• Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
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Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
on: September 06, 2017, 12:23:24
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 13:39:24 by MrBouzouki »
Well it's finally out - not sure, if I'm happy, sad, relieved or what ? It has acted as an apprenticeship of sorts, I have learnt so much doing this.
 
Quote
On the 25th February 2016, an idea came into my head for a song involving the concept of a lighthouse in space.What would it be like to be in the back of beyond, all alone in deep space?

Lyrics followed and then musical ideas involving orchestration to denote the expanse of space, harp, synthesizers and electric guitar.

Just over 1.5 years later (560 days), this 16.5 minute monster is finally ready. This track has acted for me as an apprenticeship in recording, mixing and simple mastering. The original rough demo was completed by December 2016 but final construction only truly began in January 2017, with everything being re-recorded.

The track itself isn't particularity lyric heavy, with instrumental sections very much in keeping with a larger Prog Rock piece. Since it is quite long at 16.5 minutes I suggest listeners settle down and hopefully lose themselves in Deep Space for a while. :-)

https://soundcloud.com/mrbouzouki/lighthouse-keeper

The Lighthouse Keeper - P Goodrich © 25th Feb 2016

And the thing I hate most is the silence
Although noise is all around me
The noises of my trade
For I’m a lighthouse keeper
keeping the ships from harm

Alone … nobody else on my watch
So I tend the beacon
To warn away the unwary
from the hazards they might face.

Isolation … the monotony of it all
hopes and dreams suspended
as the days and months and years tick by

------

Work to be done it’s not easy
despite the automated systems
and the memory banks of the AI portal

14 million light-years from Earth
in a backwater of the universe
waiting and waiting and waiting to be relieved

A good posting they said and I believed them
not knowing how it would gnaw away at your soul
until you just want to scream and scream and scream inside
Inside
Inside

------

Alone … I feel so alone
despite all the advances of our race
you cannot put a price
on the sound of a voice
or the touch of a hand

"Love and Life is all about connections"


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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #1 on: September 06, 2017, 12:48:29
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 13:18:15 by Leonard Scaper »
I am listening in my office as I start my day. Very cool concept.......I am glad to hear your vocals. Just going to listen.....

Have listened once.....playing it again. This is an excellent piece of work all around. I love the guitar tone......that electric guitar really carries the piece through nicely as I found myself looking forward to it. All of the instrumentation works beautifully as do the vocals and the entire arrangement.

You put some serious energy into this and it shows.
"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

 "In a world of robotic conformity, the only originality left in music is the imperfections" Eric Craptone

"Special thanks to Steve Gleason for making me who I am today." Leonard Scaper

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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 13:30:24
Cheers @Leonard Scaper - I'm already wondering what happens to him a la Major Tom - "The Return" ????? lol

I am quite proud of his little theme - played on little tinkling music box sound - I can imagine it following him as a bridge to other songs perhaps


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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 18:14:41
Hi @MrBouzouki , well I have not heard anything quite this for many years! It is a very well structured and well thought out piece of music.

When you said it was 16+ minutes, I thought OK well I will give it a shot, but didn't seriously expect that I would keep listening to the end - busy day and all that! But you keep the interest going with many themes and mini-motifs. In that sense it is like a series of songs knitted together as part of a similar family of songs. And I was actually disappointed when it ended!

I thought of a few references as it progressed. Early on I was thinking 'Terminator' movie soundtrack with that attacking bass. I was wondering if that should have even more resonance, like a surround sound effect at the movies. But it is a capturing intro alright.

After 3.30, the next phase was maybe reminiscent of Mike Oldfield with its layered melodies and counter melodies, and interesting how you bought some of that back in at the end, almost like would a classical composer.

Then around 8.20 onwards you go into that driving guitar phase when I couldn't help thinking of Clapton's 'Edge of Darkness'. Very atmospheric - and accomplished guitar playing and composition skills at work.

Then the dark orchestral looming sounds at the end topped off with the lightest of upper octave piano tinkling away. Great contrast work.

Yeah, all really good and absorbing overall. Bit of an epic you've just finally given birth to there, congratulations. Go and have a drink!  ::thumb::
If you like novels with a musical theme, why not try 'Sixth Beatle - When Music Changed The World', easily found on Amazon and Google. It is amazing, although as the author I may be biased!


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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 12:42:17
Cheers @MichaelA - it's been very much a labour of love and almost my tribute to many of the prog rock bands like Camel etc. who I have listened to over the years. It didn't start like that but the tale grew in the telling and it got longer and longer as time went on.

Certainly I have learned so much from this technically, for example programming the opening and closing of a hi-hat in MIDI, sensible recording levels to keep decent headroom and dynamics, just how important EQ is and how for example tweaking the EQ means the volume doesn't need to be increased in the mix, the importance of automation etc etc. so it has really been an apprenticeship for me.

