Artist Name: Aelyth and Leigh Title: Liberty Wakes Genre: Bop Folk Rating:
Dell XPS13 i7 PC with Behringer UMC1820 DAC interface running Cockos REAPER, hand-customized Toontrack EZdrummer 2 loops, and “many plug-ins(!)”. Technics power amp with Lambert SP-250 speakers and Sony MDR-CD370 headphones, CAD mics. Danelectro bass, various guitars, Korg microARRANGER and Casio Privia keyboards, Yamaha flute.
Production Notes & Credits
“Liberty Wakes” is a female vocal “bop folk” song. Leigh Harrison did the music and recording, and daughter Aelyth sang the lead vocal. Mastering was done online using Cloudbounce.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
Leigh has assembled a fine working demo here, containing all the ingredients required to take the track to another level. Let’s see what’s working and what could benefit from a tweak or two.
The song intros with a very nice nylon-string guitar accompanying Aelyth’s intimate lead vocal. Both are well recorded and mixed. Leigh relates in the production notes that she had originally done a scat vocal guide track with the intention of doing the entire song on her own. Adding Aelyth to the recording was a great decision, in our opinion—her soft present delivery here lends a great sort of Astrud Gilberto vibe to this quasi-bossa piece.
Moving on, we applaud Leigh for her creative panning on the electric guitars, and the keyboards, harmony beds, and flute gave the arrangement some fullness.
On the negative side, the rhythm section was uneven at several spots during the track, resulting in a disruption of an otherwise flowing sound. Through our monitors, the bass guitar volume was too high in the mix, and the drum programming was erratic throughout. In our experience EZdrummer 2 is a fantastic tool, particularly for us non-drummers. That said, any and all software is still at the mercy of the operator. In this case, we fear that Leigh attempted to get a bit too complicated with her programming, to the detriment of the overall track.
This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that drum programming has presented a problem in a one-person recording operation. In lieu of having assistance from an experienced drummer to guide the programming effort, we suggest as a basic rule that simple is best. EZdrummer 2 has some amazing templates/patterns available that would provide a solid foundation for Leigh’s track, and we would urge her to go that route while working on her programming chops.
Regarding the bass guitar here, the presence of a more successful drum/percussion track would likely help it integrate into mix in a more balanced way.
Some solid parts to build around!
Contact: Leigh Harrison / Aelyth and Leigh, firstname.lastname@example.org