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Time To Recoup

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Author Comments

Okay, first off, I'd like to say that I am TERRIBLE at coming up with descriptions. Often times, I kind of don't want to add a description so that the song is the main focus, not the reason for the song's existence. This felt like the case for this one, in particular, I had a description ready the day after it was posted, but I felt hesitant and decided not to post it for two distinct reasons.

One, after listening to the song a few times, my "favorite" part of the song seemed to change over and over again. The fun thing is that even though I produced it, some parts of the song stood out more because I either forgot that I did some sort of production thing and it sounded cool OR I did something accidentally and recognized it and loved that I didn't catch that "mistake". My point is that I realized that it's easy to interpret this track in many different ways, and I thought it'd be best to just give it a title, leave out a description, and let others come up with their own reasons and stories for why the song exists.

Two, as a sort of add-on to my first point, I wanted the focus to be the song. I find it so easy to notice certain particular things in songs when I have context, but there's something really beautiful about not knowing what the purpose of the song is. It sparks creativity in a way, forces the listener to choose for itself where to anchor its ear. I really enjoy bending the rules when it comes to genres of music, and this track felt like the perfect opportunity to try an experiment and see what parts of the song people will gravitate towards the most.

Now, with that all being said, I believe the title of the piece best explains MY interpretation of the track. This felt like a recollection song, a "take a step back and think" kind of experience. I wanted this song to feel like a journey, I even gave names for each "phase" of the track. The beginning was Invitation, the middle was Determination, and the end was Meditation. I wanted to start the track with something that felt like an open invitation for people to "keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times". Then, once the build-up happened, my goal was to make this general theme feel like it going through some unexpected twists and turns, but I also didn't want it to feel like the has changed in any way, almost like the theme itself was determined to hold together through all the chaos. Finally, towards the end, I wanted to create a place for people to kind of sit in their thoughts and really meditate on what they've just experienced. This is what I feel like the stages of recouping are. You start feeling welcome into a space made for recollection, then find ways to keep level-headed while unexpected things are thrown your way, and finally end sitting still and feeling accomplished and a little more whole. Also the more I explain it, the more it sounds like a complete rollercoaster ride metaphor XD

Anyway, sorry for the REALLY long description, but I love trying to tell stories and evoke emotions in my pieces. This track was something I really enjoyed thinking about throughout the entire process. I wanna say a HUGE thanks to all the judges for their kind words and reviews throughout this contest, it's been an experience that I'll cherish for quite a long while. To LucidShadowDreamer, and every other competitor in the contest, I sincerely thank you for your music. It's been an amazing experience listening to all of your pieces and genuinely feeling inspired over and over and over again. And everyone else in between, thanks so much listening, it really means the world!!!

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I like the dreamy arpeggios and minimal, plucking synth at the beginning. Very ‘80s somehow. The wetter, full-sounding melodic synth at :22 really adds a deeper layer of atmosphere too. At times, I thought you overdid the reverb, but there’s a great sense of climax into :54. The strings at :58 add to the texture as well, and the tempo automations are a nice touch. The part at 1:10 sounds blissful, but also a bit contained and broken up in terms of the phrasing. I liked the mellow and more melodic flair at 1:53, but I think the transition there could’ve been foreshadowed a bit better. I like the crisp drums and sound design elements of the piece. The dreamy piano riff and atmospheric outro at 2:41 work well too. The percussion at 3:16 was a nice detail. It was a bit risky to introduce such a novel and distinct element of the sound design so late in the piece, and I think it would’ve helped tie up the ambiguity of the end of the piece more if you had a stronger cadence or sense of direction there, not just a fade-out. There are a lot of creative compositional ideas here (notably the tempo changes and quirky arrangement), and I love the sound design and production quality. Sometimes, the progression is a bit choppy, and while parts of it have a narrative and dynamic quality, the piece is missing a point of arrival towards the end that unites some of the many individual motifs of the piece in a meaningful way. Still, I’m enjoying the tempo automations, atmosphere, mixing, instrumentation, and compositional details here. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to and reviewing your music throughout this competition, and I really hope I’ll hear more of you on Newgrounds soon. Congratulations on your effort and best of luck with your future projects, VocalOutburst! ^_^

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


This is an official Judge Review for the Final Round of the NGADM 2019.

The start of this piece is something I absolutely adore. It mixes the style of someone like 1f1n1ty with some orchestral stuff and makes for a really great intro. During the actual track, the percussion is also really great, too. I can tell from listening it's meant to be mainly DnB. From 2:20 onwards is what i also really enjoy here.
My main bit of advice comes from around 1:10 to 1:58. I feel the section is a bit empty in terms of sound, other than the percussion. There's plenty of room here to add a few powerful chords and fill it up a bit. Originally, I thought similar of then up until 2:20, but after listening to it a few times that section grew on me as alright with the chords it has.
Overall, though, this is a solid piece. I wish you good luck on the final round, and thank you again for coming to NGADM 2019!

vocaloutburst responds:

Thanks a ton for your review!!! I definitely feel what you mean about that 1:10 - 1:58 area. I think that was probably my most challenging part of making this song, how to lengthen certain sections without some parts sounding too out of place or empty. I'll continue polishing this up and keep your suggestions in mind when I do!!!

This is an official NGADM '19 Review

I enjoy dnb a bit, and this fits the bill pretty well. You developed the main theme in ways that always made it feel fresh throughout the whole song, and never felt that it was repeated too much (which some dnb artists have issues with for my tastes). Looking back at the title of the song it really fit that description too. I can feel what you were putting into the song, and made a nice narrative, which is also kinda neat since dnb is mostly based on a groove instead of telling a narrative. Props for that. The only issue I really had is that I really wanted the 1:58 section to sound more full and well rounded similar to like what happened in 2:20 ish. I tell you what though. The more I repeated this song the more I loved it.

Production and Sound Design:
Very clean work. Everything you picked balanced well with every other element you had, and there's some decent details you added in, like the panning in the chords at 1:17, the plucked synths in the sides around 1:37, it all sounded professional and polished. Especially the drums. My only complaint is that maybe it's a little too dry in spots. This is also a nice work of combining electric and organic elements like the square(?) wave with drums and strings in the back. Pretty neat.

Great work especially in how you built it. Like I said in the composition, it's really cool that you were able to tell more of a narrative with a dnb song instead of finding a good groove and developing it. With the title I can really feel the emotions you were adding into the writing, and I really felt it at the outro. In spite of the fact that it's a fade out, the fade out actually works well with what you're doing. I usually see fade outs as lazy writing or a cop-out (see my last NGUAC song), but this was a well intentioned use that fit. I could also put your song on repeat and enjoy it just as much each time BTW.

Emotion / Conclusion:
Well done. It had me hooked in the intro and carried through the song on a groovy chill ride that I never got tired of repeating.

Composition: 9

Production: 9

Sound Design: 8.5

Structure: 9.5

Emotion: 9

vocaloutburst responds:

As always, thanks so much for your reviews!!! That's super interesting that you took the title of the track and used that as a way to interpret the piece, I really love that!! Happy to hear you enjoyed it and REALLY happy to hear that the production sounded professional and polished, I really wanted to try to improve upon that throughout the contest!!!

Credits & Info

4.83 / 5.00

Dec 2, 2019
12:55 AM EST
File Info
3.7 MB
4 min 4 sec

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.