BRUCE: Jim's Theme

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Author Comments

It's been a while since I had the time to make something for BRUCE. To my knowledge, there's only one piece more to make after this one. Fun stuff :)
(Probably not exactly what the person who asked me to compose this was looking for, but sometimes one thing leads to another, and suddenly we're left with a weird jazz piece).

Okay, so. As you can hear, this is qutie a messy piece. I guess I didn't know exactly where to go with it! I also got a headache while mixing this, so I kinda just left is as it is right now; despite it clearly not being perfect, I feel there's a certain charm to this. However, if you feel it's too random and disorganized, I'll have you know I plan on uploading a solo piano version early next week, or so. I prefer the solo piano, I think, whereas this version is also quite entertaining in its absurdity :D

I used mostly free instruments (for Kontakt, note). I think only the bass, and the piano (not the elecrtic one) cost, and one of them comes with Kontakt. I decided not to add any percussion, since all of this is freetempo (meaning adding jazz drums would take quite a while, and would sound fairly unbalanced)!

Anyway, as always, that's enough ranting xD
Hopefully, you'll enjoy this listen! With any luck, at least this'll sound a bit avant-garde :3
Thanks for listening ^ ^!

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I may get some instrument names wrong, but hopefully you’ll know what I mean anyway.

The song has a bright and confident mood. I like that you established a consistent rhythm at certain points, which enhances the song’s catchiness. The brass melodies and harmonies are what makes the song so special to me. They have a nostalgic sound and their melodies are catchy, which is surprising considering that this is jazz.

I believe you said the piano was recorded first. As always, your piano playing is excellent. Other musicians might have just played the chords and melodies, but you played the piano with the same level of detail as if it was a solo piano song. With that said, there were times when I desired a short break from the piano. You could have made the brasses stand out more at times by making the piano less prominent, and you could have automated the piano’s reverb to make more space for the other instruments during busier parts of the song. Furthermore, I think you could have EQd the piano’s low end slightly more.

I love how you repeated the main melody using different instruments. It sounds great with the piano, but it sounds incredible with the brass instruments. I also love how the brasses switch from being support to becoming the focus.

The bass is well played, but I think you could have given your listeners a short break from it. I don’t think it’s essential to have in the introduction, for example.

The mix is decent; it has a nice reverby atmosphere and sounds full. However, when I observe all the details, I hear strange panning (with the brass), and sometimes the brass notes go too far down, and as a result, its lowest frequencies stand out and catch my attention.

At the end of the song, the release of the final notes is inconsistent, but it an unnatural sounding way. If you can’t perfectly mimic the release of real instruments, then I think the next best thing is to automate the releases to make them consistent, so it doesn’t sound like a mistake. One important thing I learned from making many designs is that when something looks like a mistake, it’s the primary aspect of the work that people who can “see” will notice.

This is one of my favorite songs from you, probably in the top five :D

LucidShadowDreamer responds:

Now this is quite an extensive review :O!
Thank you very much O.O

I definitely wanted confidence to be something this piece emits! So it's nice to hear that you noticed it :DD
I heard from someone else that the sound is nostalgic too, and that's probably a good thing! Tbh, the melodies were added quite rapidly, with some basic thought, but mostly based on experience. I had already composed the piano arrangement earlier, so it was fairly easy to add other intruments. I'll upload a video of me playing the solo piano version, which is a bit faster and shorter, sometime this coming week.

I do agree I should've given a break from the piano. What I essentially did, is I took the piano arrangement, slowed it down by a little, and almost doubled it at one point, which explains the length. I varied the arrangements and the instruments ever so slightly though, so that the second playthrough sounds somewhat different. As for the pianos, the louder one is the electric piano which is mostly heared in the right ear (with headphones), while there is a jazzy piano more to the left/middle, which isn't supposed to be heard much, but adds more depth to the piece (it would be easier to hear if you were to listen without it; it's the easiest to hear at the very beginning though, or during the first half in general).

You're probably right about the EQ regarding the piano. I was pretty careful with EQing the low ends, since that easily can mud up the mix! And I didn't have time for more extensive mixing. Still, not a good excuse xD

I'm glad one actually noticed the bass among all the other instruments! It's a pizzicato sample, of some orchestral bass instrument, and was really difficult to get to sound right without ruining the mix. As for a break, and the beginning, your critique is on point ;)
Thanks for the tip!

I think I got the reverb mostly right. I didn't want the piece to be too wet, nor too dry. So I went with a light mix, differeing slightly in intensity from instrument to instrument. That said, the mix is pretty lazy (I had a headache too, after all). Just some EQing, panning, and a certain type of compressor was added. There's even some slight clipping at a couple of points, but I left it in there!

I agree some of the low notes get a bit too muddy. Part of it is not the mix, but the arrangement. Some arrangements are fairly impossible to mix right. Low brass combined with low bass, and sometimes even low piano, probably just doesn't sit right! I'll try to think about this more in the future though :D

As for the end, I don't have much of a problem with it. I know that the instruments release at a slightly different time, while some of them fade out more, and some fade out but still release before going silent. I really wanted none to fade out fully, but I ran into some technical problems, and the easiest way to solve them was to fade a couple of the instruments down. It had to do with a weird sound during the final release of certain of the sounds :p

I do know that mistakes are the first thing to be noticed by people who are familiar with music, so I get what you're saying.

It's really cool to hear that you liked this song to the extent where it's included in the top five you've heard from me! That makes me glad to hear ^ ^

Also, once again, thanks a ton for the nice and detailed review!!!

Nice, it has a good feel to it.

LucidShadowDreamer responds:

Thank you ^ ^


LucidShadowDreamer responds:

Thanks :)

Credits & Info

4.93 / 5.00

Feb 17, 2017
9:35 AM EST
File Info
7.1 MB
3 min 6 sec

Licensing Terms

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