Oh wow, LunacyEcho! This is really something. Thanks a lot for such a huge review!
"I love the flute intro."
Flute (or in this case piccolo) and high strings for the intro is almost overused in a lot of music that's supposed to give off a majestic kind of feeling haha. I was worried it'd sound a bit cheesy, but in hindsight I'm pretty happy with it.
"The whole song is really progressive, and twenty seconds of a single thing is a bit of an outlier. :P"
Oh man you're right haha. I can't argue, totally a fault on my part.
"the mini-climax at 0:40 seems a bit anticlimactic, regarding what follows it."
That was actually intended. I wanted the first 20 seconds or so to signify the people waking up on the day of the festival, then up till 0:40 signifies them noisily gathering to the town centre, excited. Right at 0:40 they suddenly become silent as they notice the flutist begin his performance. That was kind of the idea I had in my head when I made that. However, I almost ALWAYS follow up a buildup with a suitable climax so I have like zero experience with anticlimaxes. Maybe I could've executed it better!
"The sound of people celebrating (at least, I think it is) at 0:59 and 1:32 really helps sell the idea of a festival day where people are excited to go outside and have fun!"
Oh man you noticed the 0:59 one. Nice! I thought that was almost too subtle for people to recognise it haha. 1:32 is a little more obvious, needless to say. I'm glad you liked the idea!
"I can see why you really enjoyed samulis’ trombone and voice at 1:13 - it really adds so much to the jumpiness of the track. You’d expect them to be buried in the mix, but you did a really good job with the mixing - everything is clear, so we can fully appreciate your instrumentation."
I am very fond of the work samulis did for this track. I totally agree with how it adds jumpiness. Before he added his stuff, it sounded almost like a pretty standard epic orchestral fare, but his trombone and voice gave it a more... I dunno... authentic kind of feeling, I guess? Not sure how to explain it but to me it did a great job of metaphorically transporting the song from being played in some concert or cinema to being played at an actual festival with musicians and singers.
The point about mixing really relieves me since I get in mini personal battles with myself on how to balance the levelling of recorded instruments and vocals. On the one hand, they sound great and add a super authentic flair to the track. On the other hand, they're not processed heavily in a professional studio like some East/West sample would be, so it's up to me to make sure they're mixed in well, something which I'm fairly insecure about. Samulis had to help me with the levelling of the trombone especially haha.
"I wish you’d focused on the flute more past 1:32!"
I definitely could have! I thought I gave the flutes enough love throughout the track so I decided to end the track on a guitar and harp duet. Like I said to Ceevro below you, my version of the VST didn't have many articulations implemented yet, but I think if they were I would've played around with them more especially in the ending.
"The blown bottle sounds at 1:50 are really intriguing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that sort of thing featured prominently in a song before."
Oh damn, that's a good ear you have there. I knew I put in blown bottle sounds somewhere but I wasn't sure where, but you found the precise section which they play in. Nice one!
"And then comes the ending."
LOL you make a good point about the whole NGADM thing. I actually have a pretty clear mentality about fade endings though. I think that in some situations where, as the composer, you want to end the track with a feeling of continuity, I think they can be tasteful. In this case, I didn't want it to sound like the festival just finishes abruptly (like I did in the first version) but I wanted to die it down and feel like the festival is still going. So I felt like the best approach would be a fade ending. Most of the time, fade endings just sound like lazy cop-outs to avoid writing a proper ending, so I often dislike them, but there are times when I agree with it as a stylistic choice, like in this track: http://goo.gl/iMx0pb
"Honestly, I prefer this one to your first song. Maybe it’s because of the picture you used?"
There is an explanation for that green backdrop. This track was originally intended to be a soundtrack for a grasslands/medieval theme in a game, so I chose some generic green backdrop. When I came to extend it, I decided to give it more festival-like qualities, what with the vocal chants, claps, trombone, etc, and therefore felt like I could've given it a more suitable icon. Still, not going to lie, in both cases it was just me lazily fishing around in Google images hahaha.
"Thanks again on all the work you do in the NGADM! All the hard work you put in is sure making a ton of people really happy."
That means a lot. It really is my pleasure!
Sorry for such a large response haha. I'm very happy you enjoyed this, and good luck with your own music.