Great to hear that people like the intro, even if it's a bit much.
This track was from the very start designed to fit a JRPG game, so I'm glad to hear that it shines through. Eh, the reason the sound quality is like that, is probably just because of my not so existent mixing skills. On one hand, I tried to mimic the sound I've heard in both newer and older games a bit. On the other, I probably crammed too much together, but still wanted to keep some kind of volume. Keep in mind too, that this is just EWQLSO Silver, which is pretty limited, even if you get around. I also used next to none reverb for this track, as I found that most of the sounds are pretty wet on their own. But for slower tracks that use less intruments at once (or if you can manage with it in general), you'd probably want a bit more reverb than there is here. But I am not displeased to hear that this sounds a bit old school in quality XD
I like that you use the word "catchy". That may come in handy for one of the judges, hehhe... I definitely aimed towards making melodies that stick with you, even if specific repetition is a bit lacking in the track.
Interesting point about 0:43. While I don't think it's random, it is different than many of the other parts in the track. As is the next part, with the trumpets and horns. The different segments were generally inspired by different tracks from different composers/from different games, roughly. While there are parts that follow a kind of a main feel of the track, I tried to include other things in between as well. I don't have a real breakdown in this track (a slower part with strings would be pretty nice), but instead, I try to keep it varied, and killed the percussion (mostly) at a few spots too. 0:43 is kind of a segway in between that leads to the next part at 0:54, I guess. 0:43 uses a bit more Kingdom Hearts:y melodies, I'd say, while most of the rest has a more Final Fantasy vibe (though with more KH-ish feels, as well as some other stuff). Maybe this part sounds better on solo piano though, on which it was originally composed? (Oh, and this track constantly moves between major and minor, so I don't know that it needs any specific introduction every time, as this is more of a fast paced track, than one that progressed gradually, except for a few points). As for other seemingly random parts in the track that are just kinda there, there's 2:33 too :S
Yes. I agree that there is too much climax in the intro. As a standalone track, that's fine. But if this really were to be in a game, I'd change that, and make the intro (and the ending) slower parts, so that the transition would not require as much attention from players. I just wanted to include that intro, as it was the first thing I made for this track, and ended up being the last thing I tweaked too.
I get your point with the countervoices, although there's a reason I didn't do this for the most part (at some points I did though, as you mentioned). If you pay close attention to the track, you'll hear that more often than not, there are two or more melodies, playing at once. A bit like you might hear in a slightly more complex piano solo piece. Mostly, I used the french horn, or the backing track in general, for the second melody. A good example is 0:54, where while the trumpet holds the main melody (in two octaves, if I recall correctly), the french horn is playing a slower, similar melody, more in the left ear, and at a lower octave (or simply the last big segment of the track, with the violas and horns). This goes on in various forms throughout the track, be it at 2:09, where the backing track is playing a completely different melody in a different rhythm than the solo viola, or be it at 2:47, where there are at least 3-4 melodies playing in the same rhythm. At other points, like 1:34, I really wanted that solo violin to bear the entire main melody, though a piano is layered more in the background, playing the same thing. There are several other parts too, like 0:43 that was mentioned earlier, where the marimba is partly playing the same thing as the cello. Also, nudity is okay in my book if the melody looks nice, hehhe... (Forgive me, please).
May be that 40 hours is not all that much, especially if you consider the pace of the track. But it felt like a lot, especially since I just started my studies :s
I also know that indeed, some people could do this in waaay less time. That is what I am aiming for, as I couldn't hope to be putting this much time into every NGADM round ;)
Thanks for the encouragement though!
Yes, mixing especially I feel I still need to grasp. In general, I'm fine with the balance between the intruments. All of the marimba/harp/piano (even a secret timpani) aren't necessarily meant to be super clear, but more aim to help move the rest along. But the sound quality in general, could be so much higher!!!
I do think this needs to be judged partly on mixing too, of course, as it's part of what everyone is being judged by in the competition, even if I definitely agree that composition is more important. I wish that my complex composition will make up for some of the worse mixing, but you can't erase all of it. I don't feel like the mixing is horrible though, just that there's tons to improve. I've, so to say, both heard and done worse :3
Thanks a lot for the pretty long and awesome review, and sorry for the super long answer! XD
I promise I'll get to your track at some point in the relatively close future ;)