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His Way

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Author Comments

This is my first submission for the 2014 AIM contest. For this song, I was inspired by this: http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/izzy-a/green-landscape

DAWs: Audacity, FL Studio 9

Live Instruments: Divan Saz, Voice

I wanted to go in a kind of minimalistic direction with this song. It's short and to the point, compositionally speaking. The vocals are supposed to sound crappy, for lack of a better word. That saz part is pretty fun to play. I had a hard time deciding whether or not I wanted to use any reverb, but I think it turned out well with it and filled out the pan.

I don't want to live an everlasting slumber
It's so beautiful to live
Every flower towers over earth that's under
It's not difficult to see the way
the way

In this life I dream of everlasting wonder
For when heaven calls my name
The Lord took my hand and raised me up from under
It's not difficult to see the way
His way


oh nice

Well this was something different the "VOICE" was actually notbad and the instrument was pretty good aswell, it all made for an interesting and unique sound so nice work there.

Some interesting sounds here, has an arabian sound and I would push that more for more of an unique feel.


Rahmemhotep responds:

Hey, thanks for droppin' a review. Praise the Lord!

I've been slowly trying to rework this song.

On this kind of track, the instrumental either has to be well or varied, or the vocals has to be good. Sorry, but I didn't feel like this track had any of this qualities. I understand that the vocals was supposed to sound crappy, but I didn't like that it sounded crappy :/. If they didn't this could have sounded pretty good.

I liked the lyrics though and the instrumental is a good backing track. Just feel like this could have become a lot better and I was kinda disappointed.


Rahmemhotep responds:

Varied? In the kind of music this is mainly influenced by there is barely any variation compared to other genres. In any case I've got some ideas that I'm trying out with this song, that may call for me to redo the low vocals on the first verse (to not do the random note thing and just sing it). It depends on if I change things to be more melodic or more percussive.

Well. Despite myself being an enthusiast when it comes to sound design and experimental music, I find myself in a difficult position to judge. While it's always nice to see people willing to venture in other directions attempting to expand their horizons, there's also a point where you must stop for a while and ask yourself if what you're experimenting with leads you to a better understanding or it's just another dead end in one's artistic life.

I'll be trying to clear the "nonsense" shown in the previous reviews and try to make some sense by breaking down every single element in the song.

The piece immediately starts with a slow beat reminiscent of slow jazz and even trip-hop, very minimalist as you say, nothing really extraordinaire about it. Then the "crappy" vocals start extolling the first verses accompanied by a hypnotic sound that drags for quite a lot of bars. I surprisingly have no complaints about the hi-hats, as they're not overpowering the mix and they don't stand out too much compared to that low whistle sound (I really don't know how to describe it). Even the idea of a Saz solo doesn't really grieve me to the point I start ripping my hair off.

So where's the problem?

The problem is that none of this catches my attention and I don't consider any of this, at the current state of things, to have some sort of cohesion between each element in the song. In fact I'm not saying it's a bad idea because it isn't, but its execution sounds like you've stopped caring at some point and decided to invest the bare minimum of your time on this. I can show you how your idea can potentially sound interesting and truly experimental in nature.

Starting with the vocals, you deliberately chose to deliver a "crappy" singing which sounds okay and catchy for a while, but why not making it even crappier? Put a lo-fi filter, distort your vocals a little bit, destroy your own voice and play around with glitch effects like retriggering, bitcrush and stereo panning. It can still be considered "minimalist" because you're only intervening on your own voice. I don't know if you're familiar with the Riddler trailer in Batman Arkham City -- the Riddler's voice is manipulated in such a way that it sends shivers down your spine, and even the acting by itself isn't spectacular, but the atmosphere that has been crafted around is spectacular.

Then come the drums. They're very stripped down to the basics, but I would have made them a little more present in the mix and gave them some more character, possibly by throwing in some jazz fills and brushes. What about distant atmospheres and effects? A broken music box in the distance, radio static, wind chimes... there are so many things you can just put in your mix and make it sound interesting, enigmatic, haunting in a sense and diverse.

