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Smokescreen to Lucidity (Part 1: Denial)

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Author Comments

Entry for NGAUC 2k16 Final Round (I'm an Underdog)

All instruments are played by me and are acoustic (aside from a "pony slide" synth that I played in the mixcraft virtual instruments).

First part of a two-part epic I have planned that journeys through feelings of denial and finally accepting a cold, hard, reality. Needless to say, the second part isn't written yet aside from a lil' riff that I might use in it. These will probs wind up on my concept album as I feel they are central to the recurring themes that have appeared on it thus far.

Still only using one shitty lil mic for this one :(

This world crumbles under me
With crackle, ember underneath
I try to remain calm and cool
But I'm not another mindless fool

Ah ah

With a fellow like you so indifferent
While earth shatters just like a glass
My mind will shut out all the fears
While at our home a fiery death

Ah ah

Cause you're livin' so far away
And we're thinking so far away
And when you're living this far from what goes on
You're bound to get caught in the fray


verbicidemusic - Smokescreen to Lucidity (Part 1: Denial):

The Good:
-Excellent guitar chords and guitar filtering at the start. The initial guitar riffs are fantastic as well with the bass harmonies.
-Really well-written melodies throughout the piece which come back. Those "ahh" sections are fantastic!

The Not-So-Good:
-There's some weird guitar FX at the start, beginning around 0:34. It's a neat effect, but I don't think it quite works in this case.
-So, this is a really weird flaw for this piece to have: The instruments sound very much like they were recorded in different locations and different ways. The biggest and most noticable instruments in this are the drums. They seem to have been recorded in their own room, causing a bit of weird reverb that none of the other instruments have. Try adding some general reverb to all the instruments at the end of mastering (in very light doses) to improve this.
-Further issues with the recording: The instruments seem to be very thin overall. I think that once the general spatial issue is fixed, this will improve dramatically - but beyond that, it sounds like a lot of the mixing is EQing out frequencies that get in the way of others. That's fine, but try to leave some of them behind - it will ruin some of the instruments otherwise. Try turning down the volume of the instruments and using a limiter at the end of all other mixing/mastering to really push things up to a full volume with good quality.
-Not quite sold on the phase effect of the voice in the later half.

The Result: 7.6/10.
Okay, I know that it looks like I just ragged on you for most of this review, but here's the thing. Everything here is great, *except* the sound quality of the instruments and general mastering of the piece. If that was fixed, this would probably shoot up 1 to 1.5 points in quality from that alone. In other words, that one issue overshadowed a huge amount of the piece and pulled it down from where it really should be. Once that is fixed, I think that your music will shine out with the excellent writing it currently has! Best of luck, guys!

This is an official NGAUC Review

My personal rating for your piece is as follows:
Production: 13/30 (Below Average)
Composition: 22/30 (Above Average)
Instrumentation: 12/15 (Above Average)
Originality: 9/10 (Great)
Interest: 10/15 (Average)

Giving a total of 66/100, or 3.5 stars. (Below Average)

Please view your rubric for comments-

I like the soothing guitar riffs at the beginning. Right away, I notice that when the melodic content comes in at :26, it distorts the initial guitar riff. That’s a problem that could be solved with some more panning, compression, and careful equalization. I like the soulful, down-to-earth vocals, and the lyrics themselves are also enjoyable. I’m afraid the production quality is still dragging you down a lot here. I can tell you’re a talented composer, so you should really ask your parents for a higher quality mic for your birthday or something. ;) I like the mood and atmosphere a lot, and this is a well-structured and smooth-flowing piece. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the instrument you used as a snare. It sounded a little too sharp and hollow. Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about drumming, but I’d do some research on where to strike the snare so that you get as rich of a tone as possible. It also could be that your mic is bad at detecting certain frequencies. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the solos at around 3:30. You did overuse the crashes a bit by the end of the piece, though. Unfortunately, the mic quality and lack of proper mixing means that a lot of elements of the piece get distorted at times. You can physically hear when the drums sort of force their way through the thick texture during certain sections. Basically, the mic quality is affecting a lot of other factors here: the production quality, frequency balance, etc. I also thought you could’ve had a bit more dynamic contrast and phrasing in there, especially during the first ⅔ of the piece or so. Compositionally, this is a very strong piece, though. I may sound like a broken record here, but if you fix the sound quality you would have an exemplary piece. Keep at it, Verbicidemusic! ;D


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Credits & Info

4.43 / 5.00

Aug 12, 2016
9:16 PM EDT
File Info
4.2 MB
4 min 38 sec

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.