Good song. Thanks for putting me in the Christmas mood. I'm looking forward to hearing more songs from you.
Glad I could help! :D Thanks for taking the time, and hopefully I'll have some more stuff to put up soon!
So I've finally found the time to review one of your submissions, and while I don't feel that this is your strongest submission, it's certainly an absolutely incredible piece and still very indicative of how awesome of a composer you are. I pity da foo's who are up against you in the MAC and NAC... yeah I'm a foo.
So, first off I'm going to get the obvious out of the way. The voice is absolutely gorgeous. You could not have chosen a better style of singing and style of lyrics for your wife because her voice just works so well with it all. Every note was sung beautifully and I love the slight vibrato on some notes. Good reverb effects on the vocals too. They make the voice sound so angelic. And damn she can sing high. Did she take singing lessons or something?
Your work is also, as expected, extremely high-quality and well-made. Solid, tasteful choice of instruments. Despite the fact that you're using a piano behind those vocals which is an awfully generic technique, you don't make it sound cheesy at all. And instead of going the typical route and just throwing in some warm strings, with a few high strings in the more climatic moments like 1:03, you go the extra mile; sure you've got some warm strings, but you even throw in some lovely (but sometimes a bit tiring to listen to) woodwind instruments... and there's even a glock that's very distinctly from East/West Symphonic Orchestra, am I right? :P.
Melodies and composition in general are fantastic. You've got great chords and a good balance of low and high notes. I think the vocal melody is excellent but a bit predictable, to the point that I managed to predict quite a few notes before they were sung during my first listen. Love the chords at around 1:03 by the way! All in all you've got very solid composition.
And man, the song flows so well! Honestly, in so many aspects this song just screams professionalism. The ever so subtle entrance of the woodwind instruments at like 0:50 was so smooth and flowing, and then the little crescendo you gave them was so well-executed. And you've got that cymbal roll at 1:23. The thing about that is that there's only one other quieter instance of it in the song, so when it does come in it really stands out and tells you "Hey, this song section is important. Pay attention!".
Unfortunately, I can tell that this is rushed. While it sounds so professional and intricate, I'm hearing some almost unforgivable mixing quirks. 0:22 and 1:05 have some very clear peaking issues. Some frequency somewhere is too loud and is causing some nasty clipping. I'm perplexed why you kept it like this because I'm pretty sure you know about it and this can be fixed very quickly with a small EQing job.
On top of that, as I said above, the woodwinds can get very tiring to listen to, especially during the middle part of the song, maybe because they have very precise and penetrating frequencies, like a sine wave (although obviously not to that extent) rather than, say, beefy string chords which take up a more diverse range of the audible spectrum. I apologise but I can't think of any obvious ways of fixing this without diminishing their amazing sound too much. Might be just me anyway :3.
Other than that, your mix is very good. I'm hearing everything quite clearly; even the piano which is pretty far off in the background. And as I already said, you've got some great effects on that voice. You also make great use of the mix, and you don't leave much unattended space. The double bass especially fills up the mix so well and gives it some important depth.
One last thing to mention; I think you could have given some more love to the other instruments. As much as I love your wife's voice, you only have extremely brief instrumental sections like the awesome glock pattern at 0:40. This unfortunately reduces the replay value of this song and makes it more predictable.
There are a few issues but I mean this is an absolutely fantastic track. You've got some SERIOUS talent and I wish you the best of luck in the MAC, and NAC! Keep it up man, and fantastic work!
First off, thank you so much for taking the time to look at this piece. It means a lot!
Glad you liked the vocals! And no, she actually has never had any formal instruction in voice, just incredibly talented :)
You're absolutely right about the glock! I love that patch. And there actually are no woodwinds in this piece... I believe it was just Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Trumpet, Piano, and Glock. I wanted to add a full brass and partial woodwind section but didn't have time to score it.
I'm actually glad the vocal melody was somewhat predictable! That's sort of what you want in a carol - something that's easy to remember. The point of a carol is really to tell a story, the music is almost secondary. So, the more easily accessible the music is, the better the effect of the carol. That's how we've passed down our history for thousands of years, and I think we're losing the tradition in our generation. Also, I liked the chords at 1:03 too :) I tried to change things up in the background a bit.
And you're right, this was quite rushed, and it shows in some ways like the clipping. I was indeed aware of it, though I'm pretty sure it was due to some physical problems with the miking set up. I'll have to go back and check to see if it's the EQ, which would be a quick fix. Mixing is not my forte, if you haven't noticed :) Still plenty to learn! We literally finished this song about an hour before it was due, so I didn't have much time to go back :(
I'm happy you liked the effects on the voice! I had to play around a lot until I found something I liked. Also, I would have done a LOT more instrumentally if I had the time to do it. This unfortunately could only be a skeleton based on the deadline.
Thanks a ton for your feedback, Step! I take your opinions pretty seriously. Great job placing in the MAC/NAC, and good luck in the top 8!
Beautiful singing and very decent background. Your wife has done an awsome job. Hope she will sing for again sometimes. The song creates a moving feeling of loneliness in my heart. Well done. Nothing to criticise.
Thank you for the review, I'm glad this song touched you. :) We've got a few things planned for future endeavors!
That is all I can muster right now... tears. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Happy Advent. Pax Christi sit semper tecum.
Et cum spiritu tuo, friend. :) Happy Advent.
Definitely one of my favourites of the contest, and your wife has a remarkable voice. Going to check out more of your music now.
That she does - thank you for the review :) I hope you like the other stuff too!
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.