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audio "Proggy" track recorded in the studio a while ago...

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by PJH, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. PJH

    PJH Active Member

    Hi everyone,

    I'd like to share a track that we recorded a while ago that I've uploaded to Soundcloud. The track is called "Cast in Stone" and was supposed to be part of our sixth album but unfortunately has never seen the light of day due to various reasons...

    The band is called "Off the Edge".

    The track was recorded in SONAR and mastered in Adobe Audition.

    Drums was a Gretsch Catalina kit miced with SM57's and a D112 on the kick. The overhead mics were SE S3s.

    Guitars were a Gibson Les Paul through an MI Audio Crunchbox into a clean Marshall miced with an SM57. The acoustic was an Ibanez Artwood miced with a Rode NT2A.

    Bass was a Fender Precision recorded direct into a Bass Pod with the Ampeg SVT4 patch.

    Keys were Roland FP8 (Piano) D50 synth, a Prophet One and a Hammond C3 and Leslie. The Leslie was miced with 2 SM57s at the top horn for a nice stereo spread.

    An NT2A was used for Vocals.

    The track is actually in two parts (first instrumental and the second vocals). It runs for about 7 minutes.

    We did video a lot of the parts but haven't gotten around to editing them. Unfortunately the project has kinda ground to a halt with the album about halfway. A few of the members have drifted apart and there doesn't seem to be much interest in finishing the album. Quite sad actually.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed producing it.



    The link is
    View: https://soundcloud.com/peter-john-hanmer/cast-in-stone-parts-1-and-2
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Wow! What impact. What a fabulous solid stone and forward modulation. Without any gunk mucking it up! Yeah baby! Way to go!

    Now this is the type of music and the quality of recording, I would walk across the street to get. Very Journey-esque. And for a change, someone who records and mixes like I do.

    This is absolutely first rate. Yes... so sad that the bandmates are going through drama and have drifted apart. You don't hear this kind of composition and execution quality very often today with everybody playing with too many plug-ins.

    And you used my favorite program for your mixing. So, you passed the Audition. Which I know could hurt if you didn't use a stool softener LOL. Or maybe some Ex-Lax? Either way it was fabulous.

    He said he recorded the into Sonar and mixed with Audition. But the quality of the recording electronics that you used, also sounded damn first rate. You mention nothing about that? That's more important than the software you use to record or to mix it with. So what the heck equipment did you use LOL? Other than the microphones? The preamps sounded superb. You dialed them in just right. You certainly know your gain staging. This had no squashed transient clipping. The electronics sounded like they had more than ample headroom. The kind you only hear from equipment that can output +24 dbM or higher. And if not? Your production is even more fabulous.

    So how long ago did a little while ago, actually mean? A few years? It sounds better than most of the dreck I've been hearing in recent years. This tickled my eardrums. And you cut that vocal, with great professional precision. You're an ace of a producer you are! You are well seasoned.

    I don't usually purchase other people's recordings. Unless it was done by someone significant who I hold in high esteem. Yours I would purchase. It's a great example of a great recording, great songwriting, great performance. It was a win-win win with the band now going blah blah blah. Yeah... sad. A loss of great musicians, songs and musicianship. This was real music. This is real music. This is the way recorded music is supposed to sound.

    Is this a song about Abola? Just kidding. It's changing the future for sure. Hope they clear that up down there before it hits Johannesburg. So the military action at the beginning of the song could have to do with that or perhaps apartheid? Either way the content was also Rock Solid!

    Rock on! I'll have to listen to that one again. And again. And again. Where the hell is my pot? I know it was around here somewhere?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. PJH

    PJH Active Member

    Thanks for taking the time to listen, Remy and for your kind comments.

    The reason that I didn't elaborate on the gear used for recording and mixing is that it's just very ordinary and boring.
    I don't have any "esoteric" preamps. (Wish I did) I have a 32 channel Yamaha mixing desk and use the built in preamps.
    My soundcards are two M Audio Delta 1010s.
    My nearfield monitors are a pair of Yamaha HS50s.
    I must just clarify the software. I tracked AND mixed the song in SONAR Producer 6 and MASTERED the final mix in Adobe Audition. I still think that Audition's noise reduction is tops.
    The song was recorded in early 2007. I remastered it in 2013 as my mastering tools have gotten a bit better.

    The song was just a comment about all the usual crap thats going on in the world. Wars, global warming, pollution and whether we have the means to alter the future.

    I'm not normally into political type songs but this one kind of wrote itself.

    There is another song that was supposed to end up on this never to be finished album entitled "Remember September". It was written and recorded soon after 911. At the tenth anniversary we re recorded it and released it in the hope of raising funds for a charity called "Tuesdays Children" This charity was put together for the kids that were orphaned because of 911 and because we had redone the track I thought it might be a good idea to put it on the album thinking that it might rekindle some interest in finishing it. Unfortunately it didn't and so it's basically just lying around on my system.

    This is one of the reasons that I've put out two instrumental albums (you made some really nice comments on the video that I put up). I find that when I'm in control of my own material I can get things done.

