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This is an ABFH remix contest judge's review.

Right off the bat, I really like the additional lyrics, though I'm not sure the Vocaloid intro could've been sweeter in tone -- it felt right in my face, oof. There are points when the Vocaloid's tone is on point, like on higher notes, but I feel as though it could've started sweeter, and gradually build up to something powerful.

The song feels quirky, but also quite top-heavy in places. There were parts that I felt, as far as the instrumentation was concerned, could do with more humanisation (the brasses), but there was nothing between them and the basses, nothing that made me feel grounded. Even later, when this section repeats and you bring in the piano, it still feels that something is missing.

Nice bassline though, that said. Also, honky-tonk is on point, and mallets too. There's something about that section that relaxes me.

Plus points, in my mind, for taking it in a direction that not many would. You certainly imagined big time, and I appreciate that.

I'd commented in a previous entry that I look for a sense of progression with many things I listen to; I also find it hard to hear it here. Maybe it's to do with the instrumentation, but to me it jumps from one kind of quirky to another kind of quirky. It pulls my heart in one direction, and then another immediately after, till I'm not sure what's going on. In my mind, listening to your notes and your lyrics, I think I can sort of figure it out...? The lyrics are sentimental and beautiful, but the music feels almost as though, with a few tweaks, it could be like Madness (the band). My mind and heart are in conflict listening to this, and I'm not entirely sure if it's a feeling I can roll with.

All the very best for the competition!

Zelazon responds:

I was at work when I saw the response, and I really do appreciate that you really listened to the song.

The vocaloid I was working with (Sythesizer V) was a new one that I had started with this song, which was quite a bit different then the one I had been getting used to (Vocaloid 5). With that in mind, it was hard in the sense that I didn't have as much control over the vocal as I would with V.5, and there was a learning curve that I had to get used to during the production of the song. I had V.5 as a mild background noise and wanted to ensure that that background noise did not overpower the main voice.

What I do want to talk about in great detail is the song itself, which you did catch appropriately as the different feeling that you experience during the song was actually intended during the initial phases of crafting the song.

The format was as follows:

Return Home

However, and this is a big however, when I started crafting the song, this was under the impression that I was only using the instruments in the background. I designed the vocaloid parts because I though that we were only utilizing the instruments, but looking at the thread again, I saw the correction to the contest rules where we had to use the voice you provided for the song.

This left me with a bit of a dilemna... do I scrap the entire song I worked on initially and start anew or do I inter grate the two voice parts together? Why this dilemma came along is because with the crafting of the song initially, there was a narrative of the main singer being at home, away from home, and returning home, with aspect in the middle being a sort of homesickness/darkness that the character is going though. The trumpet and sax in the song were supposed to represent the hectic-ness of job life, hanging out with friends, just busywork in general, and so when I heard the words of the voice parts provided, I realize "oh no, that's not going to work because the voice parts is actually a character arriving home!"

I'm still at this point hesitant to say whether I should or should not have reworked the song to be more cohesive at this point because it would have required me to request additional vocal parts that were not a part of the contest and, as a result, would be unfair of me to have that kind of advantage over other contestants for having adjustable parts. I spend so much time thinking about how to balance the parts altogether versus WHY the parts were there in the first place, as usually competition work allows for little time for a song of this magnitude.

This is why I can understand NekoMika's point about taking more time to master, though many of my song take A LONG TIME to master due to how complex some of the sounds come out. I was given good advice by Jewelz123 for another song I worked with, Voices, about how to balance vocaloid voices in a given song, and I think as I become more experience with vocaloids in general, my mastery on how to balance a song appropriately will begin to show itself.

To end the response, I may come back to this song and work on it late to get some parts more cohesive and may request some additional parts just to have that additional layer more cohesive so that the song makes sense in general. As it is right now, I can see why people are getting confused because I forgot during production to explain and detail that outline of the song in a clear manner. Thank you for the review!

This is an ABFH Remix Contest judge's review.

Oooooh, this right off the bat really made my hair stand on end. The whole thing felt so ethereal, from the very beginning. Those synths are on point, and the way you mixed those vocals... Sublime. I loved your keyboard work on this, and the synths on this, and how you built it up.

Then WHAM! 1:47 comes in. I'd probably have appreciated a little bit of a drop, but that desire fizzles out when I hear that really, really lovely chord progression.

3:00~ or thereabouts seems untouched, even though I know you added your own touches with the bass. Those bird samples feel so nice; they've made my spine tingle. It feels like a blend of 80s New Age music, and some of those choral bits that were uplifting in Katamari Damacy.

I'd noticed that you'd gone a long time without reintroducing the actual dance bits in the music, so yeah, you could've fooled me indeed. Light filtered percussion to slowly bring it back would have been well-placed here, in my mind, before 5:00 hits you like a truck right in the feels.

