I’m going to regret this.
I’m going to be as nice as I can here, outlining the positives as well as areas that need improving. I see potential here, this is a fun little track, and when I can provide some help, I want to do so. I’m weird and it’s a thing I do, some of you know this already. If you wanna trash me for it, go right ahead. In fact: here’s my ask box,
And of course, pretend there’s a Read More here. I can’t add one.
Alright, first off, the intro. It starts off very promising, but immediately there are some problems. The first is something that’s almost seen as cliché when writing electronic music. There is a long humming sub bass, and this is actually doing several things.
- It’s removing all possible tension from the drop. An important thing to remember is don’t use up all your bass in the intro, use an EQ to pull some of it out. Reserve the really hard hitting sub frequencies for the drop.
- Don’t leave it there humming. You don’t need to follow the bassline pattern exactly, create a rhythm, layer another mroe subtle synth with it. Here’s a funny thing Bob Ross says that applies to music. “You need the dark to see the light.”, and in music, you need silence, or gaps, in order to hear sounds. If you leave a sub bass humming away constantly, it’s very fatiguing on the ear, and has no impact, but if you have bursts of sub (Especially if they coincide with the kick drum) there is tremendous impact there, and gives you another rhythmic tool to use also, to introduce energy. This also applies in the drop, more on that later.
- It’s drowning out your drums. I’m assuming here, but I don’t think you have studio quality listening gear, headphones or monitors. And that’s okay! Many producers have worked on crap cheap speakers and made awesome records with them, but you need to know something. That sub is too high, throw it down an octave. You might not be able to hear it, but it’s an octave too high here, and it’s drowning out everything, and is, again, fatiguing being that prominent and tonal.
There’s good groove here and the structure is decent. I think you could afford to have four to eight more bars build, which would further increase the tension. Lengthen that sweep, and have the drums repeat at faster intervals, 1/8, 1/16 and maybe a little 1/32 if it’s not too messy.
If I had one compositional criticism about your intro is that there is no real strong melody here at all for you to draw from, which will ultimately leave your piece a little forgettable. having some kind of melody line, even just a short eight bar section where the drums drop out to a pad and a lead and elements of the bass is a very useful tool. It gives you a hook, and a fallback, a melody you can return to during the drop, and can glue the whole piece together and give it cohesion.
The drop itself suffers from similar problems. First of all, the sub is, again, in the wrong register and is constant. The drop has decent structure, but feels very sparse in places. In lots of bass-heavy tunes, the sound is pretty relentless, filling the frequency spectrum near constantly, leaving gaps here and there to allow for certain sounds to stand out, but overall not letting things settle down.
A few things would help here. Never be hesitant to have more than one sound happening at one time. layering sounds together, especially in this when you have a lead sound, but no accompanying bass sound, small gaps as sounds transition, and so on. The dynamics between the sounds also vary pretty often, some sounds standing out more than others, where they should all be pulled forward and be presented up front and be filling the mid range consistently.
A little hi-hat variation would definitely help fill out some of the gaps also. If you’re counting in semi-quavers, as One-e-and-a Two-e-and-a Three-e-and-a Four-e-and-a, your hats are only landing on the “and-a” of every crotchet measure, having the occasional hat on the ‘e’ would give variation. As well as having a stronger rhythm on top, and maybe a ride cymbal too. it’s all in the layering!
Now for some pretty harsh criticism. I think that having vocal samples in the breakdown is a bit of a cop-out. You definitely did write yourself into a corner without a melody in the intro, though, I will give you that. You could have introduced one here, but you would have run the risk of making it seem a little out of place if it wasn’t also incorporated elsewhere. The rest of this section is elements of the intro, and the same applies, drop the bass level down a little, either volume wise or with EQ.
Overall it’s a fun piece, it has a lot of flaws, but keep at it! I hope this was useful. Take care, and happy producing.
Wow, well I definitely wasn’t expecting a response quite like this!
This is exactly the kind of criticism that I need. I mean yeah, it’s a great feeling when people say they like your material and compliment your work, but honestly, you don’t learn nearly as much.
I am still taking in anything I can as I am still fairly new to music production, and when it comes to constructive criticism and giving advice such as this, there’s absolutely no need to feel bad! If anything, I feel bad that you felt obliged to take so much time out of your day to give out pointers like this!
I want to be a better producer, and this is probably one of the best ways to learn that I know of. I really wish I had more to say in response to this and show my gratitude, but I think the best thing for me to do is apply this advice into my work, and learn from my mistakes.
Thank you, Lavender Harmony.