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Re: Can I have your feedback?

On 6/4/12 11:11 PM, kay'lon rushing wrote:
2 New Live Looping videos. Please guys let me know what you truly think. It seems like I have no luck on getting really feedback through youtube comments. I want to improve so please let me know what you guys honestly think. Both are improvised. Links are below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3mM5rzJFVM&feature=relmfu <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3mM5rzJFVM&feature=relmfu>

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft38SUa33B4&list=UUUFLTkt0Psujhz7lliVSYVw&index=1&feature=plcp <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft38SUa33B4&list=UUUFLTkt0Psujhz7lliVSYVw&index=1&feature=plcp>

Hi, nice progression of what you've been working on, kay'lon........keep up the good work.

For just the first one,  here are my attempts at constructive criticism:

1) I don't know if it's just me or not, but when you are attempting a pretty high speed rhythm that has a 16th note feel, I find that it's important to have the ability to make a rock solid metronomic rhythm track.

I'm not a quantize nazi by any means, but rhythmic mistakes (or variations from what would be a perfectly quantized drum track) are really amplified, especially at low speed and in this piece, your rhythmic composition is sophisticated and laudable but for me, your execution is inaccurate enough from a perfectly quantized track to be distracting. That said, my wife has accused me of having to "fine toothed" a rhythmic comb at times, so it would be good to hear
if others heard what I heard in the tracks.

In the case of this track, I think it might be efficacious to record your initial improvized drum track; reduce it to half speed in an Audio Editor (Sound Forge, Audacity, Wavelab, Peak or something equivalent) and compare it to a tightly quantized rhythm that is at the identical tempo and see how accurately you played.

Personally, as a music teacher, I would encourage you to start practicing improvised drum beats to a metronome at much slower speeds so that you can sound perfectly quantized at any usual BPM if you *want* to. To paraphrase the great American poet, T. S. Elliot: "It's much more powerful to break the rules of <composition> if you know the rules." The same goes for very developing an acute since of metronomic rhythm so that when you
play in a non-quantized, human way,  it's very effective.

In my experiences playing with lots of different musicians in lots of different styles, I can always tell the ones who have spent some amount of time practicing to a quantized drum machine or metronome (set to the sub-pulse of a song and NOT the quarter note......in this particular case, very fast 16th notes).

2) In a lot of your individual tracks, you begin with out effects on an improvised foundational part and then spend a fair amount of time tweaking the effects you use on those tracks before you move on to other parts (even foundational ones)

When the effects are turned on the results are always very *overdramatic* for my own tastes. This gives the feel that you are building a track in a self conscious way that, in my estimation, sounds

Personally (and all aesthetics are really personal), I think foundational tracks, such as initial drum beats, initial bass lines and other rhythmic figures, sound better if they seem like they are composed from the beginning and if they are minimal. Just like even the most ornate of European Cathedrals, they all have a very , very simple base upon which they are built.

If you start with tracks like these and then build the rest of the track on top of them, it's always a lot more effective to come back to the tracks and change effects on them (even dramatically). To me, this is what I call "compositional improvisation".............it is an approach that makes the listener
think that they
are listening to a composed piece that has improvisational elements in it, as opposed to a piece of music that makes the listener feel as if they are being forced to listen to someone develop their musical thoughts in real time.

The irony of this approach is that you actually are developing your ideas in real time, but they appear to be thought out from the get go and fool the listener into thinking they are listening to a more developed concept.

This foundational approach then allows the listener to really hear the development of the piece.

Towards this end, I'd caution you to either begin with some spacialization effects on the drums from the beginning and to tweak them far more subtly if you want to change their timbre in real time or just to be more gradual bringing on powerful effects changes. In general, I'd advise that you be more subtle with your use of verbs, delays and modulation effects or at least more gradual in rolling them onto a totally dry track.

Remember,  in all of this,
you are up against thousands of tracks that people spent hours, days and even weeks producing in electronic music (especially the kind of IDM or somewhat dance oriented approach that you are using stylistically). Because of this sophistication that even the most average of young electronic music fans has (just in the sheer number of tracks that are out in the world already and available for free in cyberspace) it really raises the bar for your improvisations.

Remember, processing of existing tracks is still perceived as part of a composition by the listener, no matter how dramatic (or
non-dramatic) you make them.

In general, I think that less you give away that you are improvising (particularly in this genre of music) the better for your original foundational tracks (those tracks that you will keep statically looping in your piece like your drum beats and organ sounds in this initial track) the more freedom you have to actually improvise with the melodies, themes and sub-parts
that you develop in the piece.

I hope this is helpful. Please know that I wouldn't take the time to write all of this if I didn't think you
were on the right track with your music.

Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing it!

warmly,  Rick Walker