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wTrouble wTrouble is a male
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Attention Important! Track length/structure and dubious feedback in reviews Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

*** Mods *** I guess this is a winge, but hopefully an educational one for some - move it if you feel it is inappropriate here. Cheers.

-------------

Right. Rant alert! Opinion Alert!

I've noticed something happening a fair amount in reviews some people are giving of tracks on this site, and quite frankly, I believe that it's hugely counter productive to some people trying to improve themselves.

**** First of all, a few disclaimers...

1) DO NOT get me wrong. I DO NOT think that I am the source of all knowledge on the dnb subject. I'm still learning myself. It's a continuous and never ending process. What I will say is that I have been dj'ing drum and bass for nearly 10 years, and have always been a fairly musical wee chappy.

2) I'm not picking on anyone on the site - I've just seen this happening and it's plain wrong wrong and WRONG!

3) I don't want to start a 'fight' and make myself friendless around here - please understand I'm trying to help!

4) I'm not trying to patronise anyone here, I'm simply trying to rant in a way that will hopefully be usefull to all, well, most. Or even some. Anyone?? Smile

5) DnB song structure is a subject that goes round and round and comes again and again. And again! Here we go one more time...

****


So then, on the subject of track length...

Writing music is an artistic thing - there are no real rules. Drum and bass, however, is a reasonably formulaic genre, mainly to make it DJ friendly. By this I mean, the track is structured in blocks of 4/8/12/16/20/24/32/64 to help mixing tunes together.

Take a look at a 12" vinyl.. (very generally here)

(Sometimes a shiny bit (Beatless intro))
Black bit (intro)
Shiny Bit (first breakdown)
Black bit (first drop)
Shiny Bit (second breakdown)
Black bit (second drop)
Shiny bit (beatless outro)

You can do anything you want at the end of the day, but when you're starting out - its kinda wise to stick to a fairly regular formula. I guess everyones goal is to make a complete track that all the big DJs are gonna smash all over the world. Come on. That's the dream.

Now, I was recently told my track, at 6.37, was "too long. 4 Minutes is Ok"

I've seen this comment aimed at a good few recent tracks which were in the 5.30 - 7.30 length.

Quite frankly, BOLLOCKS!

4 minutes is very roughly the time a track is gonna make an appearance in an average dj set. You need time to mix in and out. More importantly, you're writing a complete piece of music here.

It can seem weird and a bit looooooooooooong to listen to a full track at first when you're not used to it, primarily because you're so used to hearing tunes 'in the mix'

But believe me! Take a look...

Chase & Status - Glitch - 5.40
Corrupt Cops (EI VIP) - 5.07
Wizard Killa - 6.45
Moonwalk - 6.01
Pacman - 7.19
Planet Dust - 7.09
The nine - 7.00
LK - 6.00
Raiden - Fallin - 7.27
Disco Dodo: 6.39

(Some tracks (Good Looking & GCJ I think) go into double figures!)

So basically, don't believe the hype my friends.

*******************

Now, we can't validly discuss track length without touching on structure. The fact that dnb is a formulaic, dj friendly genre, means that the track length is a direct result of the structured 4/8/12/16/20/24/32/64 blocks that make the tune - intro, breakdown, drop etc...

Structure critisicm is in almost every tune thread on this site! I guess what people mean sometimes when the say a track is too long is that a part is too long?? I don't know, but it can be misleading.

Again, this is music, an art, no absolute rules, but dj friendlyness is a big factor and should be stuck to fairly religiously by those starting out.

Saying this, there is still a lot of room for variation whilst sticking to the 'rules'

The above tracks again....


(If I mention two intros or two outros, its when there's a part with drums and a part with no drums. Even more means building up/down.)


Chase & Status - Glitch - 175 BPM (ish) - 1 Measure = 5.486s

Intro: 12 (Part of music : No of Measures)
Drop: 20
Break: 4
Drop: 16
Outro: 4
Outro: 6


Corrupt Cops (Evol Intent VIP)

Intro: 4
Intro: 4
Intro: 8
Break: 4
Drop: 16
Break: 4
Drop: 16


Wizard Killa

Intro: 8
Intro: 4
Intro: 1
Drop: 24 (16 + 8 Bridge)
Break: 8
Drop: 24 (16 + Cool
Outro: 4


Moonwalk

Intro: 16
Break: 4
Drop: 20
Break: 4
Break Build: 4
Drop: 12
Outro: 4


The Nine

Intro: 4
Intro: 8
Break: 4
Drop: 20
Break: 4
Drop: 36


LK

Intro: 12
Break: 8
Vocal Build: 4
Drop: 20
Break: 2
Build: 2
Drop: 16


BEWARE OF THESE! These tracks appear to be written either at half time (87bpm ish) or in 2/4 timing - I got a bit confused looking at the structure of these! Very interesting tho...


