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A Summer's Dream

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Hej!
So, I'm in Finland right now visiting LucidShadowDreamer and we're at his cabin in the woods and I gotta say, this place is one of the most inspiring places I've ever visited. Seeing as I somewhat forgot I'd submitted auditions for both the NGUAC and the NGADM this year, I was toying with the idea of creating separate songs for each competition. I decided I'd just be tactical with when I started a track so that they'd be within the rules of the timeframes to be able to submit to both competitions. I'm enjoying my time here too much.

I was really happy to be able to record on Alex's piano - this song started as an improvisation on the piano but I think it turned into a structured piece quite nicely. Although I can play the piano, I've never properly recorded it in a song due to not having a piano... which yknow, is a bit of a problem when it comes to recording the piano. I also ordered an Irish Low Whistle that arrived a few days ago. I was so frustrated trying to play it when I first got it, simply because my hands are kinda small and the holes are so far apart. I seem to be taking to it pretty quickly though thankfully.

Lyrics:

Through the trees
I feel the wind
A gentle breeze
A beckoning

And through the leaves
A summer’s dream
The scattered light
Komorebi

Follow the sound of the birds in the woods
Know that you’ll follow the path that you should
Chasing the whispers of forests of old
Through earthen wood and leaves of gold

Take my hand and come with me
And together we’ll be free
We’ll be lost and that’s okay, because we are in a dream
If you want to we can fly, looking down upon the sky
And we’ll never have to leave this world again

I recall
A memory
We’re on a boat
And I can see

Upon the lake
Beyond the sea
Reflections of
A future me

And right in that moment I wanted to fall
Into the future the mirror had shown
But the water was my now, even though I knew somehow
That the time we have will lead us there someday

Take my hand and come with me
For together we are free
We’ll be lost and that’s okay, because we are in a dream
If you want to we can fall, we can find the ocean’s call
And we’ll never have to leave this world again

Don’t forget
The melody
That brought you here to me

And if I should disappear
Call the melody you hear
Through your memory I’ll fly to you, though I will be a dream
Nothing’s ever as it seems

This is not how our story ends
We will see it through until the end
Remembering dreams that have past
Only faded memories last

Reviews


I like the majestic piano at the beginning. Extended pause at :32 was a bit of a bold choice, but it sets up the pacing of the rest of the piece pretty well. Lyrics get better as the piece goes on. Very raw, simplistic, and descriptive at first, but the broader meaning behind your natural surroundings becomes more conspicuous the more you describe. Sometimes your voice sounds a bit strained, like at 1:07. Minimal though the instrumentation is, the I love the Low Whistle solos and the unfettered emotive quality of the vocals. The harmonies are great - both the vocals and the spacing of the chords. The instruments blend really well together, yet still feel like distinct melody lines. Admittedly, the piece does drag on for quite some time, though. It's beautiful music throughout, but it also doesn't have a strong sense of dynamism or directionality all the time. The slightly more energetic vibe in the texture starting at around the 5-minute mark actually helps this piece out a lot in that regard, though. Overall fantastic piece. Very majestic and heartfelt work, Jordi!



The piano. Wow. Not sure there's much I can say about it that will do it justice so I'll just say the playing is outstanding. Though I'm almost positive I've heard the exact melody at 3:04 in some anime. Even if I haven't, it - along with some less serious offenders - is fairly generic in composition.

The singing is somewhat hit or miss. I like that you're not belting - you have a good mix of being soft and resonant, the harmonizations sound excellent, just the right amount of vibrato, but you sing a bit flat at times and hearing you draw in breath is distracting at certain points. There are also a couple points (not consistently) where I can hear some vocal tension that makes you sound a tiny bit strained.

I don't want to say much on lyrics - years of rapping have made me obsessively picky about rhyme schemes and complexity, and without having a firm grasp on what this song is really about I think it's fair for me to try and point you in one direction or another.

Taken as a whole, this is a really pretty piece. Nothing about it strikes me as really groundbreaking, but there's an emotional depth to it that's very alluring. A few quirks with the vocals broke my immersion once or twice but this was genuinely a great listen.


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etherealwinds responds:

Thank you very much for your review! :) yeah the part at 3:04 isn't exactly a groundbreaking melody, but it fit the part nicely! It's probably in quite a few songs; not any that I can pick out off the top of my head though. I'm glad you liked the piano!

I do like to minimise the gain on the individual breaths by about -6db and often-times I'll remove the breaths completely from harmonies so that they don't clash with each other - I don't like to remove them completely though as the vocals would sound super unnatural. ^^

I'm happy you enjoyed it for the most part!


Oh wow, this is incredible! Sometimes I forget that you play everything irl and I get impressed all over again. Not to mention your voice gets better with every song. Keep it up, and shoot for #1 in the NGADM this year! You can do it :D


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etherealwinds responds:

I do enjoy working with instruments when I have access to the equipment that allows for a good enough recording experience :D thank you very much! I don't much mind where I come - just the push to make original music is always welcome.


I listened to this just on a whim but boy am I glad I did. First thing I wanna say is that the composition and phrasing in this is absolutely brilliant. I was enraptured through the entire song. Your harmonies are genius as well, absolutely fantastic work.

I do have some issues with the way this ended up in the production department though, it's gonna seem like I'm really dumping on you in this review but it's only because I really really liked this piece and it comes from a genuine place of appreciation and wanting to help you improve and make more awesome stuff like this.

First: As strange as this may sound, I think your voice is too loud in this track, and it's a bit too dry as well. I think you could have re-balanced the vocals to be quieter dry and have a thicker, and maybe even darker since your voice is very bright on its own, reverb to suit how the piano and whistle are mixed.

