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Alabaster

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Author Comments

2020 nguac final round entry. I'm aware that this track isn't really worthy of a final round, but with school restarting and me trying to make progress on an actual album, time and energy have been a bit scarce.

Still hope you enjoy listening.

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I like the eerie ambient sound effects at the beginning, but the rhythm of their delivery felt a bit square, so as to render them cheesy. The creepy riser thing at :31 was a neat idea, but could’ve worked a tad better with some more atmosphere. I also had a little trouble squaring it with the blissful mood at :40. Still, I’m enjoying the thicker texture and quirky beats at :43. The instrumental hierarchy undergoes a lot of sudden changes during the energetic part of this piece, notably at 1:04, 1:11, and other places. The composition strikes me as a bit experimental, but I’m really loving the rhythmic content and sound design. I love the percussion at 1:59 - super danceable and fun, and it also sits really well in the mix. And that reminds me: the production quality is superb here, even if the pads at :58 didn’t quite pop like I wanted them to. There’s a lot of potential in this piece, and I highly encourage you to keep working on it after the competition. With a little more cohesion and a less choppy arrangement (and also much less of the experimental granulizer thing starting at 2:42), this track would be a total bop. It already has the engrossing instrumentation, neat rhythmic content, and just generally oozes creativity. Keep it up, ISMCataclism! Good luck with both school and your album. ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
2/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
.5/1.5
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
1/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.25/1
Composite score
7.75/10

Zerisan responds:

Thank you so much!

Super original transitioning here. I wasn't quite expecting the move into the intro here.

Sound design definitely has a lot of cool factor here and brave choices. Getting a follow from me if for nothing else other than exposure to interesting ideas.

Now, structure itself I feel could probably use a bit of work. When you come in with the bass at 1:13, I was expecting more of that. It's so disjointed from the rest of the track -- and sounds very good, mind you, that I wanted to hear it more regularly. Repetition legitimizes, after all. I was expecting to hear it at 1:44 again.

2:03, that snare sample you're using, metallic sounding, could use more velocity, panning, or modulation so it didn't clearly sound like the same sample.

2:30, lots of interesting breakbeat feel going on.

Looping that snare, I'd have liked pitching it up gradually and more obviously from the outset. The ear very quickly picks up that we're looping and fatigues. Constant motion.

That said the rest of the transition barring the long hold was very well done, and I was expecting one final chorus. That's where the structuring portion falls short for me most glaringly.

Otherwise, song is mixed pretty well. Overall I would want more snare, about one to two dB, more kick, less reverb. You could probably bring your leads out by an additional dB, and your bass throughout up as well -- it's fine on sections that aren't super droppy, although throughout those sometimes percussion samples get just a little bit too loud for it to sustain.

Very interesting and stand-out piece, taking a lot of risks for good payoff. You've got a really unique sound and I appreciate that. Looking forward to hearing more of you in the future.

Thanks for coming out to NGUAC!

Zerisan responds:

Thanks for the review! Understand that you expected another chorus at the end, but I personally like to go for more unorthodox layouts.

Im interested to know the production techniques you used for the noise at the end, i could see the ending being a really unique transition into another track off an album. It a little obnoxious, but sometimes artistry in music requires some experimentation and making someone uncomfortable with transitions like this in order to make a statement, and thats what my mind wants to do with that ending. I honestly kind of like it.

ass for what muffy said about the desynced drums come in, i kind of agree with him, however i almost see that as the transition into the uncomfortable noise at the end. I kind of like weird percussion thrown in, and you keep the same beat throughout.

Now overall, the chord progression ends up repetitive yes, and i find myself wanting to latch onto a solidified melody.

the beginning swells really build up an ambiance that does not match your chords and over all song. it makes me think something intense and dark is going to happen, then you have this very vogue and uppity drop happen and it throws me off and leaves me disappointed in a way.

Big ups for individuality, mixing, and instrumentation in your track, those were your highest scores within my categories.

Overall Composition; 6.75 (transitions had a 9 in this category)
Overall Production; 9 (all 9's)
Overall Impression/Execution; 7

Score; 7.5

-Official NGUAC 2020 Final Round Review-

The beginning is really deep-inducing, really like the windblows; don’t understand why the first 7 seconds are empty though. The chord progression seems quite strange and repetitive, I can’t understand very well what you were trying to achieve with that; the sfx and drums departments, however, are really good and mixed almost perfectly. The music flows nicely till 2:22, where I can hear some desynced drums which are quite disorienting; same goes for the last minute of the song, which was mostly composed of noise sounds. Summing up, I’m not sure what to think about this track: it’s not bad, but it’s really chaotic and a bit cluttered, almost like you tried to come up with an original idea in the short amount of time given, then ending up getting lost in the producing of the submission and rushing the piece as a consequence. Even if I went a bit deep with the feedback here, this is not a bad submission, and you did a great job by coming this far in the competition.

Originality: 1.7/2
Composition: 1.5/2
Structure: 1.5/2
Tecnicity: 1.2/2
Impact: 1.6/2
Total: 7.5/10

Zerisan responds:

You're pretty much spot on with your analysis lmao. Thanks for the review!

Credits & Info

Artist

Listens
437
Faves:
1
Downloads
0
Votes
11
Score
3.77 / 5.00

Uploaded
Sep 11, 2020
2:38 PM EDT
File Info
Song
8.5 MB
3 min 44 sec

Licensing Terms

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