Costa Concordia

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Author Comments

About this ship's final chapter:
And the contest:

Debussy's "The Sunken Cathedral" gave me an idea to go for a similar approach but with a funeral, anthem piece. The latter section of this piece has the same chord progression as the horn section but is meant to strike images of what it would sound like underwater. The chaos cannot break the water tension which therefore gives it a sense of peace separated from reality.

12 Samples used:
The Euph1_vib-solo_A#2_v1_1 is the pad at the end played on a high register.

Effects used:
Of course reverb and delay,
Waves Enigma
Clip Distortion
Sound Shifter
Time stretching


Hey there. I heard you wanted a review. First one I've done in awhile, so I might be a bit rusty, but bear with me. For reference, your total score when I was tabulating was 84/100.

The Good!
-Excellent sample manipulation. Probably the most realistic I've heard out of all the samples.
-Excellent sound effects around the 2 minute mark, nice flanger, nice high-end SFX. Not sure how you pulled those out, but it's awesome.
-Excellent ambiance overall, you really manipulated the samples to paint a picture.
-I do find it very impressive that the second half of the piece is the same chord progression as the first half.

The not-so-good:
-So, smaller things first. Ending wasn't that interesting or conclusive. It just basically ends, sounding more as if ideas ran out than it was intended to end there. This ties into the next point, which is...
-Flow. I've actually written some things about the flow of music, and this is one thing that your piece somewhat suffers from. It doesn't feel like it has a particular direction to it - rather, it feels like a few atmospheres that were strung together with some compositional theory, like using the same chord progression twice. I recognize that making a proper melody out of the samples is difficult, but certainly possible, especially given you submitted this with a full 7 days more to work on it. There was far more development that could have happened in this piece, which just... didn't.
-Mixing. Yeah, this shouldn't be too surprising as being a significant factor. It hit basically everybody in this contest, so here are some specific comments on yours. Lot of overly buried sounds around 1 minute in, partially simply due to the amount of brass. There are some bass hits which are hard to hear and a lot of the detail of the higher horns is buried as well, particularly around 1:25. Closer to 2:33 the lower brass gets very muddy. This is also partially due to using the same sample, as that can cause phasing and distortion due to having the same waveforms playing.

Overall: Again, 84/100. Biggest things were the flow and mixing. Flow is highly determined by intention of the piece, but can still work very well. Mixing could simply be corrected with more clarify of individual instruments.

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Phonometrologist responds:

Ah yes thank you! I appreciate your take and time to leave this review. Welcome back!
A few things:
-You mentioned some high-end sfx. There was a sample (I forget which as I would have to open up the project to look up) that I applied a bit distortion to while playing it at a very high register, i.e. sped up. Something that anyone could recreate if one wanted the recipe.
-I agree with the flow point overall. Perhaps I can use a pun to the title by saying that the direction of it went pretty much down from there.
-The mixing thing still perplexes me so in that I appreciate your perspective. I think there's perhaps two schools of thought when it comes to mixing. Check out this short clip of Picasso drawing:

I wish the video didn't cut off, because by the end of the piece, the fish no longer becomes visible as the hen pretty much gets colored in. This is my approach when it comes to music. Burying layers upon layers definitely creates muddiness where not everything becomes clear just like in modern art where not everything becomes seen. I'm more than okay from straying away from trying to replicate reality, although I appreciate both sides. This approach doesn't make your points any less valid, but rather shows that you're right. And I'm content that you are right :)

Congrats on winning! I'm glad your music is getting some recognition :-)

This is a really cool piece. I think my favorite idea was the slightly detuned horns in the first half (e.g 1:16!). I am starting to enjoy that sort of atonal/detuned stuff. Not quite enough to use it in my own music I don't think hehe but you never know...

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Phonometrologist responds:

Thanks, mate! I'm sure that if you were to find a way to use atonal/detuned elements in your music you would use it tastefully alongside your melodies and superb production that would then give you even more of a unique voice from others in your genre. That would be exciting!

I liked the tremolo at the beginning and the dark, drone-like sound you created thereafter. The strings at the beginning do get buried a bit by the low brass at around :10, though. It does progress a little slowly at the beginning, but I love the chord progression at :48. It's powerful, dark, and full-textured. You seemed to throw on some sort of distortion at 1:10 that added considerably to the mood and atmosphere of the piece. I like how the track almost resets itself by around 1:52, and then you start building on more dark, deep chords from there! >:D By 2:30, it's official: the progression is my absolute favorite thing about this piece. All of a sudden, it's tranquil, majestic, and light. I also love how you based the song off of a real-life event. I think that's an excellent method for charging creativity. :) The ending left me wanting more, which is both a good and a bad thing: good, because it means I enjoyed the previous 3.5 minutes; bad, because I think you could've finished off the piece a little more conclusively. That said, I really like the track overall. Keep up the good work, Phonometrologist! ;)

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Phonometrologist responds:

The tremolo at the beginning really has nothing added to the original sample. It was the very first sample I dragged over and allowed to set the mood for that was the main inspiration. How I approached this track overall was by listening to the samples and going with what I thought I was hearing by the nature of each timbre. This project started from that tremolo sample and it, along with the Costa Concordia, gave me the sense of foreboding to tell the story for the rest of the piece. That's why the strings get buried as it was merely the driving point for the rest of the piece. I haven't really composed such a piece like this in regards to how horizontally linear the process was from beginning to end. No moving around parts... just fluid train-of-thought.
I tend to compose in a manner that leaves music a bit open-ended symbolically to emulate that desire I feel when it comes to the fleeting nature of our lives. I figure, "Why force upon the listener a conclusion to their thoughts?" I instead would rather allow them to close in the gaps themselves of finding its resolve. I'm glad you enjoyed this work as you so have described in detail. The goal is to take one on a short journey and, yes, to leave you wanting more. There has to be more! More than what this life has to offer. Thank you for your hard work in reviewing these pieces. I enjoyed your review quite a bit!

Very moody and dark piece just I like. You have made a tremendous efforts to carve the instruments to fit into the piece. This alone shows your talent. I really like the introduction of harp and harmonies evolving into brass. Brass lines are really awesome which has been very nicely sampled as well. I also like the ambient feel in it complimented by strings. This is one perfect entry just like @mattashi. Well done! It deserves in highest 2 places.

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Phonometrologist responds:

I'm not sure it deserves such high praise, but I'm grateful you feel that way. Perhaps not as exciting and fun to listen to as your entry is. I really just wanted to start using the samples that were provided and attempt to allow the samples to just guide me through its timbre of where the piece must go, hence the simplicity in the usage of these samples in the very beginning to the evolving harmonies.

Very nice job.

Phonometrologist responds:

Very thank you.

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Credits & Info

4.81 / 5.00

Jun 22, 2015
12:31 AM EDT
File Info
8.4 MB
3 min 42 sec

Licensing Terms

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