~SW~ The Brain Cycle


Author Comments

I finally get working on music again and this happens. It was awesome. I synthesized or heavily edited most of the sounds in it as well, so it's basically all made by me. Omnisphere was used heavily, of course, as were some VEH samples for drums and a few FL-specific sounds and random foley for sfx.

Hope everyone enjoys it!

EDIT: Downloads now restricted pending release of album.

For NIM: Honestly, this song was inspired by a *lot* of things. @Step, @Buoy, @masq, @johnfn were probably the biggest inspirations here. However, some lesser-known people as well, such as @RunningShadows and @DivoFST were also fairly large. They've helped support me basically every step of the way, even if inadvertently in the case of masq.

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This is very sweet.

I just have to say something for a piece like this despite my lack of knowledge in this stylistic approach even if only as an admirer. The intro to this never gets old even days later upon first hearing it. The two minute mark is such a nice rhythmic break before it gets right into excitement. The melodic theme heard throughout is a good one as well.

SkyeWint responds:


Yay! Glad the intro works, I was actually afraid that it was a bit too bare to be honest. Two minute mark was a thought I had for just a normal breakdown - always liked ones that show some really nice chords, and I love light keyboards.

As for the melodic theme - thank you so much for picking up on the melodic themes. x_x Nobody ever seems to mention them as actual themes, regardless of whether I try to work them into multiple sections of the piece in a way that's new each time. It's almost depressing, actually - like I shouldn't even put a main theme in the first place. But I don't really like that option so eh.

Thank you for the review, Phono - great to see it! And, don't be shy about being critical if there *is* something that you don't like about it, I'm fine with hearing about what people don't like as long as they're clear about it. :)

I really like the sound design. It's really all over the place in what inspirations you're drawing, but it still sounds cohesive. Like, it starts out sounding wild west, but then it somehow transitions to futuristic... and back... it's weird. I really like the "guitar"mnispheres (i presume) in the beginning of the track, the vibes(?) at 1:52... and a bunch more. The slower melodies are great. I think I'm going to borrow some of your sound design ideas for my current track ^_^ I also the triplets or 4 over 3 or whatever. It has a great rhythmic quality to it. I should do that sometime...

I'm undecided on the crazy panning on the lead heh. I'm listening only on headphones, which is probably why it bothers me. I think if it was on speakers it wouldn't bother me at all.

I concur with TaintedLogic that melodies should not be faded in because that actually makes them fly under the radar, so to speak. The mixing actually sounds a little off to me. Like, the bass and drums are not loud enough, I think. The bass stands out to me. For instance, the "drop" at 1:11 seems so cool but it ends up being slightly underwhelming because no real bass kicks in.

I think the solos could be a little more evocative, they kinda fly all over the place. Try using the pentatonic scale. I heard all the cool kids are doing it. :p


P.S. LOL I was just about to reprimand you because I thought this song was insanely quiet. Then I realized that the volume on the Newgrounds player was set to 20/100. I'manub.

SkyeWint responds:

So... sound design was fun. I did draw from a lot of things, including non-NG works by a guy called Fourge, another person called Chrome Sparks, apparently the Starcraft soundtrack without realizing it.

The panning was something I thought was pretty cool, it's just an autopan from left to right and back again.

The lead fading in was, again, to keep it from being perfectly sudden, which it was without the filtering. It is also once again very clearly heard if you have good headphones or speakers - that said, it's meant to fade in. If you compare it with the later lead section, the second one doesn't have nearly as smooth a transition into that section. It isn't meant to be nearly as intense at that point either. :v

As for mixing of the drums...

<mixing lecture>

There is *plenty* of bass during that section. However, it's all in the kicks. The kicks have a lot of deep bass, which actually interferes with the main bass instrument. The bass instrument is roughly at 80-150hz, whereas the kicks have their initial hit around 120hz but then move down all the way to around 30-40hz. Main thing about that is they need that initial hit in order to have the right impact, but that initial hit disrupts the normal bass sound. Later in the piece around 3:23 onward you can hear how the bass is sidechained with the kick to prevent distortion and muddied frequencies from both of them hitting at the same time (since lower frequencies can't handle that much hitting the same frequencies at once as a general rule - try it sometime). With all the kicks going on in the middle section, the normal bass would be chopped up so much as to sound like complete shit.

</mixing lecture> <point about Apple>

That said, it's actually possible that you hear them very quietly because you use a mac - with default hardware and software settings the lower bass frequencies on a mac are significantly reduced if not cut off entirely (tested by cross-comparing with a good and bad soundcard on a standard dell laptop and the default soundcard as well as a good quality one on an iMac, using the same pair of ATH-m50 headphones). Given the heavy amount of lower bass frequencies there, it's entirely possible that those frequencies were cutting off or reduced, making those instruments seem particularly quiet.

