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Ignatius

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  • Ignatius

    Hello....

    I just finished up a song for a friend/client Danny First called "Ignatius":

    Ignatius

    (P) 2008 Mauve Music Co

    I initially tracked the primary vocals, acoustic guitars, Ebow, and drums in Mackie's Tracktion3 (on a PC) but then halfway through the project I bought a MacBook Pro and imported everything into Logic Studio. Everything else was pretty much tracked, edited and mixed in Logic Studio. I used my TD-20 set throughout for all drums with a conglomeration of VExpressions patches and layers.

    Plug-ins of notable mention:

    Celemony Melodyne
    Stillwell 1973, Event Horizon, VibeEq, Major Tom, and Transient Monster
    Line6 GearBox (with add-ons)
    Too many Logic and Apple plugs to list
    Nomad Factory Blue Tubes v3 Bundle
    G-Vst GMulti

    Hardware:

    Presonus FireStudio/DigimaxFS Combo
    Line6 UX2 TonePort
    Ibanez Acoustic
    Conklin 7-String Bass
    Roland TD-20 V-Drums
    Ebow
    Fender American Deluxe V-Neck Strat
    Alesis Microverb II
    Pair of MXL 603s
    Oktava MK-319

    Enjoy!
    Todd

    Proprietor of Fine Music and Hot Sauce

    Visit me at www.toddreynolds.blogspot.com

  • #2
    Could not access the mp3 download page. Server timed out. Not sure what the problem is.

    Shalom
    Bruce

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Big Bopper View Post
      Could not access the mp3 download page. Server timed out. Not sure what the problem is.

      Shalom
      Bruce
      Same here.
      TD9 Frankenkit

      Comment


      • #4
        Sorry guys. Some people have problems, others don't. Not sure what the cause is but I do know that folks that use dial-up almost always time out when trying to download the file. Incidentally, I use mp3.com to host stuff because it is free and virtually no restrictions but there is a lot of traffic over there, but so far we have logged over 120 successful downloads of this particular song. One thing to do is to try downloading the mp3 a couple more times. I've had instances where the first attempt fails but then everything is fine after that. Again, not sure of the cause. That all being said, I just tested the link again and I had no problems getting the full file. At any rate, I'd really like some feedback on the V-Drums' tones in context of the overall mix.

        So anyway, thanks for posting. If anyone is still experiencing problems in downloading the song but are interested in listening to it, please PM or email me and I'd be more than happy to send the mp3 directly to you. Sorry for the inconvenience here.

        Also, I posted more detailed info on how the V-Drums were configured and what post-processing was used over at the VExpressions forum.

        Thanks again for the help and for checking things out!
        Todd

        Proprietor of Fine Music and Hot Sauce

        Visit me at www.toddreynolds.blogspot.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Finally got it. Thanks for sharing.

          Not my cup of tea, but the quality was clean and professional. Vocals are first rate and the tone of the instruments is what you'd like to hear in a professional recording. Good work!

          Content is a little lacking; what, two verses repeated twice? Or two choruses, whichever you prefer. The arrangement is too uniform and more along the lines of a lullaby than the death of Ignatius. I was expecting some lion's roars in the background, with a more determined beat and more in-depth lyrics. I would think a song based on someone facing the lions in the arena would have more energy and, I don't know, drive. More lyrics linking Ignatius' ordeal with a current struggle would be great, even if you kept the style like the lullaby.

          I know you were probably going for something 'worshipful' but to my way of thinking that term is not defined well in Christian circles. Maybe the writer was just thinking of the phrases 'like bread' and 'like pebbles' and doing a take off on that concept. In that case you might not want to link the song with the story. Many seem to think 'worshipfull' is that last moment in bed right before you fall asleep, but I'm sure Ignatius wasn't feeling like going to sleep as he entered the arena. Calm or at peace, maybe, but not ready for a nap, although perhaps the Spirit has some sort of soporific available for the about-to-be-departed.

          But hey, that's just me. Feel free to file this in the appropriate circular file if you want. Just be careful who you ask for opinions. You might just get one.

