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-La Pura Vida-Salsa NGADM

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Aug 2, 2013 | 4:28 PM EDT
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3.2 MB
2 min 46 sec
4.51 / 5.00

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Rated 4.51 / 5 stars
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NGADM 13 - Round 1: SoundChris vs. SkyeWintrest

Hola Senoras y Senores!

Here is my Submission for the first round of NGADM 13. I decided to create a Salsa Cuban-Latin-Jazz Piece because i have noticed that there are almost no Latin Pieces here on NG. I do not know much about latin and didnt compose anything in this genre before, so it was quite hard to get in the feel and i have been working very hard on this piece (didnt count the hours anymore ...). Glad it is done now! I added some Crowd-FX so the piece feels more authentic. Latin music just doesnt feel realistic if it is to clean - in Cuba they know how to party! I have imagined a Bar in Havanna where people taking some Cuba Libre, Mochitos and ron are cheering and dancing to a cuban Live-Band.

I have used a lot of Instruments, especially
- NI - Alicias Keys (Piano) and Kontakt 5 Factory Library (Trombones, Jazz Guitar and Jazz Drumset)
- EWQL - Stormdrum 2 (Bongos, Congas, Timbales, Danmo), Symphonic Orchestra (Percussions and Cymbales), Hollywood Brass (Trumpets), BigFish Audio - Mojo Horn Section (Trumpets)
- Apple Pro 9 (Upright Ballad Bass, Maracas, some Percussion Kits, Jazz Drumset, Crowd-FX)

My goal was to create a piece with focus on rhythm and chord-progression. If i should survive round 1 i plan to compose in different styles / genres each round. Keep the fingers crossed for me so i can proceed within this contest.

Honest votes and reviews are always highly appreciated!

Hasta La Vista Mis Amigos ! ! !



Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

I'm not too familiar with Latin music, but I'm reviewing this from a jazz point of view. The first thing that stands out to me here is those chords. THOSE CHORDS. <3 Then the tempo changes range from really chill to really passionate. The piano and guitar are extremely well done.

That being said, 1:30 onwards (I think?) has the feel of salsa -- salsa is known to be very showy and fast, so I could imagine much of the part before that as the prelude to the dance.

Beautiful ending. I could just imagine one of these dance competitions where two main characters meet each other, and find out that they have a sort of chemistry together, and the results of it are unknown -- all we are left with is the thought of these two, expressing themselves. I could just imagine the camera panning up to the sky (or to the transparent roof of a building) to show a starry sky and a full moon, adding to the beauty and mystery about this piece.

I wasn't a fan of the trumpets all that much, but that was probably just me. Something more subdued perhaps? It kinda felt mid-heavy because of this, and I got a little bit of a headache -- nothing that took away my enjoyment of the piece in general, though.

This is what I get out of this piece, I guess, but it's a good sign -- I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing this with me.


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Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

I REALLY liked this track. In fact I'm not sure how I forgot to write a review for it! Like Neon-Bard said, I was listening to the Round 1 submissions playlist and after a ton of cinematic and electronic entries, THIS came on... I nearly fell off my chair! Not only is it wildly diverse but I felt like it was really well done. My favorite aspect was how the song has this constant undercurrent of wonderful piano/guitar soloing. If you'll permit me to abuse my artistic license, it's like the piano/guitar is a river that flows by a scene, while the trumpets and melody is what's happening on top of the river. And occasionally the piano itself is very interesting. I love that flair at :11 for instance!

I have two very minor complaints about this song. One is that there's this trumpet solo at :24 which sounds super fake. I understand the limitations of libraries to capture a live sound though, so I'm not going to dock you or anything for that. My other complaint, which is a bit more important (though I'm a bit confused why no one else mentioned it!) is the trumpet blasts that happen throughout the song. They're too loud! I feel like they should share the stage with the piano soloing, but every time I hear them they take away focus from the rest of the song.

Anywho, those issues are quite minor, and this song is quite awesome! So, really well done!

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SoundChris responds:

Thanks a lot john! Sorry for my late answer but i have been quite busy. I am really glad you liked the piece because your track for round 2 was my absolute favourit. Very well done! I am also glad that i could finish this project. I like to try out all kind of styles and genres but also fear the possibility of not being able to bring it. The trumpet solo really sounds fake - i have used EWQL Hollywood Brass - extremely powerful @ cinematics and classical stuff, but quite omg @ latin / salsa. You are also right with the mixing. Thats the aspect which made most of the problems. I hope i will be able to get better at mixing soon - if you know any good manuals about mixing plz let me know. I needed it :D

Thanks so much for your detailed and kind review and best luck for the next round at the NGADM. All the best!



Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

NGADM Round 1 review.


Very impressive track, my friend. This is so different from everything else, so it was quite refreshing to listen to! The mixing, choice and quality of the instruments, and the energy this song gives off is just fantastic. I love the smooth, rhythmic piano lines and the clean, cutting edge of those guitar notes that you have sprinkled throughout the track, they truly add vibrancy and cheer to the song. The brass (trumpets in particular) simply furthers the tremendous energy that this track gives off. Outstanding!Speaking of energy and vibrancy ( beat a dead horse), I really like how you have added that effect from the crowd to the background. You were definitely right in saying that it adds realism to this track because I can easily picture the atmosphere you're going for. On top of all that, everything seems to blend seamlessly which makes the!

I would suggest lowering the cymbal levels between tempo transitions. They are well-placed and trail perfectly, but they are loud. The brass could come down quite a bit as well, so that it allows the other instruments to stand out in certain parts of the track (1:20 – 1:32 for instance). I would have liked to hear a little more substance in the conclusion, perhaps by drawing it out just a little longer with more percussion. Other than those nuances, you had a very strong conclusion which was really the icing on the cake.

This was such a fun track to listen to, and I was really impressed with the level of detail. Great job!

Score: 9/10

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SoundChris responds:

Thanks a lot Neon-Bard for your kind review!

I am really glad you liked it - i wasnt sure if i would be able to write a latin piece but decided to give it a try and omg this has been much fun. But it took me quite a long time to get the track into the actual form. One of the most important things for me was to bring in lots of changes (because i couldnt find any real singer out there ;D) to prevent anyone gets bored. The other focus for me was to create a little live-feeling. I thought the track would fit really good to the summer-season right now.

I am not sure if the brass is so well written - after having listened to the track again 2 weeks after the judgement and with a little bit distance and more objectivity now i think i have overdone it a little bit with all those falls :D

So thanks a lot for your review and judging and all the best for you!



Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

This is an NGADM Round 1 review.


Now I know nothing about latin/salsa music so I can't tell you whether the trivial stylistic aspects of the genre are nailed, but what I can say is that this is an absolutely excellent piece, in a totally different flavour from all the other music I've heard from you. The brass hits are so juicy and vibrant. I remember, ages ago, making a track similar (but not nearly as good) as this and I had trouble making East/West's brass work with this genre since it was more suited for orchestral, but you did a much better job of this - not perfect, for sure, but it does sound quite convincing (granted I was using EWQLSO Silver and you're using Hollywood Brass but still). Your composition is really fantastic (my god, those chords are incredible). Your instrumentation is also great... I'm honestly finding a hard time finding faults in this.

The only two issues I could find are as follows. The tempo changes, I think, were a bit much. Your ritardando at the end worked beautifully (making it one of the best endings in this round) and there are other times where a change in tempo worked well, but often the tempo changes just made this harder to listen to. Also, the mix could use a bit of work. It sometimes sounded a bit weak/thin, and I had to turn my volume up a hell of a lot to really enjoy this. The brass hits are great but a bit too heavy on the high end, by the way.

One of the strongest submissions of the round, especially composition-wise. Loved it, keep it up!

Score: 9.1/10

SoundChris responds:

Hey there step,

thanks a lot for your kind review. I dont know much about latin, too. But the main focus was just to give it a try - and it was so much fun to create this. Even the drums / composition at all almost killed me. It was very time expensive because i hat to understand how latin music works. While composing i first wanted someone to sing a hispanic text, but noone could help me out. So i decided to change the mood to get the track more entertaining and brought in a little bit of santana feeling with the guitar and also pulled the genre more into the jazz direction.

I am really glad you liked the piece - wasnt sure what would come out when i started this project.

All the best for you!



Rated 5 / 5 stars

My knowledge of latin music is very limited (nonexistent), but I really dig this track! Great chord progressions, riffs, brass hits, percussions, and piano work.

Couple additional thoughts:
-I feel like the piano could come up in volume and those brass hits could come down a bit.
-I wish the piano had more of a 'bite' to it. Maybe a bright piano would lend itself to this style better?
-Really nice guitar and piano solos. The guitar sliding at 1:55 is a nice touch.
-Great ending. Very James Bond. ;)

I can't wait to hear your next piece! I hope you make it far in this contest.

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SoundChris responds:

Hey there! Thanks a lot for reviewing my piece! I decided to lower the pianos volume because i thought in a real concert it would also sound a little bit lower - maybe i am wrong :D The most important thing is, that you are the second person now who really notices my intention to make the ending james bond like - makes me really glad!

Best luck for the contest my friend - i am sure you WILL make it far there! Curious what you are composing next :D