There are several aspects of this track that I'm impressed with. The textures are constantly shifting, and there are plenty of neat sound design tricks to mostly sustain interest for the duration of the track. I like the rising feel of the first twenty seconds- the resonance of the bass pad, the carefully chosen velocities in the percussion, and the fact that you chose G# minor for the key signature. All good signs off the bat. My favorite part in the track is probably the electric piano that comes in around 1:03. The way you morph the sound of it and layer other elements caught my attention. Kudos on your attention to detail! As good as the sound design is in this track though, there is something lacking in terms of form and structure.
To me, there is great value in drawing parallels between story-telling and music composition. In many cases, a great story features an attention-getting introduction, rising action to build tension, a climax, and then falling action or resolution. Although there is a variation within this structure, most literature follows its general contour, and I believe that the same goes for many notable pieces of music.
This track succeeds in grabbing my attention at the beginning and there is a definite sense of resolution at the end with the thinning texture and slow harmonic rhythm that settles on the tonic chord. The vast middle section, however, doesn't carry me between those two points with compelling development. There was plenty of variety in sound design between sections, but there were no strong melodic ideas or rhythmic motifs to make glue them together. There was no interplay between counter-melodies. The harmonic progressions were fairly static and didn't feel like they were heading any particular direction.
Without strong and recurring melodies, chord progressions, or rhythmic ideas, listeners have little to latch onto. There is little to reward, betray, and manipulate their expectations. Little to get them thinking ahead and engaged. This piece is full of ear-candy, and individual sections have beautiful soundscapes that I can close my eyes and pleasantly float along with, but this piece could be so much more than just 'interesting', 'cool', 'chill', or 'pleasant' if its base had a more compelling internal logic.
As an example, I love the bass line that starts at 3:20. It catches my ear, has an interesting rhythm to it, and provides contrast from the previous sections. But it repeats itself with little variation for nearly two minutes. The chords underneath stay basically the same. All of the sounds on top are neat, but they're just a sort of nice sound on top, and that's how I feel about this track as a whole; it's full of TONS of cool and intricate individual elements that don't come together and evolve cohesively. They just do their own thing, fading in and out as they please. It's like a play with awesome set design, special effects work, and costumes, but none of the characters interact with each other. They're all on stage facing different directions giving soliloquies about vaguely similar topics.
Really interesting track, and I enjoyed listening to it. If it were honed down and focused, it would be formidable.
== This is an NGAUC Knock-Out Round Review ==
Wow, this piece is ambitious as heck. It transitions through a BUNCH of different ideas, uses a lot of interesting sounds and progressions, and generally manages to stay interesting throughout its over 7 minute runtime - no small feat!
The sound design of the piece is pretty well done. All the instruments seem to be drawn from the same sort of emotional palette, and none ever jar with the overall atmosphere of the piece.
Right off the bat, you blast us with these massive chords. And, good news, the chord progression is really interesting! It’s definitely *not* a tried and true progression, which is really cool to hear. One of my favorite parts about it is the little pitch bend at :39 in part of the chord. I do think that the mixing is a little off at this point - the track seems a little muddled - but it’s not a huge issue. Then we move into arpeggios at 1:30, and those sounds really nice too - good sound design.
Unfortunately at 1:50, I’m starting to call the composition into question. I’ve heard that really nice chord progression, which I like, but almost nothing else compositionally intriguing. The melody at around that point sounds a bit random to me. I think it could be more evocative. Throughout this piece, this continues to be a problem. The composition is never *offensive*, but it just isn’t that memorable or intriguing. I think this would definitely be something to work on in the future.
I really am enjoying your transitions though. The 2:46 section is a really cool idea - probably the highlight of the piece for me. A few transitions seem slightly off, like how the kick just comes out of nowhere at 1:40. This could be signaled with a very small white noise transition before the drums come in, or you could make the song get a little quieter, or in any number of other ways.
The mix at 4:40, too, is pretty weird. I think that the bass melody (which I like) is a bit too loud and upfront in the mix, and the melody is a little too buried.
All in all, this is a pretty darn impressive piece. You did a lot of really good work here, and I really like all the different ideas that you have. But the song lacks structure and interest. When a song is as long as this one is, it needs a more clearly defined structure (buildup, climax, breakdown, repeat), or it needs to be more compositionally compelling. It’s a good start, but it needs to be trimmed down and made more interesting.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Mini-Scores (see here: http://johnfn.newgrounds.com/news/post/936953):
* Composition: 2/4
* Arrangement: 3/4
* Mixing: 2+/4
Hey there. Some general commentary on your song for NGAUC.
-Now that's a neat intro. I love the subtle distortion in the background
from the bass, and the icy clear drums.
-Great sound effect around 0:35. Could have been much more clear in the
-Bit of stuttering sound in the pad around 0:55, sounds like a mixing
-Neat e-piano after a minute in. Really cool randomized effects on it too.
Definitely digging the background pad as well.
-Return to the theme at 2 minutes in, fantastic! Nice transition to it
too, reversed percussion is sweet.
-If all the effects around 2:46 onwards is just the sub-bass with effects,
that's pretty neat. It could use a bit more organization though.
-3 minutes in. Sound design still going strong as all heck.
-Cool bass patterns for the 2 minutes after that until around 5:00.
Unfortunately, this section is probably the most repetitive and dull part
of all of it. It doesn't really change too much.
-At this point, I'm really missing the theme from the beginning. It would
have tied this end together really, really well.
All that said, this is one of my favorite tracks from this round.
Excellent work, and an extremely dramatic improvement from last round. Go
for it, man!
Final score: 9.4/10 + download.
SLICK! JUST PLAIN SLIIIIICK!
You've got yourself an amazing track there. It sounds like it came directly out of my mind (you know, that stuff I wish I could make, but it just stays stuck in my head).
Great job! Hope you move to the next round!
Thank You. I spent 17 hours on this - maybe worth it, we'll see.
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.