* This is an official 2017 NGUAC review *
Good electro times. On to specifics...
Mixing, Mastering and Production: Generally speaking, pretty good. There are no huge weaknesses here. It comes down to some little mixing and mastering things.
I felt like you could have used panning and stereo splitting a bit more - there's a lot going on right in the center of the mix. The main melodies, bass, kick, snare and hi-hats all feel like they're right on 0, or maybe a max of L10/R10. Splitting all those sounds up would let the listener hear everything more clearly (although kick drum and bass right on 0 of course works very well).
In terms of mastering, things feel just the slightest touch overcompressed. This can come from Newgrounds' limited audio quality upload limits (ie. only being able to upload compressed file formats). There are ways to counteract this. You'll want to make sure that your final master is in a 16-bit uncompressed file format, and that you have a dithering plugin at the very end of your mastering chain. If you're planning on uploading your track to somewhere where you must use .mp3 or a similar file format, I would also mix down a master mp3 version right from your project, as opposed to just using a sound file converter afterwards. All that should help your quality when being played back on different sound systems and websites.
It's a long discussion that I won't go into, but the bottom line is that nearly all modern masters are in 16-bit because most sound systems/website encoders/etc. can't read anything bigger (ie. 24-bit and 32-bit file formats). So with that in mind, make sure you gear your master towards 16-bit.
Composition: Again, no standout weaknesses here. I think your selection of instruments was pretty good and your song progression was ultimately good. My nitpicky thing here is that while 6 minutes is not long for a typical trance song, it IS pretty long for a song submitted to a showcase competition like the NGUAC. From a production and compositional standpoint, you could probably cut half the song and not have your score affected too much.
Basically, you want to have every second of your track count and adds lots of value to the overall track. Some genres are better suited for this; long-form trance is not. To reiterate and make sure I explain myself clearly, this is a great trance piece - but it's not a great competition piece. If you condensed all the best moments of Loosing my mind together and made it into a cohesive 2.5-4 minute track, I likely would have scored it higher.
Otherwise, nothing too much to say. Keep on keeping on!
I like the bright piano and atmosphere at the beginning. The groovy rhythmic section at :26 was really catchy and refreshing, although the piece is a little slow to develop. The drums are nice and strong and crisp, although I wasn’t a huge fan of your clap sample - it sounded a little generic, as do the pads at 1:28. I would’ve liked to see some stronger melodic content at 2:02. The riff you had in there was very repetitive rhythmically, and had a stagnant feel. The piece several minimalistic sections in general, with not many high-end frequencies. I like the structural relief you offered at the 4-minute mark - it was a nice change of pace. I wish you varied the melody at 4:44, although the climactic section at 4:58 was enjoyable. Overall, this is a strong piece. You clearly have a great sense of rhythm, harmony, and flow. Keep at it, PolarTrance! ;)
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