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Wow, listening to this gave me a musical experience like no other. I can't get enough of it. I'm trying to describe how it makes me feel, but I'm nearly speechless. What I can say is that it feels disconnected from the human experience; the music is highly emotional but seems to reflect something more universal than human emotion. I hope that makes some sense.

I adore the strings writing and the unorthodox combination of articulations. What library did you use?

Phonometrologist responds:

Yes music is difficult to put into words, and the process of doing so seems to filter out much of the meaning between individuals. I appreciate your thoughts on the piece. The two violin parts came from 8Dio's Studio Quartet Series: Deep Solo Violin.

Amazing! The use of the plant sample is brilliant. The panning effect is executed very well. I like the rough secondary vocals. The mix and instrumentation is excellent - I can't think of anything I dislike.

I really like the idea behind the song and the structure. The solo violin line is spectacular. I like the use of reverb, the arpeggiated synth, and the vocals.

I wish there were more sub-bass frequencies, especially during the big drum hits.

I think the piano in the outro could benefit from a slightly more sustained and less percussive sound.

KevinMueller responds:

Thanks for the feedback!

I agree about the big drum hits. They could use a bit more sub bass. I think I was afraid of cluttering the low end and ending up with a muddy mix.

I'm glad you enjoyed it! I guess trying out new things really pays off. :)

This is awesome. I look forward to your ngadm songs :D

Bosa responds:

Thank you! I have been a big fan of your work recently as well.

I like the changes you made!

This is delightful to listen to. I think it’s one of the very best in the contest.

There are still some production flaws and the composition and particularly the buildups could be better in some ways, but when there’s so much to enjoy about a song, it masks a plethora of minor flaws.

I hope you continue making full songs in the near future :)

Wow, much of the sound design is sublime. The percussion is mixed perfectly and it's so satisfying to listen to. The synth leads sound very expressive. The song is loud yet smooth - I'm curious what you did to the master EQ, if anything. Would you mind posting a list of the libraries used?

I have a few trivial gripes:

- The kick in the section starting at 1:08 has too much high end imo. I would much rather feel it than hear it.
- I think the very-high-end of the mix could be reduced by a tiny amount because some elements sound slightly too sharp. When I say tiny amount, I'm thinking of such a small change that it would be difficult to notice.
- The piano notes at 3:47 sound misaligned with the strings because of the different attack times.

This is a fantastic entry and one of my favorites :D

EvilRaccoon responds:

Hi EverErratic. I'm glad you enjoyed this! The track is mixed with a combination of plugins. From SoundToys5, fabfilterProQ. waves, etc.

The mastering is just really a bit of balancing and some slight clarity in the sound, I've been learning to not colour it too much on the mastering. But I used Izotope Ozone 8 Advanced, Fabfilter Compressor, ProQ3 and Limiter on it too.

I agree with your comments and you are spot on about the kick in section 1:08. During composing it was more subtle on the high end, and most likely this has changed during the mix. I should have spotted that - I will most likely change this in the future.

The high end should be alright overall. I have checked it against Tonal Balance during the mix, although I'd be interested in what you are using to listen to this. I have uploaded an image of the balance within the acceptable spectrum, and if anything it tells me it's a little low on the high end. https://www.newgrounds.com/dump/item/7ce83e73d81a23b7fb115adeb9fd7e63

You're right about the piano notes and CSS. I maybe should have considered aligning it, sometimes I leave the piano a little loose, a bit of instability within the scene I was thinking with a bit of realism. But you might be right, it could be too misaligned.

Thank you so much for your comments, this sort of focused feedback is absolutely appreciated, and very helpful for moving forward!!

