You want beats? We got 'em...

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kevinmathie
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You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by kevinmathie » Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:17 am

...oh wait, you wanted good beats? Well, I'm not sure. I'll need some feedback first... This is total poetic justice. I remember as a music major in college during the 80's, M.C. Hammer was big, and rap was going mainstream, and we all sat around saying, "God, I hope this rap crap is a phase and will go away soon!"Little did I know that 20 years later I'd be wanting to create the beats myself! This is totally outside of my comfort zone. As the years have gone by I've opened up to rap/hip hop from a listening perspective, and like a lot of it. But, I don't know that it's embedded itself yet in my musical soul enough to create really great beats.So, here ya go. My first attempt. Here's what I want to know:1) Acknowledging the fact that I still have to create an ending before the deadline this Friday (you'll hear that it cuts off abruptly), does the basic arrangement and "feel" work? Does it sound like some lame-ass classical guy with no rhythm created it, or can it compete on some level with what's out there in music libraries?2) The mix is bothering me. I just moved into this tiny apartment, and everything sounds different to me, so I can't get a handle on where the bass really lies in the mix. Is it too loud? Too soft? What about the kick? Too overpowering? This room is going to take some getting used to, and probably some acoustic treatment.3) The bass timbre may be a bit unusual for hip hop. It naturally has a sort of distorted sound, which is part of the intended timbre rather than being the fault of some unintentional processing goof-up (see "Dark Bass" in Logic Pro's ES1 synth). I know different can be good sometimes, but not always. Do I need to tweak the bass sound or even scrap it and plug in a whole new bass sound?I've been listening to my beat next to some others that are on the radio, and I don't know that it compares favorably, but I don't really know how to fix it either. So, I would appreciate your feedback and pointers.Thanks!KevinHip Hop beat #1Original listing:Quote:Huge Production Music Library/Publisher looking for master quality URBAN/REGGAETON/RAP/HIP HOP INSTRUMENTALS/BEATS in all styles for use in corporate videos, TV, film, radio, and commercial productions. Solid performances are needed. Please submit one to three pieces online or per CD; 60 seconds to 3 minutes is the recommended length for this pitch. They offer a very fair exclusive deal with a 5-year reversion clause. All submissions will be screened and critiqued by TAXI and must be received no later than July 27, 2007.TAXI # S070727UR

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Re: You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by kevinmathie » Tue Jul 24, 2007 12:05 pm

This might mess with the mix a bit, but does transposing the bass up an octave work better?Hip Hop #1, with transposed bass

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Re: You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by aubreyz » Tue Jul 24, 2007 2:25 pm

Quote:This might mess with the mix a bit, but does transposing the bass up an octave work better?Hip Hop #1, with transposed bassHey Kevin,Hip hop is not a genre I excel in, but I've had to do a few of those tracks in the past few years --- and actually recorded quite a bit of rap way before it was mainstream "back in the day".Overall, this track sounds like someone trying to do hip hop style. The quality is good, some of the tones are okay too. btw- I though the first bass worked ok... you might try adding the octave very slighty to the original.First point... the drum fills sound too real. The same rhythms with more of a vinyl sound would be more authentic. The overall feel is a little too sing-songy, plodding... not enough groove.Second point... the synth melody is too developed. Think simple-simple- catchy-catchy--- repeat -- vary --Third point... too big of strings... this is one place you don't want them to sound that real... if they are even needed at all.I'm not trying to blow you out of the water... you're not that far, and you've got the chops to do this (though I feel compelled to ask-- like someone asked me when I was trying country--- why hip hop? You have some scary orchestral skill as I recall.)In trying to master a genre, one thing that I sometimes do... if I have the time, is pick a popular and very stereotypical track and try to recreate it. Listening is one thing, but if you really try to get down to the nuts and bolts of why it sounds like it sounds... it can change your whole approach.btw-- i should mention... nothing wrong with the composition. i enjoyed it... and wouldn't hesitate to finish it and submit it--- if nothing else, for the critique.Aub

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Re: You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by frequency » Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:39 pm

i could only get one song to check out. i liked the beat. i write on a triton what are you using for your beats?

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Re: You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by ncc1701 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:25 pm

I agree with Aub - it's definitely not bad, but it's also not quite "there" yet.I liked the opening percussion, especially the phased snares or whatever you call them, but then you have some very clipped synth drums in there too that don't fit with the more organic-sounding ones. I'd rather hear them all be "real" or all "synth."I think the strings are fantastic. I would even make them the dominant instrumental line - save the melody for the next verse. The melody works for me OK except for that repeated note in the last phrase - it feels like I want it to go somewhere else.Can you loop that bass line over again so all the parts come together in the last verse?For sure crank up the bpm and give it a whirl at about 132.Just my perspective. It's still better than anything I'd come up with!

