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Winter Mirror (original song)

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AndyJ
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I’ve uploaded the result of an internet collaboration with singer Ed Millican to Soundclick:

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=1300275&songID=12301477

It’s a home-made demo recording, not a semi-professional studio recording, as I’m sure y’all can tell from listening to it. So please keep that in mind. Ed wrote his own lyrics and vocal line, so please feel free to comment on his work on this song since this is a forum for singing. I'll tell him to stop by here and respond to your welcome constructive criticism. ;)

You can find the lyrics and credits on the Soundclick site as well. This collaboration is part of my “Drusilla Online” project.

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Hi guys. First of all, I have some tips on the mix:

1. The guitar is out of tune, and you need to fix that.

2. You need to double guitars during recording (one left one right)

3. You need some bass in there, even if synthesized.

4. You need some compression on the vocals, with some reverb.

Next, the vocals:

They sound a bit out of rhythm at some points, but other than that, you can make them sound much better with mixing! You get a little bit nasally at the high parts though, i'm not sure that's intentional? Another critique is that they could sound much stronger at some points, do you agree?

Overall, it's a cool song and the vocals aren't that bad at all! But I'd love to see you guys re-do it with a much better mix! Do you still have the isolated tracks of your guitars and drums and vocals? You could email it to me if you want me to mix it for you :)

Nice job though, originals on the forum are always fun.

There are a bunch of other originals you guys can check out too and notice how people mix and perform them, that can help you out a bunch.

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Thanks for the constructive feedback, that's very welcome.

Of course, I would like to re-record this properly. Or have it re-recorded properly, since I'm a pretty poor guitarist. As part of the Drusilla Online project, I'm not limited to internet collaborations with singers only. Any guitarist, bassist, drummer, who likes the music, can contact me. I'm fully aware that the current demo version is a very sloppy recording, but I've already pointed that out in my first posting. So the problem is known, the solution is not. I've tried to re-record the song, but Ed preferred to go with the 2005 version. And what should I say? I'm still the same poor-skilled guitarist, so I think that the "home-re-recorded" version really didn't turn out better than the 2005 version, just slightly different.

For the record, that 2005 recording is actually a 64 kbps recording. I know, I know ... but back then, I only wanted to demo this stuff for myself and RAM and HDD drive space were not as big as they are now. So the guitar track has this "glassy" sound all over it, which comes from the low kbps recording quality. But ... there's really not much point in getting too much into details over an old home-made demo recording. There are much better home-recording possibilities nowadays, people can actually record demos that sound like semi-professional studio recordings. I'm fully aware of that development. It just won't help my poor guitar skills, so ... if anyone wants to join in on the project and re-record the instruments, just drop me an e-mail.

Ed's vocal track, of course, is not just a 64 kbps recording. Just wanted to mention this in order to avoid any confusion ;)

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Thank you very much for the critique!:D

Yes, I do agree with you about everything you said. I'm afraid the nasally parts were never intentional. That's just pretty much the way my voice sounds when I sing close to the top of my range, which would probably be a B4. I can hit a C5 but I can't hold it as long as I can hold a B4. I usually tell people my voice is somewhere in between Ozzy, Axl, and a Cat that got it's tail caught in a slamming door.:lol: However, you might have also been referring to one of the parts where I was off pitch so I used Vvocal to fix it and sometimes that makes a synthetic sound. That high part at the end where I hold the B4 while I'm singing the word, Tears, was really close to being right on pitch so if that's one of the parts you're referring to, then yeah, that's just my voice.:(

When you say my rhythm was off in parts, I'm assuming you're talking about timing. If you told me which parts I was off on, I could probably fix that. I really appreciate the offer, and I wouldn't mind sending you my vocal track except that it would have to be a high quality Mp3 like 320 kbps rather than a wave file cause unfortunately I'm still stuck on a dial up connection, Max 50K and uploading a wave file of my Vox would almost be an impossible task. If we had a really good HQ version of the background music, then I might take the risk of uploading for what would probably be 8 or 9 hours and just pray my connection doesn't get cut off like it so often does.:rolleyes:

I also want it known that I'm very open minded to the idea of someone else doing the vocals as long as the song fits there voice better than mine and they stick with my lyric and stick fairly close to my top line and of course, as long as Andy agrees. So if any male singer out there likes the top line, lyrics and music, and wants to try singing the 1st verse, lift and chorus, I say Go For It! Basically, I'll take any help I can get on this project.

I realized that Andy's recording of it was at a low bit rate, but I saw promise in the bare bones of the tune that he came up with. especially the part for the chorus that reminded me a little bit of DON'T FEAR THE REAPER, my favorite Blue Oyster Cult song!:D and when I first came up with the lyrics and melody to mix with his chorus, I was hooked. I hope other people will enjoy it too.

