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Everything posted by BKM

  1. Ah too bad! Maybe you can EQ the leads and the cymbals around each other a bit, by low-passing the leads more aggressively and cutting some high mids in the overheads? Just throwing out ideas.
  2. Not gonna lie, your "junk kit" actually sounds pretty tight. I'm not a gearhead (I noticed that the more options I have, the less music I get done), and examples like this just confirm my opinion that gear is indeed secondary when you're a good musician. Glad that my comments were helpful to you and didn't just come off as nitpicky. Smart decision to record XY to open up different options! We've just started recording drums for a band project I'm involved in as a bassist, and we went for a spread out pair of Rhodes fairly close to the cymbals and an XY pair of Behringers above the drummer's head. Turns out, this gives two very distinct but complementary views of the kit and we liked the result a lot, especially when blended. If you're serious about collaborating, hit me up at bjoernkmusic(at)gmail.com. I can send you the drum stem for inspiration, and I can convert the drum MIDI into a guitar pro file (if you use that software) as a jumping-off point. I didn't submit this remix back in 2015 - I think there would be a good chance to get it onto OCR this time around.
  3. This is lovely! Really digging the minimalistic and cheerful vibe here. The ending is the best thing, where it almost turns sour / creepy all of a sudden. Very captivating listen, beginning to end. I agree with Garrett, I don't think this needs much. If I had to be nit picky, I'd say that the fast tremolo parts in the synth during the first minute sound a bit artificial. Maybe you could play around with the velocities there to make it a bit more organic sounding? Mixing wise, the only comment I have is that the top end feels a bit closed, I'm missing some air in the overall soundscape (if that term makes any sense whatsoever lol). I'm hesitant to say this though because I don't have a good suggestion how to fix this (aside from boosting highs into everything, which might turn things harsh real quick). Maybe one super esoteric idea: adding a room tone track could add some dimension and just enough high frequency noise to make it feel a bit more lively and less sterile. This might be complete bull**** though, I don't know. Just food for thought. Anyways, this is super cool! Excited to hear the final version.
  4. Really enjoyed your composition! Super interesting harmonic work on the lead guitars in particular. And it's really, REALLY cool to hear an actual drum kit instead of MIDI. I do however see some room for improvement in the mixing. The low end is a bit overpowering and soupy, separation between kick, bass, and guitar low end could be better. Also, did you record the overheads mono or was it a mixing decision to have them dead center? By having them center, I feel they're fighting the bright lead guitars a lot - I think you could have achieved a much wider and more open and less dark sounding mix by having them as a stereo pair. You know, I read your signature, and I would be super interested in collaborating. Your drumming, even though it is a bit buried in the mix (which is a shame ) seems to be pretty tight. I'm in the process of re-doing a Half-Life 2 remix I made back in 2015. It got good numbers and people seem to like it, but let's face it - the entire production and mixing is pretty abysmal. I've already re-recorded the bass and will do guitars as soon as I have cured my tennis elbow, which has been haunting me for weeks on end at this point. Would you be interested in getting in on that? The original remix could serve as a guideline for the drums, but you'd of course be free (and encouraged) to put your own spin on it.