So many high highs, here, though I feel it could have been built up a bit more gradually (as far as percussion). The whole thing was ethereal and nice, but looking back, it felt quite abrupt in places. The whole mix certainly had a big part to play in how it felt, but so does the percussion in my mind -- however light, it could give a sense of progression, to either calm me or prepare me for something big. It needn't necessarily build up to the big moment in 5:00, either -- even keeping it calm before dropping would've worked. But what matters is that it'd have given me a sense of progression, something I kinda really miss about this whole piece.

All the very best for the competition!

This is an ABFH remix contest judge's review.

To begin, I'm not sure what to make of the drums kicking in like that without much else to back them up -- the guitar is pretty soft, and so is the voice, so the drums are overpowering. It seems as though the other things in that intro were left as-is.

Then, the synth kicks in, and the voice is retimed so that the swing in it disappears, and it feels quite juicy and nice. It really feels like a groove that I can get down to. When it tones back down at 1:42, it feels so in the pocket, with drums / bass / voice. I also enjoy your chord changes, and the little touches you've added.

2:47~ or thereabouts really sent a chill down my spine, in a very very good way. Mixing was on point, and that reverb was sooooo goood.

That ending is so soft and delicate. I enjoyed that piano. It was a nice way to bring to a close a mix with some really high highs.

Overall, there are so many excellent parts about this. Yet, a couple things to mention: first, I'm not sure if it's flowing as smoothly as it can. That intro is an indicator of that. Second, it does make me wonder if you're playing it safe. No harm in that, I guess -- it's just a thing that I'd wondered.

All the very best for the competition!

This is an ABFH remix contest judge review.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It felt bright, and cheerful, and happy all the way throughout. The chiptune was so well placed, even with the strings and other things that you borrowed from the original. The main chiptune melody was singable, too, and that was the hook that drew me in.

My only complaint would be that some of the other melodies just dart around almost aimlessly; it feels as though they're trying hard to fit into the song.

I have no complaints with the mixing; everything has its proper place in here.

All the very best for the competition!

It starts pretty big and festive, then it gets ominous a bit. I love how quirky the melody is. It is off tone, but somehow works very well. Kinda reminds me of ethnic music, as well. That bass going with everything else is class, I love what you did with the progressions in large part as a result of it. (One of the risers towards the end makes it sound more hectic for some reason, but I know this to be a thing that sometimes happen with big room.)

Risers and things seem to be placed well. I can hear and feel why you're so proud of this -- well done.

FelixZophar responds:

Thank you XD

I'd say the sounds do remind me of some really successful N64 games, but the melodies and the floating 3/4 timing actually remind me more of Ar tonelico than they do Zelda. (Some of Tyria's battle themes in Ar tonelico 3 feel very similar.)

Regardless -- it certainly brought about nostalgia, the kind that made me really smile from ear to ear. I like this a lot! Thank you for sharing this with me.

Hikari responds:

Thank you for your review! When I start a song with just chords I tend to make it a waltz for what ever reason.

J'adore les paroles, et surtout le debut -- ca me rappelle un peu Samos des jeux Jak & Daxter, une voix tres sage. En fait je n'ai aucune plainte, et je n'aime pas le rap normalement. Ici, pourtant, je ressens quelque chose qui vient du coeur.

Au fait, je peux aider a traduire les paroles pour tous ceux qui veulent ecouter et lire a la fois, si tu veux.

I was asked for feedback specifically on the guitar, so I'll do my best to provide it.

I like the lead you wrote. It's not prominent, though, until 1:05 or thereabouts, and when it is, it feels a little bit tinny.

1:47 onwards, too many slides IMHO.

I'm only a basic guitarist, but I speak knowing and regularly watching someone play lead guitar. Outside of there being too many slides close to each other, that sounds like a doable lead. It would probably need to match the feel of the song, though, and lead guitarists who want to complement a song would run into trouble. It feels too samey, is the first impression I'm getting with that lead guitar. The piece itself also feels pretty samey apart from a few parts where it dips down.

Well suited to be a level theme, and one that would make me thoroughly immersed. I wasn't sure what to think about your repeated chords but then the middle section came along, and it took my breath away.

I love your risers, your arps. Not sure I feel the rest of the piece the same way, except in sections. Listening to it as a standalone piece would be harder to me than, say, if I were playing a level in it with other sound effects and things.

Seriously consider joining Pixel Day in January next year -- I think you have what it takes to win!

The lead and echoing cymbals at the beginning kinda killed it for me. It gave me the vibe of a bad trap beat. As it progressed, I had reason to like the drums, when you brought in more than the kick. I had reason to like the ambience you created in the middle, with all those windchime-like sounds.

I'd have appreciated a bass line early on, something to ground the piece with. It does otherwise sound like something that someone can rap over, all throughout the piece.

IPA: /tʁwɑ.niks/ || Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, visual artist, writer. Member of ARM Circle. Drummer with The Just Numbers.
Speaks in various tones of meeps.

Annette Singh @Troisnyx

28, Female


Lancashire, UK

Joined on 6/26/11

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