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Racer

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Jack Blazer was a legend. That is, until the day he was banned from Peregrine, the biggest racing league in the world after having been allegedly accused of cheating. Since then, and to get by financially, he's been forced to compete in underground derbies that only provide small rewards to the top three racers. However, one day, Blazer got word of a particularly intriguing event that had ten thousand dollars in store for the first place winner. That prize could save his future! There is only one problem though. Let's just say, the racers competing don't play very nice.


SOFTWARE USED: Reaper

PLUGINS USED: MT Power Drum Kit 2, TAL Reverb 2, ReaEQ, ReaComp, OB-Xd.


All guitars, including the bass, were recorded by me. The drums and the synths are midi arrangements I wrote.


Hot rod sound effect by Ears68 at Freesound.org.

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DOOOOD!! I love those synths! lol.

I love the phrasing you put together!

Catpocalypse responds:

Thank you, I appreciate that!

One thing I do like about this song is how clear everything is, I know whats going on, and I can hear everything. All of your guitar work is pretty good! It almost seems as though you can think of your key easier on the guitar frets rather than in midi when you're looking at a keyboard. Your solo was great, And I like the tones on your guitars. Youve got a pretty decent recording method without having a studio and thousands of dollars of microphones and pedals and all that.

Now over all, it is important, even in a song that you want to keep a high amount of energy throughout the piece, to add variation, you had the same guitar riff the whole time and your first entry of the synths seemed out of place, almost not in key, the melodies you have hear are a little chaotic as acxle said. I like the little riffs and variation you added at the end before your outro.

The mixing was good, however i felt like there was no low end, no foundation for the track to sit on, almost like there was nothing below 80hz, and it made it feel really mid high heavy. i could hear your bass, but maybe it could go down an octave, or you transpose the whole song so you could play on the lower frets of your bass, not sure, i just know there wasnt much low end. The repetitivness in this song is kind of what did it in for me for my star score, now keep this in mind, i didnt judge this song! I judged the underdogs!

overall- great submission to the Nguac!

Catpocalypse responds:

Thanks for reviewing. I still have absolutely no understanding of how it’s repetitive. I think, in fact, my track is one of the least repetitive and most diverse of the entire competition.
I have listened to many tracks on this site, and I know that very few artists use things like leads and transitions in the way I do. I don’t know what people are hearing when they listen to this song, but it’s obvious that what I’m hearing is completely different.
Again, thank you for your time and this review. I know you have a differing opinion than mine, and I just can’t understand you or the other judges perspectives. But I appreciate you doing this anyways. I‘m glad that I can at least have some reasons as to why my scores are the way they are, even if they make no sense to me.

score: 4/10

what I liked:

• the guitar on top starting 0:46 rides a nice melody, and I like the fadeaway downward gliss when it exits
• the tremolo in the bass adds nice energy to the track
• 1:01 - this little slide sounds really cool, added something interesting to this section
• nice switch of harmonic progression at 1:01
• your solo guitar/lead runs are very impressive!

what I think could be improved on:

• 0:04 - there is this pump of noise that might be intentional but doesn't sound that way
• the first section is repeated twice with almost no variation, maybe try switching some things up!
• the synth melody starting at 0:28 is a little chaotic, I would like to hear lines that flow better (less leaps and smoother lines)
• 0:52 - the harmony in this section is a little awkward, with too many 3rds on notes where a 3rd might not be the best choice
• this track is 4 minutes straight (more or less) of the same level of high energy; it gets tiring to listen to after a while, and I would have liked to hear a break from the loud guitars, a slowdown, a guitar cadenza, etc.
• the pattern of going from a monophonic melody to a version with an added 3rd is a little predictable

Catpocalypse responds:

Thanks for responding and writing out your reasons for my score. I appreciate the clarification. I do disagree with much of what you said, and I'm not sure you really grasped the idea of what I was trying to do with the song.

There's supposed to be a constant sense of energy, and the leads and synths were made the way they are to keep things fresh and interesting. To me, they sound just fine and this is a song I would regularly listen to. A break would have killed the action and energy I was trying to pursue with this, and ultimately that would be what would make the song less interesting. When writing a track, it's important to pick a theme and to stick to it. Straying too far could potentially mess things up. I wanted to keep my track as heavy and fast as possible so I could keep the listener engaged with the high-intensity theme I was trying to portray. In any sense, a break or a relaxed bridge may confuse or discourage the listener who wants to rock the whole way through.

