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Ever since "Cranial," I've been looking forward to another collab from you two. The staticky atmosphere at the beginning and the slightly cryptic piano chords complement each other well. The eerie synths and minimal drums are great, too. Also, what the hell did you do to that organ at 1:25? Lol. I like how the piece resets itself at 1:50 before launching into an even glitchier section. My favorite part of the piece is the layering of the different chordal riffs at 2:55 - gives me goosebumps every time I replay it. The melodies at 3:20 or so totally hit the piece home, too. Even though the piece is really minimal at times, and also could use some more harmonic variety, the generous use of detuning and glitches totally makes up for that and then some. This piece is awesome and you should both feel awesome. I'm giving this a "just weird enough" out of 10. Happy 2022! ^_^

SkyeWint responds:

Happy 2022, friend!

This was a pretty quick smack together over about 8 hours on stream, sadly I didn't quite have enough time to play too much with harmony (that and the piano sample didn't have too many harmonies I could make cyclic chord progressions with!) or it would be a LOT crazier. I did definitely want to play with a lot of detuning and weird glitchiness though.

The 'organ' starting around 1:25 is actually two detuned sine waves (they actually detune in opposite directions too, making for some REALLY crazy dissonant harmonies even in the same note, while remaining vaguely identifiable as the same note. One also has some ring modulation and the other has some waveshaping to give it a bit of extra character. It was super fun to make lol

Interestingly, the chords starting at 0:55 or so are actually the piano that's been playing since the very start! But, it's run through a granular synthesis plugin controlled by midi data to make chords that... mostly have an automated rhythm? Makes for a really crazy texture as you can hear! The percussion is also absolute nuts, I have so many glitch plugins on it creating all the weird little alterations when it's mostly just straightforward rhythms at the basis. Great example of that is the high hat starting at 1:52, if you pay attention to it it's doing all kinds of crazy stupid stuff.

Thank you so much for the review, friend!

I love the energy and breathy, chopped vocals at the beginning. The piece is full of variety, yet flows really well. I think my favorite part is the chorus that most prominently features the vocals at around the 1-minute mark. The compression is really heavy here, but it gives the synths such a great punchy vibe without sounding too harsh. The guitar solos at around 3:45 really hit the spot, too - it's a great example of a genre-shifting mid-song that works really well imo. The vocal interlude at 5:00 or so is beautiful, and it progresses really nicely into the last refrain section that re-introduces the electronic elements. Holy shit, what a masterpiece. This piece is so wonderfully, chaotically creative. Keep it up, Garlagan! ^_^

garlagan responds:

thank you TL!!

Ooo, I like this. The dynamic piano melodies and crisp beats really hit the spot, and the airy pads and ghostly leads (like at 1:05) smooth over the texture nicely. The glissando at 2:15 makes for a neat transition, and the production quality here is super tight despite the busy texture. Mood is a great mix of relaxing and energetic. I kinda felt like the ending cam on a bit abruptly, but I'm sure it's meant to loop in-game. I've got to get more in touch with the gaming scene on NG. Good for you for landing all these tracks in games. Happy 2022, TV! ^^

TeraVex responds:

Ayyyy TL! Long time no see! It's great to hear from you, I'm glad you like the track! I still revisit this from time to time, I look back on it fondly.

I really like this! The rhythmic elements of the initial couple of riffs really capture my attention, and the vocals are top-notch as usual. Your mixing and mastering is really strong, too, although occasionally the drums struggle to come through a tad. The structure felt a little formulaic after a time, with a repetitive chorus and some abrupt transitions to boot. A more dynamic solo or extended bridge section might've helped with that. Still, the track has a great, punchy tone and some cool drum fills. Strong work overall, dude2312! ^_^

dude2312 responds:


Been a while! Thank you so much for your input. I am really glad you liked it! I will try to cool it down with the exclamation points but I really like it that you like it! lol

Awesome, man! I've had this playing in the background while I clean out my home office, and I'm really impressed with the musical variety - equal parts danceable, edgy/dramatic, soulful, and mellow. I think Volty's Quest is still my favorite, but the track at 19:26 was also quite easy to hum along to. Part of me wanted the transitions between the tracks to be a bit smoother, but I know that most of them were made to loop in-game. I also like the (purposeful?) choice to put the beautiful, dreamy piece at 33:00 smack dab in the middle of the album. It really feels like a grand intermission of sorts. :) Anyway, looking forward to hearing more from you in 2022 and 2023! Cheers. ^^

ConnorGrail responds:

Thanks for listening! Funny thing, that track at 19:26 is also Volty's Quest, just the second track I made for it. So you might just have a favourite game haha. I'm also glad you enjoyed the quiet little intermission, no better place for a little break than halfway if you ask me 🙂

(Edit: just realized 19:26 is the first track of Volty, the one directly after is the second)

Awesome! You really made this your own, Connor. It has a nice, punchy vibe between the crisp drums and heavy down beats. The rest of the sound design is really top-notch too, and the vocals feel really dynamic between the more subdued tone at the beginning and the more passionate flair towards the end. Your mixing and mastering has really improved over the past year or two as well. Keep at it, man! Happy holidays. ^_^

ConnorGrail responds:

