• WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
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  • M57
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WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
on: February 03, 2018, 05:16:42
This is a fragment that I tracked a little over a year ago; I hit somewhat of an impasse with the lyric and shelved it. Anyway, I dug it up the other day with the idea of augmenting the vocal with an effect to see if that might give it life.  Originally, I was thinking of writing different lyrics for the pre/chorus, but I'm beginning to think that the text of the pre/chorus is facile and strong enough to withstand the development of another verse - so I've presented it that way here.  I believe the robotized harmony supports the text but I'm curious to hear what people think about that.  I haven't decided where I'm going to take it lyrically from here so I'd love to hear any suggestions on that front. Any impressions about what the lyric is about or how it does (or doesn't) speak to you would be helpful.  Of course, I'm also interested in any music related comments and suggestions.

https://soundcloud.com/m57/chasing-the-speed-of-light/s-Kk8LH

Every time I look out the window
I see more than a million stars
Born to be forever
Born to travel a million hours
To the promise of space and land
With frozen generations of chosen strands


Pre/Chorus

The forces guarding us saw no need for a wall
Just an endless sea of silence
Absolutely nothing at all
It’s blasphemy, the audacity
This tiny ark we’re pushing into the night
To chase the speed of light


Vs 2

Dawn and dusk, they don’t exist
And we don’t feel the pull of the tether
There’s no such thing as moonlight
And nobody knows about whether
Or not we can make it there
Some say the universe doesn’t really care


Pre/Chorus Again??

...Chasing the speed of light


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #1 on: February 03, 2018, 11:28:30
I remember liking this song a lot when I first heard it a year ago but thinking that there was something missing in the production. That very cool and somewhat bold vocal treatment solves that issue for me. I firmly believe that there is a place for production enhancements like vocal harmonizing if it is used artistically and specifically like this and this is a perfect example of that. It definitely gives this song the feeling of expansiveness that it needs. You might take a look at some of the sss's, though, as to my ears there was just a touch of sibilance. That can happen with this kind of production, right?

I have an old TC Helicon Vocal Quintet in my studio and you've got me eyeing it again now.  ;)

I listened three times to get a feel for the song's direction and came away wanting you to play the piano after that last chorus and then do the chorus again to take the song out. The piano work in this song is stellar and I think a short instrumental passage to highlight it is in order. That piano really sounds good.

Oh....I think this most excellent song is about the eventual, inevitable and continuous exodus of humanity out into the stars.

 8)

"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: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 02:10:49
Big Thanks @Leonard Scaper

I guess I just never got around to de-essing.  Maybe it's my old ears, but for some reason, hiss and esses just don't bother me that much.  Anyway, I think I took care of it. If anything I may have over-done it.

Great suggestion regarding the instrumental - I'm definitely going there, but for the moment, it seems I'm perpetually tweaking the note choices for the robot, which I agree with you - works on this piece - especially conceptually.  It fits with the story-line on a number of levels. For instance, our protagonist could be half-robot.

-Mark


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #3 on: February 04, 2018, 10:38:23
I think I took care of it. If anything I may have over-done it..

Perhaps just a bit.

Quote
It fits with the story-line on a number of levels. For instance, our protagonist could be half-robot.

I think that is a very cool perspective for this story line.


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #4 on: February 05, 2018, 09:51:19
Well I think it’s great! Reminds me of some of M83’s stuff...perhaps you’re related?? ;D

The effect on the vocal is a clever move that works really well. It just takes us to the future a bit. I originally thought that some of the phrasing in the verses were a bit “busy” or didn’t flow aswell as the chorus, but this settled a bit on the second listen.

The music is awesome! Nicely done mate, u took me to outer space! ;D


Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #5 on: February 05, 2018, 20:27:24
Hi @M57 ,

of course (as expected) a very good song and a great production. To my ears (and on very bad speakers - I have to say) The vocal processing sounds like a bit too much to my ears. I like it a lot in principle but would reduce it in the mix (vs. your unprocessed vocals). The piano is very nicely played!

Best,

Fabian


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #6 on: February 06, 2018, 03:15:33
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 03:19:40 by M57 »
Hi @M57 ,

of course (as expected) a very good song and a great production. To my ears (and on very bad speakers - I have to say) The vocal processing sounds like a bit too much to my ears. I like it a lot in principle but would reduce it in the mix (vs. your unprocessed vocals). The piano is very nicely played!

Best,

Fabian

Hey Fabian,  Per your suggestion, I currently have a mix up where I brought down the robotized/real voice ratio just a tad, say from 47% to 40%.  As a result, some of the detail of the robotization is lost, but I'm warming to it.  A lot of people are commenting that they like the robot. At the core, I'm an acoustic classical/folky kind of guy, but I justify the effect because it alludes to how our protagonist may in fact be part AI, or at the very least rely heavily on it (think Hal from 2001) - Traveling in space for hundreds of years keeping house with a small crew (even if it's a few hundred or a few thousand people) has got to weigh on your psyche.  Oh ..and give it a listen on headphones  ;)

Well I think it’s great! Reminds me of some of M83’s stuff...perhaps you’re related?? ;D

The effect on the vocal is a clever move that works really well. It just takes us to the future a bit. I originally thought that some of the phrasing in the verses were a bit “busy” or didn’t flow aswell as the chorus, but this settled a bit on the second listen.

The music is awesome! Nicely done mate, u took me to outer space! ;D

Thanks LB - Yeah!  Space is a reoccurring theme in a lot of my songs.  If I was smarter, I'd be an astronomer.


