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We could've been. Lo-fi. Submission for NGADM Round 1.

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This is by no means a flashy song. It’s emotional and clean, but it’s not something that’s actively going “hey look at all the fancy things I can do with a DAW!” And this is perhaps the reason some of the other judges disagree when I make the claim that this is one of the top tracks of the round. But a song doesn’t need to be flashy to be a *good song*, and there’s so much here to appreciate—the clean mixing and mastering, the beauuuutiful melodies, the story that the song tells. I loved the way the music box in the beginning foreshadowed the main melody, the perfectly sidechained and appropriately subtle kick drum, the vintage-ness and humanized-ness of the piano. Gosh I love this song so much. A 9.5 from me means that I was thoroughly impressed, and will definitely be listening to this song outside of the context of the NGADM.

While there is a ton here to love, though, lemme just go through and explain where the missing 0.5 went. I feel like this song could have been extended beyond its current length—and I’m not saying that 3:00 is too short, but there’s definitely more room for structural development. There’s a music-boxy intro, the establishment of the main theme, a melodic piano break, the main theme again, and a music-boxy outro. It would be awesome to see you switch up the song a bit—I mean, from 1:00-2:30 (a good half the song, and ¾ of the part of the song with drums), the beat stays the same! And it’s a good drum beat, yes, but that plus the fact that most of the song *is* the main theme makes the song feel somewhat stagnant, especially after listening to it for a few times. It would’ve been cool if the main theme wasn’t as prominent throughout the track, mostly because it’s SUCH A GOOD MELODY and not playing it as much would add to the replay value. Ya gotta leave us wanting more!

But in the end, that is a minor detail (and honestly, you could also interpret the missing 0.5 as the fact that at 2:49 you went for a C major chord instead of a Db aug). Amazing work, and I can’t wait to see what you put out for Round 2!

ACXLE responds:

i'm so happy that you love this piece so much! thanks for the heads-up about repetition, I'll work on developing melodies more. also, now that you mentioned it, Db Aug would've been a better choice to end the piece...

---=== NGADM Round 1 Review ===---
Admitedly this is not a genre I'm familiar with but I think I can offer a few words of advice, hence why I am reviewing your submission.

This is a lovely piece of music with a cool blend of lo-fi and more modern sounding percussion. The sounds all fit together well thanks to a clear and mostly balanced mix. I can hear the percussion fighting with the piano at times causing ducking or over pumping of the compressor. This is a common mistake with compression and can be fixed by simply turning things down or changing how you deal with it. For a start, it's definitely the kick drum that's causing the battle. I think in this case turning it down is the best option as it is notably louder than the rest. However, since this is hip hop according to your genre classification, you may prefer to reduce the low end pre-compression OR switch to multi-band compression. Increase the attack of the compressor on the low end and voilà. It will sound louder and not jump. I suggest adding a little more attack to the sound in the highs, also, as this will allow you to turn it down a little more, too.

I enjoyed the lovely transition with the lo-fi sfx to clearer mix later. The buildup to the chorus was logical and the chorus worked well to hold the piece together and the theme. I did find it repetitive by the end, however this is most likely to do with the genre and my own tastes clashing therefore I made sure to allow for this in my score.

Scores are weighted so that comp and prod are 75% of the score:
Composition: 8
Production: 6
Enjoyment, atmosphere, replay and all the other odd stuff: 7

Over all, good job on this track. I think it worked well as a whole and had a consistent theme.

ACXLE responds:

thank you so much for the advice! I am definitely a beginner when it comes to mastering, so thank you for the guidance!

Wow this is really good! I don't know how I missed it earlier.

ACXLE responds:

thank you!

I must admit, my thoughts on what to expect were a bit different than what actually happened. At the same time, though, that was a really good thing, because I got more than I thought I would get. I really like the beat that enters in at 0:58 and pulls the entire piece together. And the transition from retro to real was flawless. I still enjoy the piece because, after listening to it twice, it holds very well, even with the beginning being a tad bit misleading (again, a good thing because it gives more than what you'd expect).

Probably my only complaint would be with the bass drum throughout the piece. It just feels a little too soft, even after listening to a different lo-fi piece. I'm not asking for it to be loud, since that would kinda take away from it being lo-fi, but I want it to come out just a little.

Overall, this is a very good standing piece. In my opinion, a great contender in NGADM. Great job and good luck :)

ACXLE responds:

thank you so much! i'll pay more attention to the drums next time!

I like the dreamy riff at the beginning and the retro sound design. Very relaxing mood. The bass entry at :37 was really smooth. I like the cute melodies and progression, even if the pacing here was a tad slow at times. The laid-back drums complement the mood of the piece really well, too. The sidechaining on the string pads is a bit heavy, but otherwise I don't have any mixing/mastering complaints either. The transition at 2:31 was pretty sudden, but I liked the emotional appeal of the outro. Strong work! Sounds really nostalgic and cute. Keep up the good work, and good luck in the ADM! ^_^

ACXLE responds:

thank you so much! the suddenness in the end is part of the story I tried to tell in the music (a blooming relationship tragically cut short). anyway, thanks for the tips!

Credits & Info


4.46 / 5.00

Jul 21, 2018
10:14 PM EDT
Hip Hop - Olskool
File Info
3.4 MB
3 min 0 sec

Licensing Terms

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