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That bass feels like a pocket groove to begin with. The odd dissonance crescendo gives me the feeling of being pursued. When staccato, it does bring to mind Jak II when there is a huge horde of enemies to take down (that has gotta be some of the earliest instances of programmable music I know), and those high staccatos basically give off the highest level of warning.

The sound effects are on point.

I'm not sure I'm feeling the melody so much, or more to the point: whether it is conveying that same level of emotion as what you are describing. The SNES was capable of some very lush textures (if you remember the Upper Brinstar music from Super Metroid for example), and they could be used to add dissonant descending chords for instance, to give off that heaviness in the air, that feeling of hardship and dread.

I don't get that from the melody; I would appreciate that section being expanded upon to allow for that emotional play.

OliRO responds:

Thank you so much for the very informative review! I'm happy that I managed to convey some of the elements I wanted to go for. That's a big win for me.

My music skills definitely needs polishing and I'm glad for people like you who step out of their way to take the time to point out workable flaws and give constructive comments.

Merci :)

That lead that quick-fades in and out has the vibe of someone whistling or playing a reed instrument in the breeze. Haunting.

ian-booms responds:

Thank you! That's exactly the sort of vibe I was aiming for!

Woefully underrated and woefully underappreciated from what I can see; I enjoyed every moment of it -- even the seemingly less polished, less on-the-beat moments. The whole thing felt so real, like I could see you performing it with other musicians. There's a LOT of energy and drive keeping this going.

TSRBand responds:

Thanks for tuning in! Happy you liked it :) rock on ♪ ♫

Long time no see! This piece is as melodic and soulful as I remember your style being. Your chords and key changes have pleasantly caught me off guard; this has been a joy to listen to.

SilverPoyozo responds:

Ye, it's been a whiiile! Love when a fellow musician enjoys my chord progressions, hahah. Thanks for the kind words, I had a great time making this.

That bass line flows like liquid gold. What a pocket groove this is. 😁

RealMrSnuggles responds:

thanks!

This is a NGADM Round 2 review.
Each score is out of 10, for a total of 50.

COMPOSITION: 7

I mention a good bit of what I perceive on a visual / emotional level regarding the composition in Emotion below, but for what I haven't spoken of, let me deal with it here.

The percussion is driving and high-energy and evocative of a lot of imagery that I talk about to my right, and the synth pads are comparatively static. I mention my qualms about the accompaniment below.

There is some occasional bass that grounds the piece, and sometimes it's not there; fair enough.

The melody and chords dip in and out of tonality on a regular basis, giving me some occasionally discordant, and occasionally pleasant, and often unexpected, twists and turns. This is not something I would mark down, though what I would mark down can be summed up below:

There is a lot of purposeful dissonance, though it feels like there's so much missed potential as it is really truly only done in the leads and very occasionally the chords. Even syncopation, blipping in and out, and even bass patterns and different accompaniment styles could lend to this feeling of dissonance and discord that I speak of below. There is no one way to write leads or accompaniments -- deliver on this more. Experiment more. It currently feels like the atonality and nonconformity are restricted to some parts of the piece.

PRODUCTION: 8

The synths feel quite thick to begin with, but the strings feel like they're lacking a warmth, a fatness, and so do the percussion. A thickening of the mix could certainly help here.

Outside of this, everything is balanced and has its place. It's quite wide, it's quite lush.

EMOTIONAL IMPACT: 8

I'm feeling a very gritty and sombre, but also flamboyant and flighty feel to this piece all at once. The melodies and shifting scales lend themselves to that flamboyance. I get quite a few visual pictures of people expressing various different outward signs of the gender and sexuality spectrum, whether through selfies, through everyday writings, through living their lives, or through protest; I feel like the way the leads go, dipping in and out of tonality, bring to mind these various images.

There is an anger about it, driven by the percussion and the hi-octane feel, almost as if to say, we will not conform. There is a sense of protest about this piece.

