Matthew Shell

Matthew Shell

Matthew Shell

Recent Submissions

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Such a spacious mix! I love how the guitar makes it feel so wide. The tambourine is about 10 dB too loud for my tastes though, and overwhelms my ears.

Impressed as always with your vocal performance, and the songwriting. The feel-good vibe is contagious. I bet you had a lot of fun hanging at the beach for a day to film the video!

Wow, I thought it was going to go for another 30 seconds at least. You could've stretched out the ending with some ad libs, but I guess I'll survive. 😜

Happy to share it on Twitter! Thanks as always for sharing it with me.

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Perfect timing! I just hired a saxophonist for my recent project, and... Marcus sounds better β€” ha!

The snaps are a bit bright and in your face. Until, wow! I don't know how much of this is SoundCloud's encoding, but the limiting is so much it nearly distorts. Still bright...

Shaker at 0:50 is way too loud, like 10 dB. Hat too. The crispy stuff really overpowers the mix. The bass is loud too, maybe a little too loud, but it doesn't balance out the highs.

The performance though is great. I really love the silky tone and fluid style of the sax. And I think the arrangement works to highlight it, or could. Right now it overpowers it.

Man, that shaker comes back to haunt me throughout the song. I can't overstate how loud it is β€” it sounds like a mistake. I'm sure the other hats are too loud too, but my sense of scale is all off due to the shaker.

On the positive side, the arrangement has a nice sense of build and motion. 

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Time Will Tell by Jake Elmendorf

Brian Hazard

I really like the description you wrote for the track! It helps me connect both to you and the song.

Everything about this is solid if not breathtaking: the performance, the mix, the video. In the spirit of providing constructive criticism, I do of course think there's room for improvement!

Most importantly, the song itself. Lyrically there's no real hook or concrete imagery. It's a pretty generic "relationship song."

Next, the arrangement. It doesn't really go anywhere. Nor does it establish a clear genre. It's just kind of "pop." Who do you sound like? I have no idea.

Vocally I feel like you haven't found your mix voice yet. You're just pushing chest, and there's a clear sense of where your pitch ceiling is. I feel like you're reaching up to notes, rather than sitting on top of them. (same with me!)

That said, I'm happy to share it. You're off to a flying start, with nowhere to go but up! πŸ‘πŸ»

Matthew Shell submitted media.

In The Night by V.I.C.U

Brian Hazard

Hey, don't make vaping look cool! Look what you did. Now a hundred more kids are vaping, thanks to you. Hope you feel good about yourself. πŸ˜‚

Wow, that's about the harshest text in the world to get. I'm a little concerned that the music hasn't started yet, but I think the story is compelling enough that viewers will forgive you.

What a voice! Wish I could sing those notes.

The overlap at "this ain't a daydream" really caught me off guard. I rewound twice to clarify it in my brain. Of course there's no way to pull that off in the video, and it shows.

In fact, singing both parts (clean and amp sim) on camera takes me out of the story. For what it's worth! I'm no video editor, but I'd prefer something else on screen during the amp sim parts.

The piano and strings are just beautiful. The arrangement totally pays off going into that last chorus! Really, really gratifying. It makes me want to hear the song again, which I will right now! ...

To be honest, I can't understand some of the words, especially on the higher notes. And the timing leading up to the chorus seems a bit loose, between the piano, voice, and clap. Basically the voice feels late. Like, "wrong late," not "cool laid back late."

But now I'm looking for things to pick on...

I've got a big one though β€” the title. Why? "In the Night" is such a cliche, and doesn't carry any special meaning, in my mind at least. Shouldn't it be called "Letters in the Dark"? That's what anyone would assume the title is by listening, and it's a much stronger title. Obviously too late now.

Neither the YouTube description or Instagram profile tell me the things I want to know β€” who are you? how old are you? why did you write this song? WHAT'S YOUR STORY? Almost nobody cares that it's your first original music video, and absolutely nobody cares about the credits.

We all want to believe that this song sprung from your soul because what happens in the video really happened to you. You don't have to lie, but give us SOMETHING without shattering that illusion. Please. 😁

I'd be happy to share this with my following on Twitter, and I will right... HOLY CRAP! Your first Patreon goal is $5500!?!?!?! No no no, you're doing Patreon wrong. If anything, that's going to scare people away because anyone can see it's not realistic.

Alright, going to share now. Bottom line, great song, solid video! Thank you for sharing with me!

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Sorry to leave you hanging there Matthew! I've been in Europe and this is my second day back. I'm still feeling jet lagged but I think my ears have recovered from the flight.

I haven't even hit play yet, but I'm amazed at how prolific you are! Wish I could bang out the outline of an entire album in one go. 

I see the track has been up on SoundCloud for five months. Great idea to keep swapping out versions as it improves, while holding on to your play count!

Your playing is so fluid and sensitive! What a beautiful arrangement. You tricked me into starting with the volume too high 😜. It just opens right up and blossoms. And then when you think it's as big as it's going to get, it gets even bigger (when the cymbal rolls/crashes enter). Aha! There are the vocals, just as I was starting to lose the sense of direction.

It seems the track's structureless-ness is a virtue rather than a curse. It just sort of meanders along, but it doesn't get boring, because it's always changing in both subtle and immediate ways. I'm nearing the climax now (as evidenced by the waveform - I'm cheating!) and the flute and sax add wonderful new dimensions.

