0:42-0:45 is what I can't get out of my head. I hope you don't mind me stealing your composition. (I'm just kidding).
I just feel that this song is so well structured, even for its length. I didn't really get bored, neither did I feel that it became repetitive. It kinda goes into a whole different mood at the middle point, almost as if you're telling a story (now where in the world would you have gotten such an idea)?
It is unfortunate however, that a king has yet to be crowned -- but that will soon change!
AND A FIIVEEEVEGVEVEV VOTED!!!!111
I loved the quaint melody that you presented. It really reminds me of some of Danny Elfman's earlier works, like the ones he did for the Pee Wee Herman movies. But it also sounds like it could come from a game as well. :)
If there is one thing that has been disappointing in more than half of the entries in this contest, it's simply lack of content and cool stuff to talk about. You and Kor-Rune however went through the goddamn roof in this respect and created a couple of preposterously complex and huge pieces of music for two weeks of work. This one requires a bit more effort and an open mind to fully appreciate, but I found it incredibly satisfying when I could figure out and follow the music while listening intently. 1:10 to 2:05 takes the cake - after listening through an awfully dissonant sequence of alternating 5/8 and 6/8 bars with flutes, horns and percussion assaulting my skull in marching regular rhythms as well as halting triplet rhythms, 1:50 feels like such a reward with the big, complex, open chords and fantastic piano runs. I think the part sounds horrendous to most ears, but i absolutely adore the whole bit after a few listens.
After that it's a relative breeze to listen to, even though the ideas used later on are far more sophisticated than the stuff I find myself listening to more regularly. After a midsection with a beautiful main melody and chord progression that perhaps dragged on a bit long, the variation from 4:00 and the evolution of it from 4:20 brings back a similar vibe to 1:50, you slowly and flawlessly bring the theme back to the starting point, but with more of a triumphant vibe. I love how you managed to do morph so smoothly between the different moods without a fade, or a definite transition or pause. The ending is fine too.
The sounds you've used aren't as gorgeous and detailed as some of the other entries, but don't sound bad by any means and they fit well with each other. But there is definitely a lot of room for improvement in the strings and percussion - and some parts sound pretty awful with the current mixing (4:20 to 4:32 is the biggest offender, but a lot of the time the track feels crushed). I had a look at the waveform and it looks a bit obscene for a detailed orchestral song. So that might be just the thing to look into with your next entry!
8 points for sounds and instrumentation.
10 points for composition and melody/harmony.
10 points for theme/originality/other things that might impress.
Overall impression: 9.0
Parts of this totally reminded me of Zelda...
Anywho... Pretty good thing you got going here, great use of velocity and lifts to really bring out the emotion and give it a little dynamic, and while some sections seem to carry on with the same feel maybe a little too long without any significant change, overall the song progresses on and introduces new melodies to keep the listener from getting overly bored. Samples used sounded awesome, and there were plenty of sections that really reminded me of old school game soundtracks, as mentioned above... like Zelda.
Complaints? Again, some sections dragged on a little too long without significant change, a couple of the transitions and melodies felt very forced. Overall I found the mixing pretty good, so most of my complaints are really related to your decisions in terms of the composition... 1:12 being a prime example... That really threw me off, and it felt more like I was listening to a song on a CD, and it skipped ahead to the next track without my input.
Overall, well done though, I enjoyed it. Earned a 7/10 from me.
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.
-Very nice mixing.
-I particularly liked some of the harmonies you used, very jazzy.
-The little trills on your mallet instruments were very cute and certainly helped to add to the atmosphere.
-There is a full story in your song, and you managed to bring it back to the beginning. Nice compositional form!
-For such a long song, you kept it from being repetitive (mostly) and managed to keep my interest throughout.
-I love the harp glissandos you have going off the end of some phrases in the beginning.
-Lovely piano arpeggio at 2:01-2:03.
-First, the awkward melodies. Some appear to be meandering, or feel as if they "got lost", then quickly scrambled to get back to normal. The main spot I noticed this was at 0:26-40. In the first of those phrases, it seems as if the sole reason it redid a bit of the melody was to allow for the other solo at 0:29-0:31. This applies in the end section where it does the same thing.
-Second, the big issue. Repetition. The beginning and end sections are perfectly fine here. However, from 1:10 to 1:49, there is no change in melody at all. I know that you're adding instruments in the background, but that is a common problem of trance/dance music. There needs to be more variation. One possible thing is having the top note go up a half-step every once in a while rather than simply playing one note rhythmically. This can also increase the tension.
-The other area where repetition is a problem is from around 2:34-4:10. There is essentially only one melody, albeit with good chords behind it. But as I said, the problem is repetition - however good a 13-second melody (and chord sequence) is, it will get boring if played over and over for about a minute and half without any variation other than introducing/taking out instruments.
-There are a few tiny issues with the cymbals at around 4:19-4:32. Seems as if it's a mixing error - they are making the 'shivering' sound that can happen in mixing.
-Alright, I only have one last thing to poke at, and that is the outro. While the rising thirds sound really great as a buildup, the actual end is very sudden and sounds quite a bit different in style from the buildup right before it.
Overall: It's good, with some compositional problems. Unfortunately, the main issue (repetition) fills up roughly half the song, not using the conservative "this is when it becomes clear" times in the section I had pointed it out in. The positives of the song do, fortunately, keep the score up there. As a result, the final score I'll give for this is 7.6/10.
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.