I love the mood at the beginning. It's creepy and even apprehensive, yet also has a strange brightness and beauty to it. I loved it when the strings came in and made everything more cinematic. The structure was very well-done, and while it was very well-varied, it wasn't the most coherent piece I've heard for this competition. I love the sense of direction and climax you have going on throughout the piece though. Epic is an overused term, but I have few other words to describe the piece as a whole. You did an excellent job with the mixing and balance, and I absolutely love the woodwind solo around 2:45 onward. It's simply breathtakingly beautiful. Makes me think of the huge, sweeping images of the Great Plains they have on those big-budget documentaries about nature. Just beautiful instruments, moods, etc. The ending could've been more conclusive imo. I think you should've tried to add a more energetic section toward the end as a way of wrapping it up, but perhaps that's only a personal preference. NOW I know why you've been an NGADM judge for these past couple of years. You clearly know what you're doing - more than that, in fact! ^^ Well, I think it's safe to say that you stand a very good chance in this competition. Bravo, sir Bassfiddlejones, bravo!
Thank you so much for the kind words and taking the time to leave such a thorough review. I hope to do well and will give it my all!
The beginning had me surrounded in what seemed like walls of water, it was very, very atmospheric. I felt like I was diving, finding Atlantis. The strings and woodwinds that come in after are hasty, surreal, frightening.
When the percussion comes in, I still get this sense of haste, and it starts off like a stock piece of cinematic music, and builds up -- then you have this BAM! kind of feeling. A whole new world is created, one which I did not expect. A sanctuary in the midst of woe, that's sort of what this feels like -- and considering the purpose of your piece, you set out to do so well. That flute at the end (is it a flute?) is hauntingly beautiful.
While I find that some sections grab me more than others -- for instance, the beginning and the end touch me more than the middle -- I have to commend you for your outstanding ability to create the picture you desire in people's minds. At least in mine. When I listened to this, I did not have the description on screen. Towards the end I read it, and it was spot-on with what I felt. And such skill is worthy of admiration.
9/10; this is one of the more outstanding of the NGAU in my ears, thus far.
Thank you Trois, I always hold your feedback in high esteem. It sounds like I managed to communicate what I wanted, and I can't ask for more than that! Pax Christi, friend.
I think, for a three-day project this is really good ... a nice blend of "acoustic" and "electric" sounds that seem to blend well with each other, I enjoyed the mid-eastern wind/reedy sounding instrument towards the end ... or is it an english horn maybe? i also really liked the panned scraping sounds at 2:20.
As for imagery, I definitely felt a sense of racing through some hostile environment and arriving somewhere more calm, maybe not peaceful, but calmer, if that makes sense. Imagined lots of open space and hazy light in the final section.
You have this nice staccato string figure playing alternating chords that starts around 0:29 ... and doesn't seem to ever re-appear in any form (the alternating chords at least, not the staccato strings). It felt to me like 2:17 was the perfect spot for an dramatic key change that would continue the build for another 30 seconds or so ... if it were me, I would continue the build music there (after that great suspenseful pause you have), but in a key a third higher (1/2 step key changes tend to be cheesy in this style) and re-introduce the alternating staccato string arpeggios for 0:29 layered on top and keep building for another half-minute or so). Especially when you only have 3 days to complete a project, that's a great technique for drawing out/amping up the intensity of a cinematic build. I mean, it's really good as it is, but I think something like this might take it just a bit farther.
Anyhow, overall I think it sounds great. Well done. :)
Thanks for the great review LeoMDK! I hear what you're saying about reintroducing those strings, that actually sounds like a pretty decent idea. If I ever revisit this again I'll keep that in mind. Thanks again!
I have AT LAST gotten around to writing my in-depth analysis of your newest version of this track. Sorry for taking AGES. I got kind of overwhelmed with the amount of work I had to do these last few days. Thankfully, this track is just awesome, so I won't have a hard time reviewing it at all. But I'll try not to make my review full of praise.
As (I think) I said in the NGMT thread, this has a gorgeous intro with highly memorable chord changes. If I didn't say it, then I should have said it, since I think that this has the best intro from all the NGMT Round 2 tracks. That soft choir conveyed strong feelings of solitude, and almost sadness, with a slight tinge of suspense, and I love how the whole pace of the intro changed so well with the introduction of the staccato strings. As I said in the PM, I still think that the introduction of those staccato strings wasn't subtle enough, but I nevertheless enjoyed how they shifted the direction of the intro. And hey, the ending is awesome too. Nothing to complain about over there.
Really nice instrumentation. One of the things that remained stuck in my head after listening to this was how this has such a distinct ethnic quality with the choirs and the duduk especially. Plus, the duduk is my favourite non-standard woodwind instrument, so I loved listening to it. Your combination of the duduk and the more ambient, cinematic elements such as the strings in the latter section of the piece created this truly wonderful ambience, which I love.
The production is good. I mean, barring the fact that I had to turn the volume up to appreciate this song fully, you have a super dynamic mix, lots of reverb that works wonders for the atmosphere, and solid mixing of all the instruments. Plus, the instrument sample quality is through the roof and you use that to its full potential to make a track that sounds authentic and enveloping.
And my god, that buildup is so nice now. Your addition of low end elements, more powerful drums, and the huge 2:16 hit made it so much better than how it was in its preceding version. It's a very gradual buildup that becomes truly intense and exciting around the 2-minute mark. The way you built the track down right after that eargasm was neat too.
There's not much of a melody in this track. Like what often happens in tracks like these, I found myself longing for a more definable melody, especially in the latter section where the track focuses solely on creating ambience. However, your chords are still memorable and solid, so I can forgive you! What I think this tracks succeeds the most in is depicting imagery. Great atmospheres, mood changes, transitions between moods and all that jazz. Probably one of my favourite things about this track.
Yeah, this is fantastic. I don't have much else to say (except that your percussion is pretty darn awesome). Brilliant work - while I don't think this matches up to Labbaik in terms of enjoyment value, it's still an incredibly enjoyable and memorable track with awesome atmospheric value. Keep up the good work pls kthx.
Step, your reviews are awesome and ridiculous. Thank you for taking the time to write this! I tried very hard to make this better than the previous version of the track, which was sorely lacking in a few areas. I am also a huge fan of the duduk, and probably use it more often than I should, but it's just so darn good.
One thing I need to work on is my mastering. Still trying to find the right balance between compression and fidelity to dynamics and whatnot. I'm quite glad you enjoyed this, thanks for the review/download! It holds great weight in my eyes.
Hey there, really nice track! I had already listened to the old version and think the changes really improved the quality of the piece even more.
Awesome how you start the piece and build up tension until 1:17. But the pause at the climax is just incredibly cool and surprising - very effective! The mid part is well structured - maybe some keychanges would have been cool. The combination of very calm melody and the percussion action (which maybe could be a little bit louder / use bigger drums) also works very well and again: How you rise the tension within the midpart to its climax is also expressive and impressive. The ending has such a mystic and arcane feel ... just beautiful.
Overall very impressive piece. The strings have such a wonderful sound (HS / Symphobia?) and the orchestration and composition are very solid.
The only thing - like i saied - which could be more diversified is the midpart. I think some keychanges would have inserted even more drama - maybe its just a matter of taste. Well done. Keep it up!
Hey, thanks for the review! I'm glad you think this version is better, I think so too! The strings I'm using are EWQL Platinum. I need to work on my modulation skills!
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.