Black & White

Title track for an upcoming album…

Black & White

All feedback welcome as always…


Mega song, sounds like part of a movie soundtrack, really clean production…just the kind I aspire to but never actually get, Kevin

Yeah, the production is nice and crisp. Not much to add their really, Sherz knows his stuff ^^

About the performance though, everything sounds great, the synths blend in really very nicely and add colour. But the guitar solo notes would really sound better with a developed vibrato technique. This point isn’t really opinion, it’s the same how everyone agrees violinists sound better with vibrato in the playing whenever such passages are played.

I like your arrangements and productions and although your voice definitely isn’t bad and has some character, I’m afraid I have to be honest and say I can’t really enjoy the song because the style of it doesn’t appeal to me. I’d really love to hear your songs and arrangements with a trained singer that can hit the pitches of notes spot on. I know it may be a personal project and the work you put in is fantastic, but as a listener I think that’s the way I’d really enjoy the music as a listening audience/consumer.

Really nice, Ian. As fine a production as I’ve heard from you. Very tasty and well mixed.

While I’d normally agree with John’s comment about vibrato on the solo, I listened before I read that comment,
and I was going to say that this was a tasty solo and, while very simple - simply -felt- good.
While in certain genre’s a soloist without a strong vibrato would not fit - but I’m cool with your solo here.

Good work - and good luck with the album! :sunglasses:

Hey Sherz,

i would be thinking about getting a professional lead vocalist in to record the main vocal line. Don’t take this the wrong though. It would still be YOUR song, and also you could lay all the backing-vocals down yourself which i am sure you would make an excellent job of.



Nice one Ian, feels good :slight_smile:

This is nicely mixed and written. I think your vocal sounds good and suits the style of the music just fine.

Have to agree about the vibrato in the solo though. Granted, I read the comment before I listened but it felt like my ears were waiting for the vibrato and it just doesn’t come! :slight_smile:

Nice work,

Very nicely produced. I think your voice is a good vehicle to sell your songs. Might be cool to record this with someone else singing just to see how it would change.

The guitar in the solo sounded a bit out tune (flat).

Cheers and thanks for all the feedback :sunglasses:

With regard to the guitar solo, I can have another go at it I guess though I hadn’t noticed the absence of vibrato 'til you mentioned it! Its probably one of those things only guitarists would notice. I started life out as a piano player and even though its been quite some years now that I’ve messing around with guitars I still very much consider myself a beginner - certainly when it comes to lead guitar! In fact the ONLY time I attempt to play lead is on my recordings. :slight_smile: And then its usually comp’d out of a zillion takes :laughing:

And the vocals, well… I’ve come from a time where I always had other people sing my songs, Lenny being one of them. But now, many years later its my turn… for better or worse! Like playing lead guitar I’m relatively new to singing too, and I’m aware of my limitations, but my voice is what it is, and its about as good now as it ever will be. AND, in the context and intent behind the album, a sort of personal anthology I guess, it simply wouldn’t make sense for anyone else to sing these tunes… not this time anyway. :slight_smile: I guess I put myself more in with the “character voice” singers - those who aren’t technically great - Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Waits etc etc but sang in a way where it somehow didn’t really matter. Of course there is always the possibility that to some ears not only is my pitch etc untrained but my voice is actually completely devoid of character too :laughing:

I’m sure mum will love it… though she may never get to hear it.

Anyway, your comments and listens are considered and appreciated as always :sunglasses:

Sounds great to me. I guess it depends on your intentions. I don’t think you’re trying to sell your songs to somebody else, but if you were, they would get the idea. I like that you sing them in your own voice the way you do. Reminds me of Ray Davies somehow. And I should say you have too many chords and variations in arrangement to be a pop star, so just give up on that! I think they’re clever, myself. Oh, and I think the guitar solo is doing what you want it to.

Ian, really like your writing its refreshing to hear an artist creating/preforming their own thing. I agree with Early’s statements just do your thing. The solo fit maybe could redo or add some cool effect to make it stand out a little.

Hi sherz…I believe there is a plugin somewhere in cubase that can add vibrato…cheating I know but the end justifies the means or the other way round maybe…can never get that right…Kevin

Great song. Good performing. Well, guitar solo needs some correction… And as for me, the lead vocal sounds a bit thin or narrow or tight. I’m not talking about another vocalist, just, perhaps a double tracking or some plug-ins.


Classic Sherz type tune! :sunglasses: I thought the lyrics were particularly good

About the production. IMO, your vocal needs some treatment – first, it needs to come up in the mix just a bit, and then it’s a bit dark and nasally, sonically speaking, and could use more presence.

