Oooh! I like this one! That's not a compliment I give easily.
I love how this starts out. It's very empty at first without any supporting chords. It's just the listener, the instrument, and reverb. Unlike TaintedLogic, I don't think you overdid the reverb at all, but I'm definitely a sucker for reverb. The Dorian mode is also a really nice touch, and really sets the feel of the song. The chords and ambience come in, and they really start to tell a story. I'm really impressed by the beginning of this song. In my eyes, it's pretty much perfect.
At 0:28 a new feel and a new melody are introduced. While it's not a bad thing to have different feels throughout a song, I would have liked the first one go on a tiny bit longer. I'm also not a huge fan of the lead here, as it feels like it's trying to be orchestral but it has a very synthetic sound to it. The melody isn't my favorite either, but everyone has different tastes, and I'll blame my tastes for that one. I like the pluck/snares here. It's organic enough that I think it fits the mood really well.
At 0:57 the great feel and melodies come back. There's more orchestral, melodic and of background content, which I think you did really well. The atmosphere here and at the beginning are really strong. I think these spots are really where you shine through from my perspective, so look back on these for reference.
Almost everything at 1:10 changes to an electronic instrument. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but a smoother transition would have been nice. I can see why everyone is criticizing the snare. It's not too terrible, but I'm not a fan.
The drop is okay. It's not anything special, but it's not awful either. I think the melodic drop fits well with the style you've chosen for most of this piece. The drop could have been a lot more energetic, especially the lower end. The bass should have a little bit more behind it and the kick should cut through the mix a bit more in my opinion.
Throughout the rest of the piece you kept everything mostly the same, with a change here and there. You had a lot of great moments in this song, and I really can't wait to see where you go. Keep up the great work, Pianore!
Wow, that is a big comment! Some of the criticisms you said are really true, such as the snare, the drop and the transitions. However, I personally love the melody at 0:28 and I think that the synth I used there fits really well with the song. It is a matter of personal flavor so I won't blame you for not liking that part. Anyways, thanks for the detailed review!
This is going to be a tough review to write, especially dealing with one of my friends. I have a feeling you'll see why shortly. Secondly, congrats. I wish you luck in NGAUC finals. I am both surprised and not surprised to see that you made it.
The song itself isn't bad. The mixing and mastering are very good and the composition is great. By most people's standards, this song is really solid and deserves a lot of praise. Every instrument was audible in the mix, and I can say I can see an improvement from earlier on.
Now we get to the part that's hard for me. I don't like the sound design. Earlier on I didn't mind because you had only used those sounds a couple times. As of now, that's no longer the case. You have used these in almost every song since 2017 and many songs in 2016. I think that gives me a solid base to assume you've been using presets and extremely basic sound design to get by. Presets are in no way a bad thing, but when you start to use the same ones song after song, they become a bit grating. As someone who's always striving to find new sounds and ways to combine them, this pains me a little bit to hear. I'd suggest finding more diverse presets and/or using sounds other than a saw or square for everything in the mid-high range.
You want to know why I didn't even make the first round of this competition last year? My song was too 'generic' to make it in. Part of the reason I'm unhappy is because this is about as generic as it gets. Sure, the chord progression may not be cliche, but just about everything else is. Drum pattern, sound design, you name it. The chords are the only thing that are original, but after listening to Virtual Riot's song, it's a bit harder to say. There is a difference between being inspired by and ripping ideas from. As much as I hate to say it, (and trust me, I really don't like admitting this) I no longer listen to most of your songs anymore. It's gotten to the point where I know what to expect, and no longer find listening to essentially the same music entertaining. I want you to know that I'm not saying this to be mean, I'm just hoping it'll be an effective wake-up call.
I have to disagree with @johnfn on this comment: "I notice a lot of people griping because it sounds like Virtual Riot. I'll be honest, I've never listened to them, so I wouldn't know if it does or not, BUT the fact that you produced and mixed this so well, as well as the fact that you modulated and arranged everything so well, takes this music well beyond the realm of copycat."
I honestly have no clue why he would say this, especially without going to listen to VR's song. Just because you steal a song (not saying you did this) and have great mixing and arrangement, it doesn't make the song not copied. I'd take that part of what he said with a grain of salt.
