Artist Name: Dan Davis Title: Remembrance
Genre: Rock and Pop Rating:
2.4 GHz MacBook Pro with M-Audio FireWire Solo interface running Apple Logic Pro 8, Native Instruments Guitar Rig 3, and Propellerhead Reason 4 (used for all drum and synth parts). Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones. LTD EC-50 electric guitar with EMG pickups, Ibanez GSR 200 bass.
Production Notes & Credits
“Remembrance” is a rock instrumental track. Dan wrote, programmed, performed, and recorded the song.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
A fine overall effort here by Dan that is unfortunately undone somewhat by his arrangement, along with overall mix tone.
Dan is obviously a man with some serious chops on the guitar, given the muscular performance here. We loved the software-generated crunch on Dan’s electric guitar, with none of the flabby low-mid buildup that often presents itself in this genre.
As for the rhythm section, the results were a bit more hit and miss. While the bass guitar performance was solid, we found that the tone lacked low end presence through our monitors, and as a result the bass failed to drive the track as much as we would have liked. Moving on to the programmed drums, Dan was wise to keep things simple. Many times non-drummers will fall victim to the creation of unrealistic drum programming, particularly in songs of this nature. Kudos to Dan for letting his guitar do the talking!
Turning our attention to the arrangement issue mentioned earlier, the “breakdown” section that Dan implemented three quarters into the track seemed an awkward fit to us. To our way of thinking, the track up to this point was an energetic showcase for Dan’s guitar skills… and then abruptly the energy gives way to a Phil Collins-style 1980s vibe, complete with an uber-dry sidestick/handclap feel that screams “fake drums”. By the time the track resumes its original form, the motion and energy have little time to ramp up again before the end of the song. Lastly, while there is a lot of good stuff happening in the track, through our monitors the overall mix was rather thin and tilted towards the brittle side of things.
Quite often in our monthly Spotlight feature we mention the importance of song arrangement and its contribution to the overall success of a winning track. In our mission to advise and assist you loyal readers, it is sometimes incumbent on us to step outside of the usual tone and processing issues. While we would never insist that anyone change their artistic vision, we would suggest that Dan reconsider the breakdown section of his track.
As for the mix tone, while we see headphones listed among Dan’s gear, there is no mention of actual monitor speakers. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50 is a very good headphone, but we worry that Dan was hearing and compensating for tonal imbalance in them by mixing too brightly. In any event, testing one’s mix on multiple sets of speakers should be a mandatory part of every recordist’s job!
Check early, check often.
Dan Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org