Reviews for "Caribesque"

This is an NGADM 2015 review.

Sooooooo this might be some of the most compressed acoustic-based music I've ever heard :P I can understand the need to sausage it, but sometimes there has to be a limit haha. Don't feel bad though, I was "sausaging it" as recently as a year or two ago. Learning is gradual ^^

So I'd like to talk about production in general and maybe go over some concepts - you're probably already familiar with most of them but analyzing your song in this context is probably the most helpful thing I can do.

While there are no real rules in mastering (like, you don't have to do your mix first and *then* master it like the masters of old might tell you), it's generally helpful to adhere to a structured approach. I don't think the production issues with this song stem simply from "too much master bus compression", because I feel that the balance of the song was probably out before you started mastering it, which only exacerbated some problems. First off, the percussion is really loud. It's about in line with the guitar in the start of the song, but compared to a lot else it's really overpowering, and then the brass that comes in after that is so loud that it squashes even the percussion. The issue with fast attack compression is that it's very effective at squashing transients, and so when you have loud drums and smash them through a limiter you get a lot of audible ducking, and other instruments have a hard time shining through. Then you get in the vicious cycle of "it's not loud enough" and so you turn it up... or at least, that used to be my problem. The leading instruments like the brass are so much stronger than even the percussion, that the mix sounds like it's all over the place even when it doesn't need to be.

What I'd suggest doing is putting some compression on your master bus, but turning it off for most of your mixing process, and getting the balance right before you really master compress. It's true that in most electronic genres, master compression "glues" the mix together, and so it can be necessary to hear how it affects the mix while mixing the song, but here I think that is less important, and because you want a fairly dynamic mix it's more important that the master bus compression simply makes what you already started off with a bit louder. Bring it up to that commercial level, you know?

Anyway, your song sounds pretty good in quieter sections, and the composition itself is enjoyable. The bongos make me think of some kind of jungle video game setting, really strongly. Brings back memories of this terrible old video game called Croc 2 for me :P I think this could be a really great song, just gotta hone your production :)