This is an NGADM 2015 Review.
So, this is the song everyone has been raving about. I have to say it was quite deserved, this production is really awesome, fantastic saws, great leads, nice and loud and punchy without being squashed, and strong percussion. Loving the uplifting composition, too!
So, I definitely feel that this song’s intro is its strongest part. The first 42 seconds or so, while slightly repetitive in nature, are almost confrontingly awesome. Lots of fantastic subtleties and awesome melodies! The breakdown at 00:42 I think is a little less strong, perhaps; partially because of the distorted vocal chops. I think the high, clean ones work fine, but the distorted ones are a little unpleasant to me. This section feels to me as though it needs some kind of building element or a crescendo before we get into the chorus, because without it, the section doesn’t feel like it has much of a purpose. I do like the transition to the chorus though, and the vocals in this part.
The chorus that comes in at 01:20 is nice, but I feel it’s a bit chaotic, as well; especially with how omnipresent and overwhelming that mid-high saw is. It could do with some sidechaining to the kick or something along those lines, because I feel that it harms the clarity of this part. I like the silent transition into the next part, though. The decision to use the same structure as the intro worked out very well, and it sounds awesome. I love the little blippy square arp that you’ve added, and the alternate melodies are fantastic. I do perhaps feel that this climax is a little cluttered as well though, especially where you’re using a lot of FX.
Your production is great, really top-notch; possibly the best in the round… possibly. Obviously there are some questionable moments for me, clarity-wise; but your mix sounds loud and beautifully full. One other minor complaint I might have is that your lead has very high harmonics and I personally think they’re a little loud - I would be low-passing the lead (very very softly, mind you) a little. But yeah, just about every aspect of the production is great. Very punchy percussion, I really like that snare, and as mentioned your saws are fantastic (fat saw chords can be pretty difficult to get right in my experience, so great work on that.) Great FX work for the most part.
Damn solid track, an obvious contender for the best in the competition so far, in my opinion. Fantastic work!
'is pretty cool mang, pretty crunchy, yeah... Mmmmmmmmmm.
This is an NGADM Round 3 Review
Jesus... this is so damn good. I was absolutely blown away after I heard the intro blast through my speakers for the first time, and even now I keep coming back to this track just to hear that funky 0:23 riff or the breakdown at 0:42 or the buildup to the main riff again for the ending. This is insanely well-executed. Nothing short of professional.
I love the sounds you used here. It's as if they're a mix between classic sawtooth and triangle-based analogue synths and more modern or less conventional sounds. There's a really nice contrast between the thick pads of the more climactic sections and the thinner lead synths, and the vibrato and pitch bending you did on the leads is just to die for. The production is also insanely punchy, yet still crystal-clear and balanced wonderfully.
When I notice myself just fishing for issues to find with a track is when I know how excellent it really is. I was certainly hard-pressed to find anything wrong with this, but honestly, if I had to suggest anything, it'd be to make the outro a bit more interesting. Beyond the excitement of changing up the lead synth for the song's main riff, and some cool vocal stuff, there isn't much to justify the outro being a culmination of the whole song's listening experience, or much to differentiate it from any other normal section, if you get what I mean. I'd have killed for another layer of harmony/melody on top of what you had, or perhaps some crazier glitch stuff for that final section (especially from 2:16 onwards). It just came off as linear and ever so slightly unsatisfying.
Honestly, though, this is fantastic. One of my favourites from the whole contest. You have a very strong pace going for you right now. Who knows, maybe you'll finally get revenge for coming second by such a tiny margin in that one NGADM year :p. Small sidenote; I mentioned it in the thread but I should probably mention it here too. My score for you in Echo's post is a typo. Should be a 9.7, not 9. Anyhow, keep it up! Can't wait to hear what you cook up next.
this... is awesome ! i really appreciate the progression, the composition, and the effect.
good luck for the future!
=== This is an NGADM Round 3 Review ===
Okay, NOW we're talking.
This piece is INCREDIBLE! I'm not quite sure how you did it in 2 days. In fact, I'm not sure how you did it at *all*. I was somewhat intimidated about writing a review for it because I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do other than write THIS SONG IS MY JAM over and over again, at least 500 times, with a couple of table flipping emoji in there for good measure. But maybe I could at least dissect why it's my jam a little bit?
