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Willow Wasteland: Fantasia


Author Comments


1: a free usually instrumental composition not in strict form

2a : a work (such as a poem or play) in which the author's fancy roves unrestrictedb : something possessing grotesque, bizarre, or unreal qualities

I. Andante (00:00-1:42)

II. Andantino (1:46-5:46)

III. Molto Allegro (5:59-6:57)

TaintedLogic had mentioned to me that he would like to see me break apart from a sense of continuity, and I was also inspired by Mozart’s Fantasy in D Minor by its jarring end being written in the parallel major.

In terms of the theme, I was moved by the civilian casualties in the Ukraine war. I know it’s not a new story, but I was recently researching again these events, because my wife was born in Donetsk. Now there’s nothing to return to. What childhood one has had can no longer be shared in a tangible way.
The free people have become like the willows where they can only continue to grow in memories.

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Oh man, I was just checking out the Round of 64 results (I'M LATE, I KNOW !) and I suddenly see : Phonometrologist - 962. Excuse me ?!

So I decided to check it out, because that's not a score you see everyday. Glad I came across this little piece of magic. I'm not gonna be able to get you a good review about your instrumental/sound choices, since I'm no composer (yet), but here are some of my thoughts nonetheless.

The andante felt like a pretty great start to the piece, it gave me that sort of happy yet fascinating/epic feeling, and it hit me right in the heart, because I used to play in orchestras and it really has that vibe to it. I also think it would make a great soundtrack to many genres of movies, but I can completely picture it (haha, get it ?) with a sudden opening on beautiful landscapes. If you don't understand what I mean, no big deal...

The second part really grabbed me in because of the atmosphere you set. I totally did not expect those guitars, but they blend in so well in my opinion. Once again, it could totally be a movie soundtrack (yeah I know, I say that a lot), and even though I know it's not what you based it off of, I can see it in fantasy/sci-fi movies taking place in space (maybe the recent Valerian movie makes my opinion biased...)

Final part surprised me once again, mostly by the sudden change in both tempo and atmosphere. Nevertheless, it sounds great. That's all I can say about it. Maybe it's the part I like the less, because it doesn't make me feel as many emotions as the first two, but that's personal, of course. Finally, I love how you ended the piece so calmly after such a fast-paced third part, and the kind of melancholic vibe to those last piano notes. A truly great end to an overall magnificent piece.

I'll just wrap it up by saying that I now see why it got such a high score at NGADM. Although I'm far from being as good as any of the contestants, I recognize a good piece when I see one, and today you're earning another 5 stars rating and a new fan.

Phonometrologist responds:

Hello MiD-420, thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughts about the piece. It's always an encouragement to read about others liking a sort of thing. You don't have to know a lot about instrumentation or composition to know good music so don't apologize for that. Thank you for your detailed thoughts on the different sections.

A very thoughtful, inspired piece. You're quite talented at portraying emotions and textures. This is coming very near the ten mark for me, and I really have no useful critique to offer.

Phonometrologist responds:

Oh, it took me a while to figure out who you were due to the name change. I'm just glad people enjoy it, and thank you for letting me know.

I like the dreamy strings and atmosphere at the beginning. The pause at :15 actually worked pretty well (usually I don’t like transitions that disrupt the flow of a piece). The melodies at :28 were beautiful. Excellent pacing and atmosphere throughout. The production quality is also really impressive. Glad I inspired the “lack of continuity” here so-to-speak - not exactly what I meant, but this piece is still rather impressive. I would’ve liked to see you wear down the first movement a little more - it just didn’t have quite as much shape at the end as I would’ve liked. The second movement is beautiful in its own way. The mood is just engrossing, and I love the synthetic elements that bleed in at around 3:30. Another surprise in the instrumentation at 4:28, but wow those melodies are beautiful. I appreciated how the 2nd movement flowed a bit better into the 3rd, even if the climax at 5:58 didn’t quite reach the level of energy at 5:59 on its own (is that hypocritical, given my request for breaks in continuity? Maybe…) I also thought the very ending was a little underwhelming and came on too suddenly. Overall, amazing work, of course. You’ve taken some huge risks here with the composition and sound design, and they paid off very well. Instant favorite and DL. I was thoroughly entertained throughout these 7 minutes. You being paired up with Garlagan was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. XD  Keep up the great work, Phono! ;)


Phonometrologist responds:

Hey TL, I appreciate the thorough review. I don't disagree with any of it as the points you make are well-taken. This has given me ideas for what to do in the future, so thank you.

this is just incredible Phono
so many flavours flawlessly put together
it's conveying intense emotions in an exquisite way
love the electronic elements/instruments, mostly the arp that accompanies the guitar solo. i think the guitar there gets a bit overshadowed by the synth that remains on the foreground which is the only thing i'm unsure whether it was intentional
my favourite part has to be the transition between Part II and Part III. Also, the latter adds a sort of sweet spice that stays present in the entire composition when you relisten

Phonometrologist responds:

I appreciate the kind words, and if you sincerely enjoy it that's all that matters to me. You've pushed me to write such a piece so it wouldn't have existed without you to some degree. In regards to the synth being in the forefront during some parts of the guitar solo, you would be right in general, but it was merely a thing I felt was needed as I was mixing. I didn't think having the guitar solo in front of the mix and treated like a vocal part really worked in this occasion. I was hearing it and really wanted more cowbell... err synths. I'll give an example: at 5:01, the stacked guitar part really is simple. The melodic contour is just going down in steps by fourths: C-G, Bflat-F. Really nothing too interesting, but it is the progression that highlights the guitar because as the guitar plays those 4 notes, the synth makes those notes into the thirds as opposed to what one would hear to be roots without the context. Subtle, but the point I’m trying to make is that it's what I was wanting to hear in the mix. I appreciate the review and the time you took to writing it!

This is a masterpiece. You really have a talent for music and I'm so happy that it's appreciated so much. Listening to this piece takes me on an incredible journey but keeps me in suspense the whole time. It develops gorgeously. For some reason, it reminds me of 'Kingdom of Burmecia' from Final Fantasy 9 a whole lot in terms of the chord progression. Especially the middle to late section. If you don't know the track, have a listen!

Keep up the amaaaaazing work!

Phonometrologist responds:

Your comments really are touching, and for that it doesn't matter the outcome. It has been worthwhile merely because of the feedback. I wasn't familiar with "Kingdom of Burmecia" but I listened to it out of respect. I really enjoy the chord progression, and it's something that is close to what I hear in music. It has a poignant tone that makes me yearn and dream for what is lost, and gives me a hope of what is to come. Sort of thing make me too philosophical. Anyway, I'll share, in return, what inspired me to write the middle section and that is Max Richter's "The Trees." You should make some time to listen to it if you enjoy that sort of wavelength.

Credits & Info

4.68 / 5.00

Jul 9, 2017
11:59 PM EDT
File Info
15.9 MB
6 min 58 sec

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