Second: In the first half (weirdly only in the first half, not the second) your vocal harmonies and extra bits get lost in the main vocal. If you were to revisit the mix of this song, I would recommend giving just a slight volume boost to your harmonies and extra bits in the section starting around 1:00. Also the extra "wanted to fall" at 2:58 could do with a healthy boost - moreso than the first vocal section.

Third: The piano could use more presence in the lower end and a bit more of the foley from the piano wouldn't hurt either :) Hammer sound, string sounds, and seat creaks go a long way in terms of selling an authentic recording. Bringing the low end of the piano through would also help balance the brightness of your voice.

Fourth: This is a personal one so don't let it derail your creative vision. The switchup at around 5:00 - first of all don't get me wrong this section is hands down my favorite part of the song - I don't think there's enough payoff (payoff being the fast pace, lots of harmonies, forte piano, etc...). There's really only like 8ish bars of payoff and then we instantly revert back to the pace of the rest of the song. I think you could have extended it to 16 bars before reverting and building up to the switch back to the slow pace after building to the 16 bars of fast pace.

Lastly: There are just a couple places where I think you're a bit flat or don't have enough definition on each note in a run. If you have a plugin like newtone or melodyne load up your vocal recording in one of those programs and see the difference between what you wanted to sing and what you did sing. I'm not a singer and I haven't trained my ear for vocal pitch but there are a few spots where it does sound a bit off to me.

Here is what I noticed:
0:34 - "The" in "through the trees" is a tad flat
1:06 - at the end of "follow" I think you may have hit a totally wrong note, and the run itself lacks definition
1:15 - "of" in "forest of old" the harmony sounds sharp

That's about it for my criticisms. I just want to reiterate that I really enjoyed this despite all that stuff, but I honestly believe that this could have been taken up to an even higher level than it already is with a few small changes. Excellent work, huge love, biggups. I'm gonna watch out for more stuff from you!


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etherealwinds responds:

My favourite type of review! Thank you for taking the time and putting the energy into appreciating my track enough to look for ways it can be improved. I appreciate it - it's my favourite element of these contests on NG :)

In response to the vocals being too loud in the mix, I think that if they were a bit lower it wouldn't make too much difference either way; they certainly could afford to go a little lower and they wouldn't be any less clear. I used to have a real problem with mixing my vocals so loud that they almost sounded on top of the instrumental rather than in the mix. I think it was Step that taught me the trick of turning the volume of the track down as far as you can only hear the loudest instrument to get the balance right - when I turn it down as far as I can, the piano, whistle and vocals seem to all be at complementary volume in my headphones ^ ^

When I go back to the mix, I'll experiment with the gain on the harmonies on the beginning - I think they really kick in in the second half as the first half is just one layer of harmony. Perhaps they can be brought up a bit more! I'll definitely give it a go :) I totally agree with the 'wanted to fall' as well - I noticed it was quite low after I'd uploaded the track and gave it a fresh listen. That's something I'll definitely bring up a lot when I go back to remixing it, which I definitely will after the reviews I get.

I'll see how it sounds after boosting the bass on the piano. I think it could do a lot for the dynamics of the performance, especially on the lower chords when I play them louder. A nice idea in terms of the piano sounds too! I recorded this using a digital piano using The Maverick VST which produces a lovely tone, but it does miss a lot of those woody creaks from an acoustically recorded piano. Let's see if I can inject a bit more charm into it when I go back to it! :)

I can really tell you've got a great ear for things because going through it, you've paid attention to all the things I have been too. The original piano improvisation was 7:30, but I decided to take out two parts that deviated a little too much from the main motif. Because it was an improvisation, I wanted to turn it into a structured piece where the placement of the verses, choruses and different solos made sense in terms of the dynamics of the piece. I still wanted a bit of variation with the piano of course! This is how it ended up after I pieced it together.

I have a pitch correction tool in Adobe Audition that allows me to manually correct notes without sounding at all noticeable (which is perfect for the types of vocals that I record that would kinda be ruined with that awkward pitch bend you hear from so many pitched vocals). I used it minimally on some of the harmonies, maybe on about ten small notes altogether. I much prefer to sit here and re-record the verses/choruses over and over again until I get a perfect run. The performance of the vocals tends to be more natural that way and working like this has really developed my control and pitch over the years! Of course, there's still little imperfections that often fall through the net. If they're very barely noticeable and don't take away from the quality of the track, I don't like to change them all too much - I quite like the human imperfection. That being said, I certainly hear the sharpness on the 'of' in the harmony and I do try to make sure the harmonies are on point! On the line 1:06, the 'follow' line, it's exactly as I intended to perform it - no wrong notes :) perhaps the melody doesn't sound awkward to me as I've been going over it so much, but maybe it sounds unexpected or awkward to a new listener? :) I'm not sure!

Once again, seriously, thanks for going over it. Definitely some objective and potentially game-changing tips here for me to experiment with when I go back into the mix in a few weeks! I'll give some of your music a listen - clearly you have a great ear so I'm looking forward to it. Thanks also for following me on here. Are you also in the NGUAC? If so, good luck!


Good sound

You have a good sound and hope you can improve on it its nice to hear, And so you have it a good piece of tune here from the portal with a nice sound, it could have some extras but thats for later, So while I dont have the best words or perfect ones this was still one of the Finest of the day in the portal, so keep up that style, And so thats my review not too fancy or anything but I was glad to have found your work it was a pleasent suprise all the way around.

~~THINGS TO IMPROVE ON~~
would love some deeper tones come in now and then.

~X~


etherealwinds responds:

Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to review :)

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Credits & Info


Listens
313
Faves:
8
Downloads
6
Votes
12
Score
4.74 / 5.00

Uploaded
Aug 7, 2018
5:35 PM EDT
Genre
World
File Info
Song
14.9 MB
6 min 31 sec
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