I like the vocals at the beginning, but the transition into the more string-oriented part was a little sudden. I think you did a nice job integrating all of the other instruments in there, and then integrating the choir back in at 1:23. It's a beautiful piece, contemplative and pleasant. I think at times it seems to lack direction a bit, as in the middle minute or so (1:30 to 2:30 or so). I think the guitar comes in a bit suddenly, but it certainly adds a greater sense of direction and intensity to the piece. Your sense of harmonic and melodic development is good, and I like how you conclude the piece with a slightly more tranquil vibe as well. I thought for a second there that you might use the cliché "final guitar chord and let the reverb do the work" method. That transition (into the more tranquil ending) was effective, but I challenge you to find better ways of integrating the two sides to this piece (graceful orchestral and angry rock-and-roll) early on. Overall though, great work! Perhaps your mixing is not the best (for example, the guitar at :59 really gets buried under the strings), but overall, I like it a lot! Keep up the good work, Possibly! ;D
This is a NGAUC review.
Right off the bat, I hear choirs... which could sound wider, wetter and more humanised. They sound like Vocaloids without any volume changes........
Your instrumentation is good, and not out of place. Your chords and sense of tonality are alright. I can see the vision of what you are trying to compose.
But your mixing and lack of volume control throw the whole thing out of balance.
Now imagine this being performed in a room. You wouldn't have the instruments playing at the same volume with each note, would you? You'd vary each note's volume in the piano roll, to achieve the desired effect. Then, you'd add the necessary reverberation, to make it sound like it's been played in a natural setting. For the choirs in particular, you'd imagine the conductor would instruct them to go loud and soft in some places.
Then come the uses of volume envelopes. Some parts in the song would be soft early on, and then getting progressively louder. Tempo envelopes also could be used to that effect, for instance with the choirs, if you want them to sound solemn.
Mixing is also about recognising the frequencies of each individual instrument, and making sure they do not overlap (so that they don't get 'swallowed'.) For instance, your drums are barely audible, and sometimes other instruments tend to overlap (strings and vocals, etc.). Then this is where equalisation comes in. Give each instrument its best frequency range (for instance, basses about 50Hz, drums about 100 Hz or slightly higher, and so on and so forth) until each can be clearly heard.
I feel painfully for this piece because I can imagine its epicness already. I can hear the final result in my head. But it sounds heavily automated, very much like the humanisation work isn't done.
Thanks for taking the time to review.
Yeah, I was trying to treat them as 'phantasmagoric instruments' so for me there was to be a certain sense of the timbre as a whole with individual instruments emerging from the depths only to subside.
I will take on board your points about the volume and mixing etc and your more general points as well - I have to admit, that in terms of the volume, specifically the choirs I had deliberately curbed the variance in volume as it just wasn't working as points of emphasis, I found the more subtle changes worked better for me, but I take your point that it's not quite there for you. It's only the second time I have used them, and this is better than the first at any rate.
The drums as well, I kind of just wanted them there, accenting but not dominating. I'll come back and take a more objective look down the line perhaps.
The actual title I was working with was 'minds, like hearts, break' but I didn't use it for fear of my pretensions being too much on show, but perhaps if I had used it, that would have placed more of a limit on your feeling painfully for a particular brand of epic.
I only used automation a couple of times - but I think this was more related to an artificiality you heard which I will definitely consider in future.
I wouldn't make any claims to being fantastic or perfect in any particular regard - but some of the flaws you mention were stylistic choices, rightly or wrongly.
Anyway, thanks again for the review, I'll certainly bear it in mind in future.