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I like the atmosphere at the beginning. The percussion that started fading in at around :20 was interesting, and the filtering and other effects really add a lot of character to this piece. A couple of your drum samples sound a little generic, especially the clap. I was really itching for some more melodic content by around 1:30, and it finally came at around the 2-minute mark. Overall, the sound design is really cool here, and the experimental nature of the texture is enjoyable. That said, I think you’ve really sacrificed some harmonic depth and other compositional strengths for the purpose of a bunch of really subtle details. The subtle details are really cool - whatever that puttering effect is in the background at 2:44 made me smile - but the piece still feels pretty repetitive, which isn’t helped by the slow pacing. Still, this is a strong effort in terms of atmosphere/mood/sound design. Keep at it, Midimachine!

8/10

I like the angry tension at the beginning. The innovative use of percussion is impressive. The sound design is rather impressive, and the melodic content at :58 also adds a lot to the piece. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to follow the structure, which detracts from my enjoyment of the piece. Overall, the piece doesn’t seem very cohesive arrangement-wise. I’m also concerned by the lack of melodic content later in the piece, as well as that there’s no obvious sense of conclusion or resolve until the second-to-last note. The level of originality is excellent, but I think the composition needs more fleshing out. You may also need to consolidate your ideas to give the listener a coherent experience. Nevertheless, I remain congratulatory of your unique sound design, use of rhythm, and atmosphere. Keep at it, Demon-Wolf!

8.25/10  

It’s a little rhythmically hard-to-follow at the beginning, but I like the quirky instruments and atmosphere. The mixing is strong overall, but I wish the snare was a bit more up-front. I think you nailed the sound design - it’s so refreshing and quaint. The transition at 1:49 was a little sudden, and I couldn’t help but notice that you use reverb to fill in the texture instead of harmonic depth for large swaths of the piece. The transition starting at 2:20 was really cool, though - I like how it foreshadows the really frantic section at 2:32. The piece comes together really well thematically, although 3:45 was another less-than-smooth transition. Overall, I’m really impressed with the level of originality and the mood, atmosphere, and instruments. Keep up the good work, Garlagan! ;)

9.25/10

garlagan responds:

you really care about transitions! (i do too though -- and it's what i gotta work on the most probably rn). thanks a lot for the feedback TL! <3

I like the atmospheric beginning. The progression is pretty slow, and goes in a rather unexpected direction with the chords at :34. The mix is pretty spacious and well-reverberated. The kick also has a lot of treble, though, and the transition at 2:12 was a bit lazy. There isn’t a lot of strong melodic content in this piece, which is a huge problem. The melodic content that is there is very heavily grounded in the chords, arpeggiated, and rhythmically repetitive. In general, the composition needs more variety, flavor, and a stronger sense of direction for much of the piece. I’d say my main problem here is the lack-luster composition. It’s a smooth-flowing piece with a cool atmosphere, but it just needed more harmonic depth and melodic development.

7.25/10

5TanLey responds:

k thanks for your words :)

I like the thick texture at :03, and the cathartic guitar riff at :23. The vocals are really refreshing and uplifting. During the verses, the constant call-and-response between the piano/vocal sections and the instrumental guitar sections is a little much, though - it just changes the texture drastically at very short intervals. The acoustic guitar solo at 2:30 was a great touch, though - it really cements the overarching tranquility of this piece. I also like the low register of the vocals at 2:52. It both complements the texture, allows space for contrast at 3:20, and also sounds quite sexy. The minimalism at 3:47 was a little unexpected, but works really well in giving the piece a little bit of spacing going into the final refrain. The refrain itself might’ve needed a bit more development (as it’s the final chorus in a relatively long piece), but overall this is really admirable work. I think this might be your strongest work yet in this competition. By all means, keep it up! :D

9.75/10

FinnMK responds:

Thanks for the tips, and will do.

I like the tranquil vibe at the beginning. Tiny detail: when the harp cuts off at :09 it disrupted the flow a bit. I like the cute instruments and harmonies. I think the bass is actually a bit too loud this time - sorry for the complete 180. The piano melodies at :40 are cute too. The texture breaks down a little quickly at :49, but I like the structural relief that :53 offers, and the percussion at 1:12 is a nice touch. The riser at 2:01 didn’t quite fit the character of the piece IMO, but that’s another small detail. The transition at 2:11 could’ve been smoother, too, and then the mood goes through another sudden shift at 2:17 - all of a sudden it’s got this tranquil, funky vibe that heavily contrasts the bouncy energy of most of the rest of the piece. Not that thematic contrast is a bad thing - I just think you could’ve connected the two a little better. 3:34 is another example of a time when the reverb and crash combo doesn’t quite cut it as a transition. I know I’ve nitpicked a lot in this review, but overall the sound design, atmosphere, and mood are really quite strong. The mastering is also strong, but you may have gone a little overboard with the reverb. Still, the cutesy melodic content and instruments really hit this piece home. It’s a fun piece. Keep it up, guys! ;)

