Progressive rock: “Dream Eternities”

You guys had such helpful input on the last song I got done mixing, regarding stuff I missed. This is one that I’m close to being finished with.
The song was started in 2019 in Cubase 10 probably. Most instruments were recorded and the mix was done in 2022 in Cubase 12.
Dream Eternities

Right off the bat, I like the fretless bass part and placement here, but I have to say the intonation isn’t always spot on. I’m mentioning that because the part is so prominent, so that intonation issue comes across often. As an often fretless bassist myself, I’m quite sensitive to that, and very aware that it’s not so easy to always be on! The old joke is that fretless bass playing is kind of like being asked to walk the line in a police roadside sobriety test, but there are no lines!
I’m a huge 70’s prog fan, and that music plus 70’s fusion is where I cut my own teeth. I’ll guess you may have had something like Yes’s Run Through the Light from Drama in your mind with this. Trevor Horn played fretless on that. Your guitar sound reminded me at times too of Steve Topping.
I definitely liked this, and applaud your work, but you may want to revist the bass part a bit. Did you do all of these parts yourself? If so, even more kudos to you.
John

Thanks for the heads up. I’ll take a close listen to the bass part. It sounded fine to me but my ear might not be as trained to pick that up. Yeah, no fretless bass part is going to be perfect. But I hoped at least all the sustained notes were good.

I did play the bass, all guitars, and sang all the vocals.

I’ll have to look up Steve Topping and give him a listen. Thanks.

Here’s another quick thought on the existing fretless part-lot’s of fretless players have used a chorus effect. I’m not sure if you did, or how much might already be there, but one thought might be to play around with the amount of chorus on that existing part. I might potentially be somewhat more forgiving relative to the intonation.
Steve Topping is a great, but very under-recorded English guitarist who was once billed as “Allan Holdsworth’s favorite guitarist”. He had great chops, and to my ear sounded like he was much more from the John McLaughlin side of electric guitar playing. That said, he did a beautiful album that was much more compositional, and less solo oriented,. That was called Late Flower, and it was from about 2004. It was his most recent album that I know of. Anyway, he had a guitar sound on a few of the cuts on that which was kind of like the guitar sound you have here. I’d definitely take that as a compliment.
John

You are a real prog rocker! Well done! Great guitar work and singing. It’s a great song. About the fretless, well, we guitarists are usually pushing the envelope a little when we go to bass, and fretless is basically impossible, and nothing like playing a guitar. At least in my experience. I think to play fretless in tune, you have to have had a fretless placed in your crib as a baby, and never played any other instrument. Or practice 5 hours a day. That’s what all the professional string section players do! (Now, don’t mention that I told you, but you could cheat using Variaudio}.

If it’s close enough that using a chorus might fix it, it can’t be more than a few cents off.

Yes, my thought also was to use Vari Audio to find notes that are off and either redo the parts (I hate that idea as I have another song I want to start but I want this to be the best I can make it) or cheat and use Vari Audio to put it in tune (I hate that idea too).

Yes, fretless bass isn’t my only, or even my first instrument. And I often wish I had just settled on one instrument and practice that every day. I did that for years with guitar. I started playing bass because I don’t know someone else who wants to come over and play it. But now I love playing bass and would rather play my own parts.
And I decided to try fretless bass in the 1990s after hearing Michael Manring.

I see a lot of fretted bassists vibratoing notes, pulling them sharp. I don’t like that. My fretless playing can’t be worse than that.

But anyway, I’ll listen to the bass track soloed to find problems. Also, from listening to it yesterday, it seems like the intro might benefit from me doing it over. I actually had trouble getting the intro right rhythmically and melodically, because I changed the melody from what I originally came up with to better highlight the chord tones. So when I did a few takes, the new melody hadn’t become muscle memory yet. I noticed that when I repeated it at the end of the song, it was coming a lot easier.
If there were other specific spots you guys noticed problems (the verses or choruses?) feel free to point me in that direction.

And thanks for the comments on the singing. I’ve been told by others that I should find a singer. I’d gladly do that, since originally I just wanted to be the guitar player, but again, I don’t know someone who sings like Robert Plant or Michael Starr who wants to come over and sing. I’m trying to improve my technique and it’s helping.

Super song, love the intro, some early Genesis touches flying around, difficult to hear the vocal though, it’s very good song and worth a bit of a re mix in my very humble opinion…