The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix)

Posted by: dcuny

The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 01:16 AM

The Giants of Albion

Brutus! there lies beyond the Gallic bounds
An island which the western sea surrounds,
By giants once possessed, now few remain
To bar thy entrance, or obstruct thy reign.
To reach that happy shore thy sails employ
There fate decrees to raise a second Troy
And found an empire in thy royal line,
Which time shall ne'er destroy, nor bounds confine.


-- Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain/Books 1, 11

OK, the quote wasn't really the inspiration for the song. The title came from the style I used - _ALBION.STY - and Wikipedia had this to say about Albion, so I went with that title.

I used a minor chord progression for a change, but went with the standard major 7ths in the chorus I love so much, built the track, put together a guide melody (not very good), and sat down to write some lyrics.

But... no luck with the lyrics.

Rather than continue to fight it, I decided to make an instrumental and move ahead.

I start with the SWAM sax and my EWI, but what I got wasn't convincing at all. Eventually I picked the lovely SampleModeling flugelhorn, and came up with something hopefully melodic.

I probably should have added a bridge to the song, but obviously didn't.

I had purchased the Greg Wells VoiceCentric plugin a while ago, but didn't get a chance to try it out on vocals yet. I thought it would be interesting to run the flugelhorn through that. So there's compression, delay and a bit of doubling in the flugel. And then it's run through a huge reverb from EZMix, because I love reverb, and I wanted something a bit more spacious than VoiceCentric had.

The MIDI electric guitars playing power chords are the Stratified and Roculus guitars from Amadeus Symphonic Orchestra, run through some EZMix effects. They're not entirely convincing, but they get the job done.

I added some MIDI strings, one side Amadeus Symphonic Orchestra, the other Native Instruments Strings to make it more interesting. I think I got carried away with some of the string parts - the simpler bits are actually the best parts.

The mix is run through the Lurssen Mastering Console, and then a stereo widener effect. I probably overdid the compression.

I didn't sweat the mix too much, so I'm sure it needs some fixing. So don't bother posting any comments on SoundCloud - they'll get lost when I post a new version. blush

Edit #1: Brought out the strings (per floydjane's suggestion), perhaps a bit too much at the beginning. Added BiaB power chords, and an oboe and a male choir at the end while I was at it. I also had my son play with the mix a bit.

Edit #2: Ooops. Doubled the woodwinds on the intro by mistake. Trying to do too much while running around on a Sunday morning. Sorry about that!

1759:Bass, Electric, Pop16ths Ev 085
2914:Guitar, Acoustic, Fingerpicking Folky16thsBrent Ev16 085
3056:Guitar, Acoustic, Rhythm Pop16thsSyncBrent Ev16 085
1757:Accordion, Rhythm Pop8ths Ev 085
~365:Guitar, Acoustic, Fingerpicking Ev 085
Power Chords from various guitars
RealDrums: PopRock16ths^04-a:Sidestick, HiHat, b:Snare, Ride

As always, comments and criticisms are welcome.
Posted by: musician17

Re: The Giants of Albion - 06/09/19 01:50 AM

Well, I know nothing about production myself, but what I CAN say is that I loved the track. The melody catches one's attention and the orchestration is splendid - dare I say it, it's very well balanced and everything comes through so well - great texture. The use of the flugelhorn to carry the melody is a great idea, I think. A great, "epic soundtrack" feel to it all, for me. Loved it - want to hear more! :-)
Posted by: BlueAttitude

Re: The Giants of Albion - 06/09/19 02:51 AM

Good instrumental!

Love the flugelhorn, nice melodic line that held my attention throughout the entire song. Running it through voicecentric worked a treat.

Enjoyed the listen!
Posted by: floyd jane

Re: The Giants of Albion - 06/09/19 07:00 AM

David,

I like the sound of the flugelhorn! (the spell checker wanted me to change that to "bullhorn" smile ).

The bass sounds really good. Love the way you mixed the drums!

The acoustic guitars were beautifully subtle.

The strings were too subtle, I think. They could have been louder??

It seems a surprising choice to use MIDI guitars for sustained chords. BIAB can give you some nice sustained electric guitar chords by checking the Held box (the Brent Rock solo 120 works well).

