The Ice Shelf Retreats

Here’s a new composition of mine, which has been in the works for a long time. I played guitars and bass. The synth and keyboard tracks were played by me in midi. My friend Spencer played drums. We used six mics for the drums (kick, snare, overhead left, overhead right, rack toms, floor tom), and Spencer played along to a mixdown of the other tracks plus a click track.

I would be grateful for your comments on the composition, the recording, and the mix.

Leon, another great track.

Nice work all round, and the drums sound very good indeed.
Well-balanced I thought and your friend did such a good job,
including that little retard at 4:52~…Very tight playing.

Is that a very subtle vibrato on the guitar in many parts?
It seems to have a very slow volume wave happening, nice.

At times I thought the mix balance sounded just poifek, but
in other spots I felt the guitar (in particular) and the synths
were a tad too loud. Just personal taste really.

Great stuff.

Hi Leon ,composition is good it fits right in with all your other tunes ,proggy,isnt it fashionable again,so if you want to remain on the fringes youll have to take up the didgeridoo (yes i gogled the spelin) , soz just jesting .the recording is great ,the mix is also great in fact its excellent, you can see everything in the mix , just the hammond tinkles at around 50 secs are just a little pokey in my ears phones ,but my ears have been poked for many years now . the kit sounds fantastic but could maybe do with slight bit more edge in my op, everything else is spot on and what id expect of you ,high quality stuff.

Jet, thanks for listening and commenting. I am indeed hitting the whammy bar a little to create a bit of a shimmer in the guitar. With a short delay placed on the opposite side, it makes it sound rich to me. I probably have guitar parts too loud (even though I have never done that before!!!) and will give it a thorough review. Usually my first try has guitar parts way too loud, and it takes a few days perspective to bring it back into balance. Although this mix is after the few days perspective! I do agree, that Spencer is very tight… looking at the waveform, he is right on. I didn’t edit anything for timing. I just count my blessings that he’s willing to play with the band and to record my crazy pieces!

Polgara, glad you liked it! I wonder if there’s a sample of the didgeridoo in Kontakt? I agree with you about those Hammond tinkles; meant to turn them down, and will on the next mix. When you say you’d like the kit to have more edge, do you mean a little louder snare and kick? This is the first time I’ve recorded drums without the bleed from the band, so it has been a learning experience. Thanks for giving it a listening!

hi Leon ,regards the kit ,yes all the kit ,i just meant a little more brightness, maybe the bleed will give it that back i don`t know, but i basically meant a bit more higher frequency.i might be wrong cause if you put it on it might not work ,it was cause when i was focusing on the kit it was just a little bit out of focus ,just a little bit set back ,maybe raising the volume might do it.
i just give it a quick listen and i think it mabe the volume of the guitar which is too big for the kit but i still think it needs to be a tiny bit brighter. just my opinion .

digital didgeridoo, try saying that after a couple

Thanks for the clarification on the drums. Input for the next mix. Somebody must have issued a digital didgeridoo by now!

Atmospheric opening followed by the usual very cool and sophisticated music…I really don’t feel qualified to critique this at all…it’s very good and very pro sounding to my ears…

best, Kevin :slight_smile:

I really like this piece. Good job on the drums - tight.

Kevin, thanks for listening! Glad you liked it. My first try at isolated live drums. Still a lot to learn!

Silver Mica, thanks for giving it a listen, and glad you enjoyed it.

Leon, that was great. When it started, I enjoyed some of (what I consider to be) your trademark stuff - phrasing, melodies, chord progressions, guitar tone, vibrato. I’ve said before I think you have a very recognisable ‘sound’ that is hugely enjoyable. I’m going to admit that initially, after about two minutes, I began to wonder whether it sounded too close to other tunes you’ve done without adding anything sufficiently different to make it stand out. And then came the changes at the half way point - very cool, beautifully different, and I was grabbed right back in. And just to echo other comments: classy recording quality. Drums in particular sound wry, spry, crisp and dry.


Steve, thanks for listening and commenting. I guess the last person to recognize trademark characteristics is the composer! I do struggle to write music I’m happy with. This one got started with the buildup in the beginning, and just sort of landed on the first melody, but then sat there for a very long time until some ideas popped into my head that I felt I could use. The middle is much more interesting to me than the beginning, but you have to start somewhere!

Again, thanks for the comments.

To Jet’s earlier comment, in addition to the whammy bar stuff I mentioned in my reply, there is, in fact, a very subtle guitar vibrato throughout, over and above the whammy bar. I should have mentioned it. I’ve been doing it with my recordings for a while. I just like the way it gives the guitar some motion.

Tell me about it. :wink:

Nicely crafted track - reminds me a bit of Camel in their Snow Goose days.

Thanks for listening, Neil, and thanks for pointing me to Camel and Snow Goose. Had never heard of them, and enjoyed listening to the album today.

Saw them on the Snow Goose tour during my honeymoon!!
Still a special album to me.

Leon, that took me back to good times. A gentle prog rock track which allowed the instruments to weave some peace in my mind. Thanks for letting us listen.

All the best


Thanks, Jonathan, for listening and commenting!

Thanks for sharing! I think it is a very interesting track, lots going on, cool and smooth.