nickMarch 29, 2024 2:00pm

wow what an undertaking! glad you stuck with it, and I think that’s a great attitude for trying something like this. sloppy as all hell? people love sloppy joes. aint nothing wrong with a sloppy joe. reminds of eating mardi gras beads covered in acid jelly and remembering i’m an old piano.

RyanMarch 29, 2024 11:32am

Alec this is awesome. Great chord choices. Such satisfying tensions and resolves in the melodies. Other than Carseat’s callout, I think you’ve got yourself something quite special here.

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 3:00pm

Love the darker timbre of this one. I think a word swap on “discretion”, when deliberate, would hit. A Fiona Apple move for sure.

RyanMarch 29, 2024 11:31am

Yes! Love this idea. “Intention” or “connection” showing up at some point would hit hard.

Il DuceMarch 29, 2024 8:49am

Great harmonies, great guitar sounds. Is that a B bender or a whammy I hear?

RyanMarch 29, 2024 11:21am

Thanks! Just a tremolo bar, yep!

RyanMarch 29, 2024 11:20am

Said it before and I’ll say it again—absolutely love your vocal harmony style. Excellent song concept, great work.

RyanMarch 29, 2024 11:15am

This is rad as hell. Great bass tone, great guitar additions throughout. This has so much character. I agree with Alex that it’s just the drums that could bring some more variety. Like maybe in the chorus it leaves the kit sound entirely and goes super electronic then returns to the kit sound in the post and verses. Cool frickin track.

Il DuceMarch 29, 2024 8:47am

Great tune, and the simplicity truly suits you well.

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 3:31pm

Your melodies are so great in this. I feel so motivated. I won’t forget what Clarence said.

Il DuceMarch 29, 2024 8:46am

Thanks so much for the feedback. The song just came in a rush…I don’t know why or how, I just rode the wave….

stonewindowMarch 24, 2024 6:32pm

I think you nailed this one. Simple and powerful. I like your guitar voicings.

stonewindowMarch 24, 2024 6:24pm

Beautiful song. Nice harmonies. Love the guitar licks. You do know what a progression is….

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 3:28pm

I like that you decided to keep this recording super homey, I think it totally adds to your vibe. Metronome-wise, yeah, there were certainly some moments in the song that could’ve used a bit more consistency in the tempo. You seem like you’d be a, “stomp the feet,” kinda player and I dig that for you. I do a little dance when I fingerpick too, it’s just what happens. For the fingerpicking question you had, it sounds like you’re really plucking at the strings — creates a nice timbre, but oftentimes I find that I can stay more consistent with the tempo when I soften up.

stonewindowMarch 18, 2024 6:07pm

Thanks you for this. I appreciate your feedback. Softening up is good idea.

stonewindowMarch 24, 2024 5:13pm

i took your softening up comment to heart. It’s really made things better for me. Thanks!

CarseatMarch 24, 2024 5:37pm

Oh fantastic!! Glad it’s helping!

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 3:36pm

Great vibe to this song. I might try recording the guitar separately from vocals – you write very involved guitar parts, so unless you have it fully committed to finger memory then it’s going to be very difficult to play and sing it together in time, and that will also give you a chance to fully focus on vocal delivery and finger picking timing on separate takes.

stonewindowMarch 24, 2024 5:12pm

Alec? Is that your name? Thanks for your kind words and advice. You are on point. I’m a novice at recording, so I need to get to the point where I have the skill to record multiple tracks. Haha. All of these NCBC challenges are great training for me. Because of these challenges I learned the bare minimum of GarageBand. I’m ready to learn how to do multi-track recording. Thanks for listening and your feedback.

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 3:31pm

Love how your tracks are always so varied and creative and yet always so You. Very inspirational.

Really into the wobbly synth and the contrast of your clean vocals. I think you did a great job with the different melodies. The lyrics sound great, even if they are mostly jibberish. Might be cool to see this track bloom into a full band section and then drop back into this vibe at the end.

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 3:25pm

Very nice – takes me back to early 2010’s vibes. I think your lyrics, guitar playing and singing are quite effective. If I had to make a suggestion on your vocal delivery I would say to focus on consistent breath support – there were a few spots where I felt like your time was wavering because you were running out of breath. But in general, just keep playing and writing and singing 💪

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 3:19pm

I dig it! Your voice is quite lovely. I think your mix could benefit from a bit less low-mids in the guitar — when your voice gets more intense, having the brighter tone will help it rise with you. And if there’s aaaaany way you can quikly snatch a pick for those sections too, those chords could really ring.

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 3:21pm

I agree on the mids/lows of the guitar — it gets a little boomy towards the end of the chorus in particular.

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 3:10pm

I’m into the ambient sounds, I would maybe even lean into it more 👀

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 3:02pm

Sometimes you have to lose the things you have come to rely on in order to grow! Personally I really dig this song, and I think you did a great job of differentiating between different sections. Sure it’s a little bit loose time-wise, but you could even argue that it’s an intentional choice.

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 2:52pm

Oooh love your vocal quality on this one. Great little summer driving bop 🙂 similarly to @@nickI frequently don’t pick up lyrics until many listens in, but I do pay attention to how the words sound. I dig the little synthy melody too

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 2:48pm

I also found myself philosophizing on what defined a chord progression… If you repeat or extend parts of sections is that still the same progression? If you change the quality of the chord is that still the same progression? If you reharmonize with the bass, or sing something in a different scale?

Very lovely song, I think you nailed it on this one. Loved the octave vocals, minimal percussion. Felt like something I would like to listen to while driving into the sunset.

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 2:43pm

Really felt this one. I think the dry vocals contrasted really well with the round piano tone.

alechutsonMarch 24, 2024 2:36pm

Oooooh love the crunch in the guitar and the punchy bass line. Really nice guitar arrangement in general, very tasteful. I think having a bit more variation in the drums would help keep the piece engaging through the end – as is, for me it’s fantastic up until about 2:30 and then the last portion could use some additional variation. Great job working within parameters!

nickMarch 23, 2024 10:36am

Ehhh I think this is a pretty great example of adhering to the parameters. I love the progression, especially the resolve of that third chord. In regards to saying discretion too often, I don’t know what the answer is, but I wouldn’t ignore your compulsion to adjust it somehow, however creatively. Great melodies, well done!

nickMarch 23, 2024 10:07am

I mean, hard to get away? We know you love your solo vacations. I’m also not an immediate (or ever) lyric recognizer. Still don’t know the words to many of my favorite songs. But there’s a lot of words and phrases for me to grab in to. Like 6 on a Saturday. 11 late. I really do like this one. This assignment was kind of made for you. I know singing and recording your vocals came a little later in the game for you, so it’s easy to just coat them with effects, which is something I still grapple with. But point is, you’ve developed a really great singing tone that is best served straight—more valuable than any silly-adjacent effects. And the full band sound on this is pretrt strong. Less is more may be a takeaway from this one. Nice work!

nickMarch 23, 2024 9:53am

I think I have to start with a kudos shoutout to @@zoya for some sweet and savory and umami background vox. The melody throughout the chorus needs nothing else. What’s a chord progression? A progression of chords. Tweaks to the melody? Mayyybe just simplifying a few of the more wordy phrases “a little always falling to the ground” and things in that spot earlier… maybe I just want a little dynamic variety throughout those phrases to sink them into the groove a bit more. Nice work, you two.

nickMarch 23, 2024 9:44am

Well well well, dry vocals suit you quite nicely. Piano is luscious. Love the little timing tweak to the melody the last time through. And hey, I can relate—I think from both perspectives. Nice song.

nickMarch 23, 2024 9:28am

cool vibe right off the bat. Love a dirty dry bass led track. At first, I was like ok there are a thousand chords in this song, but reframing it as the bass as melody, I now see that it’s really just dancing around in between these two chords the whole time. There’s that sort of chorus/post chorus that just changes the time but keeps the chords in their original order which I think absolutely follows the rules. Super playful and a little grimy. Cool track. I definitely don’t think it gets boring.

nickMarch 23, 2024 9:24am

Lol yes pretty close! Definitely no reverb. To echo Carseat, great Melodie’s and harmonies and always a strong strum pattern. Nice song!

nickMarch 20, 2024 1:45pm

Love your description. Heck, just trying to make some music. And lol, me listening thinking this about your father or something, and then the reveal. Happened to be watching The Dynasty documentary, and well, I can relate to the feeling. As for the melodies, you may have a better understanding than you think you do.

I think there’s one note in there that needs tweaking—in the lead line at :24, I don’t have a guitar on me, but I believe that note should be a half step in either direction. Give it a go and see how it feels.

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 3:10pm

Dude — your voice is crazy good. That rasp you have is mmmmm….

Fingerpicking is such a lil beast — I myself am working on that one too. I recommend playing a quick little chord/lick with the thought, “All the notes and fingers are equally important,” and grappling with that exercise for a bit, then go, “The bass notes needs to be louder than the high notes” then tinker, then after that, reverse (make the high strings louder), and just loop around those mentalities for a while. I’ve found it helps me get more comfortable with all of my fingers and notes interacting together and sticking to a click. But yea — it’s never perfect, and I think imperfections make it so tasteful (as long as it’s otherwise controlled).

And I agree — handicap is a great idea, but I also appreciate the built-in flexibility everyone gives everyone.

nickMarch 20, 2024 1:40pm

Great idea! Keep shedding.

BenMarch 18, 2024 4:43pm

lol y’all cheated

BenMarch 19, 2024 1:57pm


nickMarch 20, 2024 1:35pm

Cheating might be a harsh way to put it, and “y’all” might be a bit broad. I understand the frustration of challenging yourself to adhere strictly to the parameters while others may be less inclined. I think there’s probably a touch of verb on the tambourine sample I used, but that’s a compromise I had to make while balancing my sanity.

RmalMarch 19, 2024 6:30pm

Your tunes never fail to get me foot, tapping and grooving along with them. I love the bouncy, upbeat vibe, and the tune feels familiar after one listen. I love it. I don’t believe the mastering made it affect heavy. A great combination in the mix. I can’t say that I picked out the lyrics, but that’s typical for me. I hear the melody and get the vibe and it feels good. Love the acoustic drums in the intro, feels like an intimate coffee shop vibe. And your harmonist is spot on as usual. 🙂

BenMarch 18, 2024 4:42pm

This is so pleasant. Gives me Postal Service vibes. I’d be curious to hear what a big build throughout might sound like, kind of like Natural Anthem by aforementioned Postal Service. Or some complex drum loops that are distorted and filtered, but turned way low in the mix. Then again, this song doesn’t necessarily need any of that, as the simplicity and warm synth tones go a long way.

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 3:15pm

Ooooo this is such an interesting submission. I like its roughness… I see what you mean in your feedback remarks though, and I will say that I have also struggled with the balance of clean+rough in my mixes and production. For this tune, I found it hard to hear the downbeat of 1 given the unquantized guitar (especially with such an open rhythm) and vocal double, so in some way, giving the song a stronger wall to lean on would help it move along. That could be making the vocals super strong, adding a bass, adding some Radiohead-esque drums, etc. Almost like a spoken-word tune. I like it.

BenMarch 18, 2024 4:35pm

I’m gonna disagree with @@Carseat(ooooooh!) on the adding drums and bass—I liked the low-fi, unquantized hot New York summer feel to this whole thing. That said, if it’s being kept simple, I find shorter to be better—I could see this as a great ~2 minute interlude on an album to cool off after an intense song.

BenMarch 18, 2024 4:05pm

This is gorgeous! Will you tell us your secrets to that excellent piano tone? Your songs always sound super clean.

Thanks for the great prompt—this was super challenging, but definitely worth it.

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 3:23pm

I love that you chose to make a loop in 7 — it helps to diversify your vocal ideas so much. “Long legs and a daddy too” is SUCH a line. I think it’s one of those songs where its meaning determines its destination… so when you settle on one, you’ll probably get the other.

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 3:04pm

I dig the showtunes + mental space interaction, I always find these sorts of things so entertaining. I think some silly little hits would make the words spike out in a more intentional way and will create some more contrast. Like what if “Craigslist” had a massive BLONK on it.?. Also, I feel like silly lil piano trills will hit, just placed wisely.

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 2:53pm

Cute lil tune! I caught some of the words, but I wasn’t focusing too hard on them… if the meaning of it was, “life is hard but that’s okay,” then I think you’re right on the money with the vibes. The only mastering/mixing note I have is that your bass got really hot in the mix in some of the higher notes, so leveling those out will be nice.

stonewindowMarch 18, 2024 1:28pm

I love your song Julia. Sad song for sure and it’s about our human condition. We’re all it together. Sometimes silence. I do have the belief that the darkness leads us to light.