Has it been 7 minutes already? I really don't have anything constructive to say, technically or musically. Fantastic job!

Of course I'd love to share it, even though stylistically it doesn't quite hit the bullseye for my audience. I'll wait until Monday though when engagement is better. I'm not quite sure what to say in the tweet, so feel free to email me with any ideas. I could just say it's the lead single from your upcoming album, or even that it's fantastic/wonderful/etc, but I worry those aren't hooky enough to entice anyone to hit play.

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Molly! I'm super honored that you'd give me an exclusive on the video, but I don't have a blog! Well, I do, but it's a promotion blog, not a music blog. I'll definitely share it on Twitter, but please feel free to spread it around! I write about SubmitHub on my blog, and that would be one possible way to secure an exclusive (I don't think my tweeting it counts):

The video is great! And yeah, kind of creepy in the way you describe. The shadowy figure comes off to me as representing our internal darkness - anxiety, fear, all that good stuff that follows us around wherever we go. I was definitely engaged and paying attention the whole way. Downright mesmerized! So great job with that.

I'm running where you filmed most days. I mean, exactly where you filmed. That bench you were laying on, for example! I was there a couple hours ago. And the river jetty. Or did you go to two? That bridge crosses the San Gabriel, but I thought I saw you near the Santa Ana too. Anyway, I'll stop location scouting. 😜

Btw you're kicking butt on Spotify! I'm really impressed. I may have a lot of Twitter followers, but I'd rather have more people actually listening to my music. You and your manager are obviously doing something - probably a lot of things - very right, so huge congratulations on that!

I'll go ahead and tweet the video right now!

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Sorry to keep you waiting Matthew!

Molly's voice is compelling! And I have to say, it's so refreshing to hear a non-EDM remix, that nonetheless sparkles with a tasteful amount of production magic.

The piano/strings break after the second chorus is unexpected and refreshing! The solo is cool, but volume-wise seems to sit above the vocal. Maybe you could pull it back a bit to preserve the proper scale.

That's the only thing critical I have to say. I love it! I'll definitely share it later this week. Thanks for sharing it with me!

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Hazard

Feels very Christmas-y, probably because of the snow-peaked mountains and hearing Christmas music everywhere this time of year.

Beautiful soaring vocal! Just when I think it can't go any higher, it does.

The arrangement is lovely and timeless. Gorgeous strings and piano. The bass is super tasteful.

I'm racking my brain for something critical to offer, but I'm not coming up with anything. It's really solid all-around.

Hmm... at 3:40 it feels like the beat jumps... or something? Kind of threw me there. A couple more times in the coda too. Maybe I'd get used to it after a couple more listens.

The video is good for what it is. Obviously you could create one more suitable to the song, featuring the singers, but it would cost big bucks to match the production value of the audio.

I'd be delighted to share it! In fact, I'll do that tomorrow. I'd do it right now, but engagement wouldn't be so great on a Sunday.

Thanks for sharing it with me!

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Chrystal Mahan

Piece is very soulful and lively.  
I am not sure what you are wanting feedback on so we'll start with the basics.
The song is amazing and their is a wide audience out there between music lovers who will appreciate the soulful saxophone tunes. It has a very upbeat song, but there is also something very relaxing about it. 
The video, is just a record cover and while some people don't care to have a video, when thinking in terms of YouTube, most do. So, a proper video is extremely necessary for those who are much more visual in the music world. 
Social media is a great way to get your music heard. If you are not already on SoundCloud and places like that, you should be. A chance for more people to find you. 

Brett Napoli

Cool sax, why is it so short? Kind of jumps in in the middle of the track. Enjoyed it though, lots of levels, epic sounding. Sounds like the soundtrack to a live show or broadway performance. Enjoyed it.

Brian Zisook

This was good, but it's really hard to judge a :53 snippet in full. Gerald's sax work is gorgeous. Great tone, very smooth. 

Bob Lugowe

I enjoyed this clip though this adult contemporary smooth jazz isn't my normal cup of tea, this is good. I think it would be more effective if you gave people the chance to hear the whole song both on Fluence and YouTube.  As for promotion, it's bit unclear if you're promoting yourself as an artist or your production company and I would suggest trying to separate the two messages / projects.  

Brian Hazard

It's hard for me to say too much from this short snippet, other than the sax work is fantastic, and the mix is severely overcompressed.

It's not something I'd normally listen to, and it's probably not a good fit for my followers, but there isn't enough here to warrant sharing regardless.

My suggestion is to narrow down your focus to a handful of curators, and submit the entire track. I recently spent $100 to submit a track to six curators, and the results were well worth it!

Matthew Shell submitted media.

Brian Hazard

This is a hit, plain and simple. You've blended genres and eras wonderfully. Vocals are amazing, and the chorus is hooky.

My only potential criticism is that there's a little too much going on in the chorus for the ear to follow. The second chorus sounds so built up, it feels like the final chorus. 

I'd be delighted to share this with my following on Twitter. Thanks for sharing it with me!

A couple suggestions for future Fluence submissions:

1. Include the lyrics so we can follow along (I understood them just fine, but wasn't always focused on them)

2. Include a short, catchy description of the song or act that's easy to copy/paste for social media sharing. That way we don't have to strain our brain coming up with something clever, and you get to choose how you're presented to the world.