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A.I.M. - Don't Look Down

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Author Comments

For inspiration, i used the art 'down' by rtil. Part of it can be seen as the song's icon. The full image can be viewed here: https://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/rtil/down

The image shows two distinct areas, one bright and melancholy, the other dark and evil. To show this contrast, I tried my best to invoke both feelings into each end of the song, having it transition throughout from bright and melancholy to dark and distorted. To compliment the unusual nature of the image, I also composed the whole song in 5/4 time.
The "monster" noises you hear in the second half were made by taking standard dubstep basses and resampling them by slowing down and lowering pitch.
Made on Audiotool, no external plugins used.

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I have been looking for this song for years. Honestly it is such a great track that I was glad, I was able to find.

Official AIM Review!

Right away from the waveform, looks like an unmastered piece.

Compositionally, I like that opening melody. Bass is a little bit boxy for my tastes. Percussion comes in a tad too loud for the bass/melody to sustain. Recommend taking down about a dB. Also sounds very dry.

Bassline also seems never to change beyond a few warbles and monster noises, which are tasteful -- but kinda leaves the track feeling like a lot of copypaste with a very long series of transitions. Feels pretty empty by 2:50, and the novelty of the main theme has worn off.

As is the best thing that can be done for this song is give that percussion some reverb/delay -- something to give it life. I'm also noticing a distinct lack of cymbals/hats. Bass could use some modulation play, like formants, lfos, just anything to switch things up, frfr. Also would try writing some sort of counter-melody to our main theme because it does lose my attention after being repeated over and over. Sounds like a riff more than a melody imo.

Now, I absolutely love your deconstruction into lo-fi at the end. I was wondering where we began in the art before I realized things were slowly devolving -- maybe didn't pick up on the swingset scene because the music is ... well, depressing. But nevermind that. I'm trying to brag on ya. Great decisionmaking in the outro.

Also, did not even notice the song was in an odd meter until I re-read your descrip. Speaks for the composition itself. I'm also impressed you used no external plugins. Sounds like I need to check out Audiotool for myself!

Anyway, enjoyed the piece, despite technical issues and unmastered state. You might benefit from some YouTube time researching mixing and mastering for your preferred genres -- or online mastering sites, given the massive amount of headroom you've got going here and the time it takes to master a track by hand. PM me if the latter interests you. I have some resources you might dig.

Thanks for turning out to this year's competition! Until next time!

JAXXN responds:

Thanks for the constructive criticism, it's really appreciated! The mastering is definitely weak on my part, I've never really been able to get a good grasp of it.
I do highly suggest you check out Audiotool, though! It's a free no-download online DAW, but it has no access to external plugins or samples. Despite that, it's still a great DAW.

Really cool to find some music made for one of my old favorites! :D I've had that picture bookmarked since I first discovered it, and revisiting it with a new context like this was pretty fun, and interesting... I like the sinking feeling here, how it goes from the green and blue, spacey, mysterious, down to the warmth and wickedness that awaits below... the atmosphere really builds as it drops. I can see the image spanning down, down, as I listen to this. Really digging the beat too, but... somewhere along the line it stalls. Between one and two minutes in it feels like it's almost stuck on the way down, and the dubstep-monster sounds don't feel right. They don't really sound like a monster. It manages the sense of mystery perfectly in the beginning, but seems to have trouble moving from that to something else, and eventually it all just fades away. I loved the first third or so, but the ending... wish it would've gone a different way. I don't feel the fire, darkness or depth of that pit at all.


---Official AIM review---

I like the ghostly riff at the beginning. Good use of pacing and empty space during the first 30 seconds. The progression is a tad slow, but the piece has a good sense of climax into 1:01. The drums at 1:01 are okay, but I think there’s some sort of perc or hi-hat in the drum pattern that’s a bit out-of-place. It sounds like it has a lot of treble, which was a bit jarring given the tranquil mood of the rest of the piece. My main problem with the piece, however, is that the composition is simply quite weak. Minimalism characterizes the vast majority of the piece, and the distorted growls that start fading in at around the 2-minute mark don’t add much. The piece has little in the way of strong melodic content, and overall is quite repetitive and lacks engagement after a while. I don’t see any obvious problems with the mastering, though, besides the fact that the mix was pretty quiet. The piece’s slow descent into distorted chaos towards the end was pretty enjoyable, but it also didn’t really accompany any sort of meaningful conclusion to the thematic elements of the piece. Overall, nice work with the atmosphere, mood, and production quality. Composition is really something to focus on going forward for you. Keep at it, JAXXN!


JAXXN responds:

Thanks for leaving constructive criticism, I really appreciate it! It's sadly not that often that I get actual criticism from people like you, so I'm always glad when I get it. I am aware of the problems I had with the track and I had the same thoughts in my head while I was making it. I tried fixing the issues but I couldn't really think of what to do with it. But, there's always next year!

Credits & Info


3.16 / 5.00

Jun 19, 2018
2:05 PM EDT
File Info
5.7 MB
4 min 10 sec

Licensing Terms

You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions:

You must give credit to the artist.
You may not use this work for commercial purposes. *
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If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting creation only under a license identical to this one.

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