Man, this is so much nicer than Not Everyday! You should have submitted this one to the contest; I really enjoyed it. It's chill, laid back and at the same time it has moments where it becomes pretty uplifting. It also sounds different from what you usually make; then again maybe it's because I'm just surprised not to hear any chopped up vocals in this one haha.
This has surprisingly excellent atmosphere-building. All of your sounds contribute to create a superb mood and atmosphere. I had this looping in the background for a very long time and I found it great music to have playing while you do something else. Even on its own, it's a real pleasure dissecting all of the different sounds playing together and the lovely contrast you create between the smooth, pad-filled, uplifting buildup sections like 2:15, and the more minimal sections such as 2:34.
The sounds you've used are absolutely excellent. Some of them sound quite retro and others are a bit more space-like, such as the arp that comes in first at 0:20. Despite this, all of the sounds work together just beautifully. You do a good job automating your sounds with effects/filters, especially that arp whose intensity you very gradually increased, making it a versatile sound that fits in both the minimal sections and the uplifting sections.
Something that makes this different from Not Everyday is that it's far more melodious. Sure, it's not filled with melodies, sticking mostly to an arp playing one note interval and then long chords played by other instruments, but that's alright. You've got some really nice motifs here which you use heavily to create a unified listening experience.
While this track, to me, is a definite improvement from Not Everyday, it has its issues. The track is repetitive, and I'm not saying that because I'm an orchestral composer and expect the same constant variety from other genres, because first off I don't only make orchestral - I've made techno plenty of times before - and secondly, I believe this is objectively too repetitive.
The arp playing that single note interval got seriously monotonous since it never changed whenever it was played. You recycle many elements in this track as well. It's not hard to notice that the second half of the track is basically the first half repeated, except with some new elements like the nice new melody that starts playing from 2:35, and with an ending tacked on (well, "ending").
This track is dynamic, making it fairly interesting throughout, but unfortunately since you overuse the elements you introduce in this track without really adding many changes, it falls short of doing a whole 5 minutes and 11 seconds justice. I would've liked to hear more new content and new sections, without interrupting the relaxed and smooth flow you've created here.
Speaking of the smooth flow, let me just mention that your transitions are brilliant. Every transition throughout the track was stellar. You make nothing stand too much and tastefully make use of anticlimactic buildups which don't sound unsatisfying at all. Your intro, while nothing special, sets the mood just right. However, your ending is just terrible haha. It loops better than it ends, and even then it doesn't loop well. I love the glitch effects you use at the end; they do a great job of throwing the listener off-guard, but you leave me baffled why you didn't add some form of conclusion, or at least a smoother loop.
Your production value is, as always, excellent. In fact, I think this has the best production from all of the tracks you've submitted to the competition, including your audition. Of course, I also think that this has the best sounds from all of your submissions, so that might be why I also think this has the best production. The mix is incredibly crisp and everything is really pleasing to the ears.
The only thing I don't like about your production is the percussion. Like in your other track, the drums in this just feel unprocessed and raw. I can't quite tell you for sure what exactly is wrong with them but somehow I feel like they're very weak and lacking in effects and wow-factor compared to everything else (except the percussion that first appears at the very beginning of the track which sounded fantastic). OK, they provide a solid percussive backbone to the track without being too intrusive, but when I listen to the amazing pads and arp and all the other synths, and then I shift my focus to those drums, I'm hearing a total difference in quality.
Overall, this is one of my favourite works from you. While it has a handful of issues (to recap; bad ending, repetitive structure, lack of new content in second half, unchanging arp and unprocessed drums) this has some truly excellent redeeming factors, such as the incredible synthesis work and atmosphere-building. I love it, keep up the great work. I've favourited you and I'm looking forward to your future tracks. Do try and get to know the Newgrounds community though, and take part in contests like the NGADM. You'll get far! If I had to rate this in the NGADM it would've gotten an 8.7 or 8.8 from me, but since I set higher standards when judging for the NGADM, I'll give you a 10.
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.