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Some of My Foolishness

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So...here I am. NGAUC final round. And I had ONE DAY with which to compose, due to having actual responsibilities.

As such, here is what I made happen. A simple expression of thanks to the NG community. Love all you guys! You made me the musician I am today.

This was played on a single guitar, with a single mic, body percussion, a guitar case, and a digital piano (betcha never thought you'd get me one one of those), in a single afternoon.

*UPDATE*

I have tweaked the vocals a little, after the contest was over, because I do agree that I needed a little computerized help to nail the pitches. Vain of me, I know, but I hope it's nicer to listen to.

Lyrics:

And all of my everything just came down today
but all of my nothing is hangin around
And none of my awesome has anything to say
And isn't it something' I'm still on the ground?

And I see my own
Failings
And I dream
Possibly

Maybe I could just
Say thank you
For your time
This once

And some of my foolishness is on your display
And most of my candidness is too
And maybe outlandishness is making up this day
But really it's underhanded too.

And it could be my playfulness that brought me out now
And it could be that I'm afraid to be alone
But it's probably my heroes that are pushing me along
Though its very likely that I'm wrong

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NGAUC Review

-----

First off, my apologies for the extremely late review -- but, better late than never!

What worked well:
- Super organic Ceevro-styled track!
- Great, meaningful lyrics.
- Fantastic guitar work (clean solos)!
- Nice mixing overall.
- Great blending of instruments/vocals (not including 2:03 - 2:37).

This goes without saying, this track has your clean-cut style written all over it. Your guitar playing is a hallmark of your songs, and this one is no exception. The lyrics, as mentioned, are certainly meaningful and in a way I think they are quite heartfelt. The mixing is clean, and I think you've recorded each element of the track well!

What to consider for next time:
- The vocals are very hit-and-miss here.
- The 'raw' quality of the song is entirely negated at the 2:03 marker.
- The conclusion, as others have mentioned, leaves a lot to be desired.

Some notes sound great, some notes not so great. It seems that you aren't making use of breathing techniques to facilitate full notes. For instance, the line: "And all of my everything just came down today" was sung in a relaxed way, your voice works well here! However, the next line: "but all of my nothing is hangin' around" sounds quite stretched. In particular, the "NUH" in nothing and the "AH" and "OU" sounds in around are sung incorrectly; the notes are falling flat. Furthermore, at the 2:03 marker, your vocals don't quite blend well (but this is mostly due to various notes being sung off-key).

The mixing was also weak from this point until 2:37. I think it was just far too busy, and a simplistic approach would have worked far better. From 2:37 onwards, you settle back into a simple sound again but the track ends abruptly and as a result, things are left feeling a little unbalanced.

I enjoyed listening to this one, and I am baffled at the fact that you wrote and recorded this in ONE day. Major props! Keep at it, Ceevro!

Score: 8.5/10

Ceevro responds:

I think that might be my Canadian accent coming through there. I definitely have to get some vocal coaching (I have already taken steps towards that). Yeah, I have to do a lot more work to bring in some more organic sounding instrumentals...I did what I could with what I had...Thank for the detailed review, though!

Score Breakdown:
Production: 18/30 (Average)
Composition: 26/30 (Great)
Instrumentation: 12.5/15 (Above Average/Great)
Originality: 10/10 (Incredible)
Interest: 13.5/15 (Great)

Total Score: 80/100 (Above Average), or 4/5 stars

========
Comments:
Mixing average at best, starting off great, then a few mic'ing hiccups, and then a muddy mess at 2:02 with too many contrasting lines, too much reverb, and not enough attention to mix.

Inconsistent distance from mic leads to inconsistent dry/room tone mixture creating a somewhat unpleasant effect of too much room at some points (like first "... and I see", versus the tone of the end of the verse before that... totally different tone, far too much boxy room). Should experiment with additional mic techniques/placements and angles to capture a less roomy tone (probably closer or in a drier room), and perhaps explore the possibility of stereo mic'ing/additional monophonic mixing techniques in the future.

Composition is pleasant, lyrics are nice. Flow of piece is well done. The digital piano elements were unfortunately quite lack-luster, and stylistically clashed with the very live, rough, acoustic sound of the rest of the track. I recommend exploring the plethora of free and affordable sampled percussion and pianos online.

A good rule of thumb I've heard from innumerable sources is to try to keep the number of independently moving lines below four at any time, and to always have one line be the dominant line. It's very important to have ANY stuff intended to be background stuff NOT be primarily more active, louder, or interesting than what is intended to be foreground stuff. Always try to use guide tone lines (moving to the nearest chord tone between chords) for background elements for best results. If a background element has a lot of non-chord tones, it will sound more like a melody or a counter-melody, hence foreground or middleground. Too many elements in one portion of the mix and it gets crowded... something I struggle with daily with my own style of music.

If a line is rhythmically unique compared to the main comping pattern, it should be brief, preferably connect with the main comping pattern on several beats and be around common tones with the current chords. If it acts like it's doing its own thing, then people will hear it as such and it'll literally sound like it doesn't belong in the piece. I'm speaking mostly about the piano at 2:02 here.

