Among Ancient Ages

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My submission for the NGAD '13 round 2.

I decided to do something quite different, and bring back a type of music I've only heard in old Asian (kung fu) type movies.

I liked the way the strings sounded back then with the way they would bend the pitches, it gave it a unique feeling.

I wanted both the warm set up of a story, with a climax of a fierce battle.

I also strictly limited myself to the oriental instruments and in the end over 20 different ones were used. (Some even just one note).

I kept it short to the 2 week deadline.

Enjoy ;}

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This is an NGADM Round 2 Review.


What I liked:
-Very cool atmosphere.
-I liked the introduction of the percussion.
-Great thematic ideas.

What could have been better:
-That bending effect didn't really do it for me. I like that it was different, but I don't feel like it was executed well.
-Sample quality is a bit of an issue.
-Would have liked to see more variation throughout the piece, especially in the percussion.
-Also, mixing/mastering is a bit of an issue as well, but that comes with time.

Overall a very interesting piece, keep at it!

Score: 6.8/10

NGADM Review:
This is a fairly decent piece. Despite the instruments being of a lower quality, you've pulled off some good quality music with them. You've got great orchestration, and the melodies and harmonies are well-worked and structured. Mixing is also excellent, with no sections that stand out as muddy or unclear.

That being said, the development of the piece could have used more work. After the great introduction, I'd have expected the piece to go places instead of sticking to the same theme and mood and basically getting stuck where it was. The dynamics stay fixed, and there's very little variation to the entire thing. The ending also sounds a little bit off, but it's not all too bad.

Overall, good piece, but could have used more work. You've definitely got potential, so stick with it!

Score: 7.8/10

The build up was it's strongest point. And then towards the end it hits you hard :D

And yeah that about covers the strengths not sure about weaknesses but I'm sure other reviews will cover that for now good luck with the NGAD thingy!


The Good:
-Pitch slides are cooool. I like them. ^_^
-Mixing quality is fairly good, everything works out fine.

The Not-So-Good:
-Your instruments sound very soundfonty, and I hear edirol in there.
-The piece mainly flatlines after the introduction. There's not much variation in the mood, and the dynamics don't really change.
-The ending is pretty meh, I don't like it much. Not really sure

Overall: Score of 6.8/10. Main issues were the low quality instruments and the flatlining of the piece overall.

This is an NGADM Round 2 review.


We have another extremely refined, developed piece from you, whose dynamics and progression succeed in communicating a story to the listener. Great! What I like about your music is how well-defined your atmosphere is. You portray the intensity and fervency of battle excellently, with a very suitable buildup followed by heart-pumping percussion that is a definite improvement over your Round 1 track's percussion. I have a few issues with the percussion but I'll delve into them later on. You have some rock-solid composition here, by the way! Your melodies have a good sense of development and they're glued together firmly with mostly smooth transitions and a commendable structure. Also, I'm very fond of your intro.

Your instruments are generally high-quality and you chose them well. The pitch-bending on your strings... man, I'm in two minds about that. I totally get what you were trying to do and to an extent it worked, but I think it was somewhat overused, especially towards the end. A pretty big problem with this track is that your main melody isn't carried very well, mainly in the more busy latter half of the track. You use strings to carry the melody practically throughout the whole second part, and without such suitable backing (particularly during the more intense parts like 2:58) they end up sounding very weak. I would suggest layering more instruments on top of it. A good idea would also be to carry the melody around various instruments, because leaving it dedicated entirely to strings can eventually sound dull after a while. Oh and, vary your percussive rhythms! I'm only hearing one primary beat played by the timpani, with little variation, and it gets old after a while. Adding more percussive layers is something that might fix this too.

The production is another issue that needs sorting out. Your mix can occasionally sound pretty empty/thin, and there are some levelling issues. For instance, at around 2:05, the plucked oriental instrument suddenly increases in volume, which sounds quite artificial, since it's as if the player of that plucked instrument was playing in the background like he should have been doing, and then he walked up towards me and started playing in front of my face! I'm hearing a few quirks throughout the track which sound oddly like excessive humanisation, but it could be just me imagining things. The strings are also not very expressive, maybe due to their sometimes unnatural attack time. In general, the mix is pretty clear but needs some tweaks in levelling and EQing to give the track more oomph.

Anyway, I can't fault your sense of composition, storytelling skills, structure, and so on, but there are still quite a few issues with the execution of this track!

Score: 7.7/10

Credits & Info


4.28 / 5.00

Aug 22, 2013
7:39 PM EDT
File Info
8.8 MB
3 min 52 sec

Licensing Terms

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