Stringer - Sydney The Millionaire

My new track in collaboration with jazz vocalist Stringer. Everything was recorded and produced using Ardour3 and other linux software. Any feedback is helpful and appreciated. Thanks.

I think at the end of the day, it’s all art. If the piece came out the way Smeefer envisioned it, then he has succeeded.

I question a lot of the production choices, but that doesn’t matter if it’s exactly what he wanted. It simply means I may or may not choose to listen to it.

I listened to it. Not sure you want an “artistic” point of view, as it is very subjective and won’t please you very much in any case because that’s absolutely beyond my rather narrow musical tastes (rock, post-rock).
But I tend to agree with Ricardus, I felt confused about the melodic layering and found the singer to sort of lack conviction. And adding effects to the voice cannot really hide it. This stereo ping-pong was quite irritating. It’s OK to pan back vocals to L or R, but please the main vocal should remain C for the listener’s comfort. Of course, this is entirely up to you.

In one sense I agree with the comments that bassline and synth parts do not always obviously fit with the rest of the song, but after several listenings I started to develop an appreciation for the song. If I think of it as a somewhat of a “sound collage” then I like it more - some of the parts are sort of random but can still create an interesting effect. No harm in pushing the envelope now and then.

Thanks for the feedback, Ricardus and GMaq. These are things that I won’t forget next time I’m working on a track with vocals (I actually just finished a new one yesterday and will post it up soon).

@Ricardus - I always start with an idea/feeling, then 1. percs 2. bassline(s) 3. synth 4. synth 5. synth -OR- 1. percs 2. bassline(s) 3. VOC recording 4. synth(s) 5. plugins 6. individual track EQ if necessary 6. EQ the master track. Sometimes I add maybe one synth before the vocalist records something. That’s the general linear process I use. So I always try to make sure the synth(s) sound like they are in some sort of harmonic or melodic togetherness with the bassline. But I surely make mistakes. Your comment on the bass and synth confusion will help me put more focus on these elements of my next tracks.

@GMaq - Hats off to you! I switched over to AV Linux this summer and I can’t believe that I didn’t do that sooner. Thank you for telling me about some of the synths (and possibly percs) distracting ears away from the vocals. I have always loved to record my own sounds (random street sounds, cooking sounds in the kitchen, bathroom sounds, etc) and create drumkits out of them. Some of them can sound wierd or glitchy and many times, I end up with 20+ of them in a drumkit which can be tempting to go nuts with it. I’m going to try keeping the percs as well as the glitchy-sounding synths out of the way of the vocs on my next tracks. The challenge is: *can it simply be done through EQing individual tracks out of the vocals territory, or *keeping certain attention-attracting synths out of the mix when the vocal track isn’t silent?

Making good music is an experiment! Thanks Ardour friends

GMaq said it beautifully. I didn’t want to be overly negative.

I was going to point out the vocal track as well. if you listen in headphones you can also hear it panning around in the mix. It’s distracting.

Gmaq also used a perfect word, for where I am coming from: COHESIVE.

The song lacks cohesion. As I said in my first post, the bass line and other synth line don’t sound related to the song as a whole. As if the person playing them had no idea what the main harmonic structure of the song was about. It sounds random.

I am no expert on that genre, so I can not compare it to anything else, only as a producer, listening to a song.

No one has commented on this, so I will.

This doesn’t work for me at all. The arrangement is clumsy and the bass line and synth counterpoint parts sound like they are from two entirely different songs.


Hats off! A lot of people talk the talk but you are actually really getting under the hood of some of these these apps and taking them to interesting places. Your ability and mastery of the various recording tools is unquestioned, once again an impressive display of technique! I will say once you add a singer and lyrics to the equation it becomes somewhat of a game changer though in my opinion and what works for a glitch or dubby experimental instrumental track actually distracts the ear from the lyrical narrative of a song with vocals. I had a hard time tuning into the singers heavily effected vocal with the prominent and somewhat dissonant sounding bass line combined with the glitchy sound fills.

I’ll admit I’m am old guy and although I personally really like electronic and dubstep music I am admittedly no expert but it seems to me that some of the popular stuff like Skrillex for instance kind of separate the vocal and lyrical song parts and structures so that the track is more melodically cohesive during the vocal parts and then super noisy and out there in the instrumental sections. I think your dubby jazz influenced style could maybe benefit from a similar concept.

Just my 2 cents as a listener, I really admire your craft with the tools though. Great work!

Thanks for the feedbackl. The bassline and synth are definetely from the same song. Do you mean that they sound like they are played in a different key? It’s in E . Starting at 0:51 to 1:03, I used a ragtime chord progression with 3 different synths and played a piano solo in it. Some of the E notes in the bassline are EQed up into the mid-high frequency spectrum with some reverb added. Maybe a little too much? I can see how it can get confusing…the bassline notes and main synth notes don’t follow the same harmonic pattern, but i trail off in different directions a bit. Where exactly do you think i went wrong in the mix?

Can you explain “clumsy” to me? I didn’t attend music school, so your comments can be quite helpful. I’d appreciate it.