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Dive In (NGADM '15)

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...just make sure you don't go too deep. You never know what you'll find.
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I'm pretty pleased with this one. I really like the drums, and I feel that the low end is more impressive than in some of my other recent pieces. It's not perfect (to me), but it's important to know when to draw the line in music production. I believe that if you pay too much attention to detail, you will end up adjusting things that don't need adjusting, and your music will suffer. I'm only going to get better if I finish mixes, not just dick around in them.

Thanks again to the organizers and judges at the Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch. It's nice to be put under pressure to create something -- interesting things can come from it.

This is my group stage entry for NGADM '15 (Group G).

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This is an NGADM Round 1 Review

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OK so first off I adore the atmosphere here. It's spacey, trippy, upbeat, and just a total blast to listen to. Most of your synth choices (barring some questionable ones like 1:52's lead synth) synergise wonderfully with each other. The drums are present but not overwhelming, and the pads are sidechained nicely. I also have to commend you on the the sound design earcandy you treat us to at the very end. It might have been debatable to end an upbeat track like this on such an ambient note, but I personally support that stylistic choice.

I feel like you could have had more memorable melodies to tie the track together. You spent a lot of the time relying on cool chords and sound effects to create an atmosphere, but in the end we aren't left with much to remember this song by. At 1:52 we are given one of the few prominent melodies this song has to offer, but unfortunately it isn't all that profound or memorable either. Additionally, I agree with the other reviewers below me that, firstly, the intro is a bit lame in that it jumps right into the track without a proper introduction, and secondly, that the transition at 0:29 is pretty abrupt and off-putting.

There is some stuff to iron out, but otherwise it was a pleasure to listen to some more of Birdinator's standard-issue oddly likeable eccentricity. Thanks for taking part in the NGADM again this year!

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SCORE: 7.5/10

Birdinator99 responds:

Look Step, I'm responding and it's Februaryyyyyyyyyyy

1:52 is an organ, unless you mean the creepy synth in the background. I don't mind questionable, as long as it's not offensive, haha. Glad you like the sidechaining.

Interesting that you support the ending. In retrospect it really just comes out of nowhere (much like most of this song), so your comment encourages me to keep experimenting with weird parts like that. The very strangely designed synth is not of my own creation, I'm afraid. It's what helped shape the mood of the ending, though -- I really wanted to use it in some way.

Valid points on melodies and the intro. They are the weak parts of the track for sure, but I will defend 0:29 to the death, haha. I STILL think that shit's cool. I know, right?

Thanks for taking a look at this, Step, and for continuing to host and organize awesome events like NGADM. Cheers!

NGADM Review

Hey man! So this track has some really cool ideas. Compositionally I really enjoy the dynamics and general feel to the track. You create a really interesting atmosphere between the chords and melodies and it all feels really unique. The only thing I would say is I wish that the song felt more uniform. I think this might just be a simple transition issue. One in particular is when you start the new part at 0:29, you change a lot of frequencies and elements that change the feel of the song entirely. For most of the song from this point you have solid transitions though!
Mixing isn’t bad either. I can hear everything just fine and it all works together. I suppose in terms of production, I would have chosen different synths. These definitely cater to a cool emotion and atmosphere that your song has, but I felt they could have been more unique and different synths could have been created to make a more unique feel to the track than what you have.

8/10

-Ryan

Birdinator99 responds:

Hey man,

Glad you liked it for the most part. As has been previously mentioned, there is a definite lack of cohesiveness. You are not the first to say 0:29 was jarring, and I can see why now!

I'm proud of my mixing here, so it's great that it floats your boat. Synth choice will always be a subjective thing at least in part, but there is always room for improvement, I understand. I will keep trying!

Thanks for taking the time to review!

Sorry to start this review off on a negative note, but the intro didn’t really work for me. You have this distorted, bass bomb of a sample playing for 3 seconds, and then you launch into this upbeat, well-balanced and full-textured section hook. The intro was short lived, and didn’t really help lead up to the next part in any way. I suppose the most confusing part of it for me was when you stripped away the filters (or made a volume automation; I can’t tell) at :01, and then just faded it back in before the upbeat part started. I think the intro would’ve worked fine as a sort of start-stop transition mid-way through the track, but at the beginning it felt a little bizarre. I’ve spent enough time talking about that, though. It’s a tiny detail and I’m not taking off many points for it. Anyway, I like the synths at :03 and the mood. Like I mentioned, you have a nice, full and even texture. The modulation at :29 caught me really off guard. Usually key changes don’t occur until much later in the piece as a way of making things seem more climactic. Then, :57 launches into this sort of ambient, pulsing drone-like sound that somehow reminds me of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” I think you’re trying to force these moods to work together a bit too much. You need to connect the disparate ideas you have here a little more. Otherwise, this piece seems a bit all-over-the-place. I’m still getting the “Thriller” vibes from that organ at 1:53 – kind of has this pop-like, thick-pad creepy sound to it. Then, once again I have no idea what to make of 2:19 – 2:46. It sounded like you tried to return to the ambient sound you had earlier, and then got sidetracked with creating a build-up (2:34) that essentially led nowhere. I’m so confused and disturbed that I almost actually like it. But then you come in with these random distorted effects at 2:48 and I’m once again convinced that this piece is ALL OVER THE PLACE. Don’t get me wrong – I love a lot of the ideas here, but the structure is so insanely bizarre that it’s almost impossible to keep the listener grounded by any sort of verse-chorus dependability or anything. There’s very little coherence in this piece. You need to repeat some of your ideas across sections of the piece! It should usually be relatively easy for a casual listener to discern the structure of your track. Adding variety – dynamic contrast, melodic development, etc. – will help keep your track interesting enough. However, neither of those concepts is even remotely relevant to this piece, I’m afraid. I’m sorry this review is so negative, Birdinator99. I’d encourage you to keep working on this piece (after the contest, of course) because I like the ideas you have here as I said, but right now the structure is very confusing and there’s very little repetition. Hope this helped! Keep at it, man. ;)

