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I like the pensive mood at the beginning and the strings at :26. The progression is a bit slow-paced, although the sound design and atmosphere are really neat. The texture is well balanced and the mix is full, if a tad quiet. The piece has a good sense of ebb-and-flow, although the composition could’ve been a tad bolder. There’s a lot of pent-up tension in the piece that never quite gets resolved. The production quality is quite strong, and the mood and soundscape are rather engrossing. Overall, really solid work here! I’m still waiting for the killer melody/climax towards the end to blow me away, but the cinematic appeal of this track is undeniably really good. Keep at it, ForgottenDawn, 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
.75/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
1/1
Composite score
8.5/10

ForgottenDawn responds:

Thanks for inviting me! It was a lot of fun and the leaderboard-style scoring was pretty neat to follow all the way through. See you across the 'grounds

I like the pensive mood at the beginning and the nature sound effects. The mix is pretty quiet, and the progression a tad slow-paced, but the emotional appeal of the piece is really nice. I like the accelerando at around the 1-minute mark and the mirroring ritardando about 10 seconds later. Really nice use of phrasing here, too - the composition seems simple, but there’s a lot of musicality and ebb-and-flow in your playing. The minimal breakdown at 1:58 was a nice touch, and it sets up the climactic section at 2:50 or so really well. There are a couple of tiny recording/mixing issues, like the reverb wash-back at 3:12 and 3:16 on some of the more powerful chords. I might suggest gradually toning down the reverb a bit going into that section, or otherwise finding a way of absorbing some of the natural reverb in your recording space. Still, this piece is mesmerizing and beautiful. The composition could’ve been a tad bolder, and I love how you brought back the motif from the beginning at the end - gives the piece a nice full-circle feel. Overall, you’re clearly a talented pianist and composer.

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.5/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1.5/1.5
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

I like the dreamy texture at the beginning and the crisp drums at :10. The production quality is really solid, and the texture, while pretty minimal, is also pretty well balanced. The progression is pretty slow-paced, though, and overall the composition is pretty underwhelming. I like the prominent hi-hats in the drum beat, but that’s not really enough to keep me engaged after a while. The cutesy synth riff at 1:29 works well, but I would’ve liked to see a smoother transition there. The riff seems like it’s building towards something, but it ends up being a bit anticlimactic by 2:09. The outro at 2:51 was nice and dreamy, but overall a bit bland. The atmosphere and sound design here are really cool, and the mixing is solid as well, but the composition could’ve been a lot bolder here. Still, you’re clearly a talented producer. Layering on a more dynamic melody would go a long way towards improving this piece. Until then, keep at it, Equinaga, and thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
.5/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1/2
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?)
.25/1
Composite score
6.25/10

Equinaga responds:

really, thanks for the feedback! what's cool about owning the music, is you can always go back to a song that could've been, and make it the best it can possibly be

I like the nature sound effects at the beginning and the murky sound design. It’s a bit hard to follow the rhythm once that eerie synth at :28 starts fading in, and the progression is pretty choppy. By :57, the sound design begins to sound a bit grating, and the minimal texture throughout is also not a draw. The rhythmic content is pretty catchy, and overall the instrumentation is pretty cool, but the composition could’ve been a tad more developed, especially harmonically. I know the abrupt transitions are on purpose, but combined with the experimental sound design and minimalism the piece just came across as a tad too experimental imo. Creating some more well-balanced harmonies during the drops and smoothing over the arrangement would go a long way towards improving this piece imo. Until then, thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year, Embyeee, and congrats on getting this far! ^_^

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
1/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.25/1
Composite score
6/10

I like the dark atmosphere at the beginning and the dramatic orchestral/vocal hits at :25. The vocals at 1:04 are absolutely haunting, and you’ve certainly done an excellent job with the pacing here. The triumphant mood at 1:34 is thrilling, and I love how you implement the orchestral hits into the energetic Celtic melodies at 2:15. The bass slide at 2:28 (and again at 2:45) were nice touches as well. And you slide seamlessly into another beautiful, captivating atmosphere at 2:52. The bridge at 3:48 with the horn stabs had another strong progression with some excellent phrasing. The percussion during that section sounds a bit bottom-heavy and unnatural somehow. Also, the vocals seem to be “washing back” in the mix a bit at around 4:25, such that the body of the sound is just slightly behind the beat - and the same thing may be happening to the strings at 1:55, but it’s hard to tell with so much going on in the texture. Otherwise, the mixing here is really strong, though. The final climax at 5:25 totally earned its title, although you may have overused the bass slides a tad by the end. Overall, all of my complaints are tiny details. The progression of the piece is probably my favorite part. Seriously, let me call up George Lucas and ask him to make a movie based on this piece. :D Keep it up, Elias!

