Yo, what's up? It's birdy boy, poppin' in for another OL jam. Let's take a look...
Overall, this is pretty agreeable, but not memorable enough to make it a favourite. I'll try to explain why!
My main problem with this song is that the drums feel like they're just...there. They play different patterns, but they don't feel particularly essential to the arrangement. I guess what I'm saying is that I could easily see them being replaced without affecting the mood of the song. I will say however that their dry sound helps them stand out from all the reverb you've got on the synths, which is a good mixing decision.
The synths and melodies are all pretty good, though I could've used something more different texturally around the middle of the song (1:47) just to prevent fatigue (the dynamic change is welcome, though). 2:51 to the end is the strongest section to me; it really cements that main "hook" in to your mind, and the lingering of the backing tracks followed by the cutting of the drums and that warm pad make for a solid outro.
To help this song, I would change up the drums to something heavier -- something that complements the big sound of the synths you've used (especially that pad!). The panning you've put on the existing drums is alright, but I feel like it's there to compensate for their lack of power, making them stand out in a different way that isn't as satisfying as it could be.
A extra synth or two used somewhere in the middle of the song as a main atmosphere builder/base would help the song sound a little less generic and add variety.
Melody writing is not a problem for you. The stuff I hear here is naturally interesting, so if you want to improve, focus on other areas first!
Overall, I don't have issue with the mixing, but the arrangement could use some work. I hope you find this constructive and helpful. If you have any questions, or want me to take a look at something you post in the near future, shoot me a PM!
I completely agree. That's why I've been waiting to make a new track haha. Once I have my new setup, I'll have new options.
Just wanted to say thanks for posting this version, SW. I agree with your statement about the emotionality of the instruments, and actually prefer them by themselves to the full song that you also have posted.
Great drum patterns. Dope chords. Instant download. Thanks for making this.
Is it the OpenLight Signature Series Synth? That shit's out of my price range, but it seems to be working for you, huehuehue
Whatever you used, is it responsible for the bass? If so, is it a preset or did you make it yourself? It's nice.
When it comes in at 0:13, I dig it. It really helps to build that intro, along with the cymbal sweep at 0:26 capping it off.
My initial reaction as the song kicks in to gear is that the kick sounds a touch too loud. I like the sound itself -- it's thick, and you're smart to have the bass sidechaining to make room for it, but if you turned it down maybe 1 or 2 dBs, it might fit better in the mix. Right now it overpowers the snare, even though the snare is panned to the right (which I don't mind). By "overpowers", I just mean that my focus is drawn to the kick more than I'd like, and you've picked a good snare sound, so I wish you'd have brought that out more and left the kick back a bit (drum balance).
The arpeggios are cool -- I like how they filter fade going in to the section at 0:39.
I don't think giving the bass chords at 0:58 was a good idea; I know you wanted to transition in to the next section, but the layered sound that you ended up getting is pretty grating. Instead, I think just keeping the bass notes the same there and intensifying the kick's pattern that you start at 1:01 would work better. By that I mean making the pattern get faster, like you've started to do, but even to a greater degree in the final bars before it cuts out at 1:04. Since the part at 1:04 is a bit of a break, having an intense kick pattern like I suggested right before would add even more contrast, emphasizing the difference between the two sections.
Good snare pattern at 1:04. A bit more of that bass grating at 1:17, but it leaves quickly.
The main synths here are playing very interesting melodies. Cool and fast paced. I love how they start fading in and out at 1:43.
Bringing the bass back in at 1:49 -- genius!!! Really ties it back to the intro. Good decision.
Nice simple hi hat pattern at 1:56.
Were you intentionally lining up the peak of the cymbal sweeps and the fading in of the main synth that I mentioned before? I just noticed it -- together, they have a nice "wave" effect.
I enjoyed you bringing back the first part of the song at 2:15. Simple, but powerful.
Cool snare patterns at 2:28.
Overall, this all sounds like pretty typical OpenLight. Lots of reverb, good melodies, and gosh darn it I wish the drums were just a tad different haha.
Please enjoy my wall of text, bro.
I mean Birdinator99.
Or do I.
