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Sep 5, 2014 | 6:00 AM EDT
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6.3 MB
4 min 36 sec
4.42 / 5.00

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Rated 4.42 / 5 stars
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Author Comments

(Note I: You might want to turn up the volume. The mix is pretty quiet.)

(Note II: A huge thank you to WXblackplane for his help with recording real violin music for the piece!)

WOW. Can't believe I got that done. I stayed up until about 4 in the morning on a school night just to finish this before my family went off on vacation and I may or may not have Internet. I still had about a day left to finish the song, but I didn't want to risk Internetlessness and subsequent disqualification.

I think this is one of my better songs. I just drew inspiration from a ton of different places and wrote it in a sincere mood. I think it's pretty different from what I do, while maintaining elements from my songs. It's got the frantic solos of Analog Rush and Desolate Aftermath, the drums of Dawnglide, the bells of The Flute Song, the genre switches of Spring Surge and ACNM, the bad ending of literally everything, etc. (fact: 99% of you have no idea what i'm talking about)

NGAUC, here I come. ;)


"Here we stand, stronger than ever before
And though we may fall
You can bet it won't be from a lack of trying."

In the comments section of my song Full Combo, LucidShadowDreamer and I conversed a bit about writing a song in Morse Code. Well, I finally got around to it. :)

(Originally, this was supposed to be a secret to be exposed by some sharp viewer, but then I realized how observant people aren't.)



Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

This is a NGAUC Finals Review. I apologise for the massive delay in reviewing, but well, here it is.

The foundation of this piece is somewhat nailed well -- the drums have a punch about them, but in some parts like 3:24 they need more punch -- there, they sound not as expressive as they could be. Imagine a drummer on the kit (which, by itself, sounds sweet) -- at 3:00 there's a lot of energy; he'd be flailing away at it! On that note, the cymbals need some brightness.

The bass is playful, and could do with a little turning up. I like how you change the bass instrument: first it was the piano, then (was it some plucked bass?) then it turned out to be some 8-bit synth. And credit to you on this one: you have great instrument variety, your choice of them is rather quirky I think, and you give different vibes about this piece.

I read in the description about your idea to write a song in Morse code -- and I think it very clever. And understandably, you don't want to do too much instrument layering in the back for fear that the actual Morse would be overshadowed. (But I think your mixing mostly solid; I believe you could still pull it off even if you did layer more instruments.)

Which leads me to some points for improvement, at least from what I'm listening:

First, what seems to me as an abrupt change of atmosphere. Someone remarked that the beginning of your piece sounds like an atmosphere for dog food (or an atmosphere with a bounding dog in it!). Then comes the 8-bit section at around 1:18, which could have been transitioned into a little better -- the melodies came sudden, and so did the 2X tempo change. Now transitioning *out* of this into the melody we first heard, towards the end.... that wasn't as abrupt -- it was far more gradual, and far easier on the ears.

Then, the way the melody progresses. You have nice chords, and a nice bass line -- but the melody seems to be darting all over the place sometimes. This is Morse and you have absolute freedom with what pitch you're going to put it in.... In the beginning and towards the end, it is singable and memorable. Around 2:00 to 3:00 you have this really jazzy feel, and everything fits, but right before that: there's a part that, when I listened to it, gave me a "what the heck?" moment (I think it's 1:18 onwards). Which leads me to correlation with the lyrics. Because of that 'what the heck' moment, part of the song sounded like the Morse was being set to unfitting music.

Is there an atmosphere you're aiming to create with lyrics like these? Ideally, unless the song calls for it, pick one atmosphere, and stick with it -- you can't go wrong.

All this aside, I think it's quite clever what you've done here. Very good effort on your part.


LunacyEcho responds:

Thanks for such an in-depth review! May I also congratulate you on your work in the NGADM and hope you continue to make music for a long time?

=> drums =>

I think one of the major mistakes I made for this song was that I drowned the drums in reverb. :D Also, all the different drums (cymbals, snares, toms) are all in one track on my software, so it's kind of hard to do something like single out the cymbals and edit those alone. :/

=> bass =>

Yup! piano => heavily distorted elec. bass => synth/elec. bass => piano

=> mixing =>

I'm glad you think that! Based on tons of recent feedback, I need to work a lot on my mixing, and it was something I tried hard to work on here.