  5. A while ago, I self-published my debut album, ORACLE. I don't think I ever shared it on here, so here's a link to one of the tracks, 'Exordium': https://bjoernkmusic.bandcamp.com/track/exordium-2 Genre-wise, this is a modern, guitar-centric metal album, with particular focus on riffs and atmosphere rather than wild leads and crazy technique. Think of Metallica's instrumental songs but with a djent-y soundscape and a pinch of prog. I'm also heavily (ha! pun!) influenced by other metal musicians from the YouTube space, such as Keith Merrow (Merrow, Conquering Dystopia, Alluvial) or Ola Englund (Feared, The Haunted). 'Exordium' is the single of the album, and I think it's a good way to start into it. It's fairly straight forward, in-you-face metal. The album gets a bit more progressive than that on tracks like Of Guilt and Catharsis. If you feel drawn to acts like Meshuggah or Periphery / Haunted Shores, you might want to give these a go as well. This whole project was a one-nerd-effort, from conception to final mixdown. Except for mastering, for which I was lucky enough to get Ermin Hamidovic from Systematic Productions (Architects, Periphery, Devin Townsend) on board. Conceptually, the album tackles themes of insecurity and depression, but also of struggle and overcoming. The album as a whole looks at the process of working through a life-altering event, with all its ups and downs. The individual tracks dig into the different stages of this process, as well as the emotions attached to that. To give you an idea, 'Premonitions' is informed by the looming feeling of something not being right that you sometimes get way before you consciously notice any actual problems / changes, while 'Exordium' tries to capture the almost manic determination that sometimes grabs a hold of ya when you realize the inevitability of a big event that is heading your way. But enough rambling, at the end of the day, I'd be much more interested to hear what YOU hear in the album. Of course, any and all feedback regarding songwriting, mixing etc. would be much appreciated - while this is my first foray into the scene, I'm not planning to leave it at that and there's so much to do and to improve I hope you give Exordium---and maybe even the entire album---a spin. The link above leads to Bandcamp, but it's up on all major streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube) as well. Cheers!
  6. Hey Seth, thanks! Yeah, I'm not good at writing lead lines and solos, that's why I got one of my bandmates to contribute that ending solo. Maybe something I oughta work on in the future. Shameless plug: if you're interested in hearing music that I'm involved in that also features vocals, check out Remember Your Scars on Spotify, which is a Nu-Metal / Metalcore band I play bass with
  7. Sharing my latest metal remix of a track called "We've Got Hostiles" (link) from the original 2012 Black Mesa soundtrack. After the Black Mesa devs recently announced that the Xen Beta would go live soon (which it did a couple of days ago) I was super exited and wanted to celebrate this with a remix. When I planned it out, I unfortunately was not aware that the release of the dedicated (and absolutely gorgeous) soundtrack for Xen by Joel Nielsen was also immenent. Therefore, I picked a song from the original 2012 soundtrack. Wanted to share this here because I appreciate the OCR community a lot. Had some good discussions and feedback here in my early remixing days (aka. a couple of years back). But, to be honest with you, I'm not planning on submitting this one. Two reasons for this: Firstly, the remix contains a couple of voice lines from Half-Life 2, and this kind of stuff is always an issue from a copyright standpoint. Secondly, the last couple of remixes I submitted seem to have vanished into the nether, without any feedback / judge decision whatsoever. Totally understandable, from the "active judges" thread it is obvious that you are understaffed at the moment and while probably being flooded with submission more than ever. Anyways, enough rambling. Hope some of you stumble upon this thread and give this remix a listen. If you do, definitely let me know what you think! Imma go back to pondering if making a remix of "Shadows of Death" from the Xen soundtrack might be low-hanging fruit or not at this point.
  8. Thanks for the kind words Yosh! Metallica were my biggest musical influence during my teen years, so you're absolutely on point there! Also thanks to the judges for the encouragement and for accepting the remix right away - I was almost sure I'd be rejected for being too conservative! Really happy that I was able to contribute to this amazing site
  9. Hi everyone, I just noticed that my metal remix of Pendulum's Blood Sugar received a copyright claim, presumably from their label (0:46 - 2:17 min, 5 different claimants, only one I was able to identify as some copyright management company from Berlin). No message from YT about this (meh!) - I noticed it by chance yesterday when I uploaded a new song. I'm quite aware that my "remix" is more like a cover version for 50% of the playtime, so it didn't surprise me too much that this happened. Maybe it has something to do with them announcing their reunion last December. I find it rather needy to claim a cover / remix with barely 150 views, but I guess that's how Youtubes automatic algorithms work and at the end of the day, it is technically illegal to publish a cover without paying royalties. So far, I just naively asssumed that no one cares as long as you don't monetize it. While this in particular doesn't bother me too much, it made me curious if some of you had similar experiences. Do actual, completely altered remixes get claimed as well? Apart from this, my other remixes never had issues. I hear Nintendo are super harsh when it comes to their stuff (at least in terms of video content). Would love to hear some stories.