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 9:16am

That chorus melody is Butter. Love the country-folk twist. And I agree — the interpretation between the assignment and what the song wanted created such a happy lil tune.

CarseatMarch 18, 2024 9:14am

Oooohh.. those harmonies come in so nicely. It’s stuck in my head. Anythiiiing anythiiiiiiing. We love a sad song. And yeah — I empathize with the context for it. Silence can suck.

BenMarch 14, 2024 9:24pm

I wish there were capos for my vocal chords

nickMarch 17, 2024 9:28pm

if only this assignment allowed for pitch correction

BenFebruary 26, 2024 10:41am

wow! based on your description I was bracing myself for a stadium lead that wasn’t going to fit. But that was a really satisfying solo. Nice classic rock tone, and great playing and phrasing etc! I don’t know why, but it reminds me of Dean Ween’s guitar playing (but then again almost literally every song, including this, somewhat reminds me of Ween songs). Love that the solo comes back in at the ends too, after a great delivery of “frieeeennnd.”

In fact, i think I definitely like the lead tone more than the intro tone. Wondering what it would sound like if you used the lead tone for the intro solo, just maybe with a little volume and tone rolled off.

This is a really cool song. Sounds like the real deal. It sounds like a song by a classic legendary artist from a later era in their career that I’m not familiar with. Like Bob Dylan in…. 2002, or David Bowie in…. 1997, or Bruce Springsteen in… 1999? They’re broken, or newly sober, or divorced, or with a new band, and theyre trying a new vocal style . Oddly specific, but it kind of gives me those vibes. Ha.

Curious about your order of operations with tracking. Drums first? Drums over a click? Guitar first?

nickMarch 2, 2024 10:49am

I am also curious about order or operations.

RmalMarch 6, 2024 1:13pm

Thanks Ben. After the recording I thought about redoing the intro but wanted a get outta jail tone of the lead was perceived as too … something. Haha. Fear of failure is a lousy motivator.

order of ops. Noodled a progression on acoustic. Then on electric with dreamy effects. Then worked out a tempo. Then recorded a scratch rhythm track on electric with a metronome. Then recorded the drums. Once drums were done, recorded the actual rhythm guitar track. Then recorded the bass track. Then the intro lead. Then improvised the solo lead with the effect in headphones. I dug it and recorded one version. Then punched in a section right before the modulation. After all done I realized I needed a topic, lyrics and a vocal melody and I had an hour. So my old reliable dream visitor, boarder collie Ellie, became the subject. After used a free online mixdown service by bandcamp. Probly TMI

BenMarch 6, 2024 3:14pm

Ok interesting. So wait – are these acoustic drums? Or programmed drums? They’re real right? At some points I’m almost positive theyre real. Then at other times, I swear they’re software, especially some of those light cymbal hits.

Great track overall. I love the lyrics and the vocal performance. Way to somehow get that all done in an hour! jeez.

I have one more piece of feedback after listening some more. I think you could maybe add a little more to your bassline. Definitely don’t make it as busy as any of my basslines 😂, but i think it could use a few lines with passing notes leading to the next chord, and some thumbs to line up with the kick. Just to lock things in rhythmically and keep the song nice and glued together.

Once again, so well done.

RmalMarch 7, 2024 7:58pm

Love the feedback Ben. The drums are acoustic. And I mix the cymbals way back compared to the snare and kick. I was off in a few cymbal crashes so I recorded and overdubbed a few soft crashes. Still working out the whole drum thing but enjoying plowing thru. Your drums are always great sounding. And more bass lines is a terrific thought. I don’t have a clue on notes on the bass neck so I find myself just sticking to the notes I hit on guitar. Prob the instrument is so like to figure out but prob the one that scares me the most. When you screw up, it’s glaringly obvious. I’ll try to slide a bit more interest in.

CarseatFebruary 27, 2024 11:30am

I dig this…. feels I’m slow cooking some pulled pork at a bar while you’re in the corner singing and playing around… it’s giving Bob Dylan/Leonard Cohen/late David Bowie. My only constructive feedback is that I would love for the background to play with the solos and the lead a bit — countermelodies? quick little motif rabbitholes? Would be cute. I think that’ll also help tame your fear of having your solos sound too simple — it’s more of an enveloped environment.

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 7:02pm

Sitting on the porch watching a cloudy sunset and sipping a beer, reminiscing

RmalMarch 6, 2024 12:55pm

Love the countermelody suggestion. You’re right – it could make solos less pressure and more fulsome. Thanks for the relaxing vibe comments

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:43pm

That lead feels great to me, predictable, but in exactly the way I’d want it to be – we’ve got this killer classic-rock-esque-tune and then this killer solo comes in, tone, playing, melody, and all. Great job. Also, that falsetto vocal on “friend” into the lead again was such a nice moment.

nickMarch 2, 2024 10:49am

Totally agree about the falsetto… did not see that coming and I think he nailed both of them.

RmalMarch 6, 2024 12:53pm

The guitar parts are where I invest all the worth in the song – always struggle to sound ok. But really appreciate the comments on vocals. The falsetto was pure improv and I’m lucky it didn’t crack the cocktail glass next to the mic. Haha

nickMarch 2, 2024 10:48am

Nice track, Rick! And kudos to you for fully recording the band parts. Excited for your transition from GarageBand to Logic. The ease of editing takes will leave a lot of room for whatever the heck else you want to do. Glad these assignments are prompting a deeper dive into the world of home recording.

RmalMarch 6, 2024 12:51pm

Thanks Nick. Love the site you guys created to give a pathway for this creative process. I look forward to the assignments

juliapikerMarch 2, 2024 3:09pm

Ooooo this is beautiful. Great submission. Pure song.

Love Darcy comment @@Carseat – It definitely makes me feel like i’m hanging in some Americana style bar just listening and drinking a beer. I think your vocal tone is really beautiful-broody-deep. I would embrace that- its great.

RmalMarch 6, 2024 12:49pm

Thanks – felt it was somehow less but that’s probably often how we feel. Really appreciate the note.

stonewindowMarch 5, 2024 7:53am

Felt like I went on the journey with you. I’m impressed that you improvised lyrics. You made a lovely tune. Guitar solo was tasty. Dig your vocal quality.

RmalMarch 6, 2024 12:47pm

Thanks – felt the vocal was bla. Appreciate the fact that what we assume one way is interpreted differently by folks. The beauty of this process.

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:10pm

Love the stripped down sound. Feels early Neil Young. Like how you carry the words – not too long at all. It’s the tone of the song.

stonewindowMarch 6, 2024 11:35am

Thank you!

peterMarch 5, 2024 2:22pm

oh shit! @@agasthya so amazing to see this transform! love this original version too

CarseatMarch 3, 2024 9:43pm

What aboooouuuuuut….. guitar effects…??? o_0

BenMarch 3, 2024 9:59pm

Haha same question! If I turn my amp up too high and my guitar begins to OVERDRIVE is that an effect?!?

nickMarch 4, 2024 10:57am

Though there’s generally wiggle room with the parameters, I try to identify the spirit of the parameter and work within that. Others may be more compelled to look for loopholes, which is completely allowed. Follow your heart 💫

RmalMarch 4, 2024 7:17pm

I’ll take waaaayyyy overdriven amp as a no effort, just as god intended when he created tubes

nickMarch 5, 2024 10:33am


BenMarch 5, 2024 1:34pm

well said nick

BenMarch 5, 2024 1:32pm

I haven’t even started thinking about my song, but i really do already think this is the most quintessential ncbc prompt yet, and here is why:

It’s prescriptive, yet not narrow.

It’s highly accessible for all musicians at all levels.

It gets everyone out of their comfort zone, while not remotely asking them to do something that’s beyond their abilities.

It has the ability to generate both: songs that sound like an NCBC submission; or songs that sound like regular songs. Or both at once I guess, too!

It has some well-defined hard and fast rules, and while there is certainly plenty of room for interpretation or bending (as always!), the essence of the point of the prompt is abundantly clear and understandable.

If someone asks what NCBC is, I’d use this assignment as my example.

BenMarch 5, 2024 1:34pm

oh @@juliapikeri see you submitted this one. hell ya, good thinking. can not wait.

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:29pm

Such an Irish tune – I feel the river dance folks until 1:20 – then it goes to a contemporary rappy vibe. Love the vocal layers. The vocals, subtle and engaging play off the solid back beat. Can’t say I can pick out one lyric – but that’s the magic – it’s the entire experience and it’s seamless.

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:25pm

The vocals sound terrific. It’s inviting and draws me in. Like the incorporation of the synth 4:05 – subtle and cool. The stripped down vocal at 50 sec sound great. It’s an anthem.

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:22pm

wow – superb production. Love the intro – grabs me right away. Takes that gravity to allow the remainder to sink it. The first few notes let the rest in. The beat is beyond my capacity to create but love how it’s weaves around. love how the piano parts play off each other at 1:11

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:17pm

Love the stripped down recording. Read from your comments, it seems you’re feeling limited by recording tech, but I think it’s an honest take – picked notes and a clear smooth vocal. Love it.

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:15pm

Been listening to this a lot. It’s a great tune!

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:14pm

The breath at the beginning and the flute(?) sound is a great pairing. Defiantly picking up the improv vibe. Lot’s of unexpected turns. Liking the stripped down uke sounds paired with the mellotron. Spot on vocals as usual. Over all – unsettling – that’s a complement.

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:07pm

Great production. Feels round and full. Love the complimentary beats and strong bass line. The synth at 1:50 is very cool. The solo is unexpected and a great compliment to the solid rhythm.

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:04pm

Really liking the vocal – such an indie sound with layers. The build of the low frequencies fills the room at 2:00. Can’t say I pick up on the lyrics – not because they’re lost, it’s because they are stitched into the music so it’s one experience.

RmalMarch 4, 2024 8:00pm

Loving the jam band groove – thinking The Big Woo. Such a cool snare – the whole kit sounds studio. Especially love the the funk Guitar at 1:42 (I think that’s the time left in the recording). Great mix – so subtle but impactful.

RmalMarch 4, 2024 7:53pm

Had me at the first note. Love the air in the first verse. As I was listening, I was thinking ethereal – I listened first then read the note so you achieved it. That interesting scale, which is the reason for that unexpected but very cool note in the lead. Love the outro, and how it resolves to a full band from a very skeletal framework.

stonewindowMarch 4, 2024 7:35am

No reverb?

nickMarch 4, 2024 10:54am

no sir!

nickMarch 4, 2024 2:44pm

@right, julia?

nickMarch 4, 2024 2:44pm

right, @@juliapiker?

juliapikerMarch 4, 2024 2:46pm

Correct- No Reverb. No hiding behind effects or using them to enhance the quality of your track.

What happens when we strip down to the basics?

Like nick said- follow your heart.

stonewindowMarch 4, 2024 5:53pm

All good for me. I’m stripped down anyway. Just wanted to clarify.

RyanMarch 4, 2024 11:57am

Let’s see how this goes 😎

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 6:27pm

Really digging the guitar instrumental sections and voicings! I think in terms of vocal phrasing, I always find it easier to improvise melodies first and then fit words to those melodies after, which gives me a chance to experiment and keep things fresh as the song evolves. Great job overall, looking forward to hearing your next submission

stonewindowMarch 3, 2024 11:36am

Thank you Alec. Do you start with chords before you improvise the melody? Thanks for your input and kind words.

alechutsonMarch 3, 2024 1:36pm

Often yes, but sometimes I like to switch things up and do them in a way I haven’t before

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 6:57pm

Agreed with Nick – nice to see this different face of your songwriting! Very engaging and I love hearing the character come through in the delivery of the lyrics. In terms of drums, you can always start by getting some drum loops to sketch out the feel you are going for, and then chop/paste as you see fit

EliasSZMarch 3, 2024 12:59am

Thank you! It felt fun to stretch this songwriting muscle. Good idea to use loops to sketch it out – maybe I’ll try that for the next tune.

nickMarch 2, 2024 10:20am

Agreed to everyone’s comments. Love this slightly more comical side of your songwriting. Not over top, just hilarious and wonderful, not at the expense of the song’s quality. There are so many great parts to this—the comedy in the verses, the poppy repetitive sections in the chorus, the unique but relatable chord progression. I think yes, this is my favorite submission of yours so far. Others have certainly been great, though. Something about this is special. Give @@Ryan the stems and 20 minutes to make the drums. jk. you can do it, get to it!