An excellent listen. And thanks for all the detail on the process. A really interesting read.

fj
Posted by: Jim

Re: The Giants of Albion - 06/09/19 07:52 AM

You always seem to deliver interesting musical works...
And this one is just as compelling...
I must say I really enjoyed the listen!
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion - 06/09/19 01:50 PM

Originally Posted By: musician17
Well, I know nothing about production myself, but what I CAN say is that I loved the track.

I'm glad you liked it - thanks for listening!
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion - 06/09/19 01:52 PM

Originally Posted By: BlueAttitude
Good instrumental!

Thanks, Dave. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Now I need to do some writing so I can try it out on my voice! wink
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion - 06/09/19 01:58 PM

Originally Posted By: floyd jane
I like the sound of the flugelhorn! (the spell checker wanted me to change that to "bullhorn" smile ).

Ha! laugh

I've got a "real" flugel, but my embouchure isn't even close to being good enough to record it. So the EWI will do until my lips catch up.

Quote:
The bass sounds really good. Love the way you mixed the drums!

I was thinking about you when I mixed them. My son's played with them a bit on the new mix, but they're still up front.


Quote:
The strings were too subtle, I think. They could have been louder??

Done. There were some problems with the part that I fixed, and they're now back in the mix.

Quote:
It seems a surprising choice to use MIDI guitars for sustained chords. BIAB can give you some nice sustained electric guitar chords by checking the Held box (the Brent Rock solo 120 works well).

I was just going through some instruments, wondering what I could add, and I saw them. I was too lazy to go back, but that's been corrected as well.

Quote:
An excellent listen. And thanks for all the detail on the process. A really interesting read.


Thanks again! smile
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion - 06/09/19 01:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Jim
You always seem to deliver interesting musical works...
And this one is just as compelling...
I must say I really enjoyed the listen!

Thanks, Jim! I appreciate the feedback.
Posted by: rsdean

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 03:40 PM

David,

This sounds great. You have really built the mix up nicely.

Much enjoyed!

Bob
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 04:29 PM

Originally Posted By: rsdean
This sounds great. You have really built the mix up nicely.

Thanks, Bob!
Posted by: PeterF

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 04:42 PM

David

Listened to the original and the edited version. You've achieved really nice sound.
The flugelhorn sounds excellent and is nicely played.
The backing is very nice and well mixed (not sure about the very short male choir snippet fits at the end).

A very enjoyable instrumental.

Peter
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 06:07 PM

Originally Posted By: PeterF
Listened to the original and the edited version. You've achieved really nice sound.
The flugelhorn sounds excellent and is nicely played.

Thanks, Peter.

Quote:
...(not sure about the very short male choir snippet fits at the end).

Does the vocal stick out too much? I just figured I'd add it because I like the sound. But if it's distracting, it should probably be removed or brought down.
Posted by: Scott C

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 06:09 PM

Very cool track David. Such an excellent melody. Floaty dreamy song. Drums were perfect for the song. Well done...
Posted by: Rustyspoon#

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 06:35 PM

David,
Very interesting composition. Flugelhorn is the boss! A bit sharp/metallic on edges, but still very cool sounding! Seems like you invested yourself heavily into melody and I believe you done excellent job on it. It kept me entertained throughout. Mix is very good, and flugelhorn sits well, but as an average listener, I would prefer it just a hint quieter.


Thank you for sharing!

Misha.
Posted by: Robertkc

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 07:02 PM

David,
Very cinematic and the flugelhorn is a great fit ( dissapointed that`s not an RT).
Nice work on the strings.I liked the voices at the end.

Robert
Posted by: Greg Johnson

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 07:18 PM

This is a wonderful emotional instrumental!!! I would pitch it for film.....if I was a film maker, I'd jump on it!! AWESOME!!!! Take care. Greg
Posted by: PeterF

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/09/19 08:44 PM

Originally Posted By: dcuny
Originally Posted By: PeterF
Listened to the original and the edited version. You've achieved really nice sound.
The flugelhorn sounds excellent and is nicely played.

Thanks, Peter.

Quote:
...(not sure about the very short male choir snippet fits at the end).

