Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Circles - The Second Mix

As I've mentioned, I'm in the process of remastering/remixing some of the old tracks from a band I used to play in called Felix Amour. The second remix I attempted is a song called 'Circles'.

To start, my recollection of writing the lyrics is pretty clear. The song came out of a 6 month stay in a semi-remote cabin where the band concentrated on just living and writing music together on a full time basis. The lyrics came out of a 'stream of consciousness' session where I wrote down all my thoughts about what was going on at that particular moment in my life. As usual, the impetus involved a girl - this time it was with regards to my imminent breakup with a girlfriend. Basically, I noticed that my exact physical situation at that particular moment served as a perfect metaphor for my emotional situation. The 'circles' in my physical world were the round globes of a hanging light fixture which were indeed casting shadows on the floor. It was a particularly windy night, and there actually was a 'castle built with cards' on the table. In my emotional world, the circles were thoughts that were spiraling though my head, with the wind representing change that I wanted to usher in but wasn't because of the concern of the consequences. Lyrically I eventually accept that change is coming and inevitable, so I sarcastically start to ask my 'ex' if there was something that she missed while stripping away everything I had. The second lyrical reference to a circle confirms this acceptance and refers to me regaining confidence. The circle also represents the fact that the band itself was strengthening as a group with the band's version of those lyrics represented by the alternate background vocal track.

During mixing I noticed (for the first time) that this song actually doesn't have an official chorus - which is odd. I suppose the 'Take a look around me' lines serve as something of a chorus - but this doesn't really offer the listener any release or shelter. This fact probably adds to the 'unrelenting' feeling of the song. The original album version ended with a cheezy explosion leading to a song called 'The Finale'. This ending is much better.

The mix was far more difficult than Home, and in fact, still represents a 'work in progress'. Unbelievably, we had managed to squash 29 unique tracks into that 8 track recording. No kidding the song was hard to mix originally! Once I split out all the different tracks, things got a bit clearer; however, there were still many difficulties. Everything about the song is maxed out the whole way. Guitars, drums, bass, vocals are all 'hot', so building a nice distinguishable mix is difficult and something I'm still learning how to do. Adding a compressor to the output has helped a lot, but I think it may need more work. Also, the original drum track was on the 8th track of 8, meaning it was on the very edge of the tape - and somewhere in the process (probably just from poor storage), that track had become munged at different points throughout the song. I had to basically slice up the track and rebuild the missing areas from other parts of the song, etc. Overall, the drum mix ended up quite nice - I don't think you can hear the splices. This same process had to be done for a couple other spots in other tracks, but nothing near as extensive as with the drums. The final issue I ran into was processing power. Unfortunately my computer is underpowered to be doing a 29 track live mix all with effects and automation; however export mix still works. So I had to do the mix in sections live, then hope for the best when doing the final mix.

Anyway, here are the tracks. A note about file types and relative qualities - the range of qualities is:


Circles.flac (38MB)
Circles.wav (60MB)

Next Best
Circles.ogg (18MB)
Circles.mp3 (13MB)

I'd use the flac or the ogg (details on how to set it up can be found here), but that is just me.

Comments / suggestions / thoughts welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I notice actually when listening to it on different players, there is a huge discrepancy in the mix. Amarok sounds pretty good; however Audacity is _very_ guitar/vocals heavy, with the bass & drums far in the back. Will keep testing other players, etc