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undersea and lost.

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i wanted to write a really intricate piece with a lot of details so then this happened. i'm really happy with it mostly because it sounds quite different than my standard stuff. Umm, I mean, it doesn't sound different in some ways, but in terms of sound design it does. I actually synthesized all of the instruments in the song on the spot, using none of my presets. Yay for FM!

I wrote it in about 1.5 hours.


I understand your feeling of underwater but i get the impression of being on top of the waves soaring around clearer in my head. looking out onto endless ocean and knowing you can choose any destination, the song makes me feel free and open.

The intro is very distinct and iconic, it stands out and i personally feel it doesn't sound repetitive at all.

the main melody has a beautiful sweeping effect, everything melds and go together. when the intro returns it feels in place with everything else. however maybe it can go somewhere else? a little drama at the end or different beat to separate it.

I did really enjoy this piece, keep it up :-D

johnfn responds:

I always like hearing different interpretations for my piece. It makes me think that maybe I should be even less specific about my pieces, because then it allows the listener to come up with their own interpretations, which probably makes the piece better for them.

Thanks for the review. :)

I, for one, completely disagree with BlueOceans. I'm not quite sure why; maybe it's because we play similar games, maybe it's because we think different, but I really think this sound very marine. However, I'm not quite sure where 'lost' comes from. I can easily get that it's undersea, but it feels more mysterious and exploratory, not really lost.

I think you could've explored dynamics more in the intro. I would've enjoyed it a lot more if it weren't so, eh, jarring. You used dynamics very well in other locations, though, such as the background synths in places like 1:14. You ought to use stuff like that in the future. i also loved the return of the glitches from 'The Fight'. Or at least, it sounded like them. :)

I think my biggest problem with this is its repetition. However, I guess if it's supposed to be an underwater level for a game, that's excusable. I just don't think that level of repetition is justified in a piece of music for music's sake.

However, great song. It could use a few tweaks here or there, and maybe be a little shorter, but it's amazing nonetheless.

johnfn responds:

This is a pretty great review, it gives me a lot to think about. Thank you.

I think you're right, I could have started with a fadein in the beginning. Right now having everything being equal volume makes the piece a little flat.

The song IS a little repetitive. I'm constantly working on striking the right balance between repetition and ... non-repetitiveness, I guess. Back when I wrote stuff like "The Fight" I would switch up the piece every 8 bars. While it was successful, I'm now more interested in exploring the idea of songs that sort of linger in the same space for a while. I think with a little more variation and movement on the synths that I currently have I could have cured it of the repetitiveness you mentioned.

Thanks for the great review. I think you raised a lot of valid points.

I agree with blue oceans when I say it doesn't feel like an underwater level.
It's still a fantastic peace nonetheless.
The melody and mixing is absolutely superb, something I can only dream of doing.
Keep up the amazing work!

johnfn responds:

Yeahh I've been thinking more about leaving my songs up to interpretation rather than explaining what I think they mean (which is kind of limiting). I can't really help with mixing but I've been thinking about writing some stuff up about how I mix. Despite what everyone thinks I think that mixing is a fairly straightforward process.

Thanks for the review.

Wow, this IS different than many of your other tracks! You really emphasized the harmonies more in this one. I love the structure, btw. The transition from energetic to pensive is done very well. However, I think when you transition back to a more energetic vibe at 3:29, it could be smoother. It got a little repetitive after a while, especially with the riff that pops in at 3:29 and other places. Also, for a piece that's so atmospherically driven, it ends a little suddenly. However, I must say I never got tired of the riff at :44 that just seems to encase the entire atmosphere of the piece. I think you did a good job with the dynamic contrast, too. Overall, of course, it's an excellent piece. Before I started listening to you, Johnfn, I didn't like chipstep that much (or maybe I didn't know exactly what it was), but either way all I know is that I'm a big fan of this style of music. Keep at it, Johnfn! ;D

johnfn responds:

It's funny you call the transition at 3:27. I agree with you but the one thing I do like a lot about this piece is how that 2:57 arp thing sort of fades out the middle section into the final section. The main problem with the transition is probably just that 3:29 repetitive melody. It's interesting how you say it's repetitive. While composing I figured it would just be one of those melodies that can't be repetitive because it's too simple and you'd hear it as just background noise (like the quick arps that kick off the piece). But after re-listening I agree with you. Learning things all the time. :D

Anywho thanks for the review. One final comment is about the genre of pieces like these. I normally put my pieces in the chipstep genre when they'd more traditionally fit into something like "chiptune", because the "chiptune" genre doesn't fit on here. But recently I dunno if this is even chiptune because it's using a lot of non chiptune elements too. It'd probably be closer to 9-bit, which is like chiptune that's been enhanced with sounds that aren't found in traditional chiptune.

Or maybe it's something totally different!

I think this song needs a lot more reverb, to give it that underwater feel. Right now, it doesn't sound like I'm in the sea.

I have problems with a lot of these synths. Some of them needs slight basic adjustments, and some of them need to be lower in volume or need to be softer. When you have so many different melodies and instruments playing at the same time, you can't just put them at all equal volume, it makes it hard to listen to.

The melodies in this song are excellent, I loved them all :D The drum beat was really good too and made the song very relaxing. Overall, I liked this song, but it needs some edits. I hope you will go back to make these changes, because this song has so much potential!

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johnfn responds:

Yeah there are some definite mixing errors in there with the synths lolz. I should have spaced things out frequency-wise better.

I'm always bad at coming up with titles. Most of this song is not the undersea part, it's only really the central section that I see as underwater (and then mostly just that one swirling synth). This song actually has a big story to it (which I didn't write about at all, like normal) and the underwater stuff is mostly metaphorical... it's complicated.

Maybe I should just name songs I can't name "untitled" or something LOL.

Anywho thanks. I'm sure that as I continue to buff up on sound design my mixing will improve consequentially :P or something

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Credits & Info


4.26 / 5.00

Jan 3, 2014
12:16 AM EST
File Info
4.2 MB
4 min 37 sec

Licensing Terms

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