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Can Your Cow Do This?

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My NGADM Round 2 submission

More dubstep... :T

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This has ended up being one of my all time favorite dubstep songs...

This is a NGADM Round 2 Review

First, a breakdown of my score:
Production: 27/30 (Great)
Composition: 23/30 (Above Average)
Instrumentation: 13.5/15 (Great)
Originality: 8/10 (Above Average)
Interest: 10/15 (Average)

Total: 81.5/100 or 8.15/10 or 4 stars (Above Average)
The Good:
- Really professional sounding production. Great work! This track just shines all around no matter what I listen to it on.
- The cow sound was entertaining, but I would have liked it to be more prevalent in the piece, even just one or two more times. It feels more like a easter egg than an actual gag.

The Not-so-good:
- The piece doesn't really stick in my head. It's sort of... well, just exactly what a great dubstep track should be. Aside from the moo gag, there's really nothing remarkable about it aside from it being well crafted.
- As a whole, the piece managed to not *really* overstay its welcome, but it was on the verge of it. Be careful about how long you make your pieces without having periods of strongly contrasting music to balance it out.

Keep compos(ed/ing)!

This is an NGADM Round 2 Review.


Wow, that has to be the beefiest mix from the whole round, maybe rivalled by the likes of garlagan, SolarexMusic or PirateCrab. But really, the raw thump in the drums, the upfront power of the synths and the inexorable aggression in your dubstep bass are very formidable. Unlike MetalRenard, I think this sounds sweet at high volumes because it really highlights the raw sonic intensity of the sound palette you've provided here. I genuinely love the production value of your tracks, and I'm not wary of turning my volume up just to fully experience the really nifty sound manipulation such as the mini sub bass dropping in pitch at parts like 1:20 or the crisp high end you added to the snare at 3:40.

One thing I think you did particularly well in this track, and definitely better than your opponent(s), is control the rise and release of power through more satisfying buildups. Buildups like the ones leading up to 0:54 and 2:44 are simply fantastic. While it's a tried-and-true dubstep technique to build up a lot of intensity only to let it all go with some vocal sample playing on its own, followed by the bass dropping, I don't think it's ever been done with a cow sound before, or at the very least it's not something you hear everyday, I'll give you that! I admit it gave me a laugh and I will henceforth remember this track as "the cow song" because of it. The way you played a drum roll at 2:44 instead of another moo like we were all expecting, and then got the moo in later, was also very clever!

It's sometimes kind of lame to post a review after so many helpful ones were listed under it since you end up just repeating a lot of the same thing, but yeah... I agree that the actual melodies could do with some work. The only melody which I actually enjoyed was 0:42 but you rely on it as your almost sole source of an actual melody, repeating it a lot when it's actually showcased and trudging through copious amounts of sound processing and effects when it's not. Some more interesting melodies would really take this track places, and really, the melodic aspect is the only thing that's lacking (except I thought your chords were a bit loud at times but that's a minor levelling issue). Other aspects of the composition such as structures and transitions are great, which is a refreshing improvement from your Round 1 track.

That's my opinion on it. Regardless, I think it's one of the stronger submissions this round. Very solid work; keep it up!

introstalge responds:

Thanks Step for the in-depth review, I really appreciate your encouragement and criticism. I will be working really hard on my composition in the future and hopefully can make some cool stuff/

And thanks for holding the NGADM as always, it was awesome to be able to participate this year!

This is a NGADM "Round of 16" Review!
It looks like I scored you the lowest out of all the judges. That's always a bit awkward when you have to leave a detailed review too. Well, here goes.
I guess some of it is personal bias, I find lots of the sounds in dubstep quite jarring and unless you mix it really well they come off quite harsh. Your mix is good, indeed. The drums are full, the backing synths are awesome and I love the lead sound, so awesome.

Sadly during the signature dubby bits (if that's a thing) I feel like you underestimated the power of a pure synth to blow out ear drums since their perceived volume is so much higher than a complex sound. What I mean by this is that an electric guitar won't sound as loud as a sine wave because its sound is full of harmonics and the distortioin throws those all over the place too whereas a pure sine wave or something similar seems so much louder.

tldr: What I'm trying to say is that I had to turn your song right down to listen to it, not because it was loud but because the differences from moment to moment in perceived volume made my ears hurt.

What I did like is the variation from section to section. I also think you're really good at making melodies and backings that fit really well together. That backing wouldn't have been complete without that melodie and vice versa. Complete synergie between the two.

Congrats on making it this far in the competition, it's been really tough and you did admirably. Keep it up!

introstalge responds:

Not awkward at all. I was actually hoping you'd be allocated to Group D so I could see in which areas I need to improve! Thanks for picking apart the positives and negatives, it has been very encouraging to read as well as informative. I will try to work my mixing even more for my future tracks. Thank you for the detailed review and also for being a judge for this year's NGADM :)

Heh, I can imagine a cow on stage with shades and Skrillex hairdo.

I agree with johnfn though. It seems too simple and there's areas of the track that leave me filling like it's empty. The sounds you have are amazing. I wish I could make the synths you're using, and they have such flavor. When the composition is full, it gives an amazing feeling. It's content that I'd be willing to listen to on repeat for hours.

OMG that bass synth at 02:46 is so sick! It's amazing.

Overall it feels slightly repetitive, leaves something to be desired, but there's such good awesomeness when it happens. My suggestion is that it needs another pad or something to eat up some of the empty space. For example, 01:51. The chord progression is powerful, but with how it's structured, it needs either a pad in the background or a melody that coats the top like thin frosting.

I sure would love to know what you're doing for these synths. I'd be happy to know if it's not something that requires $500 software.

Keep being awesome, you're doing good work.

introstalge responds:

Thanks for the feedback. I agree with you on sounding a bit empty. I will use some more pads in my next tracks. As for the synths, they're all Massive patches. There isn't too much processing in post either. A few Fruity Blood Overdrives, EQ and occasionally Vocodex, that's pretty much it.

Check out Barely Alive and Virtual Riot on Youtube. They have some tutorials which explain how to make these sorts of basses. They've helped me a tonne! The most important thing to get right is filter automation. Once you have that figured out, you can use pretty much any combination of wavetables and still end up with something nice.

Credits & Info


4.25 / 5.00

Sep 4, 2014
1:04 PM EDT
File Info
9.6 MB
4 min 11 sec

Licensing Terms

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