'What It Is' progressive rock

Greetings, as the topic title says, I’ve built (that’s how I create music with Cubase) a new piece of progressive rock, first part of which you can find it here: SoundClick

It’s 10 + mins. long with possibly more posted here later if this one attracts any interest.
Steinberg guys might like to hear what one person can create with this wonderful program (Cubase) and I thank them profusely for enabling musicians of all sorts to make their own music.

Thank you for your time.

All the best,


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Hello Mauri,

I listened and I liked your progressive, the instrumentation and the development. Good thing of this style is that you can do what you want.

Thanks for taking the time, I know it’s a long piece and not any particular person’s cup o’ tea but when you can, and are able to do your own thing, what’s better than that.

I’m pleased you liked it enough to listen through.


The guitar parts are well performed but I did not like the guitar sound very much (too synthesized sounding to me). There are quite a few parts but the tune does not offer many melodic themes which would appear as composed but it seems more like an improvisational piece with a number of riffs. Somehow, I feel there is still a component missing from this, the overall main idea, but this may just be my limited mind looking for clearly stated melodic themes. But do keep posting your future work, this piece did make me think about what direction your progressive journey could take. BTW, at one stage you appeared to go the Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez way but you quickly managed to get away from that route :slight_smile:

Hi and thank you for taking the time.
I didn’t set out to write a piece with any particular theme (and one could say that is the theme), perhaps more like a sequence of dreams which do not follow logical or mathematical rules.
This piece is actually the first half of the complete work which is still growing and, as in dreams, who knows where it’ll end.

The guitar sounds are my personal choice, I usually choose sounds from the playing/writing point of view. A Telecaster through a Fender Champ, for example, would lead me to completely different ideas than, say, a Strat through a UniVibe and a Marshall.
For almost all the guitar sounds I did used an old (very) Simulanalog Guitar Suite’s UniVibe simulation which maybe sounds a little synthezised, it still works with a bridge, all done with NI Guitar Rig.
It’s very good of you listen and comment on this but in the end it is what the title says, ‘What It Is’.

Thank you again, 'very interesting to read your comments.

Love the intro (Piano) with the bass around. Smart!
Did you apply special treatment for the panning. Find it really interesting.
You should emphasis the percs from my taste.
Really good, excellent vibes.

This is interesting. I cut my teeth on Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, PFM, etc in the 70’s, so I can definitely see where you’re coming from-and might also go with this music. I liked this for the most part, but I would say a real bass guitar would work better than the softsynth bass you’ve got here. It kind of sounds more like the bass pedals that Greg Lake or Chris Squire would use from time to time than an actual bass. I think that would help because the attack of a real bass guitar would strengthen the rhythm and work better with the drums.
I liked your guitar playing and guitar sound, but I think a piece of this length might benefit from another lead instrument taking over from time to time. Those prog bands always had a couple of soloists, if you consider that.
You kind of “rock out” in a more straight ahead way than prog towards the end, and that led me to realize your guitar sound is very similar to Robin Trower’s sound circa Bridge of Sighs. I thinkhe used a univibe too. FWIW, I once saw him open for King Crimson,. and Crimson’s Fripp is on record saying how much he liked Trower.
I’m also wondering if you’re contemplating vocals on this or the future parts to which you refer? I think they’d add to it, even if they were only some sort of softsynth choir type voicings.
All in all, this was ambitious, but worthwhile. I’m sure you had some fun and satisfaction doing it, and I look forward to hearing more.

Thank you for your time, John,

I get what you are saying, and I think you are right with your critiques, I only have Trilian for my bass man, I probably could have made it sound more realistic… in a piece this long one (it is unbelievably labor intensive!) is tempted to say ‘that’ll do’, and yes, a real player would be better.

I can’t sing too well so I don’t, but thanks for the idea of using synth generated or sampled voices, I’ll look into that, there are places on this piece for that.

More solo lead instruments?
I might make up for some of that by perhaps looking into ways to vary the guitar sound more drastically and stylistically.

Robin Trower?
I’m actually a big Robin Trower fan, he has a kind of odd take on Hendrix but doesn’t really sound like Jimi. I used to listen to those albums you mentioned a lot, the man has style, he liked it loud too!

Thank you so much for your time and thoughts, and there is more coming…


Hi, Stephco

Thank you very much for spending time on this, I appreciate that.
I use Voxengo MSED spatial processor and also the Waves and other mid-side software.
I put them on group, FX and individual channels and play around until I think it sounds like something good (to me). With the MSED plug you can change the volume of the sides while the middle stays the same, or, change the middle independently. Very nice, and it’s free.


You are right, the percussion could be a bit more up in the mix and I’ll do something about that.

Many thanks,


Guitar! Love your sound. Keep it coming. Yeah, maybe you should play the bass too. Very happy to hear new stuff from you. Can’t wait for the next segment.

Greetings, Leon,
Thanks for taking the time, quite a bit of it ;)!
I’m trying a few alteration on this piece before I move onto the next, looking into the instrumentation, maybe a couple of changes there, then fine tune the mix a bit too.

I’ve just been listening to your ‘Soundtrack for the Collapse of Civilization’ and ‘Aurora Borealis’ very nice, beautifully different.

Thanks again and, be well.


Thanks for posting the piece.
It is a jam piece. If that is what you were after, you’ve achieved it. If you stated a melodic idea or two, and came back to those later in the piece, it would sound more like a song, but that’s up to you.

I wanted to comment on the production though.

  1. ) You kept the arrangement sparse, with just drums, bass and guitar, and later with some synths, but not multiple layered synths. This makes mixing a piece a lot easier. I sometimes write songs with a lot of layered parts and then have a hard time getting all the parts to be as clear as I want when I have to mix everything. Better to not have more stuff going on than necessary.
    2.) I like the guitar tone you are using. It does remind me a bit of Trower and I love his guitar tone.
    At first I thought the guitar was just too loud, but I think you’re keeping it the same volume all the way through the piece, and it blends in well after 10:00 or so when the synths and keys join in.
    If you wanted to try the part over, you might roll down the volume in the first part of the song, play more softly, then turn up after 10:00. That might give a sense of the “group” playing off each other more, being an ensemble.
    There is however a swishing sound in one channel (my right) whenever the guitar is playing. I don’t know if it’s reverb or if it’s caused by the modulation effect you’re using on the guitar. If that were gone, I’m sure the guitar would sit in the mix better. The swishing seems to step on the higher frequencies produced by your drum kit.
    You might also turn down some treble on the guitar, but I’d try taming that swishing modulation sound and the frequency content might not be an issue.

Nice playing, and very tasteful guitar tone.

Thanks for taking the time,

You make some excellent points and I will take another shot at this piece. The ‘swishing’ sound is the old Simulanalog Guitar Suite’s UniVibe (still works!). Tried to limit that noise by narrowing the stereo field on that channel but it didn;t really work out, could be a little tricky if I want to that effect.

Some of the other things you mentioned will be looked at too, the guitar level and I am in the process of thinning out the layered synth sounds as well as trying out different synths.
So thank you again for taking the time and the advice, it’s valuable to me.
Cheers, Mauri…


Heh, well it didn’t happen by accident, maybe I should’ve called it ‘Patchwork Quilt’ or something. But really, I just decided to fly by the seat of my pants and make a collection of ideas and sounds without a real ‘plot’ as in a murder mystery or novel, after all, chaos is the universal nature of things so there’s some of that thrown in… :wink: