what does this mean exactly?

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vickicourtney
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what does this mean exactly?

Post by vickicourtney » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:27 am

I submitted Liquid Samba on my taxi page to the Latin anything goes listing and the screener wrote on the return:

I dig the creativity, but the production would need more current sensibilities to work for this pitch.

Could someone tell me what this means exactly? Just want to understand clearly what this means to make it through the pitch. I understood they wanted anything . . . .

http://www.taxi.com/vickicourtney

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Re: what does this mean exactly?

Post by LamarPecorino » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:45 am

Hi Vicki:

I didn't find Liquid Samba on your Taxi page. BTW, I love the title. It helps if you can copy and paste the actual listing to your post. That way everyone can read and understand what the screener is trying to fulfill.

If I haven't already said so, welcome to the Taxi forum. Always happy to see another Texan here.
Onward and upward!
Lamar

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Re: what does this mean exactly?

Post by Paulie » Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:57 am

"current sensibilities"... that's an interesting choice of words. Listening to the track I think the screener means more modern or current sounding instruments? The piano is pretty far back in the mix and not very clear or crisp. The bass riff at the beginning is good, the sound quality is also good. However, I wouldn't keep it consistent throughout the entire tune, let the bass player start grooving to the Latin feel while another instrument takes over the theme. The strings sound too synthetic for me, and the sustain is too long for them... Taxi pro Dean Krippaehne calls it "the ten foot bow", meaning that a string player would need a bow that long to sustain so long. If you haven't done so, check out his great book "Demystifying the Cue" for some great context on this whole business.

Musically I think you hit the target, the production quality (sounds and mix) is where work is needed. I think many of us are in the same boat. :) Keep working at it!
Paul "yo paulie!" Croteau
"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." Beethoven
http://www.yopauliemusic.com | http://www.taxi.com/paulcroteau | https://soundcloud.com/yopauliemusic

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Re: what does this mean exactly?

Post by vickicourtney » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:32 am

Y150628LA

LATIN INSTRUMENTALS are needed by a very busy Music Library with a very long and impressive history of placements in Film, TV, and Commercials. We recently ran this opportunity as Dispatch Listing #D150612LI, and the company's owner is practically begging us for more material! If you made a submission to that listing, please send different material this time around. This is a great opportunity because they're searching for ALL types of Latin Instrumentals (Contemporary, Traditional, and Fusion). They'll take anything from Samba, Mariachi, Salsa, Bossa Nova, Tango, Ranchera, Hip Hop, Dance, etc. etc. etc. Give them Instrumentals in ALL-Tempos and ALL-Moods that authentically capture the feeling of any Latin Culture. For genres that normally use acoustic instruments, you'd be smart to give them real guitars and percussion, and shy away from MIDI-driven instruments. Of course, if you're doing contemporary Latin Dance/Club-type or Hip Hop tracks, your computer might be your best friend for creating the beats! It might still be a good idea to play some real instruments by hand to make your tracks sound more authentic and stand out from the crowd.Quoting the source: "We could really use some Latin music... like big time! We need to compile a lot of new volumes of material and hope your members can really come through for us on this one!" This request is open to any moods, from happy to heartbreak! Instrumentals can vary in length, but please make it at least 90 seconds long.

Screener wrote: I dig the creativity, but the production would need more current sensibilities to work for this pitch.

http://www.soundcloud.com/vickicourtney/liquid-samba
http://www.taxi.com/vickicourtney

What does 'current sensibilities' mean ? I would appreciate someone just politely saying that I need to work on the mix. Or give a suggestion, thank you.

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Re: what does this mean exactly?

Post by andygabrys » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:26 pm

hey Vicki:

Here is an opinion to try on that is based on my experience.

When a listing is calling for a general cattle call of styles - sure they want anything. But every listing also has a built in "bar" that you have to leap over considering production style, and how contemporary the resulting piece is.

