song sequencing

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twinkletoes62
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song sequencing

Post by twinkletoes62 » Sat May 27, 2006 9:20 am

Is it truly relevant to the quality of an album(or it?s production)what order the songs are placed on an album?I've heard discussions pro and con and wanted to know the board's opinions on the subject.
I believe it has some importance,but am unsure if it's as crucial as some defendants assure.
Any opinions appreciated.

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surf's up
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Post by surf's up » Sat May 27, 2006 9:53 am

i think it does matter a decent bit.

its hard to imagine certain albums sequenced any other way. but perhaps that comes from our pre-existing bias towards that album.

I lovethe part in Bob Katz' mastering book where he talks about things the ME must do to ensure the 'flow' of the album, that even slight changes in level, amount of silence between songs, or the way they are EQed can have a drastic effect on how the listener responds. So I imagine something as critical as the song itself would have to be an extremely important factor in that reaction.

Now does that mean there is a right or wrong way to do it? probably not. it seems like more of an art than a science, and you could permutate all the songs on Pet Sounds anyway you like and it would still be an excellent album. But that doesnt mean one shouldnt be conscious of how the sequence will affect the listener and plan accordingly and actually put some time into making a 'record' instead of just a collection of songs.

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Post by joelpatterson » Sat May 27, 2006 10:15 am

Radio disc jockeys, back in the day, paid special attention to the segues, or transitions from one song to the next. This was a real art. In the hands of the best of them, you felt like a narrative was unfolding, in the way that the message at the heart of each song built on the one before it. Sometimes, this was just contrast, like a slow syrupy fade-out would be followed by a brash, sudden percussive intro. But sometimes, the messages formed a whole sermon unto itself.
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brian beattie
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Post by brian beattie » Sat May 27, 2006 11:51 am

sequencing is as important as ANY other element of record making. (weell...... maybe not as important as song writing...)
I believe that the same exact mixes put in the wrong order can ruin an otherwise great record. Sequencing is MAGIC, and (notwithstanding an MP3 culture), it will make or break the record.
just think of some of your favorite segues on your favorite records... You know how when you hear one of those songs on the radio, and it doesn't do the album segue, how your brain hears, and possibly even craves that segue? Album sequencing is a lovely, psychological trick. It's pretty easy to recognize what works when you hear it.
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Post by Will Box » Sat May 27, 2006 11:53 am

FWIW, when making set lists for live gigs my band tries to avoid playing two songs in the same key in a row.

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Brett Siler
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Post by Brett Siler » Sat May 27, 2006 3:16 pm

I think that the sequencing is pretty important. To me it is just like writting a book. You don't just randomly put the chapters together. You put it together to tell a story that makes sense (unless you are William S Burgoughs). It has to flow.

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Post by Rigsby » Sat May 27, 2006 4:26 pm

joelpatterson wrote:Radio disc jockeys, back in the day, paid special attention to the segues, or transitions from one song to the next. This was a real art. In the hands of the best of them, you felt like a narrative was unfolding, in the way that the message at the heart of each song built on the one before it. Sometimes, this was just contrast, like a slow syrupy fade-out would be followed by a brash, sudden percussive intro. But sometimes, the messages formed a whole sermon unto itself.
Werd, i try to do this when DJing live or doing my creot radio shows.

I think sequencing is pretty important, and it was one of the things that struck a chord with me most about the Bob Katz book.
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penelec
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Post by penelec » Sat May 27, 2006 5:28 pm

Yeah, like making a mix tape for someone. You don't just throw songs on there. You make a stack of CDs and a stack of vinyl, you think about what will easy them in, then hit 'em hard with som great-but-difficults, and then go for the money shot. I know writers who swear by the rule of threes -- kind of like an exposition, rising action, and denouement. i think the same applies to albums. And I can't help but think that's why the 45 minute album is such a great rule of thumb. Fifteen minutes in, fifteen to convert, and fifteen to take them home.

edit: screwed up html

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snuffinthepunk
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Post by snuffinthepunk » Sat May 27, 2006 7:41 pm

penelec wrote:Yeah, like making a mix tape for someone. You don't just throw songs on there. You make a stack of CDs and a stack of vinyl, you think about what will easy them in, then hit 'em hard with som great-but-difficults, and then go for the money shot. I know writers who swear by the rule of threes -- kind of like an exposition, rising action, and denouement. i think the same applies to albums. And I can't help but think that's why the 45 minute album is such a great rule of thumb. Fifteen minutes in, fifteen to convert, and fifteen to take them home.

edit: screwed up html
kinda related: The chorus to the last song on Incubus's latest album goes "The ride's over, did you enjoy yourself?" and it has a great fade out at the end. I doubt that was an accident =) Anyhoo yeah on most albums the song order and time in between each song can be important like most people say.
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twinkletoes62
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Post by twinkletoes62 » Sun May 28, 2006 4:33 am

So is this to be decided in the final mastering stage,in the mixing or where?
What happens if the music holds much more relation to the other songs as opposed to the lyrics which sort of fling and flang everywhere thematically?
I would thing the mixing stage is where it's at,because you can add effects and so forth that support your sequencing decisions,but I don't know given the disparities between recordists. :lol:

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Post by carlsaff » Sun May 28, 2006 5:36 am

twinkletoes62 wrote:So is this to be decided in the final mastering stage,in the mixing or where?
It's always nice to receive a mix master that is sequenced exactly as the band wants it. However, I'd guess that well over half of the mix masters I receive require extensive sequencing (including crossfades, head/tail fades/cuts, splices, etc.). I'd say that it's safe to leave this for the mastering stage. But keep in mind that some MEs charge extra for extensive sequencing.

Good sequencing is very important to the quality of a record, in my opinion. And not just in terms of song order. My first band had a very specific song order in mind for our first album, but the ME blindly inserted 2 seconds of digital black between each track by default... and the resulting flow was awful.
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twinkletoes62
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Post by twinkletoes62 » Sun May 28, 2006 8:04 am

Gotcha!

So many things involved with an album.... :roll: :shock:

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mjau
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Post by mjau » Sun May 28, 2006 8:25 am

OK Computer just isn't the same in random play mode.

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syrupcore
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Post by syrupcore » Sun May 28, 2006 8:35 am

radiohead have been known to have fist fights over it if that means anything to you.

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mjau
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Post by mjau » Sun May 28, 2006 8:47 am

Wow. Just seems to me that an in-band fistfight for Radiohead would be amazingly one-sided. I can't see either Thom Yorke or Jonny Greenwood as a serious threat to whoop some ass, but you never know...those scrawny guys are scrappy, and they're always the ones who go for the balls right off the bat.

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