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(OTG) Cirque Du Dismay - Intro


Author Comments

This is my submission for the NGUAC 2021 Final Round.

OTG = "Off The Grid"; I drew all the notes and MIDI data in my software without using the grid snap feature. For more information on this concept, check out my video here.

With this song I tried to communicate the vibe of a ficticious event, featuring an almost charming, cartoonishly evil host introducing a twisted, sinister circus to a large audience inside a tent. I decided to call this event the Cirque Du Dismay. I was thinking largely of scary clowns, strange acrobats, and whatever is the title of a person jumping out of a burning building onto a trampoline (sort of like in the old movie, Dumbo, but scary).

I looked into several pictures to help with musical inspiration. It's a lot to put in one page, so I'll just post the links to the art that helped me the most:

1: Circus Act by @ChaChaCharlieCo

2: the Circus by @nashotobi

3: Circus tent by @grillhou5e

In terms of production, this piece was similar to a Toy Story 2 scenario; I scrapped the two prior versions of my entry after a lot of progress because I was not happy with how it was turning out. The version you hear here was made in three days. I really had to cram in as much work as possible within that time frame, right at the final stretch of the days I was available to work on it, to complete what you hear now. As a result, I had to stop short of what I wanted to do with this piece, so I ended it with the possibility to add more sections in the future if I wanted.

I hope you enjoy this. :)


Media links:

My Website

YouTube channel

Bandcamp Page

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I like the percussion at the beginning and the dramatic orchestral hits starting at :05. It’s a little hard to get a sense of the harmonic framework at first, but I like the dreamy texture at :27 and the string melodies shortly thereafter. I like the sense of climax into :53, and the mix is clean and well-balanced throughout. The organ hang-over from the held note at 1:16 threw me off a bit, but by 1:31 I’m enjoying the crisp string line, and the organ blends in nicely. The dissonance in the texture at 1:55 or so and the accelerando are all great compositional details. The ending felt a bit inconclusive, but it is an intro, after all. Overall, my biggest concerns here are probably with the choppy arrangement and meandering harmonic structure, especially the modulations at :53 or so. It’s very hard to follow the progression of the piece at times, despite the generous use of percussion fills and similar instrumentation between adjacent sections. Still, I really admire the variety of moods and textures you’ve crammed into a short 3 minutes, and the cinematic appeal of the piece is irresistible at times. You told a story for sure - I’m a little concerned that the story is disjointed and incomplete, but the narrative ebb and flow is self-evident here. Otherwise, excellent work with the sound design, production quality, melodies, and atmosphere. Keep it up, Codefreq! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
Instrumentation and sound design
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
Originality and uniqueness
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
Composite score

Codefreq responds:

Thank you very much for the detailed feedback! :) I'll definitely factor those notes into my creation of future pieces.

oh well, feel like just saw a great movie.

Hey its pretty good work with orchestra sounds.
I would rather start song intro from 00.25 and up thats what i like the song but before that i couldent really understand that parts at all.
It was so confusing like samples where scramble together.
Dident really had any impact of the rest of the song.

Other then that pretty good song

gl with the contest.

Credits & Info


4.62 / 5.00

Sep 15, 2021
9:50 AM EDT
File Info
6.7 MB
2 min 57 sec
  • Cakewalk
Misc. Kit
  • Arturia
  • IK Multimedia
  • Native Instruments
  • waves

Licensing Terms

You may only use this piece for commercial purposes if your work is a web-based game or animation, otherwise you must make specific arrangements with the artist.