Hello SirQuebi, thanks for reaching out for a review. Congratulations on your third place by the way. Truth be told, I didn't have you as high up on my list as the other judges. There were a few cinematic and orchestral tracks submitted to the contest that I felt did a much better job at stoking my excitement. JordanKyser's "A Dreadful Space Journey" comes to mind. I had placed Seprix and Lucid Shadow Dreamers tracks higher on my list as well. At that point I might have told myself "the orchestral tracks are covered, time to vote on some underdogs." In a competition like this, standing out is important. For myself, there were a lot of tracks that sounded like this but did a better job with things like dynamics, mix, and pacing.
Your track stood out for certain, it 100% qualified to do justice to the art it was paired with. The wind samples gave this a very cold feeling. The instruments fit the mood and setting well. Those strings gave this an Eastern vibe. If I were to nit pick the instruments at all I'd start with the percussion. You could have brought the bass drums forward a bit to add some depth to the mix. If you could automate the levels on the bass drums so that they hit harder then dissipate faster, they'd have punched a little more. An EQ could have let you add emphasis to that bass, a compressor would have let you bring those tones forward a little without overpowering the mix, and some side chaining would have allowed you to drop the levels of the string instruments slightly on every bass drum hit. EDM jargon, sorry :C
The percussion problem is illustrated in how static the note velocities are. Orchestral percussionists have one note they can make. They can very things up dramatically with crescendo or decrescendo. I'd have gone more over the top with those values to create some very dynamic percussion. Some cymbal swells might have helped add tones to the mix as well.
The rhythms are all great. I'm not picking on you for your rhythm, just the tonality and dynamics. Electronic artists tend to max out tonal diversity using only a handful of instruments and a ton of EQing. Perhaps larger crescendoing would have helped this stand out for me. It's the mix down and dynamics that I think I'm paying the most critical attention to.
Oh hi, a cymbal at 2:56. I've listened to this track like 20 times now and I only just noticed that poor percussionist with her hammer over there doing nothing the entire time. I assume she could have also been playing something else but she really wanted to hit that cymbal more. It had a tonal quality missing from the majority of the track.
Your melodic choices are great. You write good melodies SQ.
My love, write MORE about your work. Especially in a contest like this, allow yourself to gush. You wrote three sentences. While I don't assume you already wrote a song before the contest and found a work of art to juxtapose it with, the more you say about what you put into the track the more of an influence you can have on the judges and their opinion. It can feel diheartening when it feels like no one is listening. Sometimes I write one emo sentence and upload my work, then I cry myself to sleep. Don't be like me. Show your passion for what you do. We artists have so much passion but we can't allow our work to speak for itself. Your competing with others who feel the same way you do. Stand out a little bit more by describing all the instrument choices, the pace of the track, the time you spent doing something. If you were particularly proud of something, let us know about it. Sometimes I'll say something along the lines of "I'm really proud of my ride cymbal rhythms in this," and the judges will be like "yes, that was the only thing I liked about your song also." Gush my love. Gush about your work because it is special...
Holy shit I'm late for work. This is why I don't automatically write reviews for everyone. I spent an hour here. If I didn't say it yet, I LOVED your work. It did stand out but it stood out in a competition full of artists that also stood out. Judging this competition was hard. I wish I had placed you a little higher up my list... (14th, sue me)... but I'm glad the other judges felt that you deserved the recognition here. The judging process can be so painful. Congratulations SQ... I'm late for work Sir, okay? Bye <3
EDIT: Now that I'm at work and safely off the highway I wanted to go back and edit a couple of sentences. Also to clarify, though you were placed 14th on my list, that was a hard decision to make. These comps aren't going to make anyone famous or get us paid. They are for fun and self improvement. I hope I didn't hurt your feelings SQ. I hope to see some more awesome work from you in the future :)