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Air Ripples Air Ripples

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars 2 days ago

'sup, might as well leave this review.

Good stuff:
-Fantastic progression at the beginning. So fitting of your style, and a great way to introduce the chords, using arpeggios with all shared tones.
-That transition at 1:16 is REALLY good. One of the best transitions I've heard, even. I think the drums leading back in could be improved a bit, they sound a bit sloppy. I'm not sure how to fix this, honestly. Maybe try using a lowpass filter and raising the cutoff in a curve that's concave down.
-Tempo stuff at 2:00 is sweet. I wasn't expecting it in the first place, and I'm impressed that you managed to pull it off. Tempo modulation is a lot trickier than other modulation.
-Another good transition at 3:09, though not *quite* as good as the one at 1:16.
-Excellent use of reverb and gating at the end, though the gating feels a little bit harsh. It sounds really cool as an ending.
-I like those little

Composition issues:
-Not sure the tempo change at 3:20 works as well. It feels a bit more like filler time, I think things could have gone just as well without it.
-Good as the ending is, I wish it could have had more of a conclusion rather than being more of a fadeout. Better fadeout than most, but still a fadeout.

Mixing mistakes:
-The cool little synth from the very beginning is a bit buried under the strings by 0:40.
-Aaaaaaaaaaaa drums at 1:51 burying things!
-Sounds like there's a bit of clipping or something at about 4:02, probably from the bass. If you're not using a limiter, it would help a lot.

Overall: Excellent. I like it. Your composition has come a long way, and your use of effects has just enhanced that.

After Us (updated) After Us (updated)

Rated 4 / 5 stars 4 days ago

Well, here. I can give some brutal honesty. Initiate full improvement-based review.

-Biggest thing is that most of the instruments sound like they were recorded inside a small room. This is one piece which could really benefit from some reverb. The initial sound at about 10 seconds in doesn't, but the guitars certainly do. Use a bit of stereo widening and wider reverb.
-Strings are meh IMO. They're definitely better than a lot of strings I hear from early composers, but they can be improved.
-Horns can DEFINITELY use some improvement, though they're decent for a free library.
-A bit more clarity in the mids of the mix would go a long way.
-The birds seem a bit disconnected by the end.
-For some reason, the way the piece is organized just doesn't "click" for me. This is more a personal peeve, but the entire thing seems a bit underwhelming and 'weak'. The weakness is in part due to instruments being a bit overly thin, but otherwise the melodies seem like something you came up with on the spot rather than being something put together REALLY well. This seems to mainly be made up of chord progression, which is very difficult to do well.

Alright, brutal honesty mode over.

Seeing you've played music before, I can understand some of your skill with composition - it's good, too. Always refreshing to see a new artist who's paid attention to how music works. Your mixing is fantastic for just starting out. So is your use of many instruments. There are definitely things to touch up on, but this is still very good.

(also, keep going, say hello - I'll try to drop one of my more normally-formatted reviews on a track or two of yours, if you want)

People find this review helpful!
Thonz responds:

This is exactly the kind of review I'm hoping to get. As much as I like to hear compliments and people liking my music, these reviews are the ones that are truly valuable and actually help me improve. I really appreciate you took the time to review my piece with such detail.

I agree with everything you said. Particularly the fact that it sounds weak especially at the biggest orchestral moment has bothered me since I uploaded this. I improved it a lot, but it still isn't right. I just don't really know how to fix it. I've tried improving it further but everything I try just seems to make it worse. I think I got a bit overly ambitious trying to make a big orchestral piece out of this with so little experience, but I do have to start somewhere.

Thank you!

impossible battle impossible battle

Rated 4 / 5 stars 5 days ago

Hi. Want a review?

The Good:
-Oh man, that percussion sounds bleh at first, the high hats are kinda generic, but then it has some of those other really cool sounds. That's great.
-Initial arpeggios are great.
-Cool bitcrushing at 2:04 and the other spots where you do the same thing.
-Good background atmosphere after about 1:39. I really like the arpeggios and the backing pads.
-Sweet reverb on the kick in some spots, I love the bassy thump along with the higher-pitched hiss.
-Transitions are excellent.

