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#692732 12/20/21 10:48 PM
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Postcards From Nowhere

I found the blue skies hiding behind the grey
They'd always been there but I didn't see 'till today
Couldn't figure why couldn't see the sky

      Postcards from nowhere were my yesterdays
      I've thrown them away
      What the future brings could be anything
      Tomorrow is the turning of the page

Feels like forever trying to find the way
Drifting through darkness, searching for better days
Couldn't turn around, looking for higher ground

      Postcards from nowhere were my yesterdays
      Dark and stormy skies have blown away
      What the future brings could be anything
      Tomorrow is the turning of the page

The dream is near
It's almost hear

      Postcards from nowhere were my yesterdays
      Dark and stormy skies have blown away
      What the future brings could be anything
      Tomorrow is the turning of the page
      So long, old days
      Tomorrow is the turning of the page



The Instruments
Bass 1397:Bass, Electric, Soul70sSync Ev16 100
Electric Piano: 2194:Piano, ElectricVintage, Rhythm CoolJazzPop Ev 085
Guitar 1: 2448:Guitar, Electric, Background, PopDreamyBrent Ev 085
Guitar 2: ~1435:Guitar, Electric, Rhythm JazzFunkGroovinChords Ev16 110
Guitar 3: 1401: Guitar, Electric, RhythmSoul70sBrightA-B Ev16 100
AcPiano: Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm Soul70sA-B Ev16 100 (Probably)
Alto Sax: Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm Soul70sA-B Ev16 100
Drums: Addictive Drums (Fairfax Vol 2., Faxer 2)
Ac. Guitar: Indiginus Renegade Acoustic (DustyWind)
Lead Vocal: Synthesizer V (Emily Forte AI)
Backing Vocals: Synthesizer V (Emily Forte AI, ANRI AI)


The Effects Chain
Master Buss: Ozone Imager, Lurssen Mastering Console (Americana Loose - More Glue)
Vocal: Make Me Scream, Greg Wells VoiceCentric
Vocal Room: Sunset Sound Studio (Iso Booth, Studio 3), Sunset Sound Studio (Plate Spring, Plate 1)
Sax: EZMix (140 Plate)
Harmony Room: Raum (Grounded)
Bass: Make Me Scream, ReaEq (Basic 11 Band Rock Bass), RBass Mono
El. Piano: Trackspacer, Finisher Retro (Dreamer), Finisher Retro (Suitcase Panner)
Ac. Piano: EZMix2 (Piano2)


The Short Version
This is still a work in progress, so feel free to comment on whatever.

Thanks for listening!

Notes on the Second Mix
Mark Hayes pointed out that the vocals were a bit flat and lacked energy. So I've bumped the key up 7 semitones, and changed the tempo from 100 bpm to 105 bpm.

I also made a small change to the lyric, and no doubt will continue to do some further tweaking, especially to balance the harmony against the melody.


The Blah Blah Blah Part - Feel free to skip it. laugh
This was built around the demo song METRO. I changed a bunch of chords, some of which I got a bit too creative with.

The minor6 chord and the guitars gave it a bit more of a surfer tune feel than I expected. I decided to add a modulation to this, as well as an extended ending.

I decided I should use a bridge instead having three verse/choruses in a row. Little did I know how much effort the sax solo was going to take.

Some day I should write a song with a chorus that's a simple repetition, so it's easier to write and more catchy. Today wasn't that day.

After creating a backing track, I imported it into SynthesizerV and worked out a melody. Unfortunately, the chorus sounded a lot like the verse, and both the verse and chorus were a bit bland. Even worse, the ending of the chorus sounded a lot another song I'd written. But I figured I'd deal with it later and just plow ahead.

The initial plan was to use the new ANRI voicebank that had just been released, and I started with the ANRI voice. But I didn't think it was as good as the Eleanor Forte voice. I tweaked the version to a "male" version, and decided to write to that voice. (Obviously I eventually changed it back).

