All 180 audio Reviews


Fanfare in c minor Fanfare in c minor

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

--NGAUC Review—

First off, it’s gutsy to submit a solo piece of any variety to a music composition contest. You don’t have a broad sonic palette to hide behind, and you have to find ways to create contrast outside of timbre. With the organ in particular, you don’t have the potential for dynamic shading that can be had with, say, a piano. So yes, gutsy indeed.

Did you pull it off? Well, sort of. I appreciate several aspects of this composition, first and foremost the melodic and harmonic content. In terms of melody, this piece is full of motifs, sequences, and suspensions. There is an attempt at counterpoint, which most of the pieces in this composition lack. And the piece ends on a Picardy Third, and I tend to be fond of such endings. In essence, this piece receives high marks for ambition, for tackling certain compositional challenges that other submissions didn’t even attempt.

Ambitious as the piece is, I feel the compositional technique was weak. Many of the harmonic progressions sounded clumsy and weak. Maybe it’s due to software restrictions, but the piece didn’t take advantage of the organ’s strongest advantage- the variability of tone color that can be achieved through manipulating stops. Much of the melodic writing broke the traditional rules of contrapuntal composition. This is absolutely fine if it is to achieve a certain end, but in this case, it sounded like it was accidental, done out of ignorance of historical conventions.

Perhaps my biggest problem is that the piece doesn’t sound focused. After about two and a half minutes, I began to lose interest. There were no compelling modulations, no really interesting bass lines or interaction between melodies. The texture and rhythmic stylings were fairly stagnant. The piece didn’t move toward a specific climax, and I didn’t feel like the piece had a very intentional contour to it.

I commend you for taking a chance and submitting something different from other competitors, and there were certain aspects of this piece that I enjoyed. I rated this more highly than over half the other tracks, so I certainly did not think it bad. It just wasn’t great to me.

I think that you might benefit from taking fewer ideas and focusing on developing them exceptionally well. Embellish melodic ideas and pass them between voices and octaves. Try for more interesting rhythms. Change textures more often. Think in terms of compositional shape- does each phrase have an arch to it? Do the phrases themselves form an overall arch with one climax for the piece? Are you sufficiently building tension and release? Also, consider studying chromatic harmony, and also counterpoint writing. J.J. Fux’s Gradus ad Parnassum is a fine place to start, and it was studied by many of the masters of organ writing.

Keep on composing!

Score: 7.2



Lost Signals Lost Signals

Rated 3 / 5 stars

--NGAUC Review—

Pros:
-I like the minor key tonality. That was a nice contrast to many other submissions I’ve listened to in this round.
-You had some nice transitions. I particularly liked the build from 2:09 to 2:15. It was subtle but effective.
-The first 33 seconds provided a compelling intro. The texture built at just the right pace.
-I liked the contrast between the percussion and piano at 1:30.

Cons:
-I think the piano needs to come up in the mix, especially around 1:31. It’s the most interesting element in the texture, but it sounds completely subdued. I like the heavy reverb, but I think there needs to be more presence.
-Some sections sound needlessly cluttered to me, particularly at 2:15. Maybe it’s the rapid kick drum, or maybe it’s the EQ, but that section sounds muddy to me.
-None of the melodies or harmonies in this piece were particularly compelling to me. The piano section provided a pleasant sonic contrast, but compositionally, it was just okay. Mostly just quarter notes wandering around scale tones without a strong sense of direction. Some of the percussion and sound effects in this track are unique, but the composition is just okay. Not very good, nor very bad.
-I’m going to have to disagree with SkyeWint about the ending. I think the last note faded out way too quickly, and the whole phrase seemed like it was wandering. I know it is quoting a phrase from earlier, but it just didn’t do much for me. I do appreciate the contrast of the ending though.

This piece to me was decent. It had some good qualities about it, but nothing to particularly impress me.

Score: 6.1/10



Asian Workshop Asian Workshop

Rated 4 / 5 stars

--NGAUC Review--

Oh man, if this piece were only fleshed out!

I think this is one of the most unique tracks in this round of the contest. The chord progression is colorful and there are lots of tasty sounds that catch my attention, like the wind chimes. There is some subtle noise in the background at the beginning...I'm not sure what it is, but I actually really like the texture it adds. Kind of like an old record player.

My biggest problem with this, obviously, is the length. At just under a minute and a half, there isn't much development or contrast. This piece almost feels like an extended intro, which is unfortunate considering how enjoyable it is. I wanted it to keep going, to hear where things would go. Outside of that, I have to agree with johnfn regarding the kick. I think it didn't mesh well with the track, and to me it was a bit overly aggressive.

Really cool stuff and I enjoyed it a lot! Just needs to be filled out more.