The Not-So-Good:
-Dude, use a different lead. Like the vocal one in soar. That was cool. You have the flutey thing, but you have that saw lead in pretty much ALL of your music. ;_;
-This doesn't really sound like a battle very much to me, tbh. I mean, I could see it, but it's a bit too laid-back and sparse in the frequencies for that. This is definitely more of a personal quibble.
-Cut off ending, sounds like the full thing didn't export. Though, it was winding down so there was /some/ conclusion.
-Climax at 1:40 and 3:01 both seem like they're too short. I mean hell, it's only 15-18 seconds. Not enough to really get into the climax. Already gone by the time you get into it. If there were a more gradual buildup, this would be a bit better. (also yes, I know that I do this kind of thing a lot too :<)

-0:40 to 1:13. The lead is pushing most everything else back. This is a minor issue, but definitely something which could be improved.
-1:40-1:55, not sure if you meant for the backgroud panning pads to be buried in the arpeggios so they're not very audible. Also, the backgroud percussion is buried almost entirely. The high-hat suffers a lot from this, and that's the smallest effect.
-Bitcrushing sounds like there's a bit of clipping from it.
-Snare is weak. It's often buried and just doesn't really have any weight or power behind it, even for being mainly high-frequencies. Compared to the kick, it's practically not even there.
-3:01-3:18 makes the problems at 1:40-1:55 seem small. This part buries both aspects almost entirely.

Overall: Cool song. I like it. Definitely more unique, the mixing/mastering issues are the biggest problems IMO.

People find this review helpful!
johnfn responds:

Lol so first of all I can't believe that of ALL the songs I've done since NGADM you chose THIS one to review. I consider this one to be in my bottom 25% haha. I mean I still think it's cool (or else I wouldn't have uploaded it at all), but I've done much better work imho... I appreciate the review regardless. Possibly I'm learning more from your review because there are more errors to pick up on though...

> hats


> -Sweet reverb on the kick in some spots, I love the bassy thump along with the higher-pitched hiss.

Lol yeah I was like "I'm tired of putting reverb on crashes, what else can I reverb? Hmm.. I know! KICKS"

> Dude, use a different lead

May will be sound design month I hope. I keep pushing it off. I agree I need new leads though lolz but I don't listen to a lot of electro so I don't exactly know what else to do haha

> -This doesn't really sound like a battle very much to me, tbh. I mean, I could see it, but it's a bit too laid-back and sparse in the frequencies for that. This is definitely more of a personal quibble.

I think the climaxes do, but I definitely made them a little too spread out oops. The rest of it is not very intense lolz.

> (also yes, I know that I do this kind of thing a lot too :<)

Lol yeah I can't keep up intensity for very long. I do have this issue a lot.


This is new! :O

> -0:40 to 1:13. The lead is pushing most everything else back. This is a minor issue, but definitely something which could be improved.

Goodbye arps ;.; I'm actually not sure if this is even fixable aside from pushing the arps up higher... It's a really good catch though, I didn't even notice :X :X

> -3:01-3:18 makes the problems at 1:40-1:55 seem small

Oops I forgot to copy and paste the mix fixes I made on 1:40. YES I AM VERY LAZY DON'T JUDGE ME

> -Bitcrushing sounds like there's a bit of clipping from it.

I dunno, I think that's just what bitcrushing sounds like ^_^ I could fix that though

> -Snare is weak

Definitely one of the biggest problems with the mix imo. I never make my snares loud enough.

Thanks for the review dawggg. Though next time review one of my better songs so you can make me feel better about myself. hahaha nah jk do whatever you want

the fight the fight

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars November 10, 2013

Hello. Right, time for a review which I'll put in anyway. 's the least I can do.

The Good:
-Right, elephant in the room first. Holy shit those glitch FX are amazing. I particularly like the ones toward the end. I'll put in the numbers. 3:05, 3:25, 3:32 (though this sounded like you just copied the last one), 3:39, 3:46, 3:49, 3:51, 3:59, 4:05. I'd love to know how you made them.
-Plenty of cool harmonic lines which are nice, particularly the ones made by glitch/whatever FX after 3:39.
-Good main theme, though it might be a bit overused.
-Mixing's excellent as it almost always is.

The Not-So-Good:
-Okay, this isn't going to sound nice, but the intro is kinda really boring until 1:02, and then boring again from 1:16-1:43. The background is just... dull. Pretty much the same exact pattern, with barely any color or movement to it. It just kinda sits there.
-This brings me to my next point: Your instruments. Your drums sound like the same drums you typically use along with the same kind of breakbeat, so nothing much new there and that hits you for me. Same goes for some of your instruments, your lead hasn't really changed much at all.
-Ending is meh. Nothing interesting to speak of, and it's particularly disappointing after the last minute and a half of awesome sound effects. As it is, it sounds like you just got lazy and were like "whatever I might as well just stop working, fuck making a decent ending". ...this is going to sound kinda mean too, I guess - but honestly, the end does feel like you put in an extreme lack of effort or care. Ending a pattern and just letting delay fade out is lazy as hell and I KNOW you can do better than that.

