[LAU] New music: an open source / proprietary collaboration

Arve Barsnes arve.barsnes at gmail.com
Sun Aug 1 11:35:17 UTC 2010

On Sun, Aug 1, 2010 at 1:05 AM, Julien Claassen <julien at c-lab.de> wrote:
> Hello Arve!
>  I just listened to all your songs and they are great! In my mind they have
> their own niche of music, psychedelic metal. :-) No really, they have
> something very psychedelic.
>  A good intro, very atmospheric, guiding the listener into a dark, depressed
> mood. I like the soft musical introduction. It not only suggests a certain
> mood to me, but it also transports me geographically. Somehow the chords and
> the melody remind me of Grieg, though I know, it isn't the melody exactly,
> but more the general direction.
>  The reprise of themes amongst the songs is lovely. It creates a world out
> of these few pieces, makes them one universe, which is lovely and well done
> at that. You also used the many guitar tracks very well. It's good to hear
> the harmonies between the different guitars. Mostly very easily graspable. I
> think the guitar sound in the right channel of the last piece is very roomy,
> without being dislocated, undetectable in space. Did you use several mics
> for that, or did you do it with postprocessing. If so, I'd like to know how,
> please! the guitars are not only well played and well used, but also sound
> professional. You said, that as much of them as possible was recorded at a
> studio. But I know, that it's not only recording, but also postprocessing
> here. they are very present and the distorted guitars are also very fat!
>  Where di you take the cello in the second song from? Is that real or
> sampled? If it's sampled, it's a good, lively sample. the whining guitar(s)
> in the second piece befit the atmosphere of the song well. they form a nice
> contrast to the vocals later on. Somehow they conure a connection inmy mind.
> Two sides of the same thing. But the guitar sounds menacing and moanfun,
> where the vocal sound melancholic and moanful. The vocals are beautiful. I
> would have liked to hear them, take up reverb towards the end, but that's
> just personal opinion.
>  The third song now, is another side of the universe, yet still clearly
> identifiable belongs to the cosmos. The harmonies. A very nice twist with
> the acoustic guitar(s) taking up the whining from the previous title. They
> hold the menace again. This song souns overall more frightening in a cold,
> calm way, than the others. Especially because of the very acoustic or at
> least clean start.
>  OK, I think after so much, well deserved, praise, it won't hurt to have a
> bit of criticism. :-) the drums in general sound good. The toms are used in
> a good way. You make good use of the stereo panorama. But the snare and the
> hihat lack something for this style of music. Taken for theselves, there
> would be nothing wrong in my ears. We're talking opinion and expectations
> here only. Still the hihat might have been better off, a little more to one
> side, probably to the right. It might also have sounded better with some
> room type of reverb and probably some more EQ fiddling to let it sound
> fuller.
>  Now my favourite topic: The snare. :-) It's a pitty, you recorded the drums
> from a real drumkit, otherwise I would have liked to ask you for the
> samples. The snare sounds very 70ish. With some more editing I'm sure, I
> could get a real 70s muted snare. But that really doesn't help your songs
> along. A more 90s snare would possibly better fit. So a clearer attack, more
> compression. A little more sustain/release might not have been bad either.
> So you might have put a reverb on the snare and a compressor after that.
> Maybe put the reverb after a first compressor, that sees to the basic
> setting of the attack. then you can use the second compressor more softly
> and thus not be stuck with an 80s snare, like the "in the air tonight" one.
> But still have more sustain to set a good counterpoint to the guitars. As I
> said, taken not so far, that type of snare also sits well with the acoustic
> or clean parts, while still being metal.
>  Still, if that's everything I can complain about, it's very little. :-) You
> must know, I'm Westfalian. some people say about us: The best compliment
> they can give is: Well, that wasn't too bad. :-) I really like the songs, I
> love the overall production, which is fat, well balanced and alive. The
> songs are well composed. Not harmonically complex. But the riffs were right.
> It seemed like every note was in its right spot and you composed the special
> effects, rather than just throwing in samples. Almost programmatic in this
> way. I hope we might get to hear something from you again. It will most
> certanly be something to enjoy on a warm day, when the dark and cold time is
> something surreal, and not really expected soon. :-)
>  Kindly yours and thanks for sharing
>            Julien
Wow, Julien, that's a lot of comments! In general I'll keep it all in
mind the next time we go in the studio, as we will probably use the
same studio and the same technician the next time, at least for drums,
but maybe also for rhythm guitars. I'll pass on your comments to the
technician as well, he's always interested in constructive commentary.
Now, to respond to some of the specifics you mentioned:

- The first acoustic intro that reminds you of Grieg wasn't written by
me, it's actually an old song written by Christian Sinding called
Majnat. I don't know too much about him, but he seem to have made
music for Grieg's silver wedding so they might have been friends. I'm
not sure when this song was written, but I first heard it in a 1913
recording with Carsten Thorvald Woll singing and Fred Bachman playing
piano. At this time the composer was still alive, so it might have
been written in that period. Anyway, I loved the melody, so I used it
as an intro for this project.
- We used two mics on the rhythm guitars, but the results weren't
quite what we hoped so I think only one of the lines ended up being
used in the final product. All solo guitars are recorded without mics,
plugged into an amp, and line out into the soundcard. Any effects
beyond some chorus and reverb were done in the mixing stage and are
actually mostly just playing with panning and subtle echo effects.
That even goes for the weird solo at the end of the first song as far
as I can remember.
- The cello is real, recorded at my place. That and the female vocals
are the two "guest spots" on the release. For the record, no
instrument samples are used except for the piano which was done midi,
and the choir that are hidden somewhere in the middle of the third
song (also midi). Trying to use as much real instruments as possible
just for my own sake.
- The third song, yeah, it ended up sounding closer to the other songs
than we were afraid it could be. The way the song was constructed was
a little different than the other songs and what we have written since
then, so it will likely be the odd one in our output, with the weird
happy part at the end with accordion solo and whatnot. Still love it
though, we got the melancholy that we were going for, and it fits in
with the other songs.
- The drums, we actually did record each part of the drum set
separately, for sampling purposes, in case we needed to switch out
some bad hits in the recordings with a clean hit. I don't think we
actually used any, we probably didn't have the time to comb through
the drums like that anyway, but samples of the snare exist. I'm not
sure if I have those samples here or if they're just in the studio
backups, but if you want I could see what I have lying around, since I
definitely have some of the multitracks lying around somewhere.

And hopefully you will hear some more from us in the future, but it
will be at least 2011 before that happens, as I have a lot of work to
do on the new songs before we go back to the studio. Glad you liked it
so far though!


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