What about an acoustic bass? Even by playing simple notes during the first stanza it's enough of a presence in the low end and it accompanies your drums greatly. During the Saz part, I would have personally added an ethereal background atmosphere and played various sounds in reverse, maybe even whispered vocals in the distance.

You see, it's not really about striving for minimalism or for a more direct compositional approach because my suggestions may sound verbose and complicated when written but are probably not when put in practice. If you can't communicate much, if you don't tell a story through the medium of sound, then it's over. I suggest you to completely disregard this rating, I'm just forced to because it's my temporary job in this contest. Keep improving upon your ideas and add subtlety in your works in order to let people think "Wait, what did he mean by that? Why did he use this?"
Go beyond your vision and try hard to achieve it. In the end, you'll be grateful to have done yourself a favor and extend your inner horizons.

Cheers mate

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Rahmemhotep responds:

Thank you so friggan much for actually giving real advice.

I like the way the vocals are now, but I wanted to put some vinyl record noise in there. Like, either as ambiance or make the drums sound like they are coming out of a vinyl on a gramophone, y'know?

I'm not sure about messing with the drums too much, as I'm actually kind of going in a more lounge/trip hop direction rather than straight Jazz, but I think that's worth looking into. I actually try very hard to not put the drums in loudly, because when I first started using beats it was all for rap/hip hop kind of music and once I started using it all the time my drums came out way too loud cuz I was used to the hip hop stuff.

I have thought about putting in maybe a little piano or something and I don't think putting in acoustic bass is a good idea when I already have a sub bass line. You have given me an idea, because I have played with putting in some sounds during the solo, but didn't like how they came out.

It's not about being minimal, or overtly experimental. I don't want to screw up the kind of feeling I was going for by putting in unnecessary instrumentation. I prefer to consider myself more in the realm of art music than experimental, but that's the kind of crowd I'm lumped into.

Thanks for the review!

The vocals need work, and the drum seems out of synch at some points. Not bad for a first submission.

Rahmemhotep responds:

What part of, "They are supposed to sound like crap" are you not getting? Doesn't anyone read descriptions anymore? Seriously, saying they need work when it's supposed to sound crappy due to an artistic expression that has been pre-established is laughable.

I have no idea where y'all are getting this 'out of sync' drums thing from. Do I have to post a picture of the sequence or what? I looked into it and there is nothing wrong.

I've been submitting since 2010. -_-

Is this for the Review club? Since when are you guys giving out crappy one liners with no real advice? My response is longer than your review!

The hihats really throw it off, they should be replaced. The snare and kick are ok though. I feel the vocals need some work as well with the singing melody, but not bad. The...whats that instrument called that comes in around 35 seconds in? It would've worked if it went with the melody but it clashes with the song. Minimalistic is one thing, but this needs more structure as it feels chaotic and empty. The drums at a few points off beat.

This has potential to be more, but needs a lot of work. Keep workin at it though, I like the idea, just needs some tweaking.

Rahmemhotep responds:

The vocals are supposed to sound crappy and off. I literally sang some of the lower vocals with random notes in the first verse and left it that way on purpose.
The drums being offbeat is an impossibility as they are electronically sequenced.
You don't hear the sub bass do you?

In any case, the saz is actually the melody, so saying that it doesn't go with the melody is a bit of nonsense. You are probably just not used to middle eastern music as the song is compositionally sound in that respect.

This song is an experimental fusion of different musics. This is the end product unless I feel like messing with mix (actually thinking of making the closed hi hat quieter). So this is what you get.

I've been making experimental music since 2007 and I am used to people not liking my tunes. :)

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Credits & Info


4.23 / 5.00

Mar 28, 2014
6:42 PM EDT
File Info
2.3 MB
2 min 0 sec

Licensing Terms

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