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the fight the fight

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

the first half of this is actually kinda boring and drab (in terms of sound design and development, the melodies are p fresh tho). particularly hating on the drum sounds. if you have access to famitracker then you could've gone to town with DPCM-ing your samples instead of just bitcrushing them.generally when i hear those kinds of percs alongside chippy synths i feel like the artist was like "i want 8-bit drums but i don't really know what 8-bit drums sound like so i guess this will do!"

the second half is off the fucking chain though. literally cannot fault it. maybe more PWM on that lead would be cool, make it more SID-like? i dunno. good stuff!


johnfn responds:

Thanks a lot for dropping by. I have a lot of respect for your opinions, especially about drums since yours are pretty much always faultless.

I take your point about the authenticity of the drum samples. I was lazy and just tossed some redux on some drumbeat I had lying around. But I kinda wish I didn't have to worry about that stuff, you know? I wish the melodies could just speak for themselves. I've actually been thinking about moving towards more organic sounds for that reason. I'm sure there are a whole bunch of other issues involved with organic sounds too though... sigh.

Anyway, thanks for the review and I'm glad you liked it!


Space Invaders Prelude Space Invaders Prelude

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

big reso pads! very mid-90s, loving the soft kicks in the background. nice use of the full stereo image, but maybe put some of that marching mid-range synth (the one that comes in at 1:13-ish) in the left speaker cause it gets a bit grating in headphones.

just when it starts getting really interesting it kinda winds down. i think if you're going for textural ambient stuff you've got room for another 3 to 4 minutes of development before really bringing things to a close.

i liked it!


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SS Rebirth (TBA EP Freebie) SS Rebirth (TBA EP Freebie)

Rated 4 / 5 stars

wasn't really feeling the spoken word stuff and there's some clashing between that rolling bass synth and something... goes all crunchy/clippy. i dunno! generally the synth programming and mix is pretty good so maybe it's just that the master is a bit rough? i guess it's just a "teaser"

there isn't really a catchy hook for the chorus, but i can still see an alt club getting down to this :v


Lich responds:

Thanks for the review.

The Clipping is a side effect of using NI Driver to Distort my kicks to give it a slight hardstyle-like sound to it combined with One-Knob Phatter. It's fixable so when I do a final version it shall be corrected (plus I already have some ideas for improving the dual-layered bass synth).


In The Trap In The Trap

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

sounds more like shoegazey synthpop than trap, but that's also something i really like. maybe you should just do that instead of trap?

but if you really want to keep making trap then simply run through the trap checklistĀ® next time:
- 808 drums
- squelchy atonal synth lead
- "what" sample on every offbeat
- lex luger style triplet synth rise
- pitched-down line from an obie trice track
- gunshots



substructure substructure

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

yeah definitely hearing some of that shpongle influence! less intricate, but more driving and jazzy.
was not expecting those techy breakbeat drums, nice. would fit really snugly in a kid kenobi set i think.

i think 7 minutes is warranted tbh, maybe even necessary. would love to be able to mix this but that sudden ending is a bit disappointing :< (i can see why people didn't like how i ended my round 1 thing now though)


johnfn responds:

Thanks for dropping by! I think the true talent of those Shpongle guys is that they can just have a single melody going for 8 minutes or something and yet the song will never feel boring or repetitive. I struggle with repeating the same melody more than once or twice! When I cut down from 7 I was actually cutting out a bunch of extraneous stuff. I think you're right though, in an ideal world I could get that core idea going for much longer.

Endings seem to be my downfall - I save them until the final day and then botch them, haha. I need to learn not to do that, but apparently round 3 was not the time.


Coast Totems Coast Totems

Rated 4 / 5 stars

oh man, this is cool! the first half is probably 2 minutes too long imo, but it really picks up after the 4 1/2 minute mark and i quite enjoyed the ending. not your best vocal performance or lyrics either, but i love the production on them and i totally understand time limitations hehe. did you use an exciter or something before the phaser at the end? the little bits of fuzzyness filling out the space between vocal parts are a nice touch, whether or not they were intentional haha.

didn't quite nail the aesthetic, like you said the drums especially need more dirt.
maybe play your drum track back through a cheap speaker in a bathroom and use that as a "room" recording. or a really nasty plate reverb or something. i dunno, i'm not particularly great at lo-fi production either haha

ANYWAY YEAH it was gooooood!


Kor-Rune responds:

yeah I didn't realize how much of an art being nasty is. The noise and fuzziness was unintentional and part of the vocal takes lol. I intend to remove it but working on the next song is my priority, assuming this trash wins. Thanks for the review midi!


Ablixa Ablixa

Rated 4 / 5 stars

yes yes yes yes really diggin this really groovy house stuff. especially love that funky syncopated bassline and that big cut-reverse drop at 1:03.
massive basic waveform chord section reminds me heaps of trash80 too. good stuff!



Through the Bamboo Through the Bamboo

Rated 2 / 5 stars

uhhhhhh
i think some of those .ds instruments are out of tune with each other
mainly the bass. i don't think you meant for it to be like that.
maybe you should explore eastern harmonies and temperaments though!
the transition into un tiss un tiss stuff was pretty nasty and not really thought through i think. really stock sounding drums too, the backbeat sound is nice though.
the growly reese synth was cool as well. the whole thing needs more work though


Solisio responds:

I really appreciate your comment. It seems like you know what you're talking about. Send me a message sometime :)


Cthulhu Surfaces Cthulhu Surfaces

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

LOVED IT until the we will rock you claps at 1:15-ish, then they went away and i think i loved it again
i think that section is just generally out of place in this.

actually consistency is an issue, though i kinda like the constant development. i think maybe this piece is just in the wrong order, haha.
mix sounds great! that reverb has the perfect balance between bright and smooth. good work!


headphoamz responds:

Sweet! Thanks midi! I lol'ed at WE Will Rock You drums. Sometimes experiments can go either way with people. :)


Northwing Fury III Northwing Fury III

Rated 3 / 5 stars

the guitars have all this attitude and strength in their sounds but they aren't matched by the drums, the snare feels particularly. i think it's just a volume thing, because the individual drum hits sound pretty good. try bringing the guitars down and maybe taking out some midrange and a bit of treble (like, -2dB at the most) from the guitar so that the snare really snaps through everything

more definition for the bass would be nice, like i think it'd be better with a more picked sound to match the surf-rock rhythm of the drums (which i really like btw). going back to the drums, i think some use of the open hi-hat would be good... also thought it was weird how you panned the closed hat and pedal hat on opposite sides, but i guess there's nothing inherently wrong with that. generally rock/metal drums are panned left to right based on where the drums are positioned relative to the audience (or sometimes relative to the drummer).

so yeah, the disjointed feeling of the drums is mainly a product of the guitars being too loud, i think. except the drum solo in the middle felt pretty unnatural (i would never try to write a drum solo like that with single-hit drum samples tbh). that space-marimba sorta sound at the end was cool!


Blacklawn responds:

I see. I'll keep those things in mind, thanks!