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.
The first twenty seconds or so don't really add to the song. I can see what you were trying to accomplish, but it didn't really serve any purpose other than introducing an atmosphere, which you don't really feel throughout the song like in most of your other songs. I think it takes away more than it adds.
The intro is pretty solid (aside from the ambience). It's clearly from a point of view and it sounds like you're walking into a large room. Good job on the placement and the realism there. Even though the ambience didn't work for me, you did a good job making it fit regardless.
I really love the texture at 0:31. The plucks really create an interesting sound in combination with everything else. The percussion elements are a bit too dry in contrast to everything else. I'm not a fan of reverb on percussion, but I think there are places where it's appropriate, and the snare could have used some of it. I'm not crazy about the glitch/water effects here either. Sure they fill a bit of space, but they kind of get to a point where they're somewhat confusing, however I think that's just my personal preference.
The build has some nice lower sounds which help darken the feel. The atmosphere is alright here compared to the beginning. The strings could use some reverb, as they sound dry compared to the other instruments.
The drop isn't what I expected, but I suppose it fits. Great job mixing everything here, nothing is too distracting or too quiet. The new instruments help keep me interested without doing anything too insane. In my opinion, the changes in the dynamics were a tiny bit sudden, but I can't think of any way to do them differently, so I won't let it affect my rating.
The end wasn't as satisfying as I had hoped, but I'm guessing that's what you were going for. I, personally, would have probably added something with more of a transient to it, but everyone has different tastes.
I probably would have done a few things differently with this song, especially dealing with the ambience. There are some sections where the ambience was well done, and some sections where it dragged on or took away from the song. The mixing was pretty good, aside from some instruments sounding dry compared to everything else, causing them to stick out. The instrumentation was great, and you guys did a good job doing something different from your original styles. Keep up the great work!
I've never played Deemo, nor have I listened to M2U or NICODE's music, so I don't know what this is supposed to sound like, but I'm pretty sure you nailed it.
I like the diversity of instruments you used. From piano to strings and from guitars to music boxes, this song was packed with various instruments that really bring the song to life. My one issue with this song is that it's a bit too focused on the piano. The piano is the center of attention mostly throughout the whole song, and I would have liked to see a bit more emphasis on some other instruments, but I'm really nitpicking here. Other than that, the song is pretty much perfect.
You blended everything together really nicely. I realized about halfway through that I wasn't focused as much on the other instruments, but that's really not a bad thing. They were there, and they still added to the song without being intrusive or calling attention to themselves.
I didn't hear any compression issues and it didn't sound like anything was compressed enough to have issues. You probably could have made this a bit louder if you were careful, but I don't think it's too quiet and I think the volume you have it at now is fine, so it's not an issue.
I really don't know what else to say. I guess one other thing that goes along with my nitpick earlier is that this song seems safe, especially compared to songs like Stray. There's nothing wrong with being safe, but I always like to see people take risks.
Keep up the great work, Miyo!
Thank you for the feedback yet again Kyron! I'll just note here that the piano was intentionally the center of focus because the gameplay aspect of Deemo is playing a piano, so all of the songs in it are piano concerto-esque. I'll be doing some (at least slightly) riskier stuff in the future, so I hope I can surprise you a little soon...
Wow, an upbeat Xtrullor track? Even though this was in a minor key, it still sounds almost happy.
I always have to compliment your instrumentation. You never fail to impress me with great mixing and choice of instruments. I couldn't say this as much with Fluorescent Forests, but Albert really shines through in this one. I love the texture that the guitars mixed with the orchestra creates. Again, your instrumentation is always really well done, and you always have a feel that you set with the instruments you use.
I really like the melodies throughout the orchestral parts. They're memorable and they don't seem thrown together. Something I think you did well was really emphasizing space in this song, both between instruments and sections. Right before the drops there's always space for the track to... take a deep breath, if you will. It really makes the drop kick when it comes in, especially during the first one with the triangle hit into a giant wall of sound. You also do a great job bringing the instruments down slowly, but enough to let the listener know that something big is coming.
During the drops there were quite a few things you did that I thought were creative. There was a section where the percussion cut out for a second and you let the basses have their own moment, sort of like an inverse drum feature. I especially enjoyed the transition out of the drop, mostly because it was really creative and original. Adding reverb to everything and letting the tail fade into the guitars again was probably one of the best transitions I've heard in a while.
Your transitions are really solid, if I haven't mentioned it enough already. You have the break right after the drop which goes into a pitch bend and then back into the main segment. All of your transitions are creative and not lazy like many transitions today. I'll have to consider that more in my tracks.
There was definitely variation throughout which helped keep me interested. Adding the bell-like sounds was a cool element, in addition to the feedback that was added in as well. You work so well with small sounds and ambiences that are so good at creating a mood or texture, and you're consistent throughout. You don't forget halfway through that you added some amp sounds (I'm assuming you added those on purpose) and abandon the effect halfway through.
The one thing that bugs me are the little blips during the drops. I know it's preference, but they don't really go with the 'flow' of the basses. They're short and staccato and just seem out of place in general. I'm really just nitpicking now though.
