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  • SoftWorld

    So not ambient, but indeed, electronic. If you like new wave or atmospheric pop, here's your ticket:

    http://softworld.bandcamp.com
    Ascendant Bandcamp // SoundCloud // FaceBook // Twitter

  • #2
    Very cool - 'Before Light' is a real standout track.

    Some of those female vocals sound familiar - could swear I've heard one of those voices before?
    My new album is available now, here: https://thoughtexperiment.bandcamp.c.../supersymmetry
    Check out my (hopelessly out-of-date) SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/thought_experiment

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    • #3
      @TE: Thanks. That's my friend Lisa from Switzerland. I've been hugely fortunate to have a core group of go-to performers that I absolutely adore. She's featured in a few Ascendant tracks as well, which is probably where you recognize her. The other female vocalist is Bronwyn Bonney from Crime and the City Solution. The male vocalist is Jeremy Gluck from the 80's Barracudas. The cellist, Christine Hanson, and I have an ambient project coming out sometime in 2014 if I can block out some time in the next few months to finish the writing and mixing.

      Right now though, it's all Ascendant all the time. We've got a busy schedule in the near-future to tackle.
      Ascendant Bandcamp // SoundCloud // FaceBook // Twitter

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      • #4
        I previously listened to the SoftWorld tracks on your website. I liked them then. I still do! I'd have to say that "Before Light" has been my favorite track. The breathy vocals simply captivate me. (Another track with similarly breathy vocals that captures my ears is "Manor Park 1983" by Battery Operated Orchestra from the Electronic Encounters-Music Inspired by CE3K compilation. [Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind]. It's a free download here.) (Sorry to plug other stuff in your thread!! :o)
        I'm happy to see the SoftWorld album available on Bandcamp now :thumbsup:

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        • #5
          Not at all - that's a great track! Yeah, the breathy female vocal thing - I find it completely captivating as well.
          Ascendant Bandcamp // SoundCloud // FaceBook // Twitter

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          • #6
            I've listened to this album a few more times over the weekend and I had to remark on the sound of it - this is a masterclass in mixing: you can hear every little detail in even the busiest tracks, and you feel like you're inside the sparser tracks. Sit in your prime monitoring position, turn up the volume, and let the soundwaves give your brain a Swedish massage...:D

            @P47 - I thought I recognized that voice from some Ascendant material. Without giving away trade secrets, what is that effect you use on the vocals sometimes (with Ascendant, and also on this album)? I can't figure it out - it's sometimes more noticeable on vowel sounds, where it completely alters the character of the sound. Sort of bit-crush distortion, maybe granular delay/sampling, maybe automated time-stretching? However you do it, it sounds great, and I'd love to know how, simply to satisfy my curiosity - promise I won't copy ;)
            My new album is available now, here: https://thoughtexperiment.bandcamp.c.../supersymmetry
            Check out my (hopelessly out-of-date) SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/thought_experiment

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            • #7
              @TE: Thanks for the comments on the sound quality and mix. That means alot.

              For the vocals, there are a couple things. First of all, source. I like to use, when possible, performers where english is not their native tongue - so second or third language. That lends sort of a dreamy, unearthly quality from the start. That, and a well-recorded vocal. All of Lisa's vocals were (and are) recorded at Park Lane in Basel. You can't do anything if you don't have a good performer and a good recording.

              Something else I almost always do is supply the performer a backing track that will often change completely. Sometimes they get a sketch of what the track will become, other times, most times, I ditch the original backing altogether. This also can lend to that unworldly feeling.

              For effects: EQ, compression, delay and reverb -- the usual stuff. Sometimes I'll use some weird convolution stuff, or Permut8 even. There are some cool things for Reaktor as well. A little usually goes a long way with that stuff.

              Then the big one - editing. I cut the performance into phrases, sometimes words or even syllables and set them against the track. I'll often side-chain some very light compression so, even though, say the vocal is now sitting in a track that it wasn't recorded to, there is a groove thing happening - and this, even if there are no drums, can really help getting that sort of hypnotizing effect.

              I also like to make tiny edits and then time-stretch or compress - which I think is what you're picking up on. It can sound full-on glitchy, or like it's coming from the ISS. Sometimes it's just nice to bend things a little bit, to keep things interesting. Stretching the odd mid-word vowel or racking the leading consonant of a word can be magic. Sometimes it's all by hand, other times I'll use a grid or whatever, depending on which DAW I'm working in and then start moving markers around to push and pull the audio in small amounts to get those little artifacts.


              Edit: A good example of the glitchy stuff is on Sand (Jeremy Gluck on vocal) and on I Can't Touch You (Lisa).

              A good example of editing maybe is Dream Poem 01 (Bronwyn Bonney) or Before Light (Lisa). On both of these tracks, I took the raw performances - one sung (DP01) and one spoken (BL) and then just started putting them together and then writing the arrangements, then sending that to the cellist. Sep. beasts, but you can imagine getting a spoken word piece and then chopping it into song-like phrases as on Before Light.

              Hope that helps and gives some insight, etc. Glad you enjoyed it!
              Last edited by Phase47; 06-30-2014, 10:56 AM.
              Ascendant Bandcamp // SoundCloud // FaceBook // Twitter

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              • #8
                Thanks for taking the time to go into such detail, that's very generous, and very helpful too. It's amazing to see how much thought goes into these tracks - obviously a great recording of a great performance is crucial, but all the other stuff - using a singer to whom English is a foreign language, switching out the backing track, those meticulous edits - lift the listening experience even higher. And the idea of juxtaposing a cello against all that electronic background was genius - again though that's an excellent recording of a beautiful performance; if you'd used a sample it would have still been a great contrast, but not spine-tingling.

                One thing in particular that you said really resonates: when you're talking about the more out-there processing on vocals - a little goes a long way. That is so true but it can be so difficult to put into practice. When you've spent hours fine-tuning an effect (or effects chain)'s parameters, until you end up with something that nobody's ever heard before, it's very tempting to over-use that effect by slapping it across a whole line or verse - but in fact it's far more startling when the effect is there and gone before you've had time to say 'What the f...'

                Once again, thanks for your generosity
                Last edited by Thought Experiment; 07-01-2014, 01:59 AM. Reason: grammar
                My new album is available now, here: https://thoughtexperiment.bandcamp.c.../supersymmetry
                Check out my (hopelessly out-of-date) SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/thought_experiment

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                • #9
                  You're quite welcome, TE. It's this kind of technique-sharing and behind the curtain stuff that makes AO so great and unlike anywhere else.
                  Ascendant Bandcamp // SoundCloud // FaceBook // Twitter

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