Mixing, mastering, and balance
2/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1.5/1.5
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
9.75/10

eliasalija responds:

Thank you very much tl, I agree to everything you said and I'm going to improve it and repost it! Thanks for the encouragement

I like the old-timey piano intro. You may have overdone the static in the background, but the tape speed-up at :10 was a nice touch, and the bouncy piano riff at :12 is really nice. I would’ve liked the walking bass to be a bit more prominent in the mix, but the descending melodic riff at :28 help keep me engaged. I love the pads that start fading in during that section, but the first minute of the piece still feels pretty top-heavy frequency-wise. Despite the minimalism at 1:01, you finally hit me with that bass, and it’s glorious! By then, though, the melodies feel a tad repetitive. The piano re-intro at 1:34 was a nice touch, and I’m really liking the brass melodic variations at 1:55. The more traditional build-up into 2:22 was also really neat. The eagle screech sound effect at 2:41 works well, although I would’ve liked to hear some more variety in the melodies during the second drop/chorus, and the transition back into the “old-timey” tape sound at 3:31 was a little rough. Overall, you’re definitely getting full credit for catchiness and melodic content, but the lack of variety is also hurting you a bit. Still, really admirable work on the production/sound design side, and the rhythmic content is a big plus here as well. Keep at it, Dowon! :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
.75/1.5
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
8.75/10

Dowon responds:

Thank you so much!!! It's happy to have this detailed review. I'm gonna edit and complete this track refer to your amazing fantastic super duper absolutely hyper great comment

I like the percussion at the beginning and the dramatic orchestral hits starting at :05. It’s a little hard to get a sense of the harmonic framework at first, but I like the dreamy texture at :27 and the string melodies shortly thereafter. I like the sense of climax into :53, and the mix is clean and well-balanced throughout. The organ hang-over from the held note at 1:16 threw me off a bit, but by 1:31 I’m enjoying the crisp string line, and the organ blends in nicely. The dissonance in the texture at 1:55 or so and the accelerando are all great compositional details. The ending felt a bit inconclusive, but it is an intro, after all. Overall, my biggest concerns here are probably with the choppy arrangement and meandering harmonic structure, especially the modulations at :53 or so. It’s very hard to follow the progression of the piece at times, despite the generous use of percussion fills and similar instrumentation between adjacent sections. Still, I really admire the variety of moods and textures you’ve crammed into a short 3 minutes, and the cinematic appeal of the piece is irresistible at times. You told a story for sure - I’m a little concerned that the story is disjointed and incomplete, but the narrative ebb and flow is self-evident here. Otherwise, excellent work with the sound design, production quality, melodies, and atmosphere. Keep it up, Codefreq! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
2/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1.25/2
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?)
1/1
Composite score
8.75/10

Codefreq responds:

Thank you very much for the detailed feedback! :) I'll definitely factor those notes into my creation of future pieces.

I like the cute synths and bright pads at the beginning. The sidechaining on the kick at :21 is a bit heavy, and the chord progression is a bit cliche. I’m enjoying the melodies at 1:03, although their structure seems a bit formulaic. The sound design switch-up starting with the melodic variations at 1:45 was a good idea. I also like the 8-bit drums that come in shortly thereafter. I feel like you could’ve transitioned back into the main melody at 2:06 a bit smoother. It might’ve helped if you had implemented some of the new instruments from the bridge into the rest of the piece. Otherwise, the arrangement comes across as, again, a bit formulaic, and by the end the piece feels pretty repetitive. My other big problem with it is the lack of originality in the harmonic structure. That said, the production quality is solid and the rich atmosphere and decent sound design earn you back some points. Overall, teasing out the composition a bit more is my biggest list item for improvement, but the upbeat mood and cutesy melodies help keep me engaged. Thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year, and congratulations on getting this far! ^_^

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
.75/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.25/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.5/1
Composite score
7.5/10

I like the gritty texture at the beginning and the phasing effects. The bass at :24 is very heavy, but the dark mood and frantic drums help keep me engaged. The synths are all really cool, but the texture is a tad minimal and the progression is pretty slow-paced. The production quality is really solid, and the creative filtering work on the grouchy mid-range bass helps keep me engaged. The texture is actually pretty well-balanced, with a decent amount of harmonizing across the frequency range, but overall the soundscape is still pretty thin throughout. By the end, this piece is rather repetitive. Perhaps some more variety in the energy level and harmonic framework would help take the composition of this piece to the next level. Until then, I really admire your drum instruments and synths, atmosphere, use of mixing effects, and mastering abilities. Keep at it, BasiatordeCoronatus! :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
2/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
.75/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1.25/2
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?)
.5/1
Composite score
7.75/10

BasiatordeCoronatus responds:

Thanks. I've already noticed almost everything you said. But i didn't have much time, i was late with submission. However, i plan to update and fix this song, redo some parts and overall sounding.

I like the glitchy intro and the prominent sub-bass. The rich atmosphere by :17 or so is also really nice. It’s a tad difficult to follow the rhythmic content until the beat comes in at :20, but I’m enjoying the sound design and the more melodic flair at :40 or so. The mix is very clean, if a tad over-compressed. The build-up to the drop at 1:15 was really well-done, and the drop itself had a healthy amount of variety to maintain interest, even if it was a tad long. The atmospheric breakdown at 2:03 was really nice - I love the filtering work at 2:13 and the heavy reverb at 2:20. I honestly think you could’ve ended the piece at the 3-minute mark, but the second drop was a pleasant surprise, and I appreciated that there was more harmonic content during the drop the second time around. The outro with the detuned sitar was also a good idea. Overall, I’m exactly one submission into the judging for this round, but this is going to be tough to beat. Really strong work with the atmosphere, instrumentation, and progression. The mix feels a tad overwhelmed at times, but in the grand scheme of things that’s only a minor problem for me. Keep up the good work, Agente001Tomhson! ^_^

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
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
9.25/10

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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