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AIM - T-Rex Handshake

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Edit: Smoother mid section transition/cleaner & more polished master.

This track was my way of blowing off steam in the last few days, it was a blast to make and I had a lot of fun. It's my entry into AIM 2018.

The inspiration is a piece of art that's a couple of years old, a T-Rex labelled "Practice Art". I wouldn't have called it practice because I think it's really well done and nicely polished, especially the background scene.

View the art and inspiration here:

https://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/tomycase/t-rex

Also whilst he hasn't submitted to his Newgrounds account since 2015, his Deviant Art is still alive and well, check that out too:

https://tomycase.deviantart.com

-

T-Rex Handshake started as an idea of a dinosaur chase, where I let the rhythmical side of my mind run riot in the introduction of the song. As I realised that whilst rhythm is one of my stronger points in music out of production, I never utilize it enough in my electronic music.

The track is a mixture between aggressive DnB and video game esque music, as in my mind the concept took a comical turn pretty quickly, where the guy being chased is terrified and running for his life but the dinosaur had only friendly intentions. So the way the track weaves between the two sounds is something I like, it also gives a really cool feel to me when you hear the big aggressive themes to into smaller more rhythmically tight versions. It caught my ear whilst writing but sort of just happened.

The T-Rex samples are from an old stereo system test years ago, I really like that they become almost part of the riser, keeps with the theme and can take you by surprise, but with the track taking a comical turn there's also a dino-burp in there somewhere lmao. I also chopped the sample of the dinosaur approaching in the end and cut each step to reshuffle and make it sound like he's walking away from you, as if he's given up the chase.

The themes are manic and always evolving, been working harder recently on having less direct repetition in my music, focusing on trying to make sure there's always something of interest happening and trying to make sure no sections go stale to the listener. I lose my objectivity completely when producing though so I'm unsure as to whether I achieved that or not.

I'm just really fond of the sprinkling of light-hearted moments in this, instead of having it be a relentlessly aggressive track, it makes it a little more charming to me.

I also like the intro and outro riffs, they're closer to the kind of riffs I'd write outside of production, no odd-metre, all in 4/4 but the accents make you question where you are in the bar unless you strongly latch to the pulse. Something I enjoy in music.

The mid section break is fun too, it caught the friends I've sent it to off-guard and got a few giggles, before it dropped back into the relentless pursuit.

If you like my music and wanna get a peak into project files or just keep up to date feel free to like my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/BrendanPeaceMusic/

Any votes/feedback is massively appreciated as I always love to hear what people like and how you think I can improve - <3

- Brendan

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Official AIM2018 Review!

This may be one of the finest EDM tracks I've heard on Newgrounds. Clear writing with varied rhythms, a nice harmonic minor groove, and crazy runs. My only complaint would be a little muddiness in the mix itself, what sounds like a bit much reverb on your hats, and a bit of a flat sound. Of course, I'm listening on really flat monitor headphones, so that may contribute to the raw 'verb sound.

1:18 is a nice build, but it's a perfect example of that very fizzy, muddiness I'm talking about. Also would have loved to hear a little more nuance to those attacks on your orchestral synths. Felt that the section was also seriously mid-heavy. Would have liked the bass to sweep in before we hit the next section.

Our drop of course is a real A and B call-response type thriller, which I appreciated massively, and this is followed shortly after by a sub-heavy build into -- SURPRISE, square wave retro fun. That was a treat. I do wish the sub were taken a bit down during that build at 2:37, simply because it sticks out heavily with the relatively un-sausage-fattened state of the track.

What follows is a bit of a B-side take on our original theme, building back into our chorus for a final push.

4:34 break was just a bit too naked for my tastes.

Throughout, I find myself wishing for just a bit more oomph on your strings. Compress those suckers harder, multiband compressor, preferably.

Use of SFX was sparing throughout. I found myself wishing for a few more T-rex noises just to drive the point home, as what I pictured throughout was less a guy frantically running from a T-rex -- more a high speed car chase, which may or may not have involved a T-rex. This is not a serious detraction from my listening experience -- song is jammin', has a definite thematic statement to make, utilizes cadences excellently, and demonstrates monstrous talent -- but this IS an art inspired music competition, so it's worth mentioning.

Also, this may just be my taste, but I feel the song as a whole is a little under-compressed.

Nevertheless, great track. Definitely going in my favorites. Thanks for turning out this year to AIM!

ActualElf responds:

Thank you for a kind and so thoroughly thought out review!

I agree with all of the points you raised, I saw a lot of these flaws in the track as it progressed but due to my current workflow and set up I had to accept the flaws to move forward and find enjoyment more in the compositional aspect.

Luckily I began piecing together my new pc tonight and hopefully it spells the end of my CPU struggle. My usual workflow consists of having to print ideas to audio as soon as I write them, which contributes towards the muddy mix. The orchestral elements especially, having reverb printed as it saved some processing power but too complex an arrangement to warrant going back and redoing it all in midi to make them slightly dryer.

The fizzy muddiness is probably mostly from making too many rising effects to try and pull as much momentum into the next section as I can, I'm working to improve at achieving high momentum and anticipation without having to resort to extreme soundwalls and I'll keep chipping away at it.

