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AIM - Waves of Life

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Author Comments

submission n.2 for AIM 2018

inspired by this great piece:

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Official AIM2018 Review!

Atmospheric SFX in the beginning threw me off a bit. Sounds like distant girders knocking into one another, with enough reverb it was almost confusing when I realized they were drums. Perc almost sounds like it's in a really big can. Attacks are really muddy as a result.

I like the idea of this track a lot, actually. Some elements are totally overshadowing others in the mix though -- like that bass. WAAAAAY too loud over top of your drums, which already sound far away thanks to the experimental FX throughout. 1:14+ for timestamp.

However, I do complement your writing. Mixed better, missing most of that reverb, and with a more obvious transition at 3:05, this could and would be a banger. You might even try having the reverb for kick and snare on a separate send channel and using a compressor to duck it out of the way of their respective attacks.

3:05 transition is very chopped to my ear. Where is the downbeat slam signaling the climax of our journey?! However the mixing is closer to what I think you were going for throughout. Good writing with the sudden departure from prior theme but I feel this should have been done earlier -- or more subtle parts of the track replaced with that face-melting bass-laden chorus.

Other issues like slight cheese on the choral or string synths have been mentioned. I don't feel like they're serious enough to merit more than a passing comment. What's killing this piece is a few iffy transitions and possibly compression issues, not your instrumentation. Keyboard choir and Lindsey Stirling 2.0 were fine on the other hand; they just needed a little more velocity modulation and EQ to sound more natural. I recommend cutting those boxy low mids some more and minding those airy highs too.

At some points, choir was so mid heavy I cringed a bit. May have used something more subtle. Either a different but still very vocal-ish instrument with formant shifting/wah-pedal or a different choir patch. Maybe even a low-pass filtered instance of the same patch. It's just kinda shrill at points.

Drums were not standing out very well in this piece and sounded in between muffled (kick, snare) and way too sibilant (crashes, hats). Steam chugging highs were a nice touch though. I also appreciate that you tried to do something with dubstep drums other than side-chain and pump.

Tasteful piano was A1.

I've probably said so already, but thanks for turning out to this year's competition. Times two, for that matter! Keep at it!

5TanLey responds:

alrightyyy, frankly, I had no idea what to do with this mixdown, never tried to make anything like this before, no excuses though, could've spent more time on this for sure

Thanks for your review!

---Official AIM review---

I like the atmospheric intro and the emotional appeal early on. Some of the instruments are a bit cheesy, particularly the choir sample and the strings at :25. The rhythm of the strings is also a bit hard-to-follow at first. I have mixed feelings about the intensity of the drums at :39. It was a great way of driving the piece forward, yet it also felt a bit excessive. The emotional bit at :52 was a great touch, and that section contrasts nicely with 1:17. You do a great job of changing volume levels and giving this piece some shape and direction. The booming drums during the drop at 1:17 were way over-the-top. It would also help tighten up the mix to tone down the reverb there. Putting reverb on a kick drum is rarely a good idea in my experience, unless your piece is really experimental (which it’s not). Dry, tight kick drums help give your piece (or any piece) a distinct downbeat, creating a solid foundation for the rhythm of the piece. Here, the beat is strong enough so that that doesn’t really matter, but it’s still a little jarring that the drums are as loud and heavy as they are. I also would’ve liked to hear you vary the drop a little more the second time around. Despite the cool work with the modulation (3:33) and uplifting mood, this piece doesn’t actually have much in the way of strong melodic content - it’s all very chordal, even the string patterns during the refrain. You do a great job with the structure and arrangement of your piece, but there’s room for a little more variety towards the end. My favorite elements of the piece are the cinematic mood and dynamic contrast - you really sold the movie soundtrack vibe of the piece and lived up to the epic implications of the piece’s title. Still, the instrumentation, compositional details, and reverb could use some work. Keep at it, 5TanLey!


5TanLey responds:

I know about the don´t put reverb on bass thing but it somehow worked for me in this tune,

anyway, thanks for a thorough review and all the tips :)

I loved the epic feel and all of the cool synth sounds!

Credits & Info


4.15 / 5.00

Jun 3, 2018
1:00 PM EDT
File Info
10.5 MB
4 min 35 sec

Licensing Terms

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