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Credits & Info

Feb 8, 2012 | 5:11 AM EST
File Info
3.7 MB
4 min 1 sec
4.28 / 5.00

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Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.

Rated 4.28 / 5 stars
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51,188 Plays | 3,079 Downloads
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Author Comments

EDIT (19/5/12) - Tomppaah was awesome enough to master this so I've uploaded his mastered version. Please go check out his music - a lot of his tracks are in a similar style to this and he has some really amazing stuff.


Wow, this took me ages. I started it on the 15th of January and now, on the 8th of February, I can finally call it done! Be prepared for a long-ass description

Right then, this here is my fourth ever full orchestral song, for the Orchestral MAC BrokenDeck is organising. I think it's my best too - Land of Kings isn't even comparable to this, and I don't think Journey to the Afterlife and Legend are better either. I tried focusing on three main things - composition, realism and instrumentation.

This song probably has some of the best composition I've ever done. It explores six different keys and two time signatures, and I've also worked very hard on the harmony and transitions. It has loads of mood changes too, since I wanted the song to tell a story. Basically *my* idea was of a person who constantly kept getting into danger and worked desperately to find a sanctuary, which he does find at the end. I'd write a scene but I guess the story should be left to the interpretation of the listener.

As for realism, I know it's not such a high factor the MAC judges take into consideration but I still worked a lot on it. I gave woodwinds occasional pauses, as if the players are stopping for breath, pretty much every note has a different velocity and doesn't start exactly at the right time (for humanising purposes), I tried loads of new orchestral effects such as flute trills and grace notes, and I played the harp intro and piano solo myself on my synth. The first part of the harp intro is actually improvised. The massive amount of volume and tempo automations helped too... And so did the realistic East/West samples :P.

And lastly I worked on arrangement and instrumentation. I've got 49 East/West instruments loaded (it was a KILLER for my CPU) and I tried to touch every part of the standard orchestra (Woodwind, Brass, Strings, Percussion and Choir). I even added things like guitars and pianos which aren't part of the standard orchestra.

So, as for the instruments, I used violins, violas, cellos, double basses, trombones, French horns, trumpets, flutes, oboes, a subtle choir, bass drums, taikos, shakers, tambourines, gongs, cymbals, snares, timpanis, bongos (djembe), a guitar, a mandolin, a harp, a piano, and some subtle drone effects to add to the atmosphere. Everything's from East/West - snare/timpani and the standard orchestra instruments are from Symphonic Orchestra, all other percussion's from Stormdrum and the guitar and mandolin are from Ra.

Also, as for the credits, I've got too many to name since so many people gave me feedback on this one which I improved on, although camoshark certainly deserves a mention for helping me IMMENSELY with many chords in the song (like those brass chords after the harp intro - those took like an hour, haha) and giving me all the feedback a guy could ask for.

Echo deserves a mention too for also giving me tonnes of feedback! And lastly thanks to samulis for giving me ideas for the 3/4 to 4/4 change. I didn't use the ideas though even though I planned to. I just decided to go for a more generic transition since the project file was lagging like crazy.

So, after 49 instruments, 45 automation clips, 200 patterns, 93 bars and nearly a month of work, here's Sanctuary. Fun fact: there used to be 199 patterns but due to OCD I wanted 200 so I added a timpani roll at the very end :3.

Wish me luck in the competition. I probably won't win because there are some geniuses like PeterSatera, Bosa, Echo, Computer112, blackattackbitch, samulis, etc... taking part, but I'm aiming to get in the Top 8 at least! Enjoy, and feedback is very much appreciated.



Rated 5 / 5 stars

I don't know how could I miss such an "original" epic masterpiece. Speechless!
Congrats on a hit like this. Please keep on composing such beautiful songs. 5/5 ....everywhere!

People find this review helpful!
Step responds:

Aw thanks a million! I consider this one of my best orchestral tracks so seeing people like it feels really awesome.

Glad you enjoyed it, thanks again for telling me what you think of this track!


Rated 5 / 5 stars

Hey man I love this. Its truly what Ive been looking for awhile now. If its ok with you, could I use this piece in a distant project of mine? You'll get full credit for the work. As a fellow muscian I appreciate this music tremendously. Thanks! Pm or reply soon. -Clyde

Step responds:

Really happy you enjoyed it! Like I said in the PM, feel free to use whichever track of mine that you want!


Rated 5 / 5 stars

I've been back to listen to Ecosystem no less that 15 times so I thought it was time I check out your other music and I'm glad I did. This is superb work, lots of dynamics (loud/quiet) which is sorely lacking in today's music, and of course your very cool epic feel which is very well pulled off, partly thanks to the tempo change right before the epic "chorus". Good job!

Step responds:

Another review! Thanks man, your feedback is awesome.

I'm glad you liked this. I agree it's pretty dynamic, although looking back I think I made it TOO dynamic; you know, it changes mood too often. I'm not very good at keeping up a more static pace in orchestral songs without it ending up repetitive though, unfortunately.

Thanks again dude.


Rated 5 / 5 stars

This was so good I downloaded it twice because I had forgotten I had downloaded it the first time xD
But yeah, holy crap this is some good stuff! - On many levels! It sounds amazing, it feels.. Enchanting, even!

Trying to figure out how I would explain this song, I guess I would say it's kind of as if it starts off building energy, and just goes all out balls to the wall in the middle with a few short pauses as if it's an living and especially inhaling being! Then at the end when it's done with the outbursts, it's as if it just sorta dies out with the last of it... Then it starts over again because I have it on repeat :P

But yeah, amazing work, really really great song and you did really well on giving this song life and soul.

Step responds:

Hey, sorry for taking ages to reply. NG still doesn't notify you of any new reviews...

I'm really glad you think it sounds amazing! Comparing it to a living being is a pretty badass compliment too :3. Thanks a lot for leaving this review!


Rated 5 / 5 stars

This one of the most developed "epic" orchestral pieces I've listened to on Newgrounds. And as a classical music lover with a musician boyfriend (thus, forced to go to a BUNCH of wind and orchestra concerts), this sounds like one of those pieces that directors would usually have their symphony ensemble perform. Reading from your description...I mind as well not point of what you already have said, but simply say, good job ;) Keep it up, I'll be looking at more of your work.

Definitely would be great by itself, in a short, or in a game.

Step responds:

Haha you speak about going to wind/orchestra concerts like it's a bad thing! :P

I'm thrilled that you think this sounds like a piece you'd hear played by an ensemble. Having a track of mine played by some sort of orchestra is something of a silly dream of mine - I know it'll never happen but nevertheless I think it would be absolutely incredible.

Thanks for the feedback!