Oh man, your reviews are just some of the best ever. Thanks a million!
"The good stuff is that I thought that the production was immaculate"
Fantastic. I was having a bit of trouble actually; lots of stuff going on, especially in the low/lower mid range of frequencies, since I've got a thick cello section and 2 double basses, along with, of course, the drums, but I tried my hardest to stop it from sounding like a mudslide.
"and the sound design and choices were just awesome."
"The music box sound effects are really awesome too."
They are, aren't they? Just some sounds that come with the VST if you play notes in a really high octave. I thought they fit quite well!
"I think you completely nailed your goal of 'cave laboratory'"
That's what I was hoping to hear!
"(funny place to put a laboratory IMO, but who am I to judge?)."
Tell that to Batman!
"Sounds to me like you're sneaking around on cat-walks as oblivious scientists below mix colored liquids. :-)"
You're not the first to mention sneaking. Perhaps the pizzicato strings are doing that.
"My biggest problem with this track is that the melody work felt a little less interesting than the work you had on your last few tracks for the same game. There are a few exceptions, particularly the 4 notes at 2:04, but overall it seems to lack some sort of spark."
You know, I think I admittedly should've focused more on melody. I focused a lot more on the background, atmosphere, harmonies, etc, and as a result the melodies are mostly based heavily around the harmonic minor scale. I tried to do that to make it sound more artificial and machine-like, rather than making a melody with a bit more expression like that of The Festival or Sky's the Limit, but I agree it would've been better if I nailed a better balance between making it sound machine-like and still making the melody more interesting.
"My other complaint, which you saw from a mile away, is that it does sound a LOT like steampianist."
Oh yeah x_x.
"Notice how I didn't complain when you were inspired by me? ;-) (But really, I thought you took my style in a completely different direction.)"
True, this one's just a direct copy of the style steampianist had.
"This is a much more minor thing, so don't worry about it - I think it's important to draw from influences in order to grow as a musician! Though I think it's also important to combine your influences so no one can tell what you stole from. ;-)"
Haha, I really couldn't help it though. I tried attempt after attempt to make something that fits for both a cave and a laboratory... first throwing in some synths and arps on top of a booming drum background, then heavily-reverbed guitars on top of a drum kit, then I don't even remember what I did. Deadline was approaching, so (like I did for Sky's the Limit) I decided to randomly listen to some NGADM artists' music. Came across ZipZipper's and steampianist's and I might've taken it too far haha.
"(And melody is the most subjective part of music, so I might not have any idea what I'm talking about.)"
It is indeed, but I agree the melody was kinda boring!
"Anyway, the good news is that the production is really awesome and all the detail work you did with the crazy hits and twisting of music boxes and constantly changing orchestral sounds is massively appreciated. Keep the melodic stuff in mind but don't stress out about it too much. Just know that old grumpy man johnfn is listening. :P"
Old grumpy man johnfn is what keeps me on my toes! Thanks for the detailed criticism; I need to repay you with some super huge review eventually; shame the NGADM is taking so much of my time x_x.
Thanks again, this review really helped!