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Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

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  • Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

    After an extensive rewrite, the demo for Megalith Book I: Concerto for a Dying Sun (For Strings and Well-Tempered Synthesizer) is now complete and ready for rehearsals; what a relief! This was a major undertaking in every sense of the word and I completely redid my entire approach and workflow to write this one. The overall key is in D Harmonic Minor and it basically follows Concerto form in the way the motives are presented, except instead of an Exploration section I have a guitar solo.

    There are a few minor flubs with the live synths and guitars but the idea is all here and, most importantly, can be repeated.

    SOUNDCLOUD LINK HAS BEEN UPDATED FOR THE ROUGH MIX, FOUND BELOW.

    My goals for the rewrite were:
    - Create a more structured piece
    - Eliminate the bits where it seemed to drag
    - Write more thematic parts for all of the intstruments

    Instruments used:
    - '71 Mexican Tele Thinline reissue through an amp sim (Behringer GDI 21) and compressor (Bogner Harlow)
    - Roland JV-1080 with Orchestral I and II expansion cards
    - Roland JP-08
    - Yamaha DX7
    - Moog Mother-32
    - Twisted Electrons AY3
    - TipTop Audio analog drum modules
    _ Studio Electronics Oscillation

    Sequencers used:
    - Roland MC-500
    - XOR Electronics NerdSeq

    Everything was run through a single BOSS RV-500 delay/reverb

    Any and all feedback is welcome, thanks in advance for listening, I hope you enjoy the journey.
    Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 01-15-2020, 05:22 PM.
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
    My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

  • #2
    Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

    The real work started today: wrote the drum fills, tweaked a few of the sequences, and recorded all of the orchestral and percussion tracks. This was a process of sync'ing my PC to the MC-500 and NerdSeq and recording each track from the MC-500 in a separate pass. It was really tedious because I had to play through each track head to tail first and make sure the levels were good before committing to recording it. The drums were particularly tricky to record.

    20% completed, by my estimation. Next up is recording the modular synth parts.
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
    My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

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    • #3
      Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

      Sounds great...really big sounding synths & sweet guitar tones for both solo's...second one was pretty Brian May-ish I thought ..nice work!
      "Less is less, more is more...how can less be more?" ~Yngwie J Malmsteen

      I did it my way ~ Frank Sinatra

      Originally posted by Rodney Gene
      If you let your tone speak for itself you'll find alot less people join the conversation.


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      • #4
        Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

        Thanks, the demo has a few issues I’m hoping to correct with the final version: there’s quite a bit of mud on the reverb; the snare sounds ... well, it sounds like an 808 snare because it is, but it needs to be beefed up; and the guitars need to be reamped. A lot of work remaining!
        Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
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        • #5
          Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

          Tracked the drums, orchestral bits, and modular synth last night. On to the live synths tonight, then guitars, and this song will be ready for vox!
          Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
          My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

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          • #6
            Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

            I like what you're doing with the guitars, they sound great! (Still feel like they need to be slightly higher in volume though.) Also really like the computery blip stuff going on after the first break. Cool sounds.
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            • #7
              Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

              Thanks for listening and feeding back! Stay tuned, the final recordings are making good progress!
              Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
              My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

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              • #8
                Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

                Part 1 -- Great transition around the 1 min mark. Heavy stranger things vibes at the beginning. Starts getting especially epic around 2 minutes in and I like the refrain at 2:40. I appreciate how balanced the instrumentation is -- nothing is overpowering, and all the parts are playing their role.

                Part 2 -- Mmm. That's good synth tone. Nice use of the sample too. The beat here works for my sensibilities. This sounds like some epic soundtrack music for a space movie. I think at a certain point this section gets a bit too grand, and loses the initial vibe, but you could also interpret that as movement. Definitely quite cinematic overall.

                Part 3 -- The pulsing keys are great here. Just enough momentum while leaving space for the subtle layers. Cool guitar part that comes in as builds up. The amount of gain on the lead does give it a very 80s vibe though. I like the melody a lot, but would really love to hear it with less gain. The ebow tones/swells, in contrast, are just lovely. The ending of this section, where the solo keeps going, is the part of this composition that most drags for me. The rest actually has a nice sense of structure overall. I'm really impressed with how far you've come with the synth sounds in this piece! They sound great.
                Schecter C-1 elite(alt-5, Fullshred)
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                • #9
                  Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

                  Originally posted by AmirH View Post
                  Part 1 -- Great transition around the 1 min mark. Heavy stranger things vibes at the beginning. Starts getting especially epic around 2 minutes in and I like the refrain at 2:40. I appreciate how balanced the instrumentation is -- nothing is overpowering, and all the parts are playing their role.

                  Part 2 -- Mmm. That's good synth tone. Nice use of the sample too. The beat here works for my sensibilities. This sounds like some epic soundtrack music for a space movie. I think at a certain point this section gets a bit too grand, and loses the initial vibe, but you could also interpret that as movement. Definitely quite cinematic overall.

                  Part 3 -- The pulsing keys are great here. Just enough momentum while leaving space for the subtle layers. Cool guitar part that comes in as builds up. The amount of gain on the lead does give it a very 80s vibe though. I like the melody a lot, but would really love to hear it with less gain. The ebow tones/swells, in contrast, are just lovely. The ending of this section, where the solo keeps going, is the part of this composition that most drags for me. The rest actually has a nice sense of structure overall. I'm really impressed with how far you've come with the synth sounds in this piece! They sound great.
                  Wow, thank you very much for the detailed feedback; I love reading feedback as it's happening in "real time".

