorus/Post Chorus: The chorus was really great and the tapping part after that was a nice transition. I really like the variation on it too with the chord changes and the dropout of all the instruments right before the solo.

Solo: Good idea using the electronic drums, but I think they can be improved to be more fluid instead of being as jarring as they are. The solo itself is very interesting. I'd keep it.

Instrumental Break: My favorite part of the song. I wouldn't change a thing. And I give you my blessing to use the panning tradeoff in the guitars

Chorus: I like it how it is, but I think you could make it even more effective with a variation or a key change to really make things dramatic.

Tradeoff: Honestly, I didn't really like this part. The solos were way too out of key, and although they do resolve, it just doesn't work very well. I suggest you rework things to come up with a more definitive ending.
#10
Good beginning. Creates a tight atmosphere.
Then the transition is a bit forced. But don't worry it flows.

Verse 1 is ok.
Then, when bar 23 kicks in, I hear some harmonies that I don't like. Maybe you could try to make the (insane) bass part and the Rhodes part fitting better with another.

Nice esthetical choice for the Chorus. Love those reversed chords.

Then ther's the post-chorus. Really a good part... that you break at bar 45. This transition disappointed me. Maybe you should choose others notes with that tapping guitar.

Solo one: good techno beat. Still this jazzy atmosphere. Hard for meto say if I like it or not...

The djenty riff in instrumental break is really good. The Rhodes here sounds a bit disturbing. There are some notes which sound just strange (bar59-60). This is a really strong part. Maybe with 2-3 more listens needed to appreciate them.

The chorus flows perfectly.

For the Trade-off, you can do A LOT better! Keep working it, you will succeed.


Summary:
+ Interesting atmosphere along the song. It has a personality.
+ A lot of work on the Rhodes part. In fact, it seems that everyone on UG like Rhodes^^.
+Some really good djenty stuffs.

- Your guitars are tuned WAY too low... for GP.
- Some really stranges notes here and there. ( bars.20; 59-60,...). <- VERY subjective.
- Some transitions aren't that great ( 12-13; 48-49) whereas some are perfect.

Good job. I liked it mostly.
#11
Alright, so by votes I will keep the first solo. I'm also gonna try and work on a transition into the verse better. The Bar 13 transition bothers me, so I might try a little lick like ProgBass said...

I'm probably gonna take (another) hint from one of JR's songs to help me with the electronic drums. There are some things I wanna change about them.

@gnossdrawkcab: About the chorus, you're probably talking about the M3 (of the scale) instead of the m3. I love that sound, so that's staying haha. Thanks though!

@ProgBass: That's a good idea actually... I never thought of that for whatever reason. I usually change the key of the chorus at least once. I might go back and do that.

I'm gonna take out the tradeoff and expand it a little bit, with 8-bar phrases most likely. I'll probably record an improvised solo and use that instead of writing one on the spot... I tend to be bad at that haha
#12
I don't have much to add to what has already been said. Everything I was going to mention has been pointed out (Bar 13, trade offs). The intro tapping bit is amazing. Is there any chance of hearing it again near the end of the song? It's definitely my favourite part and I don't think anyone would mind hearing it again.
New To Town With A Made Up Name

In The Angel's City

Chasing Fortune And Fame
09/03/2012
#13
UPDATE AS OF JUNE 9, 2010: 8:01 PM - I have added a second version with slightly altered drums, the first solo is slightly... changed. Kind of. I got rid of the end tradeoff for now and just added the backing track and an outro. I've also changed the drums sporadically throughout. I still don't really have an idea for the transition at Bar 13... I'll accept any ideas!

File attached to the OP :]

Enjoy!
#14
I loved new version of the song as it was. I don't think the tradeoff should be added. It sounds great as it is. The chord progression allows things to cool down after the chorus. I think you should keep the rhodes on its own in the outro though. When the guitar is finally out, it sounds much better. Nice job on the improvements.
#15
Alright well, first riff is really sweet and I dig the clean guitar with the legato lead, really cool stuff, nice backing on rhythm, really solid.

I tried making a transition for you at bar 13, I'll attach it here; I made a way to insert something reminiscient of your lead at the beginning while implementing the rhythm that comes afterwards.

Next section is okay, but just okay - kinda feels uninspired but it works.

The bridge sounds really odd coming in... like, a weird kinda dissonant sound that makes it a bit muddy, but the idea is interesting.

