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2,021 w/ Responses

I like the gritty synth at the beginning and the quirky texture at :12. The texture might need a tad more fill in the mid-tones, or maybe just some more legato elements in general. Part of the problem may be that the synths are a bit dry - some more reverb and other mixing effects might be advisable. I also thought the transition at :48 was a tad sudden. The mixing is good, but the harmonic framework could use more variety, and I would’ve liked to hear some more melodic content at some point. You also start to overuse the transition with the descending tomtom drums (like at :46) after a while. The sound design and production quality are probably my favorite elements of the piece, and I like how the texture starts filling out more by around 2:36. The pads at 1:36 offer a much smoother tone, which is good for some variety compared to the sharp, jumpy synths that otherwise dominate the piece. The rhythmic content is strong throughout. Overall, I like the quirky instrumentation and harmonies, but the piece is lacking an overarching sense of direction, and the arrangement is a bit choppy in places. Still, really fun and catchy piece here, MetaHumanBoi. Keep at it, and thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
2/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1.5/2
Instrumentation and sound design
1/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
1/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
8.5/10

I like the pensive mood at the beginning. The sub-bass drone is a bit heavy and harsh in my headphones, but I like the dramatic rasp at :32 and the atmospheric details. The melodic flair at :55 is a great touch, although the sudden change in volume level at 1:09 caught me off guard a bit. The cello riff at 1:27 is beautiful, although the piece has some pretty slow pacing combined with some abrupt transitions, like at 2:03. Maybe part of the problem at 2:03 is that the main string pluck riff is much louder than the content that comes before it. The climax at 2:33 is great, though, and I’m really enjoying the echo-y percussion and full, well-rounded texture. Given the somewhat eerie first couple of minutes, this piece has a surprisingly upbeat conclusion. That said, you’ve crafted an effective narrative here. The sound design and atmosphere are probably my favorite elements of this piece, and I have no complaints with the production quality either. Most of my complaints are minor compositional and arrangement details. Keep up the good work, Lordant, and thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
2/2
Instrumentation and sound design
1/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.5/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
1/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
9/10

Lordant responds:

Thanks a lot for the review!

I like the relaxed mood at the beginning. The synths at :11 sound a bit sharp compared to the smooth pads, and the drum beat at :20 is pretty generic. The melodies at :43 are nice, although at times the mix feels like it’s missing some mid-tones. I also think the harmonic framework gets pretty repetitive after a while, although you did a good job of switching up the energy/volume levels with the piano breakdown at 2:10. The frantic percussion at 2:32 was a good idea, but also dominates the mix a tad too much towards the end imo. The vocal samples towards the end are a nice touch, and overall the piece comes together well. There are a couple of sudden transitions here, like at 1:09 and 2:01, but otherwise the progression is pretty good, just a tad drawn-out. I think my favorite part of the piece is the dreamy atmosphere and emotional appeal of the breakdown at 2:10, but the rhythmic content, melodies, and mood are also strong. Overall, solid work, LordAndiso, and thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year! It’s been a blast. ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.5/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1.75/2
Instrumentation and sound design
.5/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.5/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.75/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
7.75/10

LordAndiso responds:

Hell yeah! Thank you for your detailed critique.. I'll keep in mind on what things to improve on,
thank you soo much :)

I see why your favourite part is the dreamy part. It's because I think the dreamy parts are my stronger side. I only recently started to really focus on making more energetic sections in songs. I am very glad that my Mixing, mastering, and balance was rated considerably high, because it sucks to learn how to mix properly :D

I like the synth bass and vocal samples towards the beginning. The rhythmic content is nice, although the texture is pretty minimal and some of the transitions are a little abrupt - notably at :29 and 1:00. At some point, I would’ve liked to hear some more melodic content or otherwise harmonic depth. The mix seems a bit bottom-heavy for much of the piece, and also over-compressed, although I can hear everything clearly throughout. I also think the drums could’ve been more creative at times. The minimalism and lack of originality in the composition are probably my biggest complaints here, but it’s still a catchy piece with some fun sound design and cool build-ups. Keep at it, Lagiarathalos, and thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
.75/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1/2
Instrumentation and sound design
.75/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.25/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
6.5/10

PsiStarOfficial responds:

Thanks for the review mate, and for everything you did to make this contest possible.

Now I understand why this track isn't frontpaged haha

I like the relaxed tone at the beginning. Sometimes the harmonies trip over each other a bit, like at :25, but the guitar solo there is full of variety and flair. I like it when the texture starts to fill out a bit more at 1:18, but up until that point there wasn’t a strong sense of overarching progression here. The modulation at 1:53 helps fulfill that goal, and in fact that section really feels like the climax of the piece. Sometimes, it’s a bit difficult to follow the contour of the melodies here, which is why I appreciated that the outro grounds the listener in a more repetitive riff at 2:46. I also thought the fade-out at the end could’ve been a bit more creative. Overall, I really like the melodies, mood, progression, and sound design of this one. I honestly think the more soft/“mellow” drums fit the character of this piece pretty well, but I can also attest to the broader benefits of compressing percussion. Keep at it, Krinn! Thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year; it’s been a blast. ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
2/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1.75/2
Instrumentation and sound design
1/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.5/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
1/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
9/10

KrinnValKhristi responds:

Thank you so much for the opportunity to learn more about music production! I appreciate your helpful feedback and I am so happy to be a part of such a wonderful community of artists!

