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Big Cats Big Cats

Rated 4 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

It's always an idea to have the lyrics in the author comments, because some of your wording here is a little hard to decipher and so it might be tricky for some people to work out what you're saying. But anyway, onto the song:

0:04-Like how the song starts almost introductionlessly. The drums and bass work well together, however both come in quite abruptly, which is a little odd. Having some kind of bass drop into the beat or drum fill would have helped a lot.

The recording quality of the voice is noticeably subpar, however. You can hear a lot of the breathing and plosions of your voice, which are quite distracting and don't help the grand quest to work out what you're saying. The tone of your voice as well needs a bit more of a kick to it, because you sound kind of...bored, in places? Though that might have been due to the aforementioned recording problems.

0:43-Nice change to the chorus with the lead guitar, and slight change in the bass line. The bass line, while good, is a little simplistic, and as theretofor it's the only melodic instrument save the vocals, you could have embarked on a more ambitious bass line.
1:02-Here onwards sounded really cool, guitar-wise. Definite highlight of the track. You had a lot of them going on and a lot that came in and out which made a really nice instrumental section for about 40 seconds. To the point that when the vocals come back in I think that that mix works a lot better than what preceded it.

The guitars work brilliantly. If nothing else, think about rerecording the vocals, because the instrument work especially past that minute mark works just fine. Keep it up.

-Review Request Club


Sawdust responds:

Thanks man!


Strings 02 - Birth Of Man Strings 02 - Birth Of Man

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

0:00 Nice start; quite warm and aspirational. Most of the instruments felt quite in the foreground and started quite strongly; you could have maybe thoughout about having had them at more of a distance to get a grander sense of depth to them.
0:17-The violin was a touch too strong, but the chords underneath worked very well; quite celestial-sounding. One thing I did notice was that everything kind of moves together; one of the first pieces of advice I was ever given about writing for strings is that you shouldn't write "football charts"; insofar as you should avoid just solidly using long sustained notes. Adding a few countermelodies to the violin part can be very effective, as at least by personal tastes I find the viola/cello much more beautiful-sounding a lead instrument than the violin. And that's coming from a violinist :P
0:46-One of the suspensions felt a little odd, like some of the notes didn't quite mix together.
0:53-Here to about 0:57 felt like the start of a kind of main theme? I think were this piece longer you could have had more of a central melodic theme to it and developed it more, but as it is the length and speed it is I thought its placement here was quite effective and led into the new section nicely.
1:25-Am guessing this is the start of the corruption section? Definitely has some despair and sadness in it, but I was almost expecting it to be more harsh and dramatic; it definitely lost its light a little bit, but you could have delved a lot darker, given that man's corruption is a pretty...harrowing thing, on human scale.
2:01-Tierce de picardie here felt way too abrupt, I think it would have worked better if you led into it a little more, because here it felt like my computer skipped a few seconds or something.

It's got some nice emotion and atmosphere to it, but I think it could use a little more mastering just to work out the depth, and maybe some more variations to dynamic just to emphasise the emotions you're evoking here. Nice work overall, though.

-Review Request Club



[G] Holy Advocate ft. JP & KC [G] Holy Advocate ft. JP & KC

Rated 3 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

0:00-Interesting intro, cool melody...but I can barely hear it. Granted, my hearing's shot six ways to Sunday, but I've got my speakers turned all the way up and am still having trouble hearing it. Which is a shame, because what I can hear sounds good.
0:22-Drums come in way too hard compared to the low sounds before it, which I'm sure would have caned were I wearing headphones, having turned up the volume so loud to hear the start. You can have extreme dynamic changes without them being that extreme.
0:36-Can hardly hear the bass at all. Mixing definitely needs some work.
0:45-Interesting break into a new section; you can hear the melody a little better, but it's still cut straight through by the drum level.
1:19-Break was a little abrupt, but the lead is louder than it was...still not loud enough by a long shot, but any kind of louder is better, so plus points there.
1:52-The break here is alright, but they don't go into anything new; there's a slight variation of the lead instrument, but nothing further than that, which is a missed opportunity, because the breaks themselves are effective, just not followed through.

It has the potential to be a pretty kickass beat, but the mixing kills this completely, which is a crying shame. Turn things up! Work on the levels, think about maybe making the sections either side of the breaks differ a little more...if nothing else, take another look at the levels, because even if you lay rap on top of this it would sound very effective as a beat.

