Very haunting but beautiful track!!! Kinda reminds me of a soundtrack that might go with the game "Ib" which I love! Amazing work yet again. The more songs of yours I listen to the more amazed I become! :D
I like the ominous strings and piano combo in the beginning, but I think the intro might've gone on for a bit too long. Also, I'm not sure I liked the snare sample at :42. Still, 1:26 was a highlight. You know I love that open hat sound you use a lot! I think it lacks some harmonies/pads at a few points in the song...a lot of the time, there's a melody and drums and a bassline, but not much else, y'know? I can see what you meant by "loud compared to a lot of NG's tracks," but that's a sign that your mixing has improved a lot. I love the intricate breaks at 2:35. I need to know where you got that dirty bass sample! I love it! Also, nice work with the hi-hats around 4:10. I like how you brought the orchestral theme back around there too. I also thought the filters you put on the kick leading up to the drop at 4:52 were really cool. I thought the ending was a little sudden: although it was a good idea to use the static/glitch-y stuff at the end, the kicks made it seem a little inconclusive...unless, of course, you wanted it to loop, but the way it was cut, I don't think it loops that well. Still, overall this is an awesome piece and you've improved a lot in the past year or so! I'm catching up on my reviews in chronological order, so I'll do March tomorrow and hopefully April between Monday and Tuesday. Keep up the great work, DM! ;D
Thanks man! I actually agree that the intro went on a bit too long, but we were also aiming for a longer intro in this. Every single melody in this was written on the first day and we kept each one for the final version, including the long ass intro haha.
"Also, I'm not sure I liked the snare sample at :42."
Those were tom samples actually! Since we don't have orchestral percussion, toms are the next best thing we've got. This was the first track that we used tom samples for more than just filler, so mixing was difficult for us there, but we fixed it (and all the problems we knew of in this track) in Unsustainable.
"I love the intricate breaks at 2:35. I need to know where you got that dirty bass sample!"
That bass sample is FM8 being modulated by a bass made in Massive with Vocodex. ;) The sound design for the basses is actually really simple when you look at it, but still complicated and effective enough to be freaking awesome.
"Also, nice work with the hi-hats around 4:10. I like how you brought the orchestral theme back around there too."
Got to have those shakers man ;)
I'm glad we brought it back too. It was so much different from the rest of the track that we wanted to use it more than just once, and it actually made for a really cool breakdown and build.
"I also thought the filters you put on the kick leading up to the drop at 4:52 were really cool."
That was actually just the toms being layered with the kicks haha, no filters needed.
As for the ending:
Honestly we don't really know what we were going for, but we wanted it to seem inconclusive and end abruptly with the static. Since this is a single from the EP, it's going to be leading straight into the intro for the title track, Infinite Realms. Since IR is in a different key, we wanted an interesting way to make it fit right after Nebula and static FX and high passing the track sort of worked and we're sticking with it for now.
My thoughts on the mastering of this track follow those before me, such as Ectisity. What I wanna focus on is what was done really well in my opinion. This song builds really well. Right from the beginning you get an epic and ominous feeling about where this is going. With proper mastering, the instruments you used would have worked together perfectly. The melodies are extremely distinct and unique. For a moment, I almost felt like I was listening to Bone Palace Ballet, because of the very unique orchestral sound you have going here. When it kicks into full dubstep mode, it feels so epic. Definitely built up to this moment extremely well. Overall, this song leaves you feeling accomplished and satisfied. Keep it up. Hope your EP goes well this summer! :D
Thanks man! I'm glad you liked it!
I haven't personally heard Bone Palace Ballet before, but I'm assuming it's a compliment with your afterthought about the unique orchestral sound, so thanks for that as well!
I'm definitely going to be going back to all of our projects in the EP that need work and touching them up before the EP hits Bandcamp, so I'm taking all the tips we get to heart when mastering new tracks and will be implementing them when I go back to these ones.
Knew from the first note that I was going to love this one and I absolutely did :). Great melodies, great structure, and great sounding synths :D. My only complaint is that the strings that comes in at 0:15 have some clashing frequencies with the piano. Almost sounds it's ducking under the piano if you know what I mean. Maybe try cutting some of the lower frequencies from the strings and slightly boost the higher ones?
There's also a problem with the eq-ing with the kick that comes in at around 1:10. Doesn't really sound eq'ed at all really. Too many high frequencies that doesn't only clash with the other synths, but that kind of kick doesn't really sound to good in headphones with too many high frequencies.
I can also here some clipping at the loudest parts of the track. Make sure you level the track so that the volume doesn't go over 0db. Leveling really makes or breaks a track like this.
To sum it up, I would say that the main problem with this track is the mixing really, especially the eq-ing, but also the leveling. I would advise to look into eq'ing a bit more, and also make sure that you are aware of your volume levels while producing a track.
Everything else in the track was absolutly fanstastic though :).
Yeah, this song was a bit of a problem child in the mix/master. I'm going to be going back into it and touch it up, especially before releasing the EP, so hopefully I can fix the mixing issues. I'll also keep in mind the EQ issues you mentioned. The kick is EQed to have both the low and high ends boosted a bit, but I think I forgot to bring those back down when mastering, as the kicks sound great without Ozone on. I'm still getting the hang of the whole mastering thing and tend to miss things, especially when we don't send it to other producers to get fresh ears hearing it and telling us which direction to go, which we remembered to do for our newest track, Unsustainable.
But other than that, I'm glad you liked the track! I'm extremely proud with this melody and progression, as it came on a whim and I kept the original version I wrote, not changing it at all throughout the time we worked on the project.
Thanks for the review, man!
The drums are loud, but I think appropriately so. There are many tracks on Newgrounds that have drums that give me headaches. But I'm playing this track on my studio headphones and my head feels fine. The drums do have a strong punch, but they have a soft tone structure. They make my heart race, but they don't make my head hurt.
Nonetheless, I probably would prefer the drums to be a little quieter (pre-compression) to bring them a little closer to all the other instruments in the visual space in my mind.
Nice work man!
Thanks man! Drums definitely aren't our strongest suit yet, but I'm glad they weren't too loud on your end. I think what may have happened is we mastered prioritizing studio headphones, monitors and car systems, but slipped up on regular headphones. But due to not having anything different from those setups atm, it was hard to reference to be able to do so.
But yeah, maybe the drums could have been a little more balanced with the rest of the track, which is why we've done so in the Entropy VIP we're finishing up now.
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.