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This is my entry for the first round of NGADM - I'm pitted against Xyresic this time. My goal was to write something that was both groovy and atmospheric, with a heavy focus on electronic sounds. I've never really done something that sounds like this before.


0. Thanks to all the judges of NGADM for putting on this awesome event, doing tons of work, and even giving reviews!
1. My best song, and, at 30 hours, the longest I've ever spent on a song. You start going crazy after a certain point of work - doubting if any of your song is any good - so thanks to the guys at Toastbeard and especially Eery for reminding me it doesn't suck, and giving good tips to continue.
2. At one point this song was 7 minutes long, but I eventually cut it down to the most important parts.
3. I started thinking about how you can imply some emotions without having particularly evocative melodies, and I tried to do that in the first part of the song.
4. I was messing with the file and accidentally deleted part of it. At first I was really annoyed because there wasn't an easy way to get it back, but then I listened to it and realized it actually transitioned so much better.
5. I may come back and fix that ending later... I've heard that the update broke description editing, so I won't be able to tell you if I did it :p (I did it, but I doubt that this edit will go through.)

This uses two samples from ccmixter.org:
* http://ccmixter.org/files /KaeFurious/42967
* http://ccmixter.org/files /bfemedia/42857

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yeah definitely hearing some of that shpongle influence! less intricate, but more driving and jazzy.
was not expecting those techy breakbeat drums, nice. would fit really snugly in a kid kenobi set i think.

i think 7 minutes is warranted tbh, maybe even necessary. would love to be able to mix this but that sudden ending is a bit disappointing :< (i can see why people didn't like how i ended my round 1 thing now though)

johnfn responds:

Thanks for dropping by! I think the true talent of those Shpongle guys is that they can just have a single melody going for 8 minutes or something and yet the song will never feel boring or repetitive. I struggle with repeating the same melody more than once or twice! When I cut down from 7 I was actually cutting out a bunch of extraneous stuff. I think you're right though, in an ideal world I could get that core idea going for much longer.

Endings seem to be my downfall - I save them until the final day and then botch them, haha. I need to learn not to do that, but apparently round 3 was not the time.

- NGADM Round 1 Review -

I can hear how developed this track is. The whispering vocals were a nice touch for sure. The best part about this track is how clean it sounds – your sounds for the most part are crisp and clear, which works well for the atmosphere you develop. However, the atmosphere begins to become dull after the dragged-out intro. This immediately changes when you bring in your bass, which is introduced nicely.
The whole feel of your song is really funky and I like it a lot; my only problem is that it lacks any kind of real climax. The level of the track seems to feel flat, especially with the atmosphere. What counters this best are your crazy synth solos, which are definitely very fun to listen to.

Score: 9

johnfn responds:

Thanks for the review! The climax was intended to be the section at 2:22, but I'm realizing from yours and Steps' review that I mishandled the dynamics there. Plus, it doesn't make a lot of sense to put the climax in the middle of the song, heh. I realize also that the intro was a bit too long! Hopefully I fixed all that stuff in my next song.

Again, thanks a lot for all the hard work you guys do! :-)

This is an NGADM Round 1 review.


Oh man, I wasn't sure about this at first, but I actually love this a lot more than I expected, and let me tell you exactly why. The atmosphere, for starters, cannot get any better than that. I'm surprised and impressed that you managed to create an atmosphere with so much character and relatability while still making it sound unique. Your composition, while being mostly comprised of crazy quick (and badass) synth solos in the blues scale, was highly enjoyable. Fantastic ending, I love your percussion work to bits, and your production value is very good, just like Biohome! You've got a real knack for making really clean low ends by the way, and it shows in this piece!

My only production-related complaint is that I think your mix is a bit too spacey. This is often a good thing, and during the softer parts of this track it definitely is, but during the parts with the drums I actually wished everything was a bit more tight and compressed, so I could feel a bit more of a punch. In fact, the track is MUCH more enjoyable if I turn my volume up a little bit more than I usually do. This is a ridiculously small complaint though, and I might be wrong about it. What I think needs work is the intro - while it is really cool, it's a bit long and gets a bit boring. The piano also doesn't really work for me. It feels a bit bare and didn't feel as successfully integrated as it did in Biohome (sorry for always comparing this track to that one haha, I just consider this and that to be your two best tracks). Oh and one more tiny thing. Reverse cymbal is a bit loud.

This is overall a highly polished and detailed track which I enjoyed a lot. Excellent work.

Score: 9/10

johnfn responds:

Step, your reviews are so baller. I'm really glad you liked it 'cuz I have a lot of respect for your opinions and I think you hit the nail on the head with the stuff about compression. I kept on wondering how people could call this a chill track until I listened to it at a moderate volume and realized that a lot of details can fly under the radar. I seem to run into a tradeoff between how loud the mix is and how clear it is, which is why it's a bit quieter than other people's tracks, but compression could be an easy fix.

The other nitpicks are appreciated as well... you're right about the intro - I was finding it hard to judge the arrangement after I had become desensitized to the song at the 20some hour mark, so here's hoping that I can learn to improve through practice.

And finally can I say thank you thank you thank you not just for the review but for all the work you (and the other judges) do to set up NGADM? You guys are seriously the best.

And P.S. I totally get the comparisons to Biohome - this and that track are my clear outliers in the 'hours of work in a single track' category. My normal approach is to shove tracks out the door - I'm a quantity over quality sort of guy ;-)

Hey john,

I know it's been a while but i recently made a soundcloud btw! Also me being horrible at writing reviews and you getting alot better than me, i say this is actually my favorite work from you. That arpeggiated synth at the start gives it this action feel to it while still staying melodic and groovy. The EQ-ing is spot on and the drums are well mixed.

My only complaint is the voice as it seems rather unfitting. Otherwise, nicely done!

johnfn responds:

Duude what's the link to the soundcloud? I can't find you lol. I don't think I'm better than you though, your mixing and sounddesign and all that is still much better than mine.

Thanks for dropping by though, I was worried you had disappeared forever. Will be watching you on soundcloud as soon as I find you ;-)

Nice! Sounds really clean. The intro is outstanding. Then it's lacking a little bit of loudness on the drums imo (but it's minimal). Length is pretty much perfect. Listened to it many times and really enjoyed it.
Keep it up man!

johnfn responds:

Thanks man! I will be sure to properly louderize my drums in my future tracks :-)

Credits & Info


4.64 / 5.00

Aug 3, 2013
1:25 PM EDT
File Info
4.3 MB
4 min 42 sec

Licensing Terms

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