NGADM round 1 [WIP]

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Hi NG. This, unfortunately, is my entry to the first round of the NGADM. It was a sad case of lack of inspiration midway through the track and I was desperately clutching for ideas as the deadline drew closer, but nothing came. I should probably have given up my place, but I really thought that something would come because I feel like this has a lot of potential (referring to the intro here).

I'll probably visit this in the near future but unfortunately for now this will be my entry.




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This is an NGADM 2015 review.

Okay, so! I make and love drum and bass, so I was happy to see some dnb this round :)

I felt that your intro was really nice. Good chords, nice piano, nice pads, good buildup! Highpassing the kick, good riser, everything. Might have done with some master highpass though because man, the buildup is a good 2db (RMS) louder than your drop :(
I feel that this song had a lot of potential, but the length and production don't live up to that potential. The intro and buildup really had a lot going for them, but your drop doesn't deliver. I'll try and deconstruct why so that I can give you a worthwhile/helpful review.

So there are a bunch of elements that help to make an impact when you go to your drop. I mean, there are more than I can list, but I'll try to cover the relevant ones -

You want to make sure your drop is slightly louder than your buildup
If your drop isn't louder than your buildup, you want a gap or some kind of transitional element to bring in some silence or break before the drop
Your drop should have stronger bass than your buildup (try highpassing the end of your buildup)
Your drop should have more happening than your buildup, unless you're doing a more minimal genre like bounce, big room or even dubstep. This rule of thumb largely applies to transients, if it seems a big vague otherwise.

So I think the issues are that you have no transitional elements, the drop is quieter than the buildup, and it has less bass. Your buildup maxes out around -10RMS, but your drop hits about -12. Unfortunately this is pretty quiet, and it's something of a mastering issue. Another trick you can abuse is turning down your buildup gradually (automate that master fader) by about 1-2db, then add it back suddenly at the drop. Helps the impact.

Covering the bass, your buildup ends with a lowpass. What this ends up doing is cutting down on the highs, and, probably due to the Q on the filter, increasing your mids/lows; so you have more bass than highs. When the drop hits, these switch around - you have a lot more highs and less bass; and the drop sounds "thin." Again, highpassing your buildup and giving your chorus more of a prominent sub (sidechain it with the bass) would go a long way toward helping these issues.

I'd also like to cover the mixing of the percussion if i can, as it's another source of thinness in the chorus. You should use a spectrum analyzer to find the main low frequency of your snare drum and boost it, because right now it's mostly mid-high freqencies and it could sound so good with some punch. The kick is definitely a lot better than the snare, but it could do with more mid-highs.

In regards to mastering, your song is overall pretty quiet, and I think too saturated by high frequencies (during the chorus).

Anyway, I'll try and get to some more positive aspects. Your composition is fairly sound, it's simple but it's quite effective. This could be a really awesome track in my opinion. Your main melody in the first part of the chorus could be a bit less chaotic, but it works well! I also really like the long portamento lead in the second half. On that note, the alternate percussion in the second half of the chorus is great as well. I can see it working to great effect were this song more complete.

When it comes to lack of inspiration, we've all been there, man. I'm there right now, haha. This was a good track, and I think it has a lot of potential (I think you have a lot, actually.) Keep at it, hopefully you get something out of this review.

DjAbbic responds:

I don't really have much to say in defense of your criticisms, they're pretty spot on. The track itself isn't of a very good standard (regrettably) because I never finished the composing side of it, so I never got around to mixing it properly. The percussion definitely needs some volume adjustments, and a drop that is softer than the buildup is just laughable.

I really appreciate your feedback, even though I didn't address all of it, I do recognise all the issues that you have pointed out and I'm really grateful for the time you took to pick them out to me. Keep doing what you do, it's a great help (to those who choose to accept it) :). Thanks!

I liked the mood at the beginning. You left yourself a lot of space for climax and contrast, which is good. That said, though, it’s very slow to progress, and you only actually reach an “arrival point” of your piece about halfway through. That cool, quirky melody instrument at 1:05 made for a neat post-chorus section, although I think the instrument was a bit too loud. Obviously, this isn’t a structurally complete piece. I know this is supposed to be a WIP, but I’m afraid I can’t take that into account when judging your submission. You could’ve done so much more with this. I think it has a lot of potential, and I’d encourage you to keep working on it after the competition. The production quality is solid. The soundscape is cool, and I like the melodies and harmonies, etc. But for this competition, you need to show me more of your abilities, especially regarding structuring/transitioning, that often are on display later in the piece. Despite the fact that this piece was cut short, I thought you could’ve at least tried to conclude it in a more creative way. Instead, you had this sort of cliché sweep in there. Again, I’d encourage you to keep working on this. For what it’s worth, “Recharge” is still one of my personal favorite tracks from the NGAUC 2014. Hope this review helped. Keep at it, man! ;)


This review was written for the Newgrounds Audio Death Match 2015.

DjAbbic responds:

I also feel like this has a lot of potential, and it's a shame I couldn't really get it out before the deadline. I'm personally feeling a bit conflicted about everything after the intro, because I feel like there are other directions I could take it. I'll probably continue working on this but it may be unrecognizable by the time it is finished.

I'm glad you're still enjoying Recharge, I still think it's one of those 'outlier' songs which is better than what I normally make, but then again I have thought the same thing for a fair number of my latest (kinda old now) songs. Perhaps it is a sign that I'm improving :).

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate your input!

This is really cool, and I'm glad that you are trying! Your style is great, and I especially like that techno-y stuff at the drop! If you know any websites where people can write sheet music, I'm sure people (such as myself) would be willing to send in ideas for melodies and stuff!

DjAbbic responds:

I'm glad that you liked it, but something like this is unacceptable by my standards the way it is right now. There are a lot of things that need changing and I'm just disappointed that I struggled to find those fixes within the 2 weeks that I had.

I don't actually know any such website because I can't read sheet music myself (I could, once upon a time). I really appreciate the thought though. If you are able to make a mp3 or something that I can listen to though, I'd definitely give it some consideration.

Thanks a lot for the support :)

Credits & Info


4.49 / 5.00

Aug 18, 2015
5:38 PM EDT
Drum N Bass
File Info
3.7 MB
1 min 39 sec

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