  10. Metal remix of CP Violation from the Half-Life 2 OST (source), originally composed by Kelly Bailey. I'm confident that production wise, it's a step forward for me - very slowly getting to where I want to be. Drums turned out pretty great this time I think. "Polizeitgeist" is something that Eric "NeinQuarterly" Jarosinski mentioned a couple of times on Twitter, usually in the context of police violence, so I deemed it a quite fitting title for this remix. It's a neologism of the two German words Polizei (police) and Zeitgeist. Musically, this remix is heavily inspired by Meshuggah's Koloss record, which, as it happens, deals with socio-political issues like the aforementioned as well. Have a listen to The Hurt That Finds You First - the ambient guitar towards the end of the track reminded me a lot of the melody in the beginning of CP Violation, so I made an effort to merge these two musical worlds. Who knows, maybe Fredrik Thordendal found some inspiration in the HL2 OST, which actually wouldn't be that surprising, considering his relatively recent musical contributions to Wolfenstein: The New Order's OST (Herr Faust). In particular, I took CP Violation's main riff, downtuned it and transformed it throughout the remix, even to the point of giving it a syncopated 7/8 vibe. I also inserted my own riffs to develop this short entry to HL2's OST into a full-length song and I expanded the background melody to the point where it shifts and evolves throughout the whole song in a hopefully entertaining fashion. Also had a lot of fun experimenting with ambient SFX stuff on this one. Hope some of you might like it. As always, all criticism is very much appreciated!
  11. Interesting. EZDrummer and the various Cubase VST instruments I'm using don't seem to have issues in that regard but I'll keep that in mind if I ever use more complex libraries. When A/B'ing an offline vs. real time export I had the feeling that the real time printed mix felt a bit punchier. But that could just be my brain tricking me.
  12. I never used the "real time export" option that Cubase offers, because I thought that the only reason why you would want to use that is external gear - which I do not own. Turns out, there is a discussion online on whether real time printing can affect the quality of a purely ITB print, especially when you have complex time effects and lots of automation. I was never even aware that this might make a difference. I A/B'ed a mix this afternoon and formed an opinion, but I'd be interested to hear what you have to say before I'll throw it out there.
  13. @Esperado: That small thingy on the external hard drive, next to the headphones? That's my wifi @AngelCityOutlaw: Yeah the previous tenant had a knack for green (there's some on the opposite wall as well). Unfortunately, he vanished really fast when he was supposed to re-paint them white after moving out. I don't care, I'll move out when I'm done with Uni and since he didn't paint, I don't have to as well!
  14. Metal Man's workspace looks super comfy. Here's mine ... I plan on building bass traps in summer and move some stuff around (like the closet on the left) to tackle accoustic problems with the room.
  15. Found the reason for all the fizz: it was a sub-par plugin in my guitar chain that I never considered before as the source (Tubescreamer emulation in front of the amp sim, I use that to tighten up the tone). Changing that removed lots of the annoying stuff from the tone, much more 3D and less paper-y now. I also ducked down the rythms a bit and brought up kick and snare to put more emphasis on the groove. Will be submitting this version now (https://www.dropbox.com/s/wgj79z3wjuo4t0n/AdventureAwry_MST_OCR.mp3?dl=0). Once again, thanks for your feedback Rozovian.
  16. Thanks man, appreciate your feedback a lot! Concerning the guitars, it's probably not your speakers, it's the overwhelming fizz of the amp sim that I'm unable to get rid of (probably missing something obvious). I'll wait a couple of days in case someone else has suggestions, but I think I'll go back to the guitars once more before submitting.