Thanks! glad you liked the dynamics and style of this one, I had fun contrasting the typical holiday music sound. Nice to see your name pop up for another review, happy holidays to you as well

Oh man, you're back! :D I like the pensive mood at the beginning and the somewhat improvisational flair. The piano could probably be "humanized" a bit more, at least before the beat comes in, but the crisp drums and rumbling bass help fill out the texture and shape the flow. For a lot of the piece, there isn't a strong sense that it's building towards something, but the piece really starts falling together once you take the sound design in a more synth-heavy direction at the 3-minute mark or so. The dreamy plucked synths at 4:15 or so really tie the piece back into the "stellar" theme. :) Some of the transitions are a tad choppy here, notably at 5:03, but the melodies at 5:45 tie the piece together well towards the end. Overall, I'm really glad you're back! This track has some great sound design and top-notch production quality, and I'm looking forward to hearing what else is in store for your followers in the near future. ^_^ Hope you're doing well otherwise, too. Have a great holiday season, Lockyn!

Lockyn responds:

Yo I totally missed this, glad to see you TL! Thank you as always for the detailed review. Hope your holidays was great, and here's to a better 2022!

I too found these article titles unnerving when I first heard you talk about them. But I think you're missing the forest for the trees here.

The central argument of the Slate article is that the media's obsession with "fact-checking" isn't going to change anyone's beliefs. Appealing to shared values, however, is more likely to do so. Zimmerman gives the example of someone who believes that "all terrorists are Muslim." Pointing out the many examples of terrorism conducted by people of other religions isn't that helpful if the person's fear of Muslims runs deeper than that. But having a conversation about the deeper issues at heart (i.e., subjective things like what makes a person feel safe, etc.) is more likely to leave the anti-Muslim person with a more open and nuanced perspective, and also help them find common ground with others who they may otherwise disagree with. And btw, Zimmerman's article is categorized as "Science" because there's credible academic research showing that this "feelings-based" method of persuasion works: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282668982_From_Gulf_to_Bridge_When_Do_Moral_Arguments_Facilitate_Political_Influence

The point is that judging the articles by their titles alone isn't really helpful. I don't appreciate Slate's use of overly-provocative clickbait as a headline either, but these articles are worthy of more thoughtful discussion than just "see how ridiculous the MSM is being".

Nevertheless, your poem was amusing.

SilverFoxJams responds:

Thanks for your honest feedback.

You certainly doubled down on the eerie mood and energetic elements here compared to the original. The intro works well for setting up the apprehensive tone of the piece, although you may have gone a tad overboard with the chopped-up vocals, and the shift in the instrumentation at :44 could've been a bit smoother. The drums definitely sound louder, but I also think they're distorting the rest of the texture a bit now. In a piece like this with a lot of attack on the guitars, I'm not sure you need a kick this heavy/prominent. The vocals sound like they're ducking in and out of the mix sometimes, though, which is probably my main concern. I like the change-of-pace in the instrumental track at 2:41 - adds a touch of variety towards the end. I'm honestly not sure this edit would've changed my score enough to justify the 5% "late tax," though. Maybe that's just me confirming my own bias against encouraging people to take the tax, but that's my opinion. :) Still, listening to this piece for a third and fourth time only reassures me that the flow in the rap is top-notch and the sound design is stellar here. It's a really captivating piece - the challenge remains how to have each of the competing elements (guitar, vocals, drums) sit well in the mix. But hey, if you're doing any more rap/metal hybrids, send me a PM! This is stuff I don't see a lot of on Newgrounds, so it's refreshing. Until then, cheers! ^_^

ProjectSoary responds:

Thank you! That's all I wanted to know. That 5% is pretty brutal. Thanks again for going the extra mile and writing this 2nd review! Much appreciated. See you in NGUAC 2022!

I like the twittering synth at the beginning and the rich atmosphere. The sound design is great, perhaps with the exception of the vocaloid. It sounds pretty realistic for a vocoder output, but admittedly that’s a pretty low bar. The production is strong, and I especially like the rhythmic “t’s” toward the end starting at around 1:45. It’s a great subtle way of using the vocoder that makes it impossible to tell it’s a vocoder. The lyrics themselves are also really good, and the theremin melodies at :45 hit the spot too. The composition could have a little more ebb-and-flow over time - right now the energy level is pretty constant, although the piece flows smoothly and seems really cohesive, but also well-varied harmonically. Overall, I’m really enjoying the bright mood, mixing, and rhythmic elements here. The vocaloid strikes me as low-hanging fruit for improvement, but I like the other vocal samples you included here at around 1:30. Thanks for coming out to the NGUAC this year, Vermeen! It’s been a blast. ^_^

Mixing, mastering, and balance
Structure, transitions, phrasing, and variety
Melody, tonality, harmony, and texture
Instrumentation and sound design
Emotion, atmosphere, and catchiness
Originality and uniqueness
Overall (how do the elements above interact?)
Composite score

vermeen responds:

It's been quite the ride! Yeah, I defs agree with the voice, didn't mold it out enough and the arrangement was done in one go (I made it on the same day the song got published lmao)! This song went through so many drafts like it was making me lose my mind but I'm glad I still finished it and didn't tap out. I've learned so much through participating. Thank you so much for your invaluable words and for setting up the contest!

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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