For the song diversity, I'm not sure how you perceive much of the track with little variation. Having the song be in 4/4 times with a fast tempo meant to help sections accelerate and not drag on for too long. Four minutes in general is not very lengthy, and the only long part, the solo, was kept fresh with periodical harmonies, lightning fast runs, and a key change to emphasize a new phase of the bridge. Yes, I understand that the rhythms weren't as dynamic as they could have been. But the leads, transitions, and changes of instrument/technique should have made up for that quite effectively.

Your critique on the synths, well... I just don't get it. They flow beautifully to me. I like how they are mixed, and how that touch of reverb really makes it blend in well with the rest of the track, while keeping it the focal point of the section. The 3rds, I think, were what made the synth verses most interesting. What it did, was it introduced the second verse in such a way, as for it to pave a path for the new, more dynamic synths that would quickly follow, which would then transition into the bridge/solo.

As for your critique about the chorus, I understand what you're saying about the melody going into the 3rd being predictable, but there's inevitably going to be common techniques that everyone uses in their preferred style of music at some point. Whether they like to admit it or not, everyone gets ideas from somewhere. You can't just create something from nothing in that way, it's just not possible. Everything is influenced by something else.There's really no need to be critiquing a small detail that in no way effects the quality of the piece itself, and hardly at all diminishes its originality.

Oh yeah, that part at 0:04 you're referencing, I'm pretty sure I made it very clear in the track that that is the engine of an automobile. It's to help establish and develop the overall theme of the piece, which, as the title suggests, is racing.

I like the catchy guitar riffs and crisp drums at the beginning. The synth melodies at :28 were a nice touch, too. I especially like the frantic guitar solo at 1:40. Overall, the arrangement gives the piece a constant sense of energy and drive. At some point, it would’ve been nice to have a little more shape and structural contrast with an atmospheric breakdown or mellow bridge or something. I also think there are a lot of long sections where the melodic riffs follow a really predictable on-and-off pattern (example, 2:55 to 3:24). I think it would be more engaging if there was a little more variation in this format within the phrase, and would also help you build up to the more intense sections. Still, the modulations help keep things interesting, and I enjoyed the drawn-out outro. Overall, this is a solid piece. Production quality is especially strong, and the solos really kept me into it despite the harmonic repetitions. Keep at it, Catpocalypse! :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
2/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1.75/2
Instrumentation and sound design
1/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.75/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.5/1
Composite score
8.25/10

Catpocalypse responds:

I appreciate you taking the time to write this review, and thanks for all this good and helpful feedback! Though, I'm not really understanding how this song is repetitive, as the guitar and synth leads are are scattered across all parts of the song for the sole purpose of keeping it interesting.
Also, the constant energy you described is designed to run through the entire song. If I were to relax in any part, the track overall would lose its momentum, and as this is a song about racing, it would ultimately make sense for there to be a constant drive and speed to it.

Big improvement, good job. The guitar tones are much better, the track is warm and full sounding, the drums sound decent. I liked the variety of sounds from lead to synths. You've made tons of progress in the production side!
In terms of composition, I think the drums could do with a lot more variety since they play basically the same thing throughout. You could add a few kick drums here and there, breaks from time to time and sprinkle in some cymbals to keep things interesting. Other than that, nice track!
(Replied on our forum to your question about the rhythm guitar, too)
https://metalworkshop.boards.net/thread/43/mixing-help?page=1&scrollTo=204

Catpocalypse responds:

Thank you! I'm happy with my improvements. I'm glad you like them also!

I know I still need to work on writing those drums though. Compositionally, it's not a track I often pay too much attention to, and changing that could make it a lot better.

Credits & Info

Artist

Listens
1,225
Faves:
1
Downloads
14
Votes
19
Score
3.77 / 5.00

Uploaded
Aug 16, 2020
10:45 PM EDT
Genre
Heavy Metal
File Info
Song
4.1 MB
4 min 32 sec

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