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Zebra Tangerine {7x}

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-NGADM'12 - Round 1 Submission-

Between work and school and my software having a bad day I'm glad I got a decent product up in time. As I'm still very new to the guitar, there might be some minor innacuracies. That being said, I think this piece turned out pretty well.
Wishing the best of luck to anyone else in the competition and a big thank you to the judges and moderators for setting this up and making it work!

The title has nothing to do with anything ever, enjoy!

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I like the orchestration, but I thought that the transition to the guitars at 1:13 was rather sudden. However, the guitars fit the rest of the song very well.

Right up my alley...

Orchestral rock/metal... I love it. Arguably my favorite style of music, and something I write a lot of myself. First thing I gotta give you credit for is the composition, the orchestra stuff fits in real well with the guitar part, and overall the track flows really well.
I was also quite fond of the somewhat ethereal feel to it, which made it feel not so much "in your face" as "soundtrack to my mind" type style, most noticeable with the very processed guitar lead before the song kicks into gear.

Complaints... Well, I gotta say the mixing was off, as it more or less sounded like I was listening to it through a pillow. I also noticed something about the distorted guitar... I don't know what it was... but something about it sounds ever so slightly off... Like it may be ever so slightly out of tune, or maybe your intonation is off... I'm not sure exactly what it was, but something about it bugged me.
I also take issue with the 3 chord progression when the song kicks into gear... I think you played it a little too safe, I really would've liked to hear the guitar be a little more active, or at the very least change the rhythm throughout the active part of the song. Same goes for the strings, they don't really change much, if at all, lacking a sense of progression.

In any case, I am very glad to see there are people out there still doing this kind of music, I hope it never dies. 6/10.

Ah, a bit of authentic guitar... that's a really refreshing thing to hear in this round. There are some super-minor timing mistakes in the intro that only serve to give it a certain charm. It wouldn't hurt to tune the guitar or adjust your playing to stay in tune though, because both the clean guitar and the distorted rhythm guitar that's introduced later sound less than optimal. Excessive reverb on lead guitar is usually not a good thing, but here it works to give it a good ethereal feel. Its melody is very smooth, and follows the chords nicely enough. Love the faded, modest pads too, they give it a really nice ethereal sound.

Halfway through the track, the distorted rhythm guitars are introduced, and well... they don't flow very well. The whole track sounds a bit tame during every third quarter note actually. It would sound better if you kept the low B on every offbeat like you occasionally did, all the time. They have a nice and wide stereo image though, I'll give you that.

You also have decent, detailed acoustic drums with a kick that still kicks it, but the snare is pretty weak and quiet, and it sounds like the there's either just a bit much reverb, or the mixing is just muddy. Strong staccato strings work very well with metal, and to some extent that's true here too but the arrangement is quite empty without any other orchestral elements or even something like sustained strings.

Lastly, most of the ideas didn't evolve very much throughout the song. The outro is the intro and the middle part is really just an 8-bar loop with some minor variation that adds a bit of an intensity curve, but it's not enough to give it the epic feel that you were obviously going for.

7 points for sounds and instrumentation.
7 points for composition and melody/harmony.
8 points for theme/originality/other things that might impress.

Overall impression: 7.5

This is an NGADM Round 1 Review.


You've got some great ideas in this track that really stand out with your great guitar work, good structure and clear mix. However, the track's got a lot more potential than what you've got here.

Fantastic intro. Really, I love it. You can't go wrong with a soft plucked guitar intro and you've executed it so well here, with a fantastic melody and awesome ambient effects in the background as icing to the cake. I'm currently reviewing this with headphones on (which isn't usual for me) since I'm in an airport on my way back to Malta, and I can safely say that through the headphones this intro gave me shivers. Oh and the guitar note sliding also gave me goosebumps. It all sounds really good, and led me to believe that this is a track I'd really enjoy.

However, the part at 1:11 was unfortunately a disappointment. The intro led me to believe that this was going to be an awesome progressive rock track, but you just went right in with the heavy strumming when a more gradual progression would've been preferred. Why not continue with the mellow guitar patterns you played at the beginning and add a beat over it, instead of moving on to the strumming? This opens the doors to many more directions that you could take the track. Right now the part sounds pretty anti-climatic without a good gradual progression to lead up to it.

Another reason why that part is disappointing is that there really is a lack of a good melody in that part. You introduce string staccato patterns after a few bars of strumming, but they're not providing much of a melody other than playing patterns that support the background strumming. If you made this a more progressive track, you'd be able to introduce leitmotifs during the progression and then repeat them with full force in a climax. Also, the drums aren't bad but they lack in power, particularly the kick. Moreover, the open hat is a bit too loud, harsh and dry for my likings. Having said all that, I love how you transitioned back to the mellow intro for the outro and the ending is brilliant. A modest ending that isn't expected but isn't abrupt. A quick note on the mix; I must commend you on how clear you made everything sound. Sure, the mixing on some elements of the track could do with some touching-up, but other than that I love your mix.

Overall, you have some excellent ideas here, but the execution of these ideas could have used some work. A more progressive approach would have fit this track a lot more. Keep it up, though!



EbonHawk7X responds:

:( Sorry, yes the beginning I think was some of my best work, only to be put off by the painfully average middle section. I feel like I run into this problem of not being able to carry out an idea to its full potential quite often, but your suggestion about taking different approaches I think is very constructive and I will keep it in mind during future projects. Thank you very much, this review was both excellent and informative!

Here is your personal review for your round 1 submission! Remember that the score might be a little lower than I would normally give, I'm being a tad harsher than I'd normally be for the NGADM.

The Good:
-Oh my god that intro. So good. So very very good. Seriously, it's amazing. The pads compliment the guitar *so well*. And the pads themselves are godly.
-Your guitar playing is definitely not bad, particularly for someone being new. Of course, that's just the opinion of someone who doesn't play the guitar, but still.

The Not-So-Good:
-First, the buildup could have been so much more. Since you were going for the rock track, the buildup could have lasted a bit longer and started meshing together with the main part in a cleaner way.
-The drums are pretty nasty. The high hat is too loud, and meanwhile, the snare and kick are too quiet, too far back in the mix. The toms are awesome though.
-The outro is a bit too quick, definitely sounds like you ran out of time. Were you designing that pad in the intro?
-No tune in the more upbeat section, it's really just plain harmony.

Overall: That intro was amazing, and if you made an entire ambient track off it, I'd probably rate that pretty highly. As-is, the middle REALLY killed it. So I'm going to have to give it a 6.8/10. Also, Zebra Tangerines sounds like an awesome name for a music artist or band.

EbonHawk7X responds:

Yeah, I felt pretty bad about turning it into a rock/orchestra cookie cutter track but I was in a bit of a creative rut, and with my time running out it was as good as I could do. The pads only required very minor tweaking from a nice preset I found in Alchemy, most of the time put into the song was just listening to the nice sounding intro and recording the guitar, haha. I really do appreciate this great review, thank you!

Credits & Info


4.00 / 5.00

Aug 13, 2012
11:27 PM EDT
General Rock
File Info
6.1 MB
2 min 39 sec

Licensing Terms

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