This is an interesting piece with many moving parts to it. And because of so many moving parts, I have lots of moving opinions. Although I have listened to Toby’s music for about 10 years and like just about everything he does, I didn’t connect with this the first time through. But after listening numerous times, it has begun to grow on me and I am starting to get into it. Many of the parts that initially turned me off, but I am beginning to like more and more with each listen. Roy Elkins
It starts off with an acoustic guitar (ag) loop and the snare landing on 2 & 4, a pan flute sits on top for an added effect. The opening ag sounding sample drives the feeling of this track. Numerous sounds make their appearance throughout the piece. One of my favorites comes in at :48 seconds, this is a female vocal sample with a slight bend on it. A break at 1:30, drums cut out and the oboe like sound takes the lead. This part is very tasteful. Very nice part at 2:05, nice vocal part works well with the oboe. In the 2:30s, this song begins to cook. This is the heart of the song.
If this was my song, here are the things I might re-visit: At 1:06 to 1:13, the female vocal sample could be played a little better to give it a more realistic performance. At 1:30, let these two bars evolve a little longer. It almost sounds out of context, but it is a strong groove and would love to hear it more in the song. At 1:59, it sounds like a crack was played or there is slight distortion on the low end. It could an errant mix of one note as well. The Pan Flute sample that I mentioned up front is bending a lot of notes throughout the song. At times, it’s a little uncomfortable and distracting. I might try mixing this lower, removing it altogether or playing samples that are not pitch-bent. The dynamics of this is struggling to shine through. While there are instrumental peaks and valleys, it seems as if the mix is ignoring them. The mix could reflect and possibly mirror the dynamics of the instruments a little better. I would spend a bit more time experimenting with this. If this was mastered, I believe it would go to a whole new level.
One other thought that doesn’t necessarily apply here, but it was going through my head as I was listening so I thought I would talk about it. Sometimes when using a sample of a guitar chord and the triggering note simply changes the pitch of the whole chord, it can be an sub-conscious “flag” to the ear. For example; If I was playing a D chord on the guitar and the next chord was E, the note configurations would be D(X-A-D-A-D-F#) and the E(E-B-E-G#-B-E). So if a loop is a sample of the same D chord strummed on a guitar and is triggered by an E note, the E Chord is now (X-B-E-B-E-G#.) It can diminish the “color” of the song. Now these are not the chords in question here, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. I think if my goal was to get consistency in the strumming, then I would probably sample all of the chords used in the song and assign the triggers prior to recording.
Toby’s entire list is here. He is very prolific and I am sure you will find something you like.
Press & educational linksHangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms