Oh man, this is why I favorited you.
I can't wait to hear the finished version of this.
working hard to complete the composition part.
its still not perfect.
but thanks for your precious time!
You know shit gets real when you provide a score and conceptual notes, which is, in the end, what matters the most for a competition like this. Not only that, the music is extremely well composed. Things flow into one another and there's a large amount of material presenting a maximalism that is the hallmark of cinematic music.
That being said, I'm not going to kid myself or you by saying it's perfect.
For one thing, the mix holds the emotion back. A lot. The reverb is rather unrealistic, having too much presence in the higher frequencies and having too long of a decay. There also seems to be no equalization or mastering done on this. You could get away with that if your goal was towards the more theoretical classical fringes that exist (Cage, Stockhausen, anything that focuses on experimentation in music theory), but because this is an emotional piece you have to think in terms of the physical product. This is actually not that much of a daunting task - I find that an EQ on the master channel of your library with a very large increase in the upper 1/3 of the spectrum and a medium increase in the lower 1/6th does a lot for you if you're in a pinch (individual track EQing is always better, though). In the case of the highs, this accentuates the hits and spectral identity of each instrument, and in the case of the lows you're adding more oomph to the tails of the percussion.
And, unfortunately the worst of all, there's no identity here. It's generic. And I don't just mean that it sounds like everything else (although it kind of does) - It's well composed and fits the purpose, but nothing about this sounded like the Civil War. At all. There are times where you vaguely take a note from Copland (mallets at 2:23 - 2:35) and give it the American sound and perhaps you try to give it a folkloric edge with the solo violin, but those elements ultimately fall flat in their own separate ways. In the case of the violin, the melody just didn't sound like a Civil War folk tune - and I'm going to remind you that you ACTUALLY CAN STEAL FOLK MELODIES (I'm typing this in caps because there's no bold or italic and I want to stress it as much as possible). Not only that, but you're encouraged to do it. Copland did it. Stravinsky did it - in fact, all the famous Russian composers did it for the very reason I'm telling you to do it here - they wanted to create a sound which was wholly Russian, just like Copland wanted to create a sound that was wholly American. If you want to create a sound that is wholly the embodiment of the civil war, take my advice here and STEAL. It's too late now, of course, but do it in the future any time you're writing a historical tone poem such as this.
Also, don't try to be John Williams. John Williams does what John Williams does because he is, in fact, John Williams. And only John Williams truly knows how to be John Williams.
Despite writing a review that mainly focused on negative elements I am giving you a 4. Mainly because of the score and conceptual notes that show your thought process. I would have written more about what you did right, but you know what you did right.
Thanks for all the feedback here, it is a lot to chew on but you are right, I know what I did right and what needs improvement. I am still tinkering with the mix of the samples and currently doing EQ, I was pretty happy with the mix but I found that it can still be improved.
I had to keep in mind that this will be recorded all by live players when writing this but that has nothing to do with the engineering portion of it.
Also, there is some backstory to how this concept came about. I was assigned to do a project for one of my college film scoring classes and I wanted to do this contest as well so I decided to work towards both since it would fit the project and this contest.
"It's well composed and fits the purpose, but nothing about this sounded like the Civil War. At all."
We had several examples of FILM SCORES of CIVIL WAR movies, and it was mostly meant to be all underscore music in the style of Elmer Bernstien, Gabriel Yared, and some others..
"I'm going to remind you that you ACTUALLY CAN STEAL FOLK MELODIES"
As part of the same project, we had other projects where we wrote SOURCE music that had to be folk melodies, and then write an UNDERSCORE with the folk melody quoted in them in those film compositions. This project was all about creating dramatic underscore for picture. There was no picture for us to see but there were storyboards and scripts etc...
I have changed the title and subtitle several times, and it's REALLY more cinematic than conceptual, but since there are musical sections that represent certain scenarios I did believe it should be considered that. If anything these are more or less sketches of what I could possibly do when I actually end up writing for the actual picture.
I'm not usually so defensive but I just felt like in this case you just didn't know some of the restrictions I had when writing this, and what guidelines I had to abide by for this project. I have two other scores that come from the same projects on the Civil War film and I do cover most of what you were talking about.
And I do agree with you about John Williams, I just can't think of another popular film composer that most people recognize that does that kind of thing with ornamental phrases in action sequences.
There is a lot here I see as a composer that is very lacking and I'm always working to improve. Film and game composers are pretty much bitches and have to do everything the producer wants even if it means we have to make something sound more generic -________-
This is pretty much the only good house song on the top 40 or whatever right now. It's near-perfectly mixed, the sound design is great, and there's a very good use of dynamics throughout.