Parts of this piece feel quite discordant and jarring to me -- but perhaps on-point for the title and its description. It's musical allegory. Just like there's no one set way to be, there's no one set way to write leads. My main emotional complaint, that gashes the score, is that I would have loved to see this explored a lot more, beyond just the leads -- because there's certainly more than one way to write accompaniment sections, too, to add to the diversity that no one sees outside. Because as is, the hi-octane feel of the accompaniment could fit some sections, but it felt long and drawn-out by the end, still giving a feeling of 'samey-ness.'

The ending is actually pretty fun by comparison (I know that it draws on a previous section that you've done beforehand), and reminds me of multi-coloured bubbles rising in the water and into the air.

UNIQUENESS: 10

It's original, I'll certainly give it that. I'm hearing a fair bit of the OST to Mirror's Edge in terms of the high-energy percussion and things, but going as atonal as you have on a piece like this is not something we hear everyday. In fact, I daresay it's not something we hear almost at all.

MEMORABILITY / REPLAYABILITY: 7.5

I remember everything about this piece -- which is not something I generally do with more atonal, discordant pieces. Everything, from the flow of the leads, to the energy of the accompaniment, and the emotional delivery -- I remember it all. I remember initially not remembering it fondly, but it seems to have grown on me since.

Will I be listening to this again?... Strangely enough, yes. I mean, I'd also love to listen to this with added changes, but this one has a strange charm of its own, aside from the statement you're making. Will I be recommending this to other people? Yes, but only to limited audiences perhaps -- this sort of overt atonality is ostensibly not for everyone. For it to reach wider audiences I imagine that this piece needs to not stand on its own, but instead have visuals to accompany it for example, things that could actually drive it home. As a standalone, I remember it reasonably fondly -- I don't know if others would share what I think.

----------

TOTAL: 40.5 / 50

Zoonotist responds:

Thank you for your awesome gigantic review :O

Those words and thoughts of your accurately described the track. Thank you again :)

This is a NGADM Round 2 review.
All scores are out of 10, for a total of 50.

COMPOSITION: 8

The piece feels quite short, and restrained. The melodies played by the strings and other lead instruments are singable and memorable. The chords do feel like they repeat a fair bit. There's some slight deviation in the middle when the glock appears -- a welcome change, for were it not there, I daresay the piece might have sounded a tad samey to me.

Nice rallentando to bring in the main melody again.

Your soft-loud and structure are on point. I do wish that the piece were a little longer, as the melodies you introduced here, as well as the theme of grief and clutching at memories in dreams, are things worth expanding upon.

PRODUCTION: 10

Wide, atmospheric, and bringing out the physicality of the instrument -- I have no complaints as far as this piece is concerned.

EMOTIONAL IMPACT: 10

The composition and the production here both give me a feeling of sorrow, the weight of mourning and loss on my chest, and the squeezing feeling that comes with it. The flute that comes in feels suitably mournful, reminiscent of someone singing a plaintive final chant to ease the loved one's soul.

1:31 brings to mind slightly happier moments, with that more playful glockenspiel -- they are fleeting away, like the physical proximity we had to a person we lost. The flute reappears again, losing some of its air -- almost as if the flautist playing is choking up, trying to muster breath to play in between the tears and the weight of sorrow on their chest.

It's back to the weight in my chest at about 2:31. I do feel my tear ducts filling, and the more I type about this, the more they fill.

Props to you for bringing about this visceral reaction of sorrow in such a noticeably short piece.

UNIQUENESS: 7

Sad mournful pieces like this are ubiquitous in VGM and films, and elegies with slightly scherzo elements are uncommon, but not unheard of. Shorter pieces with restrained melodies are also quite common.

That said: you owned this well, injecting a lot of visceral emotion into this mix, something which most pieces of this kind do not do. In my last review of a piece of yours I spoke of the physicality of an instrument; I sense it again here.

MEMORABILITY / REPLAYABILITY: 9.5

I remember every melody. I remember every articulation of each instrument, and the feeling it gave me. I remember the feeling of being squeezed with pain. I also remember how short it is.

Will I play this again? On its own, yes, but I would argue for a longer version in future. Will I recommend this to others? Yes, for the subtle emotional detail, and the feelings it gives.