I wrote dummy lyrics - nonsense verse - to fill in the syllables of the song to help me get started on the lyric. It didn't really lead to anything, but it got me something that could be fixed, which is better than a blank sheet. I went looking through some ideas I'd written while working on other songs, and found an old lyric that I could - with a bit of rewriting - fit into the beginning of the song. I also found the "postcards from nowhere" phrase in my notes, which I'm sure I filched from someone else's lyrics.

Some "fill in the blank" work, and I had a chorus. smile

At this point, the similarity between this and another song I'd written became really apparent, so it was time to move notes around to make it "legally distinct", so to speak. The result sounded a lot more like real chorus, so I had my daughter listen to the "before" and "after" versions.

She pulled no punches - the first version is "flat", "boring", and "all sounds the same". The second was a great improvement. Not necessarily good, just an improvement.

Yeesh - perhaps I've raised a bit too much like me. wink

Since there wasn't enough room to develop much of a story, I figured to go ahead with the instrumental. A few lines from the dummy lyrics were salvaged and stuck after the instrumental.

Then I went through the melody and did a lot of edits. There were still a few bits that clashed with the harmony, and eventually I decided to shift back to Eleanor "natural" voice. The song was a bit low for the voice, but... onward anyway!

As the Eleanor voice isn't especially powerful, when an advert for the "Make Me Scream" VST showed up in my email on sale, I decided to give it a try. It was a saturation/distortion effect. It certainly doesn't turn the vocal into a scream, but it does give it a bit of edge. I also used in on the bass, because... well, I did pay for it.

Writing harmony is the fun bit. I tried to make the harmony differ on each verse, to provide a bit more variety.

Then I went back to BiaB to create the sax solo. The new Multi-Riff feature proved helpful, but it still required a whole lot of cutting and pasting. It just didn't seem to want to create a cohesive solo. The key change in the middle of the solo probably didn't help. I spent a lot of time on the solo, and am still not totally happy with it.

The drums weren't working as well as I wanted, to I pulled out the UJAM "Deep" drumkit and started looking for some MIDI that I could build on. I found some patterns I liked, but ended up doing a lot of editing to them. I ended up using Addictive Drums, and putting far more time into working on the drum track than I expected.

I really wanted to have an arpeggiated guitar in the back of the first verse, but again... nothing in BiaB seemed to match. So I got out the Indiginus "Rengade Acoustic" and played in the part.

The drum track was still lacking energy in the final chorus, so I went back and added a ride cymbal.

There are still a few lyrics that I should probably tighten up - "couldn't" shows up too much, for example - and the intro could use some work.

But I figured it's time to release it and get some feedback.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Hello David
once again a great song
I like the background vocals very much
The sax solo is very nice
I don't know if I ever wrote this, but what will be possible in 10 or 20 years?
I wonder if you will even be able to hear a difference from a human singer then?
Is the basis for this voice actually from a real singer or is it all completely artificially created ?

Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year 2022

Many greetings
Andi ;-)

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Dave,

once again: MOST ASTOUNDING. The song comes along so easily and it fits that voice so well. I really liked the the melody as well as the backing track. And by Jove: It sounds awsome.

You're really putting some effort in your songs...

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2022.

Stefan

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Your way with a complex melody is impressive, sir, as is the arrangement! Fun and engaging.

In terms of the bots:

I really like the interaction among the voices, it's well-written and it sounds good.

The lead singer, though, makes me uncomfortable. She sounds "low energy" to the point of indifference or outright depression. As usual, I can't explain where this feeling comes from, but it is strong as I listen now. She sounds like she wants to put down the mic and go home. I trust you know I do not mean that in a way that is critical of you, even though that would be a pretty unkind description of an actual person's singing. =8^)

Not to overdo the "uncanny valley" thing, but I do suspect that might be the scene here. Make the singer just a little more robotic-sounding, and the "depressed" affect would totally disappear. Unfortunately, the implication would seem to be that as bots continue to improve and approach humanity asymptotically, they'll sound more and more disturbing.

And with that cheery thought, winter (or summer) 2021-2022 is upon us!

Last edited by Mark Hayes; 12/21/21 05:30 AM.
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Amazing work, I especially liked how the BGV played off the main vocal. I'm really impressed. I'm another guy who can't sing so this tech gives us some hope. From what I'm hearing, really good synthetic vocals will come along much sooner than realistically human robots.


Windows 10, Intel Core I5 10400, 16 gig ram, Scarlett 6i6, Komplete keyboard, Sony Acid Music Studio 11, BIAB 2020 UltraPlus Pak
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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: PROJECT M
once again a great song
I like the background vocals very much

Hi, Andi.

Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to listen and post. smile

Originally Posted By: PROJECT M
I don't know if I ever wrote this, but what will be possible in 10 or 20 years?
I wonder if you will even be able to hear a difference from a human singer then?

Well, with synthetic instruments such as a saxophone or violin, while an average person may not be able to tell, a professional musician who plays the instrument can almost always tell.

But this is partly because the people who write the music may have the instrument do things that it can't do. If you stay in the range of what it can do, I think we'll cross that gap sooner than people might think.

Originally Posted By: PROJECT M
Is the basis for this voice actually from a real singer or is it all completely artificially created?

This is created by having an real singer perform all the phonemes, and then using a neural network learn how that singer sounds.

Originally Posted By: PROJECT M
Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year 2022

Thanks, Andi. The same to you! smile


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Crossroads
once again: MOST ASTOUNDING. The song comes along so easily and it fits that voice so well. I really liked the the melody as well as the backing track. And by Jove: It sounds awesome.

Thanks, Stefan!

Originally Posted By: Crossroads
Merry Christmas and all the best for 2022.

And a Merry Christmas to you. I hope 2022 is a great year for you and Maha.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
Your way with a complex melody is impressive, sir, as is the arrangement! Fun and engaging.

Hi, Mark.

Perhaps a bit too complex at times. wink

Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
I really like the interaction among the voices, it's well-written and it sounds good.

That's my favorite part of the writing, although I worry that I overdo it more than a little. laugh

Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
The lead singer, though, makes me uncomfortable. She sounds "low energy" to the point of indifference or outright depression.

You're absolutely right.

Although I really like the low register, it is, as you said, "low energy", and so doesn't fit the song well. Plus, I've got a number of "swoops" where the vocal slides from one note to the next, and that adds to the sound.

So I've gone back and bumped the song to a higher key, and increased the tempo slightly. I wanted to keep the laid-back feel, but it was just a touch too slow.

I probably need to go back and match the background vocals a bit better. I'm not sure I want to pitch them up too high on the first verse, but I haven't had a chance to try it out much.

Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
Not to overdo the "uncanny valley" thing, but I do suspect that might be the scene here. Make the singer just a little more robotic-sounding, and the "depressed" affect would totally disappear. Unfortunately, the implication would seem to be that as bots continue to improve and approach humanity asymptotically, they'll sound more and more disturbing.

I'm not sure how much weight to give the "uncanny valley". When that term was being bantered around, people were mainly talking about CGI. We're good at detecting what's wrong (for example, dead eyes in "The Polar Express").

It turned out that a lot of it had to do with poor animation, and I think that's the case here as well. smile

Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
And with that cheery thought, winter (or summer) 2021-2022 is upon us!

Yes it is! I figured I'd try to get one last song in under the wire, and I'm sort of amazed that it finally came together.

The best of the season and New Year to you!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: TuneMonger
Amazing work, I especially liked how the BGV played off the main vocal. I'm really impressed. I'm another guy who can't sing so this tech gives us some hope.

Yeah, the background vocals are the most fun part to write.

I'm sure I'm overdoing it, but it makes me happy. That's the important thing! wink

While it might not be good enough to do a convincing performance, I think it's good enough to put together a demo and work out lyrics and parts.

I certainly wouldn't have been able to do as many songs this year if I didn't have it.

Then it's just a matter of finding someone good on Fivver and spending real money to have them sing it. Or just moving on and writing another song...

Originally Posted By: TuneMonger
From what I'm hearing, really good synthetic vocals will come along much sooner than realistically human robots.

Yeah, there are a lot more problems to solve with an android. With vocals, you only to to be able to generate audio.

Thanks for stopping and listening! smile


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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I suspect that the energy of the backing will, for sometime yet, be damped by the synth vocal.
I listened passed the vocal to the backing and it's really nice and skips along happily.
The Bing Crosby Effect is significant though.
Lovely melody by the way.


Cheers
rayc
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Originally Posted By: rayc
The Bing Crosby Effect is significant though.


Please, what is this?

Googling only got me "the Bing Crosby effect of stopping me in my tracks and helping me to see more clearly that it’s a losing battle to pursue lasting satisfaction in this life" but I doubt that's what you meant.

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I always find your songs to be enjoyable. I think the lyrics match the performers perfectly. Well crafted arrangement. I'm sure it is a lot of work to get your vocalists and the band together in one place but you do it nicely. Good one.


My music can be heard at: The Cracks
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As we said at SC, "An excellent showcase of amazing technology!"

Thanks for the fx info ... mercifully it did not result in us screaming.

We much liked the lyric, melody and the counterpoint vocals.

Reading your post (all of it smile ), perusing the tracks, and trying to digest your use of Eleanor is overwhelming.
It is hard to comprehend how much thought and DAW time must go into a production like this.

You have the patience of JOB and to your credit the results indicate time well spent given the creative outcome.

Kudos and we look forward to the next one.

Happy Holidays,

J&B

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Originally Posted By: dcuny

I'm not sure how much weight to give the "uncanny valley". When that term was being bantered around, people were mainly talking about CGI. We're good at detecting what's wrong (for example, dead eyes in "The Polar Express").

It turned out that a lot of it had to do with poor animation, and I think that's the case here as well. smile


I give the concept weight here because it makes sense and its apparent effect on me really can be really strong.

Remember Macintalk, the "drunken Scandinavian in an oil drum"? He didn't provoke any sort of emotional response, other than yucks. He was a funny robot voice.

Likewise, I think, for decades of synthesized speech.

But now, robot voices have gotten to the point where they're beginning to enter the Zone of Indistinguishability, and they can sound almost but not quite like humans, and for me, that's where spooky, quasi-emotional phenomena start intruding.

Maybe it's like flying a supersonic plane (he wrote, as if he knows what flying a supersonic plane is like.) As you approach the Speed of Sound, vibration and turbulence increase until pow you pass through Mach 1 and things calm down.

You and Eleanor are Pushing the Envelope. Buckle up!

Last edited by Mark Hayes; 12/22/21 04:59 AM.
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Originally Posted By: rayc
I suspect that the energy of the backing will, for sometime yet, be damped by the synth vocal.

Hi, Ray.

I know what you're talking about. I appreciate people's forbearance with listening to songs being sung by robots - I know it's not everyone's cup of tea.


Originally Posted By: rayc
I listened passed the vocal to the backing and it's really nice and skips along happily.
...
Lovely melody by the way.

Thanks! I'm always happy to hear that. laugh

Quote:
The Bing Crosby Effect is significant though.

This is the first time I've heard this term. I knew that Bing was a musical innovator, and his investments into recording technologies really helped increase the sound quality of recordings.

Thanks for stopping to listen and comment!


-- David Cuny
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Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: jptjptjpt
I always find your songs to be enjoyable. I think the lyrics match the performers perfectly. Well crafted arrangement. I'm sure it is a lot of work to get your vocalists and the band together in one place but you do it nicely. Good one.

Thanks!

One of the advantages of working from the melody to the lyrics instead of the other way around, is that the sound of the performance helps guide the lyric.

Getting things to gel isn't as hard as all the long list of plugins implies. I just happen to have a bunch of effects that I bought because I like the sound, and I thought they would be a good match for the sound. wink

I appreciate the positive feedback!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

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Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
As we said at SC, "An excellent showcase of amazing technology!"

That includes BiaB, of course.

Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
Thanks for the fx info ... mercifully it did not result in us screaming.

Heh. I figure you're probably the only people who read that part.

Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
We much liked the lyric, melody and the counterpoint vocals.

Thanks! Always appreciated, especially coming from you!

Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
Reading your post (all of it smile ), perusing the tracks, and trying to digest your use of Eleanor is overwhelming.
It is hard to comprehend how much thought and DAW time must go into a production like this.

I try to hide a few tidbits in there to make it enjoyable. wink

But I really should pare those missives down a bit. I assume that a lot of people do the same level of work on their songs, they just don't bother writing it all down.

Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
You have the patience of JOB and to your credit the results indicate time well spent given the creative outcome.

Writing excessively long laments seems to be something else I've got in common with Job.

Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
Kudos and we look forward to the next one.

Thanks, and Happy Holidays to you two as well! laugh


-- David Cuny
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Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
Remember Macintalk, the "drunken Scandinavian in an oil drum"? He didn't provoke any sort of emotional response, other than yucks. He was a funny robot voice.

You're talking about the version of Software Automatic Mouth that was ported to the Mac. I'm well aware of the program, as I've read and documented the disassembled source code, and written a version in Lua that can sing. laugh

The later versions of SAM are very intelligible and even capable of singing fairly well.. I'd gotten a hold of the company a number of years ago in hopes of convincing them that perhaps using them with BiaB (I've got some code that will convert between MusicXML and other formats). But that never panned out. frown

Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
But now, robot voices have gotten to the point where they're beginning to enter the Zone of Indistinguishably, and they can sound almost but not quite like humans, and for me, that's where spooky, quasi-emotional phenomena start intruding.

Much like how replicators in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy can create something that's almost, but not quite, like a cup of tea. wink

For me, it's enough that it can demo the song. The important bit - for me - is that I can get a level of expressiveness out of it that wasn't there before.

But compare it to an actual person singing, and it's like day and night.


-- David Cuny
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David,

This is excellent! I am completely fascinated by this technology and your approach. I hear tremendous evolution in each project.

You are leading the way on this. Great stuff!

Bob

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Originally Posted By: dcuny
You're talking about the version of Software Automatic Mouth that was ported to the Mac. I'm well aware of the program, as I've read and documented the disassembled source code, and written a version in Lua that can sing. laugh

The later versions of SAM are very intelligible and even capable of singing fairly well.. I'd gotten a hold of the company a number of years ago in hopes of convincing them that perhaps using them with BiaB (I've got some code that will convert between MusicXML and other formats). But that never panned out. frown


Interesting, I did not know about SAM.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_Automatic_Mouth

This guy – https://simulationcorner.net/index.php?page=sam
has a demo, I know not from when – https://simulationcorner.net/SAM/sing.wav

Hendrix did it better, but hey.

Last edited by Mark Hayes; 12/22/21 09:13 AM.
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Watch the new features video to learn more: Video: Band-in-a-Box® 2024 - DAW Plugin Version 6 New Features

We also list these new features at www.pgmusic.com/bbwin.plugin.htm.

Free Updates Available for PowerTracks Pro Audio 2024 & RealBand 2024!

Using RealBand 2024 or PowerTracks Pro Audio 2024? Head to our support page for your free update!

RealBand 2024 Build 3 resolves the "expired program" error users were experiencing, along with a few other issues that were reported. It also adds the option to launch the Style Picker from the Tracks Window! Learn all about this patch and download it here.

A lot of what you see in RealBand you'll find in PowerTracks, as these are similar programs - so the "expired program" error was also occuring in PowerTracks Pro Audio 2024. Fortunately, PowerTracks Pro Audio 2024 Build 3 resolves this!

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