Great job Xtrullor! You always amaze me with some of the things you come out with. Keep innovating and being original, it's what keeps me coming back!
Even though it's not really jazz, it's pretty close. The instrumentation is great, and the swing and melodies help it feel like jazz, so kudos for that.
At the beginning I enjoyed that vintage-ish sound to it which really sets the tone of the piece. One thing I might have changed is the drum samples, especially the kick. I think acoustic percussion would have fit better, but the synthesized percussion gives it a unique feel. The hats and cymbals are pretty good, but the claps and kick are a tiny bit out of place.
I hear a few compression issues, especially with the piano. Make sure not to overcompress. A sign of overcompression is a strange ducking or lowering in the volume where there's not supposed to be. It's not a huge issue, but it definitely is still there.
I really like the instrumentation, as I mentioned before. The mixing is also well done. At 0:38 the mixing and instrumentation really shine. There is just enough space for everything and there are no overpowering instruments. I loved the mark tree at the transition between sections. It fits so well with everything else. The brass vibratos felt a tiny bit overused, even though they weren't. It's just the two in quick succession that creates an illusion. They fit better as accents and less as part of the music, although I'm sure you know that, as it was fine in the rest of the piece. It's not a huge issue, but just something to note.
The section at 0:55 was a nice breath of fresh air for the piece. It's also a great example of a using very few instruments while still keeping a full sound. The percussion fits in well with everything else, and everything is acoustic, which is what I was looking for a bit more in the beginning. At 1:02 the piano sounds a bit harsh for those four notes. Maybe the velocity was turned up too high or there was some other issue.
The drum fills throughout were very fitting, but I wish you had used some various percussion samples a bit more. Another thing I liked were the small stab breaks that you included in some sections. They help give the track room to breathe. One thing I might fix (again, a percussion thing) are the seven staccato notes at the end of most sections. One thing about electronic percussion is that it sounds pretty bad when it's used too much in a short space. One last thing I think you did very well was keeping the piece interesting. There's enough variation that there seems to be something new going on all the time, while still keeping the same feel. Whether it's a new theme being played, new instruments used, a key change or a combination, it helps keep me interested.
I have to hand it to you for doing something new and nailing it. Aside from a few issues, this is almost perfect. Keep working at mastering, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it eventually. Great work on this one!
Always hyped for the lengthy Kyron haha
Not gonna bother to respond point by point because I pretty much agree with everything you said, but I should say that yes, mastering and compression well will be one of two main goals in my upcoming piece. Thanks for all the feedback though, seriously, it's really helpful!
To start, I don't understand how the Zelda ambience fits in with the piece. Why not just start with the piano?
My first actual complaint with this song is the strings. They sound so dry. Almost every element of a song should have at least a little reverb put onto it. I usually like to take the regular Fruity Reeverb 2, turn up the decay a bit, turn up the size all the way, turn the low cut up to about half and then mess around with the wet knob. This solves most things pretty easily without destroying your mix. It might even be the samples that are making it sound dry, and reverb isn't the issue.
The next complaint I have is the percussion. The kick sounds empty because of the lack of sub and tail. While it might fit in something else, the kick really needs more presence in this mix, and the sample you used isn't cutting it. The snare is the other problematic instrument. It has a high tone to it, which gives it a strange sound. It also cuts through the mix way more than it should, and it's pretty distracting in my opinion.
The main issue with this track is the drop. There's three or four elements to it that actually do something, and then there's a bunch of random, unnecessary percussive samples thrown in. I wouldn't normally mind, but the rest of the elements get out of the way completely to make room for the samples. Another problem I had was the way the saws were automated. It sounded like a really bad compression issue due to the location and nature of the kick, or a completely over-the-top sidechain. Remember, (if you were trying to sidechain) only lower elements should be extremely sidechained, and the main elements should only have a little bit. Speaking of lower instruments, this song had none that I could hear. It contributed to the drop sounding empty. Even a little bit of bass would have helped, but there was no (audible) bass. My final complaint about the drop is the faster lead you chose. I would have appreciated better sound design with it, as it sounds very generic and I feel like I've heard it a million times already.
The end was completely out of nowhere, and there wasn't even a subtle hint to what happened there. A new snare was introduced, hi-hats were also introduced, and a bunch of wobbly basses were introduced. If you're going to do something like that, either make it predictable or introduce it earlier. It also seemed like it switched genres twice there, with dubstep being introduced first and then having a trap feel right before the end.
The last thing you might want to check on is the amount of distortion that I could hear, especially near the end. It wasn't necessarily a clipping issue, but the texture really didn't fit with all the other instruments wherever it was. Just make sure to look at that a bit next time.
In conclusion, I heard quite a few mixing 'mistakes' that could have been fixed pretty easily. There were also some questionable choices made, especially during the drop, but overall the rest was generally solid.
idk why i put zelda, kinda just for fun tbh xD
the strings definitely were a little to dry, they seem to stick out weird on the piano.
the composition definitely keeps needing work, I enjoy music that goes fast so sometimes I overdo it. I need to work on the bass, as you can tell they are usually absent in my songs xD.
