The importance of loudness standards

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What are these numbers?

These are integrated (average over time) LUFS readings of mastered audio recordings from my projects, achieved through the use of a plugin by iZotope called “Insight”. LUFS stands for Loudness Units (Relative To) Full Scale, which in basic terms identifies how loud an audio recording is perceived as. Online streaming services such as Apple Music, YouTube & Spotify all have loudness standards when it comes to the maximum volumes of audio. This is to ensure that uniform perceived loudness across all maximum volumes on all audio/video streams is achieved.

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Through their processing algorithms after you upload a recording, an audio recording’s volume is adjusted until it reaches the loudness standard for the platform. For example, a mastered track from my original EP, “No Identity”, the top left LUFS reading at the top of this blog post, would be a perfect fit for YouTube and Spotify’s loudness standards, and would be left alone. However, the following four tracks would have to be turned down a bit to -14 LUFS from their respective levels, which means the master will sound quieter even though it’s a louder mix. In Australia, television uses what is known as the Operational Practice 59 standard. OP 59 states that in addition to a -24 LUFS reading, it must also not go above -2dB true peak, so often audio material used for television broadcasting is compressed down to the -2dB peak level, which explains why a lot of audio you hear on TV sounds a little compressed.

SoundCloud surprisingly does not have any loudness standards, but any material uploaded there, no matter how high the quality, will be converted down into 128kbps MP3 files in order for SoundCloud to offer the quickest buffer speed possible to its users, which broadens accessibility for users with slower internet speeds, but the fact remains that it’s detrimental to the sound quality.

Spotify’s loudness standard used to be -13 LUFS but was lowered to -14 LUFS in May 2017 in an attempt to prevent engineers from mixing/mastering too loud, and ultimately try to end the loudness war that has been going on for years.

Basically, back then, the louder your song was, the easier it was to hear on the radio frequency, which resulted in a lot of over-compressed masters come out of that time period, because if your station played the loudest music, there was a better chance of people tuning in and sticking around, which ultimately meant more royalties paid to the artist as more and more people tuned in to the seemingly louder signal.

However not everyone is comfortable with the change that Spotify made to their loudness standards. Users are complaining that naturally loud tracks with small dynamic ranges (usually electronic/dance music) are suffering due to this change, as these tracks won’t necessarily be returned to and remastered any time soon, so in a way they could be unhappy with Spotify trying to decide what their tastes are like, almost taking it as if it’s a reduction in quality, when it’s simply quieter.

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Personally, I mastered my tracks a little louder than the above standards in an attempt to try and match that loudness in other productions I’ve heard before. Or maybe I’m just used to (and enjoy) listening to loud music. In the end it all comes down to personal taste, but one must consider these guidelines if they want to stream their content on these platforms. I don’t think 0.1 LUFS is that much of a difference to even worry about (on my track “Therapy”), but a few of my other tracks are in the red, and could have probably been mixed better in order to achieve the standards without my tracks being turned down by these streaming services.

References

FreeTV Australia (2010, July) FREE TV AUSTRALIA OPERATIONAL PRACTICE OP- 59 [Online Document] Retrieved from http://www.freetv.com.au/media/Engineering/OP59_Measurement_and_management_of_Loudness_in_Soundtracks_for_Television_Broadcasting_-_Issue_1_-_July_2010.pdf

MasteringTheMix.com (2016, May, 08) Mastering audio for Soundcloud, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube [Web Article] Retrieved from https://www.masteringthemix.com/blogs/learn/76296773-mastering-audio-for-soundcloud-itunes-spotify-and-youtube

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The importance of loudness standards

Holden CRUZE Ad – Reflection, Comparison, & Tweaks

Above is the “final” version of my sound replacement project that I presented in week 6, and also the tweaked cut of it I made in week 9. As you can hear between the two, the revisited version of my sound replacement is a lot less in your face, and that is because I mastered it at a lower LUFS reading, -17 LUFS (as opposed to somewhere around -13 LUFS in the original). This is an improvement given that the OP 59 loudness standard in Australia is -24 LUFS. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely better.