The reverb on the drums I didn't actually take note of until you pointed it out, which drives home even more the fact that I don't pay enough attention to the actual musical decision making when it comes to matters like this. I have a tendency to just place some on to help the drums share a space with the other elements so it wouldn't surprise me if I'd ended up going to far and not realising.

I thought about the amount of dinosaur samples a few times but settled on having it be a few times and keep its novelty rather than be riddled with more and risk becoming too gimmicky.

I massively appreciate both the kind words and especially the criticism, I'll have a closer eye on these points in future.

Thanks for the time you spent listening and reviewing ADR3-N, hope you and the other judges had a blast running the contest this year <3

That tension really keeps growing with a tenacity in this one! The style seems more House than the genres you mention even if I can definately feel the DnB/industrial beat. I like the gritty riffs, the continual pace, the constant build-up, and during the first break even some mighty orchestral tones before it kicks back into common gear again! Though it's pretty long I'm impressed how varied it is, too, and how it keeps growing and morphing as it moves along. I'm wondering if I'm a fan of the dips/wavy sound in some parts... but otherwise I'm digging this. Really getting into the energy as I listen. Getting heavy with the headbumping towards the end.

It has a tone of Middle East to it too. A ferocious beat. So many different inspirations and bits mixed in, and you don't really notice when they shift and move from one to the next. Really well done moving between pieces! If there are repetitive parts I don't notice them. It's a constant transformation from start to finish. Only bit I'm not as fond of is that ending. Just: too intense? Not sure what it is but it breaks the spell a bit. Otherwise all is perfect.

-cd-

ActualElf responds:

Woah, well first off let me thank you for such a thought out and critical review!

I always have an issue with labeling the genres of my music, partly due to my lack of specific and in depth knowledge of what the tick boxes are for each genre aside from the very basic idea. Also partly due to my music having been influenced by a lot of the music I listen to in massively contrasting styles so I tend to find difficulty honing in on what it's classified as.

I never noted the Eastern tone myself upon writing but now I can't not notice it after having it pointed out to me, lots of melodies locked into pentatonics alternating with phrygian dominant tonalities, I don't know how that thought didn't dawn on me sooner ahaha.

The ending is one of my favourite parts of the track, mainly because of me love of metal growing up. That said I totally get how it interrupts the audible flow and agree with you, there was a set vibe for most of the song before the climax and it switches that out for an attempt at pure aggression at the last minute. I hope the next time I write something like this I can manage to get the intensity I want without losing the picture and mood of the song.

It really means a lot what you said about the variation. Repetitiveness in my music is something I've always been conscious and self-conscious of as a big stand out flaw in my tracks. Repetitiveness was also something I was very conscious of when writing this, trying to fit in call-back motifs and development of ideas without melodies stagnating.

Thank you again for the time you took to listen and review, it's massively appreciated - <3

---Official AIM review---

I like the frantic synth patterns at the beginning. Great job facilitating the energy and creating a sense of climax into :52. The kick could’ve been a bit stronger at :52, but the gritty bass and rhythmic elements come together very well there. The transition at 1:18 came on a bit suddenly, but I really like the orchestral elements and the mechanical whirring in the background. You did a great job with the phrasing and progression in this piece. You’ve really crafted a cinematic scene with all the changes in energy and direction. At the same time, the instrumentation and ambiance gives this piece the cohesion it needs for such a long piece. I thought the abrupt transition at 2:37 actually worked quite well, probably because of thematic similarities between the two adjacent sections. The transition at 3:04, on the other hand, probably needed a bit more fleshing out. I also appreciated the injection of melodic elements at 3:46, even if the melody didn’t feel very dynamic. The final climax into 5:30 was great. In a way, the entire piece feels very transitory throughout, yet I think this fits the character of it well. I relatively sudden ending felt appropriate here. Overall, I think you nailed the sound design, progression, and phrasing with this one. All of my complaints are minor. Fantastic work!

9.25/10

ActualElf responds:

Wow, thank you for such an in depth and thought out review!

You've pointed out things in my production and writing that I hadn't noticed or thought about for myself, it's always great to have a clear view of things I need to improve on and pay more attention to. Thank you also for the kind things you had to say!

I went back and smoothened out that transition and I'm happier about the turnout!

It definitely has a T-Rex vibe to it. I can picture it lumbering around and being majestically terrifying. It seemed a little chaotic, but I pulled the inspiration up alongside and read your description of the work in tandem, and it all seemed to come together really nicely. I sometimes find it hard to get a full story out of DnB/VG styles of music, but I think you did a great job! Best of luck in AIM!

ActualElf responds:

Hey thank you!

It is entirely chaotic ahaha, it's 6 minutes of relentless aggression, switch ups and unconventional rhythms. I wanted to let rip and make something filled with chaos. It was really fun to make!

Thank you for taking the time to review <3

I like it. NOt my style, but it is still really good. Now to find out what AIM is...

ActualElf responds:

Thanks Varsity! I find it a little intense to listen to sometimes too ahaha. Thank you as always for stopping by, it means a lot <3

AIM is Art Inspired Music, a NG competition with a real fun concept, check it out and join the fun!

Credits & Info

Author

Listens
1,019
Faves:
8
Downloads
20
Votes
13
Score
4.60 / 5.00

Uploaded
May 3, 2018
6:05 PM EDT
Genre
Video Game
File Info
Song
5.6 MB
6 min 5 sec

Licensing Terms

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