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AIM - Break the Cycle

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Author Comments

Here's the art:

AIM thread: https://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/topic/1468445

So I was scouring art portal for AIM specifically looking for landscapes, so I wanted no character art. So much NSFW or NSFW-adjacent stuff in there, and I'm just not a huge fan of most of those characters. Thanks to the navigability of art portal (or lack thereof), I stumble upon a character piece that isn't one of those. It's a faintly impressionist looking piece with nice colours, depicting a vaguely sinister looking character. She's got shade on her face, an evil looking hat and that pose looks like she's about to order someone executed.

I look at that, and a chord progression starts to play in my mind. That's the vamp you hear for most of the A section. I sit down at my piano, start playing that vamp and improvise over it. Most of the original performance I scrapped and cleaned up the rest. I continued with a pan flute melody to bridge into the next section.

So what now? I was feeling like a piano solo. A sloppy, intimate one, as if the character herself was playing. So I sat down again and improvised without a metronome, this time keeping most of the original performance, tweaking some passages I wasn't quite happy with.

Section C is basically a continuation of the solo, where other instruments join back in and bring it back in tempo. This is more like a bridge really.

Section D just kinda happened. I guess it's a redemption arc now. I stumbled on the lead sounds you hear in this section, and let me tell you, I had remarkable trouble mixing the leads properly. The first lead does some weird stuff with the formant filters and frequency tracking, and as you can hear, it's got very interesting character. The second lead is more basic, with a formant filter envelope to give it that kind of "meowing" sound you hear. The first lead is so random I had trouble making it consistent in volume. The second lead's sustain didn't punch through the mix and by the nature of formant filters, it took a bit of fiddling to find the perfect balance between the meow sound and a tail that doesn't sound too dull or bright. In the end I just slapped OTT on them and called it a day.

Made on LMMS 1.2.2 with ZynaddsubFX, Dead Duck plugins, Musical box fingered bass soundfont, Moderndeathcore compressor, Mysung kite soundfont, Ruffrider drum samples, Keyzone classic piano VST, OTT

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The beginning section definitely feels like a piece that would play during the cutscene of a visual novel in which you see the art inspiration as a still frame while text scrolls on the bottom of the screen to indicate a conversation. I think the overall vibes play into the warm colours of the background and that bassline ties the piece together. I love how it stands out, but it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.

The structure feels quite loose and much like the chill atmosphere, things just kind of happen into one another. Everything just comes into place wherever it seems fit, and I definitely get that sense from the music alone before even reading the description. At the same time, the chord progression and the instrument choice seem very classy, and the loose nature allows me to have a relaxing experience in which my mind simply wanders with the music.

Not only was the piano section stunning, but also its transition from the first section into it. I did notice that some of the notes on the piano came across as being a tad too forceful, but I think it was generally humanized well. It was more that I wasn't expecting, around the introduction of the piano, the notes to all have that sort of heavy accent on them, although I can see that complementing the ominous nature of the character. Also weird side note, but the melody at 3:44 always leads me to believe it's going to turn into a remix of "Reflection" from Disney's Mulan because those notes sound quite similar to a part of the chorus.

Overall, there's a lot of nice, little surprises amidst the laid back atmosphere that do sound like they aren't conventional, thus breaking the cycle. In the starting section, I like how the keys at 0:18 sound like they're being set up to serve as a background instrument to the lead, but then at 0:35, they themselves become the lead. These subtle touches are interesting to look out for on replays, and I did replay this one frequently.

Really cool track. It feels like it could be just at home in a film noir or maybe a cyberpunk. I don't know, for some reason it makes me think of blade runner. Perhaps its the improvised quality? Each section flows perfectly into each other even when it is a relatively drastic switch. I think bittersweet is the right word for this, I imagine a character a bit like Boromir who starts out "crooked" but in the end makes a sacrifice for the greater good.

At the beginning wow

I imagine the sinister vibe and the singing flutes, and the piano solo are doing their best to describe the mood or the character. Or, you could say it's like being in a room with this person. Beautifully done, at any rate, thank you for the honor.

This is dope dude! I really like the spooky but relaxing vibe like someone below said. And the piano break and the pick up at the end. With some Dream Theater-type vibes. Awesome tune dude! Very very creative and hit you right in the soul! \m/

Credits & Info


4.62 / 5.00

Jun 15, 2021
1:56 PM EDT
File Info
14.4 MB
6 min 18 sec

Licensing Terms

You may not use this work without making specific arrangements with the artist UNLESS your work is a web-based game or animation, in which case you may use this freely.