Cracked Pavement

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It's Round 1 of the 2014 Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch. This is the Group Stage, where three artists per group will be instantly and irrevocably eliminated. How exciting!

So here's an almost surprisingly short fusion of Jazz, Funk, and pretty much whatever else I felt like tossing in. Hope you dig it. Hey, if you do, let me know with a quick review. That would be right brilliant of you.

I would like to wish the absolute best of luck to everyone who has entered NGADM 2014! Simply having the (proverbial) stones to enter this intense competition makes you a winner in my book, whether you made it past the Audition phase or not. Excelsior!

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Good funky melodies and solid blending, although I think you can do better with this track. In fact, I suggest you try a remix, or at least experiment to improve, with better instrument sounds. The bass is too quiet, and the guitar could sound better. :)

ChronoNomad responds:

Thanks for the feedback, SFJ! Yeah, there's so much more that I could have done with this track with more time and better samples, so it's definitely a candidate for future improvement or a remix makeover. Blast the epicness of my Skullcandy headphones, making the bass sound *too* good! At least I know now to use my speakers to figure out the best levels for bass going forward. Live and learn!

This is a NGADM Round 1 Review.

First, here's the breakdown of my score for you:
Production: 22/30
Composition: 25/30
Instrumentation: 13/15
Originality: 9/10
Interest/Emotion: 12/15

Total: 81/100 or 8.1/10 or 4 stars
The Good:
- I love the performances! Compositionally and performance-wise, the piece is very good!
- It's catchy and doesn't wear out my ear even after 10 listens.
- The middle-ground and background elements are very solid- I really like all the arps, chord voicings, and ostinati that are going on and they really fit well and were selected well.
- There's a great feeling of flow between parts. Everything makes sense where it is.

The Not-So-Good:
- The sounds... The samples mostly feel pretty soundfonty and old-school. That could be the feel you are going for, of course.
- The bass is soo quiet! Be careful mixing bass especially when using consumer-grade speaker systems or consumer-grade headphones like Beatz because they tend to boost up the bass!
- The ending could use some revising... It's pretty weak and feels more like a "oh shit, I gotta figure out a way to stop doing this... let me just uh... there we go" sort of thing.

Keep compos(ed/ing),

ChronoNomad responds:

Thanks, Samulis! I was getting a bit antsy waiting so long for your review, but you know what? It was definitely worth waiting for. I really appreciate your methodology for reviewing; it's very understandable and concise while maintaining a good balance of professionalism and fun. Er, now it almost sounds like I'm reviewing your review, and that's maybe a bit convoluted. Okay, moving on...

There's a bunch of stuff that you really like, and that just plain makes me happy and validates my entry into this competition regardless of how far I got. The track itself was very fun to make, and I like to think that it's self-evident to a careful listener. I love that you said you find it to be catchy, and the fact that it doesn't lose impact after repeated listens is quite the compliment. Not much else to say about The Good, honestly; just really glad that you like what you do. :)

The old-school vibe is indeed what I was going for; using a Wurlitzer piano for one of my main instruments pretty much guaranteed it, I think. I had a bunch of fun, old-school Jazzy stuff in my head, and that was pretty much what came out. As far as the bass goes, it's most likely just what you mentioned...my Skullcandy headphones probably have extra good fidelity and/or boosted bass. I'll take what you've said to heart and try mixing the bass using my speakers in the future. Aaaaand you pretty much nailed that last thing. I had to finish the track, didn't have much time to work on it, so the ending is admittedly rushed. I still think it's good, but not great...I simply had too many things on my plate already and tossed NGADM on the side. It was fun and completely insane, but I'm totally glad I did it. ^__^

Thanks again for all of this fantastic feedback, Samulis! I'll get back to composing when things can slow down, and I'll be trying to get in a little bit here and there, but I always do my utmost to remain composed. Your review is thoroughly appreciated, and I wish you all the best!

This is an NGADM Round 1 Review.


ChronoNomad! Just like I said to johnfn, I missed reviewing your music, since not only is each piece of yours a memorable and highly enjoyable listen with rock-solid composition, but your review responses are always really insightful and a pleasure to read! Anyway, I'm here to talk about the music and that is precisely what I will do. This has to have some of my favourite melody, harmony, and voicing/instrumentation work from you. Your sense of composition is simply astounding. Particular things I enjoyed would be how effortlessly you share the responsibility of carrying the melody around various instruments in a call-and-response fashion, the breathtaking melody at 0:50 and its flowing continuation at 1:01 and then again at 1:12, and the transition up to 0:50. The glissando on the piano in that particular transition was a truly brilliant touch. You can tell the song is reaching a high point there with the excitement offered from the cymbal rolls, and then you let all that tension go with a beautifully-placed glissando into your wonderful melody.

