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I like the cutesy synth riffs at the beginning and the bouncy beat. Some of the synths are a bit cheesy, but they pair well with the upbeat mood and crisp drums. The melodies at :44 are nice, but they could’ve been a bit more up-front in the mix compared to the rhythm section. The panning here is also pretty heavy for my tastes sometimes. Composition-wise, you clearly have a strong sense of harmony and progression, although the harmonic framework is pretty generic and the drums could be a bit more creative at times. I appreciated the scale-back in the texture at 2:30 to offer some more structural contrast. Other than that part, the piece felt like the piece had a near-constant energy level for 6 minutes, which is a lot of time to stay engaged. I’m enjoying the melodies at 3:51, and again at 4:22. The arrangement of this piece feels a little dragged-out, especially since there isn’t much of a strong sense of overarching “story” here, but it’s still smooth-flowing and has a good amount of variety. Overall, this is a strong piece, Pandaguru! Nice work with the production, melodies, transitions, sound design, and mood. :)

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
.75/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.5/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
1/1
Composite score
8.25/10

Pandaguru responds:

Thank you for the detailed review and organizing the competition! Will keep your points in mind for next time.

I like the emotional appeal of the piano at the beginning. The pacing is a little slow, but I’m really enjoying the cello melodies at :30 and the dramatic crashes. The deep brass and somber string melodies at 1:15 pair really well together, and overall the progression is smooth and the texture is well-balanced. My main gripe here is with the mixing. The mix is super quiet, and for much of the piece the percussion could be a lot sharper. Otherwise, it fades into the background a bit, especially from 1:05-1:30. After that, the percussion better accomplishes the goal of driving the piece forward, and I’m enjoying the sense of build-up into 1:57 or so. The return of the piano melodies at 2:00 was a pleasant surprise, and the dramatic section at 2:16 did a good job of bringing closure to the piece. Overall, the composition here is really strong, and I also thoroughly enjoyed the sound design and progression too. Some more attention to detail on the mixing could help thicken up the texture and really make the drums pop during some of the more mellow sections of the piece, but at the end of the day that feels like a pretty minor complaint in light of the killer melodic content and arrangement. Keep at it, Omson! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.25/2
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?)
1/1
Composite score
9/10

Omson responds:

Thank you so much for this review! I have to admit, now it bugs me a lot that I'm the only one with an 8 score who didnt make it.. But thank you all for putting so much time to make this competitions happen!

I like the upbeat mood at the beginning. The piano melodies are nice, but the instrument itself feels a bit generic - as if the sample is right from FL Keys. The rest of the sound design is solid, though. I’m enjoying the acoustic drum kit, slap bass, and smooth guitars. The composition could’ve been a tad more dynamic at times, especially during the lengthy middle section, and I think the drums could’ve used a boost in the mix, especially during the refrain at 1:16. Overall, the arrangement feels a bit formulaic, without much in the way of phrasing or smooth, gradual transitions. Besides the relatively quiet drums, the mixing is good, but compositionally it also feels a tad underdeveloped. I’m liking the cutesy mood, instrumentation, and harmonies, though. I’d encourage you to keep working on this one - it totally has potential. Keep at it, Namnotwastaken. :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
.75/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1.25/2
Instrumentation and sound design
.75/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.75/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.5/1
Composite score
7/10

I like the gritty bass synth at the beginning and the phasing effects. The kick drum is a bit heavy for my tastes, especially when the texture is so minimal around it. The eerie sound effects are cool, but overall there isn’t a lot of harmonic content in this piece to keep me engaged. The rhythmic elements are cool, but the composition is a little bland at times and the reverb is pretty excessive. The arrangement of the piece is also pretty choppy at times - take the sudden transition at 2:06, for example. I think my favorite element of the piece is probably the production quality. Despite the overuse of reverb, the instruments all sound clear and distinct in the mix throughout. Given the minimal texture, however, that might be easier to accomplish than in most tracks. Overall, the piece needs a much stronger sense of development and harmonic depth to satisfy some of my compositional criteria. The mixing and sound design are both pretty cool, though, and you certainly nailed the rhythmic content. Keep at it, Michamadman! :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
.5/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
.25/2
Instrumentation and sound design
.5/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.25/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
5/10

I like the emotional quality of the piano at the beginning and the bouncy synths at :25. The progression is a little slow-paced, but I liked the build-up into 1:03. The percussion at the drop is a little generic, and I also would’ve liked to see some more harmonic variety at some point. You did a nice job crafting the upbeat mood and dynamic contrast, though. I also liked the cute melodies at the breakdown at 1:43. Things come together well at the second “emotional height” of the piece at 2:24, but it’s still missing a bit of dynamism in the composition, at least in terms of the harmonic structure. The mixing is strong here, although at times it feels a tad over-compressed, especially at :22 where the kick takes up so much space. Still, you won me over here with the upbeat mood, melodies, emotional appeal, and phrasing. Keep at it, MestrixMusic! :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1.25/1.5
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
.25/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
8.25/10

MestrixMusic responds:

Thanks man, super stoked to be in the finals. I'll take what you said into consideration!