          Shalom
          Bruce

          Comment


          • #6
            Also listened to 'Have I Thanked You,' 'Strong Love,' 'The Next Step,' and 'Maneuver #5.' Good songs also. 'Maneuver #5' was much more energetic than Ignatius, and instrumentals are okay mostly, but no lyrics means a less interesting song in general. But your recording and mixing skills are top notch!

            Shalom
            Bruce

            Comment


            • #7
              Big Bopper....

              Thanks for the feedback on the tune. And yes I'd agree that this song does not conform to a normal song structure. Danny First (the song-writer and featured artist) focuses almost entirely on the message/agenda of the lyrics and not so much on the arrangement or instrumentation. That's where I come in. Danny came to me with 10 songs and pretty much only vocal parts, acoustic guitar parts, and some ideas about backing vox, harmonica, etc.. That is all we started with and I've built up the instrumentation from there (including "HITY" and "Strong Love"). The real challenge is to create something bigger than what Danny is able to do on his own. As far as this "Ignatius" song is concerned, I feel the same way about the song structure (or lack thereof) and I guess I view this song more as an interlude that will fill in some space between some of Danny's more "Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus/Bridge/Chorus/etc" songs when we release the album. This isn't the sort of tune that would typically be found on the radio and we are well aware of that. Again, perhaps this song should be viewed as an interlude.

              As far as the vibe of the song's lyrics-meets-the-music, again I understand what you are saying. I must confess that I really enjoy intentional mismatches when it comes to lyrics and instrumentation. Call me weird but I love a happy sounding song with dark lyrics or vice versa, and those sort of songs intrigue me (quite a bit actually) although this song ("Ignatius") wasn't so much intentionally mismatched as it was simply built more around the sparse acoustic guitar/vocal arrangement that Danny started out with. The piano parts and the pretty strings may have put this one over into the pretty "lullaby" territory that you described. I dunno. :-) All the same, I have to say that I really enjoyed scoring those parts and working them out to swim around Danny's sparse song arrangement. So maybe this song is just whacked in how it has an underlying (macabre?) message to it and yet musically it sounds like an ode to a beautiful sunrise(?). lol Having said of all of that, I really appreciate your comments and point of view on this song. I wouldn't have asked for opinions if I wasn't open to hearing candid comments that come with. It's all good....

              So anyway, what I'd really like to know is how those V-Drums sound?
              Todd

              Proprietor of Fine Music and Hot Sauce

              Visit me at www.toddreynolds.blogspot.com

              Comment


              • #8
                The drums sound great. Full throated toms and subtle snare notes. Well placed in the mix and sounding very complimentary. I love that I can hear the stick work on the cymbals.

                Although I am not a fan of the arrangement either, sometimes a repetitve, beautiful melody can be soothing. This is the case here. And is that an ebow and the end? Love that texture!
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  An Ebow it is! And not just at the end.....the very same part is at the very beginning as well (I just copied and pasted the performance). I played the Ebow through one of my Strats and fed that directly into an ancient Alesis Microverb II that has one incredible trick up its sleeve by way of one huge lush reverb. (I've held onto that Alesis unit solely for using it with the Ebow.) From there I fed into a Line6 UX2 and put it through some very light amp modeling. Normally putting a verb before an amp (or amp sim) is a bad idea but it really works wonders on an Ebow.

                  Glad you liked the V-Drums' tones. I'm a hack drummer wannabe and I prefer to have the professionals do the task, but for this song I felt like I could pull it off and play what I was hearing in my head easier than trying to convey the drum ideas to someone else. So I just went for it until I got each section right. Wasn't easy for a guitar player. :-) To my ear the drums sound right in context of the mix, but if they are isolated unto themselves they sound horrid. That seems to be the rule for mixing doesn't it?

                  Thanks for the helpful comments on the drum tones and the song overall. I know very well that this song and its underlying message/genre is not up everyone's alley, and that's all well and good. But it is still nice to get some honest feedback about it from a production standpoint. My main job with Danny First's music is not songwriting (or even lyrics and arrangement) but rather making everything sound as good as we are able.

