Darkest Hour

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My try for the Art Inspired Music Contest 2014.

My song was majorly inspired by this picture:


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Not bad... not great.

The composition is decent. The repetition is okay for maybe the first 30 seconds but after that it just gets annoying. There are hundreds of chords in existence, why not use a few! The lute-like instrument in the start could definitely use a more interesting arp or at least some variation every once in a while. The key to any good ostinati (loops) is variation! You MUST vary your ideas... even Philip Glass does!

Instrument-wise, it's fairly bare. I would have liked to hear more percussion... maybe some chimes/bells, hand drums, maybe tambourine. That would better help approach more of a medieval style than snare drum. I also missed some nice bass. I really suggest you check out the music for Age of Empires II, it reminds me a lot of this and was one of my inspirations for starting composing. :)

Mixing/mastering wise, it also needs some work. The reverb is a bit too wet and some instruments are poorly balanced. Experiment around more with different panning and effects to better spread and balance your ensemble. I understand you may be working with limited soundsets, but you can still do a helluva lot with limited resources, trust me.

Think of your mix in three levels: Foreground, Middleground, and Background. The foreground is the melody. Generally try to have something going on in the foreground 3/4ths of the time or so, but make sure to leave some time for the audience to appreciate the other components. The foreground is melodic, evolving, and likely lyrical. Regrettably many beginning composers do not add a true foreground to their piece, as it takes time to really understand how it functions. The middleground is your texture- arpeggios, countermelodies, and responses. The middle ground exists to "converse" with the foreground and create a feeling of accompaniment to an otherwise lonely song. The background is your chords and bassline and anything extraneous- ambiences, pads, etc. Mix accordingly so the foreground is in the front- clearest (i.e. least reverb), loudest, maybe closer to the center (maybe). Keep other things clear.

Maybe take some time to check out some medieval/renaissance music (most music we refer to as "medieval" is in fact renaissance). Stuff like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XvVtszPyTs (noting that that is dance music, there's still other music that's less on the happy side too).

Keep compos(ed/ing)!

My ratings:
Originality- 5/10
Relevance- 21/30
Composition- 15/25
Instrumentation- 7/15
Mastering- 4/10
Emotion/Interest- 5/10

Total: 57/100 (NG: 3 stars)

Feel that it was a bit too repetetive. some of the instruments are also a bit too loud.
I kinda got bored of the track at 1:40 as well.
Other than that it was pretty solid :D. Reminds me of Zelda so it really fits the image of a knight.
The instruments sound pretty clear as well.

3.5 stars

It's an interesting track, reminiscent of old adventure games, especially roguelikes and strategy games. It also oddly reminded me of Burzum in his electronic days, if you've ever heard of him.

Anyways, enough with the memorabilia. My only real complaint for this track is that it sounds quite loud to me, and I wish you had given to this piece a more dynamic range and a place for your ears to rest for a little while, possibly giving enough space for more atmosphere and instruments. It is important to give a fair amount of prominence to your instruments, especially if they tell a story, but it's also best to keep your sounds at a fair level so that one does not outshine the other. The drum hits, the crow sound effect, the flute-like instrument, they're all quite overpowering in the mix.
I enjoyed the composition overall, and it's a fairly evocative piece. Keep it up,

This song sets up a REALLY good atmosphere, I really don't know how to comment on it, but I really like it!
I especially love the choir!
The only problem is that it sounds very MIDI-ish (If that makes since) If you can, try to make it sound more natural.

SoTJake responds:

Hi, thanks for your review. Unfortunatly I don't have a sampler so most of my sounds are really MIDI sounds. But when they only sound MIDI-sh it is ok :)

Reminds me of old RPG music, interesting. Reminds me a little of Naruto music mixed with something I'd hear in an old RPG game I can't think of at the moment. Interestingly enough, it also reminds me of the original Metroid music as well. This reflects the piece very well! This would make great game music as part of the final mission music. I'd love to see this in an NG game someday!

It's like your traveling into the knight's mind, seeing his journeys. This paints more pictures than the one depicted alone! I have heard things similar to this but not exact, this is really interesting indeed. It's very unusual in a great way! My only comment is maybe more low end in the ambiance to make a more powerful carrying bass line to make the piece more intense. Other than that, this is near perfect. This is awesome, Love it. Good job.

Credits & Info


4.39 / 5.00

Mar 14, 2014
11:27 AM EDT
File Info
5.2 MB
2 min 18 sec

Licensing Terms

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