Overall: 's really good and all, but man. I feel like you recycled about half of this from earlier songs, which makes me feel less happy about the whole thing. :( Other than that, it's excellent and I love it and I'm absolutely downloading and going to put it on one of my "I love this music" CDs.

johnfn responds:

> recycled ideas from other songs

I think you hit the nail on the head here. The truth is that this NGADM round followed so rapidly after the previous one (and I had such little time outside of composition) that I flat out ran out of time to find any new inspiration, and kinda had to dig back into the older inspirations I used to use. During NGADM3 I got to dig into some fun new vg music, and for NGADM5 I was listening to some nice jazz (both of which are 1000% evident in my music) but it felt like I started writing this piece literally just as I closed my NGADM5 project folder.

It actually kinda makes me feel like the gap between final NGADMs should be a tad longer. I missed the week long gaps we used to have.

> Glitch fx

So you actually want to know how I made EACH of my glitch fx huh bub? And you think I wouldn't be giving away my special sauce or anything?

...Oh alright.

I actually wanted to do a lot more, but they ended up taking a LOT of work to get to be just right. Like on the order of 5 hours just for that 15 second section. :X :X

3:05: This is a single synth note, give it a lot of reverb and delay, automate the cutoff up and use a grain delay to bring the pitch down.
3:25/3:32: This one was complicated. Basically I took some pad, played some weird extended chord, downloaded dblue glitch, set it on repeat and adjusted the settings until it sounded cool like it was slowing down. I bounced that to audio. Then I took some snare hit and did the same thing. Then I put some synth note much lower and brought the filter up aggressively and compressed it and boosted the bass on the eq.
The rest are a combination of automating the depth of a bitcrusher and going crazy with the repeater of the glitch vst.

> but the intro is kinda really boring until

Honestly this is the most interesting part of this review, because initially I didn't agree with it at all. After some relistens and some comparisons to classic chip pieces though (also Steampianists' thing, lol) I see where you're coming from. This is definitely something I'll need to keep in mind.

> ending

We've always sorta disagreed over what constitutes a proper ending to a song, but yeah I could have easily done more here with glitch and stuff.

> in summary

You clearly couldn't restrain yourself from being hyper critical but I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

A Weirdo's Gigue A Weirdo's Gigue

Rated 5 / 5 stars November 10, 2013

Hi there! Right, time for a review which I'll put in anyway. 's the least I can do.

The Good:
-Welp, I'm totally a weirdo because I was tapping my foot through the entire thing. That funky, almost "underwater" percussion is excellent.
-I love all the countermelodies and harmonic lines you have going throughout this. They complement the main idea in a really jazzy way, which is excellent. Syncopation is cool.
-Overall composition is excellent, all of the ideas flow smoothly into each other and there are some nice hark-backs to the main idea with some variation.
-Even with the default FL samples, you managed to make it sound excellent and professional. Guess nobody can really say that FL samples are shit anymore, eh?
-Transitions are excellent. The one at 0:28 is excellent, it really ramps up into the main theme excellently.
-Mixing is excellent, I can hear everything clearly.

The Not-So-Good:
-Man, to be honest the only somewhat-major gripe I have about this is that the ending is kinda lame. It's pretty sudden and a bit lackluster, though it's not necessarily bad.
-Only other thing I have about this is that the main leads kinda stab through a bit and feel a bit too harsh, though this is extremely minor.

Overall: God damn man, how did you do this in 2 weeks? It's excellent. Great job!

steampianist responds:

well still happy to see a review from you thanks skye

-Even with the default FL samples, you managed to make it sound excellent and professional. Guess nobody can really say that FL samples are shit anymore, eh?

Hell yeah!! im sick of people complaining about fl studio. this track is a message yo!!

Statiq Statiq

Rated 5 / 5 stars November 1, 2013

I know this was made a long time ago, and you probably aren't going to notice a review on a piece of music that's so old, but I just wanted to say this.

This music is extremely powerful and moving to me. It brings two things to mind.