  17. It's me again, cluttering this thread with yet another monologue. I went back to the mix, but took my time. In fact, I scrapped the earlier version completely and redid it from scratch since there were multiple issues during recording that I wanted to fix. And frankly, I just hated the old mix (like, a lot) and it felt good to delete it. The SoundCloud link in the first post is the new version already, download provides a 320 kbits MP3 and SoundCloud streaming sounds as aweful as it always does. Here's the old version for comparison: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5deup9nfj27fj8h/AdventureAwry_old.mp3?dl=0 I'd like to protocol some of the changes here in the hope that it might be interesting to some of you and because putting into words what I learned during this mix will hopefully prevent me from repeating these mistakes in the future. I'm reading Mixing Secrets by Mike Senior at the moment and he states that the main difference between homerecordings and professional recordings is that the DIY guys don't get intonation properly. I'm fairly careful to tune my instruments between each take and keep them in good condition (new strings before recording etc), but then something hit me: I use EZDrummer and I never tuned the drums, even though a pitch knob is provided on kick, snare and toms. So this time, I tuned all the drums to the key of the song - suddenly the low end of the mix mysteriously cleaned up, like it never has before. I was able to mix both kick and bass with far less processing because being in the same key, they worked together much better right away. I guess this is even more important for those producing purely electronic music. On the topic of EZDrummer: I developed the habit of keeping separate recording and mixing sessions so I can't go back to my amp sims etc. in the middle of a mix and mess everything up. When I'm done recording, I export everything as wave files and reimport it into the mix session. For the first time, I also did that with drums (exporting all separate drum tracks like kick, snare, overheads etc.) - in the past, lazy me just had the plugin running in the mixing project. This is simply good mixing practice and I'm an idiot for not adopting this earlier. So what I discovered when I looked at the waveforms is that EZDrummer actually prints the kick and the additional kick trigger track phase inverted, resulting in a pretty lifeless and muffled kick sound when both are combined. The room tracks were inverted as well. So far, I never used these since I thought they sounded aweful when blended into the kit - now I know why. Fixing this lead to a much fuller, more realistic drum sound. I'm rather shocked that EZDrummer prints these tracks with the wrong phase, that's sloppy programming imo and users will be completely unaware of it unless they don't go out of their way to export the files and actually look at the wave forms. Maybe with more experience you might hear it and react accordingly, but I doubt that John Doe has that instict. I went back to using the Ignite Emissary amp sim in combination with some high quality cab impulses by Rosen Digital (taken from an EVH 5150 III) and ditched BIAS amp. For all the hype they generated for BIAS, it only produces passable tones at best and I'm really regretting that I spent money on it. Guitars still sound like bees in a blender, but at least slightly better than before. I did my gain staging much more diligently this time, working at a very conservative -18 dBFS. I use Sonimus Britson to that end, which is not only a very nice sounding Neve console emulation, but at the same time forces you to do correct gain staging by making you adjust it's internal gain meter to 0 dBVU (= -18 dBFS). It comes as a channel and a bus variant and I used it across the whole mix. The combination of conservative levels and some nice vintage console flair lead to a much more open-sounding and mix-ready project right off the bat. (Can you see the pattern already? I'm literally collecting noob mistakes like other people collect trading cards.) Another cheap-yet-invaluable purchase was AutoGain by HoRNet Plugins. It's a side-chain tool that will write volume automation for a track based on a signal fed to it via side-chain. In my case, I put it on the bass track and fed it a signal of white noise, which resulted in the individual notes being leveled in terms of volume (I'm not a very consistent bass player unfortunately). I was able to get a consistent low end that way using not even half the amount of compression that I needed before. Big shoutouts to that tool. It also works on vocals, you can feed it your whole mix to make the vocals always sit "on top" without compressing the living shit out of em. Makes me wonder why anyone would spend $200 for Waves Bass Rider and Vocal Rider. The rest of the mix came together seamlessly. I've never had such a good and easy time mixing and it's my best sounding mix so far. Never used this few plugins. I was able to squeeze a lot of volume out during mastering (yeah, hate me for it, I explained myself already in the first post), rendering it on-par with commercial releases. And all of this not because of some crazy mixing tricks, just because I fucking learned how to set up a mix correctly and how to fix the worst problems BEFORE I even start to mix. Admittedly, finding out that EZDrummer spits out phase-borked samples was a bummer. But had I had good mixing practice before (i.e. always exporting all MIDI instruments and reimporting them as wave files), I would have found out about this much sooner. I hope that one or two of you might take something away from this. I put the eval tag back up - I'm confident that it is up to snuff now from a technical standpoint. With all the tech-talk, let's see if you guys enjoy the actual track! Cheers!
