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À cause de l'ombre

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Hey everyone. Unexpected new song. Began it when I was feeling low and then decided it was good enough to continue.

For the creation of this piece, I decided to go back to some of my earliest influences, one of them being Mylene Farmer, whose works I used to listen to a lot in my teens. She didn't compose her songs -- that work was left to Laurent Boutonnat -- but she certainly wrote her lyrics and sang in an almost Enya-ish fashion. I channelled her a bit when writing this song. Her melodies were memorable as her lyrics were profound, and I certainly wanted to take a leaf from that book while still remaining true to myself.

I used the shit out of Sytrus presets, along with soundfonts and a whole host of other elements to make the piece my own. Of note is the NES soundfont that I used in the very first Pixel Day for Une Nouvelle Chance; it has resurfaced here.

As for the lyrics: for a saccharine-sounding French pop song, it has some pretty dark and depressing lyrics. The lyrics themselves are about inner darkness, which can be taken to mean depression, mental illness, problems in life, sins... hence the title, "À cause de l'ombre" (Because of the shadow).

Incidentally, I also drew the cover artwork -- but that's kinda traditionally what I do, unless someone offers to do cover art for a track.

For those curious to know what it is I'm singing, and what it all means, I've provided the lyrics and translation:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rYtNY2bLovlX6Q_L3_nROSdzx7BtwPOxvtY638U134I/edit?usp=sharing

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First of all, THANK YOU for not using any sort of percussion on the track. I feel they would have ruined the atmosphere, making the song feel like another pop hit. Instead, I think it was smart of you to keep it drumless. It's more powerful this way. The gated square synths you used already provide enough of a rhythmic reference point.

So, technical wankery aside, I really don't have much to add to what's already been stated down below. 7 minutes, wow. Didn't feel it was that long. It's as smooth as future elevator music can get, in terms of pacing and easy listening. The intended dissonance between the dark lyrics and art pop-like bonanza makes it really endearing to me.

It's like one of those anime with a bubblegum mainstream exterior to lure any potential viewer into thinking they're going to watch just another mindless lighthearted show, but it's actually really dark and twisted (looking at you, Madoka), which makes your song all the more genuine and at the same time sophisticated, to me.

It's easily one of your best works to date and I'm glad to have had a chance to witness its production. Thank you for sharing this with me, please keep it up.

I do love your singing. Though I can't say that it combines perfectly with the 8-bit melody to my taste. Feels a bit separated, both in style and emotion. The lyrics are phylosophical while the melody is psychedelic. I'd really like to give it 5 stars though...

Troisnyx responds:

I think we have Mylène Farmer to thank for the apparent disconnect between song and voice -- the most notable of hers to have that is a song called C'est une belle journée, which has a psychedelic melody and lyrics about sleep and death and/or suicide. I guess this disconnect can be quite jarring, and I understand all too well -- but I grew to love it, I guess, and it was in that same vein that I wrote À cause de l'ombre.

Thanks for the honest review though, much appreciated!

I'm not sure what's happening with those videogame stabs, and this is quite out of the norm for your usual production -- caught me off guard, in a good way when things came together!

Your vocals are delivered well. My only complaint is slight low-mid overhang in your reverb. The release is good. I would apply a multiband compressor, take down the 200-500 Hz range somewhat, bring up 13 khz to 18 khz, a little bit more rasp. Can also try applying light tape saturation.

You really have done a great job with the vocals here. Best yet imo. Very expressive. Using the full potential of the vocals in the sound space. At times the reverb does present problems with muddy mix or certain frequencies building up in the sound-space, but this is outweighed by far in your judicious pacing. I could listen to that outro for a week straight.

Phrasing wise, this piece is great. There are some instances where videogame instrumentation distracts me like 1:50 or so before our first chorus, later through it, BUT this is mostly because they're more sibilant than the vocals, which are subtle. Lo-pass filter fun maybe? You've used them to great effect in crafting a soundspace, which I appreciate.

Also, extra points for French language because I grew up listening to Alizee and I don't think that love will ever leave me, haha. I'm a sucker for vocals that are both French and female, aha. That I can occasionally understand a few phrases as I listen is telling -- and looking at those lyrics and English -- quite profound.

Like ChronoNomad, I think you did a great job keeping the rhythmic center of this piece together with your synths. I was waiting for a bombastic finale with some old fashioned percussion though. It's not even an issue though. Loved this piece to bits. Wish I could smash a download button!

If I'm honest, at first I thought I was in the middle of a car traffic jam. But then the good starts and it really sounds great. No intention of making a funny comment, I don't understand music, and I don't know how you can do these little things. It's magic.

Troisnyx responds:

I'll admit, I kinda didn't know how the magical sound of this came about either. It came about as an experiment on rhythm and synthesiser sounds, and there was a monotony to it -- but this is one of those times where it all somehow fell together.

Glad you enjoyed it, thank you for listening!

This is really beautiful and sorrowful, Troisnyx. Sometimes your vocals come across as being somewhat over-processed, and while I would generally comment on the enormous amount of reverb, in this case these elements really come together nicely without sounding overdone. At over seven minutes in duration, is it admittedly rather lengthy, and that may end up being a bit off-putting to first-time listeners, but I would hope they choose to remain and give it a chance.

Personally, I feel as though you could have really increased, and similarly eased, the tension by making good use of percussion. As it is, with the track being so long, it inevitably ends up being fairly repetitive. Your elements come together so nicely, though! The bass work really sets the mood, and the simple yet effective staccato chords keep things moving forward.

It's ultimately something of a minimalist track, instrumentally-speaking, and that brings its own tension, but the progression is so slow that the tension never really eases. That, of course, brings me back to my earlier comment about percussion. Oh, what you could do with a dramatic, slow Ballad beat in this piece! I just can't help but feel as though it was a missed opportunity.

Harmonically, there are two high, plucked notes that really don't feel like they fit within the mix when everything else meshes so well. The first instance is at 2:34, then once again at 5:46. Those moments sound oddly flat and disharmonious.

In conclusion, there's a lot to love in this track, from its wonderfully pensive overtones and apropos French vocals, to the minimal yet powerful use of 8-bit VST and softly-plucked Sytrus. As far as subtle yet powerful nuances go, I personally find the distortions leading into the chorus to be of particular note. Well done.

Troisnyx responds:

Aah, thank you ;_; Sweet balm for sore eyes, is your review -- I heartily embrace it. I was debating on whether to do percussion and I may actually export a version with, just to see what it sounds like.

I'll be sure to take it all on board. Thank you so much meep ❤️

Credits & Info

Troisnyx
Author

Listens
734
Faves:
11
Votes
28
Score
4.59 / 5.00

Uploaded
Jul 21, 2018
6:35 PM EDT
Genre
Pop
File Info
Song
8.5 MB
7 min 28 sec
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Licensing Terms

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