Working FASTER for best results

Bluemount Score

Senior Member
Some of my best melodies and ideas came from having a spontaneous idea. The creative flow suddenly becomes unstoppable but you can never predict when that's gonna happen.
On other days, I can sit there for hours without any satisfying idea, no matter what and how hard I try.

When a long-term composition is done and ready to be processed after weeks or months, I got used to the unmixed sound and quality of EQ, reverb and so on.
After a while you get used to everything, the ears become very unreliable and it's often better to bring things to an end sooner.

What are your experiences with this?
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Some of my best melodies and ideas came from having a spontaneous idea. The creative flow suddenly becomes unstoppable but you can never predict when that's gonna happen.
On other days, I can sit there for hours without any satisfying idea, no matter what and how hard I try.

When a long-term composition is done and ready to be processed after weeks or months, I got used to the unmixed sound and quality of EQ, reverb and so on.
After a while you get used to everything, the ears become very unreliable and it's often better to bring things to an end sooner.

What are your experiences with this?
I'm with you on that one Meetyhtan. A case in point: I purchased a copy of Toneboosters TBReverb4 yesterday, and when I got in front of my DAW this morning around 8:15am, was curious to run a few of my sampled pianos through it. Called up an old reliable sampled grand, inserted TBReverb4 and started playing and listening to the interaction of the raw piano sound & the reverb. An idea quickly developed as I played with the settings, and by 10:30am this track was completed as you hear it here:


Sure, it could do with some 'polishing' and mixing etc. but I'm pleased with the result given it was literally just over 2 hours from go-to-wo.
 
OP
Bluemount Score

Bluemount Score

Senior Member
@CGR that's great, thanks for your track, I really like it, especially for the fact of only 2 hours production time.
I'm currently working on a 4 minute track that I already put 80 hours in, finally mixing it as we speak.

Long and hard work pays off, but there are exceptions.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Thanks for the link Meetyhtan. I can hear the hours you've put into this track. I'm certainly not averse to spending the time to really craft an idea, develop it to it's full potential and put the time into mixing & mastering to achieve a musical vision, but quite often for me those productions end up 'over-baked' and the essence of my original idea is buried in overly complex arrangements, instrumentation or production 'cleverness'. This is partly why I like to work quickly, and then move onto something else.

Will the end listener care or even realise you've laboured over a particular choice of sampled instrument or reverb or saturation plugin etc.? Maybe, maybe not, but if the underlying musical core isn't strong and doesn't possess an interesting idea, no amount of production trickery will cover that up and succeed in engaging or moving the listener IMO.

Here's an excerpt of a quote from the legendary pianist & composer Bill Evans, from the liner notes of the 1958 Miles Davis album 'Kind of Blue', which really resonates with me:

"There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere.

The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see well find something captured that escapes explanation."
 
OP
Bluemount Score

Bluemount Score

Senior Member
Thanks for the link Meetyhtan. I can hear the hours you've put into this track.
The link below my comments just leads to my channel, haven't uploaded anything in about 3 months, the 80-hour track I was talking about will be released tomorrow. You know, if everything is going well, not perfect, but good enough :)


Will the end listener care or even realise you've laboured over a particular choice of sampled instrument or reverb or saturation plugin etc.? Maybe, maybe not, but if the underlying musical core isn't strong and doesn't possess an interesting idea, no amount of production trickery will cover that up and succeed in engaging or moving the listener IMO.
This is very true. Most of my listeners liked my first, very badly mixed and not very good compositions as well as my new and far better ones. I just began 1 year ago, learning curve is still huge.
But this is very dependend on what your target group is, if you are a professional, or mainly a hobbyist.

The muscial core still is the most important part for sure. Composition and mixing are two very different forms of art if you ask me.
 
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Bluemount Score

Bluemount Score

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I agree 100% that's why we need experience to make them even faster! :D
Yes, experience is the one and only key for a fast BUT clean workflow. However, it's something I'm stilll missing in many cases and I'm not willing to let somebody else do the work for me until I'm grown up :)
 
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Will Blackburn

Senior Member
I'm with you on that one Meetyhtan. A case in point: I purchased a copy of Toneboosters TBReverb4 yesterday, and when I got in front of my DAW this morning around 8:15am, was curious to run a few of my sampled pianos through it. Called up an old reliable sampled grand, inserted TBReverb4 and started playing and listening to the interaction of the raw piano sound & the reverb. An idea quickly developed as I played with the settings, and by 10:30am this track was completed as you hear it here:


Sure, it could do with some 'polishing' and mixing etc. but I'm pleased with the result given it was literally just over 2 hours from go-to-wo.

Very nice track and the Toneboosters Verb sounds great, must be the first time i've seen props for that verb here. Do you mind sharing what Grand you used?
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Thanks Will - it's a basic idea but more of a case of capturing a mood I guess. The piano is Galaxy Instruments 1929 Bluthner Baby Grand. Being a small 5' 1" grand it's not too 'boomy' so sits well in a dense mix. I'm really liking what the TBReverb4 does with piano, and at 39 euro, an easy purchase I'm happy to have in my toolkit. It's a refreshing alternative to my go-to verbs: Valhalla Room, Audiothing fog convolver and East West Spaces.
 
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MoeWalsaad

Member
How about doing some mix comparisons, compare your mixes to tracks made by artists you respect their quality and try to match that in your mix, observe the spectrum range, orchestration, and reverb, that way you make sure you are still on track, and you won't be fooled by ear fatigue and attachment to your unfinished sounds.
I use to a plugin called Magic A/B by sample magic, and I'm sure there are many alternatives out there.
 
OP
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Bluemount Score

Senior Member
@MoeWalsaad
That‘s something I could and should do more often for sure, reference tracks. Simple and effectiv.
One might argue that you shouldn‘t focus on replicating somebody elses (mixing) work, but I honestly don‘t see a very big problem here once your composition, a (hopefully) unique orchestration is finished beforehand.