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!
- Please please please reign in your mix. If you even look at the waveform on newgrounds itself, you can see how this track desperately needs some limiting so it doesn't exceed 0db on the peaks. One of the major contributors to this sounds like reverb. While reverb sounds wonderful and feels like it makes an instrument more expressive, it can cause a large amount of mud and make it very difficult to hear all of your instruments. Additionally, as mentioned, reverb fills up a mix and results in clipping and overly loud sound when it isn't controlled. Some possibilities to fix this up would be sidechaining JUST the reverb to your more relevant instruments, reducing the reverb width, tail, or volume in general (even a little reverb goes a long way!), and additionally adding a limiter to your final track after reducing the volume of all instruments by 10dB to give them headroom.
- It's difficult to hear the individual parts of your track due to the mixing. However, I think there's room to work on this as well. Some of your harmonies clash quite a bit and the rhythms make it difficult to tell what exactly the harmony and melodies are intended to be. You said this is a mix of classical/orchestral, pop rock, and jazz - however, I think it might be greatly worth your time to take a few of the pieces you particularly like out of those genres and listen through the harmony. Even try to replicate the notes in midi to see how they're organized and trace out harmonies, as well as arrive at points of tension and release. This would help you greatly in making more compelling and clean climaxes as well as bridges and breaks around them to provide contrast. Studying jazz theory especially might help if you plan on exploring more complex harmonies - but start with classic harmony so you have a solid foundation to build off of!
Compliments to the Composer:
- The calmer sections of this piece, like the initial piano and midsection break, as well as the outro... these sections shine very nicely. You use sidechaining and letting your 'saxophone' sound turn into its synth (or soundfont?) sustain actually works really well. I'd have loved to hear this used more throughout the track as a way of providing contrast!
Final score: 4