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Reviews for "At Peace"

papkee - At Peace:

The Good:
-Oh, very tasty guitar at the start! I love your guitar work in this - if that's a VST, I wish I could use it.
-Ahhhh, similar instrument quality thing at 1:46 - those low strings sound extremely nice, particularly with the guitar up above it.
-Your overall organization of this is fantastic - it rises and falls in a very natural and organized manner, which just plain feels wonderful. Excellent job!
-I love the delay on the piano which becomes audible right at the end.

The Not-So-Good:
-There seems to be a bit of an odd ending to the main melody (isolated at 1:12). It ends on a passing tone to the chords, which makes it sound a bit awkward. Even if it had a final note at the end of it one step down for a conclusion, I think that would improve it a lot.
-Very nitpicky thing: I think that at the end, with the final note of the guitar, a beautiful way to end the piece would be to wait for the end of the piano delays where the guitar lifts, and instead have a slow downward strum of a chord to finalize everything.
-I think it would be awesome to have a second theme throughout this which is developed a bit. That would be awesome.

The Mixing: Oh yeah. I isolated this thing, simply because of your response to TL. Here goes!
-First, that air noise in the background of the guitar. I feel like that needs to be isolated if it isn't - and if it is, it should really be slightly more apparent at the start and end so that it can more clearly show that it's part of the piece.
-As always, your strings are a tad bit too strong - try turning them down about 5-10% lower than the rest of the instruments pre-mastering. They're starting to get in the way of the other instruments around 1:15, and get in the way of everything else far more around 2:20. (other possibility - check a parametric EQ and turn down some of the mids and lower mids a bit)
-Weird bass rumbles at 2:02, 2:19 (panned left), 2:34, 2:49, 3:07, 3:23, and 3:39. Pretty sure that's a bass drum, but... there's too much in the low frequencies from the strings already - it just causes weird interference that doesn't work too well.
-All in all, this is fairly well-mixed. The absolute biggest improvement is: TURN DOWN THE BASS TO MID EQ ON THE STRINGS.
-Also, a comment I've made before - if you aren't, try turning down all instruments to about 80% volume prior to running them through mastering to give your piece some good headroom to work with. Otherwise, mastering can and will make mud.

The Result: 8.2/10
Biggest issues are the melody and mixing, honestly. For the melody it's partially the odd ending, and also the lack of a second one. All in all though, a solid effort and one of the best pieces I've heard from you!

papkee responds:

Yep, that's not a live guitar. It's an absolutely incredible sample library for Kontakt. PM me for more details.

A second melody was something I just didn't have time for. This piece was rushed because I was slated to move the day the songs were due for the contest. I had about half the time everybody else did to compose the thing.

Mastering for me has always been to get my piece sounding pretty much how I want it to pre-master, then throwing it through Ozone 5 with a preset I made. Seems to work well; better if the song is well-mixed prior to that. Is that a good way to do things? Not at all, but it works and saves me from having to spend a full day trying to master by hand. I'm sure if I was really dedicated I'd take the time and learn how to master properly, but knowing myself I'd get way too burned out from it.

As always your reviews are spectacular and give me a lot of good ideas. Cheers!

Nice1 ;)

This is an official NGAUC Review

My personal rating for your piece is as follows:
Production: 24/30 (Above Average)
Composition: 21/30 (Above Average)
Instrumentation: 12/15 (Above Average)
Originality: 8/10 (Above Average)
Interest: 12/15 (Above Average)

Giving a total of 77/100, or 4 stars. (Average)

Please view your rubric for comments-

Really great stuff. It's almost film meets game soundtrack type-music. That base piano riff with the guitar is one of those progressions you can just listen to endlessly. Nicely done!

I like the atmosphere and dreamy guitar at the beginning. It’s a little slow to progress, but I really enjoyed the phrasing once the string parts came in at :41. The string samples effectively channeled the mood of the piece, and the melodies at :57 are beautiful. The piece has a great sense of continuity about it, yet you also provided some structural variety at 1:46. I felt like you had my emotions dancing on puppet strings for the entire duration of the piece. You led up to 2:18 effectively, and the sense of climax and full texture there add a sense of overarching development and and finality to the piece that’s often missing in pieces submitted to this competition, even in the Final Round. The choral part that came in at around 3:10 also added a lot to the piece. I can’t hear any flaws with the mixing or mastering. This is an extremely well-structured and smooth-flowing track. This is exemplary work as far as I’m concerned, and if it were up to me alone you would win this competition. Keep up the inspiring work, Papkee! :D


papkee responds:

>Can't hear any flaws in mixing or mastering

Haha. Yeah. Sure.

Thanks for the review. I always love it when my hard work pays off.