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Isis

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My mind's been on Egypt lately. I titled this meditative track "Isis" for two reasons: because the music was partially inspired by the Ancient Egyptian goddess; and because the name reminds me of the words "ice" and "icy", which I think are also evoked by this music.

(Although I'm putting this under "Easy Listening - Classical", I might be happier thinking of it as "Classical/Ambient".)

This is my entry for Round 1 of NGADM 2012. I wish the best of luck to everyone involved!

Technical information: this track was created in Cubase Essential 5 using the following VST's: EWQSLO Silver, HalionOne, GPO 4.

Thank you for listening.

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I can see this being used in a discovery / exploration scene in a film o flash. It's lack of melody is it's shortcoming, but also leaves room for many different angles of interpretation.

BenTibbetts responds:

OK, thank you for your analysis.

The most appealing aspect of this song is definitely the cool rhythmic theme that is established right from the start - it's very simple, but the delay is just enough to make it interesting. For some reason it's also a very suggestive rhythm - this might be the only song in the round that consistently compels me to rock back and forth in my chair to the bell and its octave-jumping business. The track slowly and subtly builds up around this theme, and together the ensemble of instruments feel like somewhat of a totem pole dance with the rhythm as the pole and the other instruments dancing around it (or I might just be high on shrooms).

The percussion and strings sound gorgeous and are completely transparent in the mix, so all the details - the envelope and texture of the pizzicato strings, the squeaky wooden character of the sustained strings and the clacking of the percussion - can be heard and basked in. The brass hits and plucky strings are nice additions that add a bit of content to the tune too.

So the downfall of your submission is that you haven't used these great sounds and ideas to build a sufficiently fleshed out and impressive tune (not to trump your opponent anyway). It just keeps going in the same pace forever like a clockwork, and this is especially apparent since the intro and outro are just fades. The only very noticeable changes from the main theme are during the key changes, and even they sound forced and awkward when you're not doing anything else than transposing all the melodies.

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

Overall impression: 7.0

BenTibbetts responds:

Thank you for the review! You may want to lay off the shrooms, though.

Brrr....

Well, I noticed you mentioned this having an "Icy" theme to it, and as implied above... I think you did a great job pulling this feeling off, the entire song just pushed the whole icy cavern type imagery into my head. I was also quite fond of the use of panning used in this piece, with the little stabs poking back and forth, which really gave a greater sense of this icy cave, with the sound jumping around, bouncing off the walls.
I also found this to be one of the more unique entries in the NGADM, as it doesn't really sound like something you hear every day in a movie commercial or the like, which earned you a couple points.

As for what I didn't like... First things first... It's very repetitive, and never really strays from the initial theme, which bugged me to no end... While it's nice that you did a great job establishing the theme of the song, I think you could have only benefited from pushing it along into something else, as, aside from a slight shift near the end, it's pretty much the same thing over and over again.
I was also a little put off by a mixing choice.. I found the stabs that play throughout the entire piece a little too loud, and only served to remind me that what I was listening to was essentially the same thing for 3 minutes straight.

Fairly unique, but suffered greatly from the repetitive nature... I gave this one a 6.8/10.

BenTibbetts responds:

OK, thank you for the review.

This is an NGADM Round 1 Review.

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Such a catchy tune! I love this track, it's got really good composition, an excellent mix and such a great style. Extremely enjoyable and I can see this fitting in a game very easily. I'm going to have a hard time finding anything wrong with this track and I know it.

The two key features of this track that shine would be the instrumentation and composition. I LOVE the little tune you had going in the background and all of the melodies you played above it were memorable and fun to listen to. 0:19's legato strings had among my favourite melodies in the whole track as well. You really seem to know what you're doing when it comes to composition.

Maybe your foreground melodies could've been a bit more developed since you seem to favour playing different melodic phrases on top of a constant background tune, rather than actually developing all the melodies and having a leitmotif of sorts, but that isn't really much of a problem for me. Oh and wonderful mixing too. Everything's really clear.

The main problem that I have with this track is that in some lights it's not very varied. It doesn't really get repetitive, but the thing is, you keep pretty much the same background for the whole track and you don't venture off much into instrumentation other than strings, some soft percussion like woodblocks/tambourines and mallet instruments. I think I'm hearing some subtle brass (might be my imagination) but otherwise I didn't hear anything really that new throughout the whole track. Right now it sounds more like it'd fit in a game than be an actual standalone song to listen to. I would've absolutely loved some more development, dynamics, etc... It'd work very well. And more instruments too, especially woodwind instruments. English horns and bassoons would be pretty awesome.

Anyway, that's all I need to say about the track. Recap: fantastic composition, mixing, instrumentation, etc... What this could do with is some more development in the instrumentation, dynamics and so on, to keep it sounding new and interesting throughout the whole track.

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SCORE:
8.5/10

BenTibbetts responds:

Thank you Step!

This would fit perfectly in a puzzle game; it would work pretty well for the "building defenses" between waves in a Tower Defense game; or, if you softened everything up a bit and delayed the attack of the pitched percussion (to eliminate the hard hits), I reckon it could work well in an exploratory RPG (like Skyrim).

I love your use of dissonance; the string melodies are particularly noteworthy in how they create an almost Discovery Channel-like sense of wonder. The brass stabs could use a bit of work (maybe a little more reverb, maybe layered with some more instruments) as they sound less realistic when they're compared to the harpsichord, pitched and unpitched percussion, and strings playing behind them.

BenTibbetts responds:

Thanks very much!

Credits & Info

BenTibbetts
Author

Listens
2,570
Faves:
3
Downloads
80
Votes
9
Score
4.47 / 5.00

Uploaded
Aug 14, 2012
3:22 AM EDT
Genre
Classical
File Info
Song
2.9 MB
3 min 11 sec
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Licensing Terms

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