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Pareidolic War


Author Comments

Although different some of the parts may seem, they're all interconnected as in they wouldn't have existed without the other.

The drums were performed by my mentor which I also give thanks for allowing me to use his equipment for this piece--Eric Yoder at Horse-Drawn Productions.

EDIT: For a better remixed version with an elongated epilogue, listen here:

Thought it best to leave both versions available.

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This was a good song, then 1:42 kicked in and it became a great song. Wonderful.

Phonometrologist responds:

Thanks! Although I hate this version now after I re-mixed it. Wanted to keep this version up though for the sake of reflecting what other people's reviews on it were. And yeah that is my favorite part too

This is a NGADM Round 1 review!
I really enjoyed this, I can feel the different emotions as the piece goes from one section to the next and its theme is persistent throughout despite the changes.
Mix: 6.5/10
A trick I've found over the years is that no matter how good your composition is, when it comes to such changes as your piece displays, good mixing is absolutely vital to helping it flow. Despite the change in direction or style, every section needs to fill the same area of the sonic spectrum or, at the very least, fade well. Keep this in mind for next time and I'm sure even you will realise that your transitions are decent in terms of composition, but maybe not in terms of the mix.
Quite a few years ago, a new musical acquaintance said to me "hmm... you're a musician but you're no producer". At the time I was kind of upset but after about a year working my ass off I understood what he meant. You need to see your song from different perspectives to realise what's missing and take it to the next level and part of this is in how the piece flows (on an audio level). That is the role of the producer. The musician or composer just makes the music, the producer makes the finished product.
Step has already highlighted the issues with the mix quite well so I won't waste any more of your time with my silly anecdotes.

Composition: 8.5/10
Like I said, the transitions are decent, but not exceptional. On that bombshell, I will now shower you in praise so you don't think I'm an ass. ;)
Actually I really enjoyed this track. The heavy piano made me smile (damn I love piano), the intro reeled me in fast and I didn't feel like any section of the song was unnecessary. You showed off some real talent in your composition, your melodies especially were the highlight of this piece. You also made great use of the dynamics to add extra depth (damn, that piano again, so juicy). It's a very powerful composition and doesn't rely too much on that "typical" trailer feel despite having several "epic" moments. The section at 2:30-ish was also a fantastic idea, it gave a lot of relief after a rather long, louder section. Variety and variation are vital (see what I did there?) and you've nailed that.

Honestly, if I didn't have to be so brutal (NGADM demands it) I'd give you a higher score, but I have to make the 9s and 10s worth it, so I gave you a 7.5/10. Excellent work all the same, Phonometrologist!

Phonometrologist responds:

Variety and variation are vital I agree. Good use of alliteration there ;-)
To be honest, I'm already sick of this piece, and I'm ready to move on to something different. Though, I should still properly mix and master this now that I have the time to do so.
Your critique has given me motivation to do some further research in production. I do consider myself first a composer, second a pianist, and who knows if I'll ever get to have the time and endurance to be an engineer down the road.
Your review has left me wanting. I understand the principals that you mentioned here, but when you mention the sonic spectrum, in a practical sense, I'm not so sure how to apply it. To see it with a different perspective. I know it's not just the instrumentation because the instruments used do fill the low, mids, and highs. Perhaps not balanced so well as of right now, but I'm speaking merely as trying to find the tools for this sort of job and to use it effectively.
And if you stopped right after the "Mix" paragraph, I would have not thought of you as an ass. I want truth, and a review from someone that speaks with integrity should be appreciated more. Even though I have to admit that sometimes it is hard to take. Have to take it with gratitude.
So thank you

This is an NGADM Round 1 Review.


You know, after hearing your audition and seeing that you got through I considered you one of the best underdogs of the contest. Your audition was highly expressive and atmospheric, and guess what? This track follows suit. You've got this extremely expressive, flowing compositional style, with unpredictable and pretty brilliant chord progressions, and enough variety to keep the listener interested for 4 minutes and a half. In the atmosphere department this piece doesn't fall short either. The pad in the intro set the tone of the track perfectly, and the reverse reverb you used to introduce the piano was a nice touch! My favourite part would be the ending. The way you introduced the drums and the high strings delievered a pretty breathtaking climax without you needing to go overboard at all. Beautiful work over there!

Your production, in some ways, is good. The mix is clear and the levelling is mostly good. I think you overused reverb on some of the background elements, except the drums which conversely sound somewhat dry. The high strings carrying the melody could overall be louder as they seemed pretty distant compared to everything else, particularly at 1:40. While there seems to be some controversy about your piano in the intro, I'll ultimately have to agree that your piano sound is a bit harsh and turning down the velocities of the individual notes would, in my opinion, fit a lot more effectively in your supposedly atmospheric intro. Even in your audition, I had the exact same problem with the piano! Lastly, I feel like the climax could do with a bit more depth in the low end, but that's probably personal preference.

Compositionally, I can't fault this, but the production value isn't quite there. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Great work!

SCORE: 8.7/10

Phonometrologist responds:

I have to first commend you for writing such in-depth reviews for every piece in this contest. I'd be surprised if you can even find the time to reading all the replies you get from these so I'll keep it brief for you.
After reading this review, seeing your most generous score, and reading your recent post, I realize that you're just a lover of music. That it doesn't matter so much to you if the music is too different from what you would have written or listen to, but rather if the piece maintains a sense of integrity and moves the listener in some capacity, you seem to still be able to have that appreciation.
Your critiques are well noted, and I will make adjustments to that piano when I remix it. Thank you so much

You caught me already at the intro. The mood is perfect.
After that, all the other parts are filled with great stuff too. Not only the melodies and the chords, but the choises of (and uses of) instruments are amazing.
I feel like I'm not only listening to a song, but that I'm told a story, which is how music often works :D
The ony thing I could criticise is that I might've added just a tiny bit more reverb to the drums when they were used more as an addition to the atmosphere (like 2:38 and a while after that). I might totally be wrong in thinking so though.
Really, awesome job with this piece, and I wish you luck in the contest!

Phonometrologist responds:

That’s really interesting that you say the instrument choices and the use of them are good. I’ve gotten mixed reviews about the instruments that I used here. I suppose it’s because when it comes to Orchestral instruments, the goal is to get them sounding as real and authentic as one possibly can, but when you add synths to that, it detracts away from the realness of how it sounds as a whole. Not sure if or how I could help that and maybe it’s more subjective as well. Whatever the case may be, I didn’t have much time experimenting in tweaking the sounds, but also, I didn’t look at this totally as an orchestral piece, nor did I look at this as an electronic piece either. I didn’t really give much thought into the style of it, and the instruments used is what I felt/heard needed to be added for this piece in particular.
For the drums, I just used the room mics for the reverb. Trust me, they sound really dry if I didn’t turn those mics up, but I do know what you mean hence I added a little bit of delay in the beginning of them. Perhaps when I remix this, I will experiment more on the room mics to see how much I can put emphasis on those without making it sound too distant. Thank you for the review—creates a good variety of opinions on this piece as you helped balance it out I suppose. I would have been interested in reading more the kind of story that you felt was being told to you.

Alright, the mixing is a little off. Alright, the VSTs are not so great. But I don't even care because the section starting around 3:00 may be the single best minute of music I've heard this NGADM, and it's not for lack of competition.

I do feel like the ending is a little off, like instead of building to this grand finale it kinda fizzles, but I do remember you saying you were rushed and out of time. I do hope you get to the next round though, because it sounds like the 2 week schedule is good for you :-)

Phonometrologist responds:

Well I never was big on endings (pun intended). You never know how much further the peak may be, and I'm not just talking about music here, and rarely does one get a climatic ending let alone even aware of when it will be the end. That being said, I did plan originally for at least 2 more minutes of music even with a different section. It also seems to fizzle at the end because I didn't really use a traditional way to end it as one would want to to get that feeling of completion. It ends with a diminished seven of five chord, and when I get to the fifth, I avoided emphasis on the third note and I didn't even add the seventh note to make it a dominant seventh chord. Maybe it wasn't the right choice, but my reason is stated. So the ending was a combination of time and the choice to make it that way because of a lack of time. See the symbolic nature in that, ha. The next two weeks should be better if given the opportunity as I won't have the excuse of going camping during one of those weekends. Also, PirateCrab is worthy to enter the next round so I wouldn't be surprised that this would be my last entry for this contest.
I appreciate the kind word in regards to minute 3:00--very encouraging.
I would be really interested to to read about which VSTs you have in mind. I think I might be a bit oblivious to which ones could be better. Initially, I thought about the synths that was used, but even the strings could be said for it too. So I would really be interested in knowing what I need to do as I'm not sure if it's more because of the libraries being used or rather my use of them. Send me a PM. Also, it takes me a long time to compose, so it's really hard to try and mix something in a relatively short time because my ears are so wet. This project was good for me obviously because of that purpose in meeting a deadline.

Credits & Info

4.76 / 5.00

Aug 18, 2014
10:56 PM EDT
File Info
10.3 MB
4 min 30 sec

Licensing Terms

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