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!
- You have a couple things to work on with the mixing and sound design. First of all, the volume is definitely a bit too much. While instruments are audible through each other, they can be a tad muddy and actually lose detail from how overly loud everything is. Remember, there's only so much data a mp3 file can hold! (especially one at a lower quality like this) As TL also said in his review, the attack on the initial synth is a little much with the resonant filter envelope. A lot of other instruments can be a tad too much in terms of high frequencies like the bitmunched synth during 1:45, though this is also quite possibly due to overly intense volume. The same does apply for some of the lower bass instruments - remember that overly loud high treble & sub-bassy frequencies can be painful for listeners, especially those with audio outputs that favor certain frequencies. Try reducing all instruments by around -10dB, then limiting with a threshold of around -1.1dB.
- TL also comments on the arrangement of the piece, and I fully agree with him. Let's dig into WHY It's important, though. Music, stories, even visual art is founded on contrast and guiding the person experiencing the art through that experience. Visual art uses sharp lines, blurs, color contrast, angles, perspective... all of this to draw the observer's eye to intended areas. Stories and music, however, follow a different type of organization as they're experienced over longer spans of time. In stories, you typically follow the order of: Intro -> Rising Action -> Smaller Climax -> Break -> Rising Action -> Full Climax -> Falling Action -> Epilogue. Music can be structured the same way, with an introduction, build, climax, breakdown, build, climax, wind-down and outro. This is applied almost universally in pop genres, with variable length in sections, possibly a third climax, etc. However, there typically contrast between not just the individual sections, but also the same sections at different times. The later climax is also the most intense and/or emotional section of the piece. While you have contrast in the specific sounds used during the different sections, there isn't much of any contrast in harmony or dynamic intensity between these climaxes. To improve, I would highly recommend listening through a few pieces of music you find inspiring and see how they maintain interest over time through variation.
Compliments to the Composer:
- There are some really neat sounds in this track, especially the bass modulation. I particularly love sounds like 0:39 for how much they really break the sound up in a unique way. While the piece is loud, it does also tend to be mixed in such a way that individual instruments are all audible, something that gives you a very solid foundation to fix up the volume excess. I do also love attempts at fusion genres, so respect for that as well!
Final score: 5.5