* This is an official 2017 NGUAC review *
I liked this one - definitely some good potential here. On to specifics...
Mixing, mastering, and production: The main point where TDMO suffered in terms of production was that many of the instruments felt a bit obviously virtual. I can tell that I'm listening to a virtual piano playing a MIDI file, for example, as opposed to hearing someone perform the exact same piece on a piano. Of course, not everyone has a piano, but many of these instrument problems can be solved with very careful EQing, reverb, panning, and other mixing tracks. One in particular that might prove helpful for you is 1) plugging in a keyboard with MIDI capabilities and actually performing parts yourself, or 2) manually editing the velocity and timing of your instrument parts. When a pianist plays a piece, for example, they never do so with absolutely perfect timing or with absolutely the same amount of pressure on every note. The slightest touches of off-timing will help the realism, and so too will editing the velocity - part of what makes a great performance is the use of dynamics. So if you can't perform it yourself, you can still try and work in elements of performance that will make the music sound better.
I liked most of the effects you used on an individual basis (although some careful reverbing would have helped - remember, you want your mix to sound like every instrument is playing together in the same room), but I did question why you used some of the effects you did. It's always worth asking yourself, when adding a new instrument or effect into a piece, "does this make sense to have given the context of the rest of the track?" Some of the effects I felt you like thought sounded cool and threw them in without thinking about how they affect the rest of the piece. I'll talk more about this below in instrumentation.
Finally, I think the track could've stood to be a bit louder - good use of a maximizer and a limiter in the mastering phase would solve this.
Composition: Generally speaking, pretty good. No dramatically weak spots here. I really liked most of your chord choices.
One of my biggest nitpicky things for TDMO is instrumentation. There's a whole gaggle of instruments, from 80s synths to acoustic piano, to strings, to electric guitar, to modern synth effects. Many of these are instruments or sounds that would not normally play together, so when you're blending them you have to be sure that you're doing it for a good reason. You're at the point of musicality where you have the talent to work all these different things in, but...should you be? (enter Jeff Goldblum for Jurassic Park "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.")
What happens when you throw in all of these instrument types is that they break the cohesion and atmosphere of the piece. When I listened, I didn't get a sense of TDMO having everything together - it was more of a patched quilt made by 30 different stitchers. What would help here is deciding what the foundation of the track will be. Is it going to be more rock? (electric guitar and drums) Is it going to be more ballad-y? (piano) Is it going to be more synthy? In order to have the whole piece come together and work as a whole, you have to decide what you're going for, instead of just deciding along the way. Once you know your foundation, you can reasonably ask yourself when adding in new instruments "should I be adding this in? If I am, why? Does it work with the rest of the piece?" And when you do, you'll be able to have an answer.
Otherwise, I liked most things. I think it would have been nice to have the melody tag off the piano at some point. Even when it was on the guitar, the piano was doubling it. So some variety would spice things up.
Overall, great potential. Go forth on your musical quest!
Wow thanks for the awesome feedback ! <3
I'm gonna use your precious advice for my last track ever ("Work, Buy, Consume, Die") ! The achievement of my masterpiece will be partly thanks to you ! =)
I like the atmospheric fade-in, although some of those instruments sound a little generic. I would’ve liked to see you maximize the impact of that initial climax before diving into the lengthy piano section that follows. You seem to set the pacing of the piece up to be pretty rapid with the 15-second intro, but then it’s actually rather slow. I like the drums - they have a great organic roots rock kinda vibe. The piece has a great sense of climax over the course of the next 3 minutes. The drums could’ve even been stronger towards the end. The rhythm is pretty square for most of the piece, though - a lot of straight eighths going on. I also feel like you could’ve maximized the climax by adding a really dominant and empowering melody somewhere. That distorted guitar thing at 2:53 doesn’t quite cut it since it blends into the rest of the texture. That said, the texture of this piece is one of my favorite elements. It’s so full and rich, and really shows off your great sense of harmony. I like this piece a lot, but I think you could’ve taken even more risks in certain elements of the composition and structure. Still, keep up the good work man. :D
Thank you very much for the review and for that cool note (even if I didn't make it :'3) !
I will take in consideration every advice you gave me in order to improve myself. Maybe I'll make it in the NGUAC who knows ? If so, count on me to produce the best I've ever done ! B)
Thanks again ! =D
Ooh I love the part at 0:58 when the strings come in! The piano sounds a little dehumanised - it sounds as if all the notes are a very similar volume, so I'd go over each individual notation and and perhaps edit the volume of each individual note, and also the timing of the notes, so that they don't sound so totally on-beat. I think that would really improve the dynamics of the piano performance! I love that distorted electronic guitarish synth that comes in at 2:22 too. Especially playing along with the melody of the piano. The mix sounds quite clear too, the instruments are placed well within the mix.
Hey thanks for the review !
Yeah I think I should have do something with velocity as you pointed out ! I will work on that in my future productions ! The tip about timing will be helpful too, I actually never thought of that. =3
Thanks again (oh and I love this guitar synth too =D) !
Beautiful melodies..structure solid..could be louder
Mix is awesome!! Keep it up bro!
Thank you for the review bro !
I'm happy you found it great, but unfortunately, as I said in ChaelMusic's response, I can't do much about the volume ! ^^
Let's hope it doesn't count much in the judges' choice ! :p
Not what I expected with a title like that XD
Solid composition, but the track is really quiet. Work towards a greater master volume.
Keep it up, and best of luck for NGADM!
Hey thanks for the review friend !
Thanks for the kind words, however I'm not sure I can do much about the volume unfortunately ! It's not a matter of mix, I tried to raise the master volume, but it changes nothing because the problem comes from conversion. When GarageBand converts the track into a file, the more complex it is, the less it is audible, I tried to raise the volume afterwards, but the track becomes crackling.
Thanks again mate, and good luck to you too, it's gonna be gr8 ! :3
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