The WIP thread - work In progress

I’ve seen a lot of WIPs in this forum, so why not put them into an own thread?
You’ve got a WIP? You’re unsure about your composition or your mix? Post it here and you’ll maybe get some more inspiration or a solution or just a nice conversation or whatever.

I’ve never ever posted a WIP anywhere, so this is a premiere. I’m kinda stuck composition-wise, at 1:37 I wanted to have a guitar “solo” or something similar that provides a new melody, but I couldn’t find a proper one yet and I have to have another muscial break to regain some more creativity I guess. There’s A LOT of workl to do. And of course the mix is not finished yet, I’m pretty sure you can hear that. :wink:

Here’s my WIP:

What do you think?


Not my cup of tea to be honest. I find it is too bloated and the mix sounds unpleasant (can be improved of course). It sounds like a track from the 80s and the mix doesn’t fit well. Reminds me a bit of Billy Idol maybe.

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I love the idea of this thread!

While I generally don’t much go in for nostalgia bait, and it’s not really my cup of tea aesthetically, I do like the track overall. Seems like some separation in the mix is in order as it feels pretty mid heavy as it currently is. Compositionally, it might be interesting to modulate to a more minor key/tonality for a darker second half. Could help to ground the upbeat energy of the track and make for an interesting transition

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Nice thread idea; hopefully might post here sometime. Bit stuck huh? Ok, at 1:37 -
Become the lead guitarist; picture the stage… picture the crowd… remember the dancer, and jam!

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I really like this song concept, topic and the sounds already. Also the composition is nice. Please finish! Now some critics:

  • Harmonical wise, the last chord feels slightly too minor. Also I think you should avoid to step only one halfstep with the bass, it feels out of scale here. Try to target pentatonic minor maybe, but I am no expert in harmonics. That halfstep jump feels like your song template was Elektro…

  • I won’t tell you mix stuff, you know that all yourself

  • The guitar chord, which always seems to play on the synbass, could vary more in attenuation and/or length, attack transient, or even switch another inversion?
    Could be better separated from the bass, so I would contrast more, bass very mellow, and guitar pretty bright, like the classic example:
    Here also the guitar and bass are slightly time offsetted, not everything perfectly on the grid, like a real guitar player.

  • Intro part where the bass holds one note seems to be one pattern too long

  • The plucky, tiny intro square sound has an ugly transient, so it sounds like a modular noob patch and should be changed in the ADSR. It fits much better into the whole mix though. Maybe the delay on it is counterproductive, too. Try reverb? Add longer attack?


Cool thread idea!

The lo-fi intro is cool but I feel the contrast isn’t big enough yet. Or maybe it’s that to me it sounds like a bad mix rather than intentional effect. Maybe thinning it out further and maybe putting it on a one side could make it feel more intentional?

From 0:53 it really gets going. But the sound is perhaps bit too homogeneous? Could use a bit more separation. And then the long lingering melody from 1:16 is nice, but I think it could probably take center stage. The main riff is clear by then, so dropping that down in volume should give space for that melody. And keep things fresh.

You’ve already mentioned the mix is something you’ll be working on.

Overall this quite a bit of 80s electro pop vibe to it. I think it would be cool if you found a way to add vocals to it. A simple melody line of this would be great. Doesn’t have to be much. But it would kick it up a notch, I think.

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Thanks for your comments! You’re absolutely right. :+1:

Do you mean too many instruments at the same time when you’re talking about “too bloated”? Or are you referring to the mix only? What exactly would you change in terms of the mix? Personally I think @slujr is right, it’s mid heavy and needs some work to be done in this section. Furthermore I think the bass is pretty cool and it needs to sound like that in this case, but the whole mix tends to become muddy pretty easily because of its sound on one hand and its length on the other hand. The difficulty is to break its dominance without sounding harsh in terms of the synths. And currently that’s what’s happening, there’s some harshness in the mids. And I think the snare is too bright. And maybe I have to change the sound of the bass a little, it just needs to be pushing forward all the way.

Do you mean a minor “root note” in general? Or a transition to a minor semitone as “root” for a darker second half? I’ll check how it sounds with a minor “root note”. But atmospherically it needs to stay pushing forward, this is a song that should be good for workout and/or speeding. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeah, I was jamming the shit out of the VST’s riff creator and the results were pretty decent for several times, but unfortunately it didn’t match the rest of the song.

Are you talking about the chord at 1:12 (which is the last chord)? And I’m not sure if I understand this correctly when you’re talking about the bass. Do you have an example for “pentatonic minor” in terms of a bass? And if I understand “halfstep jump” correctly, I can say there are no halfstep jumps regarding the bass. It’s C, A#, F and D#. But maybe I just don’t get it.

