Z Drone

  • Submitted on time! Feb 26, 2023
Earth Tones

My location was at the southwestern-most point in the UK, Cornwall/St. Ives/ Penzance. I was there while on break from a semester abroad in London after backpacking through Europe for a month or so.
It was a really exciting time in my life, and I remember that leg of the journey being particularly profound and peaceful – you’re standing on these bluffs with the fog rolling in, there were broken rusty ships stuck in the various coves, and the land itself was really lush with thick green grass.There were also palm trees that added to the surreality of the whole thing.

Anyway, a fertile place for the mind to feel centered “at home,” I enjoyed being back for the duration of this project, retracing old thought processes against current ones.

I also chose this locale because Lizzie and I did our studies in London at the same age, but different calendar years, and wanted to see what would come of both writing about our separate experiences in the same place but separated by time. There was a lot of overlap! This is where the lyricism about people blurring together comes from.

One other footnote – I remember reading a Shelley essay at the time where two friends don’t even realize they’ve physically crossed the alps because they’re so deep in conversation, that’s always stuck with me so I was glad to find an opportunity to fit it in there, a lot of the friendships I made on that journey are still very near and dear to me, especially this one guy who came surfing with me in the cold Atlantic 4,000 miles from home.

Looking for feedback on

Kyle will you mix this for me


Tengo March 8, 2023 11:40pm

Duuuuuuuuuude. DuuuuuUUUUUUuuuuude. I mean, come on.

So much to love about this.

First off, you swept me off my feet with that drop! Ugh, the drums just sound great. They’re fat and they’ve got that 90s production edge on them that just grooves hard and fills out a big room, which this track deserves.

The chorus is catchy and the guitar parts on it are a perfect pairing with the melody.

Finally, your vocals throughout are wonderful. in particular, I liked the direction you took it in the first stanza of Verse 2. There’s this purity and clarity in your tone in those lines that I just love and want to hear more of.

nurphgun March 2, 2023 1:04pm (edited)

Yes, give me something repetitive and compelling like this any day. The guitar tease at 2:07 is nice. For me it’s giving “Take a Picture” by Filter, “In Every Direction” by Junip. And some general NIN and Porcupine Tree. Really landscapy. Car-driving-around-a-fjord. My only note is I want it to be even larger-than-life. LOVE it.

Z March 3, 2023 3:12pm

Thanks for listening, I really appreciate the comment. Yeah it totally needs to be larger-than-life, I think that’s gonna come with a lot of the doubling and layering, especially with the vocals recommended by other folks. Admittedly, that’s something I often put off – consistency of tone and delivery is a fine art that I don’t have in my back pocket yet. I’m looking forward to the next assignment as I think it’s gonna force me to really start there. Thanks again Nora.

nick March 2, 2023 11:36am

incredible submission. killer bass track. like i told @@lizzie you taught me everything i know on that old slap stick, so it’s great to see the master at work. agree with so many of the comments below; iconic lines, colin, kyle helping with vocal goodies, great sounds across. Are those just logic drums, or some other sample pack? or are those real? you’re either getting quite good at drumming or quite good at programming. so either way, cheers, mate.

Z March 3, 2023 3:15pm

Ha! Welp the ‘master’ has become the apprentice to your bass work for a while now – I think if I had to recruit someone to play on this studio recording you’d be top-o-the-list. The drums sounds come from a plug called Superior Drummer, although I believe at one point you misheard me refer to it as “career drummer,” which I much prefer. Thanks for listening, cheers lad.

TylerK February 28, 2023 11:49pm

What a slam dunk! This song is so cool. I don’t mean cool as in good (it is really good) I mean this is black denim jacket sunglasses cool. Slow motion music video cool. I would listen to this song to get pumped up on the way to a job interview and then not get the job. Iconic line I FEEL EVERY MILE FROM HOME damn. This track wouldn’t be out of place on a NG’s High Flying Birds record, which speaks to how English this song feels. You nailed that place. Big fan.

nick March 2, 2023 11:36am

lol, slam dunk is right.

Z March 3, 2023 3:18pm

Thanks for the kindly words Tyler! I believe In Rainbows came out at the time I was there, so I’m glad those English-y aspects didn’t go unnoticed. Thanks for listening and I hope you get the job!

juliapiker February 28, 2023 8:28pm

oh i very much enjoy this bass intro thank you so much yes yes yes. OOOOOO baby it feels good to hear it. ooo we are crescendoing into verse 1. this is giving me major 90’s feels. I agree with Ryan on vocals needing some fun stuff but Kyle is super into robotic vocal processing these days (kyle are you here? this is an @@Kyle joke). Lets double or triple the lead then let’s add some low vocal tones throughout i hear it i hear it . make it snakey. So fun Z dog. love it.

