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Oh boy. This is a whole new level of being out of my comfort zone; I don't know how much effort I may have put into music in the past, but this is definitely the start of leaps and bounds above it. I don't even know what to say, after nearly 30 hours of work and many more thinking about it, but a nice farewell to summer and to mediocrity; Even if I'm not to make it past these group stages I fully believe that my effort won't be in vain and that this year was the best learning experience I had, both within myself and within the comfy interiors of FL and Finale.

This was written for the Group Stages of the Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch 2014.

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This is an NGADM Round 1 Review.

Your Score Breakdown:
Production: 21/30
Composition: 28/30
Orchestration: 13.5/15
Originality: 9.5/10
Interest: 14/15

Total: 86/100 or 8.6/10 or 4.5 stars (rounded).

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As a trombone player, I can certify that I would be playing on this track without question. :3

The composition of this track is quite incredible tbh. It has a nice Nimble sound, but unlike a lot of your previous works, voicings and levels are considerably better so there's a lot less harmonic confusion and a lot more clarity overall, giving me more reason to enjoy the composition and instrumentation going on. You do a lot to make sure that the track never becomes boring or stale, with nice contrasting parts, the solo section, and the nice ensemble sections. I really enjoyed how each instrument got to do its part in the harmonic and melodic construct of the piece- the voicings and lines were especially nice.

Something I feel you might want to consider is touching up on transitionary stages, such as 0:18 (drum fill? windchimes? pick-up?). The drums are doing a lot of grooving, but I feel some more fill-type stuff could help in places (and don't forget, guitar, bass, and piano, can all do awesome fills too). Aux percussion can also come in very handy here. I might suggest adding something like a tambourine or shaker during some parts just to add that extra feel.

Speaking of drums, your drum set is REALLY WEAK and QUIET. If you listen to someone like Trombone Shorty and his band (which this reminded me a lot of), they can be a very good example of a good mix for the acoustic elements you are working with (ex. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLfsLx04GjE, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRb3nM6q1Vg). Notice particularly how powerful the drums sit in the mix and where the engineers placed the instruments aurally to keep the parts from conflicting. Also notice what techniques are used to keep the melody on top of the mid-ground and background elements in the mix and the orchestration.

For some reason, I REALLY enjoyed the sound and feel of the brass/saxes. They just felt really good to me, I guess you worked really hard to get them to sound good, which is great. Also remember to explore instrumentation and voicing techniques and options that can also assist with realism when dealing with limited samples.

I think the next step for you is to take some time and try applying things like EQ and compression to channels, and just experiment around and see what they do. A word of caution- try to keep the reverb light, especially for this kind of close-mic'd sounding stuff, which is generally produced relatively dry, so be VERY CAUTIOUS with reverb. It's very tempting to just drown everything in reverb, but in the end you'll just end up with mud, especially with freeware or basic reverbs. With EQ, try playing around with increasing and decreasing certain parts of the instrument to get the tone you desire- more punch? Increase mid-highs. More roundness? Increase low-mids. etc.

Some things to watch out for:
- Mud: At 3:58 it's a little too busy, so things tend to blend and get stuck together in a not-good way.
- Crackles: 4:05 is one point where we have some crackleitis. Be careful with the gain knob- remember, compression can do a lot to bring in more of that punchiness without having to worry about crackles.
- Unclear Melody: At some points in the song, there are a lot of ideas and lines going on at once, which can be a great thing if mixed well or terrible if not mixed. This was not mixed well. Always make sure your melody is clear and is the most INTERESTING thing to the listener. If someone is playing a more interesting phrase at the same time as the melody that is louder, the ear will go there and not to the melody.

Keep up the good work!

This is an NGADM Round 1 Review.

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I'm going to say straight off that I think you should be very proud of this. I consider it one of your best works, namely composition-wise. Troisnyx put it best - your composition is simply STUNNING. The chord changes (4:13's got to be my favourite), the voicing, the progression, the melodies... I cannot stress enough how breathtaking this composition is. Another great thing about this track is how you use the instruments you've got. Your samples are bad, there's no denying that, but you use your instruments extremely well. The articulations such as the many grace notes, brass trills such as the one at 1:03, rises like 1:47 and drops like the ones at 2:35 increase the authenticity of this track. Your arrangement is on point, and both your foreground melodies and background accompaniment are written wonderfully.