Yes, I could try to separate a little more, I think therefore I have to cut some more mids from the bass and perhaps some more low ends from the guitar. I already did this, but it’s still not perfect. And you’re right about the “humanization” of the guitar, at the moment it has perfect pitch. I’m not sure if it’s possible to change that, but I will have a look.

Yes, it sucks at the moment. It’s too bright on one hand and on the other hand it’s like a bad mix, just as you say. This needs some more experiments what sounds best. But first I will have to finish the composition and the mix. And as you said, it needs more separation when everything is playing at the same time. What I did to give some more space to that melody from 1:13 is to soften the short synths, especially taming its upper mids and highs. I think currently there are some bad harmonics when this bright pad faces the high synths. But what’s definitely not gonna happen is vocals in this song. :wink:


Nice. It sounds potent to me!


A bit of EQ work for mid clarity. Some sound tweaking. Maybe some additional earcandy + transition fx. Maybe some silly vox sample or sth for ID. Some idea that is the “feature” of the song and that enters sometimes. Atm I feel that the chord riff at 0:50 is the strongpoint, but I think the song needs something more obnoxious or in your face as the focal idea. “It’s the song with the -insert x- thing”.

The shortcut to establishing an “idea” (meaning) to music is to implement it in more than one way. For example, having it upfront and clear in the chorus like section, and then having it chopped up or transformed in another section over a different chord progression. A focal feature that transforms. The great classics already had this approach of re-implementing “themes”.


I don’t know, that 80s vibe is sounding pretty awesome to me! Sounds like it could be part of some kind of synthwave OST.

I also agree that this is a wonderful thread idea. :smiley:

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I hear what you’re saying, I just don’t have an idea atm of how to get that into practice. I also like the idea of what you’re describing as the “shortcut to establish an idea to music”. I think I’ve got some ideas of how to, I just can’t promise that it’ll be a success (aka achieving the desired “effect”). Originally I wanted to create something that has a similar musical approach like this, but my track has less “space” (or less “gaps”), there are more instruments playing at the same time and therefore it’s harder to mix and to achieve the desired sound. Thanks for your input, it’s much appreciated! :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks man! If you feel pushed and motivated when listening then the goal is achieved. :grinning:

Ok, I’ve worked a little more on the mix, even if I didn’t want to mix properly at this point. The main goal at the moment is to complete the composition. Anyway, I was sticking to your suggestions and this is the result:
Compare with the previous version:

What’s different (hopefully it’s audible :upside_down_face:):

  • humanization of the guitar as suggested by @ffx
  • better separation of the guitar from the bass as suggested by @ffx
  • increased attack of the plucky synth as suggested by @ffx
  • change of the frequency cut in the intro as suggested by @eretsua
  • better separation of the synths and lead as suggested by @eretsua

Now the composition needs to get a little further. I’ll try to implement what @joule suggested, but this won’t be easy. I also think that the song by Lazerhawk that @ffx has posted is a pretty good example for a simple composition that works. Ok, time to regain creativity… :wink:


I think the problem with the mix is that is sounds a bit muddy and mid heavy. There 's a lot of stuff going on, the guitar riff, the lead sounds and at 1:15 another synth comes in. Maybe try to side chain some of the elements that not everything is in the front.

The track reminds me on a track of a German synth band (Alphaville maybe?). I’ll find out…

sounds much better! you are on the right tack!

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@ffx new version too bass heavy, right? mid clarity would have improved the mix instead of going for the alluring smiley-curve hype. Just my guess. Sounds cool in headphones and all, but…

PS. ffx is always complaining about my bass so I’m curious about his assessment on this :slight_smile:

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At 1:00 and 1:25, that short last chord, some note seems wrong to me, harmonically. New version sounds better to me, but lacks of brightness now?

If you mean TNT’s version, no, bass sounds alright to me. Maybe it is too much sustained, and should be stopped a bit earlier before the next bass note (and then a bit more release maybe). Sustained !== groovy. Also check if it is really monophonic and not overlapping.

The guitar chord chould have more transient?

I think perceived mudness only comes from panning and spreading so far. Sound eqing and selection seems to be right to me. But seems to be too early to care for such details maybe.

As a rule of thumb, maybe, decide, if the bright sounds should be mono or more the bassy stuff. Here, the bass seems to be wide already, so maybe make it even more wide using a multiband above 400hz spread/chorus/whatever, and then make each sound more narrow the brighter it sounds. bright guitar leads should not be spread at all, instead panned a bit from the center. You could nicely spread the guitar chord, if your synth allows panning per note.

