Sunday, October 23, 2011

Coming Home by Tavius

I have to first express my gratitude to Tavius for being the first artist to take part in this project.  I was put in touch with him by a friend of mine and when I asked which song he wanted me to listen to, Tavius told me to take a look at "Coming Home".  Click here to listen to the track that I'm going to be discussing.

If you would like to submit a track for me to review, please send me a message at 

One of my favorite parts of this endeavor is the fact that I have no idea what's going to be coming through my speakers when I hit that play button - no idea for style, tempo, tone, or artist intent. I just get to enjoy the creation without any bias.

So I have to say my first reaction to what I saw was "A 9 minute song!  Ok this should be interesting."  As it started to play I liked intro right off.  Beginning a song subdued and with some subtlety is never a wrong way to go, and in fact has been proven to not only draw a listener in, but also get them to turn up the song before the bigger hits in the music begin.  By getting the listener to adjust that volume dial at the very beginning of the song, the artist/engineer can almost create a musical bubble when the song finally reaches the first peak, as if to surround your listener and really pull them into the song.

It was the next few minutes that I found myself getting a bit lost.  I kept hearing the same looped creations cycling through nearing just about 4 minutes in. The loops in and of themselves I found to be creative.  Incorporating several different tones and textures for the drums, pulling string pads in and out while generally having a central tone in either keys or strings that would carry underneath the arpeggiated melodies. 

What caused me issue with the song was more about the fact that it never actually went anywhere.  There was no build beyond those first few seconds of the introduction.  Once that was over it was just transitioning from one loop into the next.  The transitions were not bad ones (as the artist has voiced concern over them before when I asked him if there was anything in particular he wanted me to listen for), but they were so frequent it made it very difficult to really dive into any portion of the song because as soon as I got a feel for a loop and its beat, I was listening to the next transition and loop. 

I would have loved to see these loops spread out over more time.  Taking each one individually and as opposed to cycling them as frequently as was done, really spend the time to build them.  They have a great simplicity to them in the orchestration that makes this a very easy song to listen to, even for someone that isn't generally a fan of electronic music, but it lost me on the fact that there was no build or climax for the music.  The song transitioned in and then stayed on an even line for the next few minutes before hitting the final transition out at around 8:45.  I will definitely say that I really enjoyed the outro.  I thought it was a great way to deconstruct what had been happening before in the music.  The very end was a bit abrupt, but that's an easy fix. 

Overall, I would have liked to hear a little more texture in the instrumentation used.  Specifically, I would have liked to hear more than string pads and drums, and the use of more effects to create a deeper and wider listening environment.  I also would have liked to hear the song develop the loops more, taking the chance to construct the loops during the song as opposed to cycling the pre-built loops.  While all those are things I would have liked to hear, I still find myself clicking play for the ambient music in my earbuds while I'm working away at my desk during the week. 

It just goes to show a fact that many musicians and engineers often forget: a perfect track is nearly impossible to create, so build something that seems true to you and stand behind it.

Thanks again Tavius for helping me get this started.


  1. I really appreciate your constructive criticism. I feel similarly myself. Much of the time creating loops with many different sounds on many tracks. I get so deep into one section of the song that it's too complex to transition. I know I need to flush out some of these layers and break it up into more of a story like you mention in the intro and outdo. I don't know why, but the sections lately have just been full of tracks and transition difficulty, so I get in to repeating to break it up. Not all of my songs are like this. In fact, they are all very different. I look to take your criticism and remix the track for you to review again if you would.

  2. Tavius -

    Take a listen to some things that Quincy Jones does - he's amazing for transitions while keeping an underlying theme.

    I'd be happy to listen to any changes and I look forward to the next version