The whole idea was almost the idea of different 'movements' or instrumental sections trying to evoke the depth of space, the claustrophobia of loneliness, a bit of a breakdown etc. I wanted to get a lighthouse like warning in the piece even though sound wouldn't travel in the vacuum of space, so for me it's perhaps the computer representation that he hears to show the lighthouse is doing it's job. I discovered it by accident when using the pitch-bend wheel and I thought 'that sounds  moody' so I used it to book-end the transition from space to and from the lighthouse itself.

I tried to not make it an over-indulgent 'kitchen-sink' piece and I think I largely succeeded. Everything is there for a reason and actually at any one moment there isn't too much playing at once. It's more a tag-team sort of song with one instrument taking over the role of another. This helps to keep the mid-frequencies free of clutter perhaps ? Since it is longer, the idea of repeating motifs was an obvious 'no-brainer' to me. It also makes it appear more orchestral in construction.

One thing I am really fond of was using harp for the underlying arpeggio in the quiet section as opposed to acoustic guitar that was my first choice. I think it worked really well and since it follows the orchestral intro it gives a form of continuity for the listener. I'm sure I will be using harp like this again. ;-)





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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #5 on: September 07, 2017, 18:59:13
great from the start this Monster, the intro sounds great (for some reason it reminded me of Jeff wayne's war of the worlds album...this one: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Wayne%27s_Musical_Version_of_The_War_of_the_Worlds

you really managed to make a 16.5 minutes music monster, it worked for me, i enjoyed the musical journey you created  ::thumb:: ::thumb::

nice how let the beat come in at the 8.18 mark, nicely flowing bass and beat combination!

in that second part from there....things could even become more GRAND and EPIC in my mind, i especially think by adding female backing vocals to lift it up even more, but it does get pretty GRAND already

many  ::headphone:: ::headphone:: ::headphone:: ::headphone:: extra karma points from me @MrBouzouki
me, myself, and Pie


Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 00:42:18
@MrBouzouki Great stuff. This is the kind of prog rock I like (unlike Yes!). Actually reminded me of Floyd a little. It was well worth a listen and a listen to the end. I love those drifting chords. Really thought provoking and rewarding on more than one listen. 


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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #7 on: September 09, 2017, 13:59:21
Cheers @Dutchbeat - when I was looking for a VST Instrument set for drums I was attracted to the Steinberg Simon Phillips Studio Drums to go with GroovAgent in Cubase. 

Quote
This premium VST drum library captures Phillips’ concept of drum sound that is based on 40 years of experience in playing, recording and mixing music with some of the most talented artists in music history such as Frank Zappa, Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck.

He was also the drummer for Toto from 1992 to 2014 and is well versed in rock and jazz. As a non-drummer I wanted a set of patterns that could be used or adapted as required and if you hear the actual pattern in isolation you hear there is quite a bit of subtle stuff going on. I did tweak some of it and did learn how to adapt the basic pattern to open and close the hi-hat via MIDI. The bass pattern just popped into my head, I reckon it sounds similar to a guy I used to play with called Russ. It sounded in my head just like something he would play. I'm really pleased a beat-sort of guy you you think it's OK as I felt that could be the weak spot of the song if not done correctly.

Strangely I did think about extra vocals added but it a way I didn't want it to get too grand. It's not a film soundtrack and I wanted to keep an introspective feel towards the end. My vision was the end section was a reduced echo of the beginning in some way, as the lighthouse keeper is left alone by the listener to ponder his fate. So downplayed and sad with his motif just played once then thrown away as we leave him behind. 

One other thing I must mention is the importance of drones to bridge the sections of this piece. Often the drone is not very prominent but take it out of the mix and it falls flat. It also adds an overall depth to the sound too. 





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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #8 on: September 09, 2017, 14:13:29
Cheers @Olbigead - my mate on SoundCloud Al Wood has mentioned Floyd to me. Well if I've come anywhere near Floyd then that is a real plus.  ;D

I know what you mean about some Prog (Yes included), it can get a bit technical with 15/16 time and everybody being a complete virtuoso and wanting to prove it with their instrument. (No danger for me in that regard  ;) ). I tend to like Camel and people like that who seem perhaps more melodic (less notes) and have a story to tell.  It's got to be a story to connect with the audience or it just get a bit dull in the end.

An interesting vocal comparison is a local Barbershop singing group versus our local Community choir. Both groups have mostly non-professional singers but one focuses on competitions (they are very good silver medal winners etc) and us, learning to sing 10- 14 contemporary songs from memory in 12 weeks. They spend years doing mostly the same things over and over. Technically they are head and shoulders above us BUT neutral observers who have watched us both have suggested they enjoy our variety of songs more in concert. It's almost like the Barbershop is too much after a while.  Well some Prog can be just like Barbershop, technically perfect but lacking some soul perhaps ?  With imperfection comes interest I guess. ;-)


Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #9 on: September 09, 2017, 20:07:23
WOW! This is completely epic... so so well put together - I'm so impressed...


