“Astral Weeks” by Vowel Samples
Recorded 31 May 2014, mixed & mastered June 02 2022 by Jim Lemanowicz at Blissville Electro-Magnetic Laboratories of Massapequa.
This is a cover version of a song by Van Morrison. ©1968 Van Morrison.
I am looking for input on my mixing and mastering here. Is the master too hot? Is there enough clarity between the parts? Do the vocals and lead guitar shine through in the mix? Is the cymbal too loud (I quite like it during the guitar solo and during the mellotron/loud parts)? Honestly, details other than “good” or “bad” for the mix or master will always be welcome. However, I am not soliciting any comments on my performances here instrumentally or vocally. I have enough critics of that kind living in my head, thank you. I also have no intention of adding or removing or re-recording any of the parts here.
What I am currently working on is a remix project whilst simultaneously learning some iZotope plugins. The material is a covers EP I completed/released first in 2014. This followed a serious hospital stay and in my mind represented a “stripped-down” approach similar to my cassette 4-track work in the 90s – guitar, bass, drum sounds, vocals, basic keys – and as opposed to my “kitchen sink” approach in the 00s with songs that had 50-100 tracks each at times. This particular cover is Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” and is dedicated to Lester Bangs and his horrific experience related to this song and album by Van, as understood by my reading of the book “Let It Blurt” by Jim Derogatis. Lester had a sort of subconscious reach into my life as in high school I was an avid Creem reader of the period slightly before and after his death. His shadow was all over that magazine at that time.
Process notes –
On this track I played a Jay Turser Mustang-inspired guitar, an Epi EB-0 bass, an M-Audio Trigger Finger (triggering some jazz-type Ableton Live drum rack), a cheap cymbal (same one from the 90s) and two tracks of GForce M-Tron string and flute sounds. My arrangement in this 31 May 2014 version subs in a plunky angular lead guitar for the vocal ad-libs that Van originally gave us and what I tried to do with no success when I almost gave up on the project in Jan 2014. I also opted for a shorter track length than either Van’s version or much of the “kitchen sink” work I was doing in the 00s.
The plugins used were Nectar 3 Plus, Neutron 3 Advanced/Visual Mixer (and now 4), and Ozone 9 Advanced. In a limited way, these plugins AI “assisted” me in my mix levels, my mastering treatments and my instrument and vocal effects. I used a hybrid approach where I did not give the iZotope plugins my naked tracks but rather used most of the channel “racks” (strips) set up in 2014 originally. Nor did I use the Visual Mixer for panning. Subjectively speaking, for the past year or so, my mastering has improved with the help of iZotope’s Elements plugins, so I recently went and upgraded. I then committed to learning some new tricks for these old ears. I also tweaked some things that I felt the AI missed, but did not dwell on almost anything here for more than a minute or two.
This remixed and remastered version of “Astral Weeks” was submitted as part of Disquiet Junto Project 0544: Feedback Loop. The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.
More on the Disquiet Junto at: disquiet.com/junto/
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