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Above: iZotope Insight

The feedback received from the pitch suggested that the voiceovers needed a little bit more body to them, and also that the music was too overpowering, so those were the first changes I made. I also was told that some of the sounds were a bit unnecessary so I started taking some out, but didn’t want to ruin the overall exciting aesthetic the audio I produced provides, so I left most of them in, changing the fades and positions of a few voiceover lines and car noises. And yeah, the fact that I used F1 samples? I’m aware of that, but at the time it was all I had to work with. They’re good placeholder sounds for if I ever want to revisit this with new sounds in the future.

With this HSV GTSR advertisement being a benchmark for industry standard automotive sound design, I have my work cut out for me. Instead of trying to throw together some electronic piece, maybe I should write a rock’n’roll song and plan to record live instruments to make the advertisement have a bit more of a human feel to it. I had the right idea though, when I added in those slow motion skids, as that’s exactly what happens in this example too, except the backing music drops away to create tension, and comes back in when the shot speeds back up. Also, it’s of utmost importance that I record and capture the right car sounds. Nothing but sounds from a Holden car would be acceptable in the real world, as that could lead to false advertising lawsuits.

Overall I feel pretty satisfied with the outcome of this project, despite how much better it could have been looking back on it, as it pays homage to the original in terms of the feel, despite the difference in genre when it comes to the composition. I did interpret the brief in a bit of a creative way as opposed to practical/what-a-client-would-want way, but that’s only because I like to experiment, and as soon as I saw this ad without the music or sounds or anything, I felt like it NEEDED something electronic.

Here is the unedited mix of the music I made for this project:

Holden CRUZE Ad – Reflection, Comparison, & Tweaks

No-show – Unforeseen Project Changes

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Well, where do I begin.

It turns out that my artist was not as excited for the project as I hoped he was. He completely ghosted me by not coming up to either of the two recording sessions we agreed to. Part of me thinks it’s my fault, part of me is really angry that things aren’t going the way I want, and it’s discouraging. Everything would have been great if he had just stuck with me but I guess he flaked on me because he didn’t want to work with a student maybe? Or maybe it was due to the fact that I heavily relied on facebook messenger to correspond with him. Either way, for better or worse, I have to continue on without him. I pitched this project well, I just really could have managed this project better – instead of facebook messenger chats, I could have asked for his number and actually had a voice conversation with the guy to try and prove I wasn’t some scammer that was going to get his info and dox him or something. I don’t know. People get paranoid. Just like how I feel when people don’t show up.

Guess I’ll just release an instrumental EP, by myself, or even maybe rap on one of the songs myself, and try and fix the problems I had with my initial planning. I didn’t even have an official document – I just went off what I had for the project pitch in my powerpoint slideshow. Classy, Jolon. You know better than this.

It’s made me feel slack over the last few weeks, I haven’t bothered to do any work for a while, or even make a new plan, so this is where I’ll turn the tables and try to bring this one home. I’ve already booked a lot of studios over the next few weeks in order to try and get as much of this done as I can. As for my schedule, well the way I work it’s a very loose one. I’ve just booked studios in the hopes I can achieve something in those 4 hour slots. And I will.

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I’ve made myself a new project plan, with a hypothetical service agreement contract in there to make clear to potential artists that I don’t mess around. I mean business. I want to give back to the music industry after it has done so much for me in my life. I just feel so unmotivated sometimes though, and that can be challenging to break out of. Fortunately, I’ve taken the first step to turning this boat away from the iceberg.

No-show – Unforeseen Project Changes

Rocking Your Body with Justin Timberlake

Easily one of the most well known artists in the Pop and RnB genres of the last 25 years, NSYNC member Justin Timberlake released this catchy disco number initially back in 2002 on his debut solo album “Justified” released in November 2002 under the Jive Records label. It started to get airplay and became a single in April 2003.