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #7 on: February 06, 2018, 17:35:39
Hi @M57, well I do like these very subtle lyrics. Since you ask about how the lyrics 'speak' to us, well I gleaned it was a journey into the oblivion of space, and you evoke the insignificance of man with that 'uncaring universe' and the vastness of the 'million hours' journey. You've got epic Biblical/religious allusions in there with the ark and 'blasphemy', so I'm thinking the effect of the journey is making the narrator consider his place in the universe and consider too his own existence...Well that's what I got anyway  ;D   Oh and I do like your half rhyming blasphemy/audacity and alliterative dawn/dusk - showing you have taken a lot of care with these lyrics contemplating every single line, as so it should be!

I too was relaxed about the artificial vocal effect - it is still relatively subtle - which like the Space Oddity style synth  'take off' fitted like a glove with this track. It's an intelligent piece throughout and of course only finished too soon, suggesting there is more to come. Hopefully there is. And make sure you share it if you develop further!
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: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #8 on: February 07, 2018, 12:37:36
Thanks @MichaelA I'd say you pretty much have nailed it with your analysis. The only thing I would add is that in my mind, the ark is carrying people in stasis or perhaps just DNA (frozen generations of chosen strands), so in my version, it is about the hope of colonization.  The reason for the trip is unclear. Maybe there was a catastrophe on earth and they were forced to leave, but regardless our protagonist (who lives his entire life on the vessel) well ..has a lifetime to think about the gravity of it all.  And yes, I'm a fan of internal rhymes, as opposed to just rhyming at the end of the line. It's one of the things I like about rap.

There's still a lot for me to consider moving forward.. I not only have to consider form, but I'm rethinking the instrumentation.  The shaker is interesting, but it was only meant to serve as a click originally.  One option is to pull it and keep things open, another to go all out with a set and suspended cymbals, etc. - and then there's everything in between.   I think bringing in a fretless bass a la Eberhard Weber would be really cool.


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #9 on: February 07, 2018, 19:48:29
The reason for the trip is unclear.

the eventual, inevitable and continuous exodus of humanity out into the stars.

 8)


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #10 on: February 07, 2018, 19:56:40
The reason for the trip is unclear.

the eventual, inevitable and continuous exodus of humanity out into the stars.

 8)

True..  We can't help ourselves.


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #11 on: February 07, 2018, 22:39:39
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 23:23:24 by MrBouzouki »
I like the lyrics @M57 and i wonder about taking a leaf out of Gene Roddenberry's book with his “wagon train to the stars” idea and perhaps interweave references to early pioneers, their hopes and dreams, reference against your futuristic setting. It might not be what you want to do but sometimes leading the listener down a well travelled path can get your message across ? You might think that Joss Whedon did this idea to death with his Firefly American Space Western TV series though ;-)
"Love and Life is all about connections"


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #12 on: February 08, 2018, 01:25:47
I like the lyrics @M57 and i wonder about taking a leaf out of Gene Roddenberry's book with his “wagon train to the stars” idea and perhaps interweave references to early pioneers, their hopes and dreams, reference against your futuristic setting. It might not be what you want to do but sometimes leading the listener down a well travelled path can get your message across ? You might think that Joss Whedon did this idea to death with his Firefly American Space Western TV series though ;-)

Thanks MrBouzouki, I'm pretty careful about how I go about choosing and developing the 'world' of my lyrics. The early pioneer/explorer metaphor is certainly a good one. But for this song, I decided to put my hat in with a biblical metaphor.  At this stage it would be a bit too difficult for me to sneak the wild west or old world maritime explorers in. It's such a short vignette, it would be confusing to have such disparate 'worlds' collide, so interestingly enough I found myself going out of my way to avoid certain references that might throw people off the scent. for example I went with 'window' instead of 'porthole,' even though "ships" have portholes.  I wanted to be reasonably clear that this take place in the future.  I'm not familiar with Joss Whedon's work. I'll have check it out. -Thanks


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 04:49:44
I think this recording sounds fantastic.  I hadnt heard the version with the heavier robot voice so I cant comment on that, but what I do hear sounds appropriate for the voice singing it.  I do wish that the energy picked up some in the chorus, because without the words in front of me, I couldnt discern too much separation between verse and chorus.  Musically, its way above my pay grade.  Everything works well together but it doesnt really work for my ears.  That one change toward the end of each section took me out of whatever mood the song was building in me to pay attention to that change.  Impressive but distracting for me.  Lyrically, I didnt really get much from the story.  Very intelligent writing, but as someone who has never payed much attention to the lyrics of the songs I love, it was hard for me to really delve into to figure it out.  I care more about the feeling and passion of the voice singing it than the words being said, and from that perspective you succeeded.  I felt a melancholy strain of long term fatigue that comes across as genuine. 

Good stuff overall ::thumb::


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Re: WIP: Chasing The Speed Of Light
Reply #14 on: February 08, 2018, 13:39:08
Thanks @Knate  for your interesting and enlightening perspective.  I am afraid that a lot of what I write is simply not all that accessible to a lot of listeners. Unfortunately, I'm somewhat incapable of focusing exclusively on what I would call the rawer aspects of the piece. If I was, I'd be able to write a killer pop song. :(  But alas, when I write, the densities of the harmonic and melodic interactions have to combine contextually with the lyric to create something that is greater than the sum of the parts, which is a hifalutin way of saying I like it complex. So I can only hope that there are some elements that speak to the average listener.  It sounds like in your case, it was successful to some degree - and that's a good thing!  :)



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