I really like the section afterwards with the clean lead, interesting musically and rhythmically. (the chorus that is)

I feel the tapping part brings too much energy drumwise and rhythmically wise just to cut off into nothing, it makes it sound like you're anticipating a rise in dynamics and instead bam, clean guitar. I'd either tone something down, or add some instrumentation on rhythm at bar 45 - actually, I added something in the file I've put here, if you wanna hear.

The solo is nice but seems to suffer from the same thing as a lot of the rest of the piece does, a few of the added instruments sound muddy and actually seem to have melodies or notes/chords that distract from the purpose - like adding details that are unneccessary to the cohesion.

Also in many parts I find you could make the backing rhythm's melody more interesting instead of adding so many layers - just making the solid, distorted riff stand out and feel more melodic, you would need less stuff to toss on top and you could make the sound, while still very full and ambient, much more interesting and less muddy/stale.

Like for example, the chords at the beggining of the Instrumental break - awesome, that's killer - the part afterwards with only the 0's and then the octave with a bend, I feel like you could add some sort of melody to that track, and make it less uni dimensional.

One thing though, you use a lot of strange time signatures, which sure, you make the riffs fit inside of them, and it sounds cool, but sometimes as an entirety for the song, it lacks a bit of glue and makes it seem... I dunno, it feels like it lacks emphasis on the punches sometimes when the time signatures change all over the place, it gives it a weird flow and sometimes you make it work, sometimes, you get lost amidst it.

Good song man, was really enjoyable at many parts, but I think with some polish it could be phenomenal.

C4C? Check out my Uber Folder in my sig, and pick a song!
Attachments:
Dead Bird modifications at bar 13 and after tapping part.zip
Last edited by JazzDeath at Jul 10, 2010,
#16
Quote by JazzDeath
Alright well, first riff is really sweet and I dig the clean guitar with the legato lead, really cool stuff, nice backing on rhythm, really solid.

I tried making a transition for you at bar 13, I'll attach it here; I made a way to insert something reminiscient of your lead at the beginning while implementing the rhythm that comes afterwards.

I really liked what you did, but it didn't quite fit (nor sound like me y'know?) so I took that basic idea and messed around with it and got something I liked. I'll post it in Ver. 3 later :]

Thank you!

Next section is okay, but just okay - kinda feels uninspired but it works.

It works a lot better with the better transition... it has a lot more energy.

The bridge sounds really odd coming in... like, a weird kinda dissonant sound that makes it a bit muddy, but the idea is interesting.

Ya'll'll have to tell me what ya'll are hearing cause it sounds fine to me... it could be that our ears are more conditioned to different things though. I like it how it is honestly, so I'm probably going to keep it.

I feel the tapping part brings too much energy drumwise and rhythmically wise just to cut off into nothing, it makes it sound like you're anticipating a rise in dynamics and instead bam, clean guitar. I'd either tone something down, or add some instrumentation on rhythm at bar 45 - actually, I added something in the file I've put here, if you wanna hear.


I kept it how it was, but I toned down the drums a little bit. I agree on that: it transitions better that way.

The solo is nice but seems to suffer from the same thing as a lot of the rest of the piece does, a few of the added instruments sound muddy and actually seem to have melodies or notes/chords that distract from the purpose - like adding details that are unneccessary to the cohesion.


I thought so too, honestly. And it was because I had the delay guitars too high. Thanks for bringing it up!

Also in many parts I find you could make the backing rhythm's melody more interesting instead of adding so many layers - just making the solid, distorted riff stand out and feel more melodic, you would need less stuff to toss on top and you could make the sound, while still very full and ambient, much more interesting and less muddy/stale.

Like for example, the chords at the beggining of the Instrumental break - awesome, that's killer - the part afterwards with only the 0's and then the octave with a bend, I feel like you could add some sort of melody to that track, and make it less uni dimensional.


After listening to some Periphery (****in' amazing album) I got an idea. I'll tinker with it for a little and see how it pans out. But, if it doesn't work, I'm keepin' it how it is. I enjoy this part a lot, though it does lack a little bit of "hit". It sounds A LOT better on a real guitar though.

One thing though, you use a lot of strange time signatures, which sure, you make the riffs fit inside of them, and it sounds cool, but sometimes as an entirety for the song, it lacks a bit of glue and makes it seem... I dunno, it feels like it lacks emphasis on the punches sometimes when the time signatures change all over the place, it gives it a weird flow and sometimes you make it work, sometimes, you get lost amidst it.

Good song man, was really enjoyable at many parts, but I think with some polish it could be phenomenal.