Otherwise, a very nice piece, with good singing, playing, and solid structure.

Rubric:
https://s3.amazonaws.com/ngauc2015samulis/FinalRound/Ceevro.pdf

Ceevro responds:

Wow! This is a wall of text worth considering! I thought I had my mic-placement pretty decent! And there are certainly some things I'm taking away from this with regards to composition...I'm thinking organic is the way to go for me, because I'm just not so good at controlling myself when I dive into the limitless possibility of synths. Things get crowded, as you said.

...And I'm really not a good pianist!

So, you've made it to the final round. You've clearly proven yourself. Time to judge by NGADM standards - scoring will be harsher as a result. In any case, here are some pointers for improvement.

The Good:
-THe fact that you made this in one afternoon is excellent.
-All acoustic lo-fi instruments are awesome.
-Excellent mixing and recording of vocals. Everything is crisp and clear.
-Very beautiful guitar solo.
-I actually really like the lyrics. Unfortunately, it's hard to pay attention to them in the face of...

The Not-so-good:
-There are a LOT of off-key notes in the singing. And I do mean a lot. Given you didn't have much time, that's somewhat forgivable - but it would be excellent if you could go back over this and touch it up.
-During the guitar solo, try panning one to each side rather than having them overlap on the right. While that was nice, it covered things up.
-Mixing starts to fall apart around 2:08 simply because there are so many instruments. THe strings are fine, by the way. They're basically just an underlying pad.
-Ending is meh. It just ends. This could really use a bit more of a nicer ending.

Final score: 6.5/10. Incredible for the amount of time you had. Not quite as good for a contest, though.

Ceevro responds:

One does what one can, I'm afraid. Yes, given more time, I probably would have gotten to all those little things...and I realize how those little things can add up. What you heard was a simple, honest track.

Again, I'm loving the organic sound here. The vocals are generally strong, and they have this attitude to them that I really like. It's as if you're defensively trying to justify the fact that you're making music. :D The lyrics are good. I think you overused the chorus a bit too much by the end. I also think that you could've enhanced the intensity of the chorus a lot more by simply holding out the notes longer (because I know that reverb and other forms of electronic manipulation aren't really your thing). Despite the generally strong vocals, I thought you briefly went a bit flat around :49, during the last stanza of the first chorus. I understand that you were a bit rushed to record this, though. I like how you have a more hushed tone at :56 just to contrast the verse to the previous chorus. The solos around 1:30 also offered quite welcome structural relief. The production quality seems pretty high, despite the fact the texture is not as full as I'm used to hearing in a lot of other songs. I also thought that the ending was a bit sudden, but I also understand that was part of the edginess and attitude you bring to your pieces, which I generally love. Overall, I obviously like it a lot. It's a fun, short piece with a feel-good down-to-earth vibe to it. I suppose I would like to see you take a few more risks in the future, but as for making good use of the resources you have to make music, you've nailed it! Keep up the great work, Ceevro! ;D

9/10

Ceevro responds:

I wanted to dig a little deeper into this one, and perhaps I still will. The time constraints I had to work with were...well they were nearly impossible. Not your fault, but my own life and various happenings. Not something that you should cut me any slack on, however, because this is a contest, and any issues that I bring to the table are mine and mine alone.

I considered auto-tuning my vocals into perfection, but then deliberately decided against it. This piece was about vulnerability, and obsessively hiding my own inabilities would have destroyed the spirit of the thing. I will, however, spend some time learning how to do more electronic manipulation in the near future, because I do see value in it. That's why I enter these things - to learn!

This was me. As I am. Not to say I can't improve, but certainly not my normal fare of slapping on whatever character I think might suit the lyrics. If my last piece was about fronting, then this was the exact opposite.

Thank you for the helpful review, and for hosting this contest. I've taken a lot away from it, and promise that, whatever the results, you'll see me again next year!

Man, this is just great. The fact that you laid this whole thing down in the space of an afternoon quite simply blows me away. It kind of brings to mind songs like Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson, mostly because of the overall organic quality.

Your voice totally shines in the lower register (as always), and the mids sound great, but some of those higher notes sound strained and tend to get washed out in the mix, especially where there are so many instrumental layers. I know you didn't really have much time to play around with mixing and mastering due to extreme time crunch, but I would love to hear what you can do without a deadline looming over you!

I also wanted to congratulate you personally on making it past the NGADM auditions! Can't wait to see what you come up with next, Ceevz. Allons-y!

Ceevro responds:

This did have nearly 20 layers going...I just wanted to grow the choruses as big as I could get them. And I really do mean the lyrics...this was primarily a thank you and secondarily a contest entry.

Credits & Info

Ceevro
Author

Listens
1,604
Faves:
7
Downloads
10
Votes
13
Score
4.53 / 5.00

Uploaded
Aug 4, 2015
9:16 PM EDT
Genre
Pop
File Info
Song
6.6 MB
2 min 54 sec

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.