    I also play in a country rock band and decided to release an album which consists of the best of that band and a few of these "new" tracks that we recorded as Off the Edge and do a "best of" just to get them out there. It's only available in very limited quantities however but at least "Cast in Stone" and "Remember September" is on it.

    If you're interested in hearing "Remember September" I've attached the link.

    Once again thanks so much for your input and feedback. It does mean a lot.



    View: https://soundcloud.com/peter-john-hanmer/remember-september
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Cast In Stone:

    If this had been released in '74 it would have now likely been a "classic rock" hit, in much the same vein as Grand Funk's I'm Your Captain or Uriah Heeps' Demons and Wizards.

    Well done. This was an enjoyable listen. (I'm a sucker for a real Hammond/Leslie combo anyway, and it was nice to hear it, and played so well, too).

    The vocalist has a cool rasp... I bet that was a fun track to mix.

    Sadly, I doubt you'd get much interest in a song like this these days, with the current trend of 4 minute copy/paste/insert sample-based pop production, but, it was very pleasant to listen to.
    It took me right back to my dorm hall at Kent State, when music like this was flooding out of every room... there was another thing that flooded out of those dorm rooms in those days too, but I won't elaborate. ;)

    I thought the snare was a tad bit hot, and maybe a little too dry (I'm a drummer so I figure I have the right to comment on that, LOL) but that's just nit-picking, and certainly not a deal-breaker by any means.

    All in all, you did a very good job.

  5. PJH

    PJH Active Member

    Thanks for the comments, Donny. I agree with you. Basically we're a bunch of "classic rockers" that still listen to music that isn't restricted to three and a half minutes. I grew up on prog (wasn't even called that back in the day).

    We're certainly not trying to break new ground here. We just play and record what we like listening to. Hopefully there are others who feel the same. We have a small niche following here in SA and when we do gigs they are normally well supported.

    I totally agree about the snare. I noticed it when I created the thread. It's a bit loud especially in Part 1. I do like loud drums though so I decided to leave it. The snare in the link I put up in the other song on the thread in answer to Remy sounds more balanced.

    Maybe I'll go and do another mix...Nah!


  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Wow... Remember September. How can I forget? That most definitely hit a nerve. I cried back then. Remember September got me pishing tears, all over again. And that's no exaggeration. I needed the Kleenex. And I was only a couple of miles away from the Pentagon, in northern Virginia.

    While the kids are into digital flash and gobbledygook, overall. I've been talking to plenty of twentysomething-year-olds that much prefer the music their parents and grandparents listened to. Because it was real music. With real melodies. Melodies you can remember. Melodies to touch your soul. Whereas, all the poppy current crap is just that. Empty. Lifeless. And without a melody you can remember.

    Trends have a habit of repeating themselves, years later. While the digital stuff gets better and better by the day. The music has not only regressed. Music has virtually disappeared. Music that has melodies and substance. Thoughtful lyrics that say something, mean something. Not singing about what you don't like. But singing about what we must remember and reflect upon. Because history keeps repeating itself in the most negative way. It's only music with melodies that will help to soothe the savage beasts. Angry music just instills more anger.

    I believe in violence. War works great. Its population control. But in the end, I think most people would like to listen to nice music rather than to make war? No? Deutschland my Deutschland and I'm only a little bit German. But I've been married to two of them. Never again LOL. I'm tired of hotdogs I mean knockwurst. Hey... wait a minute! That would be a great name for a band wouldn't it? Knockwurst! A head banger band. That only plays acoustic instruments. Maybe it already exists? I didn't google it. Nuclear Cheese might be another one? We've all had that pizza topping. But that should be the name for a band or the title of an album. Maybe both? I'll let ya know when I get to Boston.

    I'm not going to Boston.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. PJH

    PJH Active Member

    9/11 had a massive impact on me as well even though I was many many miles away.

    Yep, I feel the same about a lot of music today. I have always believed that melody is the most important thing in music. I am very aware of this when creating my instrumental albums. I hate guitar shredding fests. I'm bored by the secong song. I've always tried to make my instrumentals as "interesting" as possible by using as many different types of gtrs and other weird sounding keyboard patches. As I mentioned earlier, I'm a huge fan of Alan Parsons and have been influenced heavily by his "concept" albums.

    A lot of people who buy my albums tell me that the cd never leave their cars as they find it to be perfect "driving" music. I take that as a compliment.

  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "..As I mentioned earlier, I'm a huge fan of Alan Parsons and have been influenced heavily by his "concept" albums."

    Yup. Me too. I was turned onto Parsons back in college in the 70's with Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Further albums from him got more and more commercially oriented, but I still liked him nonetheless.
    He was one of the few Prog artists who was able to write and record in that vein without being pretentious, as so many other prog artists could be.

    Considering his history as an engineer with artists like The Beatles, and as a producer with Pink Floyd, it's no surprise that his albums always sounded so good.
  9. PJH

    PJH Active Member

    He also aways had a bunch of really talented musos playing on those albums which also obviously contributed to the quality. Ian Bairnson still remains one of my favourite guitar players to this day.

