Curse of the 2/3rds track...

fuzzikitten

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It's happening to me, again.

I'm staring, bleary-eyed, at 2/3rds of a completed track. It has a nice intro that grabs the listener's attention quickly, the sounds are good and the leads are moving. It breaks into a nice start, moves along, breaths, goes up and down... There's a good break, and then the second section starts. It tells a bit of a story, changing a bit before the final breakdown.

It's been over a month since the track was started, and easily 24+ hours of labor have gone into it. It's ready, BEGGING, for the last section that brings the listener to the end of the song, and yet... nothing.

Every idea I come up with seems to move in the wrong direction. Either it's just a rehash of a previous element (and dull) or it seems to be moving it in another direction (like the second part) without bringing a sense of closure.

Either finishing tracks is something only for the masters, or I've created quite the psychological barrier for myself. It seems like almost every track I work on turns in to this problem...

Any advice? Why can't I seem to bring closure to my tracks? :/

Thanks!

-Alex
 

Speakafreaka

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I do this!

frequently!

the best advice i can give you is keep at it. One day you'll wake up and :Smile3:!!!!!

orrrrrrr....

start another tune, get going on that and then put that killer idea you just had for a new tune into you old track.

You've been listen to the same kick and bass for over 24hrs. Try writing somthing without that behind it, and then see if it works.

Maybe you've already written the ending, but you've put it at the beggining (i do this all the time).

Enter fruity loops and try layering a few sounds up. Export it don't save the preset just the sound, now import into your sequencer of choice and make it fit.

Create a synth patch without listen to it all. (or looking for that matter)

Create a melody by randomly clicking.

Have faith, you'll get there.
 

fuzzikitten

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Speakafreaka said:
Maybe you've already written the ending, but you've put it at the beggining (i do this all the time).

Have faith, you'll get there.

Thanks for the advice! Especially the first one, I never considered that...

Helps knowing I'm not alone though, it gets frustrating sitting in my closet/studio all alone...

:Smile3:

-Alex
 

Continuum

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It's also worth remembering that so long as there's nothing obviously broken with your tune, listeners don't know that you think its not finished :Smile3:
If you know what I mean...

[edit] or even post what you have somewhere and let us lot tell you what we think it needs. You can always ignore us :dancey:
 

fuzzikitten

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AlternateContinuum said:
It's also worth remembering that so long as there's nothing obviously broken with your tune, listeners don't know that you think its not finished :Smile3:
If you know what I mean...


[edit] or even post what you have somewhere and let us lot tell you what we think it needs. You can always ignore us :dancey:
This is, of course, very true... :Smile3:

I need to try Speaka's tip about finding the ending at the beginning - that may very well be the case for this track. :Smile3:

I'll be posting it up soon for some 'fresh ear' perspective after I have another go at the ending...

(to be continued)
 
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Ott^

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AlternateContinuum said:
It's also worth remembering that so long as there's nothing obviously broken with your tune, listeners don't know that you think its not finished...

Absolutely right.
 
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Ott^

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fuzzikitten said:
Any advice? Why can't I seem to bring closure to my tracks? :/
I had that for years.

I've got about 40 DATs full of unfinished tunes. I finished my first one in 2001 after making a fundamental realisation.

Graft.

Starting a tune is easy. Lots of people can do that. Finishing a tune is incredibly difficult and requires huge amounts of energy.


I estimate that the first 90% of a tune requires 10% of the total energy expended to create. The last 10% requires 90% of the total energy expended.

The last hour before mixdown is the most draining.

Its a bit like running a marathon and the only answer is to force yourself to get to the end.

After that a funny thing happens - the next one is much easier and the one after that is easier still.

For me I find the most important factor is to be free of competing distractions and focus entirely on the task at hand.

A few things to remember;

1 - Its not the last tune you'll ever make so don't feel you have to include every good idea you ever had.


2 - You've probably listened to it 1000 times by the time its finished - don't be surprised if it doesn't sound box-fresh by the time it comes to mixdown. Trust that it sounds good, cos after a month of not listening to it you'll hear it with totally new ears.


3 - Never forget that you are the only person who hears your music like you do. When you hear it you know exactly what synths and effects and things were used, and as it plays through it's arrangement, you know exactly what is coming next - and why.

For you, there is nothing left to the imagination.


Everyone else hears eight minutes of surprises, magic and wonder.



4 - "A work of art is never finished - merely abandoned".
 

