Artist Name: BZ Title: Kills Genre: Electronic/Metal Rating:
Yamaha O2R digital mixer feeding into G5 Power Mac running Digidesign ProTools HD 3, drums from Propellerhead Reason, and “tons of other samples and plug-ins”. Hamer Chaparral guitar with Floyd Rose tremolo, Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier amp with Marshall 1960 cabinet miked by Shure SM57. Roland XP-80 keyboard workstation, Access Virus Indigo virtual analog synthesizer.
Production Notes & Credits
This month’s Spotlight is a Rock/ Metal instrumental done in its entirety by BZ Lewis at his home studio. BZ writes: “DANGER! No vocals—it’s all industrial/metal/electronic.”
Reviewed By Marty Peters
This month’s Spotlight is a fine example of one-man-band creativity and craftsmanship. The vast majority of submissions here at Readers’ Tracks are one-person projects, and with them come a plethora of issues that can often arise from wearing one too many hats during the process. Fortunately for us, BZ has put together an excellent example of a successful track, from the composition and performances/programming straight on through to the final mix. Let’s take a look, shall we?
One of our biggest bugaboos with solo multi-sound-source endeavors is the fate of the drum programming. Far too many times, the programming is simply unrealistic in terms of the physical part—a phenomenon we call “octopus arms”—or the drums are presented in an apologetic place in the mix, buried behind a wall of various sounds, afraid to come out and play with the other kids. Given that, we applaud BZ for his bold stance here. With the aid of his Reason DAW software, he has assembled a driving, muscular performance that powers the mix. Realistic part and good tones win the day here, thank you.
Moving on, we were also mightily impressed by BZ’s handling of his frequency ranges across the board. On many examples in this genre, low-mid frequency masking becomes an issue due to the predominance of frequencies required to create “heavy” tones. These can include bass, multiple detuned or 7-string/baritone guitars, and in BZ’s case, synths as well. Providing each of these sound sources an individual voice while maintaining a heavyweight wholeness to the overall sound takes finesse in both the tracking and mixing stages, and that’s precisely what we experience here. Well done! The guitar tone is tremendous and the snarky synth provides a very cool counterpoint, full of movement and energy.
Lastly, we compliment BZ on both his arrangement and mix here. As has been the case with all of our Spotlights, quality arranging provides a huge head start to success. It’s amazing how all of those hats get a little lighter with a clear path to follow, and to our way of thinking, it’s absolutely true that the mix benefits from this clear path every time.
BZ has provided us with an awesome example of one-man-band navigation. We hope that you loyal readers will take the time to digest some of the lessons here… we sure will!
Quality across the spectrum.
BZ Lewis, email@example.com