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Credits & Info

Date
02/08/2012
File Info
Song
3.7 MB
4 min 1 sec
Score
4.32 / 5.00

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Licensing Terms

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Score:
Rated 4.32 / 5 stars
Plays & Downloads:
36,263 Plays | 2,506 Downloads
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Genres:
Other - Cinematic
Tags:
epic
orchestral
mac
orchestra

Author Comments

EDIT (19/5/12) - Tomppaah was awesome enough to master this so I've uploaded his mastered version. Please go check out his music - a lot of his tracks are in a similar style to this and he has some really amazing stuff.

--

Wow, this took me ages. I started it on the 15th of January and now, on the 8th of February, I can finally call it done! Be prepared for a long-ass description

Right then, this here is my fourth ever full orchestral song, for the Orchestral MAC BrokenDeck is organising. I think it's my best too - Land of Kings isn't even comparable to this, and I don't think Journey to the Afterlife and Legend are better either. I tried focusing on three main things - composition, realism and instrumentation.

This song probably has some of the best composition I've ever done. It explores six different keys and two time signatures, and I've also worked very hard on the harmony and transitions. It has loads of mood changes too, since I wanted the song to tell a story. Basically *my* idea was of a person who constantly kept getting into danger and worked desperately to find a sanctuary, which he does find at the end. I'd write a scene but I guess the story should be left to the interpretation of the listener.

As for realism, I know it's not such a high factor the MAC judges take into consideration but I still worked a lot on it. I gave woodwinds occasional pauses, as if the players are stopping for breath, pretty much every note has a different velocity and doesn't start exactly at the right time (for humanising purposes), I tried loads of new orchestral effects such as flute trills and grace notes, and I played the harp intro and piano solo myself on my synth. The first part of the harp intro is actually improvised. The massive amount of volume and tempo automations helped too... And so did the realistic East/West samples :P.

And lastly I worked on arrangement and instrumentation. I've got 49 East/West instruments loaded (it was a KILLER for my CPU) and I tried to touch every part of the standard orchestra (Woodwind, Brass, Strings, Percussion and Choir). I even added things like guitars and pianos which aren't part of the standard orchestra.

So, as for the instruments, I used violins, violas, cellos, double basses, trombones, French horns, trumpets, flutes, oboes, a subtle choir, bass drums, taikos, shakers, tambourines, gongs, cymbals, snares, timpanis, bongos (djembe), a guitar, a mandolin, a harp, a piano, and some subtle drone effects to add to the atmosphere. Everything's from East/West - snare/timpani and the standard orchestra instruments are from Symphonic Orchestra, all other percussion's from Stormdrum and the guitar and mandolin are from Ra.

Also, as for the credits, I've got too many to name since so many people gave me feedback on this one which I improved on, although camoshark certainly deserves a mention for helping me IMMENSELY with many chords in the song (like those brass chords after the harp intro - those took like an hour, haha) and giving me all the feedback a guy could ask for.

Echo deserves a mention too for also giving me tonnes of feedback! And lastly thanks to samulis for giving me ideas for the 3/4 to 4/4 change. I didn't use the ideas though even though I planned to. I just decided to go for a more generic transition since the project file was lagging like crazy.

So, after 49 instruments, 45 automation clips, 200 patterns, 93 bars and nearly a month of work, here's Sanctuary. Fun fact: there used to be 199 patterns but due to OCD I wanted 200 so I added a timpani roll at the very end :3.

Wish me luck in the competition. I probably won't win because there are some geniuses like PeterSatera, Bosa, Echo, Computer112, blackattackbitch, samulis, etc... taking part, but I'm aiming to get in the Top 8 at least! Enjoy, and feedback is very much appreciated.

Reviews


JayBunnyJayBunny

Rated 5 / 5 stars 2 weeks ago

How does one explain this other than "awesome"?

I think this is your best piece ever, and if another is made that is better than this, congratulations, you are the best composer ever!


Step responds:

I don't know if I made anything better than this... there are some things I would change if I had to revisit this track, but some stuff in here I'm really proud of still! Thanks for the encouraging review.


SyscrusherSyscrusher

Rated 5 / 5 stars February 17, 2014

This was simply amazing. I have no "constructive criticism" to "improve" it. The work stands, complete.


People find this review helpful!
Step responds:

Thanks so much! Sorry for the late reply, somehow I only noticed that I got this review now haha. Glad you like it.


