Thanks a great deal for yet another wonderful review :)
We've tackled our different collaborations in different ways. For this one, here is what we did:
I came up with a few ideas, and had dem0lecule come up with a few ideas as well. His ideas were string based, and my ideas were focused on the piano. But I interpreted his ideas in a way that allowed me to make them fit with the piano, and planned the piano parts around the string melodies he sent me. Especially the third and fourth movement are based closely around his original string ideas. But I think that the main reason this is so consistent, is because all of the piano was played by me in one sitting, and the arrangement of the piano is all mine this time. That said, I have no idea how dem0lecule managed to write so great string melodies for the entire piece in just one night. I did edit certain parts, and for the fifth movement I changed it and added my own ideas, but other than that, it's mostly the same. And even if I hadn't changed such parts, it would've still sounded just as consistent (yet different), because I have an older version I can listen to as well, which already sounds great.
But we were both of a similar mindset, and the intention behind the track is mostly the same for the both of us, which is why I think it was pretty easy for us to get a good structure. And once again, I am sure that playing the piece on a piano makes pretty much anything sound like it was made by one person, because I have a certain style of playing that really shines through whether I want it to or not.
Yeah, I definitely get that our tracks would both be difficult to judge. We're very happy that you appreciate the melodies and harmonies, as those along with the arrangement, are the core of the track. I spent a lot of time working on transitions and structure especially. I am at a point where chords and melodies seem to come to me much easier than a good arrangement. So I made sure to really focus on having a motif, and a few other kinds of more hidden repetition. But I'll get more into that when I eventually gather enough time and energy to respond to johnfn's massive review.
You're definitely right. If you compare this to my unplanned improvisations, there is a huge difference.
And yes, of course. The strings pain no one as much as they pain me. But, life came in the way. That said, I have talked with dem0lecule, so when things calm down, we'll put aside some time to produce this properly, with his intruments (though I might just use my electronic piano as the piano sample). I really appreciate those tips though. I produced this very quickly in the last minutes, so even I could do so much better, but I still need as much advice as I can get for the future. Dem0 has things more in check though XD
The piano power at 2:30 is definitely intentional. But with this particular VSTi, maybe it doesn't sound as good as it could. Maybe slightly different EQ settings at this part would've made it better. I actually didn't change the piano velocities manually at all, which may be a mistake. But I felt I played it well enough, and that removing a few mistakes would be enough. And for the strings, most of my time that last night went into editing the velocities. But as Geoplex pointed out, the ADSR humanization is totally lacking.
We both knew from the start that making a track this long would be tiring for many people. But we also didn't really care, as we didn't set out to make a pop track. I get what you mean with 3:00-5:30, but I think that those parts are also very important to convey what the piece is intended to. I feel it wouldn't be at all complete without them. Maybe better production would help this too?
There is a lot of new content that doesn't really repeat much in the middle section, which is why I think you and others might find those parts especially tiring to listen to :)
I'm glad you noticed the climax after that though, even if the mix doesn't really bring it out as much as it should be!
Yeah, I figured that you had a hard time picking one of the tracks to give a higher score to. I might've given a higher score to Chrismus based on the production alone. Then again, I personally like the structure and harmonical/melodic content in this track more. But I am obviously incredibly biased XD
But I totally get what you mean. I think it's fine that you decided to score both tracks alike, and both dem0 and I are super happy with your high score, especially as the score is so high despite the length and the production.
So once again, thanks a million for organizing this awesome contest, for judging, and for leaving great and helpful reviews. It was a blast to participate, and we seem to have done pretty well in the end, which is all fine and dandy for me. In fact, I'm almost personally secretly a bit happy that we lost eventually, as I had soooo much other stuff I had to catch up with o.O
I'm still only barely managing, but I'll soon have some free time again.
I'm sure we'll definitely participate (separately or together) if you organize this again next year!!!
It has been a pleasure indeed :3