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production music albums: are the tracks supposed to sound similar to each other?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
production music albums: are the tracks supposed to sound similar to each other?

Hello,

From what I have researched, production music albums are best when they have a unifying theme. Maybe something like "crime mystery" or "happy islands".

Besides a consistent mood or theme, are the tracks supposed to sound sonically similar?

I heard a very good production music album named "Cyber Crime". The mood was consistently ominous and dystopian. Besides the mood, the actual sounds of the tracks were also very similar to each other. They had similar sounding percussion, tonal parts, reverbs, pacing, etc.

I'm wondering if having the tracks sound very similar from a sonic standpoint is an advantage that helps you get your albums placed with publishers. I'm guessing it might be.

This is the album I heard:
https://www.warnerchappellpm.com/alb...zk0My1iYTNhZDE
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
It definitely best if they don't sound too similar to other peoples tracks. That's an unmitigated certainty.

That said, it's probably almost impossible not to sound like 10000 other drones that are already out there. It's a law of percentages. A drone is a drone is a drone. However, where you're dealing with melodic writing that's where you need to be careful.

In terms of writing an album, then you need to write to a brief/subject that the publisher wants. That doesn't mean every track needs to sound the same or 'samey' on the album. But, you do hear a lot of that out there as it happens.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Cook ➡️
It definitely best if they don't sound too similar to other peoples tracks. That's an unmitigated certainty.

That said, it's probably almost impossible not to sound like 10000 other drones that are already out there. It's a law of percentages. A drone is a drone is a drone. However, where you're dealing with melodic writing that's where you need to be careful.

In terms of writing an album, then you need to write to a brief/subject that the publisher wants. That doesn't mean every track needs to sound the same or 'samey' on the album. But, you do hear a lot of that out there as it happens.
Thanks for the reply. I don't mean the tracks should sound like other artists. I mean should all 12 tracks on your album have the same sonic DNA? like maybe on an album you mostly use the same drum libraries, same tonal instruments from track to track. so you don't use xylophones and congas on track one, and heavy metal guitars and double bass drum speed metal drums on track two. the album theme might be consistent, but the tracks sound too different from each other from a sound choice and signal processing standpoint.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
jazz4's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent ➡️
Thanks for the reply. I don't mean the tracks should sound like other artists. I mean should all 12 tracks on your album have the same sonic DNA? like maybe on an album you mostly use the same drum libraries, same tonal instruments from track to track. so you don't use xylophones and congas on track one, and heavy metal guitars and double bass drum speed metal drums on track two. the album theme might be consistent, but the tracks sound too different from each other from a sound choice and signal processing standpoint.

If you’re doing an album of folk music, dramedy, or murder mystery, part of your job is to intuitively know what the editor is probably expecting to hear when he/she clicks on that album. Whatever sonic DNA comes with those genres should probably be pretty consistent through-out. The publisher usually lists out the type of instrumentation they’d like featured too.

The producer/publisher will let you know with notes like “there’s too much marimba on this album, can you swap them in these tracks for another instrument?” Etc.

The brief and genre dictate the instrumentation so it’s generally in your best interest to consistently use elements that “smack” of that style unless stated otherwise.

Can definitely throw a few interesting tracks in there or use some weird instruments if it still captures the spirit of the brief though! I’ve definitely been on albums with other composers where my palette is different to theres but doesn’t detract from the overall vibe.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
riffwraith's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The best thing to do, is to default to the lib/pub.

I am sure there are cases where the composer knows what works better than the pub, but those cases are going to be rare. Talk to the pub, and see what they want. They know the market, and they know the clientele. Therefore, they (should) have a good understanding of what works best.

IMHO... generally, exceptions notwithstanding, all cues on an album should be within the same vein. There should be variations, but not too far. If the album is called "Into The Unknown", and the first cue is a mysterious/spacey/atmospheric cue, and the next one is jazz, the next JW film score, the next drones with SFX, the next hillbilly, and so on, that's generally not going to go over too well with music eds and sups.

Cheers.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the clarification, Jeff.

That leads me to an idea:

Suppose you have a decent communication channel with a publisher. Maybe you could write two tracks as an album concept and send them to the publisher and say "If you like these two, I can write ten more like them to create an album of twelve tracks."

Would that be a reasonable approach?

If the publisher doesn't like two tracks, there is no sense writing ten more in that style/concept. On the other hand, if the publisher does like the idea, it shouldn't be too difficult to use the two already-written tracks as a tonal/conceptual foundation to complete the other ten tracks.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
riffwraith's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent ➡️
T
Would that be a reasonable approach?
I think so, yes.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I've seen it advocated in some sync production that the composer write several tracks within the same DAW session for an album, so you end up with the same instrumentation etc, and they sound closely related.

Personally I gave it a shot and I hated it and went back to a regular one track per DAW session but kept certain elements the same like maybe the rhythm section etc.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
riffwraith's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmicdolphin ➡️
I've seen it advocated in some sync production that the composer write several tracks within the same DAW session for an album, so you end up with the same instrumentation etc, and they sound closely related.
Sounds like someone is trying to get the composer to compose cues with the same instrumentation, and that sound closely related.

Which could be a good thing, or not so good, depending.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent ➡️
Would that be a reasonable approach?
Yes.

On the other hand - nothing beats delivering a complete project into their laps - finished and ready to go. Depends a lot on the particular creative director and library. Some like input and are very hands on. Others just like getting the entire package finished and ready to go. I've done it both ways. Personally, I prefer finishing the project before shopping.
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