                  I think you'll like the changes/fixes that have been done to the arrangement since the demo was completed. I agree on Part 3, it establishes a sense of climax and then just sits there ... part of that is is intentional but part of it is a lot of repetition! I needed to have something there so I could hear where I wanted to go with it all. I don't think it would drag so much when being played live, but I still knew that needed to be pumped up from the get-go. Thanks for confirming that with me!

                  As for the synth sounds ... wait til you hear the final tracks. If you liked these base sounds, you're really going to enjoy the final product!

                  I usually refrain from talking too much about synthesis techniques here because I don't know if anyone else is remotely interested in it, but there is some sophisticated stuff going on with the sound design for the synths.

                  As for the guitar sounds ... I really don't like them lol. It's just a temporary amp sim to get get the demo done. I am REALLY looking forward to re recording the guitar parts with actual valve amp/microphone/SSL channel strip.
                  Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
                  My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

                    Originally posted by TwilightOdyssey View Post
                    Wow, thank you very much for the detailed feedback; I love reading feedback as it's happening in "real time".

                    I think you'll like the changes/fixes that have been done to the arrangement since the demo was completed. I agree on Part 3, it establishes a sense of climax and then just sits there ... part of that is is intentional but part of it is a lot of repetition! I needed to have something there so I could hear where I wanted to go with it all. I don't think it would drag so much when being played live, but I still knew that needed to be pumped up from the get-go. Thanks for confirming that with me!

                    As for the synth sounds ... wait til you hear the final tracks. If you liked these base sounds, you're really going to enjoy the final product!

                    I usually refrain from talking too much about synthesis techniques here because I don't know if anyone else is remotely interested in it, but there is some sophisticated stuff going on with the sound design for the synths.

                    As for the guitar sounds ... I really don't like them lol. It's just a temporary amp sim to get get the demo done. I am REALLY looking forward to re recording the guitar parts with actual valve amp/microphone/SSL channel strip.
                    My pleasure man. That's exciting to hear you've got even nicer sounds in store. I look forward to hearing the final product. I am probably the only other person on the forum who would be interested in reading about synthesis and sound design haha. I've started really nerding out with that, even with my relatively meager collection of synths I've been able to get a lot more out of what I have by learning more and getting under the hood. There are some YouTubers who explain it quite well too (definitely recommend LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER and cuckoo music). And daaaang dude -- I'm super jealous you'll be recording through a legit SSL. Do you own one now? Or will you be recording this at a studio with one?
                    Schecter C-1 elite(alt-5, Fullshred)
                    Fender Strat (Jb jr, ssl-2)
                    Mesa Boogie Rectoverb
                    Marshall 1960a
                    Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

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                    • #11
                      Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

                      I love LMNC! Have you checked out Loopop? His videos are very educational as well. If you are interested in the nuts and bolts of synthesis, definitely check out Learning Modular on YouTube. Chris Meyer knows what he's doing and the book he Kickstarted last year, Patch & Tweak, is essential reading. Andrew Huang is very popular, his videos are entertaining and I feel that though his knowledge of synthesis is deep, he really doesn't share much of that knowledge, it's all very surface-y. LMNC goes into super deep dives I can't even fathom lol. EDIT: How could I forget DivKid and mylar melodies? Both of their channels are amazing!

                      I own an SSL channel strip; It's pretty much great for anything. A lot of ppl prefer Neve for guitar tracks, and I love the 1073, but SSL just makes everything sound super punchy. However, the SSL still only adds that final 5% to the overall sound, to be honest. It's a great icing for the cake, but you gotta have a cake first lol.

                      If you're really interested, you can listen to the current state of the song here, https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Kq...0-a0xlZ2atP9kh.
                      Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 01-12-2020, 09:44 AM.
                      Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
                      My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

                        My guitar recording front end:

                        Click image for larger version

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                        Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
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                        • #13
                          Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

                          Made great progress today; got both the final synth track as well as the guitar tracks recorded! After some experimentation I ended up with the following setup:

                          '62 Reissue Strat with HS-3 in the bridge
                          Bogner Harlow
                          Bogner Uberschall (set as a clean boost)
                          Bumbox Cielo (JMP clone with EL34s] with both channels at 12:00
                          Sennheiser e609 firing across the cone of an Eminence Swamp Thang loaded into a Randall Iso Cab
                          SSL channel strip into a Focusrite 18i20

                          Click image for larger version

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                          The guitar tone is pretty cool; it's got a lot of harmonic content and would probably be pretty harsh if the mic were on access; firing it across the cone rolls the tone off and gives it a really nice lower midrange hump that gives it some real oomph.

                          The SSL was providing a slight midrange and treble boost as can be seen in the photo above.
                          Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 01-12-2020, 08:33 PM.
                          Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
                          My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

                            Cool idea, has an Apocalyptica vibe! I feel like it would sound more epic if the violin stabs at 1:30ish (then again at 2:40ish and throughout) were louder.
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                            • #15
                              Re: Completed demo -- CONCERTO FOR A DYING SUN (prog, orchestral)

                              Originally posted by Beer$ View Post
                              Cool idea, has an Apocalyptica vibe! I feel like it would sound more epic if the violin stabs at 1:30ish (then again at 2:40ish and throughout) were louder.
                              Thanks for listening! The actual mix of the final tracks will require sooo much automation!!! Fortunately, I don't have to worry about it just yet lol.
                              Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
                              My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

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