[peer review] ingMob - morpho

I’m frustratingly close to wrapping up my second album as ingMob, titled morpho. The most frustrating aspect lies in the conflict between ‘the perfectionist’ and ‘the promoter’ within me. I’m reaching out to the community here for help.

For this album, I thought it would be fun to flip the ‘traditional’ record/release process on its head. Instead of a long secretive production period followed by a big debut PR blitz, I have decided that it would be more fun to open up drafts of my work-in-progress for peer review. I’ve been pushing myself to ‘learn out loud’ more often, here is my attempt to apply that to my music.

My hope is that this community critique will fall somewhere in between a crowd co-production and a pre-release listening party. Somewhere in between the rpm challenge and the disquiet junto. I have immense respect for the community here; after a decade of growing with y’all (my gnomes), this feels like a safe place for this experiment. I have three very specific goals:

  1. Feedback - Incorporate community feedback to make an awesome album
  2. Accountability - Use the ‘peer pressure’ of putting this out there as a process to push myself to finish this project
  3. Engagement - Use this project as a means of engaging with this community in a deeper way

Logistically, I’ve been a big fan of the ‘what if it was easy?’ mantra lately. My goal is to post one song per week until I’ve shared every track I’m considering for the album. This is a slow enough pace that I think it will be feasible for me to work into my very hectic work schedule. (I have a five-year head start on some of the songs.) I’m going to finally put that ‘unlimited’ soundcloud plan to good use. I will edit this top post as things progress, to make a ‘table of contents’ linking to the individual track posts.

My ask of the community here is simple: honestly tell me what you think. What clicks? What doesn’t? What bumps? What sucks? I would really appreciate your thoughts, either here or as timed comments on the soundcloud tracks.

09/17/17 - Cleen Enuff
09/22/17 - Damped
09/30/17 - Autopilot
10/08/17 - Skinin
10/15/17 - Alignmentade


I decided to share cleen enuff first because it’s really about the fundamental struggle I’m experiencing in finishing this album: the balance between ‘clean enough’ and ‘doing it right’, perfect vs. done. I came up with the first part of the song in the shower in a hotel in Tennessee, the rest fell into place slowly over the past two years. Without further ado…

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After listening to this once after you posted, the “clean enough / clean ee-nough” mantra definietely wormed its way into my head this morning.

Conceptually, I think the peer review concept is really neat, and I admire that you’re opening yourself up in this way to us all here.

Some of this might be a bit more blunt or direct than I would normally express, but since you’re directly asking for feedback…

(As a preface, I only listened on builtin phone, laptop, and apple display speakers, so nothing surgical by any means)

I dig the song composition quite a bit. Obviously there’s something there if the “clean enough” mantra pops into my head (admittedly while cleaning dishes) and makes me want to listen again, and I think that the general structure works well for something like this.

I do feel like there’s still something missing with the mix (and in a couple of spots, possibly the production/accompaniment) though.

The introductory vocals feel too loud in relation to the guitar, or at least like they’re not gelled together. Interestingly, they seem to gel together a bit better at the refrain around 2:12, but it still feels like there’s a glue missing (figuratively, not the literal “Glue” compressor plugin).

I think throughout the whole track, the drums are mixed a little too high. They feel overbearing to me when they come in at the beginning, and they drown out the interesting percussion sounds that come in just after that same refrain (~2:16)…

I really like the ending section, with the repetition, and especially like the ending few moments with just the vocals. Accompaniment-wise, I feel like there could be more of a build up and release there. There’s already a little bit of one, with simple/complex/simple, over the course of the repetitions, but it feels like it would benefit from a bit more bombast in the buildup, giving the final simple repetition a stronger feeling of relief… But, that’s also a personal style/artistic choice, so maybe my vision for that doesn’t match yours.


Perfect, thank you! I really appreciate the bluntness. Direct is what I’m going for.

I totally agree, I really didn’t do a good job of checking the mix on different speakers. I was horrified by how loud the vox were when I listened to it on my laptop speakers! (Of course I had only listened on nice monitoring headphones until after I posted this…a humbling reminder.)

Next one soon…

Round 2: Damped

This song has been resonating this week because I’ve been as sick as a dog and also stressing the fuck out about my company polySpectra announcing our first product next week. Sometimes I think I would be healthier if I actually listened to my own songs more…or learned from them instead of singing them…or something like that. Regardless, this song has been making me smile the last few days while I’ve been shooting snot rockets all over the place - so it’s time to share.

This time I iterated on the mix a couple of times to attempt to make it sound okay on laptop speakers and crappy earbuds. But unfortunately the mix still sounds horrible on laptop speakers and crappy earbuds. At this point I can’t hear it anymore, so now it’s your turn! (Any advice on this in general? I’ve only found super amateur discussions from a quick search. Basically - how do you mix passably for phones/laptops (what people are listening on), while not stooping to the lowest common denominator? For example - I learned from the Matmos men that Vespertine was intentionally produced/mixed for laptop speakers via compressed Napster mp3s. (some evidence of that here: https://genius.com/albums/Bjork/Vespertine) That’s the ‘all-in’ approach…)


Gimme your worst. I can take it, I promise. (I know I shouldn’t quit my day job.)

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thanks dude!

i know that you edited this out, but i really appreciate this comment in particular, because i didn’t really notice until now:

One thing i’m also on the fence about in general: your slurring pronunciation of words… i’ve met you in real life, you don’t talk like that normally :blush: …i think i kinda like it!

this is one of those things that is really hard for me to hear for myself during recording (as both producer and performer) … sort of similar to getting used to the awkwardness of hearing your own voice playback. on ‘Marrow’ i had to pay for studio time because i simply couldn’t handle being the engineer and the vocalist at the same time (also background noise of roommates was logistically challenging)…so i had someone else to call me out on this stuff. this time i’ve been opting for the laziness / convenience of recording at home (my life is much quieter now)…but i clearly lost that feedback mechanism - which is a huge part of why i’m experimenting with this ‘peer review’ idea now. so thank you!