EliasSZMarch 3, 2024 12:58am

Much appreciated Nick – glad you enjoyed. lol I won’t make @@Ryan do that, I just gotta dive in to drumville.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 6:48pm

Really enjoyed this one, Ryan. Arrangement-wise, there’s a few moments where you use those distant background vocals really effectively before that outro section – I wanted a few more moments of that; they felt really dreamy and in the space of the assignment in a really nice way (i’m thinking like 1:52 for example). I could take a chorus harmony, but don’t feel the need for it entirely.

I don’t know exactly what I wanted or where, but I wanted some ambient sounds in the space you’re creating with some movement/filter/swirl/something, essentially to contrast with the strong rhythmic feel of the 5 throughout the tune. Maybe its cause I wanted to feel sleep/dreams in the distance even more, but think it could add some depth.

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:55am

I agree with some extended sounds that roll over the 5, that would be nice. They show up a little bit at the end of the chorus, so maybe just being a little less subtle with some of them.

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:54pm

Yeah heck yeah good call-outs Elias.. That synth sound at 1:52 was something I was stoked to find. You’re right, that needs to be brought out more. I was happy with the plinky piano stuff that’s not directly on the 5 as well. But I think what’s gonna help most is a less strict drum part and a bass line that doesn’t outline the 5 so directly, as Nick had suggested.

EliasSZMarch 3, 2024 12:51am

Yeah Nick is right on the money with the bass line concept. Love it.

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 7:08pm

This feels like such a pure acoustic piece/recording that I almost don’t want to comment on adding more instruments so that you don’t lose this quality.

However, there’s so many options with recording DAWs that I would just suggest using something that is readily available, learning it’s limitations concerning what you want to accomplish, and then researching which programs would be best suited for that. Personally I use Ableton and I love it, but I started on Audacity and then transitioned to Reason essentials (with a brief trial on ProTools) before landing where I am.

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 7:01pm

L O L. I love this madness, would love to know what you’re whispering on both sides of my ears 😆 I love the callback to the weird Irish ditty in the outro. Works for me! If anything I might make the intro just a hair shorter

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 6:51pm

I love this, from the first lyrics all the way through the end. Very relatable *social faux pas* dream ahaha. I think you did a great job with vocal processing and arrangements here, and your guitar/drums/bass are on point as usual. It was nice to hear some back and forth with whistling and guitar solo. Great job dude!

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 6:47pm

Agree with Julia — I think a string arrangement for the chorus would be really impactful. Love the spacey verby drop out. This track feels like it could belong in the Lost in Translation soundtrack. Very lovely, comforting song, and I appreciated reading about your process

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 6:33pm

This could go any number of ways with arrangement but also works quite nicely as a solo guitar/vocal piece. Nicely done!

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 6:30pm

Eerie and beautiful from the first note. Such a unique sound and approach. I’m always a fan of the flute mellotron. The raspy quality in your voice really did it for me. Great scary job 🫣

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:17pm

That change at 2:45! And 3:05! I think this shift is totally justified, doesn’t sound like your attention span did you dirty at all to me! This is an inappropriate comparison in many ways, but it reminds me of Stairway to Heaven in the way that it breaks off to a completely different song at some point. I honestly think it works.

Re: your questions — Title works. Slow part holds my attention, but I do think some rhythmic tightening would help. Because it’s patient and spacious, I don’t want anything disturbing the gentle force of that whole section. Mix I’d look to @@juliapiker or @@agasthya— their mixes are consistently quite good.

BenMarch 2, 2024 2:09pm

Thanks, Ryan! You’re saying it sounds exactly like the Greatest Song in the World—aight, I’ll take it! 😅 For real though, songs like Paranoid Android and Happiness is a Warm Gun that have multiple parts—I’m a sucker for that shit.

Re: Rhythmic tightening—thanks for bringing that up. With MIDI, there’s the easy habit of clicking the quantize button and locking it in. I wanted to break away from that and have it feel like it was played by a human in a room. Are you suggesting I dial that in and lock it in more? Finding that middle ground is tough!

juliapikerMarch 2, 2024 2:29pm

@@Ben Do you throw reverb on the master? Or do you have it on a separate aux bus as an insert into each stem?

I also wonder if you actually dropped the piano down an octave. Your voice feels bright enough where I’d be curious to hear it lower down. I think when the additional instrumentation comes in at 1:51- it starts to feel a little bit muddy. I think when it comes to mixing- every piece of the puzzle has to take up its own space in the puzzle. I would pull all the reverb off, and find where each instrument should exist prior to that.

I like your vocal style!! It’s really cool. Hi!!!!!

BenMarch 2, 2024 6:28pm

@@juliapiker When I mix I do a single bus for my vocals with compression/EQ/reverb, but in this case I wanted a different reverb setting for the chorus part. But I don’t do a reverb on the master. So for this song there are a bunch of different reverbs happening all together. Is a single master reverb cleaner?

I’ll definitely experiment with a different octave on the piano, that’s a great suggestion. It sounds like you’re saying to mix without reverb on in order to find where everything should live? Will you please teach a mixing class for the book club??

And regarding my vocals, thanks! I’m very self-conscious about the sound of my voice but this group has been giving me nice props.

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 6:18pm

I love the production and musical decisions on this track, from the clean acoustic down to the ominously unsettling sub bass. Your voice sounds great, and the lyrics are potent and evocative. No notes from me, it all works for me!

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:35pm

Always such unique chord voicings from you, Brit! And I love this lyric sheet. Reads like a poem. The harmonic shift on “I did it in my dream” and the delivery of that line is awesome—there’s a unique gravity to that moment. Something like pride.

The length of the words didn’t bother me, but try shortening some up and see how you feel! I don’t think you need a bridge. The music break kind of serves as one. This feels more like a scored poem. A more harmonically colorful and melodic Patti Smith kind of thing. This is cool, man.

stonewindowMarch 2, 2024 5:46pm

Thanks for your kind words Ryan. I’m working on it still. Really appreciate all of the thoughtful feedback from fellow chefs. I’m sure setting my Grandmother’s poems is an influential part of this process. I think the last line will be “I fly in my dreams”

stonewindowMarch 2, 2024 5:52pm

Thanks for your positive feedback on the chord voicings. Been working on that for a while now.

juliapikerMarch 2, 2024 3:12pm

Fun fun fun!

There is a quality about this that feels like something is repeating- which speaks to the “recurrence” of a dream. Oh gosh I love the chord change at :47 “B Line”. I love the way you drop out at certain moments as well- it really highlights the dynamics in your arrangement and writing style. Really cool and beautiful.

juliapikerMarch 2, 2024 3:07pm

Love your “looking for feedback on” comment. It made me laugh. Everything “works”- at least thats the way I think about it. Your kinda hitting the nail on the head of dream space- this certainly feels like a fucking crazy ass dream. :47 holy moly yes. You’ve been one of my favorites in regards to the insanity behind the pieces you put together and how the exist in this incredibly groovy and unique space.

It works for sure. I feel like Donald Glover would love this.

juliapikerMarch 2, 2024 3:04pm

I hear an entire full throttle string arrangement here in the chorus. I really love when the bass comes in and we start to really hear where the track is about to lead. I think absolutely a harmony can be added to “I’m always on the line”. I do think On your side is a better title- because that actually is remarking on how you want to be in your relationship- regardless of where you are within yourself. I think that the meaning behind this track is really sitting with me in a special way. It’s so hard to balance being a good human to yourself and to your partner when you feel unwell- or when you body doesn’t give you the opportunity to. So I really appreciate that.

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:41pm

Man, this is an amazing vocal performance. Those little chromatic slides? Sheesh. And the tone from 1:47 to 1:54? You’ve achieved a Kid A sound without all the tech. You could’ve saved them thousands of dollars in studio time.

1:04 — arrangement award

I’m just in awe of your ability to find truly unique musical gestures. The off-kilter timing, the tone of the uke plus tone of your voice, the pale yellow ethereal stuff in the background. I agree with the call-out to tweak the mellotron sound, but only because you’d probably make something even cooler, not because it’s so trite. Great stuff here, mate.

juliapikerMarch 2, 2024 2:58pm

omg Ryan i didnt even read your comment before writing mine- similar thoughts. hell yeah

juliapikerMarch 2, 2024 2:58pm

I am definitely scared- feeling uneasy as your voice creeps in. I really like how loose this is. No grid baby we love that. It kind of reminds me a little bit of the quality in Cat Power Sea of Love.

My favorite part of this is the way you stay on certain notes for a little bit longer than you “should”. I think it adds to the eerieness. 1:46-1:54- that lengthier note ringing out vocally is so so good yeesh. I really love the chord progression- and the different variations it takes starting at 1:04 with the flute creeping back in.

Great one Nicky.

juliapikerMarch 2, 2024 2:53pm

Dude i LOVE. The synth stuff going on here it is so cool. I think its really cool against the guitar. That sort of organic/non-organic space always tickles me. Intro feels like the beginning of a Black Mirror episode. I would actually strip some of the verb off your voice! I do wonder if it would be cool for “Gathering Up My time” segment being more of a drop out moment production moment-with maybe a doubled vocal dryer and more upfront. Its SUCH a cool chorus. I think the whistle is a really nice touch as well. An extra little spicy element.

juliapikerMarch 2, 2024 2:37pm

Oh yeah. I fucking love this. Your voice feels really smooth and well mixed. I love that you doubled the guitar and I love how bright it feels- I would cut a teensy tiny bit of the high end so that it’s not competing with your voice.

Great production. I would keep an eye out for reverb giving way to a little bit of mud when everything comes into play together. I love the pause at 2:51 returning to the main melody.

Really great work

BenFebruary 26, 2024 12:28pm

I love the recording of this—so crisp and clear, and I like how the reverb comes and goes! There’s some lush arranging as well, but it’s never overpowering—the guitar and vox are front and center the whole time. The vocals are very close mic’ed and compressed, so we’re hearing each breath pretty loudly—it’s an intimate effect, but I might cut out or tone down some of the breaths.

CarseatMarch 2, 2024 2:19pm

Hey, thanks for the feedback! I’m take note! The intimacy was important to me, but I agree that the breaths almost take away from that effect at times.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:03pm

The sound of your guitar and vocals are SO nice on this. It’s super intimate in a really inviting way, though I agree with @@Benthat cutting back a little bit on the breaths might be nice. I wouldn’t want to lose the intimacy at all though. I think this mix really effectively keeps the arrangement an important part of the song, while keeping the vocals and guitar right front and forward, almost to the point of obfuscating the details of the background – the periphery of it all feels really dream-esque in that way that we have super clear images of parts of our dreams, while other bits fade into obscurity.

Couple other things I really liked: the way the background ambience slowly swells in, the quiet background vocal chords I’m hearing at moments like 2:15, the downward movement of the chords at around 1:50.

CarseatMarch 2, 2024 2:18pm

Hey — thanks so much for the feedback! I agree with the breaths, I’ll be sure to take a few of the not-interesting ones out! I appreciate your note on my placement of the different elements — I wanted to create the misty mid-morning-brain-fog effect, and I’m glad it came through!

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:22am

Immediately compelling—very strong overall, well done. Your voice sounds great, and I enjoy the production quality on it. The arrangement is also very well crafted. I’m curious about the really deep kind of rumbling that comes in around ~1:18. It adds a feeling, non-musically, but more in the way of a soundscape. For me, it becomes a little distracting in certain parts, so I’d maybe reel it back in the really melodic moments, and have it stick out more intentionally and briefly in other sections. Just a thought. Most of all, just glad to hear you again!

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:18pm

Yes, that rumbling caught my ear as well! I like the idea of flooding it in and pulling it out. But I mostly love it. What a great arrangement tool.

CarseatMarch 2, 2024 2:17pm

Thanks! That rumbling is a low synth that I warped around… I honestly couldn’t hear it that well in my setup, so thanks for mentioning how it sounds. I’ll mess around with cropping it out at points — I like the idea of making it a special appearance.

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:22pm

Wow, I love this submission. Great work.

Voice sounds SO good, Darcy! And the patience in how the song moves is outstanding. A thought: maybe in the later verses, that first chord could change half-way through? It’s so rad that it stays on that chord for so long as you currently have it, but breaking it later on could be a cool development device.

Mix sounds killer. I agree with the breath notes that @@Ben mentioned. Guitars, background vox, ethereal stuff all sounds awesome to me. Maybe a slight cut in the low-end on the ethereal stuff. But sounds great for the most part.

Shout out to the break at 2:44 and re-entranced at 2:50. So good. Has a little bit of a St. Deviation’s vibe to me (wink wink @nick).