Pacman Rmx

Intro: 8
Intro: 8
Bridge: 2
Break: 8
Drop: 24
Break: 8
Drop: 20
Outro : 2


Planet Dust

Intro: 24
errrm, fuckit! I got too confused and it was taking too long...


--------------------

Anyway.

Even as formulaic as it all seems, there's still a lot of room to move.

At the end of the day, you CAN do whatever you want. People may not understand and become frightened tho...


Sorry for the rant, but I was getting the sneaking suspision that criticism regarding track length and track structure were beginning to get thrown around sometimes a little loosely, and in some cases, from perhaps an uneducated viewpoint.

Peace out, and keep keepin at it, fellow .be crew!

</rant>

wT

This post has been edited 1 time(s), it was last edited by wTrouble: 10-03-2008 11:04.

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do what you want, music is as every other art a free way of expression, if you choose to create dnb however, there's 2 rules: tempo! = between 170 - 185 (which is very fast imo) and 8-bar structures ...

read the big post above, and you'll see surgically explained what that structure is all about Big Grin


ow btw wTrouble; planet dust is creepy, it comes each time in 3 blocks of 8 bars and then changes, then 3 blocks again, and then changes again

not many tunes have this build up, one f.e. is fresh & fierce - innocence

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quote:
Originally posted by -J-
...ow btw wTrouble; planet dust is creepy, it comes each time in 3 blocks of 8 bars and then changes, then 3 blocks again, and then changes again

not many tunes have this build up, one f.e. is fresh & fierce - innocence


yeah J, tell me about it! I thought I'd get some classics and explain the structure and got to this, pacman, and millenium and thought "what the fu...!"

was in a bit of a hurry, but what's the deal? Obviously these tunes are up around 174bpm, but is it a 2/4 timing or what? If not, its hard to work out what's going on? I know a bit about 4/4 but when it gets to anything else I'm pretty clueless! Big Grin
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OK, since you pick up my words from a review I feel the need to answer this:

Not picking on anyone, no flamewars please. No offence!

If you make a long track it should be worth the length, if there's no big story to tell, keep it short(er). Endless repetitions are just boring and I review A LOT of tunes and try to always listen to them in full lenght.

When you are making a tune and uploading it here you are not really sure about its qualities hence the request for feedback. There's no need to make the same 'mistakes' for 7 minutes. Give a demonstration of the tune in 5 minutes top and people can tell what's right/wrong with it. When you reach a high score you can still remix it into a longer version.

Have you checked some of todays mixes from DJs? You can be glad if they play 4 minutes of a track, mostly it's less, this has been shortened in recent years.

So telling people to avoid extremely long tracks is actually constructive feedback because the people giving feedback don't do it as a daytime job Big Grin

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for song structre basicly, this works for all tunes here. is you want the verses (breakdown) to be longer at first thne the chorus (drop) and that near the end of the song the chorus is longer then the verses. it's how most pop songs go.

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i agree that structue is important, it gives a track...well....structure, but, if ur thinking about structure too much then it can make a track sound too formulaic (if thats a word) with clear, blatent sections, i much prefer arrangments like noisia, prolix or the sect use where tracks seem to naturally build and progress to a 'drop' compared to artists like ed rush + optical or even pendulum where sections appear more blatent and organised, as if forced to work to a certain preset formula of how the track should be arranged. i reckon its important to keep structure in mind, but for the main focus of a track to be natural, flowing progression, not between sections, but throughout the track as a whole, makes for a better listen imo when the track isn't organised in a 'dj-freindly' way (for want of a better phrase), but constructed with the listener in mind and composed with a natural flow. im not saying structure isn't important because it definetly is, but if ur constantly worried about how the track is organised, ur losing a large part of the creative flow that constructing a track can bring.

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quote:
Originally posted by sephiroth
im not saying structure isn't important because it definetly is, but if ur constantly worried about how the track is organised, ur losing a large part of the creative flow that constructing a track can bring.


WORD!

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@ BD

No worries mate, I'm not a 'net fighter.. Big Grin

I obviously got the wrong end of the stick - I though you were saying dnb tracks should be 4 minutes long.