Speakafreaka

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fuzzikitten said:
This is, of course, very true... :Smile3:

I need to try Speaka's tip about finding the ending at the beginning - that may very well be the case for this track. :Smile3:

I'll be posting it up soon for some 'fresh ear' perspective after I have another go at the ending...

(to be continued)

Yeah, quite often, I'll have this huge build up, and melody and then wonder why whatever the hell I write afterwards sounds like an anticlimax. If the mix already sounds totally full, then you aren't gonna get anything sounding much bigger no matter how hard you try.

If you are gonna go down the, switch everything around route, Try writing a first section that is only based on rythym and one shot noises, no melody at all, (or very little). This makes the melodies all the more appreciated when they arrive.

In fact if you listen to the track in my signature, you'll hear it does exactly what you are talking about. Great Intro, iffy prosuction, but it's old, great first section, pretty nice second secrtion, total anticlimax third section, and then a great outro.

Good luck, stick it up and let us have a listen, I'm interested now! :Smile3:
 

Rorymonster

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It sounds a bit as though you're writing a mammoth tune - what with your description of builds, journeys, second builds etc. Why not try keeping it short? YOu can always extend it later? or find another tune that you've written or will write that mixes perfectly out of it?

But definitely keep going!
 

fuzzikitten

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Rory - Yep, I have a soft spot for mammoth tunes. It's always been a challenge for me to not overextend myself and attempt to write The Track Of End Times with each song I start. Because I want to, really. :Smile3: Usually I resign myself to writing Prelude To The Track Of End Times. :Wink3:

Ott said:
Its a bit like running a marathon and the only answer is to force yourself to get to the end.
After that a funny thing happens - the next one is much easier and the one after that is easier still.
And on the flip side... the first time I couldn't finish a track, I tried and tried and tried and finally gave up. The next time, I gave up rather easily. Before I knew it I was writing a slew of 2/3rds tracks that I promised 'to finish one day.' ... Does One Day even exist? The more I give up, the easier it becomes. I need to stop that trend. :Smile3:

There are a couple reasons that this current track is different from the rest that I've worked on.
1) The drums. Right before I started on the track, my girlfriend surprised me with a kickass drum sample cd, Drum Drops in Dub. It's *awesome*.
2) The bass. Bassmonkey graciously laid down some badass bass licks to go over top of the drums (which is the only reason I haven't posted the track as he's out of town and I want to clear it with him before I post it :Wink3: ).

Given such a solid foundation, there is no reason I cannot write the kickass track I've always wanted to write. I've always been able to blame my drums or my bass before, but I can't get away with it this time.

I'll live if it doesn't turn in to the track I hear in my head/heart, but darn it... if I fail I'm going to fail with the most outrageous track I can come up with. :Smile3:

Wow... I've babbled... but I've also given myself quite the pep talk. :Smile3: (now time to write music, or get in a brawl... rar!)

Thanks for the support, you're a swell bunch of folks. :Grin:

-Alex

PS - Bloodthirster is a wicked track! :Smile3: Though I see what you mean, the intro is so epic that it outweighs the other bits of the track. Good stuff, still
 
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Ott^

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fuzzikitten said:
It's always been a challenge for me to not overextend myself and attempt to write The Track Of End Times with each song I start. Because I want to, really.... [

[...]

Given such a solid foundation, there is no reason I cannot write the kickass track I've always wanted to write [...] but I can't get away with it this time.

if I fail I'm going to fail with the most outrageous track I can come up with


What do you mean by "fail"? Who is "testing" you?

I think you are putting way too much pressure on yourself.

Relax.


A simple idea, well executed, is always better than a grand ambition, underachieved.

I'll live if it doesn't turn in to the track I hear in my head/heart....
In my modest experience, they never do.

On the other hand, what they do end up being is usually better than what they started out as.

Ott^ said:
1 - Its not the last tune you'll ever make, so don't feel you have to include every good idea you ever had.


 

bagginz

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Just thought I would underline the gems in Ott's post:

Ott^ said:
I finished my first one in 2001 after making a fundamental realisation:

Graft.
Ain't that the truth.

To which I would add: self-discipline.

Ott^ said:
Starting a tune is easy. Lots of people can do that. Finishing a tune is incredibly difficult and requires huge amounts of energy.
Which is where the self-discipline come in...

When budding producers have asked me advice about writing music, I usually say to them, "Make sure to finish your tunes."

