The 11th Hour's Promises

Here’s a track that was put together pretty quickly to conform to the 30 day trial I have with Cubase 11 Pro. I have lots of things in my “to do” basket that are ready to record, but the 11th Hour just came along spontaneously from playing around with a “free jazz” pattern in the latest Groove Agent. This situation is referenced of course in my song title.
The song includes 2 different electric guitars (a Carvin Bolt with DiMarzio pickups,and an Ibanez Artcore AF75). The bass is a fretless Fender Jazz bass with EMG pickups. They are all going direct into Cubase through Helix Native software. The keys are all either Halion or Retrologue.
I’m including links to the song in both bandcamp and soundcloud. Bandcamp sounds a bit better, but again, I’m aware the threat of a download fee scares some off (that never kicks in up to 3 listens).
Thanks for listening, and any constructive suggestions. I hope you’ll like what you’ll hear.

Hi Swetch, I like this track. There’s a lot in it. I think you could immediately improve it by turning up the bass and drums, or rather turning down the pads (organs and such) that are the loudest elements. I think what you’re going for is a solid jazz groove anchored by a good swingy drum pattern matched with a mostly walking bass. The other stuff should float on top. Also, the bass part, which I really like, should be bassier. It sounds thin. Maybe only because the other elements drown it out.

Hi Swetch,
First of all, it’s a beautiful melody. Well thought & well executed.
You should improve the mix to make it much much more impactful. Here are some reflections:

  1. Leon is right. Turn down the pads for them to support the rest of the elements.
  2. I think the intro should be longer (don’t go crazy), to introduce one by one the instruments. I found this song peaceful and you don’t need to rush quickly into the main theme. let the listeners gather to your song. I know the 11th hour, but it’s not about being there all together at the same time!
  3. Add breath, perhaps with some “silences” between the parts. Don’t know exactly, but let us breath. Why not using drums only during a few seconds while the other instruments get released
  4. The Bass solo is really good, but please, make it really in frontline.
  5. I would go for a smoother sound for the guitar when reaching the end. found it too aggressive.

But listen, it’s be beautiful. All of the above is only to make it more at my taste. That’s it!

Hi Swetch,
As above. Listen to these guys, their advice is spot on. From my point of view, you have the basis of something really worthwhile so make it work. I especially like the idea of silence as a contrast - silence makes the sounds even more beautiful. Let the music breathe.

All the best

Thanks for the feedback with the original version.
Now the “11th Hour” with my Cubase 11 Pro trial period has passed, and I revisited this to tweak it in a few ways. FWIW, I sprang for the upgrade.
First of all, the synth pads had been too high in the mix, and I also thought they were a bit too similar in their tonal qualities. I switched one of them to more of a “Hammond Organ through a Leslie” sound, and took the Retrologue voices that had originally been doubled in 2 different directions. All of the pads were then dialed back a bit in the mix.
I then played around with the bass a little, but it was pretty easy for it becoming overbearing as I moved it forward. As a long time fretless player, the intonation irregularities can often make me squirm while listening back, so I was reluctant to make bring the bass up too much. Therefore, I just played with the EQ’s slightly. I think that might have improved it. Now that I’ve called attention to those intonation issues, please forgive them, if you notice anything! Look at them as adding “character” (LOL).
I re-did part of one of the guitar tracks to make the octaves a little more cleanly played. I also added a very simple ride cymbal that emphasized the 3rd beat of each measure. I think that kind of helps it to swing a little more. Finally, I made the ending a little more emphatic through adding a 2nd guitar line and a simple tom fill and cymbal crash.
I took the old version down from soundcloud and replaced it with this new mix, so here’s a new link to it there:

The file was replaced in bandcamp, but that same link above still works for anyone who’d prefer to hear it there (and there’s no prompt to pay for a download until a 3rd listen). Thanks again for the support and suggestions.

Holds together much better. Not hearing any noticeable pitch issues with the fretless. All within the way it’s supposed to sound. I wish I could hear the ride cymbal keeping swing time. It’s reminding me of very early Zappa.

Yes it is very much like Zappa. Really cool. The music breathes a whole lot better now. I could hear the individual parts so much better. But, like Leon says, the ride is barely there at all.

delightful now!
Balanced & clear.
Love it!

Thanks so much for the additional listen that you’ve given this. Glad too to hear that the listening experience was improved thanks to some very good suggestions you’d each shared.
I appreciate the Zappa comparison. I’d never really listened to him much through the years, but started to do so more recently via the Zappa movie that came out this year. I’m curious if any of that came out here. I thought my octaves on the guitars put me more in the “smooth jazz” frame (where I wouldn’t particularly want to be). Happier to be lumped in with the Waka Jawaka or Hot Rats.
I never liked the crassness of a lot of Zappa’s lyrics, but the guy definitely was in a league of his own compositionally.
I’ll see if I can get that ride cymbal to jump out a bit more too.