Does the vocal stick out too much? I just figured I'd add it because I like the sound. But if it's distracting, it should probably be removed or brought down.
[/quote]

Not that I don't like them, just thought given they were not present anywhere else they may be necessary - but I see Robert likes them.

Peter
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 12:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Scott C
Floaty dreamy song. Drums were perfect for the song. Well done...

Thanks, Scott!

BiaB has a lot of nice RTs, and the drums are no exception.
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 12:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Rustyspoon#
Mix is very good, and flugelhorn sits well, but as an average listener, I would prefer it just a hint quieter.

Hi, Misha.

Thanks for the feedback!

Are you referring to the mix as being overly loud, or the flugel?

I assume you mean the mix, which is rather hot. After listening in my car, I was thinking about moving the flugelhorn up a bit, but I should probably leave it alone for a day before messing with it any more.
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 12:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Robertkc
Very cinematic and the flugelhorn is a great fit ( dissapointed that`s not an RT).
Nice work on the strings. I liked the voices at the end.

Thanks, Robert.

I've tried - fairly successfully, I think - to build a track from a sax RT. But that was a lot of work. I've got Melodyne now, so it would probably be a bit easier. But it's still easier to just play the part on the EWI. wink

I'm glad the choir worked for you. It does sort of pop out of nowhere, and I'd intended for it to be more subtle than it was. It's got a sort of cinematic quality, which is why I included it.

In truth, one of the reasons that I initially left the strings out was because there were some clashes that I was too lazy to track down. After floyd jane's comment, I tracked down some out of key notes, and trimmed out some of the busier parts so they didn't compete as much with the flugelhorn.

I tried mixing in a solo violin line in to add a bit more to the string part, but that didn't work out that well. That eventually became the oboe, which I think gives a bit of additional texture to what's basically a solo horn part.

Glad you enjoyed it.
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 12:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Greg Johnson
This is a wonderful emotional instrumental!!! I would pitch it for film.....if I was a film maker, I'd jump on it!! AWESOME!!!!

Thanks, Greg.

I've heard enough real film scores to know they're out of my league, but I'll take the compliment! smile
Posted by: DeaconBlues09

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 04:18 AM

David,

I absolutely LOVED this! It manages to come across as intimate and gentle, yet at the same time epic and majestic.

Keep 'em coming. :-)
Posted by: 44kfl

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 06:20 AM

Great!

Super instrumental

love the mix, especially the drums

enjoyed the listen,

Kenny
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 07:20 AM

Originally Posted By: DeaconBlues09
I absolutely LOVED this! It manages to come across as intimate and gentle, yet at the same time epic and majestic.

Thanks, DB09!
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 07:34 AM

Originally Posted By: 44kfl
love the mix, especially the drums

Thanks, Kenny.

I love the drums, too. I bump up the volume at the drum fills a bit - not because it needs it, but just because I love drum fills.

I'd initially run them through a bit of epic reverb and a drum buss as well, but my son complained it was too much 'verb, so now it's using a percussion room IR from a Lexicon into the EZMix drum bus.

Again, the drums don't need it - but it helps make them a touch more "epic". smile

Thanks for stopping by!
Posted by: Deryk - PG Music

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 07:35 AM

What a tune! Love how huge and epic it sounds. Very well textured also, and the ethereal backing tracks fit with that ongoing horn perfectly. It really has a cinematic feeling to it that I enjoyed.

Great work and thanks for sharing smile
Posted by: Tangmo

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 08:01 AM

Sounds really good in the phones. The change from the darker minor chords to the kind of ethereal feel of the Maj7ths gives a lot of emotional character. Enjoyed the listen.
Posted by: Skyline

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 08:06 AM

An excellent instrumental David, I really enjoyed it. The production is superb - like me, when the drums sound great, get 'em up front, lovely! I was seeing opening credits rolling as I listened, very evocative of a King Arthur-type movie, with Richard Burton reciting those words by Geoffrey of Monmouth! Great work all round David.

Cheers
John
Posted by: Steve Young

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 09:34 AM

Very nice! Nice sound on the flugelhorn. I did like the male choir at the end. If anything, I would bring them in just a little earlier, so it doesn't come out sounding like an afterthought. It does add a nice cinematic feel to the song.

Really enjoyed it!

Steve
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 06:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Deryk - PG Music
It really has a cinematic feeling to it that I enjoyed.

Thanks, Deryk. Maybe it'll convince PG Music to put out more flugelhorn RTs. wink
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 06:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Tangmo
Sounds really good in the phones. The change from the darker minor chords to the kind of ethereal feel of the Maj7ths gives a lot of emotional character. Enjoyed the listen.

The intro and verses are basically a chords moving over a held 'E' in the bass, which is one of my favorite sounds. It works especially well for minor chords, because you get all these minor 9th sort of flavors.

Ironically, I only got a chance to listen to it in phones this morning, because my machine is a bit wonky. It didn't have as much space on the horn as I thought, so I may go back and tweak it a bit... or just move on to something else. wink

Thanks for listening and commenting!
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 06:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Skyline
An excellent instrumentalI was seeing opening credits rolling as I listened, very evocative of a King Arthur-type movie, with Richard Burton reciting those words by Geoffrey of Monmouth!

Thanks, John!

It's interesting how the title of something influences how we think about it. The working title was unimaginatively named "Song01". It wasn't until it was finished as an instrumental that I started working on a title. In theory, any of the auto-generated titles from BiaB would have done, but I got lucky Googling around. laugh
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/10/19 06:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Steve Young
I did like the male choir at the end. If anything, I would bring them in just a little earlier, so it doesn't come out sounding like an afterthought.

I'm glad you liked it, Steve.

And yes... that's exactly why it sound like an afterthought. I only got a chance to listen to it in headphones early this morning, and it could clearly use space a bit more. And - not surprisingly, in retrospect - using a different string library on each side didn't add much.

Now, centering the library, and then crossfading between the two... that might be worth trying for grins and giggles. The effect is probably more distracting than useful, but now I'm wondering about it...

If I go back, I might put a touch of the choir earlier with some cellos, and bring the choir volume down at the end, so it's not really as noticeable.

Thanks for listening!
Posted by: jannesan

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/12/19 09:12 AM

Lovely chord progression, I especially like how the chorus transfers back to the minor key verse. Has strong cinematic feel with a touch of sadness, I can see a lonely walk on a morning beach. The electric guitars work well and are mixed nicely. Although I enjoy the flugelhorn, I can imagine this working also with a raspy vocalist like Chris Rea. Maybe the lyrics will come to you one day smile

Janne
Posted by: floyd jane

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/12/19 09:13 AM

The strings really added "drama". Nice!

The vocals at the end are a nice touch, too (as someone else mentioned, they could have come in a bit sooner).

This sounds great.
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/13/19 01:12 AM

Originally Posted By: jannesan
Although I enjoy the flugelhorn, I can imagine this working also with a raspy vocalist like Chris Rea. Maybe the lyrics will come to you one day smile

Thanks, Janne.

I can always hope for inspiration! smile
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/13/19 01:18 AM

Originally Posted By: floyd jane
The vocals at the end are a nice touch, too (as someone else mentioned, they could have come in a bit sooner).

Thanks, floyd jane.

I fiddled a bit more with the intro, adding some male chorus. I brought down the strings a bit in the first part, got rid of one of the string libraries, added some trills, brought down the vocals at the end, picked an english horn from a different library, added a soprano vocal bit, inserted a bit more male chorus, and fiddled with some sliders.

So it sounds pretty much the same as it did before. crazy

I'm glad you liked it.
Posted by: Joe -PG Music

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/13/19 06:37 AM

Hi Dcuny, this is excellent! I found this very easy to listen and I dig the overall timbres. The oboe really helps glue everything together. Great song title too!
Posted by: Ezekiel's Storm

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/13/19 07:07 AM

This track soars! The introduction captures you from the get go. Love the flugelhorn. Lovely melody.
Posted by: Torrey Bliss

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/13/19 05:35 PM

David, this sounds really good! The horn kind of steals the show in this and it sounds great but what I noticed and appreciated most was the great care that was taken weaving in and out the strings and background vocal ohs and ahs! The mix sounds pro level to me! Thanks, Torrey
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/13/19 11:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Joe -PG Music
I found this very easy to listen and I dig the overall timbres.

