The Dangerous Path to Home (NGUAC 2018)

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This is my entry for the NGUAC 2018 Knock-out round entry. :D
Anyways, I have the amount of time spent daily:
Monday, 7/23 - 3.5 hours
Tuesday, 7/24 - 3 hours
Wednesday, 7/25 - 2.5 hours
Thursday, 7/26 - 2.5 hours
Friday, 7/27 - 5.5 hours
Saturday, 7/28 - 7 hours
Sunday, 7/29 - 5 hours
Monday, 7/30 - 5 hours
Tuesday, 7/31 - 3.5 hours
Wednesday, 8/1 - 7.5 hours
Total time - 45 hours

This song was both very fun to make, but it also became a little bit of a headache by Monday. Honestly, I did not even think that I would make it into NGUAC, so this was quite a surprise. I tried out last year, but I didn't make it. At first, I had no idea of what to do for NGUAC. The first idea that came into mind was another intense cinematic song, but that is getting a bit cliche for me. Consisting on making cinematic songs got boring, so I was thinking of something else. By July 25, I already made the first half of the song, so I thought of something fresh for the rest. For the second half, I combined natural and synthetic sounds together.

No samples, just all internal LMMS plug-ins (sf2, Monstro, Organic, ZynAddSubFX). :)




As you are one your way back to Earth, the fears whoever sent you return. The thought of where they are could be a true terror itself. The more time passes by, the more you fear about who sent you. Just as you think you have safe travels on the way back to Earth, a dangerous impediment comes, but what is it? Or, if it was a person or a group of people, who could it be? As you move closer, you notice a badge on a person's uniform that strangely matched the person's badge on the first planet you stranded on and matched the badge of the person that sent you inside the rocket.

"How much time has passed?" You could have asked yourself that, because you lost track of time even before you were stranded the first time. It could be hours... days... maybe weeks... or even months... The only things you ask yourself is how do you even remember the badge, and what is the reason behind the badge? What does the badge represent? What or who could be behind this? It looks like, whoever these people are, they really do not want you to go back home for any/some reason. You may wind up going to go find out why they won't let you return home.

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This is an Official NGUAC '18 Knockout Round Review

Beginning Comments: The intro sets up the song well, and the theme you set matches the title. It feels very open and has a nice realism to it.

Production / Mixing: This sounds like a finished work. I would guess that's why I'm seeing you put so many hours into this is the production. The balancing is nice, and there's a good amount of reverb where it needs to be. I think it was a bit much at a few spots, but there was good care in making everything play in the same environment.

Composition / Structure: The main theme you have is great. It's a brooding chord progression that sets the tone well. It starts of with an open and ominous impression, but it doesn't do much aside from that. Aside from the 2:31 section increasing in tempo and adding in some other arpeggiated synths I feel like this song doesn't change up that much. It felt like this song needed some change in chord progression or an overlying melody to carry through what was happening. For example, what I was expecting when you transition before the 1:36 section that maybe you'd bring in a slightly more developed theme of what you've introduced leading up to it. Take the dynamics down a bit and add a melody and some fast moving strings in somewhat of a John Williams style.

Sound Design: For the most part, the quality is rather decent. Let me just get this out of the way by saying that the trumpets at 1:37 sounded obviously MIDI. I would have maybe used a different VST or add some automations to make it more humanized because they almost sounded like a synth. I'm saying that because everything else sounded so much more real. The crashes were excellent, the bells were nice, the seemingly almost (again almost) random digital synths and guitars brought in around 2:33 fit well. You handled a lot of instruments beautifully so I'm surprised by the trumpet quality at 1:37. The whole song is actually a nice blend of orchestral and other electronic instruments because it all sounded quite organic.

Ending Comments: The biggest issue was that it felt very similar for the whole 5 minutes. It would have been nice to hear a little more development in areas like different melodies or chord progressions. However, it is well polished. It was pleasing to listen to and sounded mostly consistent within itself.


Production - 1

Composition - 0.5

Structure - 0.5

Sound Design - 1

Replay - 0.5

Total - 7

*Disclaimer - to make judging consistent with other judges, individual category scores are multiplied by 2 to make a total possible 10 points.

This piece starts strong but doesn't do a whole lot with its potential. You have mostly one phrase up until 2:26, then switch to another one and stick with that. You also pick up the pace a bit at 3:19, only to simmer back down to the slow tempo that was used for the buildup at the start of the track.

No one part of this song is bad, but the repetition and lack of payoff is what brings it down. The tune is dramatic and suspenseful (good layering and sound quality too,) yet the entire piece feels like it's building to something that never actually happens, which leads it toward feeling kind of boring on repeat listens.

This was really well done! I love the instruments you used. The chord progressions and the melody lines are also well done. I especially love the mallets and the bells. The only small hint of error as a space music (personally, of course) is that this track overall feels more like Halloween rather than sci-fi music. Not sure if you intended to this, of course.

But I really enjoyed the track, especially the story overall. 9/10, my friend.

JordanKyser responds:

The Halloween feel was unintended. I do tend to bend the rules on how I do themes for music.
My idea of Halloween music tends to be more on the scary side:
(please note that this songs are old, so the mixing will be very bad)

Although, I do see what you mean by why it sounds more like Halloween music. I was using sounds and effects in the background to give the song a more creepy feel.

Wow, awesome

really cool :D love the feel of this track (i'm not really good with vocabulary). you can't really say you didn't use any samples because you used SF2Player :P The second part's felt a little bit worn out since it's the same melody throughout with the same chord progression. Still, it's really impressive to use LMMS built in plugins only (especially Organic, I can't even find an use for it.) Those ambiences are amazing and overall this song is majestic. 4.5/5 for me :D

JordanKyser responds:

In my defense, the second half of the song is supposed to take on a different perspective, or a different mood of the situation.

Here are some other songs where I used Organic (but for drops):

Credits & Info


Waiting for 1 more vote

Aug 2, 2018
7:05 AM EDT
File Info
13.2 MB
5 min 46 sec

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