The last thing I want to talk about is the lack of solid melodies. Sure, there are melodies that fit, but they don't really meet my standards. Anyone can take the scale you used and mess around with a few notes and get a melody. It's really hard to follow and it doesn't stick well because of the lack of repetition. It's too long to really be memorable. While the focus of melodic dubstep isn't wholly melodies, it is a part of the name, and I would have liked to hear a more solid melody or two throughout the piece. Even as the piece is paused, I find it really hard to remember any melody besides the opening one. This is more or less personal preference, but it affected my view of the piece enough that I felt the need to dedicate a section of the review to it. Melodies, in my opinion, are one of the most important parts of a song.
I will be frank, I am being very harsh with this review. Probably more harsh than I've been in a review before, as you can probably tell due to the wall of text. Obviously I'm the only one that's really annoyed by these things, possibly because of past experiences. It seems to be working out for you, judging by the scores you got in the end. This was honestly really hard for me to write, because the song is good, even though I've torn it apart with this review. You have the knowledge and potential to make songs that are so much better, and I hope to shed some light on that with this review. In a competition setting though, I believe this song was very bland comparatively and no risks were taken. You stuck to your roots, which is good in it's own way, but is really disappointing when you've been doing it for over half a year. I understand catering to your audience, but you are allowed to try new things, so why not do it? I think that's the main thing to gain from this. Try new things. Experiment. Do something unique. I think it'll work wonders.
Feel free to completely disregard this review though if you don't feel like you'll gain anything. I just thought I'd put it out there that it is a point of view, and there may be other people who see your music the same way. If you have any issues with my review, by all means, come talk to me. I'd be happy to help.
Like I said, this song isn't terrible, but there are definitely things that need work. I know that you have the knowledge you need to fix the issues I had, but it's up to you if you want to act on them.
Wow... I mean seriously, this is probably the best review out of all the ones I've gotten on this song! First off, all of these sounds were created by me in serum from scratch...they aren't presets, BUUUT I do overuse detuned saw and square wavetables a ton. At this point I just don't know what other wavetables to use when I start out making a sound, and in the end, I always end up with something I like. I also would have to disagree with johnfn, the beat to this song is basically the same as virtual riot's song "turn up," which I had listened to right before I made this! I didn't know that my music was getting that repetitive though, I try to vary my genres a little bit. I skip around from melodic dubstep, to future bass, to dubstep, and then sometimes to glitch hop. I think this was my first actual "swingy" glitch hop song, where I made the notes do the funky pattern thing lol. In my opinion, I thought the mixing was the worst part of the song but everyone else seems to think not xD anyways I'm sorry I made you mad. I think your review may have helped me realize I need to change things up a bit. The only problem is, whenever I try to change things up, I end up making something completely unexpected that I never wanted to make in the first place, and I lose inspiration and move on to something else :(
This song is a perfect example of working with what you have, although the circumstances are a bit different. Even though the song lacks lower frequencies, it's in no way empty. Not every song needs a ton of low end. That's not to say there shouldn't be low end in this, but I think it works just fine without it.
The melodies in this are pretty amazing. They're catchy and they work well with everything else. They're also not too repetitive, which helps keep attention. I'm a sucker for good melodies, and I gotta hand it to you, Jesse. You delivered.
The section at 1:29 dragged on a bit. There wasn't anything really happening and it felt a bit empty and boring. If I were you I would have cut that section in half just so it didn't drag on as long.
The instrumentation is definitely appropriate for this style. Nothing sticks out or intrudes. They help maintain a nice flow and they compliment the melodies. My only complaint about the instrumentation is the claps. They're pretty generic, especially when they're exposed in the mix, for example at 0:45. They fit the genre, but I think I would have gone with a different, less generic clap. Most of the time it's not as obvious and it doesn't bother me, so it's not a huge issue.
My final issue with this is that it's a tad generic. I didn't really hear anything new or different. It sounds a lot like your recent music especially, but I think everything else helps make up for it. Aside from that, I think everything else was great.
In conclusion, the melodies and the instrumentation were great. The middle section dragged on a bit and the low end was a bit lacking, but aside from that you did an amazing job. If I had to pick between your work and Xtrullor & HelXiX's work, I'd have to go with yours. Both had their fair share of issues, but I think the pluses outweighed the errors in yours more than theirs.
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