Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Another mix for your thoughts....

Ok, here is the latest mix of Hope. What do you think of this one? As compared to the last couple?


Mercy said...

i listened to the accoustic john version first, then the earlier one. after hearing this one, i think the arrangement is definitely improving. as i'm not a musicion of much stature, i will be very cocky in criticism.....:)
love the lyrics/music
v1: great harmony and voice style
music somehow too cheesy (percussion, keyboard..)
break in music near end great
v2: nice and simple
i like the accoustic sound
v3: overall music arrangement much better (than #1)

Mercy said...

i don't know if this is a doubled post but the last one went wonky before it was published...
here's the second try:

i listened to the accoustic john version first, then the earlier one. after hearing this latest one, i think the arrangement is definitely improving. as i'm not a musicion of much stature, i will be very cocky in criticism.....:)

love the lyrics/tune
v1: great harmony and voice style
musical style somehow too cheesy (percussion, keyboard..)
break in music near end great
v2: nice and simple
i like the accoustic sound
v3: much better overall sound/arrangement
percussion way too overbearing/distracting in most places
the high hat (is this the correct percussive term for the "keeshh") made me wince everytime.

Vern Hyndman said...

I like this in the way that I like the Cowboy Junkies... nice, but slow, slightly depressing, and I can only listen to the darn thing a couple of times in a month before I want to slit my wrists.

I'm spoiled... I got hooked on the slight raw desperation evident in the original recordings. When you say, "I just hope it works out" in the original, there is not a HINT of resignation... there's true desperate hope that it will turn out. The new one and the previous polished one is a yuppie like, "I hope it works out, because if it doesn't, darn it, I'll have to go back to my day job and I'll be seriously inconvenienced." I live my life in what John Eldredge calls "holy longing" in Journey of Desire... it's not desperation exactly, but kind of an anticipating "God, I'm out here and you've promised, so I'm asking with the edge that there is no Plan B, COME THROUGH FOR ME". The original music captures this sentiment.

So, I guess, what I hear in your music is maybe more than you put there purposefully, but I hate to see the edge gone.

I do like the Cowboy Junkies... about twice a year. I listen to the original songs I downloaded from you about 10 times a day... they just don't seem to wear on me.

This is just me, but I also like the flat acoustic of the room you recorded some of the originals in. Raw and real.

Maybe it's a Petty like thing that resonates with me... whatever it is, the first recordings definitely have it and the next two do not.

Anonymous said...

I was just about to post a comment about the song when my computer crashed – I’m sure it was God telling me to be more constructive. I have a tendency to criticize things, especially songs, down to tiny details – leaving no word about the good things – it’s a horrible, hellish flaw in my character – so please excuse it.

I downloaded the older version yesterday, and even though it was quite rough as it was a demo, I liked the melody – which is very important to me. As it was only guitar and vocals the song seemed a bit long, but that’s taken care of in the newer version by the new arrangement.

What I liked about the old version was the sort of Over the Rhine or Waterdeep vibe it possessed, probably due to the dominant female bgv – and that was something I liked. Where the old one reminded me of OtR the new one’s more Matt Redman.
As far as lyrics go I’m a dumb-dumb, they are the part of the song I listen to last, but I like yours, "I hope it turns out like a fine roastbeef" funny!
Also like the electric guitars at the end – very U2 – nice.

If I had done the arrangement, I would definitely go with a more acoustic feel. To try to retain a little of the folk vibe that the old version had.
As for the mix, perhaps compress the vocals more, to retain your presence in the verse where you’re weak. Another thing I feel would make all the difference would be to transpose the it half or a whole key as you would end up with a great performance in the verse. But as you hit some high notes as well in the song, I don’t know if that would be an option.
Back to the mix, more crispy, present vocals, also LESS DRUMS!!! One thing I didn’t like was the kickdrum sound, would’ve liked it rounder, too plastic! Also not too crazy about the strings around 3 min, too fake – sorry. Also bring up the acoustic guitar, maybe your should dub it?
My thinking would be that the song probably is strong enough to carry a simpler arrangement. That would be no strings and pads. But that’s definitely a matter of taste. That’s why I put a lot of stuff on my songs, simply because they need it.

Hope you can use my "constructive" criticism, if you decide it’s not very constructive at all, please feel free to write me of as someone who has no idea what’s she’s talking about! And please know I don’t think I could do a better job – but these where some of the things that jumped out at me while listening.
Oh and btw feel free to come over a critique the hell out of my stuff once I post it!

As said, I liked the melody, especially in the verse, very good job!
But still, more folk less redman!


cathy said...

Hi John...Brian referred me and told me to listen to all three and let you know my opinion - so I'm obeying my orders from big brother. You can ignore all of this if you like - it's just my humble opinion! Here goes....I prefer the first version you posted. It was semi-polished (not the rough version you sent to the producer and not this one). As I posted after that - I thought the ending needed something.

To me, it's all about feel and the first one definitely had the better feel. This one just didn't cut it at all, in terms of feel. The arrangement on this one sounds very amateurish, all over the map in places not knowing with some of the instruments where you want to build, where you want to let it and where you don't. Back in the days when I did this for a living, I'd always teach people in the studio or on stage that arrangement for harmony's sake is not successful if it doesn't fit in with the other voices/instruments happening around it. It's nice to add keys, strings, horns, guitars, or whatever instrument you like, but if it detracts from the piece as a whole, because the harmony goes in the wrong direction - and that can be as simple as too much jumping to create chords comprised of 4ths where it should be simple triads or thirds throughout to create the line of the melody. Each instrumental part should have a melody of its own.

Also, you have a lot of instruments introduced very quickly You start w/ keys and string/cello for the 4 bar intro, then you introduce voice on bar 5, but lose the string - which is fine but then you introduce a guitar riff on bar 8, then a synth and a different stacatto guitar sound on bar 9, acoustic guitar on 13, drums on 16. I'm not sure what kind of sound you were actually going for because there were so many different sounds. The synth is doing a line that's choppy and detracts from the flow, the addition and subtraction of the instruments from the piece is also choppy and by the time the vocal harmonies come in, I'm craving some legato in terms of the arrangement because the melody is a very legato line itself, and it cries out for a feel that isn't so choppy and in this case detracting from it.

With the mastered version, I got the feel from the first note. Also you added to the quarter note hits at the end of every vocal line with the full effect of the arrangement - the way harmonies and arranging should be done - really adding to what you wanted to accomplish, the unique rhythm of the piece. The vocal line is very melodic until the quarter note hits at the end of the lines and you want those to stand out not get buried because of choppy arranging.

But that's just my humble opinion.... :)