First, I see a man. He is standing in a flat wasteland, perhaps the center of a city which was devastated by World War 3, hit by many nuclear bombs and flattened by the blasts. He looks up at the sky, wondering how he survived this long, what he'll do now, if there's any point to civilization if it just self-destructs.
And in the sky, the meteors fall, streaking across the sky like bloody tears from the wound caused by the wars.

The other interpretation is similar, but on a more mental aspect. It reminds me of the time in my life when I was seriously depressed. The main synth sounds hollow, kinda 'gray' due to the "statiq"-y distortion. Life with depression felt gray in a similar way. The sound effects just add to the 'empty' and gray feeling of it. The constant background percussion is akin to the repetitiveness of each and every day, along with how long they felt. The falling synth depicts the little hopes and happiness, falling down from the onslaught of infinite repetition and dull gray. Finally, the static increases and the song, or the depressed one's life, winks out.

I'm glad I didn't wink out like that, that I transitioned out of that time, and that my life's song is still playing, with a happier time. I still remember it though, and I think that reflects in a lot of my music.

Either way though... thank you. Thank you for making this piece, which so clearly represents something so integral and important to my personality and life.

Graveyard Shenanigans Graveyard Shenanigans

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars October 23, 2013

flaming frankfurters

The Good:
-That title is hilarious. It's perfect for what you intended.
-This has some of the most excellent composition I've heard from you. It has good ideas, the ideas flow together, they're used together and repeat throughout in varying forms which are still clear. Fantastic.
-I might have commented on this before, but whatever. I love how you use instruments which would normally be called 'lower-quality', and practically flaunt them in the face of people saying "pfft, you think these are bad? toasted trilobites, you're thick as a watermelon" by using them in such a unique and awesome way. Also your effects are awesome.
-I love some of the little details, such as about 0:43-0:52 where you use the little rattling sounds. Reminds me of skeletons. Similar detail in the pizzicatto arpeggios at 1:14-1:32.
-Loving that cool slick violin-ish sound at 1:42-2:00.
-Mixing is good.

The Not-So-Good:
-Okay, as much as I love your effects, you're using them a bit too much at this point. I hear them, you don't have to push them into my face over and over.
-Couple transitions that I feel are weaker than others and transitions you've used previously: 2:00 for the abruptness, 3:04 partially because the climax seems a bit overly drawn-out and uninspired as well as the transition being a bit weak, the ending because it's simply very weak.

Overall: Score of 9.4/10. This is excellent. I don't have much bad to say about this. The transitions are a pet peeve of mine though, and the effects are seriously used waaaay too much, they don't quite seem to work as percussively as you used them.

steampianist responds:

hehe yeah i think i made it clear that this is my signature sound :)

thanks for the review skye glad you like the violin solo of "edirol"

Busy Feet Busy Feet

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars October 23, 2013


The Good:
-I recognize DSK. They're some pretty darn good free VSTs, aren't they?
-Your little ocarina sounds very nice at the beginning, I really like it.
-The introduction to your singing part is really excellent. At first I thought the part at 0:49 was slightly off-putting, but afterwards it sounds REALLY satisfying.
-I don't think your voice is overly loudly mixed, though it is pushing it a little bit, it stands head-and-shoulders above everything else, even the bass.
-Vocal control is excellent as usual.
-Mixing is overall fairly good, though there are a few issues which I'll get to.
-I like the overall idea of this, it's really interesting how the middle section is like somebody who's sitting on the side and watching the people go by.

The Not-So-Good:
-Some of the lyrics aren't all that good IMO, specifically those starting at 2:19. A lot of the words seem placed there specifically for the sake of rhyming and continuing without adding that much meaning. Or maybe it's just so deep that I completely missed it. Not sure though, doesn't seem like there should be that many rhymes in a row.
-After the first minute or so, the rest of the piece is fairly low-key and ambient without much movement. Honestly, the vocals get boring after a minute of them with just chords in the background. The other composition thing is something I've ticked people on before - lacking a consistent theme. It really takes a hit here.
-The mixing gets a bit fuzzy at around 0:40 to 0:56, and the bass is pretty lacking.