-Review Request Club



[SxHx] N'Thisisex (NG CUT2) [SxHx] N'Thisisex (NG CUT2)

Rated 5 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

Aha, this will probably seem similar to sixflab as you put the previous version of this in the RRC as well. ;D Anyway:

0:00-Nice gritty intro, moving into a very dark bass line by 0:09. That bass line feels similar from your previous version, but that's a good thing as the bass line worked so well last time, so it's nice to see it still here.
0:23-Got a pretty minimalistic drum beat with the bass kick, but you have some unique percussive sounds with the kind of swishy-cybal sound and the clicks later on, so you have that mix of the familiar and interesting, which again works well.
0:38-Nice variation to the bass line; the bass was quite complex to start with but the way you change it up anyway adds more colour to the track
0:43-Vocal breaks work really well; robot voice seems to fit a fair bit more. Breaks into a nicely mixed new section with a few more light percussion elements as well. The atmosphere in this, like that last one, is pretty spot-on throughout, so kudos for the mixing work.
0:59-Possibly my favourite part is this transition into a kind darker section; with just the synth and drums, it feels very sparse and dark, which is insanely effective.
1:17-The new lead synth adds to the kind of darker more illicit atmosphere, so well chosen there
1:31-Nice transition into the opening synth again; that middle section though really brings the piece out and lets you come back to this section with it sounding new and fresh, which you would have missed out on had you just stuck to the one section.
1:51-I notice how the vox takes on a lower role in this version, and I think it works a lot better for it; it's there enough to seem coherent, but it's not excessive or overdone like it was getting to be in the former version.

Great mix, great levels, marked improvement on the first version...no complaints at all, really. Keep it up.

-Review Request Club


shesmackshard responds:

Thank you very much, excellent review! I appreciate it!


[dj-Jo] Classical Clash [dj-Jo] Classical Clash

Rated 5 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

0:00-Nice strings to start, feel very atmospheric, made warmer by 0:16. Gotta love it when strings are done well, because they have such an inherently emphatic nature to them.
0:40-Love the subtle nature of the synth coming in, it lets you have a really extended buildup. And the way you replace classical strings with their more techno alternative works well, definitely lives up to the title. Great pitchbendy bass and interesting and busy drum beat.
1:28-Love the bass and drums; they're brilliantly complex while keeping to those needed techno archetypes.
2:00-Great kind of chorus-like themes, the drum beat is almost frantic at times but as it's deep in the texture you have this kind of "quiet chaos" which is really nice.
2:28-Good transition; the bass is complicated enough to not need any more variation...and that's kind of the same for the drums. The section at 0:40 didn't have much variation in the phrase repetitions, but because the phrases themselves were so very complex, variation was completely unneeded, so you could just play the phrases out for those 40 seconds and be no worse off. Same thing here.
2:44-Transition into piano and strings works well; nice to see you have those those techy elements seeping in throughout to tie the sections more together.
3:14-Nice change of melody and the way the piano and lead come together works well.
3:49-Fadeout's a little extreme, but it's not that big of a deal.
4:00-Like how it finishes with the piano and SYNTH strings and kind of peters out into a sort of natural atrophy. Really nice way to bring the title idea through the track.

Great track, overall, especially for an older one. Awesome transitions, always great to see an NG techno artist who knows what variation in drum and bass can do...what more can you want?

-Review Request Club


dj-Jo responds:

Thank you Animith!

I always appreciate your reviews, even though I don't reply on your reviews sometimes.

Anyway, the fade out was kinda of experimental
well, this song was supposed to be the song I was to submit to the next round of NGADM
but, you know, things don't always work out! lol

When I got the reviews from the NGADM
most of which criticizing on generic-ness of the drums, so I tried something, well

New

So, theres that for yah :D

and the combination with techno and classical music was supposed to counter act Gravey and his Classical skillz
but I never got there lol

Thanks for the review dude!