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Title: Rock Your Body
Artist: Justin Timberlake; (Vanessa Marquez)
Duration: 4:27 | Tempo: 104 bpm | Key: E minor
Release date: April 8th 2003 | Label: Jive
Album: Justified (November 5th 2002)
Written by: C. Hugo, J. Timberlake, P. Williams
Mixed by: Serban Ghenea
Mastered by: Herb Powers


STRUCTURE / LYRICS (Source: Genius.com):

Intro (0:00 - 0:08)

Chorus: Timberlake (0:09 - 0:28)
Don't be so quick to, walk away
Dance with me
I wanna rock your body
Please stay
Dance with me
You don't have to admit you, wanna play
Dance with me
Just let me rock you
Till the break of day
Dance with me

Verse 1: Timberlake (0:29 - 0:46)
Got time, but I don't mind
Just wanna rock you girl
I'll have whatever you have
Come on, just give it a whirl
See I've been watching you
I like the way you move
So go ahead, girl, just do
That ass shaking thing you do

Pre-Chorus: Timberlake (0:47 - 0:56)
So you grab your girls
And you grab a couple more
And you all come meet me
In the middle of the floor
Said the air is thick, it's smelling right
So you pass to the left and you sail to the right

Chorus A: Timberlake (0:57 - 1:15)

Verse 2: Timberlake (1:16 - 1:34)
I don't mean no harm
Just wanna rock you girl
Make a move, but be calm
Let's go, let's give it a whirl
See it appears to me
You like the way I move
I'll tell you what I'm gonna do
Pull you close and share my groove

Pre-Chorus: Timberlake (1:35 - 1:44)

Chorus A: Timberlake (1:45 - 2:03)

Chorus B: Marquez / Timberlake (2:04 - 2:22)
Talk to me boy
No disrespect, I don't mean no harm
Talk to me boy
I can't wait to have you in my arms
Talk to me boy
Hurry up cause you're taking too long
Talk to me boy
Bet I have you naked by the end of this song

Bridge: Marquez and Timberlake (2:23 - 2:41)
So what did you come for
I came to dance with you
And you know that you don't want to hit the floor
I came to romance with you
You're searching for love forever more
It's time to take a chance
If love is here on the floor, girl

Bridge 2: Timberlake (2:42 - 2:50)
Hey
Dance with me
Yeah
Come on baby

Chorus A: Timberlake (2:51 - 3:09)

Chorus B: Marquez / Timberlake (3:10 - 3:28)

Beatbox Solo (3:29 - 3:47)

Chorus C: Timberlake (3:48 - 4:06)
Don't be so quick to walk away
(Just think of me and you)
Don't be so quick to walk away
(We could do something)
Don't be so quick to walk away
(I like the way you look right now)
Don't be so quick to walk away
(Come over here baby)

Outro: Timberlake (4:07 - 4:27)
Are you feeling me
Let's do something
Let's make a bet
Cause I gotta have you naked by the end of this song

 

Since the song is so repetitive I don’t think it’s worth breaking down the structure and talking about exactly what instruments are where, except for maybe the bridge. The last time I checked, I wasn’t crazy.

Instrumentation

  • Male Vocals – Justin Timberlake
  • Female Vocals – Vanessa Marquez
  • Backing Vocals / Beatbox – Justin Timberlake
  • Drum Kit – Bass drum, Snare drum, Hi-hat.
  • Hand claps (appears in various sections after first bridge)
  • Electric Bass Guitar
  • Rhodes Electric Piano
  • Clavichord Synth
  • Choir Synth
  • Synth Strings
  • Bell Synth

The drum kit sounds like it was recorded live and then looped, or later reinforced with samples. In this situation with a repetitive RnB/pop song though, the looping does seem very likely.

I originally thought the clavichord-style synth was an electric guitar, but after a few listens I noticed that it doesn’t sound plucked or strummed, no noticeable attack sound that a guitar usually has. On that note, the playing method of the electric bass is fingered due to the same reason of there being no attack sound.