BTW...I did put a little bit of reverb in it as well as chorus but I was afraid that people wouldn't be able to understand what I was singing if I put too much effect on it so I guess I under did it.:rolleyes: Didn't even think of using compression, so I appreciate the tip.

In fact, I very much appreciate everything you said. Thank you for your time!:)

Ed

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BTW...I did put a little bit of reverb in it as well as chorus but I was afraid that people wouldn't be able to understand what I was singing if I put too much effect on it so I guess I under did it.:rolleyes: Didn't even think of using compression, so I appreciate the tip.

In fact, I very much appreciate everything you said. Thank you for your time!:)

Ed

....Is dial up still available?!!

LOL! Well compression is a big part of making the vocals sound 'in your face'.

It's easy to hear the harmonic content of a voice when in person, but in a recording a bit of compression really makes things even out.

I hope you both post some more stuff on the forum soon, it is a lot of fun!

As for the nasal issue, it seems that a LOT of people have that same thing, so no worries! The more you sing up there, the better it should sound anyways.

Andy, if you're not a guitarist what are you?

Also, how old are both of you?

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Thanks, I'll definitely experiment more with compression. And yes, where ever there's extremely tall trees blocking you from having fast internet, there's dial up!:rolleyes::lol:

Yes, I agree with you. I've been singing for around 11 years now and it seems like the higher my range gets, the less nasally and screechy my voice is, probably because then I'm no longer singing at the top of my range because my range has moved up. I'm pretty happy with it though, I can comfortably sing from a D2 to a B4 once I'm warmed up. And the strange thing is if I record right after I get up in the morning, I'm even capable of singing as low as a B1.:cool::)

As far as my age goes, I'd say that I'm ANCIENT.:lol:

OK, well...I'm actually 42 years old and I got a late start at singing.

Still wondering about the timing on that song though. For a long time, I'd say timing has been my Achilles' heel. Probably because I spent a lot of time doing Karaoke before I got into bands, where timing is really not that necessary if it the company that produced the song did a good job on the timing in regards to when the letters of the lyric change colors. If it's a poor CDG, then it's best not to even look at the screen, and just hope you can count on your memory of the song and your timing.

I think my timing has gotten much better over the years, but sometimes I'd listen to this Demo and think I heard places where I might have been a little bit behind and other times it sounded OK to me, so any help with that would be much appreciated whether you wanted to post it or PM me about it.

I do have at least 2 other projects that I will definitely post here in order to get some insight. It's really wonderful to have a site like this. Thanks again for your advice and thank you, Andy for bringing this site to my attention!;)

Ed

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I see, that's cool! Quick question I like to ask, what is your voice placement? I'm a low-baritone with a recorded range of Eb1-E5.

I think that the timing is really improved by singing and strumming at the same time, with a metronome hopefully. But it's hard because it was sang on a rough home demo. :D

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Well, Adon, you asked what I am, if not a guitarist: I see myself as a "hobby songwriter". I can play guitar and keyboard just good enough to write songs, but I'm terrible at playing a full song without mistakes. But then again, I'm not really practicing. I would have practiced more if I had had a band at one time, but people in my area always only want to start "cover bands" - I've never had any interest in wasting my time with covers. It's much more exciting to me to bring own original ideas to life.

Anyway. If anyone wants to contribute to a proper re-recording of the song, don't by shy, get in touch ;)

EDIT:

Adon, since you mentioned you'd be interested in more songs, I would like to point out that this was the second Drusilla Online "release" (if a "demo" can ever be a "release", that is). The first one was with female singer Mia Marrè and the thread "died" here: http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=6368 - only Ron, the good soul of this forum, bothered commenting. In the collaboration subforum, I once started a thread looking for singers and used a song called "The Tale of the Cypress Girl" as "appetizer". That one is currently in the works with yet another (male) singer and might be the third release, but Mia also is working on a couple of songs. Hmm ... and Ed started writing lyrics for a ballad of mine ... Ed? ;)

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Wow! Adon, that's a really impressive range!:cool:

But how do you really know where your placement is if you can sing as a low baritone or a tenor or in your case, even approaching counter tenor?

I guess I'm most comfortable singing as basically any kind of baritone unless that requires hitting an Eb5!:lol:. I've recorded myself singing as high as a Db5 only once. Actually that was kind of a weird experience because I had tried to hit that Db5 for a composition I was working on and I fell flat and hit the C5 dead on. So I thought maybe I'll aim for a D5 and hit my Db5 target. Well I accidentally over shot it by a mile and hit an F5 but the problem was my voice cracked so part of it was like falsetto and part of it was my upper register and it was tough for me to distinguish at what point did I go back into my upper register. I actually thought I might have hit the D5 with my upper register but I was almost certain that I hit my target(Db5) with my upper register.) It might be really cool to get your take on that. If you were even slightly interested, I'd be happy to send you the sound file.:D

