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New demo - any input?


Phil W

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While recovering from my wrist injury a friend, produser and keyboard player brought me a copy of a recent session I did for him. He was working with a singer who writes her own material in a jazz context. The track is bossa influenced with an irregular chord sequence.

I found all the stops difficult to make sound good.

 

It can be checked it out at http://www.myspace.com/philwbass and click on the fourth track, 'Hunger'.

 

It's a very rough demo with vocals, piano, programmed drums and bass. It wil be re-recorded live with piano, URB? and live drummer.

 

I think if I get to redo it I will simplify the bass part a lot. It also lacks dynamics due to the programming and that it was recorded one musician at a time.

 

Advice?

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Very Nice.

 

I think maybe you are overcritical. Nothing wrong with the bass. Once you get a real drummer in it should all click in, the drum machine doesn't have any 'give' in it.

 

Last note maybe double up an octave?

 

As it's only a demo, maybe I shouldn't be commenting on the mix but:

I personally felt that the mix between the piano and vocals was a bit muddy at times and it was hard to hear the vocals. As she has quite a low voice maybe drop some of the mid-low EQ on the piano to let the vocals through a bit.

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin

 

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I like the ideas that you're playing. I don't think you should simplify your part any when you do it "for real". One thing that I did notice is that you sound tenative on this demo. I'd guess that's because you just learned the song and were trying to remember the parts/changes?
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I'll have a listen when I get back home after the weekend (no speakers on this PC) - keep it on your myspace page until then. :)
Now theres three of you in a band, youre like a proper band. Youre like the policemen.
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Hunger - didn't work, whereas the others did.

 

All Blues - what a great song that is. Love the tone and the playing. I also like the background chatter giving it a real bar/smokey feel. Shame the guitar distorts the recording.

 

Blue Monk. Great guitar work, again nice feel. You resisted going mad on the bass solo, which was wise. I would probably have Jaco'd it up a bit, which would have been inappropriate. The power of the Wal/AI/Epifani comes through here, very even across the strings.

 

Cheers Davo

"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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Thanks guys,

Why didn't you feel Hunger worked Davo? Be blunt/honest as I've no strong emotional ties to the recording - it's just a session/job.

Davo, the other three tracks are recordings via minidisc of jams from Summer 2004 when I attended LA Music Academy. I was real pleased with my solo on All Blues which was at a gig and got a great audience response. The Blue Monk was from a clinic led by a tough-ass music department head (much love and respect to him) - and was played in front of him and a bunch of bass players! :freak: So I wanted to approach it differently to how they might. Plus, the teacher had been grilling me for weeks about simplifying my playing, outlining the changes, playing in the tradition using chord tones etc. so I wanted to prove to him that I could play a reasonable solo using mostly chord tones. It's actually the Wal through some combo at the Academy (I don't recall) and the batteries on the Wal were low, hence a slight warmth to the tone (I used neck pickup as I thought my bridge pickup had failed (duh! - it was the battery.

Hunger:

Thanks Bumpcity, it's interesting that you identify 'tentative' playing - maybe I was just trying to guess what the producer wanted - I 'll have to watch for that. I had listened to the song for a couple of days and made my own chart but on the session I was reading a difficult chord chart which might have affected the playing. Basically, no tune sections of the tune were of the same exact structure or length. I recorded about 6 takes one after another qwith slightly different feels, this is the one he chose. I don't think that this is the finished mix by any means.

Thanks Tim, I enjoyed playing it but it's tough working with programmed drums. At the end the producer asked me to overdub some harmonics which you can hear at the end, I don't tend to use them much on recordings unless I'm asked, they can be overdone!

Rowbee, I look forward to your comments! ;)

 

Now if I could just play the bass! :freak:

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Hunger sounds good to me, not overplayed at all. Like a driving car, it is just moving the song along. It sounds like the piano and you both want to get off the beat together sometimes at the ends of a phrase. so im sure a live drummer will help. I have found that when you record its nice to play through something a couple times with the other musicians first if you are going to record all tracks seperate and then record each person to that scratch track so that the feed from bass to drums to piano etc.. can be kept. And as someone else said you sound timid or restrained. besides this i think it sounds good. great tone, nice lines.

A#1 Phil

 

 

 

 

 

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No, no, no. I mean it wouldn't download, it wouldn't play not that the song didn't work. All the others go straight into the song, but this one just hangs up. Give it another go at your end.