Hi, Joe.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed the song. smile
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/13/19 11:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Ezekiel's Storm
This track soars! The introduction captures you from the get go. Love the flugelhorn. Lovely melody.

Thanks for the nice words! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Playing this on my EWI has gotten me back to picking up my actual trumpet again. Maybe if I keep practicing, I can coax something a bit less like a duck call out of it. wink
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/13/19 11:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Torrey Bliss
The horn kind of steals the show in this and it sounds great but what I noticed and appreciated most was the great care that was taken weaving in and out the strings and background vocal ohs and ahs!

Hi, Torrey.

I appreciate your attentive listening! "Weaving" is in fact what I was going for. I try to make sure there's always something interesting going on without too much clutter. I don't always succeed, but I'm pretty happy with this track.

Thanks! laugh
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/15/19 03:17 PM

Man, that mix sounds finished to us!

Just listened a couple times on the monitors and it is LUSH...in the good way.

Enjoyed reading how the mix progressed from the original. Thanks for adding that.

As mentioned the horn is lovely...quite the distinct sound. And as Dave said: "Running it through voicecentric worked a treat."

Nice drums too. Good "pop."

Kudos on a fine composition, arrangement and mix.

J&B
Posted by: mkg50 (Mike G)

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/17/19 02:08 AM

This has such a lovely rich dreamy sound.
I have loved the flugelhorn since I first heard Chuck Mangione play Feels So Good in the late '70s. Thanks for sharing this.
Thank you also for the info on your production process. There should be more of it on this forum.
Cheers,
Mike
Posted by: rayc

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/17/19 03:23 AM

Cool and the melody, whilst excellently performed by the Flug, is perfect for hanging words on.
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/17/19 12:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
Kudos on a fine composition, arrangement and mix.

Thanks for taking the time to listen and give helpful feedback!

I have a tendency to over-orchestrate, so I'm glad that it managed to be lush without being too ornate.

floyd jane alluded to this is a prior post, but I think the reason the drums sound good is because... the drums in BiaB sound good. That makes things easy, I just need to make sure I don't screw up the mix. wink
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/17/19 12:44 PM

Originally Posted By: mkg50 (Mike G)
I have loved the flugelhorn since I first heard Chuck Mangione play Feels So Good in the late '70s. Thanks for sharing this.

Yep, that's pretty much the benchmark for excellent flugelhorn. smile

If you've got a secret dream of playing a horn but don't think you'll ever develop the chops, I'd highly recommend picking up a USB EWI and the SampleModeling trumpet. Sure, you're tethered to a computer (although you can make it wireless), but it's amazing how playable it is.

I don't want to sound like I'm hawking a product here, but the EWI - with the right software - is really fun.

Thanks for the nice words.
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 06/17/19 12:46 PM

Originally Posted By: rayc
Cool and the melody, whilst excellently performed by the Flug, is perfect for hanging words on.

Point taken.

I think my inner critical listener is working overtime these days. I need to figure a way to shut him down, so I can start writing again. blush

Thanks!
Posted by: Noel96

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 07/02/19 05:14 PM

David,

This is exceptional.

The arrangement and its presentation are sublime. You've taken an outstanding melody and made it glisten and shine like 24 carat gold.... and then some. I love that flugelhorn! It's a great choice for carrying the lead and it's so very mesmerising to listen to.

As I heard it, the overall orchestral texture displays a ton of skill and knowledge and the voice-leading harmony sat very comfortably in my headphones. I sincerely admire how you've managed to orchestrate with such pizzazz against the BIAB and MIDI rhythmical backing. This is not always easy to accomplish. There's no doubt at all in mind that you know your stuff!

I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Regards,
Noel
Posted by: dcuny

Re: The Giants of Albion (Updated Mix) - 07/03/19 10:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Noel96
This is exceptional.

Hi, Noel.

Thanks for the much too kind review! blush

I'm feeling a bit guilty bumping this, but not enough that it'll stop me from responding. laugh

In contrition I figured I'd post another instrumental before replying to the thread.

So thanks also for the motivation!