    Abbey Road has a definitive "sound" and this comes across very strongly on his albums.

    I also love the fact that no expense was spared when it came to choirs and orchestras.

    End of an era, I'm afraid...
  10. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    I like that it's not mastered to death. Lot's of punch and depth.. Great job!!!!!
  11. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    It's good stuff man great vocals. Excellent rasp.

    What I would do differently with it is mostly the arrangement, cuz everything sounds good on my tablet, and seems well recorded.

    The intro should build after the first pause. And most defiantly in the 2nd verse. Maybe that disteorted effect you used on the vocals before the drums come in. Maybe just another set of echos, of asuble layer, I dunno, something. Also I don't think the the piano should completely disappear after it comes even if it just drones some chords low in the mix. And while I love where the drum come in, I would also pile a simple horn thing to go along w it! Get crazy!

    See the thing is, there's not a lot of build, it's more like trading sounds. It's like cooking, but taking one ingredient out, when you add another.

    I think the chorus should be a bigger affair, something that really says, hey this is my messageWith a message song, the message needs to be more clear. One or two phrases we can all sing along to every 30 seconds.

    I think you have the right idea w the echoes, but I think y stopped too soon. With unlimited tracks, you don't have to leave 1/4 delay to take care of everything. Maybe tracking a couple of those delays w a few layers of voice sung 3 times in a row so it's the time delay effect plus some quick chance to use any vocal acrobatics y know. More special things to create the constant flow of interest well arranged songs have.

    I dunno, I'm not trying to be negative or anything, it's just for me personally i feel like it's a test drive, instead of a ride. I think the arrangement should be tightened up, w the fat trimmed, and spread more love to what's left. Make it more important w special touches more often, and let it build up and down, not just swap. And beat the dead horse a little more w the hook phrase, make me sick of the chorus by the time the songs over lol. If you just keep repeating, I'll keep listening for it to end, and the cycle begins :)

    Overall good job and a lot of cool parts, love the vocal effect before the drums come in! Great stuff that's what I'm talking about!
  12. Reverend Lucas

    Reverend Lucas Active Member

    I'm sidetracking, but didn't realize Parsons had an album based on Poe. I had to give it a download. Good music that sounds great!


    I liked this song, and found the mix very fitting for the genre. Kudos!
  13. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Yes.... TOM&I is a wonderful album - if you dig the prog thing. It's well recorded, well produced and remarkably arranged. You can tell that he didn't do this album in a week. LOL.

    By the way, the spoken intro to The Raven is performed by Orson Wells. ;)
  14. PJH

    PJH Active Member

    Thanks for the response kmetal.
    Thanks for the response kmetal. Yes, I hear what you're saying. This track as mentioned earlier was recorded about 8 years ago and was shelved. The track was supposed to be included on an album but the album never saw the light of day.

    I would have spent much more time on fine tuning the track but as I mentioned, the project kinda ran out of steam. The song was fun to record but to spend more time on something that unfortunately is over is also just wasting time and effort.

    That is why I have persued my solo career and am busy releasing instrumental albums (very much in the Alan Parsons' kind of vibe). At least I'm then in control of how and when things happen. It's been a slog but has had some decent rewards up to now. (MI Audio endorsment, cd sales etc)

    I do appreciate you taking the time to listen and respond. It's much appreciated.


  15. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm not sure I agree with totally dumping the track... I understand that the project it was originally connected to is long gone, but using a song like this as a mixing exercise isn't really such a bad idea. I'm not saying to resurrect the project, but if you have the tracks, it might provide you with a nice "practice" mixing platform - because of the level of talent in the performances, it could prove to be a good way to further refine your mixing chops.

    Just sayin'. ;)
  16. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    When you wanted the perfect album, retracking might have been the best way to go, since technology had a great bump in the last 10years.

    But, as Donny said, mixing not perfect tracks is the best way to learn. Fixing problems is what we do after all ! ;)
  17. PJH

    PJH Active Member

    I might revisit it someday but I have a lot of new stuff to keep me busy at the moment (my third solo album). I'd rather put all my time and effort into that at the moment.

    Maybe when I get to the video footage that was filmed during the recording of the song I'll look at the audio again. It does seem such a shame not to do something with it.

  18. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    There's certainly nothing wrong with that either, PJ... creativity and art in writing, performance and production is what is most important. If you are working on a new project, then perhaps looking back isn't the best move at the moment. ;)
  19. PJH

    PJH Active Member

    Thanks, Donny. Yes, thats the way I see it too. I've finished five tracks for my new album and I don't want to lose momentum at the moment.

    kmetal likes this.
  20. PJH

    PJH Active Member

    Well I finally managed to find all the video footage from the sessions when this track was recorded. I'm in the process of putting it together.

    Wow what a lot of stuff to get through. It should look quite good when it's finished.

    I'll upload when done.


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