So "more current sensibilities" is a way of saying: the production, sounds and mix is "dated". Or not "broadcast quality" which as Michael has explained on TAXI TV is a combination of writing, production, and mix. Its not just having a nice mix.

Some things about your piece to examine that strike me as "not contemporary":

Intro - percussion is programmed sounding. No variation, quantized feeling. Like MIDI without humanization. Piano bathed in reverb sounds dated.

Entrance of bass - this is the equivalent to the open G string of the acoustic bass. Never having variation or letting the bass line get down to the lower range of the bass means it sounds a little canned. Playing repeated notes with an acoustic bass sample is really difficult because it will never have the exact same sound as a real player. The result: it sounds programmed.

Strings - a pad like this has a dated sound. Its also a "synthetic" sound. It just goes on and on with no breaks or phrasing. It sounds like a chord being held down on a keyboard. If you break your strings up into sections (i.e. VL 1, VL 2, VLa, Celli, CB) and you play each section in as a "Line" rather than a chord, you can approach something that is more of an authentic string "arrangement". I have found that good string writing can make up for a gap in sample quality, but bad writing can make even fantastic samples sound like an organ instead of strings.

Effects - 1:30 sounds like an electric piano with a Phaser - Its tough to find contemporary albums in any genre that feature the phaser. Its an effect that has gone out of style. Extreme example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaA3YZ6QdJU that was 1977. Vs. Diana Krall's more recent version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8RYUZT57XA - besides the tape hiss on BJ's version, does DK's sound a little more "contemporary"? Note they even stuck in some pads and the phased electric piano in the second verse - so they want this to be a little retro. Would it have passed the screeners ears? Good Question.

Returning to instrumental performance / programming - Note the sound of the acoustic bass in this tune too. Lots of repeated notes, yet it sounds very different groove wise. Maybe consider this as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLZfhHW98Os obvious homage to the smooth bossa sounds of the 60's in my opinion. But the real performers put it over the "bar" IMO.

so to answer:

Is it a mix problem? NO. Not as the main issue.

What is my suggestion?

1) If you are going to use virtual instruments, its up to you to know how to program them so they sound as close to "real" as you can. Varying timing, velocities, not having things play for 24 bars without at LEAST a slight variation.
2) Its also up to you to be up on what is "contemporary" as far as the final production / mix for the GENRE you are writing in - how wet? how much reverb? what kind of reverb? What kind of time based effects (like chorus, phaser, flanger, etc)? Are any of these used in "contemporary" productions?
3) not mentioned before this: If you are writing film / TV "cues" - they generally have a generalized format, including a button ending and usually involve continuous development (augmenting a theme, adding different colors as doubles or replacing a sound) so that to have a static arrangement for 0:30 is fairly rare. I believe above the book "Demystifying the Cue" by Dean Krippaehne was mentioned by Paul above and it really lays this stuff out. I have learned a lot from studying that. And from making a lot of my own mistakes.

HTH.

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Re: what does this mean exactly?

Post by vickicourtney » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:06 pm

andygabrys wrote:hey Vicki:

Here is an opinion to try on that is based on my experience.

When a listing is calling for a general cattle call of styles - sure they want anything. But every listing also has a built in "bar" that you have to leap over considering production style, and how contemporary the resulting piece is.

So "more current sensibilities" is a way of saying: the production, sounds and mix is "dated". Or not "broadcast quality" which as Michael has explained on TAXI TV is a combination of writing, production, and mix. Its not just having a nice mix.

Some things about your piece to examine that strike me as "not contemporary":

Intro - percussion is programmed sounding. No variation, quantized feeling. Like MIDI without humanization. Piano bathed in reverb sounds dated.

Entrance of bass - this is the equivalent to the open G string of the acoustic bass. Never having variation or letting the bass line get down to the lower range of the bass means it sounds a little canned. Playing repeated notes with an acoustic bass sample is really difficult because it will never have the exact same sound as a real player. The result: it sounds programmed.

