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Summer Nostalgia

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This is my entry for the 2012 June NAC.

Never entered one of these things before, so I'll give it a go, maybe get some feedback before the deadline, all that good stuff.

This short piece is about summer (whoa, slow down buddy) and all the wonderful fun that's to be had in it, but also the memories of these experiences. Looking back and reflecting on life can be quite beneficial to your future adventures -- you find out what works for you, and what doesn't, and adjust so next time is even better! This track isn't overloading with cheer, but it's definitely brighter than my usual stuff.

Aside from the drums, choir, and one moderately-tweaked preset, I made all the instruments used in this one. I'd like to think the mixing is decent, but you always need a second or third opinion with these things. Tell me what you think, and blah, blah, blah, stop reading this, mate.

Good luck to my competitors.

EDIT: Fixed a little glitch. Clear your cache!

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I love it! You know, you have a way of setting out with a plan for an atmosphere of a song, and then executing this plan perfectly and coming up with a song greatly reminiscent of the atmosphere you had in mind at the beginning. This fits very well with the NAC theme and I wish you luck for it!

So, let's get started. Like I said, atmosphere-wise this is a winner. It's very clearly summer-like. So much so, in fact, that I think that summer would have come to my mind even if I hadn't seen the name and the fact that this is for the summer NAC. You've really nailed those sounds, man. Very warm and inviting. The composition is quite happy too, also fairly representative of a summer atmosphere.

Speaking of that, the composition is very nice. I felt that the main melody was repeated too much in a small period of time, but otherwise I like that melody. Quite catchy and it's easy for it to grow on you too. Lovely chords on the choir too. However, two aspects of the composition that I didn't like were the flow and structure. I think those are the weakest points of this otherwise awesome track.

Flow-wise, I felt that some parts were immensely anti-climatic. I'm taking about the really long drum fills/rolls/transitions/whatever you want to call them, for instance the one at 0:50. The crashes came in early making me expect a much more climatic/busy part, or at least a part with an obvious new element or two introduced, but instead you just kept on going with the same melody (with a little change at the end of it) and same sounds.

Another anti-climatic part is 2:03. After that break I expected a lot more than a slow ambient part, and it made me question why you put that break there in the first place, even though it is very well executed.

In terms of structure, I know I had problems with your song structures before and I'm having them again I'm afraid :P. Your structure is very predictable and obvious. Starts off with an intro, then introduces Section A, Section B, small break, Section A, Section B, small break, and then the outro. I find that a structure like this will work really well for some sort of game music (in fact I can easily see this in a game) but for a song to listen to I'm afraid it doesn't work out as well.

What would work a lot better IMO is something like Intro - Section A - Section B - Section C (a section with a new dynamic introduced) - (the outro you have now minus the ending note) - Section A - Ending. The reason I don't like the outro how it is right now is that I assume you made that slower part for the end to reflect what you said about the memories of summer experiences, and I think a better idea is ending on a happier note, as if you're enjoying summer experiences, you stop to reflect on past experiences, then continue enjoying summer, rather than just ending on a sadder more reflective tone. Or something like that. D:

Now, other than the structure/flow, the composition is awesome. Next up, the mixing, and I've got to say that I'm impressed. You're improving in your mixing, I swear. This song is so clear. Everything that's supposed to be in the background is fitting cosily in the background and providing a wonderful amount of depth without cluttering up the mix. The drums are nice and punchy, and while I do feel that the snare is a bit harsh, the drums are clear and make a statement and at the same time they're not distracting.

Well, I wanted to say a lot more about this track but it seems like I've reached the character limit :(. I remember just about fitting the character limit with my old reviews before, but now I have so much to say about songs that the limit just isn't enough. Oh well! Overall, great work on this song. Nice drums, good transitions, fantastic mixing and great melodies and atmosphere. Just work on that structure/flow of yours, and see if you can fix those anti-climatic parts.


Also, I feel like an ass asking you for another review after you've reviewed me so much but do you mind telling me what you think about my medley? I worked on it like crazy :P.


Birdinator99 responds:

You reached the 4096 character limit?!?!?

Shit just got real.

Well, I'm glad it fit the theme. Main goal: accomplished.

Glad the atmosphere did it for you. When I think of happy, almost generic-sounding songs, I immediately think of common bass lines that I've heard. It was easy to build the song around that once I had it.

That melody, haha, it'll get you, for sure. I was hoping it would be catchy.

When I first made those long drum fills (like at 0:50), I thought, "Oh snap, this is awesome, I've got to use this everywhere," which turned out to be a really shitty idea, heh. Wouldn't have hurt to change it up a bit.

The crap at 2:03 is actually just so typical of me, it's starting to make me sick. You're completely right about the structure and flow, and it bothers me that I haven't woken up and smelled the java with this recurring problem. What went wrong was my thinking and my approach to writing this song. I envisioned this to be a simple little "jingle" type of track when I started. This was clearly not what to do, and the song as a whole suffered, being compressed, or limited with respect to it's full potential.

Next time, I'm going to force myself to do something different structurally, even if it makes me uncomfortable. You're only as strong as your weakest link -- a great atmosphere can only be so great if it's constrained by lousy flow. Thanks for the ideas regarding that, and for opening my eyes a little.

I'm really pleased that the mixing went over well. My brain seems to favour clearly mixed and well fitting instruments over other parts of the musical process. I'm going to experiment with low passing my snares to try and get a more desirable tone in the future.

Sorry that you didn't get to fully speak your mind, but, uh, dude, you wrote a freaking essay, haha. More than I could've asked for. Thank you.

I was listening to my Soundcloud stream while playing a game on my iPod the other day, and I got to a song where I thought, "Man, this is long. Wait, this is orchestral -- who the hell is on my stream that-- oh, yeah. Sweet." It turned out to be your Trinity. I was really impressed then, so look out for good things in my review!

Spill your thoughts eh?

If this is summer it's kind of like the end credits, it's that kind of flow created by the regular dun-dun-dun-dun-dun in the background like the credits for sm64.

This song is quite hard for me to pick apart I can say for sure that you've done a really good job with it so nothing irks me so far and it definitely deserves a head bob.

Actually there is one thing, but it's minor: at the end of the song my mind really wants the last choir note to drop a bit with some drums like wa- wa_ or whatever. But as I said it's quite minor.

I agree with what you said earlier the instruments definitely remind me of your previous songs. Of course the mixing and mastering and stuff is drastically improving.

Maybe you should take a look at the airiness of your drums but I don't think it's a big problem, just a place to look.

Also look at diversifying the kind of instruments you use, I liked the choir and you know best when it comes to drums, but everything else is definitely a synth and they're all kind of similar in my ears.

But hey I'm not even close to tired of listening after writing this and the song is going straight to my playlist, so good job =D

Birdinator99 responds:

SM64 -- good comparison.

I understand what you mean with the end, but I like it the way it is.

I need to start making stuff with fewer synths; right on the money there.

I'm glad it's a bit of an earworm for you. Summer songs should be like that, I think.

Thanks for reviewing!

Credits & Info

Waiting for 1 more vote

Jun 13, 2012
5:25 PM EDT
File Info
6.9 MB
3 min 2 sec

Licensing Terms

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