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The Forgotten Circus

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The Forgotten Circus is my entry for the NGVGM21.

My theme was "Fathomless Caverns".

The game this would be in is set in a limbo or liminal kind of world. You have to explore a cave that keeps presenting you unreal, uncanny but not necessarily evil places and people.

In the first part, you have just discovered a fair for spirits and beings not from this world. While the situation feels unknown and a bit unsettling at first, no one seems to mind you, even inviting you to the fun.

In the second part, everything gets a bit more serious. Unnoticable first, you eventually realize everyone else seems to be anticipating something. Their anxiety infects you and you too get nervous, waiting to see what is about to arrive...

Please note that both songs are designed to work as ingame loops. The songs therefore fade out after one loop.

The first song also begins with a short section that would not be included in the loop.

As always, stems for both songs can be found here: https://initialposition.net/stems/

Cover Icon made by Freepik from Flaticon

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Aaaa, I wanted these to be done a lot sooner, but at long last it's finally here:
Official VGMC'21 Review~!

Since you have both your pieces here, I've included both reviews ^-^

I have to say I really like your interpretation of the prompt. For your first piece, the initial progression is quite evocative, and does a great job at conveying the setting of a carnival, yet with eerie composition. As the piece progresses the layers of chords give a very ghostly vibe, that the harmony enforces with a positive connotation. I'd love it if you developed the idea of a "ghostly atmosphere" that you allude to here a bit further.

Your section at 2:24 sounds great and is one of my favourite parts. I think your initial "carnival melody" that plays underneath this part doesn't fit the mood however, as the viola melody is much slower. I like that you pull the pipe organ backwards in the mix to give the viola more room, but it would be extra nice if the melody changed a bit to reflect the change in pace. Aligning the percussion with the ups and downs of the viola melody might also help make the section more coherent.

Your percussion is mixed relatively well, and it fits the piece too. I specifically like the addition of the timbre of what sounds like a tambourine. Your kick is a bit too compressed, which makes it feel unrealistic and flat. A bit too powerful for this mood; I suspect something with more dynamic range would fit your arrangement better.

Also, your strings at 1:53 are too subtle. I didn't hear them the first few times, but they are a nice harmonic addition. Bringing them further forwards in the mix would sound great!

Finally, one of my smaller, more nitpicky gripes is the length of the track. Your concept starts feeling a bit worn out near the end, which likely has to do with the fact that you're stretching out just a few ideas into too large of a space. This could be solved in many different ways, such as by adding some contrasting textures, or just shortening the length of the piece. However, I consider this somewhat minor.


For your second piece, I like how its theme contrasts with the first one. It satisfies my yearning for the ghostly vibe to be developed more (although I still maintain the last piece would benefit from focusing more on this vibe). The intro is the coolest sounding, where I really like the nice ethereal sounds that have lots of detail to them, at 4:38 for example. You also include more of these sounds like at 8:11, which is awesome. Your ghostly pads at 6:37 sound really well done too. They feel very unstable, yet polished.

I particularly liked how your harmonies progressed in this piece, and how they conveyed unsettling and mysterious feelings. However, I think your melodies would benefit from a little more syncopation, as their uniformness clashes with your mood at times. Emphasizing off beats & breaking patterns help make things feel innately unsettling.

I also think your choice of percussion wasn't very fitting, as the reverb-clap didn't feel particularly ethereal or ghostly yet was positioned at the front of the mix as it drove the piece's momentum.

Aside from the few small things I mentioned, your pieces would feel right at home in a game's OST. I rate them both 13 unworldly spirits!

ps: feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions (discord or ng) & we can chat more about your song!

This is so cool! It feels like it could be in one of those games where the music builds the atmosphere just as much if not more than the rest of the game. I think this is my favorite entry for the prompt. Damn :)

RedCocoa responds:

Thank you so much :D
Yeah, the atmosphere is something I'm pretty proud of. The first song might could have used a bit more variation, but overall I'm very happy with how stuff turned out.

I like the tone each track sets. I think the first one gets a little repetitive, but I enjoy both of their melodies and chord usage. I think you did a good job setting the atmosphere :-)

RedCocoa responds:

Listening back to it a few days later I have to agree with you completely. The first track probably shouldn't have the pipe organ playing for the whole time. I tried to filter it a bit in sections where other instruments should be the focus but in retrospect it probably needs a pause somewhere.
Thanks for your feedback :D


Second part sold it for sure. Amazing job!

RedCocoa responds:

Thank you!
I was a bit worried during production because I was scared the second song might not fit the first song or the theme ^^
It's a pretty big style break from the first one but it works somehow.

Credits & Info


4.44 / 5.00

Nov 28, 2021
8:13 AM EST
Video Game
File Info
21.6 MB
9 min 27 sec
  • Serum
  • LABS
  • Sylenth1
  • Hollywood Choirs
  • Hollywood Orchestra
  • OTT
  • Valhalla VintageVerb
  • Ozone 9
  • Live 11
Misc. Kit
  • Output THERMAL

Licensing Terms

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