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Entry for the first round of NGDAM '13
Hi! I was a replacement judge for NGADM round 1 and this is my review of your track!
I scored mixing and composition/arrangement separately so I'll explain here what score I gave you and why. 8/10 in my scoring scheme is "Great", 10/10 is exceptional. To get 10 the piece needed to go beyond expectations, to have a unique sonic quality and present an original aspect (or several) in terms of composition.
What an intro...! Distinctly atmospheric in style yet memorable all the same. I enjoyed the choice of sounds you used in the intro a lot, in fact in my notes when giving this piece of music a score I wrote "Flawless intro". The second part of the piece which introduces the electric guitar didn't live up to my expectations after hearing that great start so you lost a point there. It was somewhat repetitive. 9/10 in composition.
On the production side of things I gave you 7/10. There are a few issues with the mix, for example around 5:00 there are dips in volume because things got too loud or you misused a compressor. To fix this you may need to rework the EQ a little to make sure the guitar isn't competing with the other instruments too much, or maybe increase the threshold on a compressor somewhere. Also I found your distorted electric guitar tone a little lacking, it didn't have much character or punch.
You gained points thanks to the creative use of sounds in the intro and the fabulous clean guitar tone.
8/10, great work, very enjoyable!
Thanks for your review, I'm quite surprised to receive this now that we're halfway of round 2, but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless. I agree in that whereas the technical department needed some more work, the atmosphere and the composition value compensated the somewhat uncertain parts of the piece.
This is an NGADM Round 1 review.
Unquestionably brilliant atmosphere from the get go. The guitar sounds incredible, and when you bring that heavily but tastefully-reverbed/delayed ethnic woodwind sound, I died. It was beautiful; serene, ethereal, peaceful, and generally extremely well-crafted. I like the sense of movement you portray at 1:41; the song feels like it's starting to pick up at that point, and indeed it does. Your subtle use of various effects is highly successful, including what sounds like guitar feedback at one point. The metal was entirely unexpected. I like the mixing of your rhythm guitar; it may be a bit too loud but you can really feel the bassy power from those chugs. Your bold combination of ambient elements with the metal guitar/drum setup somehow works, and is incredibly interesting to hear.
I'll start by pointing out some nitpicks. Not a massive fan of how you set up the drums; they feel too loud and piercing. 4:53's transition feels abrupt, but only slightly. Some more transitional elements might help smoothen it out a bit. Now, like a lot of people have mentioned, I also think your guitar's rhythms need work. Such a standard rhythm with no syncopation at all sadly ends up making the guitar sound terribly artificial, along with being monotonous to listen to. You implement rhythm guitar better towards the end, but in that section where the rhythm guitar is introduced, the two styles (ambient and metal) feel far more disjointed, and it might have to do with the actual rhythms, so changing them up a bit (maybe even starting the metal part with some power chords instead) would've worked far better.
Still, the atmosphere is spot on, and this was a very unique listen overall. Keep it up!
I'll admit this was more of an experiment than ever. While in retrospective some ideas seemed to work, others needed some more polish and there's a lot to consider in the mastering department. Nonetheless, these reviews helped me clearing out the mist I was forcing on my track. Thank you for your review.
The intro sounds really good. The reverb meshes everything nicely creating a comfy blanket of sounds. Nice echo on the guitar. I like the flute best of all. I like how the bass, the electric guitar and drums come in, and contribute nicely to the buildup. I think they start out a little too prominent though. Very loud. I agree with Kor-Rune about the 16/8 to the floor guitar becoming repetitive. The same goes for the drums and the bass. They also seem more repetitive because they're that loud. The softer instruments have most variation and are more interesting. The guitars and drums get more variation later on. I like that. At that point it's actually nice they're that loud. (though the snare is still a bit too piercing) Perhaps you could've started that part sooner, or let the drums and guitars start later or build up more softly. At the climactic part of the song you could've gone a bit more all out, with the variations and velocity. Anyways this is just my opinion. Good song. Good luck in the competition.
I agree with what you said. I probably needed to improve the guitar dynamics and let the rest of the atmosphere breathe out. Thank you for your insight, good luck as well.
Beautiful soundscapes, everything sounds so lifelike and peaceful. The atmosphere is golden.
The breathy instruments speak so beautifully. I like the initial guitar, it's subtle and adds pace. Didn't expect the metal, woah. It's a little straightforward, the straight sixteenth or eighth notes are cool and all but it gets a little repetitive. I think you could do a few more more dynamic changes after the metal comes in initially, as well. The soundscape is cool throughout though! Keep dat up
I agree with the repetitiveness, though that may still be subjective and there are subtle changes throughout the song. Thank you for your insight, good luck with the contest.
Awesome atmosphere! You've GOT to win this round! :) very beautiful and soothing. I'm still not really sure about the rhythm guitar but a LOT of dynamics here :) great job
Thank you, there's always room for improvement indeed
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