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Re: You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by matto » Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:08 pm

Hi Kevin,I agree with Aub, it's sounds like somebody trying to do Urban music who hasn't listened to and absorbed enough Urban music.You really have to "get into" the style.One thing that may help is to actually try to recreate the beats from a few well known current urban tracks. Just like you might transcribe Charlie Parker to get a handle on bebop improvisation.Granted, Urban styles are not as complicated, but it's important not to underestimate any musical style. When you "fake" it, people can usually tell... matto

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Re: You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by kevinmathie » Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:32 am

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! This helps. Friday is looming soon, so I don't know how much I can fix this track, but there's another hip-hop listing with a deadline sometime in August, so I'll incorporate the suggestions on that one for sure.Quote:(though I feel compelled to ask-- like someone asked me when I was trying country--- why hip hop? You have some scary orchestral skill as I recall.)LOL! I keep asking myself the same thing. No, actually, I'm trying to become a very well-rounded composer. I want to be able to compose in any style a client needs me to at least reasonably well. I'm aware that I can't be brilliant in every genre, but I'd like to make sure I'm one step above incompetent in most of the popular styles. If that make sense.I will say, it's humbling to know that even though you can create a full orchestral score for a 100-piece orchestra, you can't get a simple hip-hop beat quite right.

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Re: You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by davewalton » Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:31 am

Quote:No, actually, I'm trying to become a very well-rounded composer. I will say, it's humbling to know that even though you can create a full orchestral score for a 100-piece orchestra, you can't get a simple hip-hop beat quite right. Pretty funny. It's not as easy as it sounds. Electronica is more or less the same thing... sounds easy but difficult to execute convincingly. Not to mention dealing with all the sub-genres of the basic genre and getting those right. I saw a listing recently (outside of Taxi) looking for a composer that could handle orchestral as well as Hip-Hop. It was paying $4000, which isn't that huge for a feature, but still... I'm a "starving musician" and I definitely would have applied if I had anything Hip-Hop to show. If I can do Orchestral, Electronica, and Ethnic as my principle "styles" I'm happy. If, on top of that, I can do a reasonably convincing job at Hip-Hop, Urban Beats, whatever you want to call it, I'd feel pretty well rounded.

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Re: You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by kevinmathie » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:47 pm

Quote:i could only get one song to check out. i liked the beat. i write on a triton what are you using for your beats?Hey frequency,Sorry I accidentally skipped over your post when I replied to the thread earlier. I meant to respond to it.I have a Triton too, but I tend to use it just for "live" stuff anymore, although it does have really good sounds on it that work great in the studio. The only reason I don't use it anymore is that when I do an extended run, like a theatre production, the Triton lives at the theatre until the performance run is over, which means that my Triton goes AWOL from the studio for weeks, or sometimes months, at a time.I use all soft synths in my set-up now. So on this track, I used:Logic Pro's "Ultrabeat" plug-in for the kick/snare,ToonTracks's "EZDrummer" for the high hat, and other snare (which, as one of the posters mentioned, is a little wierd to mix up the snares like that),Spectrasonics's "Stylus RMX" for some of the upper-mid frequency eighth-note rhythmic patterns,Logic Pro's "ES1" plug-in for the bass,MOTU's "Symphonic Instrument" for the strings - (usually I use VSL's Opus 1 & 2 for my orchestral sounds, but decided to give MOTU a shot on this track),Logic Pro's "ES1" for the high melodyLogic Pro's "EVD6" for the clavinet in the bridge. I don't know if that works at all, though. I was just trying something different out.Logic Pro's "EXS24" sampler for the triangle that replaces the high hat in the chorus.Back to the Triton, however, I understand that you can now get all the Triton sounds for the Sample Tank plug-in, which would be really cool. A friend of mine uses Sample Tank all the time, so I might get it just to get all the Triton sounds onto my computer.

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Re: You want beats? We got 'em...

Post by kevinmathie » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:52 pm

Quote:If I can do Orchestral, Electronica, and Ethnic as my principle "styles" I'm happy. If, on top of that, I can do a reasonably convincing job at Hip-Hop, Urban Beats, whatever you want to call it, I'd feel pretty well rounded.I think it's cool you can do Electronica and Ethnic. I need to work on those styles, too. I've just worked both orchestral and musical theatre so much for the past 20 years, that those are the styles that I'm most adept at. Musical theatre, especially, doesn't seem to have much of a place in the film/television world, though. So, I'm finding that I have to reinvent myself a bit for this side of the music biz.But, reinvention is good. I think it'll end up making me stronger in the two categories that are already my strengths.

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