C4C? Check out my Uber Folder in my sig, and pick a song!

Haha most of it is in 4/4 or 12/8! Thank you for the crits, by the way :] I'll get back to you, but only after I get done with Ver. 3 of the song! Maybe... I might get it when I have more time

And ProgBass: I created a tradeoff just cause it was fun. I'll upload it. If the consensus is the same as before, I'll take it out. I like it, but I also like it without. And don't worry, the new tradeoff has a lot more "character" than the old one.
#17
I will give this a detailed listen after work. If I don't have a long post in here by the end of today, send me a PM and nag me about it .
i don't know why i feel so dry
#18
UPDATE AS OF JUNE 12, 22010: 2:16 PM - I changed the transition at Bar 13. I like it more, honestly. I added the tradeoff. If it's not good, I'll just take it out! No biggie :] It's definitely better than in Ver. 1 though! I also made Solo 1 less muddy sounding. Took out the guitars in the outro. I think that's it! @JazzDeath: I tried to make the Bridge less "uni-dimensional" but it didn't pan out how I wanted it to, so I just kept it as it is. It's a lot better on real guitar though... jus' sayin' ;]

Enjoy!

@Eastwinn: Make sure to crit Ver. 3!

And I will return your crit JazzDeath (I might do 2, so I can get your opinion on Ver. 3 as well).
#19
Hey... this is some pretty damn cool stuff. The rhodes melody/harmony is ace throughout, especially the bridge and the chorus (oh and the clever 15/16 verse too), extremely jazzy and fun, and I almost can hear the bird's death tweets in it

Honestly I didn't fall much for the so-called "djent"... some of it was nice, especially when you harmonised the rhythm guitars, but some of it was pretty uninteresting chugging... plus do you use that tuning in real life? (ok now I'm being annoying xD)

Also, the first solo was great but I'll need some time to "understand" the others - really dissonant, I'm having a tough time wrapping my head around it

I'll keep it short for now, probably will be back for more detail after Friday, that's my last exam
But anyway, some serious good stuff you got.

Also, I may or may not have been working on a 10+ minute orchestral style-less song when I really shouldn't have >_>
#20
MIDI.

Intro: Beautiful, but I didn't like the way it transitioned into the verse.

Verse: I thought this was kind of uninteresting. The Rhodes Piano was playing some cool stuff, but it just didn't break though the mix.

Bridge: I can't put my finger on what was so strange about this, but I liked it nonetheless.

Chorus: Very cool, but my only complaint is the first note of m32. It didn't seem right. Might be a stylistic thing.

Solo One: Hate hate hate the drums, but that's just me. Ignored the solo as you wished.

Instrumental Break: Loved this.

Trade-Off: Wasn't a fan of this. The solos didn't really sound great :/

The final part sounded cool. I like the choice of just the rhodes and the ensemble. Overall, I really liked it. If you want to C4C, mine is on the front page of this forum, but only do it if it's your style.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#21
Hey champ, as promised - for a second time, and hopefully only the second - here's your critique and bump for Dead Bird. =] This version might be slightly condensed, so if there's anything at all you'd like me to embellish or elaborate on - or if you have any more concerns at all - please don't hesitate to ask; I'm here to help as best I can.

Intro - Very sleek line, and the half-step modulation reminds me a lot of the underwater levels in the original Donkey Kong games; total nostalgia!
Once the distorted guitars entered, I was admittedly a little worried that they'd be too overpowering - not necessarily dynamically, but in performing a completely counterproductive rhythm, which seems very apparent in a lot of djent - but the groove here is perfect; complimentary to the melody line, and a great way to prepare the listener for the rest of the piece.
I should say, too, that even though the djent influence is there, I'm glad it's not overpowering anything - you've taken some of the groove, and mixed that with a contemporary fusion-sound, and it's worked very well.

Bar 13 Transition - The idea here was solid, but I felt as if the drums were countering the dynamics implied by the guitar a little, so I revised some accents and embellishments - splashes and snares - to reinforce the guitar's accents, and hopefully it's made for a smoother transition. =] I'll upload another update tomorrow when my head's a little clearer, and I might re-write the time signatures to make the dynamics in that transition clearer, written, too.

Verse 1 - I'm really liking the drums here; it almost feels like a five over seven, but squeezed into standard time. The Rhodes Piano is a great touch too, and really adds to the spooky, ethereal tone; contrasting to the guitars, which again, are phrased well and not over-played.

