(80's Synthpop/New Romantic) She Walks In Beauty

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jappe
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Posts: 2441
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 24 Mar 2024

Hi all,
another one for my Retro Rhyme project where I pick old poems that inspires me, and put it in a synthpop context.

This is synthpop with a touch of 80's/New Romantic.
Lyrics based on Lord Byron's poem "She walks in beauty" from 1814.



I timeboxed this one, will have do do something about vocal sibilance (for example at 3:41, "treSS)" that I couldn't find any way to resolve through Selig's de-esser; I think it's the recording/my bad microphone technique that's the problem.

I might also want to add a some stems.

Any suggestions & feedback most welcome!


I used:

Selig Leveler
Bitleys 80's sound libraries
RE 200 Bass Enhancer
RED 70 Synthesizer
Jiggery Pokery's "Kings Of Kong"
Antidote
Viking Synthesizer
Steerpike BBD Delay Ensemble
Emastered.com

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Quarmat
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Posts: 467
Joined: 11 Feb 2021
Location: Europe

Post 25 Mar 2024

The piece clearly points to a specific point in the history of pop music and does so well, indeed very well, philologically, from a sound design and composition point of view.

Also in terms of the mix: the sounds are crisp, distinct, expanded to the maximum of their possibilities, powerful and balanced: well beyond my current capabilities, so I cannot offer any constructive criticism, but only signal my admiration for the work done.

If I have to make one remark I make it from the point of view of the overall dynamics of the piece.

It is -declaredly- a pop song, and therefore a certain jolt of dynamism between verse and chorus is necessary. I mean: it all sounds good and loud, but ALL the time.

a bit more contrast would benefit the tension/release balance which is a bit poor, in this sense (and only in this sense).

For the rest, I must once again compliment you not only, as mentioned, on the mix, but also on your undeniable songwriting talent. The harmonic turns, the melodies, the bridge! are all fantastic.

robussc
Posts: 527
Joined: 03 May 2022

Post 25 Mar 2024

Great tune, (getting a bit of Thomas Dolby vibe) but have to agree with Quarmat, the chorus seems quieter than the verse! (if I was able to discern the difference correctly? :) ) The solo/bridge is a nice shift from the main song, though perhaps outstays its welcome? And the end is a bit abrupt, perhaps an 80s repeat to fade would be more appropriate (and would deal with the end sequence going on a bit too long?)

The sounds are spot on, lovely stuff that just needs a bit more arrangement work. Lots of the lovely fiddly bits should come in on verse two IMHO. Keep verse 1 simple so that the track keeps building and evolving until the solo.
Software: Reason 12 + Objekt, Vintage Vault 4, V-Collection 9 + Pigments, Vintage Verb + Supermassive
Hardware: M1 Mac mini + dual monitors, Launchkey 61, Scarlett 18i20, Rokit 6 monitors, AT4040 mic, DT-990 Pro phones

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jappe
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Posts: 2441
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 26 Mar 2024

Quarmat wrote:
25 Mar 2024
The piece clearly points to a specific point in the history of pop music and does so well, indeed very well, philologically, from a sound design and composition point of view.

Also in terms of the mix: the sounds are crisp, distinct, expanded to the maximum of their possibilities, powerful and balanced: well beyond my current capabilities, so I cannot offer any constructive criticism, but only signal my admiration for the work done.

If I have to make one remark I make it from the point of view of the overall dynamics of the piece.

It is -declaredly- a pop song, and therefore a certain jolt of dynamism between verse and chorus is necessary. I mean: it all sounds good and loud, but ALL the time.

a bit more contrast would benefit the tension/release balance which is a bit poor, in this sense (and only in this sense).

For the rest, I must once again compliment you not only, as mentioned, on the mix, but also on your undeniable songwriting talent. The harmonic turns, the melodies, the bridge! are all fantastic.
Thank you for the kind words & feedback!
The tension/release thing is a good point. It does feel like a power-walk at a fixed pace rather than optimal interval training.
I'll keep this in mind when I finalize this!

My workflow for building melodies is often like this: I build them in short segments.

Starting by experimenting with chord sequences to some basic drums, looping 4 bars.
When I'm happy with the 4-bar chord sequence, I proceed with the melody: and here I loop only 2 or even 1 bar. Experimenting until I find something that feels good.
Then I continue with the next bit of the melody, for the next loop etc.

In this way, I never know in advance how the final melody will be, but I know that if it sounds good for each individual bar, then the full melody will likely be fine.
I'm not a good keyboard player, so I also sometimes slow down to half the tempo when building the melody, especially if it's a busy chord sequence.

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jappe
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Posts: 2441
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 26 Mar 2024

robussc wrote:
25 Mar 2024
Great tune, (getting a bit of Thomas Dolby vibe) but have to agree with Quarmat, the chorus seems quieter than the verse! (if I was able to discern the difference correctly? :) ) The solo/bridge is a nice shift from the main song, though perhaps outstays its welcome? And the end is a bit abrupt, perhaps an 80s repeat to fade would be more appropriate (and would deal with the end sequence going on a bit too long?)

The sounds are spot on, lovely stuff that just needs a bit more arrangement work. Lots of the lovely fiddly bits should come in on verse two IMHO. Keep verse 1 simple so that the track keeps building and evolving until the solo.
Thank you!
All good points. The outro should be fading out for sure. And while doing I think I'll add backing vocals in the last half of the outro. That's something I like; a Columbo-ending - the song was on it's way out, but then yet something more happens shortly just before ending to cause confusion but hopefully pleasant confusion. Let's see if I can convince my daughter.

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