Maybe my hearing is going, but the entire production seems a bit on the dark side. I think this is due to the relatively dark, heavy pad + e. piano in the background. I wouldn’t be afraid to brighten things like the vocal, tambourine, snare, and guitar solo, so they stand out a bit more

And of course, I MUST mention… the snare. :laughing: Actually, I like the sample used here, I just thought it needs to come up some, and maybe have a bit more ambiance around it.

I thought the guitar solo was great, but it could also come up considerably. As for the vibrato issue, I AM hearing some vibrato on a few notes – did you re-record this since the previous comments were posted?

As for singing your own song: I understand where people are coming from when they suggest hiring a trained singer, etc. BUT – this is YOUR song, and as I’ve told you in the past, there is NOTHING wrong with your voice in this sort of pop-rock setting! It can be very effective and affecting. So I do not concur with those suggestions.


Double ditto to this

To clarify to twilightsong; I didn’t suggest hiring a trained singer. What I said was that I’d like to hear it that way as a listening audience. That is not a suggestion.

I also applauded the outstanding solo effort that Ian makes. But speaking in a general and inspecific way I do think music is a great thing when shared between multiple musicians and since I’m not quite there with orchestra music yet it is one of the things I miss. I also think that some people, not speaking of anyone here (to clarify that too,) do get too caught up with opposing themselves to pop kind of acts and want to do it all themselves as some kind of Rambo statement.

When I spoke of a developed or defined vibrato technique that doesn’t necessarily mean a wide or aggressive vibrato, as there are many ways to use vibrato. I think any non-guitarist would say the same solo with subtle but developed vibrato on sustained notes would sound better, the notes simply ‘sing’ more if you get where I am coming from.

Good songwriting and arrangement anyway.

Thanks for the additonal comments, suggestions thoughts and err… controversy :stuck_out_tongue:

And in that regard this one is relatively tame to other stuff I’ve done in the past. :open_mouth: I’ve just reworked another oldie… which had 6 distinct parts to the song :astonished: and of course all manner of stuff going on in the arrangement. WHat was I thinking?? The new 2013 version has been rationalized somewhat :wink:


… I’ve already considered that as a possiblity actually. I once used it on some solo violin parts (Garritan) to good effect. :sunglasses:

I’ve spent many many hours mixing my own voice and it’s actually tough one to tame. :confused: I have a huge peak that develops around 2.4kHz which sounds really awful… and is exaggerated even further on my car audio system - my main ‘real world’ mix evaluation environment. There’s another horrible peak up around 7kHz too though I think that is more a characteristic of my mic. I tend to compensate with EQ of course, but what I might actually have to consider is automating this adjustment so that the vocal doesn’t sound unnecessarily ‘dulled’ in the wrong places. I’m not sure how well that will work though? I’ve also just done a recent mix where I’m trying something different with reverb - using a fairly substantial pre-delay. It seems to work well in that particular track. Actually there’s also a song a I recall posting where people noted that the vocal sound was really good… perhaps I need to borrow those settings as a place to start for this mix. :sunglasses:

This is indeed true and the result can most often be better than what an individual can achieve on their own. Collaborations were in fact common place here years ago… and I think it was in 2003 when I started up a ‘virtual band’ in this lounge. We called ourselves “Cybase” (‘Cy’ as is Cyber and ‘base’ as in Cubase). There were 3 albums produced as a result of those collaborations and I sang on none of them (apart from maybe the odd backing vocal part)! And of course there were numerous other contributions being made between numerous other parties over the years too. Of course that’s entirely different to jamming with mates in the real world, which I get a regular fix of and is pretty much the only shared experience I have these days and its through that that I ultimately gained the confidence and experience to try tackle the singing myself. I still remember the first time I wandered up on stage actually… sat at my piano in front of a small audience and … well ‘croaked’ something in a very unsuitable key, that vaguely resembled what some, at a stretch, might call singing. :laughing: I was actually terrified. :open_mouth: That was my first ever public vocal ‘performance’ and that was 6 years ago. :sunglasses:

Hi, you should take a look at “in the lair” on youtube…It’s Dave Pensado giving some great tips…I’m sure you know who he is but just in case he’s a world class mixing engineer…Kevin

Never heard of him! :laughing: But I did watch some of the vids and will probably pick out some others to watch soon. There’s some interesting stuff for sure, some of which I’ve actually taken note of and utilized in my current mix tweaks to this song. Not sure it sounds any better though… :confused: