Hello! This is a review for the NGUAC competition.
I've gone over one or two general categories of issues specific to your song, and one section of things I think also deserve complimenting. I prefer being very direct with my critique, none of it is meant to offend. Thank you for your understanding!
- Hooo, okay. So, this song doesn't have a theme outside of the chord progression. And... I don't like it. Primarily, I dislike it because of how it directly opposes conventional "tension -> release" harmonic ordering used in western european music theory. However, the sound design and arrangement DOES follow this convention, leading to some really weird opposing feelings. For example, your 2nd and 3rd chords are normally encountered in the opposite order due to the half-step difference in multiple voices. Normally, those half-step differences ascend rather than descend. This would also work if the fourth chord weren't quite as disconnected by comparison. This happens again with the 5th and 6th chords in your progression. Other things are slightly odd, but not as jarring as those changes. (Keep this "tension -> release" principle in mind in general, by the way. It also affects the drumbeat at 3:27, since the kick is a point of tension whereas the snare is a point of release. Think of the kick as 'pinching' the sound around it due to the sidechaining, whereas the snare is having it burst back open by comparison.)
- The second main point I'd like to make isn't about tension and release, but more general repetition. This entire track is based around the ONE chord progression. While it has dynamic variance, there's no melody outside of the top note in these chords, and the harmonies for that melody remain the same the entire time. Even in a lot of electronic music and pop, there's a secondary chord progression used to provide contrast and distinguish sections. It can also be used for narrative purposes, as this piece is composed in such a fashion (and has the sound effects at the end) implying an intentional story of some kind behind it. Countermelodies, harmonic lines, B sections with different tones, all of these will help tremendously with really crafting a finely tuned narrative arc to relay the emotional experience you intend.
Compliments to the Composer:
- Unironically, for all I've said, I love that you do have a theme and stick with it for so much of the song. Even if it could use some variation, the consistency is nice and the amount of variation you DO have is expressed very well through different sound design. The guitar coming in at 0:27 is extremely nice and provides some really good contrast with the regular strings as TL said before, with the reverse effect altering the texture in interesting ways as well. I really enjoy your percussion, especially the bit of 'ear candy' in the sound first heard at 2:05.
Final score: 7.3