There is a bit of spacial issues going on though, mainly due to slight phase-pan on the chords and the piano that comes in at 2:34. They should probably be panned to the extrema or centered (I'd wager centered). If you change that I think it would just sound much better.
thanks allot! and you're probably half right, i use a flangus on the chords, and i always do.
i cant just put it down like that, that would ruin the whole depth of the song.
you might probably think right now; depth? with a flangus?
yea man. i dont use it to create a flanger effect.
anyways, i could atleast try the piano idea. probably gonna centre it.
thanks again for your time, kind word none the lÃ©.
Probably the most well mixed and mastered entry we have here. No clipping and just the right amount of loudness was sacrificed for atmosphere.
I'd say this is probably the highest contender for the winner I've seen so far. Certainly fits the description.
Hah... generous words, man. I'd worked on mixing the whole mess proper for some time before actually recording anything legit, though I still feel there's room for improvement... buuuut, who doesn't feel that way w/ their own audio sometimes, heh? Either way, whoever wins, it's nice to see everyone's take on Metal in the contest. Wild.
It's good, but more thought needs to go into the panning. Most of this is pretty much mono - try alternating between stereo separation and non-separated synths.
Maybe add a little on the high-mid to high end too. The bass is just a little too overpowering, even for E-H.
Try adding in another section, too. Most of this is the drop, which sort of detracts from the effect of the whole thing.
yeah i get ya: im sending this off to a guy to get it properly mastered, i figured he would deal with the panning sort of thing haha.
as for the other section, i had a bit of a dilemma. i have a couple of version of this song, the original being 8 minutes long... it had to be cut down to a sort of pop-formula essentially
thanks for your feedback though, ill bare this in mind on my next track :)
Well, I have to admit I had my doubts because I vaguely remember you getting caught self-advertising in the audio forum. But none of that matters right now.
I'm going to go ahead and say you might really be onto something here. While Vortek said that the tempo of the song is awkward, I think it's the exact opposite. It's dubstep, but because of the tonality and entirely different tempo choice it could be an entire branch of its own. It's almost cartoony, though that may be due to the choice of vocal samples, and I really liked the use of tom fills and the set of drums you picked in general. I really think if you make more music in this particular style you could have a genre all your own.
Unless this is influenced by a subgenre that already exists, of course.
Still, it does need work. Some aspects of the mixing seem unnatural - the stereo imaging is strange due to the fact that I'm somehow able to discern mono channels from stereo ones in this case where everything normally blends in a professional mix despite the existence of both stereo and mono elements. I just think the beginning needs an additional stereo channel in the mid or high frequency ranges. There are also some volume balance issues - the sub bass is way too loud whenever the wobble bass isn't there to compensate for it.
There's also a general lack of sounds in the drop riff. You only have one wobble - I would recommend breaking the melody up for more of a fidget house sound, as the simplicity of it tends to be a bit of a bore otherwise.
I liked it.
4/5 and 5/5.
This is a much more subtle approach at a very homogenous style that manages to be different but still immediately classifiable. You've basically just pushed down a wall here as far as my expectations of Dubstep goes, that is, if this is the finished product and you weren't planning to add anything overdone.
It's chilling and atmospheric. There's very little melody but there's still enough going on to hold my interest.
As far as I can tell it's mixed and mastered perfectly.
Djent is becoming more and more popular in the "internet metal" community, and where a lot of it tends to be bogged down by over-complication of riffs and over-simplification of form (single riff mumbo jumbo), this had returning and varied themes.
One thing it's missing, however, is the complete atmosphere that all popular djent bands have. You did manage to reach that effect halfway through, but it needed an extra layer to be complete. Cloudkicker and Tesseract are both good reference points for this.
I really thought that the original introduction and the changes to the overall chord progression in the main theme was interesting. It does create a vibe of its own sort that can be continued throughout the rest of the piece if it were to be elongated.
Thank you very much. I think the original is beautiful, and I think this is just a different kind of beautiful, perhaps darker. I think the key to why its different and has its own vibe is I made the original fit what I was working with as opposed to trying to adapt to the original.
Love the review, many thanks.
Something calming, yet interesting. This basically means it serves both purposes as music to listen to in the background and up close with a careful ear. The instruments blend well together (except for one tiny thing, mentioned in the paragraph below), and as said above the decay on each seems to match up. Obviously this is not finished as the last part indicates a new section, which I look forward to hearing.
I am questioning whether the muffled sound is done on purpose, through my headphones I can tell one of the instruments is muffled. This tricks the ear into thinking the entire ensemble is muffled, and distracts a little. I'm not sure whether or not this is an EQ/Mastering issue or the synth is just muffled, but consider that a possible change.
If drums are added, think of making them soft and sparing because what you have here is near perfect (obviously to the point where I gave you a 10, rounding up).
Thanks for the review, it is possible that something is getting muffled. When you make a song extremely layered and try to carefully apply tons of reverb it can be a difficult process, so I just simply need to go back, listen closely, and fix it. I do plan on putting a new part in, and I do plant to make the drums "ambient". I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the review!
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