Thanks for giving me actual criticism and not just a "I love the song!" post. I'll try to improve in future songs
I haven't really ever heard an ambient song on here that I really enjoyed, needless to say I was quite surprised when I heard this. I don't know what it is about the notes used, but they make me feel calm and they take me back. There were a few games I used to play when I was younger that had a melody much like this one, and I can always remember how calm it made me feel. You did an amazing job with the feel that this gives. You really painted a picture with this piece, and I can almost see the forests you imagined.
The sounds you used really made this piece for me. I can't think of any better instruments than soft strings and bells for a piece like this. I would love to have the sample library you used for the bells, that is, if they're not synthesized. The guitar was a nice addition, but most of the time I didn't notice it was there. That's okay though, because most of the time it's the underlying elements that make the song. Speaking of underlying elements, I thought the ambience really helped paint the picture for me. The birds, water and rain(?) really were great additions.
I'm not a huge fan of the percussion, but I can see why you added them, so there's nothing wrong with them. I just feel like they weren't fitting for the style, but no harm done. You have to advance the piece somehow, right?
The one issue that I had with this was one of the bell sounds. It sounds like the velocity was turned up too high, and it used a higher velocity sample than the rest. Whatever it is, it sounds kind of like it's clipping, or it sounds more harsh than the others. To me it sounds like it doesn't fit in very well with the rest.
Overall, this piece had an amazing feel to it, great mixing, and intriguing samples. The only reason I can't give this a perfect score is because that one bell is bugging me. Besides that I had no problems with this track. I can't wait to see what you do next!
I just want to address a couple things that won't affect the rating first. I completely respect, understand and am in no way opposed to your decision to remove your songs from Geometry Dash. I wouldn't want to be associated with the majority of the community either. However, I saw in one of Lockyn's streams that you said you wanted to be world class, and that calling your music "game music" was insulting. I may be misunderstanding because I didn't get the full context of what you were saying, but these things combined are all somewhat contrary. Most "world class" music (depending on how you view it) is, in fact, game music, for one. Two, I don't know what the qualifications are to be "world class", as there are really a lot of things that could go into the standards for world class music. If it means being acknowledged by the people who are considered some of the best, throwing more than half of your fanbase out the window was a bad idea. I know you thought about it more than I will, but with the thing you're aspiring for, it just seems like a step in the wrong direction. I know the more dedicated and important fans will stay with you, but it just seems counterproductive. Otherwise, if it's just very high quality music, you're just about there. Again, I may be completely misunderstanding and taking everything out of context, so please correct me if I'm wrong. For all I know you were being sarcastic and it completely went over my head.
That aside, I really enjoyed this track. I liked how more electronic instruments were mixed in more with the orchestral instruments instead of exclusive orchestral and electronic segments. I also liked the slight Middle-Eastern style some of the elements had. That said, I felt like there were less orchestral instruments than in the rest. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it has a more whole electronic feel to it, which can be taken as a good or bad thing depending on who is listening. I appreciate you taking risks and not taking the safer route that you have carved with your 2016 submissions.
Everything was mixed very well. Nothing was too loud or too soft. Some of the panning was a bit strange to me, but that's a matter of opinion. Otherwise I enjoyed how everything was mixed.
This song starts a bit slow, but not slow enough for it to be too slow. It could have been introduced just a touch faster, but again, that may just be me.
During the first section from 0:28 onward, the snare seemed a bit high. The pitch threw me off and personally I thought a better snare sample could have been chosen. It drew my attention away from the main elements, and for that I think it could have been improved upon.
There were a couple sections in the song that seemed empty and it was more just ambient noise instead of music. There's nothing wrong with that by itself, but in my eyes it was overused and there were some parts of the song that didn't catch my attention enough. The ambiance was mixed in well and added to the feel of the piece, so I'm willing to overlook my previous issue.
As always, your instrumentation is beautiful. Every sound is used so well and really immerses you in the music. The sound design is very well done as well, and I am really intrigued by it. The bell, which I assume is synthesized really compliments the texture of the piece. The basses you use make your dubstep very unique and unlike anyone else's work. The mix between smooth metallic sounds and rougher, more common dubstep sounds really creates a contrast I enjoyed. The stutter bits really caught my attention and made the drops that much better.
I really didn't think the spoken bits were very appropriate. You have a very composed majestic piece that really takes you into a different mindset and world and then you have vocals which sort of take you out of it. I did listen to what they were saying, and although they were relevant, I just didn't feel that they belong. I believe a better way to do it would to be putting them in the description rather than the piece itself.
The last nitpick I had with this song was the unusually long space at the end. That could have been cut off, but a bit of silence never hurt anyone, so I'm not going to let it affect my perspective of this piece.
I'm giving this track four stars because I really did enjoy it, there were just a couple of things that distracted me from the mood and immersion of the piece, and while relevant, they felt out of place. Besides that I can't find any issues with this song. It was a very composed, almost intimate piece, of which I haven't heard the likes of in a while. Keep up the great work!
Thanks for the awesome review, I'll take everything you just said into account with the next release.
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