Anyway, as I've said before I've recorded my voice as low as a B1 but that's if I sing with actual words and aim for the note. However, when I just record vowel sounds, and instead of aiming for the note, I just hit whatever note I'm comfortable with, hold it and slide down as low as I can go, I've recorded myself singing as low as an A1. So to be honest, I have no idea what I am!:lol: Like, I said...My ability to sing as a low bass seems to disappear as I warm up my voice. Seems like as soon as I can hit that B4 fairly comfortably, I can only go as low as a D2. I think one time, I tried it and was able to barely hit a Db2.:)

Thanks for the tip on making my timing better. I've been trying to get more acquainted with using a metronome because most of the lyrics I've written over the past 20 years have some pretty cool melodies to go a long with them. Most of them popped into my head as I was writing the lyrics, kind of like someone all of a sudden singing a song in my head that doesn't exist yet!:lol: However, when I try to record these songs, my biggest problem is not pitch, but instead, keeping an even tempo.:( So I've been told if I can get used to using the metronome, that will make my tempo much more even. I've also been told the same thing about snapping your fingers or tappping you foot while you sing, but sometimes that seems even more difficult than using the metronome.

Ed

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Hmm ... and Ed started writing lyrics for a ballad of mine ... Ed? ;)

I thought you had forgotten about that one.:lol:

At the time, it didn't seem like you were really into the lyric or even the subject, but yeah, I've come up with a few more lines for that lyric and a fairly decent melody to go with your music. However, I have no idea when I'll be able to really get into that.:/ But you never can tell when inspiration will strike!;)

Ed

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Anyway, as I've said before I've recorded my voice as low as a B1 but that's if I sing with actual words and aim for the note. However, when I just record vowel sounds, and instead of aiming for the note, I just hit whatever note I'm comfortable with, hold it and slide down as low as I can go, I've recorded myself singing as low as an A1. So to be honest, I have no idea what I am!:lol: Like, I said...My ability to sing as a low bass seems to disappear as I warm up my voice. Seems like as soon as I can hit that B4 fairly comfortably, I can only go as low as a D2. I think one time, I tried it and was able to barely hit a Db2.:)

Ed

Ed: Here you can hear my lowest recorded singing yet

I would say if you can get to low 2nd octave regularly, you are probably a baritone. I can always get to the low 1st octave, but I lack the weight that a bass singer has. That being said, I know people who experience the same problem of losing lows when singing highs. It's possible that your voice just adjusts to singing in a higher range rather than lower.

It has less to do with the notes you can hit, but rather the weight and comfortability you have in hitting them. For example, anyone can whistle-voice a C6, but they won't be considered a soprano.

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Wow! That was really cool!:cool:

But wouldn't most of that recording be classified as vocal fry?

I have recorded myself singing in a very weak falsetto, just barely squeaking out a B5 but I have no idea how to access my whistle register.:|

Well I can definitely get to the lower 2nd octave regularly so

I guess that would make me a baritone.:)

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It's not vocal fry. Vocal fry loses pitch and clarity of the note, and is not useful for any kind of singing. If you vocal fry in the first octave, you will have lost the tonal quality of the notes. I can't make it to an A5, so you are quite lucky! Whistle register is essentially squeaking.

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Oh. Sorry about that, I'm still learing. I thought that when you could hear a little bit of soft clicking in the voice when it's really low, that that was vocal fry. I appreciate the heads up on that. In that case, that's ASTOUNDING!:D Is accessing your Whistle register uncomfortable? Because when I hit that B5 with what I thought was my falsetto, it was extremely uncomfortable.:rolleyes:

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When you sing low, you can hear the individual vibrations of the vocal cords. Examine, for example, JD sumner (gospel bass singer)

But even though that is true, you don't lose the quality of the note as you do with fry.

Listen to that recording of mine with subwoofers, you will hear bass frequencies that aren't produced with fry.

Whistle register is really effortless!

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I was going to mention the nasality. I was not sure if you had a head cold while singing this. For the sound is through nose. We all use sinus cavity to resonate. But let the note come out of the mouth, not the nose.

Neat song, neat lyrical idea. Excellent guitar riff, even with an out-of-tune guitar. Wise choice for drum sound and meter. This could be a major song. Just follow other's advice, clean and tighten it up.

Ed, you have a fondness for the ee sound. Which is a good sound. But I think it has allowed you to drive too much into the front of the nose. Move a little more toward eh. Each singer is different. Some are too far back and have to move toward ee.

On the plus side, your pitch was mostly good and that is a big hurdle for others.

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Thanks for the nice compliments and the good advice, Ron!:D I very much appreciate your advice! : ) I'm glad you feel that way about the riff, now I feel even better about choosing this song to work on out of the numerous choices that Andy gave me. and I'm sure Andy will love seeing your remarks!:D

The next time I record something, I will definitely keep the ee to eh thing in mind, and you're right, when I sing high, I do like that ee sound!;) When I'm singing more with my mid register, I love the Oh sound!:D

Ed

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