Congratulations to the winner of the competition!

I hope to take your feedback and apply it so that my songs will be even better next time!

From Krin's brain I say buh bye for meows!!!

I like the bright piano riff at the beginning and the stereo clicks in the background for most of the intro. The melodies are cute, although some of the lead synths are a bit cheesy. I like the drop at 1:22, and the production quality holds up well. I think the bass was a bit too loud at times, and you might want to rein in some of the other volume levels during the climactic parts of the piece too. I appreciate the frantic variations on the main melody at 2:37, and I like how you brought the piece back full-circle by the end. Perhaps my biggest problem with the piece is that it sounds a bit generic at times, from the sound design to the progression and compositional details. Some of the individual sections also feel a bit dragged-out, especially the section from 2:37-3:28. That said, I really enjoyed the melodic content, mixing, atmosphere, and upbeat mood of this one overall. Keep at it, Joe, and thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1.25/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
2/2
Instrumentation and sound design
.75/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.5/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.25/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
1/1
Composite score
8.5/10

I like the distorted texture at the beginning. Some of the synths, especially the one at :13, sound a bit cheesy and unpolished - reminds me of an Autogun preset. The texture also remains rather minimal throughout, and is pretty bottom-heavy at times. The rhythmic content is enjoyable, and the progression is decent, but the lack of harmonic depth and other compositional details to maintain interest is concerning. The somewhat experimental sound design is pretty nice, and the production quality is solid. I think you overuse the slidey synth at 2:22 that sounds like a tea kettle boiling over. Overall, while the composition is pretty bland, it’s still a catchy piece with some neat instrumentation, solid mixing, and fun build-ups. Keep at it, JaThu, and thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
.75/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
.5/2
Instrumentation and sound design
.75/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.5/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
6/10

JaThu responds:

Its always a pleasure to read your feedback! Thankyou sooo much TL

I like the cute piano melodies at the beginning and the crisp drums at :13. In fact, the drums might even be a bit too loud compared to the instrumental track. I like the more relaxed tone at :36 and the build-up into :57. The drop is neat, but also doesn’t add much in the way of novel harmonic content. The piano bridge at 1:44 was a good idea, and also helps contrast the gritty synths of the drop with something more organic-sounding. The production quality here is solid throughout, although occasionally the mix sounds a bit thin, especially during some of the more minimal sections like at :36. Perhaps my biggest problem here is the lack of originality in the sound design and arrangement, but I also feel like you could’ve used some more variety, especially later on in the piece. That said, I really enjoyed the mixing and mastering, rhythmic content, instrumentation, and melodies. Keep at it, IndexatioN, and thanks for coming out the NGUAC this year! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1.75/2
Instrumentation and sound design
1/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.5/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
8/10

I like the furtive mood at the beginning and the quirky sound design. The piano at :32 sounds a bit unpolished, and the different brass instruments at :52 could probably blend better. I like the vocals, though. The slow pace at which they’re delivered is rather haunting, and the lyrics themselves are also really good. The brass melodies starting at 1:46 are really great, and together with the drums, strings, and mallets I’m really enjoying the authentic sound design of this piece. The syncopations at 2:15 or so are great, too. At 2:55, I think the vocals could’ve been a bit more up-front in the mix, especially since it seems like the “conclusion” of the lyrics arc throughout the piece. The electric piano and generous use of percussion at 3:45 were also neat - great use of structural variety there. The percussion gets a tad buried underneath the brass at 4:10, but the section at 4:41 ties the piece together well. Overall, the structure feels a tad drawn-out here, but the flow is smooth and the sound design and mood are great. Rich textures and solid production quality throughout, despite my occasional complaints with the balance/mixing. Compositionally, the piece is a home run, and you really captured the emotional quality to the lyrics in your vocals. Strong work, Glassedhouse! Thanks for coming out again to the NGUAC this year. ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.5/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1.25/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
2/2
Instrumentation and sound design
1/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
1/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
8.75/10

Glassedhouse responds:

Yeah, the section at 2:15 is my favourite bit of the entire piece. Syncopation go crazy. I do agree with the mixing/mastering likely being the weakest aspect of the track, but that probably had something to do with the amount of time it took to construct a brass band, as well as the sheer amount of Audio/MIDI tracks playing at once. I'm definitely going to rework this song in those aspects later in the near future. Thank you for appreciating the compositional aspects! Those were what most of my work and time went into, and is my favourite aspect!

I like the dreamy synths at the beginning, although the compression and reverb both seem a little too heavy. The build-up into :47 is cool, and the synth melodies there are really upbeat and catchy. Some of the synths here are a bit cheesy, including the lead, and the chord progression at 1:25 is pretty cliche. That said, I’m enjoying the strong beats and variations at 1:56. You start to overuse the transition with the rising percussion by the third time at 3:00, but I appreciated the variation on the main melody during the final refrain. The production quality, progression, mood, and melodies are all really solid here. The sound design isn’t my favorite, but my biggest problem is probably how generic the harmonic structure, arrangement, and compositional details are. Still, you’ve earned a lot of credit here for the rich, well-balanced textures and catchy melodies. Keep at it, Fumijena, and thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1.25/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
2/2
Instrumentation and sound design
.5/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.5/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.25/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
1/1
Composite score
8.25/10

Fumijena responds:

thank you so much for the feedback ! thanks for the opportunity as well ! see you next year :D

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

24, Male

Policy Researcher

Bates College

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