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Reviews for "Dive In (NGADM '15)"

So, how do you even end up making a song like this? The slow progression from some sort of dancy song to the spooky conclusion is well done. My first listen I was terribly confused, but on subsequent listens I was able to appreciate and enjoy it thoroughly. How did you go about arranging the sounds in the ending?

Some of the sounds you've used sound like they would have come from one of Waterflame or ParagonX9's early pieces, but you've used them in a way that feels clearly different.

When hearing them in those songs they become repetitive and feel like a distinguishing mark, whereas here I can still hear them, but the surrounding atmosphere has made them feel somehow refreshed. I suppose it's because they aren't the focus of the song.

You probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about there, and it's hard for me to spell it out, so don't worry about it.

Aside from that the instruments seem finer grained than previously. I don't know what changed, but again good job.

I can't wait to see how this does in the deathmatch!

Birdinator99 responds:

Haha, it just flows, man. I was actively trying to shake things up this time around in order to prevent listener fatigue/boredom. The ending was a combination of wanting to see how far I could push my "tape stop" VST (i.e. a really, really slow stop) and a new application of the second snare (the electronic one) -- instead of the snare being used as a percussion piece, I tried playing it "rapid-fire" to get more propeller-like sound effects. If you play it crazy fast, it sounds like an alarm, heh.

I recognize those big names you just dropped, but I'm not familiar enough with their material to know if that comparison is accurate.

I actually did remove the germ and bran from my instrument grains, so thank you for noticing.

Regardless of the result, I had fun! Thanks for reviewing!

I've delayed this review too long, it's about time.

Where do I start? Your track is very... interesting! Seriously, there's a lot of awesome stuff going on which you don't see every day. For instance, the panning, bandpass chiptune arpeggios at 0:35 and 0:48. How about the awesome tapestop transition at 2:20 into a super creepy and unsettling ending? AWESOME

Your sound design is nice! While I think that certain parts of the song could have benefited from a more modern sound (like the lead/pad thing at 0:30 and the organ at 1:52), overall your sounds aren't bad and create a nice atmosphere of "diving in".

You talk about how you think the low end is good in the description, and I can't say I disagree! Your low end is pretty nice! Then again, I'm not exactly a good judge of that.

One thing I complain about is melody. Your tracks doesn't exactly have a memorable melody in the first half to latch onto, and although your track isn't lacking in memorability, it makes it so that there's nothing to latch onto if you want to recall how the first half of the song goes, if you know what I mean.

But overall this is really solid and well done! I wouldn't complain too much because of the epic diversity this track brings. Great job, and good luck in NGADM! :D

Birdinator99 responds:

And I've delayed this response too long, so here we go...

It's cool that you mentioned the arpeggios -- I like 'em too! Tapestop -- yes please!

The pad at 0:30 isn't great, but I really liked the automation options I had. At 0:57 there's some wacky shit going on that's a result of that. I think the organ sounds "creepy", or at least that's how it initially hit me, which is the mood I was transitioning to at the end. I'm not totally sure if I would end up changing it if I went back.

Thought I would take out a bit more low mid and add a bit more sub to the bass than usual!

Melody is definitely the weak part of the song, as LunacyEcho also pointed out. There are definitely ways to make seemingly disjointed songs like this sound more continuous, and melodies would be a good area to accomplish that. Thanks for being honest about that part.

Thanks so much, man!

Wow, this song is brilliant! It's got such amazing transitions, like 0:28, 1:47, and 2:22 (which are my favorites)! Glitching transitions are fun, and there's a serious tendency that people have to over-glitch because of the sheer fun-ness of it all, but I think you had the perfect amount in here: enough to make the atmosphere last throughout the entire song but not so much that it becomes overdone.

The sound design here is also great! The drums are definitely excellent, and they sure kept my interest! That percussive hit that plays a bunch during the drum beats and also during the spooky ending sounds so cool. The song also has great low end sounds, I agree with your description. :D The mixing is great, and the sidechaining adds a progressive feeling to the first half of the song. I also loved the effects you added throughout the song that add to the atmosphere, like the scary sound effects at 1:52 that foreshadow the spooky ending!

I think the main way you could make the song even better is melodies. There are lots of chordal sections throughout the song that could be improved with some nice melodies (especially towards the beginning). I thought 0:30 in particular tons of potential for some catchy melodies to be played on top of it. Otherwise, the chords themselves get a little repetitive (although the transitions you have in the section are top-notch and reduce the repetition significantly :D ).

In 1:52, you do start to have some melodies on the organ, but they also seem a little like they're not necessarily being played with the right notes. Then again, it might just be my crappy earphones screwing up again :P

Great song, man! Loved the transitions and the sound design. Good luck!

Birdinator99 responds:

Thanks for the transition love -- I had fun with those! A little more ambitious for me, I think -- more attention to detail required, but hey if it works it works.

The scary sound you hear at 1:52 can actually be heard as early as 0:57, it's just not as clear because of the pad that's playing at the same time. Fun facts!

I was scared of melodies while making this. I didn't want to ruin a part by adding something in that didn't complement it well enough. The section at 0:30 sounds the most empty, you're right. I'll work on that in the future for sure.

The mini organ solo does have the right notes (that is, the notes are part of the scale I'm using), but a lot of the melody involves "crunchy" chords on purpose for creepy effect -- It's most noticeable at 1:55. The dissonance can be kind of jarring, and if it doesn't flow with you then I understand. I love stuff like that, but sometimes it can feel weird. I don't regret using them in this situation though.

Thanks for the listen!

This gets you into a Sky adventure!
Love how the song sends out an awesome universe aura!
Great job Birdinator!

Birdinator99 responds:

Thank you so much!

This is an NGADM Round 1 Review

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OK so first off I adore the atmosphere here. It's spacey, trippy, upbeat, and just a total blast to listen to. Most of your synth choices (barring some questionable ones like 1:52's lead synth) synergise wonderfully with each other. The drums are present but not overwhelming, and the pads are sidechained nicely. I also have to commend you on the the sound design earcandy you treat us to at the very end. It might have been debatable to end an upbeat track like this on such an ambient note, but I personally support that stylistic choice.

I feel like you could have had more memorable melodies to tie the track together. You spent a lot of the time relying on cool chords and sound effects to create an atmosphere, but in the end we aren't left with much to remember this song by. At 1:52 we are given one of the few prominent melodies this song has to offer, but unfortunately it isn't all that profound or memorable either. Additionally, I agree with the other reviewers below me that, firstly, the intro is a bit lame in that it jumps right into the track without a proper introduction, and secondly, that the transition at 0:29 is pretty abrupt and off-putting.

There is some stuff to iron out, but otherwise it was a pleasure to listen to some more of Birdinator's standard-issue oddly likeable eccentricity. Thanks for taking part in the NGADM again this year!

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SCORE: 7.5/10

Birdinator99 responds:

Look Step, I'm responding and it's Februaryyyyyyyyyyy

1:52 is an organ, unless you mean the creepy synth in the background. I don't mind questionable, as long as it's not offensive, haha. Glad you like the sidechaining.

Interesting that you support the ending. In retrospect it really just comes out of nowhere (much like most of this song), so your comment encourages me to keep experimenting with weird parts like that. The very strangely designed synth is not of my own creation, I'm afraid. It's what helped shape the mood of the ending, though -- I really wanted to use it in some way.

Valid points on melodies and the intro. They are the weak parts of the track for sure, but I will defend 0:29 to the death, haha. I STILL think that shit's cool. I know, right?

Thanks for taking a look at this, Step, and for continuing to host and organize awesome events like NGADM. Cheers!