This song reminds me of etherealwind! Classical music with piano is my favorite type of music!
I like the seventh chords in the beginning. Those chords sound great together, but I rarely hear them in popular music.
The christmas sounds seem like they don't belong. I associate those sounds with happy, major chords, but this song sounds like it can be played during mourning.
The harp sounded serene at first, but due to the mixing, it sounded fake once it reached the highest notes.
I like the chord progression with the strings, however, it overpowered the piano. Your selection of chords is amazing; they create several different moods within the song. In my mind, these moods reflect the sadness for the loss while also highlighting the accomplishment's of this person's life.
The ending was underwhelming. I would have liked to hear something more explosive to emphasize the mournful mood.
I like the piano playing, melodies, chord progression, and instrument choices, but the poor mixing detracts from the experience and the ending leaves me feeling unsatisfied.
I hope you feel better soon :D
You saying that this reminds you of EtherealWinds is a great compliment! Thanks a ton for that <3
If you like classical piano, you might like the next composition I'm planning on uploading! Although it'll be solo piano. It's just difficult to record, since it's long, and complex :V
I love major seventh chords as well, so I'm glad to hear you appreciate them as well :D
I've always found your interpretation of sounds interesting, since it seems to be a tad different from what others feel! Although there certainly are sadder hints, I associate them more with longing, while the refrain of the song which is repeated several times, is mostly happy!
This is more multilayered than most Christmas songs though, that's for certain.
I agree about the harp on the higher notes. I knew about that while I was making it too, but I didn't have time to do anything about it.
I'm aware that both the choirs at the end, and the strings earlier overpower the piano. The reason I chose to have it this way, is because I personally wanted to emphasise the new instruments, since the piano was recorded back in 2014.
The thing is, I don't necessarily feel that this song in essence, is mournful, which is why I ended on a calmer note. The chords at least, are very conclusive, and head more towards the future than towards the past, in feeling.
I probably couldn't play this as well now as I did two years ago, without practicing for quite a while, so I'll have to agree that the playing is quite good! The poor mixing is a shame, but I decided that celebrating the event, is more important than honoring it flawlessly ;)
I'm still sick, but there's a lot to do before the year ends still, so I won't let that stop me!
Thank you for listening, as well for the well wishes and the long review! ^ ^
Ooooo...I like the instrumentation and emotion here. The percussion at :30 was a nice touch, too. It's pretty slow to progress at the beginning, but I really like the direction it's taking by around 1:30. You definitely play with a lot of different moods here - from nostalgia to hopefulness to longing. The vocal section at around the 2-minute mark was enjoyable. At 2:40 or so, the vocals seem to distort the strings a bit, but I can hear everything clearly at most other points in the piece. I suppose I would've suggested you take some of the treble off of those harsh-sounding bells at 3:05. The piece sounded like it was peaking there, but it might've just been the high pitch of the instrument. You could also just transpose it down an octave instead. I really like the rhythm guitar you introduce at 3:56 or so. It adds a lot of flair to the last minute or so of the piece. The ending is sweet. Also, I don't recall reviewing last year's version of this piece, so I'm glad I caught it this year. :) Keep up the good work, Ale! ;) Merry Christmas!
I'm glad you didn't review last year's version, as it was just a reboot of the 2014 version, with a music box instead of a piano!
I agree that the piece is slow to progress. I guess it's fine, since it's an Xmas song, and a fairly long one too.
As for playing with many moods, I probably overdid it! But I've been overdoing it since the first (never uploaded) version which I made in 2011. So it'd be weird to stop now!
Also, if I recall correctly, the original thought was that there should be different emotions, since a lot of different ones are felt during Christmas times, and this is a composition about remembering them.
As for 2:40, I think you're mistaking an even lower, simultaneous choir harmony, "singing" at the same frequencies as the Cello. So it's likely drowning (which is also bad), but not distorted!
The track doesn't peak at the bells, but I agree that it sounds harsh! I noticed this today while listening on speakers instead of with my headphones, where it's better.
The rhythm guitar is a great bass VST. But I couldn't use a bass because of the Cello, so I used fairly high notes, and added a few weird effects to make it sound like it does. I'm glad you liked the addition! The mix is probably the most terrible at this part though :V
So yeah, your critique is very on point! Thank you for the review, Andrew, and Merry Christmas!!
The mastering isn't very good at a lot of parts in this, imo. Like when the base gets louder than the melody, while the melody just gets higher pitched, or near the beginning when the jingling is a bit loud. I respect your decision to party with friends and whatnot, but maybe not leave this for last-minute the next year you redo this?
I agree about the mastering, in general.
That said, by base, I assume you're talking about the cello which plays throughout the track?
There's only one place with an actual bass guitar, and that is indeed the part where the lack of mixing is most prominent :)
About different instruments being louder than the melody, it's a conscious decision. It's all about where you want the focus to be. Since there is a solo piano version already, where the melody is clear, I wanted to emphasise the new aspects.
The Jingling is pretty loud, I guess, but at least using my headphones, they don't cover up any of the other instruments, since there's only the piano and cello other than the sleigh bells.
As for the last part, I get where you're coming from. But I want to remind you that in Christmas times, it's probably wiser to spend time with family and friends, than put all of ones energy into a cool project which is only made for one's own sake anyway :p
If it were a commission, the quality would be more important. But since it's just for fun and tradition, I don't mind the result being less than perfect ^ ^
Despite how you feel this was really well mixed. It sounds like you really brought the instruments forward in this. Is that from compression? Whatever you did I have a bias for it and I like it. Excellent arrangement, instrumentation, mix. Those sleigh bells were super smart. I didn't even realize how long this track is. It morphs around a bit and stays really interesting. Great job and happy holidays lsd :D :D
Thank you for the review! :3
I really 'cheated' when it came to mixing this. I had to do the quick version, which entails using Cubase 9's new Maximizer on the "modern" setting, and just throwing that on the master track xD
The good thing is, these orchestral insturments I used, although not the very best on the market, are still quite good out of the box. They tend to be panned already, and they generally work well together. Since I made the arrangement so simplistic (considering the time I had, there was no choice anyway), I didn't run into the issue of having to separate intruments in the mix, because of them being layered on top of each other.
All that said, I'm still fairly certain this could sound even nicer, if I spent an hour or two messing around with the EQ, and some additional stuff :)
But sometimes, less is more!
I'm glad you like the arrangment. It was pretty much improvised, based on my intuition :D
Since I've played this piece for many years though, I am very familiar with it, which made the entire process much easier.
As for the sleigh bells, I had some problems getting them to sound balanced :V
Since I used them in a rhythmic manner, but the piece follows no specific tempo and changes all along, I decided to drop them after using them for a short while. I spent way too much time adjusting all the notes in the piano roll so that they would fit together!
They are still not perfect, but I'll pretend that it's "humanization" ;)
Thanks again, and Happy Holidays ^ ^
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.