Can you give some feedback on my new work-in-progress track? What to improve?
Vern Junior Jones
Vern, I certainly hear a lot of improvements since your last track: there are more clarity now, better soundscapes, and arrangement. Well done!
But as you can guess, there are some issues as well. Let’s go through each of them.
The first thing is about the bassline: I feel it has a lack of pressure, it’s too “weak”. I can’t know for sure what caused it since I haven’t seen your project file, but there are few possible reasons: volume balance, equalization, or phasing issues.
Psytrance bassline equalization
Phase cancellation explained
I want to remark that this is not a problem generally speaking, but it is a problem for this particular genre’s sub-standards. Take a listen to few other tracks’ basses, which are in the same Am key:
If you don’t hear any difference, I bet you’re listening on headphones — it’s a common problem because headphones can’t give an accurate low-frequency response. I suggest checking the bassline on monitors.
Take a listen to the offbeat hats that starts at the Bar 41:
It seems that velocity of each hat is set pretty randomly, causing a weird stress pattern. The offbeat hats are one of the key rhythmic element along with the kick and snares, so I would suggest keeping them in a more predictable way.
Rhythm structure basics
Now take a listen to the closed hats starting at the Bar 65:
These driving closed hats, on a contrast, could have a slightly stronger variation, it sounds almost straight at the moment. Besides, the samples of the both hats are very similar to each other making almost no distinguish — the offbeat hats are getting lost here.
Nikola and Dalibor are the masters of groove:
Now let’s go back to the Bar 49 where snare drums starts:
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that these snares have too much “body”, some unnecessary harmonics in the low-mid range. Try to sculpt your own snare by layering few different samples or just cut the low-end with an EQ.
Making a layered snare
My main concern is the lack of energy and overall progression. Even when the track does progress, it’s hard to notice because there are no time indicators for this: some build-ups or at least a crash cymbal on a strong beat every sixteen bars.
I’d suggest adding some noise sweeps, cymbals, snare fills, and other elements that would tell listeners “okay, something new is happening here”. This would make track more interesting and will help to keep listeners’ attention throughout the track. Here is what I’ve quickly made just to give an example:
Making build-ups and drum fills
Progressive music is all about building a tension and then release it, a balance between the “dry” and “wet”. It’s good to learn how producers in other genres do this, especially in Techno.
Listen to these two tracks, they’d be completely boring but Spektre and Alex Di Stefano are the masters of the tension-and-release game:
Keep them coming.