Drums are my weak point haha. In my defense, RetromanOMG made me raise the kick 1 or 2 dBs. I had it probably at a level you'd have liked before lol. The bass layering didn't sound as good as I thought it would too, so I'd change that in the future.
I really appreciate this review! Thank you, man.
Hello! Good to see you again.
Unlike the reviewer below, I don't think the quality of the piano sound you used is sub-par in any way. In fact, I liked the way you mixed it, and you're just as good at writing melodies as you've ever been. Note velocities could be varied even more than what you have here.
I see you're still rocking that aaviolin. It fits well with the piano. Great reverb on all instruments.
There is a piano soundfont that's part of the large .sf2 pack that you probably got aaviolin from. I think it's called florestrian piano, or something close to that (?). Is that the one you are using? If you don't know what I mean, don't worry about it. I think that that piano is less sensitive to velocity changes...
Only part I don't like is when you have a cool chord progression that feels like it's going somewhere, but then it changes to something unexpected. See: starting at 3:13. Some of the chords jive with each other, and others feel forced. I don't know how many key changes are in that section, but it feels like too many.
Overall, very relaxing and cool. Solid job, fairly interesting. Don't stop!
Thanks! I agree with the chord progression stuff you said; I was just, and in some ways still am, in a creative slump, so I went wherever I could go lol. I use something called "Piano 4" that may have been in the same pack, but it requires a lot of mixing to get it to sound nice enough to be in a song.
I'll check out florestrian piano next time I do a piano track. Thanks for the review! I'll head by your page a bit later and catch up.
This is my favourite song out of all the finalists' -- I think you have the best shot to win, man. This is just quite awesome.
Cool synth intro. Love that burst of reverb to kick the song in gear. This track has a sort of dark quality to me that I'm really digging. It's not something I can place specifically, but I'm getting a great vibe from it all.
Great drums -- punchy and impactful. Cool guitar playing; it makes this track feel less like heavy metal and more like a metal "anthem", something to rally a crowd around (which seems to have been your intention, as I can see in the author comments).
Part at 0:29 is so mysteriously cool; nice buildup to the chorus.
The vocal harmonies on the word "rise" are wonderful. The intensity they bring keeps the flow going.
Guitar solo is sweet. Drum fills are kicking ass all over the place -- I can't keep track of 'em, bro!
I'm glad you did the vocals on this. It adds a more personal touch to it -- it makes the song more "yours" and therefore memorable. You've got a good voice.
Everything's well produced, and the theme tie-in with the contest is a nice bonus. Just realized that there's no bass guitar (at least I'm pretty sure). If I'm right, then you did a good job EQing whatever guitar tracks you have to give the illusion of a bass.
Don't have a problem with the length -- I think you got everything you needed to in there. It's catchy as hell, and it's going in my favourites. Congrats on making the final round -- good luck!
Awwwh yeah thanks man!
I used 6-7 different instruments/sounds in that intro, even cutting up the main lead guitar and reversing it. Also, I think the dark tone to the song came from the idea that we're struggling against a more powerful enemy who can crush us if they so choose. We have to always be careful!
It means a lot that you like my voice, that's the thing I've been focusing on the most since I started doing it seriously just this year. Nobody has said they didn't like my voice (actually, many said they liked it or were jealous!!!) which is a big deal to me. Considering I'm still a novice singer that means things can only get better! Next goal: Soaring high notes! Woo!
I consider this to be some of my best mixing/production to date so I'm glad you seem to agree. There is a bass guitar though, I played bass, guitar and sang, I just forgot to add the bass in the description. You can't get that kind of depth without a bass guitar I'm afraid. ^_^
Thanks a million Birdinator!!!
*Edit: Added the bass to the description!*
You remind me of myself for some reason. In a couple of different ways, but I won't get into it. Cool song you've got here -- I'll gradually work my way through:
0:05 -- Thought my master volume faded out completely haha. Never mind, all clear!
0:22 -- Nice piano medley. That kick drum has a lot of reverb! Not necessarily a bad thing...
0:40 -- Bells on the left side were a good choice. Lovely violin playing by your friend. I'm finding the drums a little flat overall -- needs some punch or brightness.