=> abrupt change =>

Yup. When I upload a piece, I generally try and pinpoint the one aspect about it that would be criticized the most. This time, I knew it was the transitions. :)

=> melody darting all over the place =>

That entire melodic section was written from 1-3 AM. I guess it reflected my mind state at the moment, but wasn't really a very cohesive listen. :D

=> atmosphere =>

Not really. Halfway through production, I thought "hey! I've always wanted to do a Morse code song and the judges might appreciate an interesting gimmick" so I built the rhythms into the bluesy part. For the lyrics, I chose something I thought represented an underdogs competition well, without real thought to how it fit in with the atmosphere. :D I don't really do lyrical stuff, so I guess I chose pretty badly.

Thanks for the awesome review and huge thanks for all the work you've done for the competition!


Rated 4 / 5 stars

You remind me of myself for some reason. In a couple of different ways, but I won't get into it. Cool song you've got here -- I'll gradually work my way through:

0:05 -- Thought my master volume faded out completely haha. Never mind, all clear!

0:22 -- Nice piano medley. That kick drum has a lot of reverb! Not necessarily a bad thing...

0:40 -- Bells on the left side were a good choice. Lovely violin playing by your friend. I'm finding the drums a little flat overall -- needs some punch or brightness.

1:17 -- Oh that's so happy haha. The pleasant mood continues.

1:31 -- Can't say I like the notes your bass synth played here. They bleed together a little, and it sounds off just a tad.

1:36 -- A welcome change. Great peppiness, and it complements the first part well. Cool lead part.

1:54 -- Wow, where did that come from? Transition's a bit rough, but I like this next section. Super chill. Morse code, you say? Can't I've heard that in a song before. Don't think anyone would've picked up on it, you're right hehe

2:12 -- Were those castanets?!?! Love it.

2:41 -- I'm liking the volume increase here. Makes me want to know where it goes next!

3:00 -- Nice drum patterns continuing through here to 3:28.

3:23 -- The transition here is actually really good. It works! Don't change it!

3:32 -- Back to the happiness.

3:51 -- I appreciate what you're trying to do here with the toms, but the mixing of the drums is still bothering me. They don't have much of a presence. Probably too much reverb on the drums as well overall.

4:10 -- Ending is about lukewarm for me. It's appropriate, but it's nothing special. Like my endings! Weeeeee!

Overall, I like it. It does suffer from some flat mixing, as well as what I feel is too much reverb on almost everything, but especially the drums. Changing the reverb alone to something a little more modest would tighten it up, and increase the listener's focus on certain instruments. That said, the piece feels unique and there's a lot of cool things going on here. Very cool to have a real violin in there.

Congrats on making the final round! Cheers.

LunacyEcho responds:

I don't know why, but I've heard that a lot of experienced musicians are reminded of themselves. :)

=> 0:22 =>

Piano melody, I presume? In which case, thanks! The kick-drum-having-tons-of-reverb thing was a bit of a hassle, because it provided nice ambience, but when I tried to increase the sound through peak limiting it started sounding like a pop song. Eh.

=> 0:40 =>

I don't have very good drum samples. :P Glad you liked the other instruments, though!

=> 1:31 =>

:D Can't blame you. I'm still kind of a novice at working with distortion.

=> 1:36 =>

I really enjoy making lead synths like that. It just energizes the track up by so much!

=> 1:54 =>

The transitions are probably where I got screwed. :P I understand if this one doesn't really float your fancy.

=> 2:12 =>

Castanets! Yup! Random sound effects ftw

=> 3:00 =>

I've been working more and more with progressive drum patterns. Glad you liked them!

=> 3:23 =>

Seriously? Thanks! I think the quick synths comes in a bit suddenly, but if you like it, great!

=> 3:51 =>

I'm not entirely sure how to make drums as poppy as other people do. If I turn the reverb off, not only do the drums start sounding dry, but the overall mix also feels a lot less full.

=> 4:10 =>

Never been good at writing endings (except maybe for my previous NGAUC submission. Hah.)

Thanks a lot for the review and all the hard work you did writing reviews for all the contestants! Congrats on your placing and hope to hear more from you!


Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

Okay, I absolutely love the dynamic changes and instruments right off the bat. The bright piano and strings are beautiful. Sounds like a commercial involving a dog...somehow.........
Anyway, I think it is a bit minimalistic at times, but it certainly is very emotional, which somewhat makes up for that. I liked when you started introducing electronic elements at around 1:15. Innovative combinations are always good. ;) Also, the breakdown at 1:53 was well done, and the drums really help keep it interesting throughout the entire middle section IMO. Interesting how the mood progresses so much as the track goes on. In fact, it might even need a little more cohesion in it. I like how you brought back the blissful part at 3:28, but I think the transition itself could've been much smoother. The mixing isn't bad, and I thought the ending was pretty appropriate and conclusive. Overall, this is a strong piece with stand-out structural content. The melodic and harmonic content was good, and I personally think you've progressed a lot even over the course of the competition. Keep up the great work, LunacyEcho! ;D


LunacyEcho responds:

=> beautiful instruments =>

You've got a real-life violin to thank for that. :D

=> commercial involving a dog =>

You have an awesome imagination.

=> minimalistic =>

It sounds like minimalism is a bad thing! Of course, it can (coughcoughJohnCagecoughcough), but even non-emotional minimalism can be made into really awesome pieces.

=> innovative combinations =>

That basically sums up my music style right there.

=> interesting breakdown cause drums =>

During design, I was criticized for making the breakdown really repetitive, so I decided to add echo-y, reverb-y drums. And it worked out pretty well! I was also listening to a lot of Kor-Rune, so I introduced a modification of a drum buildup he inspired.

=> 3:28 transition =>

I didn't actually like that transition a lot. :D Still, I had to keep it for the sake of fitting those last few letters in at the end. The Morse giveth and the Morse taketh away.

=> mixing isn't bad =>


(still not even entirely sure what mixing involves)

=> appropriate and conclusive ending =>


=> stand-out structural content =>

I don't know about others, but the thing I like about the way I structure songs is that it isn't as repetitive. I think overuse of repetition is the downfall of instrumental music, as you don't have a voice keeping the listener company.

Thanks a lot for the review and the score!


Rated 5 / 5 stars

Really cool piece!

Not sure what part the morse code is, though. Must be the back-and-forth between the 2 synths starting around 2 minutes in? Wherever it is, I'm impressed you blended it in that naturally, haha.

LunacyEcho responds:

Absolutely correct! I'm not sure whether it blending in is a good thing or a bad thing. One one hand, I've incorporated the gimmick well. On the other, people won't be able to tell it's even there!

Thanks for the review. :)


Rated 5 / 5 stars

Well. At first I thougt the piano sounded a bit weird in the beginning, but once I got used to it, it actually sounds pretty great :p
As usually, your percussion is spot on.
Your melodies are almost always uplifting, and well made XD (I like the part in the middle though, where this is not the case. Well, they are well made, but not uplifting, I mean XD)

I'm pretty sure I'm in the 1% of people who know what you're talking about ;)
I can definitely hear both new stuff, and combined stuff from your earlier works. I'd also add that this piece has a bit of that mysteriously dark atmospheric feel from Desert Sandstorm at exactly 2:12-2:13 :D
Great use of atmosphere in general actually!

I agree that this is one of your better songs. Your transitions are pretty flawless in this track.
I don't know why, but I'm having difficulty with mentioning anything specific with this song. I could count up all the different parts and intruments, but I don't see the point. I guess you've simply done such a good job that I don't really have much to criticise :p

I don't think the ending is necessarily bad. It's just... The same as almost always XD (chorus/main melody + end note, right?)
I have no tips on how you should do it though.

Anyway, as I don't really have anything to say...

Great job, and good luck in the contest!

LunacyEcho responds:

=> piano sounded a bit weird =>

You know, when I was writing the song, the piano sounded a lot less distinct. I wonder what happened?

=> percussion =>

Thanks! I worked pretty hard on the percussion this time.

=> 1% =>


=> atmosphere =>

Thanks a lot! Another thing I've been trying to focus on recently (along with the originality and mixing that Lockyn mentioned on my previous NGAUC submission) is the mood I create.

=> transitions =>

Flawless?! Thanks! They're probably not, though. :D The drastic changes in this song required some forced transitions, and even though I tried pretty hard to make them smoother, I'm guessing some of the judges will still find them a bit out of place. Still, I'm glad you liked them!

=> ending =>

Hey, I did it a bit differently this time! This time, the chorus faded out a little bit, I only had two instruments, and instead of playing one end note, the instruments played two! Variation is the key to music, obviously.

Thanks for the review!