Sitting just underneath the clavichord synth is an electric piano that plays during the verses. The fact that this is an RnB song and the characteristics of the instrument’s timbre make it recognisable as a Rhodes style electric piano. I feel as if there might be a high pass filter on this guy just to get rid of any unwanted resonant low frequencies that may clash with either the vocals or the string ensemble synth. I’m certain that the strings are synthetic, given the simplicity of the refrain that it plays. The choir synth that plays during the chorus and verses fades in slowly due to having a slow attack time on the synth’s filter envelope. Finally the bell synth either has a long release time or reverb on it to give it that long tail, most likely the former, since there seems to be minimal use of time domain effects in the piece.

At certain points of the track, mainly the outro, the “ahhhhh” backing vocals and even Justin’s lead vocals have a phaser effect on them.

Spectral Balance

 

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An MS Paint mud-map I made of where I think the instruments lie in terms of frequency. Left to right.

Overall the track sounds very bright and clean. The percussive elements really stand out in the mix as the brightest elements, as do the bell synth, clavichord synth, and even the vocals are also very bright. Some of the warmer elements – the strings, piano and choir synth – sound like low pass filters have attenuated their high frequencies at around 10kHz. It does not sound like Justin or Vanessa’s vocals have been touched at all with EQ, maybe just general EQ clean-ups as a fail-safe method of getting rid of sub-harmonic frequencies that are not audible.

Stereo Field

Both male and female vocals seem to come from the left and the right to suggest the vocals have been doubled and panned hard left and right, with some quieter vocals such as the outro phaser vocals appearing to be mono in the mix. These songs tend to be all about the artist, especially since it’s Justin Timberlake’s solo album, so one way to make the vocals the most prominent thing in the mix is to thicken them up, and that’s exactly what Ghenea has done here.

Other backing vocals, more specifically the beatbox vocals, seem to dance around in the mix panning from left to right and back again. This is something that helps the mix ‘move’ and keeps the listener interested.

The drum kit is panned as if the listener is in the audience at a concert, with the hi-hat panned to the right and the kick and snare in the middle.

Overall Production Aesthetic Takeaway

I originally slammed this song for being repetitive, but then learned that it wasn’t really that repetitive when I focused on a lot of the individual elements and how they fit into the mix in terms of performance and processing. It seems repetitive because it’s disco RnB, there’s a very clear influence there in the constant four-to-the-floor beat. The breathy background vocals is something I want to incorporate into an upcoming project entitled “Cockatoo Grove”, where Keely Menzie and I aim to deliver a music project reminiscent of 2000’s RnB, but with 20% more cockatoo melodies. This will require us to learn how to use melodyne for the purpose of correcting a cockatoo’s performance.

References

Genius.com (2017, January, 14) Justin Timberlake – Rock Your Body Lyrics [Song Lyrics] Retrieved from https://genius.com/Justin-timberlake-rock-your-body-lyrics

Wikipedia (2017, July, 16) Rock Your Body – Wikipedia [Wiki Article] Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Your_Body

Rocking Your Body with Justin Timberlake

Surround Sound: Calibration

Surround Sound is a speaker system usually containing 5 to 7 different audio channels, plus a discrete LFE (low frequency effects) channel. It’s main intention is to immerse the listener/viewer into a soundscape as they experience multimedia productions (such as film, music & games) by using separate sound sources in order to create a more ‘three dimensional’ soundscape. Surround Sound is commonly used in cinemas and home theatre systems.

Not only is it possible to watch and listen to multimedia with surround sound, but it’s also possible to feel it. For example. If a car on the television screen flies past, you can hear it coming from the back left, passing, and then exiting off screen from the front right. An excellent example of a 5.1 surround sound audio mix can be found in the 2013 sci-fi space stunner “Gravity”.

SoundWorks Collection: The Sound of Gravity from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

A very important aspect of Surround Sound is Calibration, which is a process that ensures the speakers are set up in such a way to make the viewing location also the best possible listening location, which is commonly known as a ‘sweet spot’. In studios, the ideal sweet spot would be where the console operator sits at the desk, or just a little bit behind. In theatre systems, both home and cinema, the calibration would be configured in such a way to give the majority of the audience the best possible listening experience, so the speakers will be aimed at either the middle of a couch or the middle of the cinema room.