I also thought I'd never make it through 16.5 minutes - interestingly I put in on my speakers rather than cans and the inevitable disruption of the small girls had them stand and listen rather than interrupt (I'd be lying if I said they stayed the full 16.5 minutes :)! but they did listen!) .. Which is a little astounding, trust me...  ;D ;D


It's got such drama and atmosphere to it.. cinematic but more accessible than that without needing the visuals to hold interest..


Love it when the vocals come in...


Just an overall fantastic piece of work and very enjoyable listening experience!!


Congratulations... I'm guessing it must have been hard to stop tweaking this there's so much to it - I'd say the final act of releasing was an achievement all on its own :)!


K


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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #10 on: September 09, 2017, 21:17:46
I'm with @MichaelA  and @Zedd about how the length was intimidating at first but then suddenly it was over and I wanted more.

Seriously good piece, I have listened a few times now.


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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #11 on: September 09, 2017, 22:27:31
Cheers all - if you thinking listening for 16.5 minutes is hard (in this instant world) think of poor old me trying to mix this monster. How many hours .... I really have no idea ???
Actually the time thing is interesting as I guess anybody who consumed music on LP's in their past should be quite at home listening to approximately a side of an LP.
Have we all become so instant now I wonder ? Are we "Always Watching the Clock". Song title for somebody there ... lol

Just listening to This Town on Soundcloud @Leonard Scaper ;-) as I'm typing this reply.

"Breakfast at the bar from the pickled egg jar" .... classic @Leonard Scaper

The stopping tweaking thing was a really interesting comment @Zedd as so many times I thought I'd done OK then I'd get a message from Len Rice who made me review things all again.
It was very much like an apprenticeship with a master inspecting their work as he's been creating Prog tracks for ages. I made a deadline of my eldest son's birthday finally and stuck to it.
I think having a deadline in a long project is important or you are tweaking forever.  So yes - out and now I can focus on other musical projects  ;D


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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #12 on: September 10, 2017, 00:26:32
Just listening to This Town on Soundcloud @Leonard Scaper ;-) as I'm typing this reply.

"Breakfast at the bar from the pickled egg jar" .... classic @Leonard Scaper

Wow! You gave my album a spin! Thanks for that Mr B. I tracked those songs back to back with very little grinding. It was an exercise in spontaneity.

That, my friends, is a perfect example of how we pay it forward here at The Kitchen, btw.

 8)


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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #13 on: September 11, 2017, 00:18:30
Hey @MrBouzouki ,

I finally had some spare time to sit down and listen to your beautiful creation. I closed my eyes and did
what I was adviced: imagine I'm floating through space. And I was!
I intendedly did not read the posts above, so you'll receive my raw and unbiassed feedback

Few observations:
-You have a very nice and warm vocal timbre Pete! Loved to listen to your voice
-Nice soundscape overall, love those bells together with the guitars around the 7'30 mark and the bending synths in the
final part. I also loved the sound of the orchestration.
-Great electric guitar work overall, you're a great guitar player!
-I love the arrangement, especially the build up to the louder part and the breakdown around the 13'00 mark.


Suggestions:
-The first line: 'And the thing I hate most is the silence' came in very loud, I don't know if you intended
that contrast (silence/loud), but I noticed. I don't know if that was the actual (too loud) gain of the vocal track;
maybe some gentle almost 'whispering' singing can work there?
-I'd make the drumbreak at 8'30 a bit 'bigger' (more reverb maybe?)
-As for the singing: there's some room for improvement in the dynamics (singing softly and louder where
appropriate). Sometimes the attack of the sung notes was not always 'spot' on imo, but that's very difficult.

I hope my suggestions made sense and were helpful! If not, just ignore!
Apart from that I really enjoyed listening, thank you for sharing this beauty with us!  ;)
Cheers!
:mart:
I'm proud of this track, check it out! https://soundcloud.com/martimedia/dreams


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Re: Lighthouse Keeper (16.5 min Prog Rock monster)
Reply #14 on: September 11, 2017, 02:21:54
I'm with @Zedd here - this is really epic. That's the word that came to me as I listened to it.

I actually looked forward to hearing it when I read it was 16.5 mins - it's how a lot of music that I listened to in the 70s was and of course why punk started and reverted to 2 minute songs. There's room for both of course!

I can hear elements of Tubular Bells in this which is a good thing.

The creativity, planning and playing is very impressive. I've no idea how you would even approach all of this.

Great stuff

cheers



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