Overall: Score of 8.7/10. Honestly, I like this - but it does get seriously boring in the middle when barely anything happens. That's the biggest hit to it.

etherealwinds responds:

Thank you for your review! Lyrically, the rhyming isn't there simply for the sake of rhyming. In fact, the first verse doesn't actually rhyme. Words can still be poetic and meaningful without forcing such things. Those words all seemed to flow out of me and really just happened to come to a rhyme. The track itself isn't composed to be a moving track, but rather a constant state of familiarity. Unlike, say, Mystic's Shore, the structure of this track is different in the sense that the music doesn't travel with the lyrics as they tell the story. Instead, the music sits around the story behind the lyrics. I actually don't have a pair of proper headphones, so judging the bass of my songs is quite hard for me! ^ ^

Thank you very much for your review~!

wide world wide world

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars October 23, 2013


The Good:
-Aw man yeah, gotta love that piano and synth combo in the smooth jazz.
-Melodic content is excellent.
-Your instruments are good. I'm curious, what is that lead synth that you use all the time? It reminds me of stuff from Omnisphere, but I haven't found it. ...unless, of course, you made it, in which case it looks like I have some sound design to do because it sounds awesome and the filters on it are excellent.
-Solid mixing for almost the entire thing, just a few complaints I have.

The Not-So-Good: Oh, you want me to list ALL of the flaws, do you? Right, you asked for it. No mercy shall be given, I'm going to nitpick the hell out of this.
-Okay, right away those drums see a bit too strong for something laid-back. Would be nice if there were some kind of introduction aside from instant "thump".
-The background chords get really buried very quickly under the piano and synth combo.
-The drums start getting really repetitive when they've not changed for an entire two and a half minutes. The same 'break' all the time is a bit boring if it can even be called a break. Plz. The bassline also stays the same for a lot of the piece as well, really kinda boring.
-Such mud at 3 minutes in. Right around there things start getting stressed in the mix due to the kick. Also, the piano doesn't seem like the velocity changed much at all - it sounds as if it's being played at the same volume as before.
-Not sure I like the filter on the drums at 3:20, it seems kinda unnecessary.
-Your bass is a lot more unclean at around 2:40, things are pretty muddy between it and the kick and the piano notes all together. Also, the bass in the piano panned to the left is slightly off-putting.
-The final ending is a bit awkward for three reasons. First, the way the drums go out is a bit awkward, it sounds like a loop just ended rather than the drums actually completing. If you had faded out the volume a bit more entirely rather than just lowpassing it this could have worked. Second, the bass is wobbling a lot in there compared to the other places - the only thing I can of as a result from this is mixing error or it was covered up earlier. Finally, it just sits there on something that sounds like it should continue but doesn't.

Overall: Score of 9/10. K, so, you asked for all that feedback and I went full nitpick on you. That said, this is still excellent. The biggest problem in my opinion is the drumline - that needs a LOT of improvement in realism and in overall mixing/transitioning of them.

johnfn responds:


>Your instruments are good. I'm curious, what is that lead synth that you use all the time? It reminds me of stuff from Omnisphere, but I haven't found it.

Yes, it is synthesized! I use a synth called Zebra. It's not all too complicated. I take some simple shape like a saw, toss a vintage filter on it, reverb and delay to taste and it's pretty much done. I was pretty attentive to modulating the filter cutoff practically throughout the track, and I think that a bit of the secret sauce also comes from a really subtle LFO that I apply to the cutoff, which gives it a bit more movement and flavor. For this track I also added a subtle bitcrush on top of it, which I modulated too.

I agree with practically all of the complaints actually, particularly the drums. I knew that was going to be a big problem but I was too busy rushing around to glue the song together, slapping transitions into place, making the mix slightly less bad, etc. Hopefully that won't be a problem next round O_O

I will need to internalize some of them for next time but 50% of writing this song was thinking "skyewintrest is going to kill me for this but I don't have enough time to fix it." I dunno. I don't have any excuses for next time though :P

Thank you as ever for the amazing reviews. You and Step can share the trophy for "best person ever". :3 (along with the other judges <3)

GM - I Surrender(NGADM13) GM - I Surrender(NGADM13)

Rated 3 / 5 stars October 7, 2013


The Good:
-Cool percussion and atmosphere in this.
-I like the effect at 0:11, though it doesn't have nearly as much "oomph" as it could.

The Not-So-Good:
-The mixing feels sloppy and pretty unclear.
-Unfortunately, the polymeter fell flat on its face for me.
-Intro and outro aren't too good.
-This gets pretty boring without much of a driving force behind it. There's nothing really making me want to keep listening to it.

Overall: Score of 6.3/10. I don't think I really need to provide many comments on this, you know more than enough about why it doesn't make the cut.