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TurboFuture – Home Theater & Audio

Calibrating 5.1 and up in the studio is possible using a DAW such as ProTools, a signal generator, measuring tape, sticky tape, a mic stand, an SPL meter, hearing protection, and of course, a surround sound speaker system. Once your speakers are all set up, create a 5.1 session in ProTools, then assign a signal generator plugin insert on a new 5.1 audio track. Power on the SPL meter and tape it to the mic stand, then position the mic stand exactly where you want the sweet spot, at a listener’s head height. Put on your hearing protection and then start hard-panning the signal to each speaker, making sure the speakers are in the right places by checking that the distances from each speaker to the SPL meter are all equal, and that the meter is getting the same reading from each speaker. This will require moving the speakers around until the right results are achieved.

Calibration is important because it allows the console operator in the studio to accurately monitor their mix while mixing for 5.1 and up, and is especially important when it comes to moving from one studio to another, because the next studio you take your 5.1 session to could have a different monitor setup/calibration, so it is important to consider this translation between different speaker setups in different control rooms.

References:

Coleman, M. (2013, October, 4) SoundWorks Collection: The Sound of Gravity [Vimeo Video] Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/76123849

TurboFuture (2017, July, 20) How To Set Up & Calibrate 5.1 / 6.1 / 7.1 Speaker Surround Sound System [Web Article] Retrieved from http://turbofuture.com/home-theater-audio/How-to-set-up-and-calibrate-your-home-cinema-or-theater-surround-sound-system 

Surround Sound: Calibration

Switching Sides with Allday & NYNE

Tom Gaynor from Adelaide is one of the hottest up and coming modern Australian rappers today. Surprisingly, Gaynor’s roots lie within the punk genre, from when he used to be a part of a band from his highschool days entitled ‘sissycunt’. Gaynor now goes by the alias ‘Allday’ (which is a much nicer name, and easier on the ears too) and has been a part of the scene for over 5 years, beginning to produce beats in January 2011 after dropping out of university and then going on to release several Mixtapes and EPs. His debut album ‘Startup Cult‘ was released in 2014, debuting at #3 on the Aria charts. This album’s huge success helped the rapper break one hundred thousand likes on his Facebook page. Startup Cult featured the singles ‘Right Now‘, ‘You Always Know The DJ‘, and ‘Wolves‘ (featuring Sunni Colon).

But this blog post isn’t just going to be a history lesson. We’re going to take a look at some of the production techniques and aesthetics that make Allday’s tracks sound so fresh and so clean.


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Title: Sides
Artist: Allday feat. NYNE
Duration: 3:38 | Tempo: 80bpm | Key: E minor
Release date: July 15th 2016
Album: Speeding (April 21st 2017)
Label: Wind-Up Records
Written by: Allday & NYNE
Mastered by: Chris Athens


LYRICS (Source: Genius.com):

CH
She just wanna go downtown when the sun down
Got a couple pills and it's cool 'til the comedown
And I brought the whole damn crew but it's alright
Living every day to the fullest, never switch sides
Switch sides, switch sides
Switch sides, switch sides
Switch sides, switch sides
Living every day to the fullest, never switch sides

V1
No hit records on my demo, no talent, this is effort
Sculpting stone like Donatello of the clouds, visionary
Ray of light, ray of light, found myself out in the desert
Arizona sky like neon Nerds, system filled with venom
But if that’s their disses for me, I do not feel disrespected
I just feel young, wealthy, kind of handsome, independent
Did I mention independent? Casper’s t-shirt, Independent
Small labels with the method, whole team did this together
Oh no, oh no, they had to be a hassle
I got bigger fishes, killer whales, I know they’re really mammals
People’s morals getting lost, it's too much for me to handle
I don’t take these hoes to dinner, I would rather eat a barrel

PCH
These things used to hurt but I’m stronger now
Reps, reps, reps, reps, 'til I’m bulging out
I know the way they talk when I’m not around
That's why I only come around when it's going down