 

Davo

"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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Hey Phil:

 

I like it...nice job. It doesn't sound to me like you're overplaying...interesting chord changes too. It sounded a bit like you and the piano were pulling the drum machine along, particularly on the breaks. I think a live drummer will certainly fix that. I also agree that the piano is covering up the vocals a bit. I'd say maybe either EQ some of the lows out of the piano, or pan it to the sides a bit to make more sonic room for the vocal.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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You´re doing a great job with the bass Phil. I liked the slide you snuck in there at the right place. The keyboad player sounds to be off the tempo bigtime at around 1:33-1:36, but maybe that´s ok in the jazzy bossanova beats. Nice tune as a whole.
What ever...
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I think it's really good, a great example of taste and restraint when it would've been so easy to overplay. It makes the aforementioned slide all the sweeter.
Now theres three of you in a band, youre like a proper band. Youre like the policemen.
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The band that recorded Cissy Strut (minus Carlos - far left who wasn't around) - also no cymbals (except high-hat) on the recorded one.

 

http://usera.imagecave.com/feilik/tokyolondonexpress.JPG

 

Performing the version of All Blues you heard.

 

http://usera.imagecave.com/feilik/amynphil.JPG

 

Sorry for the lack of image quality.

 

 

:o

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I like it. I think you did a good job of balancing restraint and interest. The piano is too loud throughout, gets in the way of the vocals and bass, just needs a thinner tone really. Would sound a lot better with the fire of a live rhythm section, especially as the drums need to be ahead of the beat pulling everyone else along and on this recording the piano rushes ahead of the drums quite often.

 

I know what Bump means about tentative playing but sometimes that delicacy and lack of forcefulness actually adds to the track, as in most this song.

 

Alex

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Originally posted by Davo-London:

Hunger - didn't work, whereas the others did.

Yeah, I didn't like "Hunger" very much either. Loved all the other tracks.

 

"Hunger" sounds stilted and artificial whereas the other tracks sound like you meant it. I even liked the occasionally muddy sound. Very early 70s. Lovely stuff :thu:

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I'm certainly no Bossa expert, but I'll echo some of the comments here and say that this genre needs to have live drums. The singer's and the piano player's time is all over the place (in a good way), but the rigid, metronomic drumming is clashing with your playing. I'm not sure what sequencing software was used, but there are some excellent "humanizing" algorithms on most of the major software programs' feature lists.

 

If they are going to replace the drums, you should suggest retracking the bass unless the drummer has golden ears and feel.

 

Also, I don't think this song would be best served by upright...your tone, even on this rough mix, is excellent.

 

I really enjoyed the tune and your playing, Phil.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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I don't think it's that the genre needs live drums, it's that it needs players to play with the programmed drums as opposed to letting them keep time. These sort of straight latin grooves suffer much less from programming than more swung and greasy funk grooves do.

 

So in this case I'd be inclined to program the drums a few bpm faster than the track naturally sits at, so that the piano and vocal can sit behind its beat without sounding laidback and behind the beat. The bass should then split the difference but be more leant towards pushing ahead than pulling back.

 

Alex

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Hey Phil....

 

A little uncomfortable that my 2nd post on this forum is an artificial adjudication, but community's the thing!! I agree with C. Alexander in that programming isn't the issue 'cause if one spends the time you can make 'magic' with programming (but I don't think it can replace the real thing)! I thought your playing was quite tasteful, I would suggest using more of your bass (range wise) and experimenting with varied voice leading to keep the interest happening, the feel is nice with lots of 'half gliss' stuff! Sometimes you can sneak in a basterdized tumbao in a quick Bossa for a change of pace. It was hard to get past the 'Shadow of Your Smile' piano part though and I thought this tune would have been much better as a Samba! It's possible that I'm also full of crap and many a grain of salt should be on offer!!!!

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Vince/Kramer, thanks for your input. That early 70s thing is probably the best compliment I could imagine - thanks! Good to hear from another lo-fi fan too!

09, I've played a lot of Brazilian music but I don't think the producer/keyboardist has. The track feel is more his/the singer's impression of a jazz impression of a Brazilian feel. I found all the stops interfered with the feel of the track a little and probably wouldn't arrange it like that. The Wal is capable of a great tone. The producer hinted that he might use URB instead - I would prefer the fretless (partly for selfish reasons).

Alex, thanks for your post, the piano is very busy and the last thing I wanted to do was detract from the vocals so restraint was the thing. I did record slightly busier tracks with more upper register fills and substitutions.

Bret, good to have you around. Cheers. I think drum programming could have been made to work and the whole track redone. I guess it will be be with or without live drums and with or without my input.

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