Score: 7.7/10


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Sledgehammer Sledgehammer

Rated 3 / 5 stars

--NGAUC Review--

Good mixing on this track, but...There isn't a whole lot to mix. The track is sparse. Not a lot of melodic material going on, nothing particularly interesting in the chord progression, and not a lot of development. This isn't a bad track, but there's not enough going on to make it a particularly good track either. It's quite repetitive, and the ending gave me a sad face. :(

You might consider adding a contrasting section with a different chord progression in the middle, or adding rhythmically active counter-melodies to what you've got here. The melody that comes in at 1:00 is simple, slow, and repeats for a very long time. You could pit some nimble counter-melodies against that for contrast.

What you've got here is a decent foundation, but it needs more compositional depth to be compelling.

Score: 5.8/10



Boundaries Boundaries

Rated 4 / 5 stars

--NGAUC Review--

Dude, I LOVE the energy level in this piece! Within seconds I had a stupid grin on my face and was moving with the music. In that sense, this track was a welcome change of pace during the course of my judging for this round.

First, some of the things I like:

-The melody is catchy and rhythmically interesting, and I love all the little runs and turns
-Transitions were tasteful. I like how you started with chiptune style drums, added a four-on-the-floor kick, and then layered more increasingly complex percussion on top of that
-Contrast between sections. I love the rising falling tension around 2:30 and the vengeful comeback at 2:59!
-Loads of automation and shifting colors

Suggestions:
-The ending fade out could last another bar or two. For how energy-packed the preceding material is, I feel the track should either end with a bang or have a little more time to wind down. It felt a bit unbalanced to have the fade out occur so quickly.
-This piece seriously needs a B section. You've got a gut-punching aggressive sound that rips my attention to your piece, but you don't have enough contrast to keep the energy and my attention focused. There is a lot of development in the sound design and subtle details such as percussion, but that's icing-on-the-cake stuff. The foundation needs more contrast. There are loads of ways to achieve this, and here are just a few ideas: add a section with a different melody and chord progression, change tempo, change keys, drop out the percussion entirely for several measures, add a solo/improvised section, change registers, pass the melody between different instruments or octaves...There are a million ways you can achieve contrast. The important thing is that you have a section that is really different than what proceeded it, something that makes sense in the context of your piece but forces the listener to pay attention and be like, "Oh man, new material!" The more you can do to make your listener engage with the piece, the better. Write music in such a way that people wonder what's going to come next and cause them to ask questions of the music. Repeat something, lay a pattern, and just before it gets old, throw something entirely new at the listener to catch them off guard and laugh in awe of your genius! Writing interesting music is an act of juggling tension and release, surprise and predictability. It's reeling people in to a great story and keeping their eyes glued to you in expectation until the very last word.

You've got such an enjoyable gem of a track here, and I really want to rate it higher! There's that one critical flaw in the foundation though, that weakness in the form that holds this back from being excellent. Keep writing music, and try to think about your material from the perspective of a new listener. Keep asking yourself what you can do better, what you can learn from each track you make.

I'm looking forward to hearing more of your material down the road!

Score: 6.8/10


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Adhenoid responds:

Whoa, thank you very much for your long and detailed review and suggestions! It really helps me getting the bigger picture!! I will keep making music and thanks for looking forward to it!!

Cheers! :D


Nebula Nebula

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

--NGAUC Review--

There are several aspects of this track that I'm impressed with. The textures are constantly shifting, and there are plenty of neat sound design tricks to mostly sustain interest for the duration of the track. I like the rising feel of the first twenty seconds- the resonance of the bass pad, the carefully chosen velocities in the percussion, and the fact that you chose G# minor for the key signature. All good signs off the bat. My favorite part in the track is probably the electric piano that comes in around 1:03. The way you morph the sound of it and layer other elements caught my attention. Kudos on your attention to detail! As good as the sound design is in this track though, there is something lacking in terms of form and structure.

To me, there is great value in drawing parallels between story-telling and music composition. In many cases, a great story features an attention-getting introduction, rising action to build tension, a climax, and then falling action or resolution. Although there is a variation within this structure, most literature follows its general contour, and I believe that the same goes for many notable pieces of music.

This track succeeds in grabbing my attention at the beginning and there is a definite sense of resolution at the end with the thinning texture and slow harmonic rhythm that settles on the tonic chord. The vast middle section, however, doesn't carry me between those two points with compelling development. There was plenty of variety in sound design between sections, but there were no strong melodic ideas or rhythmic motifs to make glue them together. There was no interplay between counter-melodies. The harmonic progressions were fairly static and didn't feel like they were heading any particular direction.

