Thread: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

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  1. #1
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    Default Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    It occured to me that I have never (well, maybe I forgot some occasions but I just can't remember any) cut a part in a mix.
    And it apparently against what many people do, trimming things which do not work.
    Maybe I was lucky and I just never encountered a case when it would be clear to me that a part must be dropped. But maybe I too shy about this?
    Thing is, the answer is of course simple: try with and without and use your judgement to choose the best option. But the way I go about this was always if I prefer the option without, do something about the part, i.e. edits, effects, or even about mix, to get "all included" version work better. Often it takes some time.
    And this kinda works most of the time. But maybe I should just cut stuff if I don't like it from the start and save my time?
    What's your experiences?


    PS I did cut parts from the mix but that happened by request from the artist.
    When in doubt, mumble!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    That would be the producer's call, I think. If there isn't a designated producer it's between you and the artist.

    I can't speak for everyone but sometimes I can't tell if a part is going to work or not until I hear it in the mix.

    If you've been given the part, I think you try to make it work before you consider dropping it.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    A few years ago I was doing a mix for someone to see if they wanted me to mix the rest of the album (mistake #1). What I got was a bunch of ideas tracked in many different studios with no real producer, so things were sort of jumbled and stepping all over each other right off the bat. I remember the song was a kind of mid 90's pop rock tune and it just had NO breathing room.

    I cut a lot of parts out during the first go around, and would then add them back in at various stages in the song to give lift at certain times. Then there was this really nice 'background' vocal that sounded like it should have been the main melody, and because it wasn't clear upon first listen, I chose the background vocal as the main part. I may have ended up cutting nearly a quarter of this guy's arrangement

    I thought the mix rocked, and really gave life to the song, but he hated it and never called me back, so whoops! Actually I think the words he used were "ah, it's definitely interesting..."

    At the end of the day, it's about what the artist wants to hear, and despite the power of underdubbing, the artist is unlikely to respond positively to a part being cut - especially one he spent considerable time on. That's just my experience, though.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    Man, I often want to cut parts, and frequently really go to bat to get parts cut (I feel like I work with a lot of people that overproduce)
    But I've never cut a part without agreement from the artist.


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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    Here's my general scale of how things work for me. (Based on the types of projects I usually see)
    Solo artist writing in the studio and hiring people: overproduced.
    Parts need cut.
    Rock band with 2 guitar players.
    They don't listen to one another. Parts need to be simplified .
    3 piece band: underproduced. Probably needs some help.


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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    "Burying" sounds like a "political" move.

    "The part's in there, you just can't hear it because it's low in the mix."

    My problem with burial is that I'm probably fighting for clarity for the parts that help the track. I don't need them to be masked by a competing part that isn't adding anything and/or is clashing with existing "keeper" parts. Muting it would clear things up better.

    "Transforming" sounds like you are trying to keep/save the part by getting creative with editing and fx. Artist's approval may be req'd (assuming there's no designated producer).
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?


    At the end of the day, it's about what the artist wants to hear, and despite the power of underdubbing, the artist is unlikely to respond positively to a part being cut - especially one he spent considerable time on. That's just my experience, though.
    That's one of the things that make it so difficult for artists to self-produce.

    I had a part that I had spent a couple of hours practicing and recording and quite a while trying to get it to work.

    I ultimately decided that it was distracting from/ masking a more essential part, so I muted it. I didn't want to, after spending time on it, but you have to screw your producer's hat on tightly and proceed

    It's probably almost always a bad idea to self-produce, but, if you must, you have to be willing and able to make the call to toss your own part(s) if that improves the overall production.
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

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    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    Thanks guys!

    "Burying" sounds like a "political" move.

    "The part's in there, you just can't hear it because it's low in the mix."

    My problem with burial is that I'm probably fighting for clarity for the parts that help the track.
    Yeah. Depends on the part though. I recently had been mixing a track and there was a synth pad part added later on. I kinda sneaked it underneath, featured it on a couple spots, but most of the time it's not audible on its own. Although when you mute it there's difference, it's kinda like a reverb in a mix.
    Had to make adjustments to guitar EQ to make it work.
    When in doubt, mumble!

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    If its a part you wanna 'sneak under', I guess you could band pass it if you like the part (so it doesn't fight against the other parts). Otherwise, I'd tend to just cut them out, especially if they want that particular part featured.

    There was something I mixed recently where a bunch of BG vox were recorded, and no matter what I did to keep them in, they just distracted me from the good stuff. I cut them and nobody even noticed.
  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    Oh boy...I'm working on a mix for a band right now that has me pondering the same thing.

    A 3-piece band with no producer...indie rock kind of style...that they recorded at the drummer's house.

    Two pairs of double tracked acoustic guitars all playing the same part from top to tail...

    A double-tracked clean-ish electric guitar playing the same as the acoustics...from top to tail.

    Two pairs of crunch guitars playing the same as above...except for the one section that is ever-so-slightly different.

    Two-part harmony vocal throughout...in 3 passes.

    Two tracks of bass...one with distortion, and one with distortion and heavy compression.

    A couple of solos, and a lead fills track.

    Oh...and incomplete tracking sent to me. I got some extra guitar bits and a vocal fix that I asked for through dropbox after a week.

    *sigh*

    It's been an exercise in punching holes into the orchestration so elements have entrances and exits to give the song some kind of progression from top to tail.

    So hell yes - cut and/or transform whatever you need to in order to make it stand up and dance.

    Cheers,
    Tim
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bury/transform or cut altogether?

    Well, if they're all playing the same part, how are they supposed to know if some of it has gone missing
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

    IMTBO = In My Thoroughly Biased Opinion
    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

    Greedle

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