1:17 -- Oh that's so happy haha. The pleasant mood continues.
1:31 -- Can't say I like the notes your bass synth played here. They bleed together a little, and it sounds off just a tad.
1:36 -- A welcome change. Great peppiness, and it complements the first part well. Cool lead part.
1:54 -- Wow, where did that come from? Transition's a bit rough, but I like this next section. Super chill. Morse code, you say? Can't I've heard that in a song before. Don't think anyone would've picked up on it, you're right hehe
2:12 -- Were those castanets?!?! Love it.
2:41 -- I'm liking the volume increase here. Makes me want to know where it goes next!
3:00 -- Nice drum patterns continuing through here to 3:28.
3:23 -- The transition here is actually really good. It works! Don't change it!
3:32 -- Back to the happiness.
3:51 -- I appreciate what you're trying to do here with the toms, but the mixing of the drums is still bothering me. They don't have much of a presence. Probably too much reverb on the drums as well overall.
4:10 -- Ending is about lukewarm for me. It's appropriate, but it's nothing special. Like my endings! Weeeeee!
Overall, I like it. It does suffer from some flat mixing, as well as what I feel is too much reverb on almost everything, but especially the drums. Changing the reverb alone to something a little more modest would tighten it up, and increase the listener's focus on certain instruments. That said, the piece feels unique and there's a lot of cool things going on here. Very cool to have a real violin in there.
Congrats on making the final round! Cheers.
I don't know why, but I've heard that a lot of experienced musicians are reminded of themselves. :)
=> 0:22 =>
Piano melody, I presume? In which case, thanks! The kick-drum-having-tons-of-reverb thing was a bit of a hassle, because it provided nice ambience, but when I tried to increase the sound through peak limiting it started sounding like a pop song. Eh.
=> 0:40 =>
I don't have very good drum samples. :P Glad you liked the other instruments, though!
=> 1:31 =>
:D Can't blame you. I'm still kind of a novice at working with distortion.
=> 1:36 =>
I really enjoy making lead synths like that. It just energizes the track up by so much!
=> 1:54 =>
The transitions are probably where I got screwed. :P I understand if this one doesn't really float your fancy.
=> 2:12 =>
Castanets! Yup! Random sound effects ftw
=> 3:00 =>
I've been working more and more with progressive drum patterns. Glad you liked them!
=> 3:23 =>
Seriously? Thanks! I think the quick synths comes in a bit suddenly, but if you like it, great!
=> 3:51 =>
I'm not entirely sure how to make drums as poppy as other people do. If I turn the reverb off, not only do the drums start sounding dry, but the overall mix also feels a lot less full.
=> 4:10 =>
Never been good at writing endings (except maybe for my previous NGAUC submission. Hah.)
Thanks a lot for the review and all the hard work you did writing reviews for all the contestants! Congrats on your placing and hope to hear more from you!
Great vocal samples -- what are you using there? The first one you use sounds a little robotic, but in a mysterious way. It's really cool.
I like the quick-moving nature of the strings throughout the song. Especially when they're fading in and out a little. Dynamics! Groovy.
Drum sounds are also really high quality, and are used effectively.
I also like that you have male and female voices, and when they come together at 1:20, it's neat.
I swear I'm hearing a ticking clock in there at around 1:03. It might be a drum. Tell me I'm not crazy.
It sounds like the song's being over-compressed at parts, most obviously at 1:33. Everything gets a bit shaky, and it's pretty jarring. Is this what the problem is?
Also in that section at 1:33, it sounds like you added a synth, or maybe it's a shaker? It plays some cool triplet patterns. It was a nice surprise!
Ending's a little quick, but it's passable. Overall, I didn't have any problem with the pacing or structure. It's just the shakiness of the big section at 1:33 that keeps the song from breaking out towards a more satisfying conclusion. Please let me know if I'm just hearing things, because nobody else has brought it up specifically yet.
I'm sorry for your personal situation, and you have my thoughts. Congrats on cracking the final round!
The thing that's great about this is that you're using "cheap" sounding samples, even admitting it yourself, but the way they're presented doesn't leave me to believe you're ashamed of it or anything like that. You made the best of it and showcased everything, and frankly the result is straight up rockin'.