CarseatMarch 2, 2024 2:15pm

Ooooo… I like the idea of the chord change — I’ll be sure to mess around with that! And thanks re: voice: I was actually quite sick for this, but I am glad it sounded good — maybe I should be sick more often lol.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 6:57pm

Wooo Lydian mode! Song title not too pretentious but the name is missing a c actually (Schrödinger).

In terms of the song, the second part really starts hitting in very effectively – really love the guitar tone around 3:00 (and when the piano doubles it). I wasn’t losing attention in the slow bits, but think there is space in for something to help build tension/anticipation/yearning or something – and I think it’d help the moment that second section hits feel very satisfying.

BenMarch 2, 2024 2:12pm

A typo? Fuck.

I like your suggestion—I could see teasing some of the electric guitar in the earlier sections. Thanks!

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:15am

Yeah i’m into this vibe. One of my favorite parts is the polyrhythmic clicky-clacky percussion part at 1:14. (castanets, maybe?)

Almost like some early U2 vibes in the outro (and i mean that in the best way possible, big early fan). And the heavy strumming electric guitar for the whole outro is the kind of track that’s most susceptible to rushing, but I think you did a great job either playing or editing it to align with drums—kudos!

BenMarch 2, 2024 2:10pm

Thanks! I got some wooden spoons for the holidays, and I was determined to find a use for them.

I never thought I’d have a U2 sound—but I hear what you’re saying! I definitely went a little stadium rock. After last submission’s comments, I was really focused on locking in my rhythms more tightly, I’m glad it made a difference!

alechutsonMarch 2, 2024 1:44pm

Love the spaciousness of the intro and the slow evolution and build of the composition! The heavy parts really hit for me. Would love to see the lyrics. I think the vocals could be mixed a little lower, but overall great job with it

nickFebruary 26, 2024 3:11pm

had a very enjoyable first listen to this in the car. just enjoyed another listen at the comp reading along. Maybe this is one of those “The Line (On Your Side)” eh? I wouldn’t vote for a harmony in the chorus, im happy with it nice and underdone. The only thing that I want is a bass line that doesn’t follow along too strictly to the kick drum. Feels a touch heavy handed outlining the five so straightly. I’m thinking Johnny Greenwood in, well most songs, but like the verse in 15 step—sparse, melodic, weaving in standout riffs here and there. And yeah, this is such an airy piece that I think it could leave a lot of space. v strong track. love it. 3:18 nice fill 😉

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:51pm

Yes! Agreed on the bass line call out. I couldn’t find one! Perhaps you wanna give it a crack?

3:18 is a proud moment for me, ngl. Also that’s funny, that’s the exactly title I wanted, but @@zoya swayed me.

BenFebruary 26, 2024 1:21pm

I love this—especially the unique timing of the chord changes. It almost feels like your instruments are in 6/8 and the drums are in 4/4, which is really cool. I hear you on the limitations of the software instruments—I don’t feel like the drum is exactly in the groove. I think a few early/unpredictable snare hits would align it (the drummer for The National does this really well). And I’d bring up the octave vocals in the mix at the end to separate the section out—I don’t think they need harmonies, but a little more presence.

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:50pm

Haha funny you should mention the early hits — I programmed some ghost hits but just didn’t bring them up in the mix enough. In other words, I agree with your suggestion. What this (and every single demo I make) needs is a live drummer haha

CarseatFebruary 26, 2024 11:33am

Yo — I love that writing constraint of deleting the initial motif idea… Honestly might make for quite a writing assignment…

Love the space you created in this one. Made me feel like I was a little blade of hay swinging in some warm wind.

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:48pm

Making people feel like a little blade of hay swinging in warm wind might be my ultimate aim with music-making. So thank you for finally putting words to that for me. <3

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:47pm

So many great vocalizations in this track. Little moments like at the end of “I’ll swallow it all”. This whole thing has a warm melancholy to it that is just lovely.

Love that everyone is encouraging you to jump into Logic. I couldn’t possibly recommend it more. Really opened up music-making for me. That being said, I think this exact recording, for this song, is perfect. So once you do make the plunge into multi-tracking, try not to lose the ability to bail on it or use it sparingly when it’s best for the song. Because this is special.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:30pm

I’m certainly not an expert at recording and all that, but I find Logic pretty intuitive to use. I’ve messed around in a bunch of DAWs at this point, and Garageband is definitely a great place to just get started. I found ProTools harder than Logic, fwiw. As @@Carseatsaod. I don’t regret plunging into the rabbit hole, even though I still can’t really mix/produce/record full on tunes like some of the other folks here – even just a bit of comfort helped me make (still basic) but more complex tunes.

I really love the line “I wake up in the early night” in a song about dreams – feels kinda like waking up into a dream. This song feels evocative to me, but I’m not sure of what. Reading back to the lyrics while listening again, it gave me the feeling of trying to fill a hole inside myself with a person or a memory.

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:43pm

Logic for life. Make the plunge! Get in there!

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:22pm

Don’t have much to say, but I really like this. Guitar sounds really good and the whole thing just feels comfortable/comforting/some other word I can’t quite place.

I could dig a fretless bass, but I wouldn’t want you to add too much to this. Just things to aid the current vibe.

Really liked the line “Wish I had a dollar | for every night of restless sleep.”

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:41pm

Yep, that’s the lyric that stuck with me too.

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:30pm

Alec this is dope as hell. Definitely top 3 AH NCBC subs for me. As mentioned by some others, this particular combination of synths and the acoustics sounds so good. It’s that sweet spot of being purposely juxtaposed but naturally fitted. Vocal phrasing is fantastic. Makes the song sound like it was always written.

Also shout out to the synth part in the chorus, don’t believe that’s been mentioned yet. That’s a super clever way to arrange that section. And I love the sound. Only thing I found myself wanting was a harmony in the chorus the whole time—or like, something that makes it even more heeeeeere’s the chorus! I guess I’m picturing a harmony because the current vocal is in the same register as the verse and so there isn’t a natural shelfing up into the chorus feeling. Maybe even doubling or tripling and effecting the current vocal would achieve what I’m looking for.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:09pm

Really enjoyed the interplay between the hard-panned acoustics and the more-centered arpeggiator at the top and when it comes back. They create a really nice effect, particularly the way the constant movement of the arpeggiator makes the moments of pause in the acoustic guitar/bass in the verses feel even tighter.

That synth sound in the chorus is sooo dirrtyy, I love it. The drums throughout are really effective, but I really felt them in the chorus.

RyanMarch 2, 2024 12:25pm

Yeahhhhh that interplay between the organic wide-panned acoustics and that straight-up-the-middle synth bubbler is so good.

nickMarch 2, 2024 10:27am

On first listen I would have called this an A+ submission and moved on, but for the sake of critique, and sort of in line with @@Ryan‘s comment, maybe slightly consolidating the piece, and adding some spacey sounds to tie the whole thing together. Super creative and immersive response to the parameters—well done! I mean come on, great shanty.

nickMarch 2, 2024 10:09am

what fun. and really a great submission/song in general. It’s up for debate whether the priority of NCBC is following the parameters (at the risk of potential weirdification) or just using them to create a “good song”… but regardless, I think this is one of your “best songs”. A tempered amount of loony-ness, and lot of solid arrangement. “Make a bee-line” over that chord change is very dreamy (both dreamlike and just awesome). For feedback, I first listened to this in my car, and the hi-hats were just a little too loud and pointy. Performance is great, so just some real simple smoothing out in the mix would go a long way. It wasn’t as intense with my headphones, but I think would still benefit from a mix tweak. Curious how others heard it. Nice job!

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:52am

This definitely has some emotional resonance, especially I wake up in the early night // I see you and I sigh. Also, your performance is strong. Those nice crisp vocal walkdowns on things like “s-i-igh” are wonderful.

Glad you’re committing to the assignments despite the recording setup, kudos to you. And hey, I know you, you’re a pretty smart guy. Wouldn’t be long before you had a useful understanding of the fundamentals in GarageBand. Do you have mac? While there are a lot of tools and options that you can eventually familiarize yourself with, those can wait! With a simple youtube tutorial on getting started, it’s pretty easy to get in there and utilize the basics. Good luck, cowboy!

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:42am

hey nice! this is big step up in recording quality. Like @@Ben said, great annunciation. And sure, some fretless, some piano, some strings. Go crazy!

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:19pm

I don’t know if I’m scared, but I’m definitely unsettled. I never quite knew where this was headed or going – very dream-like and freaky.

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:39am

🙏 was definitely aiming to make it feel like you were in the dream.

CarseatFebruary 26, 2024 11:24am

Woahhh… this is such a cool lil guy. Huge fan of the chord schemes. You’re makin me want to experience something creepy enough to play this in the background…

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:38am

lol, i’ll be sure to invite you to my next nightmare.

BenFebruary 26, 2024 12:43pm

Very cool—the off-kilter time signature keeps you uneasy the entire time. Perhaps due to the improvisation, but it feels like you’re exploring the song as you’re writing/recording it, as if the writer is getting lost at the same time as the listener. Gives me early Grizzly Bear vibes. If I have a critique, it might be that the mellotron is a little too on-the-nose and familiar—it’s almost become the de facto 70’s creepy garden party sound.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:17pm

Early Grizzly Bear is such an accurate reference point. There’s something Yellow House-y about this for sure.

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:36am

Thanks! And you’re totally right, i was building this plane midflight. Gosh, i just can’t help myself when it comes to the mellotron, but I will definitely take that critique into account and consider making that sound more my own next time.

BenFebruary 25, 2024 9:26pm

Yes I am

stonewindowFebruary 26, 2024 8:41am

Nice spooky vibe. Definitely “dreamy”. I like your vocal quality.

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:34am


BenFebruary 26, 2024 2:43pm

I know that whistle. Way to use it as a instrument layer that tows the line between pad and lead, but sits in the background. Usually whistles, like in my song this week, and in many of your tunes serve as melodic leads in place of vocals, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But this is a cool use of whistling.

This is a very you song. Except for that synth voice. That’s a new and welcome addition to your scape. I love when the band drops out and the bubbly synth can ring out alone. There’s some Hiatus Kaiyote Breathing Underwater happening here a little.

Great track dude. This song slots in well to your latest musical era (Would you say were all living in AH v4.0 these days? v3.0? v5.0? v3.1?).

Love the stereo panned acoustic guitars. Great thumping-bass-from-nearby-car in the intro. And always a sucker for that anticipated beat that the guitars happen on. Love the calmness/laziness that happens in this song – the “I’ll be fine” section is great because that synth tone is often used in some hard hitting rave music, but you have a chill, slow, gentle vocal performance over it, with minimal other instruments. Good work there.

Love this. Is there a way to thicken up the vocals a little? They seem a little small and narrow compared to the rest of the mix I think? A little rhythmic tweaking might be needed (listen to the guitars + bass + drums around 0:25 and you might hear a little bit of asynchronicity that takes me out of the vibe a little). Other than that, I have a feeling I might hear this track in a future album. Hopefully.

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:33am

I agree with both of those suggestions at the end. If I were producing this, the first thing I would do is chop up the acoustic guitar track and align it directly with the drum track. I would actually emphasize the edited nature of it instead of trying to make it sound naturally played. Then I would widen the vocal and begin futzing around with additional effects, some throughout, and some momentarily. I’ll say this once more, too—killer track.

nickMarch 2, 2024 9:30am

Well this is frickin neat. Really so cool. Masterful vocal phrasing. I feel like it’s heading in a sort of Phantogram-ish direction, which is working really, and is a bit uncommon for you? I’d love to hear it pushed even further in that direction—maybe some glitchy samples woven throughout? Maybe some more effects on the vocals? I have some other comment’s aligned with @@Ben ‘s thoughts, and will put them there. Incredible submission dude!

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:16pm

I’ve never flown in a dream – I’m jealous.

I tend to think about the length of time I give a word when singing in terms of whether I want it emphasized or to last or to be a word (or even just a sound) that that a listener latches on to. I think @@Carseat hits a really nice idea about adding little melodies to certain held out words so that they’re not just sitting in one place.

stonewindowFebruary 29, 2024 8:54pm

Nice to meet you here. Thanks for chiming in for my song. I appreciate your feedback. Thom York will be emulating my phrasing when I’ve tightened up these vocals.

stonewindowFebruary 29, 2024 8:55pm

Oh shit it’s Yorke.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:38pm

This definitely does the un-logic of dreams in a really fascinating way. The two parts feel so fully themselves and not really connected to the other part, at least not in the way you might expect it to (thinking of the shanty-sample, I guess).

“idk man, dreams” seems to really hit the nail on the head here.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 7:35pm

The chord progression is just so catchy throughout this tune. And your vocal delivery is great too. Realllly loved those “I just want/need” pauses – didn’t expect the third one and it felt great.