TribalSlothTribalSloth

Rated 5 / 5 stars January 22, 2014

Never cease to amaze me. This is by far my favorite piece. I have been out of the loop here on NG far to long and missed alot. This is kinda like a epic cutscene of a battle or a creation cut scene in a game. I feel pretty empowered thanks Step


People find this review helpful!
Step responds:

Aw thanks. Your username looked familiar so I checked your review history and apparently you reviewed a really old song of mine ages ago! Thought I knew your username from somewhere!

I'm glad you enjoyed this, and thanks again.


MproMpro

Rated 4 / 5 stars January 11, 2014

cheek this plz : http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/563002


Step responds:

I thank you for your highly relevant and detailed review.


johnfnjohnfn

Rated 5 / 5 stars December 9, 2013

Oh man... Sanctuary... The song with like 100 reviews... the ultimate challenge as an Audio Reviewer. My review started getting long enough that I needed to split it up into sections, where I would critique individual aspects of the song.

MELODY

Not even gonna bother, the melodies are great. Some are better than others, but I'll get into this in the arrangement section.

MIXING

You've got to be kidding me. The mixing is perfect. Splitting this review up is starting to look dumb. NEXT SECTION

PERCUSSION

Looove. A highlight for me is 1:08 with the vaguely ethnic feel. Also 1:28 with the driving boomy hits. Or the tense tams at 3:11. So much detail work!

ARRANGEMENT

The buildup from 1:00 to 1:20 is really well done and seamless, and the transition at 1:28 is just lovely. Which is good too, because it leads to THE BEST MELODY IN THE HISTORY OF NEWGROUNDS. Alright, that might be *slightly* superlative, but I could really point to only a handful of songs with comparable melodic expressivity to that point, at least on this site.

So let's talk about arrangement - and move in from macro level to micro level arrangement. I assume we're both in agreement that 1:28 is the obvious highlight of this piece. I mean, there is a lot of other great stuff in this piece, but it's not going to top 1:28. So what I think is that 1:28 should come later into the piece. Like, it's the climax, so it should come near to the end, otherwise you're just waiting for the piece to build down, and people are much more willing to let the song build up (rising tension) rather than waiting for the song to build down (falling tension). I think that all the stuff starting at around 2:00 once the 1:28 melody is finally been played out could be moved to the beginning of the song.

While we're talking about it, the thing that I notice that really good artists do is that they'll foreshadow the melody ahead of time. An excellent example of this is "Alone and Adrift" by RetromanOMG (http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/542368) The synth at :29 is really beautiful, and then at 1:00 it develops even more, but once the real melody comes in at 1:23 you realize that everything else was just hinting at that melody, and that makes it even better! So while that 1:28 thing is asdfawesome, you could build up the tension even more and make it better by having hints at the melody earlier in the song. (You may be thinking, ah, that's the thing that johnfn did in "The Fight"! Actually, that was completely unintentional but ... sure.)

The irony is that you do build up a melody which I hear quite a few times through the song - first heard at :36 - but imo it's not as interesting. I mean, it's not bad, and I particularly like that take on it at 1:01 with the crazy chords and trills, but why choose that one when you could have chosen 1:28? :P

Last thing about 1:28 is that the structure of the climax is [BIG 1:28 MELODY] [little 1:28 repeated melody]. In the aim of building up tension for the big melody, I'd suggest to reverse the order, so that you do the quiet idea before the big one. Maybe you could put the melody in a woodwind and tweak it slightly.

I enjoy the stuff towards 2:30, especially that little flair at 2:42 (that was nicely foreshadowed at 2:11, in a different timesig!). I kinda wish we'd hear that flair again, maybe just a little later in a variation.

Again I feel like the arrangement is flip floppy, because this is the great exploration, and 1:28 is where you finally find the treasure!

Last thing: I don't really like that section at 3:03 - it's a tension builder, but it's out of place right near the end of the song, since the next section is very calm and not tense at all.

NIT PICKS

One fun nit pick at 3:43: your melody is building up a lot of tension by wanting to eventually resolve down to the root note (I'm just going to call it C because I only have relative pitch), and the trill ramps up the tension even more... but then you actually hit C as you're going down to B, which dissolves all tension. I really like the idea of drawing out that final resolution though, that plus the OCD timpani roll makes for a great ending.

While the 1:05 trills are awesome and really attention-grabbing, I don't really get what the point of them are (from an arrangement/compositional point of view). They seem to be leading into that hit at 1:07, but that isn't all too obvious.

The other thing I want to nit pick is the quantization errors/humanization you put in. Like 3:31 for example. I mean, if we're to imagine this is being played by a professional orchestra, then they probably wouldn't be making such obvious mistakes. (I was unsure if that was the intent, or if you were going for rubato here - if you were going for rubato then I think you should slow down the entire melody gradually rather than just a singe note.)