I see what you are saying in terms of the review process on this site - if you want a quick bit of feedback on the feel of a tune, or you are starting out and are full of excitement, there's no need to post up a whole track. Indeed, it saves a bit of time, server hdd space and bandwidth at the end of the day. I'd presume that a lot of stuff posted here for feedback is not complete tracks anyway - even if it was of sufficient length, it would most likely be cut and paste to x minutes to achieve that length. As you quite rightly said, you don't need 7 minutes to spot the obvious mistakes inherent in newbie/amatuer production. So I'm with you.

But here's the sticking point - many producers here are at the level where they are beyond throwing up a few loops for quick reactions, and are making whole tracks. If said producers posted incomplete tracks, how are they going to get the feedback they need when the apparent problem with their track is that it doesn't hold the listeners interest for the duration?

In situations like this, the feedback that producers need is based on the whole track eg "add new elements, variation, etc"

As well, I could list a pile of 'pro' tunes that have devastated dancefloors that would sound a bit longwinded when listened to end to end.

Anyway, I don't want to labour the point, I don't really think that its worth going on and on about, just felt that I needed to explain what I meant.

And agree with you on the amount of time a track is in the mix - gone are the days of playing quality tracks almost end to end with many djs nowadays.

Finally, I'll say it again, for most people - eg your non dj/producing friends - a track that lasts 6-7 minutes is obscenely long! Most radio edits are about 3-4 minutes, but the way of the 12" its standard for tunes to be this length.



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I've heard a few tracks on here that are 6-7 minutes and don't bore for 1 second. If that is the case I'll mention it in the review. But a lot of people think you just need to repeat bars untill you reach the official length of a DnB track, I'd say do that when you've signed to a label and they tell you the track needs to be longer.
A lot of people that upload their first track on here have listened to released tracks a lot and try to copy them in every aspect, length is the easiest one to get right, so there you have it: 7 minutes of mistakes. Not looking down on newbies here, I guess it's normal, but I'd rather tell them to limit their first tracks and focus on the things that need their attention.

I never heard anyone say "Great track, shame it's only 4 minutes" as a limitation making it a bad track, or even worse: "crappy track, but at least it's 7 minutes long."

When voting for a track on here there is no category for track length, go figure. When you do a 9x% scoring track I guess you already have the ability to turn those 4 minutes into 7 minutes.

I noticed that a lot of signed tunes are actually boring as hell when you listen to them in full length. No wonder a lot of DJ's play just a slice of those tracks.

Online recordshops that feature clips of the records have 1-2 minute clips only, in those 2 minutes the track has to sell itself. Not beyond the fifth minute.

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quote:
Originally posted by BattleDrone..."crappy track, but at least it's 7 minutes long."


Big Grin HARDYHAR! Seriously. Just back from the cinema watching run fat boy run and laughed harder at this! Gold!

Nah, but, seriously, losta good points in what you just said.

Especially on the boring signed tunes.

This post has been edited 1 time(s), it was last edited by wTrouble: 11-03-2008 12:39.

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under 7 minutes.

anything over starts getting yawny and boring imo.

we live in a fast paced age where we seek the next fix, boost, rush, buzz etc etc
we dont live in the 1500's in florence italy, sat studying the deeper meaning of existence and thought.
we want a quick buzz then onto the next one.

that might sound a bit shallow, but its just the reality of now.

btw... this is not a diss on deep tunes (anyone that thinks it is may you drift for eternity in the nothingness that is your mind)

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quote:
Originally posted by 2clix
quote:
Originally posted by sephiroth
im not saying structure isn't important because it definetly is, but if ur constantly worried about how the track is organised, ur losing a large part of the creative flow that constructing a track can bring.


WORD!


Totally agree. Imo, it's the tune itself that dictates the structure, not the other way around, if you know what I mean. Write from your heart, not anyone else's self-written rule book. Big Grin

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i love Mindless Self Indulgence they do fast fast dnb/rock type tracks and have chorus vocals everthing they do 2 minute tracks average in the one album. as in this track (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOyb-fqnN28&feature=related) mind the pokemon, it's a good vid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ASYvGDaxS8&feature=related is a better example.


but yea, 2 minute tracks, i thought these rock, you can drag it out, but that's just what they call "dance" music and that's why some people hate "dance" music. just full of people on something or drunk that don't care what kinda crap music is playing :/

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