The interweaving comes through, but I think interweaving is a bit subjective in the first place ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Great song!

CarseatFebruary 27, 2024 11:19am

This chord progression is TIGHT. It gives Pinegrove energy. PLEASE inform us when you add them drums n bass, need it in my life.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 6:39pm

Thank you! Appreciate it, really. Maybe I will add that rhythm section…

BenFebruary 27, 2024 10:27am

She makes it inside through a door that leads to nowhere

Carrying something I didn’t see with her before

A fur coat the size of something in the movies

I was scared that PETA’d show, toss blood into the fur

This ^^ verse is pretty close to perfection. Great performance, delivery, writing, sounds, etc. I agree, this song would be so great with some light but poppy indie rock drums and fuller rhythm section. That would allow it to have higher, more meaningful highs and lower, more meaningful lows.

I also really enjoy that minor chord that finds its way into the “that’s toni” verse.

This reminds me a little of something from Inside (Bo Burnham). Your voice and guitar playing is actually sort of similar! The whole song kind of sounds like one of his slightly less jokey, more songy songs from that album. Lighthearted, funny, and fun to play/listen to, but not a parody or joke.

This is so great.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 6:38pm

Cheers Ben, thanks. Bo Burnham is such a fun and kind comparison, seriously.

Totally agree with you – I really was feeling the lack of dynamics but was running out of time on Sunday lol. Glad you felt the light-hearted-but-still-not-totally-a-joke – I think I spent most of my time trying to figure out how to hit that balance hahaha.

RyanFebruary 25, 2024 9:18pm

A certified banger! This is so fun haha. The verse is so well-crafted and catchy. Also, the lyrics have me dying. I’m so stoked that you were able to take a bizarre dream and turn it into such a compelling story—the humor’s there, but so are the heavier things like doubt. Killer.

Love the arrangement, and the transitions work for me. You’re absolutely right that this is begging for drum and bass parts. I’d go out of my way to describe what I’m hearing, but, like, they’re already in there. Know what I mean? My only suggestion is to download Addictive Drums and then click and point your life away. You’ll be a pro in no time. Man is this thing gonna bang once it’s filled out even more.

BenFebruary 26, 2024 1:31pm

^ agree with all of this! Striking that balance between lighthearted/tongue-in-cheek without being silly/Weird Al is tough, and you nailed it! Love the double-tracked vocals—throwing a pop filter in front of your microphone will help with some of those harsh sounds in the P’s. As it’s a long song, you might want to switch up some of the instrumentation—I appreciated the breakdown at 3:42, but maybe switch up the guitar sound to add a little more variety. Can’t wait to hear the version with drums.

EliasSZFebruary 29, 2024 6:36pm

Thanks guys. I definitely felt the challenge of trying to keep the comical nature of it, while also adding some genuine heartfelt feelings about family complexities.

Definitely agree that the instrumentation needed to mix up a bit – I think I didn’t get the mix right on the synth sound I was trying to use to flesh out the lower end and was feeling a bit stuck in how/where I wanted to mix things up. I like the idea of switching the guitar sounds, which is not something I tend to lean towards – tend to be more of a keep adding new elements sorta guy lol.

Addictive Drums, I’ll have to check it out…

CarseatFebruary 26, 2024 11:36am

She’s so cute! I want to listen to it blare from my speakers while snuggled in a blanket with some broccoli cheddar soup.

BenFebruary 29, 2024 2:17pm

in fact, trader joes broccoli cheddar soup is like 70% of my two-year-old’s diet.

The very same two-year-old that is at least somewhat the inspiration for my subconscious mind craving a c. 2018-style ski trip.

CarseatFebruary 26, 2024 11:09am

Love the space you gave the mix — the reverb you added in the beginning created such a nice little blanket for everything to sit on. I would have loved for the louder parts to have that same blanket, but I also appreciated that I could hear all that was going on. Again, nice job — love the ending too hahah!

BenFebruary 26, 2024 2:05pm

the blanket metaphor is a good one. The first half of the song sounds like it’s a different room than the second, which is cool.

stonewindowFebruary 28, 2024 11:06am

Love all of your many ideas and the fact that they work together in my opinion. The end has a Roxy, Eno flavor. I love those bands. Held my attention the entire time including the slow beginning.

What key Lydian mode? I’m working on learning the mode thing. It’s taking some time to assimilate modes in my brain.

BenFebruary 28, 2024 1:01pm

Thanks y’all!

Here’s my understanding of the song vis-a-vis Lydian mode—I’m no expert, so someone pipe in if I’ve gotten anything wrong.

The chords to the verse are: G D Bm F# / G D Bm A

So, we’re in the key of G, which normally has one sharp – F#. However, with the F# and A chords, we’re also hearing lots of C#, which isn’t normally in the key of G. (Perhaps the first time you heard the F# and A chords, your brain twisted a little bit.) With an F# and C#, that really points more towards being in the key of D, but we’re obviously not in D. So if you play the notes in a D scale but start on a G, that’s G Lydian mode—or the G scale with a sharp 4th.

There are seven modes for each of the seven notes you could start a scale on. Playing a C scale but starting with A—that’s just A minor. Minor ain’t nothing but a mode of major! 🤯

(Ok, the F# chord also has an A# in it… but I think we should just write that off as a funky accidental.)

I then switch to “normal” G when it hits that chorus(?) thing at 1:50. The chords there are C G C Am. With that C and Am, we’re back to a normal G pattern. Or maybe it’s in C, I don’t know. The last time we hear it, it goes C G C A—switching to the A major brings us back to Lydian mode.

The ending riff is Em D A—with that A major, I think we’re still in G lydian.

Dreams by Fleetwood Mac is the simplest song of all time, but it’s technically in Lydian. It’s just F and G. Normally we hear Gm in the key of F, but since it’s a sharp 4th… Lydian! Also, Man on the Moon by REM, and the Legend of Zelda theme. This was a fun rabbit hole to dive into.

EliasSZOctober 8, 2023 2:18pm

Welcome and sorry for my late reply! I, too, am intimidated by the production chops on a lot of the folks in this group – but can guarantee there’s nothing bad that can happen. It’s just fun to share songs, whatever the form.

I second Alec’s bard/storyteller vibe – and to echo Ryan’s sentiment, one suggestion for lyric writing is exploring letting complete thoughts spill over onto multiple musical phrases – ideas starting in one line, yet resolving in another. Great song, welcome!

stonewindowFebruary 27, 2024 4:40pm

Thank you for your feedback I’m just seeing your comment.

CarseatFebruary 27, 2024 11:24am

WHATTTT???!???!??!? HELLOOO???!?!??!? What just happened… am I on Earth anymore???? What is a human body; I am a head floating above my desk. That beat drop did it. I am gone.

RyanFebruary 25, 2024 9:11pm

What a lovely dark snare sound. How’d ya get it?

Love the subtle circus sounds here, as you mentioned. Organ, funky hi-hats, disco geet, some slippery guitar/bass underneath some whistling? Fun. The interweaving elements didn’t come through on first listen, but upon a few more spins, I hear how the hats are playing around with the snare and the geet. Works for me.

Dig that you wrote this while walking around. Made for a very catchy verse.

stonewindowFebruary 26, 2024 10:53am

The interweaving comes through.

‘I like the playful vibe despite the anxiety of the dream.

the whistling and guitar riff is cool.

BenFebruary 27, 2024 10:32am

Snare is tuned a little low, got one of those rings on it, like 10 pieces of blue painters tape, and a t-shirt draped over it.

BenFebruary 27, 2024 10:34am

re: the interweaving:

mostly going for smooth, dreamlike, floaty lyrics/vocal performance mixed with a disco, funk rhythm section

TengoFebruary 25, 2024 9:45pm

oh baby this is just a delight! agree that the drum sounds are just so cozy. love the processing on your vocal that compliments such a relaxed and easygoing delivery. Gimme those lil bass licks at the end of the tune in my dreams every night please.

BenFebruary 27, 2024 10:30am

thanks! the bass parts were recorded at 8:30 sunday night. I wanted a little somethin somethin in the outro. Originally, i was gonna have that whole second half of the song have lyrics, but eventually decided to make it just a long fade-out with whistling. Right before submitting, i decided it need a couple tiny parts to pop out, so i rerecorded the bass and added some bassy things

CarseatFebruary 26, 2024 11:31am

Ouuuughhh. I love this. You dug into the dynamics at the perfect moments; I could so see you digging into it more and creating a deeper rift in some spots.

As for working in software, I started in Garageband and made my way over to Pro Tools — they’re both a little intimidating at first, but the more you create and mess around in them, the more comfy you get. Definitely don’t regret plunging into that rabbit hole!

stonewindowFebruary 26, 2024 5:29pm

Nice feel to the song. Dreamy. That was the assignment right.

‘impressive that you improvised lyrics

When I joined this lovely group recently I figured out the very basics of GarageBand. I looked at some YouTube videos. I can only record live, haven’t figured out how to multitrack yet, but GB is better than the other music memo apps I was using. It’s been good to dig into the aforementioned rabbit hole.

CarseatFebruary 26, 2024 11:15am

YO. I love this. So wiggly. Recommend listening while doing the dishes.

alechutsonFebruary 26, 2024 1:06pm

Dish wiggling is where it’s at 🪱🍽️

stonewindowFebruary 26, 2024 4:21pm

Great song. Definitely has a dream like vibe. The chorus is cycling in my head as I write. Don’t know enough about recording to give any input.

nickFebruary 5, 2024 11:09am

trudie! 🙂

so glad to hear you. i think those additional parameters are 👌

many beautiful little vocal moves. also some beautiful big ones! those higher notes just sear through.. like a meteor, if i may. truly though, wonderful tone.

would love to read along if you would add the lyrics to the description. rock on, sister. oh wait also, that profile picture is just too much.

troodsFebruary 6, 2024 11:54am

Hi! Thank you!! It was fun to make. I will definitely add the lyrics.

stonewindowFebruary 26, 2024 4:14pm

Love this. Your voice is lovely. Sounds like it was all one take? I really like the last chord too.

‘my favorite line and you sing it beautifully. So it makes sense the sky is falling and it’s fine.

BenFebruary 26, 2024 2:17pm

love that we have 2 fever dream songs.

BenFebruary 26, 2024 2:16pm

This is great. I’m particularly a fan of the second part. Especially from 4:00 to the end! I’d looove to listen to a full length version of that section. Love the driving drums, the background vocals, the vocal melody, and your vocal tone. It’s got some 80s-90s Chris Isaak, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry, David Byrne, David Bowie stuff going on.

A tiny bit of minor rhythmic tweaking and scooting to line up the rhythm section instruments in that outro, and you’ve got an absolutely perfect section. What are you thoughts on giving that outro its own song? I’d listen to that song.

Nice work on this!

CarseatFebruary 26, 2024 2:04pm

Love the exquisite lil finger picking groove and the dog, 10/10.

BenFebruary 26, 2024 10:31am

Nice work on this! I love that it ends with the flying. It’s a hopeful final line, but more importantly, it’s the best part of dreaming.

I assume you tracked guitar and voice at the same time? This is giving Mountain Goats or The Microphones (at least based on what I know of them).

I think your self-criticism is actually pretty spot on. See what it sounds like to keep certain words more snappy. That said, your delivery of “familyyyyy” is pretty great. Similarly, or alternatively, maybe try experimenting with the strumming patterns or the chord sustain. I can imagine the long words sounding pretty good over a simple single strum of a chord.

As for the bridge, it kind of sounds like you already do have one right? From around 0:57 – 1:17. It serves as a good separator of the two verses, but my advice would be to either shorten it by 50% or add vocals to it.

But ok, the real question here is: are we talking about prolonged low-gravity jumping flying, swimming thru the air flying, or superman flying?

stonewindowFebruary 26, 2024 10:49am

Thank so much Ben! I think that’s when I did some improvising, trying to keep it all diatonic and moving. Good advice on the strum pattern.

Yes, this was a live take, playing guitar and singing at the same time.

Flying low, worried about crashing into the trees just below, kinda like trying to write songs haha. It’s a rare dream. And as in all my dreams there is a fraught element.

stonewindowFebruary 26, 2024 1:18pm


Whats the reference to Mountain Goats or Microphones ? Thanks

BenFebruary 26, 2024 12:34pm

Yo, is that a theremin?! This song is excellent—I really like the combination of acoustic and electric instruments—they’re really integrated and cohesive. I wouldn’t change a thing.

alechutsonFebruary 26, 2024 1:05pm

The theremin is me whistling! 😗 Thank you, glad it works for you 🙏

BenFebruary 26, 2024 12:50pm

The only thing missing is a warm campfire. This is so soothing! You really annunciate well and I could make out every word—but if anything, you might consider smoothing your words out a bit. Phrases like “one stuck in your head” are punctuated a bit and go against the silky smoothness of the rest.