Strings - a pad like this has a dated sound. Its also a "synthetic" sound. It just goes on and on with no breaks or phrasing. It sounds like a chord being held down on a keyboard. If you break your strings up into sections (i.e. VL 1, VL 2, VLa, Celli, CB) and you play each section in as a "Line" rather than a chord, you can approach something that is more of an authentic string "arrangement". I have found that good string writing can make up for a gap in sample quality, but bad writing can make even fantastic samples sound like an organ instead of strings.

Effects - 1:30 sounds like an electric piano with a Phaser - Its tough to find contemporary albums in any genre that feature the phaser. Its an effect that has gone out of style. Extreme example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaA3YZ6QdJU that was 1977. Vs. Diana Krall's more recent version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8RYUZT57XA - besides the tape hiss on BJ's version, does DK's sound a little more "contemporary"? Note they even stuck in some pads and the phased electric piano in the second verse - so they want this to be a little retro. Would it have passed the screeners ears? Good Question.

Returning to instrumental performance / programming - Note the sound of the acoustic bass in this tune too. Lots of repeated notes, yet it sounds very different groove wise. Maybe consider this as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLZfhHW98Os obvious homage to the smooth bossa sounds of the 60's in my opinion. But the real performers put it over the "bar" IMO.

so to answer:

Is it a mix problem? NO. Not as the main issue.

What is my suggestion?

1) If you are going to use virtual instruments, its up to you to know how to program them so they sound as close to "real" as you can. Varying timing, velocities, not having things play for 24 bars without at LEAST a slight variation.
2) Its also up to you to be up on what is "contemporary" as far as the final production / mix for the GENRE you are writing in - how wet? how much reverb? what kind of reverb? What kind of time based effects (like chorus, phaser, flanger, etc)? Are any of these used in "contemporary" productions?
3) not mentioned before this: If you are writing film / TV "cues" - they generally have a generalized format, including a button ending and usually involve continuous development (augmenting a theme, adding different colors as doubles or replacing a sound) so that to have a static arrangement for 0:30 is fairly rare. I believe above the book "Demystifying the Cue" by Dean Krippaehne was mentioned by Paul above and it really lays this stuff out. I have learned a lot from studying that. And from making a lot of my own mistakes.

HTH.
Andy,

You are my new best friend. Seriously, thank you for your response and the detail. I can't thank you enough.

Yes, I've already read Frederick's book and Krippaehne's book. I spend alot of time with articulations other than volume such as expression, bowings, breathing, and velocities on midi instruments. And you are right, if I am going to use Midi, then I need to know how to make them sing, which is an ongoing process of learning. I play with orchestras on a regular seasonal basis, so I know what real strings sound like. A professional string player will tell you that you don't want the listener to hear the difference between an up and down bowing, but I understand what needs to happen with midi. It's just finding the right way to do it.

As for DK's bossa, the orchestration, to me, is dated, but the quality is there, IMHO. I grew up listening to Jobim and playing it. Quality, not just in the writing, is key.

Love your creations. Would love if you would critique a rewritten version of my samba cue. Don't know when, but would love your take on it.

Thanks again ever so much!

Vicki

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Re: what does this mean exactly?

Post by vickicourtney » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:05 pm

Paulie wrote:"current sensibilities"... that's an interesting choice of words. Listening to the track I think the screener means more modern or current sounding instruments? The piano is pretty far back in the mix and not very clear or crisp. The bass riff at the beginning is good, the sound quality is also good. However, I wouldn't keep it consistent throughout the entire tune, let the bass player start grooving to the Latin feel while another instrument takes over the theme. The strings sound too synthetic for me, and the sustain is too long for them... Taxi pro Dean Krippaehne calls it "the ten foot bow", meaning that a string player would need a bow that long to sustain so long. If you haven't done so, check out his great book "Demystifying the Cue" for some great context on this whole business.

Musically I think you hit the target, the production quality (sounds and mix) is where work is needed. I think many of us are in the same boat. :) Keep working at it!
Thanks for your response!

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