Edit [Libraries used]
Per request, libraries used in this track:

Strings: Cinematic Studio Strings, Music Sampling Soaring Strings, Spitfire Hans Zimmer Strings, Orchestral Tools Metropolis Ark 1
Brass: Cinesamples CineBrass Pro, Cinesamples Cinebrass Sonore. Audio Imperia Talos Horns and Talos Low Brass. Orchestral Tools JunkieXL Brass. 8Dio Majestica Brass.
Choir: Ethera 1, Jaeger Merethe, 8Dio Lacrimosa, Performance Samples Oceania. Orchestral Tools Metropolis Ark 1.
Piano: Native Instruments Giant and KeepForest Evo Dragon.
Synth Libraries: Music Sampling Boutique Drums Medusa, 8Dio Phenex Bundle, KeepForest CyberPunk,
Drums Lib: Sentinel Titan (Custom Made drum from several libraries). Cinesamples Drums of War, Gravity, JXL Percussion (Custom made), Keep Forest Classic Trailer Toolkit, Action Strikes, KeepForest Cyber Punk,
Effects: Keep Forest CyberPunk, DosComp Whooshes, 8Dio Phenex Bundle, Keepforest Cinematic Downfalls, KeepForest Classic Trailer Toolkit, Zero-G Impact Designer, Keep Forest Devastator, Sentinel Risers (Custom Risers from recordings I made).
Synths: U-He Zebra, U-he Dark Zebra, U-he Diva and Native Instruments Massive.

I love it! It helped me get through an otherwise boring workout :D

Zoonotist responds:

Thank you for your review! And thanks for dropping by :)

I love it!

I disagree with the comment on dissonance — it sounds fine to me. The melody has a lot of personality thanks to the unexpected harmony.

I like a lot of the effects such as the delays and weird vibrato. The energetic percussion and chord progression gives the song many happy vibes. I kept hoping there would be a IV>iv because the song reminds me of my song "Reconstruction", and I used the IV>iv there, but I know that wouldn't be appropriate here. My one gripe is that when there is extreme opposite panning on two vocal lines, the left side feels heavier because the vocals are in a lower register. I'm not sure how that could be done differently though. I enjoy this a lot :D

johnfn responds:

There IS a IV>iv!! I put it in there only twice because I didn't want to overuse it ;-)

Thanks for the review though :D

Nice, you chose the same art as I did last year :D

"Departure" has some Starwars vibes, which is not an easy feat to pull off. I like the use of runs and the orchestration in general. The loud cymbals make the track sound very open.

The transition to "In the Storm" is smooth. I really like the use of trills in this section.

In "Clear Waters", I think the arrangement could use some work. The choir sounds a bit awkward carrying the melody because it lacks definition, and the glockenspiel also feels inadequate for this task as it lacks sustain and a strong pitch. I notice an absence of bass frequencies in this section, which diminishes its impact.

"Seafight" reminds me of "He's a Pirate". I like the huge percussion here. I still feel a lack of bass, which reduces the power of what seems to be the song's climax? The percussion seems like it's above the melodic instruments frequency-wise. Although the loud percussion is nice, I would also like the melody to be the main focus. And speaking of melodies, the melodies in this section kinda feel like placeholders to me. You clearly achieved your goal of depicting a sea fight, but I think more could be done to make the section memorable and striking.

"Farewell" doesn't evoke much emotion for me. The chord progression feels one that would be used in ambient music. I do like the instrumentation and the contrast in this area though.

This was an ambitious challenge and your composition lives up to the section titles for the most part. I enjoyed listening to it and look forward to hearing more from you. This review might seem more negative relative to my other AIM reviews, but that's mainly because I'm much more familiar with your style of music so I naturally have more to say.

KevinMueller responds:

Thank you very much for this detailed and very helpful review. I really appreciate it!

The absence of bass in "Clear Waters" is somewhat on purpose, as it provides contrast to the very bass heavy section "In the Storm".

You're right, I should definitely work on my pirate melodies :)

Farewell was intended to sound like it's played by the crew onboard, using some traditional instruments like the Hurdy Gurdy. I strived a bit of this path, because I've never really worked with non-symphonic instruments, which is possibly why the sections' intention is a bit unclear.

I'm glad you liked it and I'm thankful for the advice you gave me.

Hi. I'm a self-taught orchestral composer. For commissions and other inquiries, contact me here or at everratc@gmail.com


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