CarseatFebruary 26, 2024 11:26am

I could so hear that fretless bass. Almost like the saw in “In the Aeroplane…” by Neutral Milk Hotel. If you do it please let me know… I dig.

CarseatFebruary 26, 2024 11:21am

Hey! Nice to meet you. Love the foundation that this song has — the guitar licks are awesome and definitely add a lot to the energy here.

I definitely hear you on the vocal-word-length — it’s not a bad thing at all, I was actually thinking more that creating little vocal melodies during the held out notes would create a lovely Thom-Yorke-sorta-soaring vibe that would add a nice dimension to this.

And yea dreams are weird — lots of emotion-sorting happens for me too…. they’re so weird.

stonewindowFebruary 26, 2024 8:33am

Catchy tune. I like “On your side” but both work. Always dig your songs.

RmalFebruary 25, 2024 10:40pm

LOVE the vocalization! Great melody. Like the bridge at 1:25. The tune is great stripped down, but if you thought you wanted more, I’m hearing angelic strings. Wonderful subject 🙂

RyanFebruary 25, 2024 9:24pm

I think this is rad as hell. Not sure whether this “works” is even related haha. The beginning is just pure children’s TV show chaos and the back half is like Kendrick and Tyler and you were like “let’s fuck this up”. I think the only thing that would make it work more (ok fine I see what you mean) is if you dirty up the back half. Some distortion on the drums, some even freakier moments in the vocal, etc. But yeah, this was Grade A fun for me.

CalebFebruary 25, 2024 6:38pm

i don’t know jack all about mixing, but i have to second the shoutout to “and i wonder who else noticed burning holes in the sky”, and it was a chef’s kiss for my ear to hear that first vocal cascade on sky. Really awesome moment, and a great question to pose. At 1:08-1:11 I hear that faint grumble in lead into the guitar solo, and I love that sound so much I almost want to hear it stretched out into a longer and bigger crescendo. Awesome atmosphere!

EliasSZFebruary 25, 2024 8:44pm

Thanks! Glad to know I’m not alone in not really knowing anything about mixing hahaha.

I’m a sucker for hearing feedback/distortion before a solo, I think you’re right that it’d be fun to stretch that out even farther.

nickFebruary 15, 2024 11:50am

how to write about a dream without boring people…

BenFebruary 25, 2024 8:13pm


CalebFebruary 25, 2024 7:12pm

wowza, really beautiful composition and lyricism. and thank you for that lil anecdote about how you (and mitski) approached this song with melody and lyrics first and then chords. i’m going to try that next time, i think that will help free up my melody writing.

i’ve really struggled to find cuts/edits here, but after like 5 listens i think the only thing that comes to mind is maybe find a way to end the piece after the (rightfully lauded in other comments) silver spoon & never blink again sections. I think you don’t need the chorus afterwards, that is such a special moment on its own.

I can’t say when it’s happening, but once it does you swear you’ll never blink again”

Boom, mic drop. Such a powerful line to end the tune imo. Almost teasing the audience to stop this song, and look to the skies so you don’t miss the meteor shower.

awesome tune

CalebFebruary 25, 2024 6:51pm

felt like listening to an unreleased Creed song, in all of the best ways. epic guitar work. i can hear the drums and bass in my head, which is a testament to the structure of your piece, it evokes those missing pieces like phantom limbs.

CalebFebruary 25, 2024 6:46pm

just so much fun, i was smiling the whole time. that bass and guitar jam that kicked off right around 3:16 had me BOPPING, and then we get the creme de la creme of the piece with the baby interruption. Such a good moment, a happy little accident turned into a really poignant moment for me. I’m ready for the piece to take off, and boom — we are thrust back to earth, by that thing that grounds us the most, almost like when we travel to hotels and always at last come back (sometimes too soon). Awesome jam, and enforted 100% works for me.

CalebFebruary 25, 2024 6:32pm

i think the drums and vocals are mixed so nicely for that entire middle section of the song, definitely not too soft. your delivery of in the motel grime? scratches my brain in the perfect way. well done!

CalebFebruary 25, 2024 6:26pm

“sharing stares where sands sparely flick where hands barely tick tick tick tick tick” was such a pleasing collection of Mouth Sounds on the ear, very poetry poetic the way they stumble into each other. The ensuing music drop afterwards was a great pay-off after those lyrics almost dragged back on the beat. The tension and release. Great stuff, as always sir.

RmalFebruary 15, 2024 7:01pm

dreams I can muddle thru – two, not one, but TWO interweaving musical elements – that’s giving me nightmares.

nickFebruary 25, 2024 5:54pm


nickFebruary 5, 2024 3:50pm

really beautiful singing and melody writing. all the humming is absolutely luscious. “finale” is literally perfect.

to me, they all feel very naturally written. perhaps “don’t think there’s much to define” would be the least natural to me. kind of a separate comment, but in regards to them sounding naturally sung, i like to see how much i can getaway with by removing the sentence structure and letting the most meaningful words remain, like “motel check-in, backpack and mask” could get you to the same place with less clutter. especially when paired with other lyrics that allow for the full sentence structure like “managed to rally for the after-thing”. such a great line btw. as for the last line, i think im understanding it more, and i really like it, but it’s a little compressed at the moment. id experiment with hanging on that last chord for longer so you can sing all those words with more space in between. could help to emphasize the intention, too. just a thought. great recording, nora!

nickFebruary 5, 2024 4:48pm

specifically “and that it’s something that’s mine”. really continuing to grow on me, so who the hell knows, but maybe a little more space could help.

nurphgunFebruary 6, 2024 1:52pm

Yes – “don’t think there’s much to define” is one of them. Had three other options for that line, and I think this was the best one, but it’s still not quite it. There is a specific meaning I want to get across in the last verse, and trying to fit it in the rhyme scheme is tough.

Love, love the advice re “motel check-in, backpack and a mask”, etc. – it would be a really interesting practice to take a pass through it and see where else I could make similar changes. Top of my head, I could probably change “Maddie chimes in with I can’t wait to see you girls” to “Maddie chimes in, can’t wait to see you girls.” Maybe waiting a beat before “Nicole” so it’s less harsh.

Interesting idea to add more space to the last line. I definitely slowed down a bit for the last two lines so I could milk them a little. I worry that giving too much space will further highlight how clunky the last line is. I actually like its clunkiness and how quickly it goes by – I almost wouldn’t mind if it passed someone by on a first listen & only revealed itself to them later on.

nickFebruary 6, 2024 3:33pm

ah the beauty of being the artist. and i think you’re right, to boot!

stonewindowFebruary 19, 2024 5:45pm

Your voice is so lovely. I have had very few songs come with lyrics. Poetry is honed and honed. If it comes naturally that’s a gift. I will listen more.

BenFebruary 4, 2024 9:13pm

Jesus and the aliens.

Hey man, I love this. I think you’ve ordinary yourself once again. I seriously might have a new fav! Nice soloing over some very nice chords.

Here’s to ncbc work travels.

I feel like I have a similar chord in my song this week. Wondering if you know which!

More from me later when I’m on my desktop computer!

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 2:01pm

Thanks, brother! Seocnd chord in your “OOwhoa” section, yeah? Tasty stuff.

nurphgunFebruary 8, 2024 10:28pm

“Jesus and the aliens” is everything

stonewindowFebruary 19, 2024 5:40pm

Love this Ryan. Chorus is so catchy. Love the guitar licks. Wow. Maybe an lg tune around the fire.

nickFebruary 5, 2024 12:26pm

this is a delightful little tearjerker. “nothing hits, it never does” fav lyric, and very well sung. i also love how many of the phrases have a spoken rhythmic quality, but then “it won’t give up” has a little hop to it and jumps on the beat. i wouldnt mind repeating the last line once more at the end. in a larger arrangement i could imagine “so close, I can feel it now” kind of weaving throughout the song, but in this little package, saving it for the end ties up the composition very nicely. you’ve got a great voice! count me in as an avid observer of your songwriting journey.

stonewindowFebruary 19, 2024 5:33pm

Love this Zoya! Your phrasing is naturally always so good. That said I think some breaks of strumming could be effective. The simplicity gives rise to the complexity.

BenFebruary 7, 2024 9:55am

“The Brimming Skies”

Well done with this. It so concise in multiple ways: 76 seconds long, 3 (?) tracks, 2-3 words per line, yet it makes me feel deeply connected to a chunk of space dust hurling through our atmosphere. In the pasy 48 hours, i’ve been thinking about a comment @@nick left on @@nurphgun‘s latest song about word economy and cutting out the extra unneeded words. and there are none of those here to cut out. This is really well done.

Could be cool with a simple shaker coming in on the “down below” line. And if it were ever to become a bigger or longer arrangement, i’d love to hear the guitar melody come back in at some point, and play over the lyrics.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 1:09pm

Funny you should mention the economy. Zoya has an absolute bloodlust for cutting words out of my songs.

stonewindowFebruary 19, 2024 5:30pm

She’s your editor and chief

nickFebruary 5, 2024 10:58am

So glad to have you! And dude, this is an excellent first submission. I think you did an incredible job following the parameters. one of my favorite cascading melodies of the bunch, so kudos to you for that! I think the melodies in general are strong, the lyrics are simple and straightforward with just the right amount of magic woven through them. All this needs to be is trimmed down. There is no lack of great stuff, just an eventual excess of OK stuff. For me, im completely hooked up until “oh forever a day” at 1:37, only because I want it to go back to the intro/verse melody at that point. If I were producing this song, at 1:37 I’d go right back to the beginning, run all the way through “Gotta breath give one take three” and then throw in a little trumpet outro and call it day. Print it. Done. Also “(don’t know how you’re under the sky whilst in a room but gonna roll with it haha)”… skylight maybe? Fine by me. Great job, dude.

RyanFebruary 6, 2024 1:09pm

Completely agreed with the structural changes suggested here! Nice n tight, only the strongest stuff survives.

Its PlayFebruary 6, 2024 7:43pm

Thanks so much dude!

Also, fair fair! Yeah I was just worried that the chorus was a bit too short, maybe could replace that part “forever a day” part with something more high energy or as you say just run through the song again. I agree about it being trimmed down for sure, too many low energy parts I think, I just get attached to my lines hahah.

That idea about a trumpet outro would go hard tho!

Shot for the feedback ay! Glad to be here!

stonewindowFebruary 19, 2024 5:27pm

Such great feedback. You have a solid song. I like the moments between the notes when you stop strumming and your phrasing changes. I didn’t note the exact minute.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:59am

I’m impressed by the precision of this one one take performance. I don’t think I have a least favorite part, but I found myself wanting a few more elements – I don’t think this song is necessarily calling for a giant arrangement, but a bit more to it would I think send it to a new level.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:54am

This is a really cool tune. I don’t have a ton to say that people haven’t already – the early Modest Mouse reference definitely resonates. I’m no master at mixing (or mastering, for that matter), but to my ears I think at points the arrangement feels a little cluttered in a way that makes me think some tweaks to the mix would be the solution.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:48am

This is really, really good. Super evocative. I love the group vocals. Wouldn’t want a singular voice. Makes me feel like its your own voice rattling around in your own head. Feels like it also intensifies the yearning I get from the lyrics. The ambience in the arrangement, also. So haunting.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:43am

“Fumigate, facetime masturbate | we’ve just watched the burnin of heaven’s gates | I hate so little, and none of you | I still love when your smell comes through” these lyrics are SO good. I feel like this is closer to a final product than you think.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:39am

That bass tone is so disgusting in the absolute best way. The mix of sounds and tones in this really unsettle me, but like, in a really good way.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:37am

Your guitar playing is killer as can be. I feel like I’ve gone to the bar down the road from a motel in the middle of a road trip, and I’m hearing someone play this live in a room filled with the smell of cheap beer. Love it.

I also struggle with recording percussion so I almost never do, so sadly can’t offer any advice there lol.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:34am

That chorus is SO tight. Melody, vocals, the whole thang.

I want just a bit more of that guitar throughout – I like the effect of it being hidden underneath, but I feel like its doing some really interesting movement and the playing sounds so nice, I just want to hear it a bit more!

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:30am

I love the barren feeling of those opening lines, particularly: “Nothing hits | It never does | Oh earth“.