and, when I said old, I meant like...
2 weeks old, or somewhere near that


For Absent Friends For Absent Friends

Rated 4 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

0:00-Nice punchy intro, works very well to start off the track.
0:04-This part seems unrelated to the intro; could think about cutting off the first four seconds just for the sake of coherence.
Nice drum work, though; good use of the cymbals to give a lot of colour.
0:28-Light guitar melody, but works well for its low dynamic, which is a change from most NG tracks. ;D
0:41/0:46-The breaks of just the drums feel very sparse, specially as you don't hear the natural sustain of the guitar at all.
1:07-Slightly abrupt change, but I'm sold by 1:13, sold even more by the movement at 1:17ish, so it's not that big of a problem.
1:22-Cool new section, nice use of toms; the variant use of the different percussions and sounds you get in a drum kit is very effective in this track, definitely.
1:33-Lead guitar comes in too strongly, it cuts through the other synths a little.
1:42-And then the same lead fades out...for no perceptible reason. Was quite odd.
1:49-Nice switches between the more rhythmic fingerstyle and the ambient background guitar; makes for a very upbeat and interesting track
2:16-Piano comes in a little to strong, but what it's playing is certainly cool-sounding
2:22-The transition from the piano is far too abrupt, but when it comes back IN, again it's playing some nice things.
2:42-Transition into minor section was nicely done; gives the track a darker feel for a section before moving into that more upbeat section. Kind of felt a little spanish, for some reason? Like the kind of thing you'd expect at a late-night salsa bar or something.
3:36-Transition makes almost no sense given what precedes, to the point where it felt like my computer accidentally skipped a minute.
2:52-Transition back into synth ending again, felt random.

Lots of nice sections in this...but perhaps too many, especially in the second half. You've got a lot of seemingly random transitions into new sections, to the point where I think you could make 3 songs out of the different materials you had and have been no worse off. Lots of good things, really nice guitar work...but a little too much of those good things in one song without a total coherence necessary to tie it all up. 10 for the sounds, -2 for the transitions and how it misses the mark of tying together wholly.

-Review Request Club



Into the Stratosphere Into the Stratosphere

Rated 5 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

0:00-Initial sweep felt a little out of place, but what came after was nicely written.
0:14-Nice bass and drum; thought the kick was a little on the muted side, but not extremely so.
0:30-Love the synth that comes in. The synths in general were picked well; really love that occasional high note, which shouldn't-fit-melodically-but-does, not to mention the fact it actually plays throughout that track, acting as a little quirky tie between the sections.
0:55-Nice break. You definitely have a good knowledge of delay, or are at least gaining one quickly.
1:28-Love the bassy boom, gives a nice sense of gravitas and atmosphere which levels out with the higher synths; I think without it it would have felt very top-heavy, so nice thinking, there
1:54-The silence before the new section is very effective. Although you've kept the chords the same as before, the amount of transitions and breaks you've had in between times keeps the sound fresh and interesting to listen to.
2:45-The transition between the two lead synths is sliiightly too far apart, the melody feels quite absent for a second or so. Not overtly so, but just enough to be noticeable.
3:21-Can't remember whether you used this melody before, but it sounds new, nonetheless, so kudos.
3:44-Nice fadeout, I think where it not for the 'whoosh' sound at the start you could probably loop this. Or even use that ending to break into another new section if extending this crossed your mind.

You've got the buildups and transitions basically spot-on, doesn't mess up the song and indeed, adds a lot to it and there's always a sense of anticipation as you're not quite sure where the song can go next. Which is a nice change from some NG techno. Keep up the very good work. ;D

-Review Request Club


DjMindsweeper responds:

Yeah, that sweep in the beginning was supposed to have more stuff over it, but I never really got around to it, finally I decided that it gave the song a nice little unexpected element.
Also, I am literally THRILLED that someone actually noticed that subtle little high-note pad that you described as shouldn't-fit-melodically-but-does (Which is very true.) That was actually an accident. I was messing around with pads, trying to see if a slide would sound good, and instead of pressing Ctrl+left to nudge it a bit, I pressed Ctrl+Up and raised the whole thing an octave.
And finally, I just noticed what you mentioned about 2:45, the melody being absent. Now that you've pointed it out it seems so obvious, I have no idea how I didn't notice before.

I guess that's just a sign of a damn good review. : )


Etude #2 - Valse de la Chagrin Etude #2 - Valse de la Chagrin

Rated 5 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

As I noticed you mentioning it; Hi five for cubase AI4! ;D Very awesome piece of software, nice intro into cubase if you've not used it before. Anyway, onto the track:

The volume to me seems fine, or at least a lot louder than your previous track...though maybe that's just me having my volume up louder.