I've said it countless times before and I'll say it again. You are in dire need of better samples. I mean, if I had the money to spare, I would buy something like East/West VSTs for precisely three NGADM competitors - you, Troisnyx and Nimble. The sample quality just isn't there I'm afraid. It would be, in my opinion, unjust to lower your score simply for you not having better quality samples, but I do think you could have done more with your samples. Pardon the comparison, but if you'll listen to Nimble's track, while it has far more mixing issues than yours does (I'd say your mix is actually quite fine!), it simply uses poor samples better than yours does. Yours comes off as sounding pretty MIDI-like (especially in the less complex sections like the intro), and while Nimble's isn't perfect, it contains very convincing and natural trills, articulations and grace notes, which did wonders to humanisation. It's a leap I wish your track took. Apart from that, this is sadly too short! The ending was approached pretty well (although I would've liked more of a ritardando at the end and a longer final note), but it ended up sounding premature since just as the track was really hitting the spot, you finished it!

This has to be my longest Round 1 review! Had a lot to say. Anyway, it's been a pleasure having you on the 2014 NGADM and thanks for the spectacular listen.

SCORE: 8.4/10

ChronoNomad responds:

I'm honestly more than a bit surprised that this particular piece has been so widely accepted and done as well as it has. Even though I frequently enjoy traversing over, around, and through genre barriers on a regular basis, this still feels like a pretty big departure from what I'm generally known for doing. The other issue, which you actually addressed as being a bit problematic, is the overall length of the track. Due to extremely severe constraints upon my time, I just didn't have the chance to flesh this out as much as I would have liked. Nevertheless, considering what I had to work with, I'm actually pretty happy with the way this came out in most aspects. All the parts that I'm completely in love with are the touches that impressed you the most, and that is both reassuring and just plain validates my decision to enter the NGADM in the first place.

I had a strong feeling that Troisnyx's beautiful musical offering would own the round, and - rather unsurprisingly - I was right! Frankly, I'm as happy for her as I would be for myself, and I don't even feel as though I lost even though I didn't win. I've got a lot of truly amazing things going on in my life right now, so there's nothing to complain about! My cup runneth over. ^__^

On another interesting note, it's actually kind of fortuitous that I didn't make it past this round since my main computer, the one with FL Studio and all my assets, decided to have a complete system failure over the past few days. The machine I'm on right now is old and slow, so attempting to install the tools and successfully make music would undoubtedly be an insufferable trial that would almost certainly end in disaster. I don't have much to say about the quality of my samples at this time since it's basically all been said before; it is what it is...for now. My funds (such as they are) currently go toward high priority areas of an even more long-term and life-altering variety. I am content. Also excited and more than a bit freaked out. But hey, that's what upcoming nuptials do to a bloke! ;D

So, in conclusion, you already know how much I appreciate the heck out of your reviews, but it always bears repeating: thank you for so much glorious feedback! You excel at offering up insight and criticism in a positive light. I really didn't want to have to turn down the offer from yourself and Echo to be a judge, and maybe I'll be able to make up for it during next year's competition. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to give the appropriate amount of time and effort to the job, and considering how much exhaustive time and effort goes into planning a wedding ceremony, reception, and honeymoon...I stand by my decision 100%!

Thank you for another unforgettable NGADM. Did I mention that I'm composing the music for when my bride walks down the aisle? So much to do. So little time. Life is an adventure! I love it. It has most assuredly been my pleasure, and I am overjoyed that you are able to enjoy a little piece of my heart and soul set to music. Excelsior!

awesome! so smooth i love it, great melody, nice job, goodluck on the NGADM.
- Pandasticality

ChronoNomad responds:

Thanks a bunch, Pandasticality! Glad that you enjoy the jam. Best of luck to you, as well! :)

I can't say what this reminds me of, apart from a throwback to dance hall kind of jazz. Regardless, my fiancé and I listened to it, and I've gotta say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It may be just me, but I was listening to this on 2.1 speakers -- and I didn't notice anything amiss with the sample quality. There is much variety to be found here, and that piano is brill. Sparkly highs and solid lows and mids; I like that sound.

I cannot preempt what the judges will say, nor can I properly say for myself what's lacking here, especially with my mixing ability (or lack thereof).... regardless, I commend you for your outstanding musicality. All the best to you. : )

ChronoNomad responds:

Wow, thank you so very much, Troisnyx! Suffice to say, I'm fairly blown away with all the positive reaction to this track. I enjoy experimenting in a wide variety of genres, as well as mixing and matching at will, but this is just so different that I figured it would end up getting positively hammered with negative reviews. Oh my goodness, was I wrong! And you know what? That makes me extremely happy. ^___^

Happy to be wrong. Weird, huh? C'est la vie. I'm funny like that...

No one knows what the judges will do or who will continue in this crazy Audio Deathmatch, but what I do know is that I sincerely appreciate your kind words and thoughtful review. My cup runneth over no matter what the outcome may be, and I will be ecstatic for whomever continues on to the next round. Excelsior!

Credits & Info


4.41 / 5.00

Aug 16, 2014
2:23 PM EDT
File Info
2.4 MB
1 min 44 sec

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