  18. Had a fresh listen this morning on my stereo and realized that the bass is super overcompressed and too loud now. The subs are literally giving me headaches. Fix on Monday!
  19. Quick update: I let everything sink in this afternoon and suddenly it just clicked. I get EQ now. The Soundcloud link above is already the new version, but here's a link to the old one, in case you want to compare (which you should, because it's like day and night): https://www.dropbox.com/s/kvm331pzbru1gbl/OLD_AdventureAwry_master.mp3?dl=0 So what's changed? Guitars are EQ'ed properly now (still not the best tone ever, but hey), everything has its own place in the mix and it feels much cleaner overall. Especially the honkyness I wrote about is.gone. I also was able to get rid of the multiband compressor in my mastering chain - the new mix was much more balanced from the get go and turned out louder with far less compression this time around. It's also much more bass-heavy because 1) that's how Keith rolls and so that's what I did and 2) because the guitars are not clouding the bass anymore. Also, I took the reverb off the Overheads ... I think it just sounded weird in the earlier version. Let me know what you think, especially in comparison to the earlier one!
  20. 7 string metal remix of Adventure Awry from the Pony Island OST, originally written by Jonah Senzel. Pony Island is an interesting, clever game that you should check out and that is also entirely unrelated to other pony-containing franchises (just in case you were wondering, because I was). Download provides 320 kbps audio to avoid nasty Soundcloud compression ruining your life. All Feedback is greatly appreciated! See below for my own thoughts. Source track: https://soundcloud.com/jonah-senzel/06-adventure-awry Some of my thoughts going into and coming out of this mix: For better or worse, I didn't stray too far from the original source. I "transposed" it from D to A by which I mean my 7 string guitar is in drop A and I hit the open string really hard a lot of times (so sofisticated!). Also added an interlude that the main riff inspired me to and played around with the songs structure a bit, as well as with some weird glitchy effects. My aim with this one was to create a mix in the style of Keith Merrow (example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A2TeB9zikA) in terms of guitar tone and overall timbre. I admire his work greatly and I think his mixes are unique to say the least. I love to learn about artists by trying to emulate their style, and so far I've learned some interesting new tricks every time I tried that. As usual, my biggest bugbear was the guitar tone. I recently upgraded to BIAS desktop and used the "Haunted S'mores" amp modell by Marc Holcomb (Periphery, Haunted Shores) for this project as it lends itself to a modern, mid-focussed guitar tone. However, during this mix I discovered by comparing my raw DI tracks to raws from Ola Englund's "Synder" album (he provides all raws and stems for his albums online for a few extra bucks, a great way to learn!) that my biggest issue is in the guitar itself (ESP LTD MH-417). It has both an outrageous overambundance of low mids and to top that off, there are three domniant resonant frequencies at 330, 440 (root note obvsl.) and 685 Hz that will make the guitar super honky when left in (which I decided to do in case of 330 and 440) or absolutely unintelligible / muffled when notched out even just a bit. For the longest time I thought my 7 string sounded that bad in mixes because the software amps I was using were just plain shit, but as it turns out, the problem seems to be inherent to the instrument. That's a real bummer for me - I'm thinking about changing the pick-ups from EMG 707's (known to be a honk-fest!) to something more round sounding, but I'm still shying away from it so far as I don't know for sure that this will fix the problem. Just hammers home ye old "garbage in, garbage out" rule ... I think I managed to get the best-sounding drums and bass going that I've ever had. Bass sits nicely in its pocket and doesn't cloud neither bass drum nor low mids; drums would sound absolutely huge if I didn't have to shrink them a bit to