CH

V2
I’m streaking, I’m streaking fully dressed
No peeking, no peeking at my test
I'm skidding, I'm skidding through these streets
With my whole team squished into the seats
That's my old whip, kept it when I signed the deal
That's my new girl, think this one might be real
Guess I say that, I guess I say that every time
I would hate to have to settle, I need to get this right
On Bell Street going past the cemetery
Don’t bury me there, heaven help me
Ooh, having panic attacks, this stress ain't healthy
Blue like repping Chelsea, go tell them girls, "Leave"

PCH
But I’m India like New Delhi, the new Delly, I'll cross you up
Crossed with Nelly and you always find some summer
No matter what the month; Goulding like Ellie
But I'll make a bad boyfriend like Oscar Pistorius
And when all is done and said, it's me and my warriors
And she just

CH
She just wanna go downtown when the sun down
Got a couple pills and it's cool 'til the comedown
And I brought the whole damn crew but it's alright
Living every day to the fullest, never switch sides
Switch sides, switch sides (never fuckin' switch sides)
Switch sides, switch sides (never fuckin' switch sides)
Switch sides, switch sides (never switch sides)
Living every day to the fullest, never switch sides

Structure

Sides follows a very generic radio single structure, consisting mainly of verses and choruses, with an intro and a couple pre-chorus sections, but it toys with the idea of the “chorus” to come up with an interesting and dynamic three and a half minutes of new age Aussie hip-hop.

Instrumentation

Graunke & Bluff’s production on this track fully consists of electronic elements (electronic synths & drum samples), with the exception of the recorded vocals. This is a common practice in trap music, which is the style ‘new school’ Aussie hip hop borrows elements from.

Intro (0:00 – 0:11)

The song begins with a simple plucked-style FM synth over a sub bass, with some pitched-down vocal splices. These continue into the first chorus after 4 bars. The melody that the plucked synth is playing is the most common element of the piece and helps listeners identify the song right from the start if they’ve heard it before.

Chorus A (0:12 – 0:35)

The intro bleeds into the first Chorus which has Nyne singing over the synth, bass & vocal splices from the intro, with ad-libs from Gaynor. 808-style kicks lead this first chorus into a verse.

Verse 1 (0:36 – 1:11)

The bass drops out, and Gaynor comes in with some pitchy rap vocals that hit around the E and F# notes, as a filtered electronic snare starts knocking in the background. An arpeggiated synth can also be heard but may also have a low-pass filter on it. After almost 4 bars, the bass comes back in, and a high pitched vocal splice leads the instrumentation into the meaty part of the verse. Electronic drum samples (kick, snare, hi-hat) come in with a simple hip hop beat that may have some trap influence (syncopated hi-hat rolls pitched up and down). The reverb on the snare here combined with the ghostly vocal splices and minor key of the song put the listener in a haunting atmosphere with Gaynor’s vocals, the drums, and the synths cutting through the fog.

Pre-Chorus (1:12 – 1:23)

Gaynor’s vocals become a bit more tuned here again as the chord progression changes, an orchestral pad synth comes in, and the drums revert back to just the filtered snare hits. The synths also drop out here in favour of a more empty feeling soundscape. Chord progression changes back to the original again for the chorus.

Chorus A (1:24 – 1:47)

The first half of the chorus feels vast and empty, with nothing but the bass, Nyne’s chorus vocals, backing “oooh” vocals, and an orchestral pad synth before building back up into a more “full” chorus with the plucked synth, the drums, high pitched vocal splices, and Gaynor’s ad-libs. This may be to accentuate the second half of the chorus which mentions the song’s title to make it more memorable to potential listeners. A bitcrusher effect is applied to the drums at the end of the chorus to transition the song into the second verse.

Verse 2 (1:48 – 2:23)

The second verse is similar to the first, with the addition of an airy pad synth, which sound very reverberated and also like it has a tape-stop effect on the 4th beat of each bar, possibly from a plugin such as Dblue Glitch. After the first four bars, this verse is identical to the first, except for Gaynor’s lyrics and the delivery of some of his lines seem pitch corrected, especially as he sings “with my whole team squished into the seats” at 1:56.

Pre-Chorus (2:24 – 2:35)

Almost identical to the first pre-chorus but here, the orchestral synth and alternate chord progression continues through the next chorus and into the outro.