Finishing your tunes is a discipline that you must include, because if you do not learn to incorporate an end point into your music and work towards it then you will work on the same track forever and your total output will be zero.

Because as Ott also points out:

Ott^ said:
"A work of art is never finished - merely abandoned".
Ott^ said:
... For me I find the most important factor is to be free of competing distractions and focus entirely on the task at hand.
Likewise.

Ott^ said:
A few things to remember;

1 - Its not the last tune you'll ever make so don't feel you have to include every good idea you ever had.


2 - You've probably listened to it 1000 times by the time its finished - don't be surprised if it doesn't sound box-fresh by the time it comes to mixdown. Trust that it sounds good, cos after a month of not listening to it you'll hear it with totally new ears.


3 - Never forget that you are the only person who hears your music like you do. When you hear it you know exactly what synths and effects and things were used, and as it plays through it's arrangement, you know exactly what is coming next - and why.

For you, there is nothing left to the imagination.

Everyone else hears eight minutes of surprises, magic and wonder.
The above are three priceless pearls of wisdom. If you harbour any ambitions about producing music, then I recommend memorizing them.

Cheers,
Bill
 
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Ott^

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bagginz said:
Finishing your tunes is a discipline that you must include, because if you do not learn to incorporate an end point into your music and work towards it then you will work on the same track forever and your total output will be zero.
At the risk of turning this into a mutual back-slapping frenzy, that is a good point well made.

:Smile3:
 

antic

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Well, since you're on with this "mutual back-slapping frenzy" maybe you should team up in real life and write one or two tunes together? Preferably a chilled / downtempo one and the other more trancey to compliment the things you two do best?! :Grin:
 

bagginz

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FUGGA said:
hey bagginz your loop talk on ya site did it 4 me!!!!:lol: :gonnasta:
Glad to be of assistance... :Smile3:

Btw, I am currently having the site re-designed for easier navigation and will be expanding it with a few more sections in the near future...

Cheers,
Bill
 

Warwick Bassmonkey

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fuzzikitten said:
Bassmonkey graciously laid down some badass bass licks to go over top of the drums (which is the only reason I haven't posted the track as he's out of town and I want to clear it with him before I post it :Wink3: ).
Totally yours to do with as you wish, old fruit... all my bass parts are royalty free.

fuzzikitten said:
I've always been able to blame my drums or my bass before, but I can't get away with it this time.
Well... maybe you can... the drummer *is* a bit sloppy.... :Wink3:

I agree with what Ott said though... sounds like you're putting far too much pressure on yourself. You said something once about it being almost like a thesis on everything you've learned so far... that *definitely* sounds like putting too much pressure on yourself... and maybe there's a wee danger of try to put far more into the track than you need...

Hark at me giving out advice... I can't finish squiff all.
 

Faction

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Finished the final full track for the Voice of Cod album at the weekend; it's taken the longest time of any of our tracks so far. The only thing that got us (and me, in particular) through it is gritted teeth, determination and a knowledge that at some point the inspiration would kick in... which sure enough it did (funnily enough at about the same time as I shut down MSN) and the track was finished about 12 hours later. I don't think MSN was solely to blame though as the last couple of months have been fairly gruelling in some ways - Andrew's amazingly dedicated and energetic and at times I haven't been able to keep up - and having had a couple of weeks off from music I felt much recharged for the session.

5% inspiration, 95% dedication. Luckily I've always been able to tell when a track is near enough finished to be worth abandoning; you get a definite feeling for the law of diminishing returns after a while :Smile3:
 

fuzzikitten

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Thanks for all the advice on this one, everybody. I really do appreciate it. :Smile3:

I've been taking a breather from the studio a bit, it's pretty obvious at this point that I've been getting stressed out for no necessary reason. Heck, the first time I wrote music that I liked was when I got so frustrated that I decided to write the most ridiculous thing I could come up with - and I had a blast doing it. I need to remember how to have fun with it.

So, the track is there, waiting for me. I'm giving it a break for a bit while I regain some confidence and stop being intimidated by it. This is usually what I do with my tracks, and why I have so many unfinished....

The only difference is that I'm holding myself to this one. I'll take as long as I need, but I'm not going to start something else until I have that third act.

Or maybe it doesn't need the third act?

Here's what there is so far... http://www.deltaperspective.com/music/Fuzzi Dub.mp3 (it's got barely any engineering, so mind the peaks please)

My girl swears it's done, I'm unsure... Thoughts/feedback greatly appreciated.

-Alex
 
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