                  On a side note, I have another older song that likewise features the V-Drums called:

                  "I Don't Care"

                  I had someone else play those drums but I did pretty much everything else, including the main vocals (a buddy did the backing vox and my wife did the female speaking parts at the bridge and outro). It still isn't your typical *song* arrangement (but I love it all the same). Also, if I could go back and change things on "I Don't Care" I'd tame the crashes a bit more and blend/smear them in a little better. That being said, I can't reopen the old project files and so it will have to remain as is. Hindsight is always 20/20....

                  Thanks again for the comments everyone!

                  All the Best....

                  Todd
                  Todd

                  Proprietor of Fine Music and Hot Sauce

                  Visit me at www.toddreynolds.blogspot.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Along the lines of some of the previous critiques - exellent mixing and recording. I envy your multiple talents!

                    I was left wishing for a more powerful bridge section. I play mostly modern P&W (at church), and that seems to be a good formula for helping the congregation to get in a worshipful mood; ease in, build up, ease out.

                    All-in-all, an excellent peice of music. Would Danny object if we were to add it to our line-up at church?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I just listened to "I Don't Care." Again, the production value and playing are top notch.
                      All it needs is a BIG FAT HOOK! Seriously, you could take that song from good to great with a hook between verses. Right where those power chords are.

                      The dissonance that happens occasionally is brilliant. I love that sort of stuff.
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hello Everyone....

                        @ Stickinthemud.....Danny said you could definitely use that tune in your church (so long as your church isn't into handling rattlesnakes and vipers or where all the guys have multiple wives that dress up like Little House On the Prairie..... - ok he didn't say that last bit....I made that up) No but seriously, use it if you'd like. Danny didn't write stuff to horde it like a trophy. Sure he wrote it, but it really isn't his message or his agenda. Enjoy!

                        @ Michael Render.....

                        Glad you dug "I Don't Care". And yes it lacks any sort of traditional choruses, but again that was by design. Seems like the older I get the more I hearken back to the days of yore when albums weren't all about "singles" and oftentimes the songs eschewed any particular format. Admittedly that song was deeply inspired by Don Henley's "Boys of Summer"-meets-Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" (both of which have incredible hooks), but we could never come up with a worthy chorus line (tried lots of different things along the way) and in the end I really just wanted that song to breathe musically and have adequate space for the listener to draw into themselves and relate somehow to the lyrics. So many songs these days are so "wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am" in how they can't wait to get to the hook and they end up being predictable, and after you've heard them a few times you get bored and move on. I wanted "I Don't Care" to kind of linger in people's minds to where it will still grab them in 10-20 years. To that end I tried to limit my production methods in hopes that I could make that song more timeless. Don't get me wrong, sometimes a hook is perfect and needed. "I Don't Care" just didn't seem to want one.

                        If you all are hoping to hear more of a hook per say, I'd encourage you to give this song a listen:

                        "Their Story"

                        This song was completed back in '04 with a friend Christina Ladd. Like Danny First, she wrote the lyrics as well as the basic chord arrangements for each section, and then I built the instrumentation up from there. No drums on this one. She sang and I played the music: Acoustic guitars, mandolin, lap dulcimer, bass, and a very subtle synth texture during the hooks. Also, this song was done during midweek sessions on Wed nights while I had another huge death metal project being produced in the mornings with a former guitar student who hired me. The death metal project was a contract job and not something I normally take on given the subject matter (we had originally agreed to record a heavy instrumental album but the client changed his mind halfway through the project and dove headlong into the death metal scene....I had no recourse in the contract that specified the genre or style of music or lyrical content). So when I took on the side job with Christina Ladd it was like a breath of fresh air once a week. To this day it remains one of my favorite recordings. Enjoy!
                        Todd

                        Proprietor of Fine Music and Hot Sauce

                        Visit me at www.toddreynolds.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The productions are very very good. All the sounds, including the drums, are first rate, and pleasant listening.