Z March 3, 2023 3:23pm

I love that your comments are in real-time – it’s like closed-captioning transcript for one of those “Composer Reacts to _____” vids! Appreciate the “let’s make it…” feedback, totally agree about the vocals, it’s really helpful to A) have that corroborated and B) have you as a resource to help with that stuff – it’s pretty daunting to me but it’s priority for me to improve my vox performances and recording techniques in 2023.

Thanks for the feedback Jdog.

atalinkay February 27, 2023 11:17pm

This is fucking dope I was shocked. So full and rich!

Z March 3, 2023 3:23pm

Thank you!

EliasSZ February 27, 2023 2:14pm

First bass entrance got me hooked immediately. Drop at 1:30 is sick. Definitely agree that the 2:06 to 2:12 is as vibe as can be – hearing the Ok Computer influence for sure. Those little accenting guitar lines at like 4:20 for example are so tight – love how they live so well in the bigger section and the quieter moments equally.

Z March 3, 2023 3:24pm

Thanks for the close listen Elias, much appreciated!

alechutson February 27, 2023 12:45pm

Love this intro bass riff, very Thom Yorke meets RHCP. Then the drums drop in and it goes more in the NIN/ Incubus direction. Super cool

juliapiker February 28, 2023 8:28pm (edited)

Real Housewives of Ceverly Pills?

nick March 2, 2023 11:39am

Robin Hood’s Capital Punishment

Z March 3, 2023 3:27pm

Thanks Alec! An yes I’m assuming he is referring to the Red Hot Chili PIPERS, a Scottish group, good catch on the UK reference Alec.

alechutson March 3, 2023 6:15pm

That’s the one!

froebusiness February 27, 2023 12:37pm

Z, baby. Very nice track. That baseline is hot. It’s so hopeful and nostalgic. If you’re not married to the idea of having it run throughout, I would play with dropping it out and going to a pedal or roots here and there to see if it adds some spice to it once you bring it back. That being said, I wouldn’t say it doesn’t work as a repetitive line because it is so catchy. I second what Kershaw said about the vocals too. I think a vocal double would work really well over the whole tune if that kind of thing is your bag, baby.

Z March 3, 2023 3:31pm

Thanks lad, I agree about the bassline – it’s tricky because whenever I change it in a given section I listen back and I’m like “ehhh I kinda miss the original.” This is probably because I’ve now heard that bassline 9 billion times so it’s really hard to get out of my head, so I probably should take some space from it for a few months to let the most impactful moment for change reveal itself. I think there’s some room for double vox in this bag.

Thanks for listening!

Ryan February 26, 2023 11:03pm

Ummmm 2:06 to 2:12 is absolutely fucking excellent. Can’t stop playing it back. Also love when that ornamenting part comes in at 2:34—what is that sound, actually? So rad.

I think something that could push this track over the edge would be some vocal processing throughout and consistency in delivery or tone. The more Pinegrove-esque verse deliveries don’t work as well for me as the chorus deliveries, for example. When the chorus hits again at 3:20ish, that’s a great indication of how much difference some vocal processing/stacking/additional color would make in this track. I want more!

This is like if Colin Greenwood was in NIN. Very rad. Nice work.

Z March 3, 2023 3:36pm

Yep you’re totally right about the vox. Have my mic set up for the next time I have an hour free after a long run and I can add some layers. The Pinegrove delivery, I’m not sure how intentional it was vs. “here’s the only way I can manage to sing over this part.” Definitely want to improve on that this year and definitely appreciate the honest feedback about what doesn’t work as well, thanks my dude!

Sam Pearce February 26, 2023 9:45pm

Hey Zack, I thought this was sick. I like how much it transforms while maintaining that groove. In moments it made me think of Hail To Thief and some John Lennon songs.

Z March 3, 2023 3:37pm

Hey Sam, thanks for listening – glad you liked it! I watched this bass player speak the other day about how a good groove gets better the longer you play it, so I really wanted to allow that with this song. I think as Joe mentioned there are still little opportunities for a little variety but glad to hear that it works for the most part. Which John Lennon songs were you thinking of?

Sam Pearce March 3, 2023 3:44pm

“Day Tripper” came to mind. Something about the vocal phrasing.