The main sound right at the beginning (synth guitar?) that continues on is delightfully cheesy; I love it. Maybe it's a tad on the light side -- could use some low mid EQ (best guess) to strengthen it.
All the chords and melodies are really interesting. This definitely fits that high octane racing game feel you were going for. It might be too cool for a menu, though; it would work as a track theme as well I feel.
I agree with TheDoor6 that the pad should be more present in parts. It's a nice sound that works with the other stuff you have going on. Also about those arpeggios at 0:23 -- show 'em off!
Drum fills at 1:19, 1:30, and 2:09 are awesome. Cheesy, but in an entertaining way.
Ending is way too sudden. I think this track would work best as a loop, even with it beginning softly like it does. Something needs to change at the end for sure, regardless if it's a song or a loop. Everything else up to that point flows really well though.
A very engaging piece overall -- a flop by no means. Good job on getting to the final round, and I hope your unique track serves you well.
Thank you, points noted for the v2.
The reason for that flop-talk is simply that this could have become so much more. Working on this just one day earlier would have made a world of difference. This was one of those tracks which simply needed another day for listening and "oh god what I have done. OH GOD what have I NOT done" moments.
Right from the start, your production skills are obvious -- the mixing, instrument choices, and effects are all top notch! Lots of energy in this song. Definitely got my toe tapping haha
The bell-like synth introduced at 0:13 complements the piano really well, but the melodies they play together I don't find too memorable. Hi hats and snare have good patterns in the background though.
Good build-up. 1:01-1:10 is my favourite part of the whole track. Everything's just movin' and groovin' along, and the synths have a little back-and-forth thing going on. Not a big part, but it's well done.
Big drop. Big sound. I personally think that "vocal synth" I'm hearing now is overused, but I won't hold it against you. It's kinda cool. It's more obviously present from 2:18-2:34 if you don't know which one I'm talking about (the one that goes "yup").
1:58 -- I like how the lead gets a little evil here. Interesting. I dig it.
It's unfortunate that you didn't get to finish this the way you wanted to. It does feel incomplete; another intense section after the final fadeout would've been great.
10 seconds of silence at the end HOW COULD YOU DJABBIC I BELIEVED IN YOU 0/5 BRO WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD
Overall, this is good -- lovely sound you've got going on, but the main hook didn't do much for me. If you get a killer idea, there's no doubt in my mind that you'll be able to follow through and make a killer piece out of it -- I just don't think that this song falls into that category. Regardless, you definitely deserve to be in the final round (congrats on that), and I wish you well on your future musical endeavours.
Glad to hear you liked the hihat/snare patterns, as percussion has been my weak point for the longest time :p. The vocal synth you mentioned was just something I added to make the overall track feel fuller, although I must admit I've been a fan of it since I discovered it :p.
Everything from 1:58 was pretty rushed in all honesty. I feel like the lead synth at 1:58 could use some tweaks and it could probably have lead somewhere, but I had no inspiration at the time :\.
I'm also glad you recognize the fact that this song didn't really originate from an epic idea. I have no idea how you were able to pick up on that, but that's precisely what held me back imo. The whole piece felt rather forced while I was making it but for the situation I was in, I'm quite happy with the result.
Thanks a lot for this detailed review!
This piece is so dynamic in volume; it's very exciting to listen to! All the instruments complement each other really well. The tin whistle melodies really carry the song. Great choice for a lead instrument.
The intro is great, but some of the low notes you're playing on the guitar are a little loud/boomy (I'm actually not sure if it's the guitar) for me. They disrupt an otherwise gentle, smooth section.
From there, it builds really well. Whistle's a little screechy at 1:17. I like the strings...
Snare drum in the left side near the end is another good choice. Despite the intro, I like the sound you got out of your guitar. Love the way you lean into the chords at 1:54.
Outro is nice -- it brings the song, which is energetic, triumphant, and yet still calming, down to a smooth stop. It feels really natural; probably my favourite part, actually.
Nice work. Good job on getting to the final round!
Thank you for the thorough review! Yes, it is a guitar (that has been given an alternate lower tuning). Glad you enjoyed the piece!
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