I really like how your etudes could function almost by themselves as short little tracks, just because they go through a lot of different harmonies and have a very characteristic melody...and generally, the kind of thing you could listen to over and over.

The plucking on this track seems even smoother than the ones before, there were perhaps one or two times in the entire track (:45 and 1:05) where I started to not think the picking was as smooth as it could be, but it's almost imperceptible.

As the others have said, for such a short piece you've got a great structure, something which could easily be translated into a longer piece if you felt like extending it. The classical picking also helps every transition seem smooth as butter, and you obviously know exactly where you're headed with each chord so it just seems very fluid and relaxed throughout; again, the kind of thing you'd not mind hearing as background music to a variety of settings, just because it's so atmospheric even of itself.

What can I say? You obviously have a knack for this, so definitely keep them coming, and think about extending these studies into longer tracks, because by the looks of things you could definitely fill a track of 3 minutes+ with a lot of shiny guitar goodness. Keep it up, as always.

-Review Request Club


Darkmaster603 responds:

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. A few of these recordings were done with poor nail care at the time, so they were not shaped correctly and too long. I'm glad you liked it though.

I actually have been writing rather long versions now, I think my longest is about 7:30. i'm working on extending some of these older pieces also.

Thanks for the review!


What She Did What She Did

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

0:00-Nice opening set of chords, sets the song up well
0:19-Vocals are drowned out by the instruments in the verses. If you didn't have the lyrics typed I'd have had a trying time working out what you were saying. It also sounds like you stray from the intended pitch a lot; while at points this feels like simple vocal fall-offs which work well, at other points it sounds like you're having trouble holding the melody, so definitely keep that in check.
0:49-Nice chorus, you can hear the vocals a lot better (though the timing seems a little off at 1:03), but now it's the guitar which seems muddied and lost; you can't really hear much definition in it at all.
1:27-Same opening chords again, to the point where it sounds like you just copy/pasted it from the into; could have done with a little more instrumental variation as the vocals are saying the exact same thing. That being said, the drums change up which is nice to see and definitely a needed variation, but changing the guitars a little as well wouldn't have gone amiss.
2:17-Chorus again. I didn't notice last time, but here the vocal rhythm of the chorus feels forced, especially at the 4th line at the "all my time"; like you're trying to squish all the words into the one line.
2:38-Niiiice break, feels very different from what came before. No complaints at all, save for the one that it didn't come earlier in the track, because it does work well.
2:54-Transition back into the chorus felt way too abrupt, could have definitely had a longer break.

In general, you've got a good set of chords, good premise...could use more lyrics, as the same 7 lines repeated three times gets a little tiresome...and definitely think about extending that break, because it was an instrumental highlight of the track.

-Review Request Club


Sawdust responds:

Thanks man! Glad you didn't find it terrible!

I'm actually just trying out the style of this band called Japandroids, which is like this 2 guy band and they sound MASSIVE, and their lyrics are most of the time always like a couple lines repeated over and over.


Nature's Majesty Nature's Majesty

Rated 4 / 5 stars

Review Request Club

First church bell's a little too quiet, couldn't hear it very well at all; The drum beat when it comes in is good; has a kind of jungle-like feel to it. The bells continuing on felt a little superfluous, and perhaps even detrimental to the track just because they didn't quite fit with the drums. The change at 0:38 was nice and emphatic, but I think the melodic instruments in general could use a turnup of volume (save for the strings at 1:14) because they get lost in the drums a little, as the drums themselves are quite busy and prominent.

The idea of it being majestic was a little lost; yes, you had the sweeping string line, but you didn't have anything past that to give it that thick romantic texture. The atmosphere in general could have used a little deepening with some more non-percussive instruments just for that added depth; even a nice double bass would have helped out a lot, because that's a beautiful instrument if you use it well. The slowdown at around 1:30 was nice, but it transitioned back into the fast section too quickly.

The break at 2:00 worked well, it kind of brought the piece into a bit of a darker area before the flute came up again; as Steph and sixflab said, it has that kind of battle feel to it, but the lighter sides of the instruments lift the emotion up a bit. I think having a clearer message evoked throughout would have helped, because the heavy drums with the string line and the flute kind of war with eachother as to where the track is going, whether it's the battle or the prelude/aftermath of one or whether it's looking out onto some epic natural scenery...have a clearer message and I think the track's coherence would be a lot better. As it stand though, there's a lot of good work here, so keep it up.

-Review Request Club