let the guitars have their honk-apocalypse in the low mids =/ All in all I think my EQing is definitely getting better and I'm starting to use saturation to greater effect, meaning that this mix is far less digital sounding than my last efforts. Sometimes you just gotta distort stuff to make it feel more organic! I went all out on volume automation on this one. I don't think it's perfect and I'm still having a hard time actually stepping back from the mix and listening to "the song" as is to find what needs to be featured / phased back at any moment. But I'm aware of - and working on - it. Having bought studio-grade monitors (Yamaha HS7) definitely helps with judging space which I found almost undoable back when mixing on headphones. Btw. if you have tips to share regarding home-made accoustic treatment, I'd be glad to be at the receiving end of them! Judging by the discussions and posts I read so far, some of you will disagree with my choice of mastering, which turned out to be around -7 LUFS. If it doesn't affect the mixes eligibility to be on OCR too much (which I'm sure you will tell me), I would kindly ask you to glance over this fact. As I said, I tried to emulate Keith Merrow's mixes which are super hot (-5 to -6 LUFS) and since it is my secret hope to make music at least a part time profession one day, I want to learn how to get a master to that volume. I don't feel like commenting on whether I like this or not, as my opinion is frankly irrelevant, but fact is that loudness is still part of the reality in audio production. I will say however that in the case of a metal track with overdriven (and therefore fairly compressed) guitars, super tightly compressed bass and sampled drums, there's obviously less dynamic range to lose than in, you know, an orchestral piece. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on my mixing; I am willing to learn and objective opinions from people in the field are hard to find. I know metal is not a focus around these parts, but I'm hoping that one or two of you will have something to say to this. This is the fourth mix I post here but the first which I put up for debate to enter OCR's catalogue - and I gotta be honest, it's mainly to provoke feedback and not because I'm more confident in this one than in the others (okay yeah I am, it's an objective technical improvement without doubt, but you know what I mean). Cheers!
  21. Was contemplating a metal remix over Christmas, but learned that there's a guy who basically covered the whole soundtrack and has millions of views. I had a different vibe in mind (modern downtuned 7 string sound) and I would want to do an actual remix, not a cover, but it's basically bound to result in rip-off comments. Bit sadpanda right now. Guy's named RichaadEB on Youtube. Kudos to him, both his playing and production are very tight (way better than what I could ever deliver). He absolutely deserves the recognition he's getting right now.
  22. Featuring Microsoft Anna on vocals. All critique is highly appreciated. HQ mp3 download through SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/bkm
  23. My second take on Half-Life 2's soundtrack. Initially a byproduct of my other HL2 remix, which I posted here some time ago, 'Ravenholm' then developed into a full project. It's not nearly as progressive; the focus was on atmosphere this time. Lots of samples and self-made ambient stuff. I'm proud of how the drums turned out, but still unhappy with my guitar tone. That might change very soon as I'm looking into investing in a Peavey 6505mh tube amp, so expect better next time. Really grinds my gears that I was never able to reproduce the tones I had on Exordium. I recommend downloading the high quality MP3 320 version over at SoundCloud or hearthis.at. Next up will be metal remix of Pendulum's 'Blood Sugar' and if I find the time, a solo playthrough video. Also, I will be starting production of my 8 track orginial instrumental album 'Oracle' in December as writing is finished now. I'd appreciate any form of support immensely - in the form of helpful critique to improve my mixes or, you know, just throw a like my way somewhere!
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