Speak Easy

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Author Comments

I knew someone that told me "Yeah man theres this place I hit up all the time." So I asked. "Sounds dope where is it?" and he said "I cant tell you." So I really thought, Damn I'm not cool enough to hang :(

So anyway with that being said this is my entry into NGADM Top 32. I've been lucky enough to work on it all week, but now I think its time to release it. Everyone I sent this song to said it has a persona vibe, and I can fucks with that. I never played a Persona game but I'm interested after checking out their soundtracks! The last week of August is usually crazy, and I plan to decompress over labor day weekend. So I feel the decision to upload this with a week to spare is a good one. A big shout out to Glutenfree! His music is awesome, and he's super talented!

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NGADM Review

I wasn’t sure where the track was going to go at first then it came together when the drums started. The build up introduced the piece well and worked perfectly.

I enjoyed the composition a lot, from the meandering bass line to the brass instrument accents and breaks in the percussion. The textures tickled me in the right way from the smooth bass to the grittier brass and the in-the-middle guitar which glued it all together. Good work on that aspect, it’s commendable. Also, the slightly out-of-tune guitar was a surprise at first but when it all came together it paid off immensely and was very satisfying.

Having said that, I felt the production quality/expertise was lacking considerably in the drums and bass. Compared to the guitar and other instruments they are all over the place with a weird reverb that doesn’t work. Try to mix it dryer and it will come out much cleaner. Having said that, the guitar sounds awesome, especially the lead part with has a lovely warm, slightly gritty tone which shiiines. You used distortion wisely in the tone and in the mix. Could you maybe mix the rest in the same way as the guitar?

Full marks for performance and instrumentation from me, you played well and on time and I feel there was a true synergy between all the instruments.

Composition: 4
Production: 3
Sound Design: 4
Instrumentation and Performance: 5
JeNeSaisQuoi - genre and case specific, also synergy: 4

JamesRennaMusic responds:

Thank you for the advice. I just realized how balanced the guitars are in comparison to everything else in this piece. The mix was something I should’ve paid attention to more for sure. I’ll use these and Logic’s notes when I go back and remix it 😃

I like the smooth guitars at the beginning and the groovy bass that comes in shortly thereafter. The texture and harmonies have a really quirky edge to them, and despite the loud mix and variety in the instrumental palette, the texture sounds pretty thin at times. The brass sounds entirely authentic (and probably is), but I’m often thrown off by how the piece meanders between distinct sections at a pretty fast clip. At times, the drums sound pretty distorted in the mix, which is especially noticeable with the crashes at 1:56 and onward. I also think the snare could’ve been a bit crisper. Still, it’s the abrupt transitions (like at :33, :53, etc.) that really bother me. I think you begin to make up for that by adding some cohesion with the repetition of the beginning riff at 2:18. The solo at 1:37 is really nice and dynamic, but I still wish you had broken apart the underlying rhythmic framework a little more at some point in the piece. Overall, I’m really enjoying the refreshing sound design and evocative rhythmic content, and my complaints with the mixing, texture, and otherwise are all minor. Keep at it, JamesRennaMusic! ^_^

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

JamesRennaMusic responds:

Thanks man I really appreciate it, I’ll get to work then :)

Ohhh snap when that Sax hits.

The groove is very groovy and catchy and the solos are very soulful.
And the production gives off a very authentic, pleasant vibe.

Great job!

Damn! I‘m really digging the whole groove and vibe! A super chill track, with some really nice harmonies and solos. Really great job on this one!

Great song. Sounds very groovy and indeed a bit mysterious. Full sound and interesting harmonies.

Credits & Info

4.89 / 5.00

Aug 31, 2019
1:57 PM EDT
File Info
2.8 MB
2 min 42 sec
  • Scarlett 2i4
Misc. Kit
  • Quilter Mini Reverb 101
  • Akai MPK25

Licensing Terms

You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions:

You must give credit to the artist.
You may not use this work for commercial purposes. *
No Derivative Works:
You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

*Please contact me if you would like to use this in a commercial project. We can discuss the details.