6/10

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

Birdinator99 responds:

The intro is bad and was rushed -- I'm actually surprised nobody else brought it up. I don't know how to explain how it came to be, but to make the intro longer would've meant me reorganizing a lot of my automation, and I ended up waiting until it was too late to decide what to do about it, so it's a cop-out. My bad. I will be more conscious of this in the future.

Glad you like the first part. It almost sounded a lot different at first, but I made a decision to have that organ play the chords about halfway through the process, and I think it really works.

I don't know enough about music theory to know what I did at 0:29. I had some chords that I was looking to use, and they sounded like they fit, so I just went for it. If it was jarring for you I apologize. Won't change that modulation though ;) haha

I have a habit of adding a spacey or, I don't know, "wondrous" section about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through my songs, so it's not always going to fit in with the rest of the piece. You're right; in hindsight, this track kind of keeps going...and going...and going. It's just one idea to the next without a lot of cohesion. I won't complain about Michael Jackson comparisons though!

2:19 to the end is really just creepy for the sake of being creepy. I was messing around with my tape stop plugin and I found something that I liked, so I just rolled with it. I'm glad you are disturbed -- I felt similarly the first time I heard that part when I stumbled across it. I really personally enjoy this section, so while I realize it doesn't fit with a lot of what else is going on here, I'm proud of it "as it's own thing", if you know what I mean.

I'm afraid I don't usually go back to songs to change them, however I will try to learn from this. I am working on a project right now that will help with my dynamic contrast and melodic development skills, hopefully. The journey's not over yet!

Thanks for taking the time to type out your thoughts. I'm sorry it was a let down for you!

I've delayed this review too long, it's about time.

Where do I start? Your track is very... interesting! Seriously, there's a lot of awesome stuff going on which you don't see every day. For instance, the panning, bandpass chiptune arpeggios at 0:35 and 0:48. How about the awesome tapestop transition at 2:20 into a super creepy and unsettling ending? AWESOME

Your sound design is nice! While I think that certain parts of the song could have benefited from a more modern sound (like the lead/pad thing at 0:30 and the organ at 1:52), overall your sounds aren't bad and create a nice atmosphere of "diving in".

You talk about how you think the low end is good in the description, and I can't say I disagree! Your low end is pretty nice! Then again, I'm not exactly a good judge of that.

One thing I complain about is melody. Your tracks doesn't exactly have a memorable melody in the first half to latch onto, and although your track isn't lacking in memorability, it makes it so that there's nothing to latch onto if you want to recall how the first half of the song goes, if you know what I mean.

But overall this is really solid and well done! I wouldn't complain too much because of the epic diversity this track brings. Great job, and good luck in NGADM! :D

Birdinator99 responds:

And I've delayed this response too long, so here we go...

It's cool that you mentioned the arpeggios -- I like 'em too! Tapestop -- yes please!

The pad at 0:30 isn't great, but I really liked the automation options I had. At 0:57 there's some wacky shit going on that's a result of that. I think the organ sounds "creepy", or at least that's how it initially hit me, which is the mood I was transitioning to at the end. I'm not totally sure if I would end up changing it if I went back.

Thought I would take out a bit more low mid and add a bit more sub to the bass than usual!

Melody is definitely the weak part of the song, as LunacyEcho also pointed out. There are definitely ways to make seemingly disjointed songs like this sound more continuous, and melodies would be a good area to accomplish that. Thanks for being honest about that part.

Thanks so much, man!

This gets you into a Sky adventure!
Love how the song sends out an awesome universe aura!
Great job Birdinator!

Birdinator99 responds:

Thank you so much!

Credits & Info


Listens
1,147
Faves:
1
Downloads
20
Votes
12
Score
4.51 / 5.00

Uploaded
Aug 18, 2015
8:12 PM EDT
Genre
Dance
File Info
Song
7.3 MB
3 min 11 sec
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