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AIM - Losing Control

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A piece created in around two months, in which I was heavily trying to improve my composition and structuring techniques.

Inspired by https://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/toradh/the-fire-inside, which had some neat lore behind it. I chose to use what it first looked like to me though, which was a recurring PTSD flashback.
The artist is Franziska Wenzel, who can be found at https://wenzelfranziska.myportfolio.com/.

This song uses sounds from freesound:
THUNDER / Rain low frequencies 4-CHANNEL-48kHz.wav by https://freesound.org/people/BlueDelta/
door_01.wav by https://freesound.org/people/choplin/
fire_embers_large_campfire.aif by https://freesound.org/people/Dynamicell/
Distant Explosion by https://freesound.org/people/Mozfoo/
Thunder2.wav by https://freesound.org/people/OneSoundToRuleThemAll/
doorCreaking9.wav by https://freesound.org/people/Zabuhailo/

Any constructive criticism is highly appreciated. It's great to know whether you enjoyed it or not, but it's also really nice to know why. :)

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I came back to this song a few times while judging. It had some decent elements that made this track mid-tier for me. The thing that really hurt was the mixing quality and lo-fi sounds. It gave off an old school RPG element which actually paired nicely with Toradh's art. The fire crackling was a nice touch too. Always smart to toss in some musical element that calls out to whatever inspires it.

In regards to the melodies and structures everything sounded great. I loved the chord progressions and pacing. It's actually a really good composition. It just suffers from those digital sounds. The percussion was simply done but exciting. I can hear that tiny snare drum working hard back there. Worlds smallest drum kit :)

If you want to wow the judges for these kinds of comps avoid those lo-fi sound banks. Not everyone will buy EastWest virtual instruments but there are plenty of cheap alternatives that won't sound like Finale Notepad. I've been composing with Reason for over a decade now. I paid for my program a long time ago. Reason will always allow you to redownload your purchases years later when you log in to their website and they let you upgrade for free if you pay attention to the version updates. I'm not sure what program you are using but it might be worth asking others what they use to get their sounds with. See if you can't find something cheap or free that others recommend and comes with better virtual instruments right out of the gate. Make sure it comes with mixing & mastering tools.

I just want to drive the point home that your biggest focus should be to beef up your instruments. You can probably export the midi notes from this track and slam them into some better instruments later. You'll thank yourself so much if you can manage some kind of upgrade. Since your profile says 17 years old, I have no idea if you have a job or means to pay for software but it can be well worth it. Do your homework and pick up some equipment that works for you.

There are means to pirate software BUT NO ONE ON NEWGROUNDS IS ALLOWED TO ADVOCATE THAT, HOW DARE YOU EVEN ASK. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT. I DIDNT PIRATE REASON 4 AND FRUITY LOOPS IN COLLEGE AND SO WHAT IF I DID. I LATER BOUGHT REASON VERSIONS 6 AND 10 LIKE A GOOD CONSUMER WHORE, STOP JUDGING ME. I'M SUPPOSED TO BE JUDGING YOU. THIS IS ME JUDGING YOU >:C

Have a nice day Sleven. I hope this review inspires you to build wonderful musics :D

SI-7 responds:

Thanks for the feedback.
The DAW I'm using is LMMS, and most of my instruments were synthesized using the plugins built into it. I am currently looking around for better instruments that don't crash LMMS, but it's starting to look like I'll have to swap to a different DAW because LMMS conflicts with a lot of different plugins and instruments.
I do think that a decent part of the mixing/mastering being bad was my fault though. I'm still learning how to use some of the tools for it. I still don't quite understand how much of compression works, though I've learned the basic idea of it.
The only paid-for thing in the entire song is Valhala Room reverb, which was a prize from Zelazon's contest a few months back. I don't currently have a job or a means of paying for software. I have done some research, but it's still very hit or miss, since sometimes I can't find any info on whether instruments are compatible with LMMS.

= THIS IS AN OFFICIAL AIM JUDGE REVIEW =

This is based on my own AIM scoreboard alongside with first impression when I first clicked on your track, which is very important for your new listeners who will listen to your future tracks. For Upside/Downside reviews, I listened to your track twice to pinpoint a bit more, the scores(points) are from listening only once. Take this review as a grain of salt, please don't take this personally. I don't want to tore anyone down, I want them to become stronger. The judges have different views on your same track, so just take it as another point of view. Like I mentioned in the AIM Discussion Thread, a badass judge here, giving you a constructive review.

'Comments' section on the overall track (From Scoreboard) : "Very nice use of sound effects, and that's basically it."

Upside:
What did I most liked about here was sound effects, obviously. I see that you aimed for this to cover your music with beautiful decorations. And I liked it, a lot. Good creativity, too. I especially loved the door creak and BOOM sound at 0:56, that one definitely perked up my ears. Although all the sound effects seems a bit random and out of sync (I’m talking about the heartbeat, sometimes it fits, sometimes it doesn’t), it does seem to tell the atmosphere you were trying to go. I’m honestly a fan of adding some sound effects into music because that helps you tell the story, it’s a good tool. But I'm not adding a score just because you just added sound effects, you added it NICELY, that's what it counts.

Downside:
The downside was music itself, unfortunately. So, basically, from the start to 1 minute is a pack of sound effects with a simple synth melody with strings and a bass. Musically, it’s too repetitive and not very surprising. That’s because the melody is a bit less memorable, and the chord progression is dissonant overall. It goes on and on with more pluck melodies that doesn’t match perfectly in harmony. Shall I pinpoint it to you for the most obvious ones? 1:08, 1:21-1:32, 1:53, 1:58, 2:00, 2:10. 2:19-2:27. I’m sorry, but this track tells me you need to work on more observations of how chords and harmonies make together to make good music. Listen, listen more, and keep listening. You can learn by theory, but you can’t achieve it fully if you don’t listen to the good inspiring tracks around you. That’s what I would recommend for you.

_________________

SCOREBOARD WITH DETAILS

Art Interaction : 2.5/3
Basically you added some sound effects that relates to the art itself, so high score on that, definitely.

Overall Music : 2/4
I fixed my score to half out of perfect based on the upside & downside, and I think it’s unfortunate because the downside is basically one of the main points that I’m looking at.

Structure & Variation : 3/4
Why did I gave you 3 scores out of 4 after all these criticisms? Do give thanks to your sound effects, because they saved your track. Lots of different sound effects covered up so many repetitions from the music. It really did in my ears, your decorations worked!

Mixing & Mastering : 2/3
Decent mixing and mastering, no critical problems were found in my ears. Although it does sound a biiiit unbalanced between the sound effects and the music because I can’t hear the melody perfectly when the sound effect plays. And also, I thought it would be better to EQ a bit on the synths to make it sound less tinny.

Instrumentation : 1/1
I honestly wanted to give this half points but once again, your sound effects saved the day. Those are sometimes considered as “instruments” after all. At least for me. Ever “mise-en-scene” in the track I figure, are ALL instruments.

Total : 10.5/15

SI-7 responds:

Thanks a ton for the critical feedback, I really appreciate it. I think I'll start by studying tracks that inspire me, to figure out why they do, and start working on developing more interesting melodies and chord progression.

Great song!

Credits & Info

SI-7
Author

Listens
465
Faves:
3
Downloads
15
Votes
6
Score
4.26 / 5.00

Uploaded
Jun 12, 2019
6:49 PM EDT
Genre
Cinematic
File Info
Song
6.1 MB
3 min 19 sec

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