On the other hand I like the callback to the melody all the way back at :39. Very nice way to tie the piece together :)

OVERALL

In conclusion, good luck fitting a response to this within the character limit ahahahahh

No but seriously this is great and has a lot of detail - it's amazing that I can write all this about it and still feel like I'm only scratching the surface. I can see why this would be one of your favorite pieces. Is it as good as Encapsulation? Well, this is far more complex, and has far more melodic content, but Encapsulation was arranged much better, and what melodic stuff it had was slightly more mature. So who knows.

...Also Encapsulation was done in 3 days and this was done in a month. That is quite an improvement.

Alright I really need to wrap this thing up. This song is epic, easy 10/10.


Step responds:

Whoaaa, I expected a lengthy review from you but not THIS big. johnfn you da BEST.

"Oh man... Sanctuary... The song with like 100 reviews... the ultimate challenge as an Audio Reviewer. My review started getting long enough that I needed to split it up into sections, where I would critique individual aspects of the song."

Yeah, this track has loads of reviews. It's my most popular track by far. I originally submitted it to a competition but it didn't place in the top 8. On the bright side, however, I landed 31,000 views and nearly 100 reviews, so that's sweet :3.

"Not even gonna bother, the melodies are great. Some are better than others, but I'll get into this in the arrangement section."

For some reason, in this track melodies were never a problem. The melodies all just came to me, which is rare considering what I usually have to go through to make a decent composition.

"You've got to be kidding me. The mixing is perfect. Splitting this review up is starting to look dumb. NEXT SECTION"

I actually think that the mix here is worse than my newer mixes. I find the 3/4 section a bit flat and all over the place. But yeah I was and am pretty proud with this mix otherwise!

"Looove. A highlight for me is 1:08 with the vaguely ethnic feel. Also 1:28 with the driving boomy hits. Or the tense tams at 3:11. So much detail work!"

You know me and my obsession for detailed percussion :3.

"The buildup from 1:00 to 1:20 is really well done and seamless, and the transition at 1:28 is just lovely. Which is good too, because it leads to THE BEST MELODY IN THE HISTORY OF NEWGROUNDS. Alright, that might be *slightly* superlative, but I could really point to only a handful of songs with comparable melodic expressivity to that point, at least on this site."

And that melody was just the result of a minute or two of doodling. And then I spend ages working on the melody for Tomb Shaker and it ends up turning out fairly badly. Brain y u do dis.

But yeah I like that melody too!

"So let's talk about arrangement - and move in from macro level to micro level arrangement. I assume we're both in agreement that 1:28 is the obvious highlight of this piece. I mean, there is a lot of other great stuff in this piece, but it's not going to top 1:28."

In my tracks, the highlights are almost always the climaxes. I still have yet to get the hang of creating meaningful soft sections.

"So what I think is that 1:28 should come later into the piece. Like, it's the climax, so it should come near to the end, otherwise you're just waiting for the piece to build down, and people are much more willing to let the song build up (rising tension) rather than waiting for the song to build down (falling tension). I think that all the stuff starting at around 2:00 once the 1:28 melody is finally been played out could be moved to the beginning of the song."

Totally agree. Either that or I add another climactic section like the first. Buoy suggested that too in his enormous three-account review in pages 17-18 of the review section. I think that might've been just because of time constraints (or maybe because I couldn't be arsed haha).

"While we're talking about it, the thing that I notice that really good artists do is that they'll foreshadow the melody ahead of time. An excellent example of this is "Alone and Adrift" by RetromanOMG (http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/542368) The synth at :29 is really beautiful, and then at 1:00 it develops even more, but once the real melody comes in at 1:23 you realize that everything else was just hinting at that melody, and that makes it even better! So while that 1:28 thing is asdfawesome, you could build up the tension even more and make it better by having hints at the melody earlier in the song. (You may be thinking, ah, that's the thing that johnfn did in "The Fight"! Actually, that was completely unintentional but ... sure.)"

That is an excellent idea. I hear that kind of stuff a lot in pieces from the baroque/classical/romantic era. It makes a lot of sense because right now the 1:28 melody is only there to serve as a high climactic point, when it could sound a lot more developed if I had foreshadowed it a little.

"The irony is that you do build up a melody which I hear quite a few times through the song - first heard at :36 - but imo it's not as interesting. I mean, it's not bad, and I particularly like that take on it at 1:01 with the crazy chords and trills, but why choose that one when you could have chosen 1:28? :P"

Yeah why DID I do that x_x. I personally like both melodies almost equally (I'm slightly more partial towards the 1:28 one though), but arrangement-wise it would've made a lot more sense had I used the 1:28 melody.