Bridge - Very sleek bass line! It's always a treat to hear an independent bass line, especially one that compliments the piece; very ethereal, and it's a great segue from the previous - and to the proceeding - sections.
As a side note - WOW. The first time I crit this, I didn't even notice that you kept the 15/16 time signature; everything's so coherent! I'm honestly baffled at how you got such an unorthodox timing to feel so natural - bravo!

Chorus - Very cool use of suspended chords, and a great re-hash of the intro's half-step sequence. As a chorus, this is perfect; it's a little more controlled than the rest of the piece thus far, and the Rhodes melody has a very distinct character to it - spooky! The snare placement here is spot-on, too.

Post-Chorus & Tapping Extravaganza! - I really like how you've used the original transition section again; it sort of reminds me of Pin-Up Went Down 's method (a very cool French experimental band; definitely check out the link up there if you get a chance =] ) of using a repeated transition, so that the listener is aware that a change is going to happen; in that case, they get away with some very shifty changes.
I think the lead-in to the transition itself was a little weak though, as there wasn't much happening to indicate a change. I've added a cymbal hit on the off-beat of 2 and an open/closed-hat combo for the last beat of bar 38 (in the same file below), and to me it seems to indicate a change a little clearer - I'll let you be the judge though, and don't hesitate to pass it off if you don't like it.
The transition section itself, however, is great, and sets us up nicely for the upcoming modulations (what with the similar melodic movements and all). The cymbals hits are a cool touch, as are the bass chords, and the A - F#m7b5 movement at the end? - absolutely killer.

Solo 1 - The interlude leading into this is wonderful - it's a nice break from all of the layers and polyphony before, and let's us know more is to come.
As for the solo itself... two delayed guitar tracks, a panning/oscillating keyboard vamp, and synth drums? Could this be one of the |_JR_| tricks?
All-in-all, for somebody supposedly not comfortable with their solo writing technique, this is very well phrased - I particularly like the staccato and syncopation in bar 53. The only iffy part for me is bar 51 - I feel like the phrasing is just a little rushed there. For the rest of the bars, you seem to start phrases at the end of bars, and they sort of ''tie-in'' to the next, which gives a sense of continuity, which is sort of interrupted here. Maybe I'm just being picky - it works fine in the context of the rest of the lead - but maybe you could mess around with that a bit?

Instrumental Break - WOW. I'm loving everything here; the modulations, the huge extended chords, the return of the Rhodes keys, the simpler diatonic triad harmonies, the time changes that flow perfectly (even the 9/8, which is very impressive!). Definitely one of the highlights of the song for me, as an independent section.
PS: It seems the Rhodes melody is divided between two tracks - could that be borrowed from somebody?
I'll comment on the second Chorus here, as the only comment I have is that the transition seems like a completely natural progression (it flows better here than earlier, in my opinion - I'm not advocating changing the earlier transition either, because it's the slight contrast in approaches that makes this transition shine;or even not shine at all, because it's so well hidden and is so coherent). It's really cool that even though the Chorus was initially a whole new section, it's almost functioning like an extension of the prior Instrumental section.

Instrumental Break - I've already covered this in the PM I sent, but I have got a couple pointers to mess about with when soloing. Let's get on it!
I really have to advocate listening to Ron Jarzombek, as silly as it sounds - the entire solo section reminds me a lot of him, and you could get some wacky ideas for phrasing by listening to him (he uses a lot of mixed meters, modulations, and very bizarre groupings in a very coherent way, so it would be great to check him out. ''Tri, Tri Again'', ''Gimme 5'' and ''Yum-Yum Tree'' from his Solitarily Speaking of theoretical Confinement album would be great starting points, if you're interested. =]
At the moment, the only bar that really bothers me is bar 86's triplet run - it sounds very linear, and lacks much expression. I love the whole-tone idea though, so I've added a few notations changes in the updates I've enclosed below - using syncopated fives for a ''free-er'' sound is something I use a lot, so I hope you don't absolutely hate it If you ever come across a run you think sounds linear, think of where notes could be slightly sped up or slowed down, and experiment with the appropriate phrasing; it'll take practice, but all-in-all you could achieve some very cool results.

Anywho, that's it for me! As I've said, if there's anything more I can do to help - whether it's mess with more sections, be clearer on some of my points, or offer more priase - be sure to let me know; I'm here to help where I can. I've attached the updated file below - I hope it helps!



Alex
Attachments:
Dead Bird - Version 3 13, 38, 86 changes.zip
Last edited by juckfush at Jul 16, 2010,