Without strong and recurring melodies, chord progressions, or rhythmic ideas, listeners have little to latch onto. There is little to reward, betray, and manipulate their expectations. Little to get them thinking ahead and engaged. This piece is full of ear-candy, and individual sections have beautiful soundscapes that I can close my eyes and pleasantly float along with, but this piece could be so much more than just 'interesting', 'cool', 'chill', or 'pleasant' if its base had a more compelling internal logic.

As an example, I love the bass line that starts at 3:20. It catches my ear, has an interesting rhythm to it, and provides contrast from the previous sections. But it repeats itself with little variation for nearly two minutes. The chords underneath stay basically the same. All of the sounds on top are neat, but they're just a sort of nice sound on top, and that's how I feel about this track as a whole; it's full of TONS of cool and intricate individual elements that don't come together and evolve cohesively. They just do their own thing, fading in and out as they please. It's like a play with awesome set design, special effects work, and costumes, but none of the characters interact with each other. They're all on stage facing different directions giving soliloquies about vaguely similar topics.

Really interesting track, and I enjoyed listening to it. If it were honed down and focused, it would be formidable.

Score: 7.3/10


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Farewell Life Sad Epic Remix Farewell Life Sad Epic Remix

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

Certain parts of this shine beautifully. The section around five minutes in is thick, gritty, and satisfyingly emotional. The strings throughout have excellent dynamic sculpting. There are many merits here.

The track could be even better if it had more forward momentum. In my opinion, the solo piano sections are inhibiting that potential. Whereas they could provide contrast and release from built up tension, these piano sections feel stagnant and slightly redundant, as if they were copy and pasted. They don't feel organic, and they don't feel like they serve a strong compositional purpose. To me they feel like a pretty pad that takes up space.

There is some variation in the piano, at 3:05 for example. I wish there was more. I wish that within the solo piano sections, there was an internal sense of movement. More rising and falling dynamics, more of the piano range used, varying melodies, elaboration of existing ones. I think that this piece would be better if it were either edited down to a shorter length or if the repetitive parts were given attention.

I really like what you did here! I'd love to see it meet its full potential. Looking forward to future submissions from you.


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Counter-Cathexes[Piano] Counter-Cathexes[Piano]

Rated 4 / 5 stars

Your piece has beautiful chord progressions and pleasant melodic ideas. The first eleven seconds are particularly interesting in the way the piano line rises in an arpeggio and then falls in block chords.

The bulk of this piece consists of left hand arpeggios and sustained melodic tones. This lends to a airy, impressionistic atmosphere. I wish within that there would be more melodic development (like you start to touch on at 4:54). Try using more of the piano's range, and perhaps consider creating some counter-melodies. Varying the accompaniment pattern more might prove beneficial. The length of this piece would be more justifiable with more tension and release. I believe Chopin nocturnes to be a goldmine of ideas regarding melodic development.

You've got a beautiful framework down, and I'd love to hear it developed further. Looking forward to more of your music!


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HeAvEn-SmiLE responds:

Hello!

Wow, I didn't expect to see that, this is a truly aspiring review, I'll be honest, and sorry to disappoint you: I just learnt to play the piano by myself that year, I have no official formation, So I'm not familiar with any of the vocabulary you just used.

But, I don't want to simply say that, so I took some time to fully understand the review, and this is a really impressive, informative and joyful review you just sent me there.

This version is actually the light version of what I would like to make, the sustain melodic tones are supposed to be mostly interpreted by a lyrical female singer, and there would be a lot of FX's inspired by Flying Lotus, Fergusson, Silent Hill, and Ed Harrison (strings, Atmospheric sounds etc.)

And yes, this version isn't finalized also, I understand that I'm acting as a repetitive goof for this one, and the version I can now play is definitely better, and the next version, that will be settled in the official soundtrack will be much different.

Now, I thank you a lot for your review as I'm currently discovering some of the Chopin Nocturnes to find some inspiration, also, the words you used, how you structured your review about the music is outstandingly one of the most honnest and aesthetic review I've recieved on NG, for that my friend, I can only thank you, but I'll find a way to catch up!


In his darkened heart In his darkened heart

Rated 5 / 5 stars

Did you perform both the violin and the piano parts? If so, you did fantastic! Just a couple minor timing issues, but very nice overall. I would love to hear this orchestrated. <3


Lumina33 responds:

Yeah I did this :) thanks a lot! :D
An orchestrated version could be very nice indeed!


Crystal Cave Crystal Cave

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

I love your chord progression starting at 1:13, and the little piano riff in the background is lovely. I can totally imagine this in an RPG! :D

What's your musical background?


Lumina33 responds:

Hello, and thank you so much! :D
I didn't understand your question, what do you mean? :)