Looking for the Stars

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Hey, it's time for my first upload of the year!

But actually, this is a track that I made in the very end of 2015, fo the NGMT competition. Check out the final results here:


I ended up taking the second place victory in the overall competition, and I'm very happy, and honestly a bit surprised with the placement :)

The theme for this round was "Polluted Sky". While making this track, I imagined a character, with a storng will to get out of the city that pollutes the surroundings, who wants to travel as far as possible, until he/she finally gets to observe a starry sky. That is why I wanted the ending to be really cheesy and positive, despite the negative tone of the theme contest theme. I also wanted to get that sense of adventure in there, which explains the violin part :)

The track is a little short to have as many sections as it has, but I didn't have too much time. I'm pretty happy that I finally used some silence in a track that's not mainly ambient though (well, there's that one pad playing silently there still, but I feel like it was necessary).

And please, take some time to check out the lovely artist who made the painting I used for the cover (and that was used for inspiration for everyone, during the competition).


I hope you enjoy the listen!

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I like it! It was scary at first and frazzled my nerves but then it became calm and docile. This song just sounds lovely. I picture some rhythmic imagery as I hear this song and type these words! This song will go down in NG history as one of its finest submissions! Good work! This song is nothing short of splendid due to its originality.

LucidShadowDreamer responds:

Whoah, those are some really nice compliments!
It's great to hear that you enjoyed listening to the piece :)
I doubt it'll go down in NG history though, haha, considering the amount of incredible pieces on this website xD

Thanks a ton for your sweet review :3

I love the dark mood and pitch shifting effects. I think your mixing has improved a lot recently, and this isn't even close to your most recent piece! The transition at 1:22 was really abrupt, but I'm sure you meant for it to be that way. Especially since the next section was such a jarring change-of-pace, I might've tried to at least make it seem more climactic into 1:22. It also didn't necessarily seem conclusive enough for my tastes at the end. The first half of the piece is very energetic and rushed, while the latter half is more fleshed out. I think you could've had a lot more direction to the piece during the second half, which would ultimately add more conclusiveness. Overall, though, I like it a lot. It's very moody and cinematic, and the instrumentation is fantastic. Keep up the good work, Ale! ;)

LucidShadowDreamer responds:

Even though you think my mixing has improved a lot, there are a ton of things I'd probably go back and fix here at this point. Especially in the very beginning, where everything sounds way too silent, compared to the rest of the track. I do like the second part though, with the strings and the percussion.
Timewise, it's actually the second part of the piece which is rushed! I made that in a super short time. It was just easy to do, as it's standard symphonic arrangement, I suppose. The lack of time I had for this, is what limits the piece's potential, unfortunately. The transition is way too abrupt, but in order for the story to make sense, I needed there to be that second part as well.

I don't have a problem with the conclusion from a compositional standpoint though! I mean, it's a bit generic, but it puts a nice little dot at the end of the story, imo.
Thank you for listening :3

Second place!!! AWESOME!!! This is well worth it too.

LucidShadowDreamer responds:

Thanks a lot :)
I'm about half a minute into Audra's theme atm. I'm not entirely happy with how it sounds yet, so I'll keep working on it until I like the sound, and then I'll show you. I am ready to make a lot of changes is it's not what you're looking for either. I feel that her theme is important to get right, and we've got plenty of time :p

Aw, yeah! There's a lot of epic stuff going on in these two and a half minutes. You've made a really varied and dynamic track here, Lucid. One that truly fits the description of "Cinematic." It's no surprise that you ended up taking second place overall in the NGMT, and it's a real pleasure to be able to hear those tracks now that the contest has come to an end. Very well done!

The beginning really took me by surprise, mostly because it was a sound I hadn't really heard from you before, but also because I hadn't taken the time to read your description yet. Very appropriately dystopian with a cool Steampunk vibe. The backstory you've created here is like a new take on an age-old struggle, the classic story of questing for a better way of life, a world that isn't so corrupted with pollutants that the very sky above is obscured by black clouds and filth.

Hey, I kind of like that totally cheesy level of optimism! It always makes for the best stories. That one person or group of people who hold tightly to a slim thread of idealism and keep hoping for a brighter future when it would be so much simpler to just accept the way things are. Choosing to fight rather than languish in despair.

You know, those moments of almost silence around the one and a half minute mark are very meaningful, and even though it's a release of tension, you can just tell that something big is coming. Enter the low, soulful brass, followed by a rich harmony of strings, rising higher and higher toward that powerful crescendo. A feeling of success and triumph at the end of a long and arduous journey. To finally see those shining stars.

In fact, here are five well-earned stars for you.

LucidShadowDreamer responds:

You impress me every time! You're one of the people that can really read into a track, and understand what the creator personally feels about a piece. That's a very good ability to have, and I think it's related to having a strong sense of empathy.

I had no hesitiation when picking a genre for this one, which is actually pretty unusual, unless it's a solo piano composition or something like that. Thanks for the compliment! This is the track, for the NGMT, which I put the most effort into. I'm okay with the second one I did, but the first one I feel was not ambitious enough, for being me. That is why I'm surprised I still managed to make it to such high rankings!

Your interpretation not only of the track, but of how it works in a more general sense is rather perfect. I was thinking of just that kind of a cheesy and generic story. What can I say? I am guilty of watching many a movie, and playing many a game during my lifetime.

I'm glad to hear that you can appreciate the silence too. It actually took a surprising amount of effort to get it to be the right amount of time long, according to my tastes. It's actually a trick I borrowed from Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite". But of course, it works way better with a long silence, and then a long calm part, and then a very powerful outro. I had to speed up the process a little, yet it still does its job :)

Thanks a ton, for another thoughtful review!

This was my first pick in the contest! I really didn't think you composed this because it sounds so different from your usual music. I voted for it because it clearly depicts a specific story with its emotions. When I first heard the song, I imagined that the intro represented an alien invasion on earth and then the end of the song represented humanity's victory. I love the chords at the end even though they do sound cheesy. Did you use pitch bending on the violin?

LucidShadowDreamer responds:

Oh wow, thanks a lot! Yeah, sometimes I try to surprise myself and others by making something different, and trying something new. I've learned that whenever I do, I improve by leaps. But also, this is possible because I now have stormdrum 3 and Symphonic Orchestra Gold. I have much more free hands when I want to compose. Other than that, I made good use of Zebralette and Alchemy Player (luckily, I managed to get my hands on it before it became... Difficult). I don't usually work with electronic stuff too much, but those are really powerful plugins with lots of effects and cool sounds.

I can totally see how you'd visualize aliens to this XD
It's not a bad interpretation at all :)

Yeah, I like the chords too. I was in flow, so I just pulled them out from nowhere, and they worked pretty perfectly. The chords near the end and near the beginning aren't necessarily all too different from each other (though the end makes use of more) :D

As for the violin, I used a keyswitch, which allowed me to use different slides/bends etc. for all the notes. It took a while to experiment with it, but I think it was worth it. Better than loading in 10 different kinds of violins XD

Thanks for reviewing!

Credits & Info

4.71 / 5.00

Jan 4, 2016
3:53 PM EST
File Info
5.6 MB
2 min 29 sec

Licensing Terms

You may only use this piece for commercial purposes if your work is a web-based game or animation, otherwise you must make specific arrangements with the artist.