</point about Apple>

In any case, there is no actual bass instrument during that section - but there are plenty of bass frequencies (aside from when there's no kick like with the snare rolls, of course <3).

I like my blues scale thank you very much, it harmonizes nearly as well as the pentatonic scale but also requires *some* skill to sound harmonic. >:( My goodness, kids these days...

Anyway. Got it, got it, can't entirely agree about the mixing things since it was tested on a full soundcard with multiple speaker/headphone systems with regard to the bass and the lead was very much intentional for the sake of transition and atmosphere. :v

Solos I can understand for certain. Again more of a personal thing like the initial lead filter but I definitely get that.

Anyway (x2), got it. Much thanks for the review, always good to hear your perspective! :)

I like the screeching FX/effects at the beginning. This piece has a pretty cool progression, although it's a bit slow-to-heat-up if you know what I mean. I like the melody that started fading in around 1:15, although I personally think it should've been a little more up-front in the mix. Cool vibe you have goin' on at around 2:10. Sounds like something right out of a shady, smoky hotel rooftop lounge from a James Bond movie. 0_O The ending gets cut off a bit suddenly, but that's probably more of an exporting difficulty rather than an errant compositional quality. This is a very flowing and well-structured piece, though. I admire your sense of rhythm and harmony. I can tell you spent a lot of time on the atmospheric details of this track, and let me assure you that it's well worth it. The mixing and mastering was very solid. I liked the filtering and panning effects you used at various points in the track. The sound design is superb - this piece has really unique instrumentation (I'm glad you synthesized most of the sounds here!). Full-textured, funky, refreshing, creative...I'm running out of positive adjectives. XD You earned a fave and a DL. I'm looking forward to this impending album of yours as well! Keep up the good work, Skye! ^^

SkyeWint responds:


The screeching FX is actually a few random recordings I manipulated which were titled "cd_spin". If you can figure out what that means, be my guest.

The melody at 1:15 was somewhat meant to fade in, since it felt a lot too abrupt when I had it coming in at a higher volume. It doesn't share frequencies with other instruments at the time though, so if your speakers/headphones aren't thin at the frequencies where it's filtered down to, you can hear it the whole way through fairly easily!

...the end was a lowpass filter where the cutoff point was getting lower and lower until it reached zero at the end of the final note, so there wasn't a volume filter going down or anything. I guess it was actually an errant compositional quality. Not really something I can fully correct either since there's nothing to really let ring out at the end of that. Another example of this is in Float: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/573077 The ending there is also a fadeout in the same way. Same thing again in Cranial: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/585340
In both of these cases the fadeout worked a bit better because it was just suspended chords, whereas this was fading out activity.

Flowing composition is something I definitely try to do ( http://skyewint.newgrounds.com/news/post/870256 ). Harmony is primarily learned from jazz theory, rhythm is... uh... I dunno. Fun? Atmosphere, well, you know I've obsessed over that since basically the start of music-making. Similar for unique instrumentation and panning. Mixing, mastering, and production effects... well, that's a recent thing of mine that I've been trying to do!

Glad you like it overall. Here's hoping I'll be able to finish the album sooner rather than later. :)

This thing reminds me of Tekken in the way it feels. Those synths, that buildup, and that cool jazzy feel that is associated with some levels. Also, those sounds that sound like cars screeching, which fit ever so well. I remember the later Tekken games for their great atmosphere, and this piece reminds me of Tekken (if it doesn't already blow Tekken out of the water).

I don't know if I dig the really low kick, but everything else fits so well, that I can just dismiss that as a minor nitpick. I have no complaints about mixing.

There are different moods, highs and lows, peaks and valleys, and you've kept to a theme of sorts when developing this piece, switching for a different one when the piece gets calmer. It feels so chill, so calm, slightly neurotic at times, but all in all harmonious. This is something I can listen to when in a need to calm down, or when in a need to energise myself -- this is one of those pieces that strangely fits both needs. And it takes musical mastery to do this. Well done.

SkyeWint responds:

I haven't played Tekken. :( Now I almost wish I did. That sounds pretty cool.

I was giving the kick a good deep hit so it'd fill out the low bass. There are actually two kicks, by the way - one which is a higher kick with more clicking, and one which has more of a thump. Gotta get some contrast in there, and having the ability to layer them or only do one or the other let me get a *lot* more intricacy in the sections featuring the drums and lead.

Different moods and stuff I love doing. <3 That's my favorite thing about making music.

Credits & Info


4.96 / 5.00

Jul 4, 2015
4:56 PM EDT
File Info
9 MB
3 min 56 sec

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