Thank you for the long review, Andrew!
Yeah, dem0lecule makes really good and high quality music. I think he used different 8dio for most of the strings, but I can't tell you for sure :)
Interesting thing about the bell at 1:53 is that it accidentally starts 1/16 of a measure too early. But I've come to like it, as it catches the listener off guard and brings them back to the track, in case they were just casually listening.
The quick mood changes are for the most part intentional, just like if you were telling a story and suddenly something new happens.
As for the strings cutting off, I kind of get what you mean. I don't mind when listening, but if I'm trying to read into it, I can hear that a little bit. I don't think more reverb is a good idea, but if it could be made to sound realistic/good, the automation fade could be useful at some points. I've used it myself here and there is the past :)
As for the choirs, I think they're incredible. Dem0lecule got the library very recently, and it sounds brilliant, and is well used!
If I remember correctly, 3:35 is actually a harp, a glock and a xylophone playing slightly different things at the same time!
You can thank dem0 for 4:20 :)
Originally, he had the piano play that, but for the sake of variety he changed it up.
I get what you mean with the coherency. For the most part, this is a track about evolving and moving forward (I guess that in a way, you could say it's progressive, hehhe), and aside from that, it is essentially a loop. This means we definitely didn't want to make it too repetive. But that said, we have places where things repeat, which I'm sure you would've noticed more upon relistening.
The one that is easiest to notice, is the flute at 1:17, the piano at 2:08 (I think that the melody could almost be louder here, but then again, the choir is beautiful to listen to as well), and the choir at 3:02, which hints at the same melody.
I would've originally included the melody in some adaptation in two more places, but it didn't fit entirely there, and I didn't want to force it.
But aside from that, there are a lot of other places that feature some repetition.
Listen to the brass at 3:11 for example, as well as the brass at 4:09.
Aside from melodies, there are a lot of places in the rhythm and backing elements that repeat. One is the piano at 2:26 and the pizzicato you mentioned at 4:18.
I could go on to name other spots too, but I'm sure it's more fun to listen for yourself :)
You're very right though, there is perhaps not much coherency in the in the traditional sense featured in this composition :p
Thanks a lot for your constructive review, and thank you for listening and favoriting :D
I hope to hear more of your stuff once you get time to make some more ;)