NGAP 10TH ANNIVERSARY CONTEST REVIEW
Absolutely beautiful! You were one of the very first submitters and I don't know if it was because you spent a long time without stopping to make this masterpiece, or if you didn't spend that long on this track and are just NATURALLY BRILLIANT... or both... but whatever the case, you nailed this one.
The intro is gorgeous. I adore how subtly the guitar just edges its way into the track, but then you don't waste much time and introduce the drums which are very tastefully mixed (lovely snare in particular), and the vocals which are actually very well-sung! The atmosphere is ethereal and very smooth on the ears (unlike the original which does have its rough elements). The sounds are just great. You say this is an acoustic version and this leads me to think of a minimalistic guitar + vocals + drums kind of thing, but you make it a lot more than just that, and especially the mandolin tremolo at the end is such a great addition. Highly original!
I'm not finding it easy to mention that many errors. Pretty much the only gripe I have with this track is that the mix can get very drowned, undoubtedly due to the big amounts of reverb you're using. You mix it all quite well, and I have no doubt it's intentional since it creates a very dream-like atmosphere, but looking at it from an analytical perspective (rather than practically spacing out to it), it makes the song difficult to follow and quite similar throughout, whereas the original offers a better listening experience since while it does indeed focus a lot on atmosphere, it has tonnes of interesting sounds that pop out in the mix rather than just swimming in a hodge-podge of different sounds.
Honestly though, I have no idea how you'll be able to fix the error I mentioned without sacrificing the beautiful atmosphere you've got. You did a LOT of justice to the original track (and got me hooked on Kingbastard's music because I have to shamefully admit that I never heard any of his music before now). Bravo.
-I love the opening, it sounds really natural and soft. The guitar stays throughout making everything sound good too.
-The feeling is distinctly different from the original, which is a big plus.
-There's a little ambient instrument with slow attack starting at about 0:25. Man, I'm such a sucker for those.
-The chords at 1:05 are good. They get even better at about 1:26, though it does take half a second to figure out that it sounds good.
-Drums are very natural-sounding and peaceful.
-Great mixing up until about 1:47.
-Oh man, the violin sound at 2:47 and onward in my right ear sounds so nice.
-You have an outro! Great!
-It can take a second for the harmony at 1:26 to sound good.
-Unfortunately, at 1:47 the mixing goes downhill and most instruments are put into the background, so it's hard to hear them. Unfortunately, all the sound starts blending together again making it so that there's no real cohesiveness and it's just a wall of harmony. As cool as that is, it doesn't peace back together until 2:45. Even after that there are residual problems until 3:15.
-Sadly, the outro you have is the classic fadeout. While it's obvious that it's the end, there's no real 'conclusive' feel to it. It just slowly drags out until the sound is gone. I'm not a big fan of that.
Overall: Score of 9/10. Main problems are the clarity of the mix and cohesiveness from 1:47 to 3:15 (though it does get slightly better at around 2:45), as well as the lack of a real conclusion. I am surprised and impressed that you pulled something this good out of your hat in 2 days.
I love the original.. But this is just fantastic. The instrumentation was great, the vocals were suitably melancholy, and the changes you made to the arrangement were gorgeous. The song itself is pretty redundant, so it's great how you've changed it up. The mandolin at the end was about the point where I pooped myself.
You've managed to turn an originally glitchy and gloomy track into a clean, beautiful piece with a sorrowful vibe that strongly reminds me of early 00's Porcupine Tree. The different string instruments combine to a lovely smooth twinkling texture. The vocal harmonies are perfect for this. Still, it keeps the same mood and intensity throughout and doesn't have that bit of magic that would take it to a whole new level.
Really intersting in head phones...
I did go a little crazy with the panning. I also realized I didn't center the the vocals haha
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.