I don’t think you need another “So close, can feel it now”, but I’m often on the side of a song can be short as it wants, if it feels good that short. I think it could be nice longer too, but didn’t feel like it needed it to me. The repetition of “Oh Earth” really works for me throughout the song, as a side note.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 12:26pm

Dan! Rough or not, you got the dang thing done! Well done! Psyched to have you here.

Evocative guitar playing and singing, as always with your songwriting. I think there’s a lot to work with here.

It’s interesting—with the guitar and vocal tones you went with, I think you might be chasing a phantom by worrying about “how to make things sound better in a DAW” just yet, because I think the tones are suggestive of a bigger arrangement. Big drums, eletric bass, more rhythm guitars, etc. I find that when I’m trying to improve elements via mix when the arrangement isn’t there yet, it can be fruitless. Did you play around with adding full band elements to this?

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 5:52pm

Psyched to be here my friend, thank you! I really appreciate that wisdom, I think the piece absolutely demands a fuller arrangement. A lot of the music in my head is that way, so that’s a helpful tidbit to help me prioritize what to work on learning next.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:27am

Really agree with @@Ryan – I love that guitar tone, but it definitely made me want a larger arrangement with more parts. I think that’ll help it feel bigger in the first place. Could definitely hear this with a big full band arrangement, and I think it’d naturally help the existing guitar and vocals feel more supported and larger straight off.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:24am

I’m pretty impressed that you added more parameters that made the process even harder – having to do it super fast? Not editing? And it still came out a tight, strong song. That second verse is great – a great use of the parameter of the meteor shower to very naturally mirror that pretty universal life experience of realizing there is no defined path ahead.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:21am

This slaps. I really love the happy sounding key, even despite it being about a drug deal gone wrong. Feels very cinematic to me.

In terms of your question, I dunno. I feel like I get stuck on pockets of progression sounds that I like, whether they’re major or minor, and I always have trouble getting out of them lol. Sometimes you like what you like, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:17am

Sam, love that chord progression with the harmonizer pedal. Love the vocal melody on the “oos”. I hear some really nice harmonies you could build out with that also. Really curious to hear the full version of this when the tendonitis is feeling better!

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:15am

All these lyrics feel fairly natural to me – the first verse in particular really captured me though. I’d say the least natural to me would be “Not one for presents or remembering dates | Don’t think there’s much to define“. When I read it, I like it, but listening it didn’t capture me quite the same.

This is such a nice song – I’d love to hear it with a bit more of an arrangement, though I get when the ‘bigger’ version just isn’t happening. Maybe some soft piano chords, gentle vocal harmony, something else? Sounds great as is too.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:10am

Your production is always so right on. Like just absolute bangers every time. Do you need to go anywhere from here? I feel like this is kinda tight as it is, 90 seconds of slap.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:08am

I really loved the live-ness of this take. The sound of the dog tail thumping and the collar rustle only added to the vibe for me. Felt really honest to me, in a way that really worked.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:06am

but sure as the day pushes back the night | this evening the sky will churn” this is such a great lyric.

I second Ryan, not sure I needed the heavier section – I think the vibes you conjure up otherwise felt really good to me and didn’t feel like I was needing a departure yet.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 11:02am

I feel like I just took an absolute journey, I read your description as I listened, trying to keep up with the time marks and just had a blast. I think the precious object is exactly right – something so mundane, but meaningful, and something that feels like it captures a childlike innocence, which parallels the simplicity of CUSTODES’s mission, a simple return item to owner.

Also the sounds you created are absolute sick.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:53am

Absolutely loved the sound of the vocals in this straight from the get-go. Also the guitar solo is absolute killer, but those vocals underneath it at the top reallllllly worked for me.

In terms of your question, I don’t think I totally processed it as a song-within-a-song, but I loved the radio sweep for what its worth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Guess in my mind it was more to me that a song about travel/road trip/driving wanted to make you feel like you were in the car alongside you also?

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:47am

This took me by total surprise. Thom Yorke-esque vocals at the top didn’t have me expecting the, like, indie-electronica-8-bit-dance tune? I could see you pulling back on the vocal processing a bit at 1:17, but I think it worked for me overall.

Lyrics work for me. Lot of strength in their detail but concision.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:43am

Love the use of choral parts to flesh out the arrangement – really conjures a vibe for me. I’d be curious about leaning heavier into it; could see some like vocal cluster chords like a Grizzly Bear-Yellow House-esque thing.

There are definitely some McCartney-esque chords in here – made me want some like upbeat bass part moving around with the chords, maybe even with a tight lil’ drum track beneath it too. In general, about halfway through I thought it would be really satisfying for a full band to come in and start filling out the sound.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:38am

Love the cut out of that first chorus. This tune is just such a pleasant experience. The way the arrangement swells into fleshed out sections always feels so rewarding.

If I had to say anything, I feel like I need a little bit more growth towards the end in that last chorus – someone mentioned horns, I could even just see a larger vocal arrangement swelling up. Great tune!

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:32am

As always, a total hit. Love the sound of those keys – so satisfying when that trashy bass comes in.

Also those ambient sounds are creepy af.

alechutsonFebruary 9, 2024 3:37pm

My approach to mixing is to find a vibe and lean into it. I think you’re doing that quite well here! I think you got some really nice guitar sounds, and your voice sounds great over the bed of texture you made. I love the outro rumbling. Would love to hear some more low end, maybe that just means recording a bass part. I feel like this would be a great song to do some late night driving to.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:29am

Thanks! It’s funny, I think I caught up on the ‘technical’ things you like, need to do while mixing (that I’m mostly vaguely aware of) that I forget the other part is focused on creating a vibe/sound/atmosphere. Definitely agree about more low-end – I was trying to use a droning organ/key sound but I don’t think it had enough low frequency in the end to really flesh out the bottom.

RyanFebruary 6, 2024 9:55pm

Dude! Gorgeous guitar parts! Reminds me of Strange Mangers, one of my favorite bands of all time. Though I love the fuzziness of the tone, I wouldn’t mind some clarity blended in to discern the parts more—I think they deserve it! Plus, one fuzzy and one clean often sounds gooooood IMO.

Regarding vocals, I think it’d be cool to let the lower voice be the lead and then choose your spots for the falsetto voice to join in and play the role of highlighting.

All the environmental/ambient sounds are awwwwesome, I’m super into this.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:28am

Thank! I’ll have to check our Strange Mangers – feel like I’ve heard them, but not sure. I tried to mix some cleaner doubles of the parts in, but I don’t think I got the balance quite where I originally intended, even though I liked the sound. And interesting thought about the vocals – I like the idea of the falsetto vocals popping in rather than leading it. Might have to try that out.

BenFebruary 6, 2024 4:27pm

well “burning holes in the sky” is a great motif and phrase and i can’t believe i haven’t heard or thought about that before. well done. that’s really cool and inventive. and it flows so well.

the solo came in scorching.

RyanFebruary 6, 2024 9:51pm

Yeahhhhhh “burning holes in the sky” might win for metaphor-of-the-assignment. So good.

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:26am

cheers fellas, thank you! Funnily enough the first idea I had was the parallel of cigarette burns in sheets vs. like, burnt holes in the sky so I just kinda ran with it!

nickFebruary 5, 2024 4:14pm

incredible textures and sounds all over this thing. the repeating “And I wonder who else” is a great move. and *pat on the back* for trying this out even though it was strange. i also struggled with some of the things you mentioned. but you ended up with something special. i think your mix is really nice. totally works for me. the only thing would be avoiding the pops/clips in the vocals and guitars. feels like it could be as easy as tiny fades in and out from either side of the wav forms? unless it’s in the recording, in which case, just get those levels in place beforehand, or friggin get jonny to do it 🙂

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:25am

Yeah, I definitely needed to go back and fix the clips and things but never got myself too. I did some fading to get around some of the more egregious ones, but there’s a few places where I probably needed to rerecord and I just didn’t lol. Can’t always get jonny 😉

lazyrabbitFebruary 5, 2024 8:53am

I love this! The textures are awesome and the cascading held vocal line sounds so ethereal. Also the guitar tone for the soloy part is 🔥🔥🔥

EliasSZFebruary 14, 2024 10:24am

Thanks J!

RyanFebruary 13, 2024 5:42pm

Dream On, dreamers.

RyanFebruary 12, 2024 11:04am

The precious object should be an Ibanez JEM77P. Otherwise—perfect.

BenFebruary 11, 2024 11:18pm

This is incredible. The past 3 years I’ve had the same dream about 3 times a week and I cannot wait to write this song and explore this. Out of town this week but excited to hum some stuff while I’m gone and then get to work next week

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 7:44pm

“We die at least, and too soon” OOF, you should be proud of this for that line alone. Really beautiful!

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 7:37pm

DUDE. The story creation and composition here are sensational! Love it, I hope you one day get hired to score Love, Death, & Robots episodes.

The beginning section in 5 and the guitar techniques you employ during the section starting at 4:30 are fully rad. Amazing work!

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 7:24pm

This whole piece is just gravy atop the beautiful two-syllable rhyme within “Hannah’s anni-versary”. Little nuggets of beauty like that (including your great vocal delivery) make me happy. Lovely, evocative piece!!

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 7:14pm

Hell yeah, Ry! This feels at first tongue-in-cheek, but behind that is truly an all-around beautiful piece.

I love the little chromatic twiddles in the guitar interlude solo melody that give this a more Western feel.

I’m terms of arrangement, because I’m a silly, exuberant guitarist, I’d wonder about grabbing a slide and a delay pedal and using those to create the sound painting of the meteor shower happening. And I’m definitely feeling the entrance of a horn section towards the end that mirrors the choral vocal melody and gives a real powerful uplift at the end. Inspiring job!

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 7:02pm

This is beautiful!! I love the repetition of “Oh Earth”, which gives a more indirect sentiment of this meteorite yearning to each earth’s surface, compared to the more direct statements of this you have in your very efficient lyrics! But this feeling is so evocative to me, it reminds me of all of our own little worlds and all of our intense strivings. Really lovely piece.

I try to remind myself that song form can be whatever you want it to be–as you experiment more with standard forms, feel free to use them only as they serve the art. Creating something more free-form as a vessel for your poetry feels just as valid to me. Thanks for this!

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 6:41pm

This is heart-clenchingly, stomach-twistingly good. Wow! Also completely admire the efficiency of your lyrics here.

I like everything you’ve done with the vocals here, I think I’d personally want to think about adding some spots of vocal distortion in the interest of highlighting some angsty emotional moments above others, but just something to consider playing around with if that suits your taste as well. Again, stellar creation here!

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 6:28pm

This is such a cool sound you’ve created here. Totally agree with the artist comparisons already made by others.

My one area of constructive feedback is around vocal performance. Sometimes it felt like the articulation and timings could be approached more confidently. I noticed that the most confident your vocal performance sounds is around when you deliver the line “I rub my eyes, see the tiny little spots, like-ahh”. I’d encourage you to embrace and play around with your persona so your full vocal performance can feel more at home in the groove of the song. Feel free to bring the energy and (dare-I-say?) swagger in varied ways throughout the piece, you’ll have so much fun and will sound even more awesome! Excellent song!

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 6:07pm

There’s a remarkable pop sensibility here. I could easily see a song like this with a voice like yours winding up on some curated acoustic/chill indie pop playlists. I love it as is arrangement-wise, but are there any other directions you might take this to add depth beyond the guitar? Might be fun to play around building out a soundscape a bit more. Fantastic job!

nickFebruary 5, 2024 11:52am

immediately into this guitar composition. really well written and performed. especially the ending line but honestly all of it is great. i barely know what im talking about when it comes to mixing, but i would suggest youtubing about adding compression to vocals on whichever DAW you use and just copy them. i feel like the raw wav files you’ve recorded could be really strong with the right amount of mixing. nice job!

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 5:54pm

Thanks for your kind words, Nick!! This suggestion is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for, really appreciate it and am excited to learn exactly what compression does to vocals haha!

alechutsonFebruary 9, 2024 4:07pm

DAN great to finally hear your music! Great job, I think this song just needs a full band arrangement to bring out the sparkle.

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 5:49pm

Thanks so much Alec! Really happy to be here. My goal this weekend is to start learning how to program drums etc to flesh this and future projects out, completely agree!!

BenFebruary 6, 2024 4:54pm

Hey great voice! Post the lyrics!

danhuntFebruary 10, 2024 5:44pm

Thank you!! I’ve added them in, great suggestion 🙂

nurphgunFebruary 8, 2024 10:17pm

0:35 “Aboooove it all (aboveitall)” = very nice

Without the background, I would not have had the faintest clue what the song was about, but that’s totally fine. You managed to make some really tricky words sound natural.

