Giving Great Feedback to Creators

We started Fluence to connect creators with those who could help them with feedback and exposure. As we built the Fluence system, we began to see curators and experts give incredibly thoughtful, precise, and helpful feedback to creators on the production quality and composition of their media submissions.

Andrei Liviu Georgescu is an ambient electronica  composer and producer who submitted his track ‘Waterway To The Horizon’ on Fluence – sending it to renowned downtempo and electronica music production expert Brian Trifon, who responded back with helpful feedback on his track.

Hi Andrei, Beautiful! Really nice work. I like the electric piano part in the intro- nicely complimented with the ambient sounds at starting at 16 secs 32sec strings come in – I think these strings are cool, but could potentially be more realistic sounding (better samples if you have any.) :51sec – really nice moody ambient section love it! I would make the transition to the synth that comes in at 1:12 more dramatic and dynamic. Really have it swell up and then drop into that synth at 1:12. That synth entrance is an important moment. Also, because this synth is so naked, you might consider trying to craft a more unique/designed synth sound. The synth section ends somewhat abruptly at 1:31 and switches to the harp dulcimer.

I like the change in instrumentation, but maybe carry some remnant of the synth over. Maybe an echo or have the synth part carry on but filtered or distant. I’m not totally sure the best solution for that, but generally speaking you want to be very thoughtful about transitioning and introducing/taking away elements and themes. I like how you continually move forward to new territory, but it might be a good idea to carry some of themes or sounds forward and have them work together instead of switching from one to the next. That being said I like that you start at point A and end up somewhere different! It makes it more of a listening journey.

I really like how the harp/dulcimer is answered by the bass synth at 1:48. Also cool reverse melodic bits and strings. I like the drums that come in at 2:20, here is where it all comes together! You might consider adding an extra dramatic pause right before the drums come in. The drums entering is a big moment, it is in someways a peak in the energy of the song. You probably want to milk it’s entrance for full dramatic effect. The drum section has a good vibe, the dulcimer/synth bass and ambient bits work well together. I think you could have this section build longer and further. You exit it pretty quickly. 2:54 you start to breakdown the energy of the previous section dies too quickly IMO 3:12 instrumental harp/duclimer section and ending. Love it really beautiful!

Overall this is great and has a strong emotional quality to it. I found myself getting absorbed in the feeling of it which is exactly what you want to do. Once again that is why transitions between sections and themes is very important. You don’t want to pull the listener out of this emotional journey that they’re on. Other general notes, musically this is great and I like a lot of the organic and ambient sounds. as I mentioned before I think the synth that comes in at 1:12 could be more highly designed sound – something that sounds less “soft synth.” I think if you polish the details and transitions and really focus on maintaining the emotional energy of the song it will be fantastic. I hope that’s helpful! I really enjoyed it. cheers!

– Brian Trifon

Maxwell’s Complex – an artist whose sound is described as “electronic music progenerated from early 80’s synth pop”, also used Fluence to get useful feedback from highly accomplished electronic music producer and recording engineer Eric Oehler. He submitted the track ‘Hurting Inside Out‘ while also asking for specific suggestions on which platforms, websites, or music blogs would be a good match to get in contact with.

All of a sudden, it’s 1982 again, and I’m listening to “Speak and Spell” on my walkman-knockoff… The vocal production on this is excellent, and surprisingly modern given the obvious influences (bonus points for using the phrase “peer review”). You may wish to consider for future tracks throwing a little more melisma on the vocal cadences, to make them a little less syllable-on-a-beat (I listened to a few of your other tracks for fun and it seems like you have that going already on “Control”). That can be very effective.

Also, if you can find one, getting someone other than you to sing some of the backing parts can really flesh out a track. I do think some of the blippy noise is a bit prominent in the mix, fighting with the vocals. Maybe a little more low-mid punch on the bass, too, and a little less on the attack there, but only just a smidgen. I’m not sold on the cartoon voice bit in the bridge – doesn’t seem to fit the darker aspects of the song. That’s a purely stylistic choice, of course, but I think it might be a little more impactful if it were a bit grittier – maybe a bitspeek effect or something.

As for blogs and websites – well, there are a zillion of them and they change regularly. You might want to give something like Hits In The Car a try, since they seem to go for synthpop. Otherwise, I’d recommend doing legwork on; doing a search on something like “vince clarke”, “erasure” or “omd” or whatnot (I hesitate to say “depeche mode” or “gary numan” because their recent output will get you some false positives) and a large list of blogs should come up, most of which would be amenable to this sort of thing. You may have to do some sorting, as while the retro 80’s thing is very much in vogue right now, the stuff that dominates the blogosphere is sort of an arch, ironic take on it, not as much the more earnest, traditional synthpop. However, this could probably appeal to the Kavinsky/”outrun” crowd, so tracking down blogs that play his stuff – Earmilk, Music We Like, etc – might be worth your while too.

– Eric Oehler

Maxwell’s Complex wrote back with his thoughts on Fluence:

I was extremely impressed with the thoughtfulness of both reviewers for that track, and have had success following up on their feedback and advice! 

One of the great things about Fluence was being able to really learn about and understand the people I was asking advice from. My brand of music isn’t exactly mainstream, so to be able to find an influencer who actually listed “synth-pop” as an interest was awesome (and surprising). I was impressed by how much thought went into the feedback I received…far more than I would have expected based on the rather minimal cost I ended up paying. 

Recently this week, electronic synthpop artist echocell sent her track ‘Crumb Love‘ to Valida CarrollKCRW On-Air Host and Fluence music expert.

Hi, Thank you for sharing this beautiful song. I really like it…Overall, it is a great song…with great vocal presence and really well produced. The melody is catchy without being too obvious. The lyrics are universal and it’s something we can all relate to. My only room for improvement would be in some minor production finesse – they are really minor but because you asked for my honest feedback I’m compelled to say what few changes could add to this tune.

The chord progression in the beginning “your love was beautiful…gave me bigger things…” is a little predictable….It would be nice to hear a more interesting chord change in this section and not one that follows the vocals. Perhaps a harmonic chord progression? Also, in the chorus, the double snare back beat after the first bar is a bit repetitive and redundant in my opinion..Maybe just have it once and not three times in a row? Or maybe not at all?

The tabla right before the breakdown is a bit distracting…It takes the song in a different direction…I’d like to hear a different sound there…Also, the middle-eastern breakdown could benefit from an addition of a high-end sound…too many mids…The strings are great, but just needs some sort of uplifting note. Like I said, these are super minor production suggestions…Most people prob wouldn’t notice the changes, but something to think about. Great job!

– Valida Carroll

Valida enjoyed Crumb Love so much, she even gave echocell a shout-out on Twitter.

On Fluence, there is no reward or benefit to experts for sharing – so every time an someone shares a submission from a creator, it’s an authentic and organic promotion that completes a full cycle from submitting media to getting it recommended to others.

It inspires us to see this level of thoughtful insight by curators and experts on Fluence. We are motivated more than ever in building our platform to let creators connect with those that can help them with useful and high-quality production feedback.

Our new model is emerging to connect creators with curators and experts in a meaningful way. If you have any suggestions on how it could be improved or have any ideas on what could be better, please reach out directly and let us know. It’s just the beginning.