                          I agree about the concept of 'art for art's sake,' but when we speak commercially, that is, will other people appreciate the art enough to buy it and listen to it over and over, that is a whole different ball game. That's why I agree with Michael about a hook. It's not just that he or me or the other potential buyers are trying to tell the artist how to create, it is more about being able to relate. Hooks (or stick's "powerful bridge") work because that's the way we relate to songs. Perhaps it's a cultural thing, or a genetic thing, but still, in order to be commercially successful songs sort of have to follow some loose guidelines. Sometimes a group can break the rules, or bend them quite a bit, but generally the more recognizable music conforms to those rules.

                          The rules are not there because somebody legislated them. They are inherently present in the way we communicate. For instance, even time signatures (4/4, 2/4, 2/2, 6/8 etc.) are more appealing to our natures than odd time signatures, perhaps because of the rhythm of the heart or something even more subtle (like it's tough to snap your fingers to or dance to ). Have you ever tried to get an audience to clap to a song? It's hard enough to get them clapping on the up-beat because for some reason the down-beat seems more natural.

                          As much as I like Genesis, they were never as commercially popular as they could've been if they'd stuck to more even time signatures. If I remember right Phil Collins wanted to do more 'pop' music ('Follow You Follow Me' and 'Misunderstanding') and finally left because the other guys didn't want to go that way. Then Phil became incredibly successful, not necessarily proving he was a better artist but certainly proving he could make more widely appealing music.

                          There's a reason why they call it 'pop' music too. Many are very derogatory about it, but it is 'pop' because it is 'popular,' meaning appealing to a great many people. If a musician wants to make something for himself, fine. If he wants to share it with a few friends only, okay. If he expects to indulge himself for the sake of 'artistry' he must expect a limited audience. But if the purpose is to communicate to a wide number of people, which I assume is the idea behind 'Christian music,' then it would seem that certain conventions need to be observed.

                          Just more opinion stuff.

                          Shalom
                          Bruce

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey!

                            I hear you on the "pop" comments. If you knew Danny then you'd know that he isn't very "pop" at all, either musically or artistically, and so we indeed have a limited audience. What factors in here a lot is that we want something honest. I suppose if we went 100% honest then it would be just Danny and his acoustic, so we have taken quite a bit of liberty with the production side of things. But that's all good. We're not trying to break out into the mainstream here and we're quite happy with that decision. Also, I guess in regards to the "Christian" genre on music, I could care less if we fit in. Most of the stuff on the local Christian stations as well as the run-of-the-mill Praise & Worship genre that has flooded the airwaves make me twitch with the cookie-cutter, Nashville production. I have deep, ill feelings towards that whole genre/industry and hope that I can keep my distance. There are some Christian artists out there who are legit and who inspire me musically or with their production, but those are few and far between. (Iona would be the first inspiring band that comes to mind.) But again this is a sore spot of mine towards the machine that is the "Christian Music Industry" and it is my hope that Danny will find reasonable success at what he does without the intrusion of the CMI. You may as well recommend that Cradle of Filth needs to write children's songs for PBS. Ain't gonna happen..... To each his own of course! YMMV

                            Thanks again for the commentary. I'm enjoying it!

                            Best Regards....

                            Todd
                            Todd

                            Proprietor of Fine Music and Hot Sauce

                            Visit me at www.toddreynolds.blogspot.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Todd, I have just listened to Ignatius and must say I am extremely impressed with the mix. Everything is well separated with plenty of 'air' and I love what you have done with your TD20.
                              If I could be critical from an engineering perspective, I'd like to hear a little more ambience around the snare. It sounds a little too forward compared to the rest of the kit. That is just my opinion though and I am being very critical here.

                              I'll check out your other mixes later on. Keep up the great work though.


                              ...oh, one quick thing... How are you finding Melodyne? I'm eagerly awaiting the Melodyne DNA release and am weighing up whether to get the current version beforehand and then purchasing the update to DNA or just wait for DNA.

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