"Last thing about 1:28 is that the structure of the climax is [BIG 1:28 MELODY] [little 1:28 repeated melody]. In the aim of building up tension for the big melody, I'd suggest to reverse the order, so that you do the quiet idea before the big one. Maybe you could put the melody in a woodwind and tweak it slightly."

Interesting idea. Would work really well for the 1:42 - 1:47 measures.

"I enjoy the stuff towards 2:30, especially that little flair at 2:42 (that was nicely foreshadowed at 2:11, in a different timesig!). I kinda wish we'd hear that flair again, maybe just a little later in a variation."

Wow, really nice call on that 2:11 foreshadowing thing. That wasn't even intentional but upon listening again I just noticed they're the exact same chords! I guess that's just because I wanted a perfect cadence at both points, but then again at the time I didn't even know what cadences were. I DUNNO.

"Last thing: I don't really like that section at 3:03 - it's a tension builder, but it's out of place right near the end of the song, since the next section is very calm and not tense at all."

Wow, that is a problem I've had with that part for ages now. I agree 1000%. I wanted to transition back from 3/4 to 4/4 effectively but couldn't think of anything other than making a section that's a bit more rubato and less melodic to join them together, and not only did that not even generate a smooth transition, but the resulting section ended up being far too tense for what was coming after it.

"One fun nit pick at 3:43: your melody is building up a lot of tension by wanting to eventually resolve down to the root note (I'm just going to call it C because I only have relative pitch), and the trill ramps up the tension even more... but then you actually hit C as you're going down to B, which dissolves all tension. I really like the idea of drawing out that final resolution though, that plus the OCD timpani roll makes for a great ending."

Oh wow, you're right - it would've sounded better had I not used the root note. WHY DON'T I THINK OF THESE THINGS DAMN IT. Also that OCD timpani roll haha. It's probably the best thing that ever came out of my self-diagnosed OCD.

"While the 1:05 trills are awesome and really attention-grabbing, I don't really get what the point of them are (from an arrangement/compositional point of view). They seem to be leading into that hit at 1:07, but that isn't all too obvious."

Well, partly to lead onto that hit at 1:07, and partly to indicate a sense of danger, since everything before that was serene and calm. I've been criticised for making those dissonant chords and trills too loud, which might make them sound less like a sense of danger and more like a sense of disaster or something haha.

"The other thing I want to nit pick is the quantization errors/humanization you put in. Like 3:31 for example. I mean, if we're to imagine this is being played by a professional orchestra, then they probably wouldn't be making such obvious mistakes. (I was unsure if that was the intent, or if you were going for rubato here - if you were going for rubato then I think you should slow down the entire melody gradually rather than just a singe note.)"

The intent was rubato, or rather just slowing down the melody for the ending's resolution, but again, I agree that it should've been more gradual.

"On the other hand I like the callback to the melody all the way back at :39. Very nice way to tie the piece together :)"

I personally think it sounds a bit forced and would've sounded better if I transitioned properly to it and perhaps played the 1:28 melody instead (except softly of course). But thanks!

"In conclusion, good luck fitting a response to this within the character limit ahahahahh"

IT HAS BEEN DONE.

"No but seriously this is great and has a lot of detail - it's amazing that I can write all this about it and still feel like I'm only scratching the surface. I can see why this would be one of your favorite pieces. Is it as good as Encapsulation? Well, this is far more complex, and has far more melodic content, but Encapsulation was arranged much better, and what melodic stuff it had was slightly more mature. So who knows."

Well, if one track of mine offers any competition to Sanctuary, it would be Encapsulation. That also reminds me that apart from that song, this year I haven't actually made anything that I'm truly proud of, except my Harmony of Heroes arrangement x_x. I mean, I've made some decent stuff this year, but nothing I really poured a lot of effort and work into. It's times like this I wish I didn't have university occupying something like 85% of my time awake.

"...Also Encapsulation was done in 3 days and this was done in a month. That is quite an improvement."

Yeah Encapsulation was just a stroke of luck. I have no idea how I managed to make it in that small time period, and for it to be actually good enough to win the NGMT round it was in. But that is definitely one way of looking at it :p.

"Alright I really need to wrap this thing up. This song is epic, easy 10/10."

Thanks so much for the excellent review. I realise we basically agree on every point, but since when do we DISAGREE on something? Thanks again, this review really is more than I could've ever asked for.