The main riff is just awesome. Probably one of the best NGADM riffs I've ever heard. To be clear, I'm talking about the thing at :24 here (and again with modifications at 2:03). The thing that really surprised me is that the first and second time I listened to this song I just heard :24-:33, immediately recognized it was awesome, and figured the rest of the riff after :33 couldn't possibly live up to it and kind of tuned it out (I also think to some degree that the user is not primed to listen too closely to any riff after the first four bars). Turns out, the second half of the melody is just as good as the first half, just jazzier. I think figuring this out was the point at which I started flipping tables.
The fact that your main riff is so awesome really took me aback, honestly. From your first and second tracks I had you pegged as a guy who could (maybe) write a good solo, but generally wrote half-decent, moderately catchy, but generally repetitive riffs. This riff is from another planet compared to your other stuff. I don't know what you did to make that possible, but you should keep doing it.
I could talk a little about all the other stuff I like about this track. The mix is really well done - those pads are just enormous. I love almost the entire transition back into the main section at 1:19, with a slight exception. I like the random airhorn sample you snuck into this song (I'm not gonna say where it is so that everyone else can search for it). The addition of the slap bass to the Midimachine Sound (TM) is almost like cheating, because everyone knows that slap bass immediately makes everything better. (It's kind of like soundgoodizer, or a kazoo.)
But I feel like ranting and raving for extended periods of time about that stuff would kind of be missing the forest for the trees, since EVERYONE KNOWS that the melody is 90%+ of the appeal of this track.
But maybe you're wondering why I didn't give this an even *higher* score than the score I already gave, considering how I praised the song so much? Dang, you're greedy. Ah, nah, that's a reasonable request.
I do have a minor nit-pick, which I just have to gripe about, since... well, you know. I have to. The execution of the transition from 1:19 back into the main section is ever so slightly off. Up until about 1:40 its just an AWESOME transition. The little melody going on top of the percussion craziness is just perfect. Then suddenly at 1:40 to 1:42 you drop the ball - there's a bit too long of a gap and all the awesome buildup energy fades away. This really bugs me because it's just a minor but damaging flaw to what was otherwise a near perfectly executed buildup. Like, I WANT to enjoy the buildup more, but I can't! I say this is a minor nit-pick, but really, I wonder how much better this song would have been with a properly executed build back into that final section. It could have made a big difference, since the build back to the final section is usually the peak of a song.
Alright, so that's my minor complaint. My next suggestion is a lot more important, imo.
The thing about your track is that I *wanted* to loop it like 100 times. It's insanely catchy, so why would I not want to listen to it 100 times in a row? But after the second time listening to it I realized that I was insanely fatigued because the song is so insanely loud. I had to go put on some Elliot Smith to recover. But I still wanted to try again later! I still *liked* your song - it's just that I *couldn't* listen to it multiple times. In fact, it's not even just a problem of multiple listens - I'm not sure if you put it through serious compression or what but this song is so loud that it's actually tiring to listen to, even once.
Outrageous loudness is a bit of a double-edged sword. It generally improves the first listening experience, because everyone likes loud music (proved by science!) - but it degrades the listening experience after the first listen because the song gets fatiguing.
But, here's the thing: your song is so good that you don't need to go to the lengths of extreme loudness in order to compensate for something. The melodies and builds are awesome and they will continue to be awesome even if you make the song's mix a little less aggressive. If you were just to tone down the loudness a bit, you'd get a song which rewarded multiple listens rather than punished people who try to listen many times, and that is the ultimate goal here.
Just to be clear, when I say "loudness" I don't exactly mean volume loudness (because then I could just turn down my volume and it'd be fine!) - it's more like a combination of mix aggressiveness, drum loudness, compression, and a bunch of other factors that combine to give listener fatigue.
Anyway, this was the track of the round for me. Given how outrageously high your average was already, I can only imagine that with the loudness issue fixed, you'd score higher than 10. Awesome work.
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.
* Cover / remake of a third-party piece.
Excercise caution when using it, refer to author comments / contact the author for details.