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Elahrairah

Help me develop a gritty, post-apocalyptic sound?

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Hey folks!

 

If you've got two minutes (well, 2m30s), I could use a little help in developing my sound for two quick tester tracks.
For your listening pleasure:

https://soundcloud.com/evan-witt/the-salt-dusts-at-morning

https://soundcloud.com/evan-witt/the-salt-dusts-at-night

 

Any advice on what I could do to make these a little grittier, juicier, and more enjoyable? I'm worried about sound levels and reverb: what do you think?

Thanks for any feedback!

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I enjoyed listening to both of these, but gritty isn't really how I'd describe them.  Gritty makes me think more of minor key and sparse but harsh percussion, lonely or nervous; what you've got is very smooth and western, bouncy or relaxed.  Maybe some oboe, cello, clarinet, snare drum... depends what you have in whatever instrument pack(s) your composing program has.  Something that can howl and moan, something that can crash and crunch.

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Thanks, sunandshadow! I agree with you about the 'grittty' misnomer. I think I'll try out your suggestions and see where they get me.

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The opening of 'salt dust at morning' seems dead on to me, it feels very desolate (which is good!). But then it gets bouncy and lively with the organ and the clapping which doesn't seem to fit quite right.

 

I like the reverb, there's a lot of it, but it's done well and seems fitting to the tracks.

 

If you can I would overlay a real guitar on there, it's a really cool melody and mixing in a live instrument would really make it pop.

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Many thanks, CCH Audio. I agree with you about the the first track getting too 'bouncy' as it goes along: during the rewrite I'll probably clean that up. Your detailed critique has been most helpful: I owe you one!

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Super late to this topic, but I just joined and am listening to everything I can. 

 

I read on the Soundcloud page that you weren't to mixing on these samples yet. Do you quantize while you mix? I ask out of curiosity about your process, but also because in the day version, the rhythms seem slightly off in places. Getting your beats aligned could really tighten it up. 

 

I agree with others about the feel of the day track, so I'm interested to hear your rewrite. 

 

It's probably too expected, but I anticipated whistling in the night version. I would have loved to have heard it, but understand how it could be too on the nose for a western vibe. I also feel the organ in the day version doesn't fit aesthetically either. If you wanted a keyed instrument, maybe an upright piano or tack piano, but you'd be good w/ just guitar, that percussion you have going on, and some strings. Brass could help too. A real frontier vibe. Please post the next draft! Would love to hear it.

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Quantizing should be used with care. On paper it would seem that everything should be perfectly quantized, but in practice it's going to suck the life out of a track. Tiny differences in timing make it should real and human. If it's perfectly quantized it's going to sound robotic and your ears get tired of it, especially in game music where you're likely to hear a track multiple times and at length. I'm not saying don't quantize ever; if there's a serious misalignment yeah go ahead and snap things in place. But like any other audio tool it needs to be used correctly and with finesse.

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Personally I would say that much of the gritty character of a track stays in the drums sounds. Heavy, "humid" and low pitched sounds usually give me a feeling of "gritty". For your tracks, I wouldn't define them as gritty but I really enjoy the guitars, remind me some desolate oil station in Mexico where something bloody is just going to happen! :)

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Wow... thank you for all the helpful responses, people! I'm taking your advice into consideration during my rewrite. I owe you all one!

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