I like the upbeat piano riff at the beginning. The melodies struggle to come through the mix a bit once the harmonies come in at :20, but I’m enjoying the build-up into :41. I’m not a huge fan of vocoders, admittedly - it’s really hard to make them sound natural/articulate. That said, the vocals are mixed well, and the texture fills out nicely around them. The chord progression is a bit generic, along with some of the sound design (lead synth, piano, and some of the drum samples, for example). The piece is smooth-flowing and well-structured. I enjoyed the melodies too, although towards the end they could’ve used some more variety, especially during a relatively long piece. Overall, my main problem with the piece is the lack of originality in the harmonic structure, arrangement, and instrumentation. The production quality, transitions, and mood help make up for that, though, and the lyrics and rhythmic content are also really nice here. Keep at it, LordJabeebus! ^_^

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
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
.25/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
1/1
Composite score
8/10

I like the quirky chord progression at the beginning and crisp drums at :13. The rhythmic content is really nice, although the composition could’ve been a bit more dynamic. I also think you overdid the reverb on that effect at :40 that sounds like a duck quacking in slow motion. The texture is pretty bottom-heavy, and sometimes the harmonies blatantly clash (like at 1:35). After that, the piece felt a tad repetitive, and also could’ve used some more dynamism in the harmonies. Honestly, the clashing harmonies don’t bother me as much as the excessive reverb and lack of variety here. You did a nice job of setting up this really experimental and somewhat dystopian-sounding texture, but I wanted to see a bit more “storytelling” after that. Still, the mood, atmosphere, originality, and sound design get top marks from me, and besides the reverb the production holds up well too. Keep at it, Kalviter! ^_^

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
1/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.5/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
1/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.25/1
Composite score
7.25/10

I like the echo-y synths at the beginning and the ominous mood. The texture is pretty minimal, and the piece is also a bit slow to progress, but the furtive-sounding melodic content at 1:06 is a nice touch. This would make a great backing track for a space-themed video game, but by itself I’m not sure the composition feels dynamic enough to make for a stand-alone piece. The wet percussion at 2:57 is cool, but by 3:15 I think it’s taking up a bit too much space in the mix, especially because of the excessive reverb. The melodies at 3:45 or so work really well towards giving the piece a sense of closure and resolve. The rhythmic liberties you took at 4:27 are cool, too. Overall, the mixing on this piece is solid, and by the end you won me over on the composition too. The quirky atmosphere, sound design, rhythmic content, and “slow burn” climax really work well together. Keep at it, Juicewhompa! :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
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
1.5/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
1/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
.75/1
Composite score
8.5/10

I like the rich atmosphere and solid sub-bass right off the bat, and the neat arpeggios at :13 are a nice touch. The vocals at :26 are a bit cheesy, but I’m enjoying the build-up into :53. The drop had some cool rhythmic content, but the lead synth sounded a bit harsh in my headphones. The breakdown at 1:45 with the piano melodies was strong, but after that the piece felt a tad repetitive. The drop at 2:40 is very minimal, and also a tad harsh in the treble range. Overall, the production quality here is very strong, if a tad over-compressed. The composition is solid, although some more variety in the harmonic content would’ve been appreciated. My main complaint with the composition is probably that the arrangement is very generic. That said, the sound design is good, although that clap sample has a lot of top-range frequencies in it for my tastes. Overall, though, this is a catchy track with a fun, upbeat mood, cool instrumentation, and some strong mixing. Keep at it, Jekoer! :)

Mixing, mastering, and balance
1.75/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1.25/1.5
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
1.75/2
Instrumentation and sound design
.75/1
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
1.25/1.5
Originality and uniqueness
5/1
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
1/1
Composite score
8.25/10

I like the jazzy atmosphere at the beginning and the echo-y percussion. The distorted guitar at :20 is another nice addition to the sound design on top of the spacey pads and smooth bass. The atmosphere drops away a bit suddenly at :38, but the dreamy breakdown at :58 helps rekindle that moodiness that I found so appealing in the first 30 seconds of this piece. The production quality here is really strong, too. The return of the gritty guitars at 1:53 drags me back down to earth, at which point I might’ve liked to see a bit more harmonic variety. Still, you’ve kept me engaged with the creative drum riffs (like at 2:38) and pleasant surprises in the texture (like the addition of the acoustic guitar at 2:58). The composition on the refrain could’ve been a tad bolder, but otherwise all of the pieces are in place here - you nailed the emotive, dreamlike quality, in addition to the mixing, sound design, and progression. Keep it up, Introverse! ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
2/2
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
1.25/1.5
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
9.25/10

Introverse responds:

Thanks again for wonderful feedback!

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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