Chorus B (2:36 – 2:59)

The alternate chord progression gives this chorus a completely different feel from the other two, hence why I’ve labled it Chorus B. This chorus is completely devoid of percussion until the end when the bit-crushed drum fill leads the song into its outro. This section is the most “empty” feeling chorus in terms of layers purposefully to build up to a strong instrumental outro littered with synths and vocal splices.

Outro (3:00 – 3:38)

The outro of the song is 12 bars long with the first 8 bars being a very full sounding instrumental breakdown containing all of the elements mentioned before, sans lead vocals. The last 4 bars of the song sees some elements drop out as the song prepares to end to not feel as if it ends abruptly to the listener.

Production Aesthetics

The reason why the collective vocals are the centrefold of this track is due to the many production decisions made.

The intro + first chorus incorporate background vocal splices that are pitch modulated and also most likely time-stretched and reverberated to make it sound like a choir vocal, which gives it an atmospheric feeling and ultimately send chills down the listener’s spine. At the start of the verses and the pre-chorus sections, the drums are filtered to accentuate Allday’s main rap vocals as the focus of the song, also so the listener can get a feel for the flow before the beat drops. The outro sees the main raps take more of a background stance and puts emphasis on the vocal splices, which are pitched up, and like the lower pitch splices, are also reverberated. This technique creates something entirely new by making it sound nothing like a normal vocal – it now gives off a supernatural, enchanted vibe.

Vocal splices are a very common aspect of trap and hip-hop music, so the decision to include these into this production was partly to keep up with trends within the style of the music, and also as mentioned before to add more expression to the piece. Vocals are the most powerful aspect of not just hip hop but many other styles of music. Allday’s main rap vocals are also pitch modulated in the verses, most noticeable at 1:57 when the beats drops out for a bar – most likely done in Melodyne (or a similar performance correction tool).

Conclusion

Allday & NYNE’s Sides felt more like it’s own ‘main course’ instead of a ‘side’. It’s just one of those tracks that feels like it has a lot of gravity to it, and that’s achieved through the use of specific types of synths & sounds. Listening to the beat feels like you’ve opened the door and stepped into a chill & soothing sonic landscape, with the vocals only adding more flavour and character to the piece. Credit to the producers and engineers, because this track exceeds expectations and showcases a definitive evolution from a typical Aussie hip-hop song.

References

Bacon, E. (2014, September, 25) Where did Allday come from? [Web Article] Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/where-did-allday-come-from-20140925-10lrzq.html

Genius.com (@016, August, 7) Allday – Sides Lyrics [Song Lyrics] Retrieved from https://genius.com/Allday-sides-lyrics

Marsland, D. (2016, October, 6) The Changing Face Of Hip Hop In Australia [Web Article] Retrieved from http://pilerats.com/music/rap/the-changing-face-of-hip-hop-in-australia/

Wikipedia (2017, June, 17) Allday – Wikipedia [Wiki Article] Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allday 

Switching Sides with Allday & NYNE

EP with Blayde – Project Pitch Reflection

blayde2.jpg

So today I had my pitch for my major project this trimester.

The project will produce the following:

  • A 5-track EP – 5 .WAV stereo interleaved files at 44.1kHz sample rate & 24bit depth.
  • Album artwork – 2000×2000 .PNG image file.
  • Digital ArtBook – .PDF file

One major amendment that I would go back and make to my presentation would be to include Keely Menzie in the roles & responsibilities slide as an assistant recording engineer.

Another thing I did not consider at all is the budget. Budgets, in the real world, are very important, and we’re very close to being pushed out the doors of SAE and into the real world, so we’re going to have to do these eventually. Why not start now?

Something I’m thankful of including in my pitch were some “Plan B” ideas just in case the project falls apart due to unforeseen circumstances.

Overall I thought the presentation went fairly good, but I could’ve improved it by going into more detail on the risk mitigation, project management, and showcasing more of my productions that could possibly be incorporated into the EP. Like these:

 

EP with Blayde – Project Pitch Reflection