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For The Lady with a Hammer

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The dissonance at the beginning is really evocative and interesting. The pacing is pretty slow here, but the call-and-effect between the piano and strings helps keep me engaged. I like that a lot of the sound design is orchestral (somehow it fits the character of the piece), but you use fade-outs at a couple different points (like at 2:55), which sound a bit unnatural. It’s also hard to get a strong sense of overarching progression from the piece. Sometimes, the mix is a bit dry - I think it would’ve been easier to follow the flow of the piece if there was a richer atmosphere. There are also a lot of stop-start transitions throughout, which makes the arrangement feel choppy. I like the dissonance during the middle section (4:30 - 8:00 or so), but it still felt like it was lacking a strong sense of direction there. The heavy chords at 8:05 or so sound cool and rich, but they suffer from the same problem as much of the rest of the piece - lacking an ebb and flow sort of narrative. While sudden transitions seem endemic to an experimental piece like this, the one at 10:18 especially threw me off. Overall, I applaud the bold harmonic approach you took here, and the sound design and production quality are also solid. I’d like you to think more about structure and atmosphere in the future. The dry mix and meandering phrase structure both hurt you here. Still, I appreciate the compositional risk-taking. Please PM me if you ever decide to revisit this piece sometime. Keep at it, Arborescence! :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
Instrumentation and sound design
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
Originality and uniqueness
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
Composite score

Not gonna lie, I was tripping out when only the left channel came in at first, but I'm liking the induced chaos. I think the initial orchestral sections could have done without as many repetitions. I'd give it two. The bassoon part I could do without there, or perhaps just shorten the section, as it doesn't seem to develop a whole lot from there.

The decrescendos feel forced just because of how the instruments are soundfonts and don't really want to respond to velocity.

The piano clips when we hit those dissonant bang chords. But 3 minutes in had some nice ones. I expected more development at 3:36. I really feel the strings are too loud for the chaotic dissonant -- what sounds like melody. Ah, by 4:01 we hear they are bassoons.

Chunk chord at 4:11 is pleasing to my ears. Would be nicer without clipping in the piano, still.

I really feel a lot of these real instruments, you could get away with replacing longer sustains with some retro 80's synths, at least until you are able to get more realistic instruments.

By 5:51 I'm liking the development, particularly 5:57. The dissonant chords are pushing and pulling against one another pleasantly.

The piece boy 6:44 feels like an unpleasant bout of stepping through tar and trying not to leave a trail for someone to follow me, then having an anxiety attack about trying to get all of it off, but it never comes off. The chunking piano has now become pleasant and rhythmic. Like percussion. I was not aware piano could even be used as a percussion instrument.

I would split the chords at 8:06 between low and high some more, panning wise, bringing perhaps bass notes to center. It feels very unbalanced without. Or some string tension.

How did you make your chord decisions from 8:20? It sounds like planned chaos. I'm not sure what is happening, but it is stressful. Here there is plentiful clipping throughout. I appreciate so much that you did not apply a lot if any reverb. It would have been unpleasantly muddy.

My ear is starting to hurt at 9:40. I'm not sure why. This is again back to pleasant dissonance.

I would have appreciated a smoother... or more disjunct transition into our outro strings.

10:48 texture wise is how I would like to hear most sounds in this piece. Once all the strings are in. That slippery string feeling of something about to go horribly wrong.

I wish avant-garde were a genre.

Thanks for coming out to NGUAC!

Credits & Info

Waiting for 2 more votes

Aug 22, 2017
9:41 PM EDT
File Info
11.8 MB
12 min 52 sec

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