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sounds like u got some mastering tips from some idiot recently :^)
the octaved guitar sounds so hot! love this style

icantpronouncethis responds:

thanks so much for that. Still needs some tweaking for sure, like the kick seems a bit too loud and I want to emphasize the mids a bit more towards the end. Just had to finish up what I had before the deadline.

big chemical brothers vibes!
low key favourite song in this ngadm round, worst title tho :')

RedSoul92 responds:

yeah sorry bout the title

this is music for ppl who like undertale too much

but it slaps <3

great to see another vocal piece from you! i love the almost vocaloid quality that you get out of it - still nice and clear despite all the processing. this kind of vocal tone compliments the broken up melody line perfectly. the builds and quiet sections in this are pretty flawless, love the smokey feel of all the quiet drums and the epiano. the structure is really good, the track doesn't overstay its welcome and each section has enough time to provide the appropriate tension and release. the guitar sounds great too!

the main saw stack synth is very ehhhhhhhh which is unfortunate since that's where the meat of the instrumentation lies in the chorus sections. it has this weird midrange presence and lacks top end air so it doesn't sit nicely over the bass. and yeah as TL said the bass is too quiet but with a more deftly shaped tone for the main synth it probably wouldn't be as much of an issue. it's also just too loud! the kick and snare should be as loud as your saw stack is, and your saw stack should be where the kick and snare currently sit. it sounds like you have a ton of headroom so just do that volume swap, crank that master limiter with a slow-ish release time (like 100-120ms) and the whole song will sound much fatter already. the filter sweep on the main chord on the last drop is a great idea but you need some unaffected layers in the saw stack to keep pushing the high end energy while the hihats take a break. also the stack feels pretty narrow in a stereo sense, so a couple layers on either side of the center will help a lot to fill out the sound as well. also there's a lot of sections where hats and cymbals are kinda just totally missing? idk just feels underproduced overall - throw in some 2nd snares and extra percussion stabs/fills here and there!

just one little thing with the vocals: i do love the tone but the little breath and mouth noises that still come through break the vocaloidy illusion. i don't know if you used a noise gate or not, but just slice the breaths out completely and use a noise gate with a really low threshold to force a very slight attack (2 to 4ms is plenty), just in case there's clicking or popping when the voice clips come in because you might not be able to zero-cross every cut for every breath.

anyway this is a really solid basis for a track, it's absolutely dripping with potential in terms of mixing and production and i'd be really excited to listen again if you did anything with it down the line!

icantpronouncethis responds:

This is an amazing analysis. Thank you for the clear feedback. I've been trying to find a way to get a decent saw stack sounds with what I have currently own, and this lets me know that I still need more work on it. Thank you for some tips about the saw stacks. I was wondering why it felt weak at certain parts. There were a lot of moments where I was stuck and didn't know what to do. I guess I need to listen to a lot more music. Just for the future reference, what exactly do you mean by headroom? Thank you once again

normally i hate tracks that goes all over the place and keeps switching genre for seemingly no reason, but lucky for you this happens to rub all my musical sensibilities the right way. the real kicker is how you demonstrate a real understanding of *all* the genres you're tackling here, whether it be 90s rave, smooth jazz, ragga jungle, illbient or gabber. the transitions felt nice and smooth to me (would've liked some chord modulations coming into the string riser at 2:29 but nbd). the stuttery build into the gabber section is perfectly executed, with a great sense of comedic timing. to top it off, each section has a satisfying motif of its own; the way the melodies and riffs in this call back and forth to each other is cooool!

i think there's a few places where the balance is kinda off: the first tinkly melody at 0:39 is very loud but sounds like it's being sidechained under the sub bass(?!), the low reeds from 1:35 overpower the strings a bit, there's a few places where the crashes sound kind of harsh and out of place. the middling quality of some of the instruments and drums used does add a lot of character to the track but the mix does end up with a kind of dull feeling. every section from 0:39 to 1:56 feels like it's missing something - with the slow drum break at 1:22 feels particularly bare and underproduced (even as just a drum break!) until the reeds and strings come in.

