Production: 20/30 (Average)
Composition: 19/30 (Average)
Instrumentation: 9/15 (Average)
Originality: 9.5/10 (Great/Incredible)
Interest: 13/15 (Great)
Total: 70.5/100 (Average) or 3.5 stars.
Some really nice usage of musical textures, but another unfortunate track in terms of usage of the potential of the stereo field. Even just some more slight phaser stuff or stereo field manipulation with delay or stereo creation plugins.
I think the recorders/whistles could use some additional vibrato, ornaments (including better usage of short versus long/staccato versus legato performances), or falls to emphasize the motion of notes and phrases- add a little over a whole note to give some interest and color (like this: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/623625). You have a lot of great ideas, but they are poorly organized, with lines that often stack and conflict with each other, vying for attention, but not in a contrapuntal way of "conversation", but more just like two people playing unconscious of the other, like a bunch of people doing solos at once with no one actually listening and working around each other. Make sure your layers interact and work with each other, rather than against.
Additionally, elements like the whistles (piercing, sharp) contrast too strongly with the attitude of the piece at times, especially when used in their upper register or in very fast, spread out lines- I would almost rather have heard the whistles used almost like backing brass going over guide tone lines and the like than like melody instruments. When the new guitar tone (not very well in time) comes in around 1:05 or so, the flutes should back the heck out of its way. Instead, they keep going on with high, and now quite annoying attention-grabbing melody stuff.
Also in that region and much more of the song, more work could be done to emphasize the harmony and chord progression. Much of the confusion of the 1:05 section is because you have like, five instruments playing quick melodic-esque lines with non-chord tones, and nothing more than a pad and occasional low notes on guitar to extrapolate chords. A substantial bass, even sampled, and some nice comping of chords on piano, or sampled strings, would help greatly.
Overall the flutes themselves do not move around much in their ranges, rather maintaining in a particular octave or so with a lot of repeated notes that just get a bit annoying after a while. The flutes, excluding the low one, all have very sharp hard tones. I would have gone with a more mellow tone- perhaps recorded them with a LDC or a ribbon mic if possible, and turned off some of those high chiffy ends (either with an EQ or by different mic placement, away from the chiff or pointed towards the holes), or considered using a softer flute, like a fife or a transverse flute, which would better match the chill tone. Let's face it, you have these pretty, un-distorted guitar lines and a soft piano and you're going in with what is more or less the supersaw of the flute family.
I really enjoyed the tone and mixing of the guitars. At first I was a little concerned it would be too roomy, but it worked out decently well.
Another concern was the performances. While they are all quite nice, some of them are not quite in time with the others, especially during the early climax portion of the piece, around 1:05. There's rhythms all over the place and very little lining up. There are a lot of ways to work towards fixing this- for example, always recording using ASIO (when on windows) between your audio interface and recording program, and set the latency as low as you can without artifacts/issues. Use a click track when playing (be sure you have headphones that don't "bleed" a lot of sound when doing this). Practice playing to a click track (it's really weird at first, but becomes second nature soon). Even just like, tapping to a click or strumming to a click when just chilling out is a great way to help internalize a steady tempo. Musicians who do a lot of playing, particularly in soloistic settings, tend to play with the beat quite a bit, and that's something you don't want when recording multi-track by yourself because it's hard as balls between latency and ambiguous lines to keep stuff in sync as it becomes rhythmically complex.
My last major issue was the reverb- this piece is washed out like New York after Hurricane Sandy. Washing out a piece is ok as long as it is minimalistic, but once you get to 1:05, it definitely isn't minimalistic and just becomes a bath rather than a listening experience. It becomes very hard to distinguish lines as it all just starts to blur into a mess. I say all this because I used to do this with my mixes all the time too. Over time, I've learned that wetter is not necessarily better, and I've turned from adding reverb to in many cases working to mitigate it. I'm not advocating a totally dry mix, but more fitting usage of a shorter, tighter reverb would really give the playing and the composition a chance to shine- I often view excessive reverb as a ploy to hide mistakes, and I'd be damned if I haven't done it at least a dozen times for exactly that purpose.
This is a solid piece, but I feel its lack of organization and mixing issues keep it from really being something great.