But man, this is an absolute tragedy. Your mixing and sound quality just... isn't there. I can totally relate to how hard you try to make something great with your low-quality samples, because it's so apparent in the way you arrange the instruments, but in the end the sound quality is hurting this piece more than it should. A lot of instruments are considerably dry. 3:55's pause lacking a reverb tail is simply a testament to this. Some of the sounds you use are simply obnoxious and unpleasant, such as the synth that starts fading in at 1:15. The mix itself is a bit cluttered and could do with some better levelling, as sometimes background elements overshadow foreground elements, and other times background elements aren't clear enough. There's a lot of frequency clashing in the mids when the rhodes organ plays its chords too.

I feel like your production value and sound quality are putting down this track quite a lot, but I also feel like the composition in this is too good to leave unnoticed, so here's a high score from me. Great work.

SCORE: 8.3/10

Nimble responds:

To clarify 3:55 is a volume cut-out; There wouldn't be a reverb tail there regardless of it, but I do recognize the song definitely needs some reverb.

I definitely tried EQing and mixing the piece, much to my dismay i'm still not very good at it; only way to get better at it is to attempt to do it well. It's definitely something I'll have to focus on if I want to get ANY better because honestly the composition portion is already there - what fails me is how to mix and master; I just haven't put in the time to study and analyze what and how to mix well as much as I have when it comes to studying music theory, and I can accept that going into the future as I will put in the effort to study the other half. I'm glad you're impressed with the composition, but you're right about production - I can't keep ignoring it for any longer. Thank you for the review Step, I really appreciate it. :)

Right off the bat, I notice a drop in sample quality, which could be countered with the right reverberation, and possibly the right instrument volume. Both these things give a great sense of depth. I hardly hear basses in some sections, either because it's tinny, or because to my ears it's ducked behind the synth. BooBass? It sounds like that to me......

Speaking of which, the low synth that you've used gives a sense of warmth, life and depth. Towards the end I find that the sense of depth is missing.

That aside: your rhythms, chords and melodies are STUNNING. Your piece is one of the more musically sound ones for this round. I favourited this piece because of just how much variety there is in it, and there are sections I can remember and sing to. You weren't kidding when you said your effort for this one went up by leaps and bounds. Some sections give me a feel straight out of Final Fantasy X-2, which is nothing to be ashamed of: I thoroughly enjoy that game's soundtrack. The bass moves quite playfully too, which is something I'd love to hear in more songs, and you nailed it quite well.

Overall wonderful piece, but I somehow feel there needs to be a "bigger" sound, so to speak, about this piece. Dance-hall reverb perhaps?

4/5.

Nimble responds:

Upon looking at this and testing it out in FL -

JESUS CHRIST

I need to get better at this whole 'mixing' thing. I'm glad you appreciate the composition. Thanks for the listen :)

Great song! The chorus part especially, at least that is what I thought of the part around 1:20 and the end as. The synth you used there had a liveliness to it that the samples just didn't have. Good jazzy samples are really hard to come by, Sample Modeling's libraries come to mind.

The solo section was very good, and sounded like a jazz players improv. Nice job and good luck :)

Nimble responds:

Sample Modeling's libraries are really nice, I'm going to keep a nice eye on them from here on out. Thanks for the listen, I really appreciate it :)

This track just makes happy ;) It´s chilly and I definetely like the jazzy parts. I can really hear how much effort you put in this track, especially on the melodies and countermelodies. Also I think you improved a lot here since the last track I heard from you! Good work. Actually I think the track would improve a lot if you could use some better samples. But I don´think this is a reason to jude on a track so I give a five. I really wonder how the judges will judge on the completely different stiles of music in our group ;) Anyway, good luck here!

Nimble responds:

Thanks man, I'm glad you appreciate the piece! with a group as mixed as ours I can't wait for all of our tracks to be out. Good luck to yourself :)

Credits & Info

Nimble
Author

Listens
1,081
Faves:
3
Downloads
19
Votes
5
Score
4.40 / 5.00

Uploaded
Aug 17, 2014
5:11 PM EDT
Genre
Fusion
File Info
Song
10.5 MB
4 min 36 sec
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Licensing Terms

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