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TOTAL: 44.5/50

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EDIT: Following up on your response, I would vary. Vary, vary, vary. Give me the squirming of tremolo strings, give me the full vulnerability of a soul singing with their beloved before they part ways forever, into different planes. Go down musical paths less trodden. Write this with a LOT less restraint than you are doing, if possible. Grief is not a solemn, stately emotion a lot of the time. It is loud, it is uncomfortable, it rouses others to grief and compassion. It is also often unseen, and can ring like screams into the night. Imagine what it'd be like if you managed, through some emotional feat of strength, to pull this off — to go into the dream and to spare no emotional or environmental detail!

I'm saying this to you as a guideline. Don't just give me any song of grief. Give me *yours,* with every inch of tears and hard feelings and bitterness that stays for years to come. If the dream is pleasant, capture the gleam of the sunlight, the rippling of the water, every little detail, in as cohesive a form as possible, and taking us on a journey (which is what I'm expecting you want to do). Because right now, this is not something that many do, if this is done at all.

Uniqueness, to a great extent, is not just about blending influences. It's about defining what your own musical voice is, and letting that be drawn out. I know you will probably be searching in your soul for this; it can take a short time, it can take a long time.

Everratic responds:

Thank you for the review again! I appreciate your hard work to help make participation in this competition beneficial and rewarding.

I'm curious, what do you think I could have done to earn a 10 in uniqueness without changing the composition fundamentally?

edit: Those are good points, thanks for the follow up.

Those are some very soulful chords and that is very soulful piano playing. The arps add to this piece quite nicely. The lead is singable and memorable.
Drums are sounding a little bit thin in the mix, that they're buried behind much else, and I think the bass is equally thin as well -- these ground the piece, and without it, the song itself comes across as fairly thin.

Leading up to 2:21 you could always transition -- sparklies, cymbal rolls, timpani rolls can always create that nice crescendo into the next section and there's a reason that we use them for sound colour, and not just for rhythm. If you'd like something that heightens the impact without taking away from the progression that you've got, those are some quick fixes.

FionaTheDream responds:

thank you for the detailed review!

The melody is a quirky one -- some parts feel like they're meandering, but some parts feel memorable. That being said, I'm not quite sure what to think about this beginning section -- it doesn't quite hold my attention well.

THOSE CHORDS ON THE PIANO ARE JUST PERFECTION. THOSE 7THS. And leading up to "I wanna be with you every day", that satisfied me. From the instrumental breakdown onwards, you certainly got my head turning, and I'm glad that I didn't regret listening to this and stop it right away -- because I could get lost in this longer bit of the piece.

4:26 has the chords of "I wanna be with you every day" but the verse lyrics, and I like that switch-up of things.

I haven't got complaints regarding mixing preferences -- it feels like the drier kind of trance that has sounds popping up on my left and my right, and takes me back to some older Japanese V2 and V3 pieces.

littlemusicboy1628 responds:

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. <3

I like how it opens up -- it feels like bubbles, like an experiment at its beginnings. Or someone in stasis being monitored. It gives me that feel.

The drums are spot-on; the way they're done here remind me of a number of Sting songs. They feel quite natural and don't demarcate the 5/8 in stereotypical ways. I have no complaints about the mixing or the production.

You've experimented with quite a few textures and different ways of feeling, all the while using just two chords. There's a lot of variation and dynamism packed into the 1'50" of this piece. For what it is, it is well done -- I would, however, love to hear you expand on this a *lot* more as there are several different directions I could see this going into, and it does feel quite unfinished to me. The music feels like it's attempting to tell me a story, but it's been cut short -- and it's just the kind that I want to sit down and listen to intently from start to end.

I could see further diversion into other odd signatures as it expands (7/8, seamless 10/8 or others that I haven't mentioned), breaks and lifts in the tension that are only teased here.

vocaloutburst responds:

Hahaha hearing you say that it feels unfinished and it needs more means that my plan worked PERFECTLY!!! This track is apart of a series where I make an instrumental track for the purpose of others adding whatever they want on top of it! Also that 7/8 or 10/8 idea sounds wild...I must experiment XD

Pronounced "trwa-nix." I dream up meepy dreams full of meep.
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Joined on 6/26/11

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