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RockBernd limited ;-)

Apart from the quality of my own performances my lacking skills with regard to mixing and mastering have impaired my song 'productions'. These days I actually invested a little in learning more about that aspect of songwriting. I had several people try to improve one of my mixes and explain why and what they did differently from me. Fortunately, only one actually wanted the money I offered ;-) That left more money for a few little investments that others had recommended: a better microphone for recording my vocals, Mike Seniors book "Mixing Secrets for the small studio" (Burlington, MA 2013), and a studio head phone.

Other than expected I actually learned what mistakes to avoid rather than how to do it properly. But I learned quite a bit nonetheless. Namely, that I could - and should - be less restrained with regard to using the EQ and the compressor.

Nobody told me the main reason why my own mixes sound so low: that at the end of mixing and mastering the tracks you should put a LIMITER* on the result to cut off the loudness peaks that occur here and there in the mix. After that you can - yet again - raise the loudness to its maximum (0dB) so the resulting track sounds much louder all over. A while ago someone had mentioned this but I must have missed the point then (probably because the handling of my software is rather clumsy in this respect). Gaining loudness proved to actually be the most important improvement apart from bringing the vocals more to the fore.

Admittedly, recording, mixing, and producing will never be my favorite activities with regard to creating music, but I will observe some main aspects of mixing and mastering that I have learned about, so my recording may sound a little less crappy in the future ;-)

I remixed 20 RockBernd songs and actually tested them on several devices (my hi-fi boxes proved most crucial, the ear phones are most forgiving, my new studio head phones reveal excessive bass tracks). Of course it's still garage rock in its true sense but now it should work sufficiently well anywhere.

Stay tuned!
Bernd

*a limiter is a compressor that only handles - reduces - the loudest parts of the mix. I still use it sparingly to gain about 3dB on average. That's enough to make my new mixes work okay on my hi-fi equipment. I am still not a fan of loudness at all costs. I think that is because I used to hear a lot of classical music. I remember how happy I was when CDs could handle a dynamic of 24dB so certain critical pieces of classical music sounded more natural. One of the mixes I received on my request had a dynamic of just 6dB! Obviously, rock and pop music can do with little dynamic - but that sure was going too far!

out of here (for myself, written to my backing track)

we are fighting battles that we cannot win
we have burnt our boats (so) now it's sink or swim
we gotta get out of the mess that we've got in
thinking 'bout what lies ahead the only way to go is out of here

where can you buy tickets
for your emigration
anything to get me out of here

we kept our eyes closed so we'd not have to see
it might not matter if it was just you and me
but it looks like mankind has got lost at sea
thinking 'bout what lies ahead the only way to go is out of here

no period of grace
for this rotten place
that's way past its time now
- a truth that we must face

our poor, mistreated planet cannot take a stand
we could try to bury our heads in the sand
it wouldn't make a difference but we'd miss the end
thinking 'bout what lies ahead the only way to go is out of here

where can you buy tickets
for your emigration
anything to get me out of here

where can you buy tickets
for your emigration
anything to get me out of here

light and dark (rewrite for Denis)


your looks, your strength, your charm, your wit
bewitch all the people in town
but I've had a glimpse into the pit
the dark sides of a man of renown

light and dark are
are just the two sides
the two sides of the same
light and dark
it's the nature and kind of the game

I know your faults, but I'll stay your friend
and I try to condone and forget
your mood swings, your rage, 'cause I understand
it's demons with which you're beset

light and dark are
are just the two sides
the two sides of the same
light and dark
it's the nature and kind of the game

light and dark are
- just the two sides
the two sides of the same
light and dark
it's the nature and kind of the game

dark and light
black and white
light and dark
are just the two sides of the same

I will stand by you, and I promise I won't run
if the going gets rough, or you act raving mad
I love you in spite of the things you have done
and I'm willing to weigh good against bad
because

light and dark are
are just the two sides
the two sides of the same
light and dark
it's the nature and kind of the game

light and dark are
are just the two sides
the two sides of the same
light and dark
it's the nature and kind of the game

forever (for Peter, written to his music)

the sparkling sea
and the sun above that's shining bright
then there is you and me
sharing our time
sharing our dream

we're holding hands
and our love is blooming in the light
living our life like it's now or never

I loved each minute that we stole
feeling the sand under our feet
I kissed your skin, you touched my soul

I wish it could be like this forever
wish it could be like this forever

in the gentle breeze
guiding us back towards our normal lives
we had to agree
that what we had soon would be severed

we would keep dreaming of each other
and I keep hoping that we'll meet again
that sometime we will come together
come together

I loved each minute that we stole
feeling the sand under our feet
I kissed your skin, you touched my soul

I wish it could be like this forever
wish it could be like this forever
wish it could be like this forever
forever and ever

a sunny beach
but I am wandering on my own
'cause you are out of reach
(I'm) holding on
to my dream

someday we'll meet and stay together
we will meet and stay together
yeah, we will meet and stay together
we will meet and stay together
sometime it will be for forever
sometime it will be for forever
I'm sure it will be for forever
forever and ever

been busy :-)

A rewrite for Denis: "light and dark", the original version was for Alex, written to his music. The new version is not yet approved.

A text written for Peter from Sweden to his music: "forever". Not yet approved.

And a topline text to my backing track 2018-01: "out of here". Approved ;-) Not yet sung.

Waiting for André to get off the stick...