This is an NGADM Round 2 Review.
Let me just preface this review with the following: there's no doubt in my mind that you have an overabundance of talent. Mind sharing?
The introduction is wonderful. Just a pleasure to listen to. Your voice remains as the anchor to the song, giving it a soft, melancholic nature. Speaking of melancholy, it seems that this song mostly lies in the 'sad' zone. The translation of the lyrics reflect this I think. The lyrics are beautiful in a subtle way, might I add. Going back to your voice: the control you have over your voice, and your ability to sing in many different languages is impressive. Coupled with your voice, your instrumentation is outstanding. The piano blends well with the strings to create an atmosphere that is undeniably rich. Speaking of the piano, I loved the way you wrote the outro (particularly from 2:30 and on).
For the most part, the mix is spot-on. Though I have to agree with Step about the vocals and overall balance of the instruments! Just be mindful of how your other instruments play out in relation to your voice. For instance, I would have liked to hear a greater focus on the piano and strings, perhaps with extra piano passages thrown in to give the song some extra flavour and emotion.
I'll say it again, you're full of talent. I am eagerly awaiting your next track! :)
There’s an amazing softness to this song. Upon first listen, afterwards, I felt very calm and relaxed. Your voice is soothing, smooth, and sounds like melted butter might sound, as usual!
1:45 was the part that made me really sit up and analyze. I appreciate the way you’re singing here as it gives the melody more variety to work with, but it went a different way than my ears anticipated and ended up sounding a little discordant. It is stylized singing, so I don’t totally want to discount that, but I didn’t feel it ended up fitting very well here.
The piano is excellent. I love how deep it sounds, quite literally; it’s as if it were being played on a gigantic scale from an ocean floor. It does appear a lot more Japanese-influenced than any other culture, and I’m all for that. Your understanding of traditional Asian melodies blows my mind (specifically, the use of the Hirajoshi pentatonic scale in several other pieces!). have a great intuition on how long notes should be held, and there’s a perfect balance of strings and keys working together. The reverb has a long delay, but it works for the mood that you’re setting, which to me, seems haunting, wistful, and maybe a little sad.
I have to disagree with Step here – I think your mix is brilliant. For some reason my ears couldn’t get enough of that transition at 1:58, and both of your layers are supporting each other. However, what you’re doing with the voices is, to me, a little more flashy than the song needed. I realize your intention to add interest to otherwise tied notes, but again, it felt like it was added as a showcase of vocalization rather than give meaning to this particular musical sequence.
Your harmonies are beautiful, though, and that’s what really stood out to me the most. Very pretty instrumentation and composition work. I would love to hear you play this with a harp!
NGADM Round 2 Score: 8.6
Beautiful, as I knew it would be.
I really like the piano with it's gentle high notes and resounding lows. And I /love/ the composition.
Some of the resonance from the piano actually sounded like it was coming from your voice to me, making it sound like your voice had too much bass even though it wasn't actually coming from your voice. (I /think/ that's what I'm hearing.)
I just looked up "Esperanto" and what a fascinating thing it is!
May the sunlight comfort you. It certainly comforts me.
I'm glad you enjoyed it! My voice is annoying to mix when the instruments I use have such similar frequencies bahhh.
Esperanto is a wonderful concept isn't it? Beautiful language too!
This is an NGADM Round 2 Review.
Oh damn that voice. I've listened to well over half of your music library, and I still spend most of it searching for my jaw. Your voice just gets me every time. I mention it for this piece in particular because I want to stress how good the vocal performance is here - one of my favourites from you. It's not over-the-top with complex vocal techniques but has just enough to impress, and the vocal harmonies/echoes at the end are simply to die for. And wow, from English to Danish to Greek to Chinese and now Esperanto. Don't forget to hit me and Echo up whenever you want to sing in Maltese! But yeah, fantastic job in the vocal department. I feel like vocals can easily give a musician an edge since voice is inarguably the most expressive instrument, and when you sing this well you really can't go wrong.
I'm not just here to gush over your vocals though. If there's one area you excel at more than you do at singing, it's building an atmosphere through strong compositional elements. For instance, after a fairly run-of-the-mill string intro, you instantly pull the listener into your deep atmosphere with the bassy piano notes. Your heavy amount of reverb makes this a track you can easily space out to, but instead of taking the tempting route of washing everything out with reverberation you keep the track firmly rooted in your spectacular composition with absolutely beautiful passages like 2:02's string run, 2:24's melodic piano passage or your piano outro. Major props for adding in such a suitable key change at the end too! Love it.
Honestly, the only reason I deducted 0.6 from what would otherwise be a perfect score is your mixing. It's not that it's particularly bad, but I have a complaint that I remember having on the first piece of yours I ever reviewed; Blind Maiden. There's too much focus on the vocals. There are some nice instrumental passages, but when the voice comes in it's too loud and drowns out a lot of the other instruments. I also feel like the instrument section could do with more mid and low frequencies, especially from 1:27 onwards. You'll have to strip down some of the frequencies from your voice first of course, or else it'll sound muddy as hell, but basically what I'm asking for is more balance in your mix, where the depth comes from the instruments rather than your voice, but where your voice is still clear.
Mixing quirk aside, this is really good stuff, as I've come to expect every single time from you. 9.4/10 would lose jaw to again.
Thank you for the in depth review!
I actually spent a lot of time trying to separate all of the frequencies so that they didn't clash. Also, for the first time, I added a separate volume gate envelope and manually adjusted the volume throughout the vocals at different parts to try and keep the vocals from overpowering the instruments. ^ ^
I remember when it was first pointed out how loud the vocals were in Blind Maiden last year compared to the rest of the instruments and how before that, I had never noticed. To my ears at least in this, the balance in volume sounds okay. The gain of the vocals in Blind Maiden was probably about +6.5db higher than the vocals in this in comparison to the instrumental. I'm afraid I don't hear the vocals as being overwhelming. ;_;
Thank you for your kind words Step!! I always appreciate your honest critique and really, it's invaluable.
Beautifully done as usual! Your voice is one that I could listen to for hours!
I'm glad you enjoyed it Lloyde! ^ ^
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.