Song review process

A few days before the end of the year, I put out a call on this blog for people who would be willing to help criticise my new song, Gernika. Then after a day or so of nobody from the blog responding, I posted a message to the stormcock mailing list community where I know there are lots of musicians with similar tastes, worldview and backgrounds. Within no time I had the five volunteers I wanted, (two of whom responded on the blog) and then after I tried to close down the call, another four.

The question posted to the list was slightly different to that on the blog

I’d like to ask a favour of a couple of volunteers please.

All you have to do is listen to a draft version of a song I’m
intending to submit to Splinters later, and let me know what you
think. The feedback might help me decide what to do differently in a
final edit, or re-record the song, or even rewrite it. If you can
respond with any kind of feedback over the next few days that would be
great. Just let me know and I’ll send you the mp3.

Cheers, and best wishes to all for 2007.

After discovering that emailing a >10 mb file doesn’t work for everyone, the first two reviews I got back were brilliant. My days at ultraversity had led me to expect that I might eventually get one or two useful commments, but a lot more just saying stuff like “nice song, well done” or “It won’t open in Word, what am I doing wrong?” but my sophisticatd music loving peers were quite comfortable with the idea of writing serious critique, often quite specific, even including concrete suggestions. Ten individual responses rolled in. I felt that the encouragement, confirmation and multiple ears inspired me to strive quite a bit harder for a higher standard than I would have done on my own, re-recording the main guitar and vocals in a way that could be mixed more flexibly and performing multiple passes of tweaking the sound levels. As is often the case with peer review, the reviewers seemed to appreciate the process as well.

So all in all I spent the best part of two whole days during the break and about two weeks elapsed time on this. I was uplifted by the process and I’m pleased with the result which is a single 8 minute 35s mp3 file and a blog page ( to be released in about week’s time)

As I wrote to sum up:

This whole process of getting feedback from stormcockers has been
pretty amazing as far as I’m concerned. I had no idea that so many
would be willing to listen carefully and write detailed intelligent
critiques together with positive and precise suggestions, some of
which I took onboard.
Thanks again to all the people who helped with this, making it not
just a contribution TO splinters but to some extent OF the group, and
I feel that’s something which could be repeated or developed perhaps
as a theme within Splinters 4. With today’s software we could also
construct multi-track music out of asynchronous performances from
around the planet, with each producing their own version of a final
edit, which could be very interesting.


This may become a bit of a pain, but the correct title of the song is
Gernika” – the local name of the town, not the painting.

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