Week Two And Easter Break Evaluation (22nd March-11th April)

As I have been focussing on the second single a lot more these weeks because it is much less developed than this one, I haven’t done a lot of work on this for the past three weeks. However, during Easter, I sat down and did quite a bit of work on the track like adding well-needed effects, making a much secure sounding structure and re-adding the two basslines like what I said I would do in my previous evaluation. I also did some production work like panning to get a feel of where I would want the instruments to be through stereo. There is still a lot to do with the song and improvements to make but I feel like I am well ahead with my practical task because I have been working on them so much.

Progressions And Strengths

I mentioned in my previous evaluation that I would be re-working the basslines I recorded that week because I had quantized them in a strange and confusing way. So, I took out both tracks and focussed on putting the raw audio back in and quantizing it through Ableton’s warp feature. By doing this, the basslines sound much smoother and more human as there are no slices and random stops in the tracks. Also, because I couldn’t slice every single note originally, some notes were still out of time so using this method of quantization has made sure every single note is in time, but still making sure it keeps that human element. For me, it has also helped my work ethic as my arrangement tab looks less confusing and cluttered, making my visual product look more professional.

After adding the bass again and quantizing it, I went through each track and added different effects to my instruments to make the track sound more lively and polished. I added effects to the two basslines first as I was already working on these (I added an EQ, bass amp and glue compressor to add sidechaining, taking audio from the drum sample). I also added effects to the drum and percussion elements to make them stand out a bit more. The shaker now has an EQ and echo and the drum breakbeat has an EQ, reverb and drum buss to make the bass drum more prominent and give the track more depth. the jazz brushes already had a quarter note delay on them but I also added an EQ and reverb to cut out some lower frequencies and to make it sound more spacey. Finally, I added some f=effects to the horns, consisting of an EQ, reverb and a plugin I found online called ‘Izotope’ which gives your instruments a lo-fi vinyl feel.

Effects I added on the horns

Another major part of my progressions this time was the re-working of the song’s entire structure. Before this, I felt that the song was just a bunch of different ideas and sections bunched into one with no sense of form. So, I created more of an intro, with a verse-chorus structure in the middle. The piano solo comes later in the song and there is now a more sufficient ending. The song is longer because of this, but this was one of my aims as it was only just under two minutes; now it is reaching 3:40 so I have added almost an extra minute of structure to the song. Overall now, it is ready for adding things like vocals in the verses and main melodies in the chorus, then after that, I can start getting to work on mixing the song.


Personally, I think the song can get a little repetitive after the solo as I just took the first part of the solo and repeated it for the final structure. Some of my peers also said this when I asked for feedback on this draft. To work on this, I could use that part of the solo and make it into the main melody line that can play alongside the horn section, and then create a new solo that can play where the original one is. Also, this repetitiveness will become less as I add more instruments to it, especially the vocals as this will be very varied in places. However, I don’t this the song being repetitive is a bad thing as lots of lo-fi music is like this, but to keep the listener engaged, I need to make sure it still has some variation.

Last evaluation, I mentioned getting a sax player and I still think this would work really well given the changes I have made to the song since. I showed the song to one of my tutors, Nic, and he also suggested arranging a saxophone player. I think the sax player could perform some different licks throughout the composition and also act as a replacement for the midi horns that I am using at the moment as using an actual recorded saxophone will sound much better, will again, add more human elements and act as a collaboration for my project. I plan to take inspiration with this from one of the songs I analysed; ‘Elevation Repeats’ by Osquello as this uses a saxophone for melodies and licks.

Targets For Next Week

-Ask Nic to put me into contact with the Saxophone player he knows.

-Show Lucy the most recent draft of the song and begin thinking about lyrics and harmonies.

-Create more variation in the form of instrumentation and structure changes.