9/10

johnfn responds:

thanks TL! it will indeed be kept up, at least for another round! :o

I like the arpeggios and the atmosphere at the beginning. That snare is really crisp, and the sound design overall is really unique and impressive. I love the quirky melodies at 1:08. The production quality is fantastic, and the heavy breaks at 2:15 added an impactful injection of energy. The texture is full and well-balanced throughout. It’s a well-structured and smooth-flowing piece. Great sense of atmosphere and blending. That arpeggiated synth you use at the beginning and during the last 30 seconds sounds a bit generic to me, but the way you use it in the piece is well-done regardless. If I had to complain about one thing composition-wise, it’s that I would’ve liked to hear another more legato melodic section later in the piece, like the one at 1:08. Still, there’s just not a lot to criticize here. Keep up the great work, guys! :)

9.5/10

Oh wow...I knew this matchup would be good. Excellent sense of atmosphere at the beginning. Something about the inflection of the vocals makes them seem religious in a way - they just carry an amazing amount of power, partly due to the reverb. The layering at :15 is great, and I also like the lyrics themselves, simplistic though they are. The injection of energy at :40 caught me a little off guard, and the volume/filtering automation at :38 with the vocals was both unnatural-sounding and lazy as a transition IMO. I think it would be a little more subtle to have some of the instrumental elements of :40 bleed into the texture gradually. Maybe it’s just me, but the electronic texture there was not what I was expecting at all. I like the vocals as they start to make their way into the texture again, and the sub-bass was a nice touch. The melodies at 1:38 are also pretty cool. Your instruments always blend so well together, and I appreciate the full, well-balanced texture here. I wish you had added a bit more structural variety later in the piece - it has a sense of continuous energy from the 1-minute mark to 3:30, and I would’ve liked to see you create more dynamic contrast in there. My reaction to :40 was overblown, but you also have another transition at 3:32 that could’ve been a bit smoother. The flute at 3:34 also was a bit of a sudden addition to the texture - I’m generally skeptical of instruments that are introduced for the first time during the last 30 seconds of a piece. Overall, the sound design and atmosphere really won me over with this piece. The production quality is also quite strong. I’ve nitpicked a lot at some of the structural elements here, but the melodic content, mastering, and rather unique instrumentation are all huge boons of the piece. Keep it up, Etherealwinds! ;)

9/10

I like the bouncy, upbeat vibe at the beginning. The progression is cool - the low energy section at :55 contrasts nicely with the frantic part at 1:05. The percussion didn’t do much for me, though. It sounds really dry and unpolished, and I wish you did more with it. I thought the change-of-pace at 1:55 was a bit abrupt - hard to anticipate it without much foreshadowing. It’s a cute and fun piece, but I think you could’ve done a bit more with it. Given that it’s a solo instrument piece, I think it needs a bit more phrasing and dynamic contrast to really hit it home. The ending is rather abrupt too. Overall, I commend you doing something so different from what I’m used to seeing from you. I appreciate the balanced use of frequencies and the cheerful melodic content. Keep at it, Noisysundae. ;)

8.5/10

Noisysundae responds:

I admit that I had no idea how to end this, given the time left before the deadline. :P
I cut the bass off that snare sample, that might be why it's so dry. Hmmm, looks like the subtle reverb I added didn't make up for this. :(

I like the ambient plodding sounds at the beginning and the warm pads. I think the lead at :24 might’ve needed a bit more reverb to blend in with the atmosphere, though. I like the progression at around :40, but by :44 is a bit too loud and the snare is a little quiet. It sounded like the progression was straying a bit too far from its owner by 1:45, so I’m glad you offered a re-intro there. The details in here are really well done, from the puttering white noise to the radio effects at 2:17. The piano at 3:05 had a great, warm sound, but I wished you had foreshadowed its entrance a little better. I’m generally skeptical of new instruments that are introduced during the last 30 seconds of a track. Overall, the piece doesn’t quite come together for me - there’s no emotional height during the second half, and little cohesion overall. You nailed the mood, atmosphere, and sound design. Some structural repetition would help this piece a lot, though. Keep at it, 1f1n1ty. ;)

8.75/10

1f1n1ty responds:

There are no new instruments entering in the last 30 seconds, those are all things you've heard before. Except the piano. That was new

EDIT: I don't remember if I was joking or if I was just dumb, but I just repeated Tainted's exact point \_\

Hi. I'm Andrew. Audio portal junkie since 2010, supporter since January 2017. I always want to improve what I do! I make music, run the NGUAC, and am active in the writing forum. I love this site, and I want to make it the best I can. :) Formerly TheDoor6

Andrew Mikula @TaintedLogic

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Bates College

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