What sounds really nice is a middy wide carpet of sounds and then not spread bright lead sounds, slightly panned or in the middle with a bright reverb, not so wide, as contrast.

The chords starting at 0:49 seem to be too steeply lowpassed, maybe only -12dB? but maybe its my shitty 39 eur headphones.

Once your song is completed, maybe give it a final touch by add new eq instances where neccessary, with very very flat highpasses or lowpasses, like tilts, so if you listen to the song in mono (see my shortcut tool), all sounds have their own space in “y-axis” and are not covering each other anymore (only it’s desired multiple sounds merge into one).

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Nice. This has action sequence and training montage written all over it :+1:

I like the idea of a WIP thread. That said, I wonder if it would be more efficient and constructive for anyone looking for WIP feedback to create their own thread to have a single place dedicated to the work in question. I think posts will get lost in the shuffle and probably not get all the attention they could get in a long all-in-one thread.


yeah, perhaps a subfolder in the songs section of this forum dedicated to wips?


A subfolder? Why not? I think a simple thread is adequate. But a subfolder would be nice, too.

That’s too basic and self-evident. Of course there are sidechains all over the place, as well as panning of instruments. :slightly_smiling_face:

Alphaville? I don’t think so. Their music is usually pretty soft. Big In Japan and so on, you know? :wink:

Thanks! But there’s still some work to do. Especially the synths and the lead need more clarity and the mix needs some small adjustments in terms of volume. I’ll deal with it after finishing the composition. Who knows what will be added and how the song will develop.

Yeah, kinda. But not really bass heavy, it rather lacks clarity imho. My mixes usually don’t have the “classic” smiley-curve, there are also mids. Here’s the curve of the mix in its current state:

But I wonder what exactly you mean if you’re talking about “mid clarity”. What’s your method?

Hm, idk, there’s a long chord, but it sounds good to me and the notes are definitely right. Also the notes of the synths playing in parallel. It’s C, D# and G#. And there’s no mismatch. But you’re right about the brightness. The synths and the lead need to be “finetuned” regarding brightness. It doesn’t take much to restore clartiy, but it could be overdone pretty easily. I will post the next mix when it’s done.

As usual everything below 200 Hz is mono. And some chosen instruments are treated mid/side, and the sides of mid and high frequencies of these chosen instruments are stereo expanded. That’s common.

It’s -8 dB lowpassed. Yeah, this is one of the instruments that lack clarity. Will be fixed,

Thanks! Yeah, I want to keep this kind of feeling for the whole song. But that’s one of the difficulties I think. :slightly_smiling_face:

The song is driving me crazy, I’m still stuck with the composition. Currently I’m trying several things, but it’s like running in circles. To get a little further I improved the mix instead and increased clarity (or clearness).


I like the sound of the plucky strings in the background around 1:12 can see putting in a break there, bringing those plucks to the front, and have a nice dancy bit right there, bit sooner and groovier than the break at 2:02.

Trying to imagine this with words and sort of feel like there may not be enough room for a top line melody.
Perhaps if you thin it out some you can more easily fit something into the mix.
Just thinking aloud, it’s coming along nicely as it is.

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Yes, the break at 2:02 is just a “placeholder”. At 1:37 I originally wanted to have a lead guitar, but I think I’ll leave it as it is and maybe bring the lead guitar at 2:02. I think thinning out something as you say might not be the worst idea, but then you have to rebuild the song, too. Or maybe the song structure could be similar to this song. I mean there are 3 options. 1. Leave everything as it is and continue from 2:02, 2. change the whole build-up to also implement something new or 3. change the composition. Maybe I should wait a couple of days before I deal with it again. I just don’t want to wait too long because that’s what I already did. I started this song at the beginning of this year to test and learn a guitar VST, but I wasn’t pleased so I finished a couple of Elektro tunes in between. Then I’ve changed the whole composition and the result is what you can hear in this thread. Now I’m stuck again because I’m looking for a specific kind of atmosphere that I want to keep over the whole song. And the composition has to be simple without being bad, but straight in your face. Before I continue I should make a decision. Anyway, thanks for the input! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Oh that’s cool thanks for starting it! Here’s a DnB tune I’ve head loads of fun working on, because I sampled myself playing hard-to-midify notes on my Medeli keyboard, but I lost energy dealing with some of the transitions so here it lies in the meantime

EDIT: okay let’s re-try with Faircamp