Dew Point - Electro/rock track

Hi everybody,

Got a track here that I’m having a hard time describing. I guess it’s a sort of electronic-rock hybrid(?) Perhaps a bit of Ozric Tentacles among the influences for this one… It’s part of a soundtrack I’m preparing for an upcoming video game.

Dew Point

Tools of the trade include:
Plogue Chipsounds
Soniccouture stuff (tweaked Rhodes and a motion-pad)
My crappy electric bass.
Battery 4 & Groove Agent ONE
Lots of included Cubase effects.
Produced in Cubase 7.

Production notes are highly appreciated on this one as I’m not used to mixing this sort of material and would love your input! Thanks for listening and for the feedback and I hope you enjoy the track!


I am really liking this. The synths (I love those little “ting” ones :smiley: ) go great with the more traditional snare. The Ambiance is pretty epic, there isn’t too much of a determinable “melody” but that is alright taking the genre into consideration (is that a guitar or synth? sounds great either way). Speaking of which - it almost seems too “involved” for a background track, taking away from the actual gameplay. I don’t know the specifics so I guess I can’t make a good assumption either… other than that, I can’t hear any big mix issues and the intro and long fading outro I could see in any game. Great job!

good sound in general but this seems to be two sections repeated one after another with some slight variation and significantly …no tune, I think whatever the genre (except maybe high jazz) a tune is the most important part of music…or maybe some riff that grabs you…I’m stating the obvious there of course, just think how much better this piece would be if you had a good tune over it…Kevin

Thanks guys for the first and fast responses :slight_smile: Let me address some of your comments.

That’s probably the chiptuny sound you’re talking about. It’s from Plogue Chipsounds. I like it too, it really stands out with ease and gives it a healthy hi-end.

If you’re talking about the solo lead, it’s a patch from Omnisphere driven through Cubase’s guitar amp. If you’re talking about the background “guitar” that comes in the B parts, it’s a patch from Soniccouture’s Abstrakt vol.1 (if I remember correctly).

No guitars (in the exact same spirit of Queen’s “no synthesizers”)

Kevin/shadowfax has a point and since ethansight points the same thing out there’s surely validity to it. The form is of course ABAB’A’ but I would argue that there is at least a hint of a tune in all sections—it’s just not presented in the traditional “here’s a melodic instrument up front, whistle along” way. The A section has the “ting” sound (I call it “bleep” :slight_smile: ) and B has a similar thing with a bell-like sound, both singing a melody (A is more like one sentence, B is a bit of a Q&A). That B-melody develops into a solo in B’.

My idea of not using very singable or obvious melodies is exactly what Ethan mentions: it’s supposed to be a background track for a video game and it’s already quite busy for that. Given that the game can become hectic with many enemies on screen I’m hoping it will match the player’s state of mind and not have them looking for the mute button but having a lead melody thorough have been an overkill (still, I couldn’t help playing that solo… :stuck_out_tongue: )

Of course, given that both of you commented on it, I should really try and make the melody/melodic carriers a bit clearer. Thanks a lot for the feedback guys, it’s always good to have another perspective! :wink:


I loved it!
Well OK, if I was gonna say something negative, it would be about the absence of live drums and guitars, but I am a rock musician, and most of my projects involve live vocals, guitars, bass and often live drums, sometimes combined with programmed keys, and drums if no live drummer is available.

But this track reminds me a lot of the 80’s new age music that I still love listening to. It has a little more edge and intensity than much of that kind of music, but that’s perfectly fine. You are doing your own thing, not copying a cliched sound. Of course in doing so, you run the risk of it not really working well, and I’ve certainly heard examples of that, but it’s definitely not the case with your track. It “sounds right” so in my book it is right.

As for a melody, I think in the new age genre, the focus is often more on creating an atmosphere, not a statement. That’s not to say there aren’t new age songs with a strong melody, but it wasn’t required in every case. Your song is a very enjoyable listening experience. I can think of at least one other electronic music genre where pieces often have no melody, and the synth textures, and the atmosphere that the piece creates is the focus.

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :wink:

Regarding the guitars, it’s a very conscious choice not to use any. They would probably fit nicely in this track but it’s not a sound I would want to have in the soundtrack in general and I prefer to stick with a tight sound palette for consistency’s sake. (Also, I’m not that good of a guitarist so if it’s not absolutely needed I tend to avoid them to save myself from too much audio editing/quantizing etc.).

As far as the drums go, although the sound here is a compilation of at least two kits at any given time (four in total in the session), as a drummer myself I would love to be able to play and record live drums but unfortunately it’s not possible… I try to keep the programming as natural as possible when the acoustic kits have the main role, but a human performance is a human performance. :slight_smile:

see below

basically because I’m an idiot

nice sounds ,kit sounds good, wish i could get my kits sounding like that ,i liked the way the softer sounds came in near the end . gud one

No, it’s good that you mentioned the thing about the melody because I was under the impression that the “melody” I used was more apparent as such, even though subtle. Obviously it’s not separated enough from the background since two of you pointed out that a melody is missing—that’s a useful note for me. Thanks again :wink:

Thanks man! :slight_smile: I’m happy you say that because there’s a lot of processing going on to get the final kit sound. Keep in mind that the kicks are a combination of two (sometimes three) different ones and so are the snares. The most important thing mixing-wise for me is to have separate channels for each kick and snare (and then toms and cymbals). I use Battery and it’s easy to assign each sample to a different output that I then feed into a group track for basic volume management and other effects that apply to the entire kit. But having your kick and snare separately is crucial since you can EQ and compress it without having the rest of the sound going through (even more so if you’re mixing multiple samples since you need to EQ each kick’s fundamental frequency out of the other kicks to avoid masking and a too hot low end that will just overload your mastering chain). This might sound as a stupid thing to say since it’s basic drum treatment since the beginning of multitracks, but with VST drums I find many people overlook it and use dynamic processors applied to the entire kit (a multiband comp will only get you that far…).

Ok, I’ve rumbled enough… Sorry about that :slight_smile:

interesting stuff…swhat’s the site is all about…

I mean, you’d really need to see the game/level to know how well it works.

The mix sounds nice anyway. The biggest issue is the bass line being too quiet, I know videogame music very well and I actually own all or most of Ozrics albums too and it does have that kind of “space rock” kind of vibe, which sounds cool. But yeah, the bass line really needs to be more prominent. The bass line ‘hooks’ are just as important in this kind of stuff. I don’t think it needs a strong melody, but definitely a strong hook. And you actually already have that. At 50 seconds the synth that enters to the left and is autopanned is really the hook and it should be more prominent along with the bass line to create that distinctive hook that is often heard in the kind of videogame I’m imagining this music being for. The kind of bell/glockenspiel synth should be lower, since those notes are just colour.

You have everything there really, and it sounds really good! But you do need to get the volumes of the above-mentioned hooks louder so that they are what the listener is hearing, I mean I had to aurally ‘lean in’ to pick them out in the way that my ears wanted to hear. Really enjoyed the vibe though, so well done.

Thanks for the feedback, Jonathan! I agree on the bass line thing. That’s exactly the kind of feedback I’m looking for! I have a major issue with my room acoustics and I have had issues with too hot low ends in the past so I’m a bit underplaying the low frequencies without even noticing… I will surely give it a healthy boost :slight_smile:

I’m not sure about the auto-panned synth… The auto-panned thingy is what is “just colour” to me (it’s really something I put there to make the part feel subconsciously more active). It would probably benefit from a slight boost but I’m not sure I can see it as a hook… It’s interesting to me that you give it this prominence though and I will surely give it a shot mixing it up—perhaps you’re on to something! For what is worth, my “hook” is the melody that comes in at 0.50 and later on is reprized as a solo at 1.50. Also the bass line can be surely a hook and is played as such in sense that it’s quite melodic and has a distinct motif.

Thanks again man, I really appreciate this sort of detailed feedback :wink:

You’re welcome Chris, but I really think the hook should be a combination of the bass and that synth at 50 secs that I pointed out, perhaps you have to change a few notes but it seemed like it had the right characteristics to work well with the bass as a hook without being a melody that is too intrusive. Sounds decent as it is, will be cool to hear it the way I suggested to compare though. :smiling_imp:

Really nice job man, very spaceish sounding with a lot of atmosphere. You are right, there is nothing taking the center of attention which is good, since ultimately for a game music is just there to add to the general mood.

I’m loving the sound design, there is a lot of texture and movement to your piece.
Well done.