Mongolian War Drums/Funky Bassline/Theremin Breakdown/Ultra Grindthrash "Mix test"
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Thread: Mongolian War Drums/Funky Bassline/Theremin Breakdown/Ultra Grindthrash "Mix test"

  1. #1


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    Mongolian War Drums/Funky Bassline/Theremin Breakdown/Ultra Grindthrash "Mix test"

    (Since some of you guys were like, "Garrett, you can't shitpost in other people's threads with your ideas about recording and not give them the same opportunity, that's not the principle America was founded on." Besides I can always use feedback.)



    So I'm not going to type out the description of my project, you guys already know, "It's like you discovered a shitty thrash tape from the 80s from another dimension and it's all like, weirdly warped and shit, and it seems normal at first and you are like, "Hold on a second, this isn't regular thrash, this is '70s prog thrash from another dimension". Instrumentation it's the same old same old. Hammond, Mellotron, Choirs, etc. I added double harmonized theremins (theremin library, I made a kit for one once in college, but don't currently own one myself), but tried to keep them subtle, so it's not, "Is that the Dr. Who instrument?" and more like, subtle subliminal otherworldly shrieking.

    Anyways, shit I can always use feedback or thoughts on.


    1) Bass is hugely important. I played bass before I played guitar and even though I've been primarily a guitarist for fucking ever, I still also consider myself a dedicated bassist. Not a "guitarist as a bassist". Those strings had been on the bass for a year when I demo recorded the part, I put new strings on yesterday and need to redo those in all their clangy glory.
    1a) Bass breaks. I don't really like having a piece that is 100% fixed arrangements. I do like some chance and variability and jazzy stuff. So there are a lot of parts. I improv a lot of the lines and shit.
    1b) Fingerstyle vs Pickstyle. I definitely can't do bass breaks with a sleazy funky vibe playing with a pick. I have mixed feelings. Pick does cut through better, but I lose my bassist phrasing and groove when I use a pick.

    2)Is it surprising and weird enough? When I look back on all my coolest and fondest music memories, they are the ones where I was like, "how the hell are they making that noise?", so capturing that feeling was of paramount importance. I remember listening to Iron Maiden's version of Live at Donnington for the first time before I played and there is this point where there is just, standard trem tricks going on to sound like a revving bike engine, and now I hear those and think, "cool trem tricks", but the first time I heard it, the magic was like, "how the fuck do they make that noise".
    2a) Supposedly the human brain can only understand 3 to 4 separate things at once. To show I had matured and embraced minimalism I was going to keep it to 3 separate things at once, but it turns out I hadn't matured, so that went out the window. But on the "theremin breakdowns", I just threw that out the window and was like, "fuck it, the new maximum is 6 different things at once"
    2b) Separate things in terms of "separate parts". Instruments that are backing or doubling don't count as "separate" for arrangement purposes. Separate is something that has its own focus.
    2c) I want some degree of separation, but if you can't tell what's going on, that's actually a good thing. It's supposed to be otherworldly and bizarre.

    3)Drum sound. I fucking hate the standard metal shit. I wanted something way freakier that incorporated elements of tribal stuff and 70's kung fu movies. So there are tribal hide drums and stuff like that. I actually think this tribal hide drum sound might be too cinematic and thunderous. I have gnarlier ones where it's like, "I can really here that someone is beating a drum made out of the dead skin of a slain animal here". You can't hear the slain animal skin on these ones, it's more horse mounted warfare subconscious shit.
    3a) I tried to make the transitions between the tribal drums and the toms as seamless as possible, sort of unified rolls, so let me know if the transition at the end of the first section is ultra jarring.

    4)Wall of Sound vs isolation. The "cosmic freakout" portions are definitely supposed to be a wall of sound that all blends together. Those are big arrangement wise. I'm more concerned with overall vibe than any part being impeccably isolated. If it was just a standard set up I would be like, "my kick ass riffs need maximum focus", but the whole point here is it's other worldly and bizarre.

    5) Cinematic vs "Symphonic Metal". I fucking hate symphonic metal. I do want a cinematic feel of soundtracks though. Some of the sections I sort of storyboard like films. Like the style of war drums in the intro are horse mounted warriors riding to engage an enemy like in the ultra sick movie Mongol. I don't want anyone to hear it and be lke, "this is symphonic metal" though. Because I hate that term. No fucking weak ass string sections or shit like that, most of the instrumentation besides the choirs and drums is '70s prog period correct shit.

    6) Mix vs. Arrangement. I'm not close to the mix phase at all yet. Straightforward thrash is pretty easy to do and, but arranging for Hammond, Mellotron, Tribal Drums, Female Choirs, and two harmonized theremins. So it's definitely still on the arrangement phase (I use DAWs more for arranging than mixing actually). I don't think I've ever actually hit the stage where I've seriously "mixed" anything, because I have no one to impress and I want the arrangements to be as over the top as possible.

    7) I really want to use a lot of "psychedelic" panning. I love that shit. The intro guitar riff was actually this straightforward thrash riff with a full blast behind it, but I was like, "this is too aggressive, full speed for an intro. So that panning is sloppy as fuck, last minute shit. Hopefully it doesn't sound like I'm using a "Welcome to the Jungle" style delay, because that's actually a thrash riff with hammer ons I'm just panning around I first had backed with a full blast.

    8) I'm not using any reverb on separate elements as inserts. There is only one reverb on the master bus. I decided this was the most legit and cohesive and "real" way. I have a very classical music centric family, and I was raised on shit like Wagner and Strauss, classical music doesn't have separate reverbs on shit, the whole point is it's all together in this kickass acoustic space. I do have delays, and there is reverb on some shit that was in the original recording, but the only insert is on the master bus. I'm not into selling my music, and I do really believe in certain parts of the philosophy of making music I don't want to compromise.

    9) Overall I want it to have a "narrower" more vintage sonic profile. I'm not at the demo mixing stage yet, because the arrangement stage is incredibly time intensive, but I like the "smaller" sonic footprints of stuff like Dio's "Dream Evil" as compared to a bigger sounding more modern hi-fi mix. I'm not at the mix stage yet, but feel free to give thoughts on that. It does have to be somewhat gnarly and demo like, even at the final stage.

    10) I actually tried to make a lot of the elements subliminal. Particularly stuff like the theremin. With the overall sonic philosophy I am going for it's actually preferable that there are elements making it weird that aren't ultra up front. I originally had the theremin louder in the theremin break/bass break sections, but I didn't like it being so obtrusive, I want it eating away at your subconscious to create a sense of unease.

    11) Unpredictability is king here. I hear a lot of kick ass music out there, that's ultimately kind of a bummer, because I've been listening to that style for so long when the next general part comes I could sort of see that transition happening. So "that shit came out of nowhere" is hugely important here.

    Thoughts?

    *Those are scratch guitar tracks with shitty vsts. I still have to buy a bunch of K100s and load up cabs for "real" recording

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  4. #2


    Join Date: Sep 2008
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    I just wanted your thread to have a reply bro.

  5. #3


    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    I didn't read your post, but I listened to the track. First of all, I liked it, second... Post a longer clip, because I liked it.

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  7. #4


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    All I know is that this groove has infected my brain and won't leave.

  8. #5


    Join Date: Feb 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    I just wanted your thread to have a reply bro.
    I just assumed the lack of replies meant;

    A) It sucked
    B) You guys are holding out on me with your bountiful knowledge of Theremin mixing techniques
    C) Sunday morning isn't the best time to ask a niche question about Hammond sounds and fingerstyle bass tones on a forum not actually centered around Hammond sounds and bass tones

    It could also be a combination of all three.

  9. #6


    Join Date: Sep 2008
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    I assume you haven't actually mixed this yet, because it's a bit of a mess to my ears.

  10. #7


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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    I assume you haven't actually mixed this yet, because it's a bit of a mess to my ears.
    Did you hear the samples of other bands in there too? Lol. A snippet of Kirk Hammetts wah

  11. #8


    Join Date: Feb 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    I assume you haven't actually mixed this yet, because it's a bit of a mess to my ears.
    Yeah, I'm not near mixing yet.

    The general consensus amongst people adept at mixing is that even with a way less reverb, it's incredibly hard to do Hammond and Guitars on the same track without excessive masking, because both hog tons of frequencies.

    So the "common sense" conclusion was that doing a mix that is really doing a spotlight on bass that still has discernible high gain guitars, vocals, hammond, female choirs, regular metal drums, tribal drums, and theremin with the level of reverb I wanted would be next to impossible (or at least intensely time consuming) even for a world class mixer with all kinds of cool gear. And the only two ways to accomplish it would be;

    A) Getting all the elements physically together in a classical music concert hall and let it "mix" itself that way.
    B) Extreme notch/band eq of every single element. Which in itself presents a lot of problems, because extreme notch editing has a noticeable sound.

    The Waves 10 bands I were using weren't cutting it, because the Q values couldn't go narrow enough. So I switched to Reapers EQ (which I had somehow never tried before, but is actually as good as anything else). But it requires a lot of thinking and intensive figuring out of where the note fundamental ares and the first and second harmonics and all that.

    Also, doing choral arrangements takes a shitload of time, and choral arrangers are sort of a profession unto themselves. But I did take a lot of counterpoint classes in college, and I just remember how smug people were like, "I'm better at counterpoint that you". So I have to have really sick choral arrangements to be like, "suck on this, university counterpoint professor".

    It was at the point a while ago where sane advice was like, "you have to drop elements or this straight up isn't possible", but I was like, "fuck no, this is my sound".

    Shortly after that I realized I wanted a Theremin like, orbiting around the tracks subtlely to give a spacey ominious feeling.

    Shortly after that I realized Theremins are monophonic, and I would actually need two theremins bouncing around.

    So yeah, it's still on the "Arrangement" phase. This time I am serious about the whole, "you can't add anything else, for real this time".

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