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Sky Gardening

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Author Comments

Made this song for NGADM19 first round. In case I still got in even though I was in the tier 2 fill-in pool. I got in.

It's dedicated to my girlfriend Sara for all of her dreams that have not yet come to fruition.

It's inspired by a drawing I made with the same name:

There already was a game based on this drawing, that won Newgrounds gamejam 9:

2 games that were never finished and even another song made by someone else:


This however is my own interpretation, based on my own story I had in mind... At least part of it. Because the actual story I have in mind will take several pages to flesh out. I will hopefully create a short animation or art game about it someday. Instead I focused on the love story between the gardener in the sky and the woman down on earth. I heard the vocals are hard to understand as usual so I wrote them down for you:

Verse 1

-There is not a worry in this world.

-You may be wondering about why.

-The sun always shines above the clouds.

-Living in my garden up in the sky.

-Taking my mind off

-problems down on earth.

-Looking after sheep.

-Planting seeds in the ground .


-Why do birds appear

-although you are not even remotely near?

-Growing a garden here in the sky.

-Living life without fear.

Verse 2

-You want all the wonders of the world.

-Pick up all the shells from every beach.

-Reach out for the lights up in the sky,

-but the stars turn out to be out of reach.

-Watching from above.

-Seeing you through clouds.

-Won't you come up here?

-Plenty pie in the sky.


-Why do birds appear

-although you are not even remotely near?

-Growing a garden here in the sky.

-Living life without fear.


-Why do birds appear

-although you are not even remotely near?

-Growing a garden here in the sky.

-Living life without you here.

Some side notes. Since I made this song for NGADM19, I had to do something not only I liked, but the judges would hopefully like as well. That's why this time I was a little less experimental and I've listened a lot to the comments I received earlier, both the positive and the negative.

So my audition song Rising Star was a miss. I didn't make it into the main pool. Apparently not everyone like lo-fi chiptune pop songs. TaintedLogic actually gave me a 9.5. That means a lot to me, especially since he was the one who game me the lowest score out of all of the judges 2 years ago for my audition back then. Mostly because the song was too short I think, which I understand in retrospect, but I didn't think about when submitting the song. That's why I didn't make it to the main back then either and I only had a few days to complete a song when I had to fill in while on vacation. So at least I made up for that.

However the others gave me lower marks, not caring for the supposed to be catchy melodies and mistaking the bit-crushed drums for "clipping" because of bad mixing. I still think lo-fi sounds are my strength, so I used a lot of indie sounding old instruments (like a mellotron), but I did nothing radical like bitcrushing, chiptune or noises this time. All warm and pleasant sounds.

Spadezer mentioned he didn't like the vocoder because wanted to hear the lyrics better. I wanted to use my own voice this time, but it sounded just too terrible. So I used a vocoder once again, but instead of using a synth as carrier signal, I used an actual voice. That way you hear me singing the vowels with the timbre of the nice and pure singing voice. I used a de-esser set on reverse, to isolate my consonants, and layered that on top of the vocoder track. So this should sound more like ordinary vocals and be easier to hear what the lyrics are. The chord progression is much more straightforward than what I normally do, but I compensate that with an interesting rhythm and groove, and a melody for the chorus whose main notes actually clash with the chords to make it sound more dramatic and emotional.

Donjonneau's not a judge, but he also commented on Rising Star. He mentioned he didn't like the first chorus in that song was not as energetic as the first verse, because a choruses should always be more energetic than the verses. I don't agree with that, and I thought it worked fine in Rising Star the way it was, but I know generally speaking choruses are indeed more energetic than verses. This time I made sure that was the case. Not sure if Donjonneau will like this song, because it's probably more melody heavy than Rising Star and it doesn't have a solo as experimental as the one from Rising Star that he liked.

Don't know if this is a hit, or another miss, but at least I'm pleased with it myself. Hope you enjoy as well.

Edit december-3-2019: Removed the vocoder from the vocals so they sound more normal and are easier to understand. Also made the shakers a little louder.

Edit december-24-2019: Bought a new microphone and re-recorded all of the lyrics with it. It's a condensator microphone that gives a more open, natural sound than the dynamic microphone I used the first time around. I felt it worked better for this song. On top of that I used a Chamberlin keyboard to add a few instruments near the end. That's the harp and the tenor saxophone. I mixed them very softly and with a lot of reverb, because they sound kind of dissonant, but they make the song more interesting and add some much needed tension near the end.

Edit july-5-2020: Bought Kontakt 6 plus a shitload of libraries, so I replaced the pan flute with Impact Soundworks' "Ventus Winds Pan Flutes" (nai), the guitar with Orange Tree Samples' "Evolution Modern Nylon" and the vibraphone with a vibraphone from Cinesamples' "CinePerc". Also made loads of minor tweaks in the mix to balance things out more.

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This has definitely improved a bit since last I've heard your work last year. I like this quite a bit now

That panflute stole my soul. This is so chill. That vocal too. great work!

SourJovis responds:

Thank you! Your words mean a lot to me!

I like the spacey vibe at the beginning. The progression is a little slow-paced at first, but the texture comes together well later in the piece. The vocals sound a little over-processed, and I’m not sure that the heavy use of mixing effects fits the down-to-earth and introspective nature of the lyrics, or the rest of the sound design for that matter. I like the lyrics themselves, but I also think the other instruments are a little quiet relative to the vocals sometimes. I like the flute solo at 1:25 and the cutesy back-up harmonies there. I like the more passionate tone the vocals have at 1:46, but it’s very hard to understand what they’re saying through all the mixing effects. Later in the piece, I feel as though the harmonic framework of the piece needs some shaking up, although the novel solo at 3:34 was a step in the right direction. The piece might also need some variety in terms of energy level, dynamics, and instrumental hierarchy. Overall, I like the sound design in the instrumental tracks, the mixing, the rhythmic content, and the mood/atmosphere. I think the composition could’ve been a bit more inspired at times, and the robotic-sounding vocals also detracted from my enjoyment of the piece. Still, solid work in almost every other regard, especially the production quality. Keep at it, SourJovis! :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
Instrumentation and sound design
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
Originality and uniqueness
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
Composite score

SourJovis responds:

Thanks for the review back then. I've removed the vocoder from the vocals so they sound more natural. Other than that I didn't change anything but I think this may have removed the main issue with the song. Hope you like it better this way.

This is so peaceful yet surprisingly epic, reminds me a bit of Zelda idk.

Great work!! And good luck on NGADM

SourJovis responds:

Thank you! I like your description of the song! I hadn't made the connection to Zelda yet, but that perhaps because I've only fully played 2 Zelda games. I like the mood of the games so I think it's a nice compliment.

Credits & Info


3.89 / 5.00

Aug 9, 2019
1:45 AM EDT
File Info
11.6 MB
5 min 5 sec

Licensing Terms

You may not use this work without making specific arrangements with the artist UNLESS your work is a web-based game or animation, in which case you may use this freely.