I see what @@Ryanmeans about the manic vocal at 1:17 but it is a really satisfying & kind of relieving fun moment, settles the tune into a solid Nick bop and gets us going on the dancefloor. But right, definitely worth asking, is that where we’re supposed to be? Or should we be calling an ambulance for this woman?!

I am also so down for the whole outro – just great layering of melodies & sounds leaving plenty of little pockets for individual phrases to shine – you always find a way to make repetitive sections like this feel super composed and intentional.

nickFebruary 10, 2024 9:39am

thanks nora! ya, i don’t actually think it should feel too fun, but it also isn’t meant to be a dire situation. the mom and baby are fine. in fact, i think she’s relieved she didn’t have to try and drive the stick to the hospital. now they’re just kind of looking into the stars meditating on time travel. tick_tick__tick____tick____________tick.

BenFebruary 6, 2024 4:59pm

Funny, this song autoplayed and I assumed it was someone else until the “stiiiilllll–”

So fun to hear your take on this type of banger 4 on the floor.

I think i credit Thom Yorke with bridging the gap between these types of drum beats and me. In fact, the “Born in the U at the Lazy A/Falling skies in her eyes/Bloody stucco” part sounds very Yorkey. Then it doesnt anymore after 1;17

The vocals after the tick tick tick sound like they were a lot of fun to record. I also love when the full beat drops at 1;29.I thought we were at maximum, but we weren’t until then.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 12:28pm

haha yeah I totally thought it was gonna be @@TylerK before the vocal came in. Definitely Yorkey once the second vocal comes in. Great composition on that.

nickFebruary 10, 2024 9:37am

a lot of fun to record for sure. realized i must have been freaking out my tenants—had to relocate.

juliapikerFebruary 6, 2024 2:59pm

Oh this vocal is exactly what I want to hear. So so good. I love that we play with long legato melody alongside more repetitive vox. As always your brain is amazing and comes up with such interesting layers and melodic arrangements. Fuck yes fuck yes. hell yes to the drop out at :38- There is so much perfect movement here. OoOOOOOOOO baby 1:30 lets GOOOOOOOO. I like the juxtaposition of it being a Lazy A against this propulsive and magnetic synth arrangement. It works really well.

I love the lyrics. I have no notes there. You always manage to say so much with so little and i’ve always appreciated that.

nickFebruary 10, 2024 9:36am

d’aw thanks jules. appreciate your vigor.

ZFebruary 9, 2024 7:16pm

@@peter can you filter out the submissions that make me cry?

jk please don’t. This is gorgeous, zero fluff, music puts my body right there, lyrics put my mind right there, well done.

ZFebruary 9, 2024 7:12pm

I love the ‘rubbing your eyes and seeing the tiny spots’ like a meteor show, and the approach of asking the question “why would someone be inside for a meteor shower?” It’s a really cool take on a prompt that could have been an excuse to just write something ‘pretty.’

well done!

ZFebruary 9, 2024 7:05pm

Love it- to get a full performance in one take – something I struggle with! I really like your voice and the raw poignancy suits the parameters well. Since I don’t regard myself as competent with form as some of the other folks around here, I’d suggest that the process of merely multi-tracking this would give it more dimension.

TengoFebruary 9, 2024 5:56pm

Friggin yes to starting with a chorus

Friggin yes to a lovely live arrangement that I’d love to play on someday

Friggin yes to SPACE imagery.

Friggin NO to the fact that we still haven’t watched Interstellar together. When that happens, let’s throw this puppy on while we’re cooking popcorn before the movie.

Congrats on another beaut!

RyanFebruary 9, 2024 6:03pm

Um ok come over

nurphgunFebruary 8, 2024 10:50pm

Lovely. Like @@bogfoxmy favorite part is “light on a string/cow on the moon/your face lit up like all the silver in a spoon” – what a special line. I’m not envisioning tattoos though, more like a childrens’ bedtime book illustrated in really cozy, comforting pastels. On that note, this is so lovely, and I think tightening it up is actually a great idea, because I’m really feeling it more as a lullaby rather than a ballad. It’s comforting & sweet, but it also takes you on a journey and immerses you in somewhere that’s clearly not your bedroom, which is the best way to fall asleep. It reminds me of Goodnight Moon and Headspace’s “sleep stories”, and there is a nice dose of childlike wonder in there. Would you ever consider making a short version that’s only the second “if you’re crying tired” to the end? I think that would be such a sweet lullaby.

RyanFebruary 9, 2024 6:02pm

I could totally picture a lullaby version of this haha that’s super fun. I do want it to work as a full song, though. If I may pick your brain a bit, what do you think is missing right now that would justify its being full length? More tension? More pep? Pulling on what’s interesting about the harmony a bit more? As I’m typing these, I’m realizing I could go for all of ’em hah.

alechutsonFebruary 7, 2024 8:42pm

Calm, welcoming vibe to this song. Definitely works well as an advert for a motel as well as a track that occasionally graces the speakers of the motel bar. Really nicely done, you’re always great at setting a mood with your songs

RyanFebruary 9, 2024 6:00pm

Thank you, sir!

bogfoxFebruary 8, 2024 2:10pm

The Light on a string / Cow on the moon / Your face lit up like all the silver in a spoon moment has been stuck in my head for days now. Good god i don’t have any tattoos and really didn’t plan on starting with sentimental cursive lyrics, but those lines make me want to throw that thought right in the garbage.

Hope this finds its way alongside a few other likeminded songs. I really love this side of you.

RyanFebruary 9, 2024 6:00pm


alechutsonFebruary 9, 2024 4:01pm

Oooh i like the string arrangement paired with with gritty synth.

Does it need to go anywhere from here? I guess if you wanted to extend the song I could see a new section come in with some different chords and new feel. But I can also see this as a fun little interlude between longer tracks on a record.

alechutsonFebruary 4, 2024 9:20pm

this slaps

nickFebruary 5, 2024 4:05pm


alechutsonFebruary 9, 2024 3:56pm

I frequently don’t have an idea of what you’re singing until I read the lyrics. But then I am always blown away by how poetic and intentional it all is. Composition and arrangement is on point, what a BOP

alechutsonFebruary 9, 2024 3:48pm

This is a sleeper slapper. Was not expecting that haha! No notes from me, production is on point and I love the build and imagery.

alechutsonFebruary 9, 2024 3:46pm

WOW. This is a whole universe. Truly remarkable work

alechutsonFebruary 9, 2024 3:44pm

So light and fun, well done! Summer road trip vibes. Great lil guitar solo, and stellar instrumental parts all the way through. Great ending too 😉

I’m with Ryan – I find the lyrics to be more of a compliment to the music because there is so much to pay attention to there, so I find myself reading through them afterwards. That’s not a criticism though, because you write very thoughtfully and in your own voice. I can almost imagine you dropping in one of those lines into a conversation.

alechutsonFebruary 9, 2024 3:33pm

Love all of the inside friend references, I feel cool for catching them 😉

I can definitely hear the fleet foxes in a stairwell vibe — i’m getting some mix of tiger mountain peasant song and a low key father john misty track.

The lyrics all feel very personal and specific, and with loads of depth. Lines like “Maddie chimes in with “I can’t wait to see you girls” / And I know how much this is worth” carry a lot of meaning, even if the listener doesn’t know who you are referring to.

My one note is that I don’t love the word “thing” as a lyric. I acknowledge that it works well in context as an ambiguous “whatever” after party that you’re not thrilled to be at, but i don’t love how it feels aesthetically. Take it with a grain of salt.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 2:19pm

As always, just freakin’ great to hear you sing. Some of my favorite moments: “managed to rally for the after-thing”, “finale”, “hey, helan gar”, “rememberin’ dates”. All the humming. Just great stuff.

Great feedback question. I agree with what others have said about economizing where needed, excising small words that add to syllable count. With a line that’s inherently complex, I think that’s especially important. Would “I hope they can feel it / and it’s something that’s mine” carry the same meaning for you? Conversely, there’s a line like “Nicole remembers it first” that doesn’t feel quite right in terms of its delivery. Maybe it’s delivery, maybe it’s the lyric. But it’s worth exploring.

Anyway, always love hearing your stuff. This one is particularly sweet.

nurphgunFebruary 8, 2024 10:21pm

Totally with you on “Nicole remembers it first” – it really irks me on every listen – I like the line, but it needs a softer delivery.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 12:22pm

The rabbit is back, munch munch. This mix is so luscious. Agreed with @@nick on the buttery toms. Wish I knew how to make things sound like that.

I wouldn’t mind waiting on that snare until 1:37. Would that work? Tough to say, but boy do I want to try.

lazyrabbitFebruary 8, 2024 12:50pm

I’m glad you asked I actually had it that way for most of the time I was working on this and flipped at the last second to be earlier. It’s right on the line because once you get the dirty top of that synth bass the song is kind of asking for that snare, but it is sweet to get it right on that drop.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 3:24pm

lol the comment about cascading melodies sounding like Christmas is spot-on. I wanted to start my process by writing a cascade, but ran into the same problem you’re describing. Decided to focus on the song instead and write one later. I feel lucky that strategy worked. Curious whether you wrote yours first or in response to what you’d already laid down?

Fact is, this is effective. I feel like I’m dancing with my hands up. But I am sitting down and typing.

Re: your question about writing in a major key, I like @@nick‘s suggestions about purposely writing a not-sad (not “happy” but “not-sad”) tune with minor chords and some pep and see where that gets you. But also, most songs are in a major key so ~literally who cares~. You’ve written plenty of songs in a major key that don’t sound happy.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 3:18pm

Sometimes they don’t come easy! I do think there’s a lot of strong material here, though. Others have weighed in on the lyrics pretty well, so I’ll stick to musical development — I think the major thing that I’m craving is some additional voices. Maybe some synths or some big drawn out guitar strums to juxtapose the jangly upbeat stuff. Could open things up vibe-wise and lead to other realizations, as well.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 3:10pm

This track genuinely scares me.

Re: mix/master — I think my only observation here is the thinness of the e-kit. I think some more low end and low-mids would go a long way. Warm compression, warm saturation. Badabingbadaboom.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 3:08pm

Yeah I love the main section of this! Could live in that space for a long time. Mellencamp meets Tom Waits. I was really digging the juxtaposition of the warm/summery instrumental and dark lyrics—not sure it needs to depart into the heavy section! And in regards to your note about vocal melodies that enhance rather than follow, I actually think you very much achieved that!

BenFebruary 5, 2024 12:57pm

There’s something so confident about this song—it knows exactly what it is and what it needs to be. The lyrics made me think of Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City. And like a Wes Anderson scene, everything just clicks into place with this and feels ‘right.’ But also, there’s enough to keep you interested. The chord on “highway” at 1:37 is unexpected and makes you lean into it. And those accidentals in the solo—excellent.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 2:00pm

Thanks, Benny! Yeah I loved finding that chord on ‘highway’. Not a typical move for me, felt good.

nickFebruary 5, 2024 4:40pm

fun. friggin fun. “Your face lit up like all the silver in a spoon.” get outta here, that’s great. the melody on “or you’re broken down” is written and sung deliciously. and yeah i dig the whole thing. only thoughts are around the … oh wait also that knock on the door is hilarious. ok where was i—thoughts about the solo section. for one, I think the first one shouldn’t lose so much momentum by removing the drum elements/volume. let’s keep this thing cookin! maybe ride? more tambo? i do like the idea of the second solo having the drums drop out, though. and then i’d like to hear a change in the section first heard at 2:07-2:13. first thought was doing something with the solo, but i may just want a little more tension or progression with the chords. it just seems to get the slightest bit flat there for me with the quick return to the root chord. ok, well done cowboy.

nickFebruary 5, 2024 4:43pm

oh and 2:57 bass line into drum fill is double a-ok hands

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 1:59pm

Thanks, brother! Yeah that drum part got way too tucked in the first interlude haha whoops.

Interesting, 2:07 – 2:13 isn’t the root chord, it’s actually two new chords that haven’t shown up in the song yet! But your observation proves I need to bring out what’s new about that harmony. I’ll work on that.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 1:56pm

Nice melody at the end of that first phrase! Maybe more variation on the setup each time? I think this’ll be a good’n once you develop it! Thanks for sharing as always.

RyanFebruary 7, 2024 1:05pm

Well okay let’s rip mate.

Man do I love the melodies and rhythm on that second vocal. That feels like the emotional core of the song to me. That and the “krrrr-ET” hi-hat at the end of each phrase. The manic vocal at 1:17 actually feels out of place to me. With the story and the vibe. I think melodically it works—but could i