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AIM - The Dragon War

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Author Comments

Getting this thing in at the last minute. There were some more advanced mixing techniques that I wanted to try but didn't have the time to implement here. Nevertheless I am pretty satisfied with this.

I was inspired by this art by ArtDeepMind: https://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/artdeepmind/the-dragon-war

Hope you enjoy!

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Official AIM Review

Gotta say, I find myself agreeing with Chrono's review on that initial vocal solo -- it's written well, but something in that vocal synth is ... either too thin, or too quick on that descending run. Literally my only critique other than perhaps a bit too much reverb here and there. I can't tell if that vocal synth is too dry or needs something like a tape saturator to give it the same lively tone as the rest of the track. Might even try a grittier library like Gaia Francesca. Very strong voice.

Gorgeous violin riff around 2:23... I do think there's a bit much reverb going on there when you have us dangling off the musical cliff.

But holy cow. Monster of a track. I'm almost lost for words! Very close to a 10.

Thanks for turning out to this year's competition!

CloakedSoup responds:

Thanks a ton the review! Like I said with Chrono, I think MIDI programming and mixing for vocals is one of my bigger areas for improvement at the moment. It's nice to see people enjoying the track so much though! :D

---Official AIM review---

Beautiful vocals at the beginning. I love the energy of the strings. Brass at :20 has a nice bite to it as well. The percussion was quite starkly in the background at around :25, which struck me as odd, but the choir at :39 is a really nice touch. I like the call-and-response action between the choir and the brass. Nice harmonic shift at 1:05. Good job with the build-up into 1:10. The underlying progression is quite repetitive for most of the piece, but you have so much variety along other parameters (volume, instrumentation, etc.) that it hardly bothers me. Also, the solo vocalist sounds a bit processed. I approve of the solo string at 2:16 - that frantic line really helps channel the energy going into the final section at 2:31. This piece has a constant sense of energy, but within that there’s still a lot of structural variety. Excellent job with the phrasing and dynamics. Your mixing and mastering has improved considerably since last year, and besides the rather subdued percussion early in the piece I couldn’t detect any balance issues. You’ve truly used the instrumentation and production to their fullest effect in support of your always-excellent composition skills. Excellent work, CloakedSoup!


CloakedSoup responds:

Thanks for the review! One of my goals when writing this was to see how long I could repeat a four chord progression before it got too boring. I hope that I accomplished that to some degree! It's nice to see my production skills slowly getting better and better, that has always been the thing I've struggled with the most, and hopefully I'm getting closer and closer to having a truly professional sound!

You know, I'm totally in work mode here, trying to get through all these great AIM submissions, and you've forced me to come to a complete stop. This track is gorgeous, and quite simply blew me away. So much so that I had to take the time to leave this review.

What's kind of funny is that, in that very first choir section, I was actually feeling a bit underwhelmed right out of the gate. It wasn't that the voice sounded bad or anything like that, no...quite the opposite. I guess I'd have to say that the timing feels kind of inorganic when it first comes in. And as I listen again, I still feel that the first 11 seconds or so just don't sound right. The choir notes are "sung" too fast, some end or change too quickly, and they lack a certain sense of realism. In a way, that almost makes it sounds like an afterthought when compared to the staccato string harmonies. But you know what? That's my only real criticism.

In those first few seconds, as I examined the waveform to see what my immediate future held in store, I could see that things were going to blow up in a big way, and it was that very tension that drew me in. Suffice to say, my anticipation was well rewarded! This is an exceedingly rich and full orchestral track, and whether you consider it good, bad, or something in between, that's what I've ultimately come to expect from your tracks.

Honestly, I have very little else to critique regarding this track. Your instrument choices are excellent, the mix comes together beautifully, and your mastering is quite solid, overall. This is also one of a handful of tracks that I really feel matches the artwork and expresses the grander ideas therein. In my opinion, you have truly brought home that artistic marriage of illustration and music, and I easily tell that you were inspired by the visuals.

As a singer, there's a very natural sense when it comes to how notes should be sung, and that's really what needs to be kept in mind when dealing with this kind of choir. Making it sound real, organic...that's the hard part. Admittedly, it's much more difficult to create a choir solo than a background layer of choir harmony. After that first handful of seconds in the track, with all the other layers to back it up, the rest of the choir sounds just lovely, switching from a more soloist style to layered harmony, and back. But hey, if I didn't give you something to chew on, I'd be remiss in my job.

Thanks for the epic audio journey, CloakedSoup! Best of luck in all you do.

CloakedSoup responds:

Oooohhh. You're gonna make me cry! <3 It's nice to know that my track connected with you so much, because it's always been my goal to do so! Getting the solo vocal library I have to sound realistic has been quite the challenge. I still have a ways to go with mixing vocals and MIDI programming with voice stuff in general, but I'm super happy you enjoyed the piece! I'm looking forward to posting more music in the future as I continue to strive to improve!

Credits & Info


4.41 / 5.00

Jul 7, 2018
12:34 PM EDT
File Info
6.9 MB
3 min 2 sec

Licensing Terms

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