one other thing: everything after the whole "game over" ending thing feels like a giant afterthought - honestly i get big demoscene vibes from this and i think the most demoscene-ey place to end it would be with that siren and gabber kick reverberating into the distance. but i'd definitely cut some of the doos and the whole slow section from 3:22

anyway i thoroughly enjoyed this and i'm very disappointed that you didn't make it through! probably my favourite entry from any category in this round. maybe i'll make a "make what midimachine likes" compo some other time :^)

yo! there's definitely a sense of vastness and adventure in this. there's a lot of well thought out development and movement, with clever use of ostinatos in the back end of the piece. the main theme is a great emotional hook and the climaxes are satisfying and epic.

it takes quite a long time to get anywhere, and when it does there's a serious lack of depth to the mix - feels like all the bass has been phased out to another dimension! for the most part, the drums have little impact, like the transients have all been trimmed with a chainsaw. the cymbals are far too distant - their placement relative to the listener is fine for filling in the top end of the mix but they need to be more accented when they first come in with each big drum hit. when the fast, high piano part comes in at 1:23-ish the hammer noise is unbearably loud and carries more low end energy than everything else in the song. the drums need to be pushing that part of the mix forward but honestly it sounds like i'm listening to them through a 100% wet reverb bus. even with the drums so far back there are still a lot of string lines that get lost at the end.

finally, and this is just a lil' nitpick and not a critical failure on your part: there's a highpass filter sweep (or reverb wet->dry sweep, hard to say) on the female vox from 1:45 to 1:47 and i think it just pulls in a little too much into the lower harmonics of the voice, losing all of the nice airy quality that they start with - i think the idea is fine though but just needs a slight adjustment so that it doesn't push the loudness so much.

i dunno, the song is already pretty well realised but is completely spoiled for me by bizarre mixing decisions. in spite of that, this was still one of the best pro-am entries from this round of NGUAC. when i listen to this on my phone speaker i can imagine what it's supposed to sound like and it's honestly unreal. please make more stuff like this but don't suck all the energy out of the bottom end next time haha <3

i think it's really cute how kwing is like "omg this is MIDI music??!" - like how do they think DAWs work lmfao

anyway this is cool. in a weird way it feels kinda repetitive even though every instrument does a lot of noodling. the big slow down into the last section and the 90s-sitcom-scene-transition ending were really dope though!

please use less reverb - simulating a hall with a close-mic'd drum, bass and sax sound is kinda unintuitive. the particular reverb algorithm used emphasizes the mids in a weird way so i think bringing the wet mix down a little on that one and mixing it with a tighter and brighter small room sound would help make the mix sound less like a .mid file played out of a karaoke machine.

great work, congrats on your 3rd place finish :)

AzulJazz responds:

thx for the review, the tips and the congrats!

stop flexing on NGUAC lmao

etherealwinds responds:

soz m8

yesss this is my jam. getting big toro y moi vibes from this

main criticisms:
- drums are a bit too dry and cheap sounding even by chillwave standards. that clicky kick could be more rounded and i think damper hihat/cymbal sounds would fit better than the brittle 606/808 style ones used at the moment

- as sleepfacingwest said, the vox have been too aggressively de-essed. would've liked a little 1/4-note delay on the vox just to give them extra some sparkle. some more of those cool pitch/dubdelay effects like at 1:17 sprinkled throughout the 2nd verse/prechorus would've been good too because...

- the 2nd half of the song feels too similar to the 1st and really needs some variation or extra layering to beef it up and make it feel more climactic. really feels like it wants to end big like on that chord at 3:57, with the "fine" just continuing to get lower and lower as everything fades out.

overall i love this and from a purely personal/subjective standpoint it's definitely one of my favourites from the competition. sounds better than some of the commercially released stuff in my chillwave playlist on spotify tbh, make of that what you will :)

icantpronouncethis responds:

Thank you for the review. I think this was my first attempt at a vocal centered song, I was kinda taking the safe route. Now that I listen to it again, I should've vary it up a bit on the second half. Compression has always been an issue and I'm still trying to get used to it. I also shouldve created two different version of the drum track and pick the best one. I got so used to it hard hitting beats, that I didnt even consider the other option.

this is really neat! sounds like you had a really strong idea for the composition to begin with because this oozes with intentionality and focus in the sound design and instrumentation as well.

i think the big setback for this is the lack of dynamic variation throughout - it kinda plods along in the background and doesn't call attention to itself - this is great if you want to make boring stock music but i get the feeling that's not what you're about. carve some volume swells and thicken up the instrumentation a bit in couple places, create some landmarks in the track for the listener to latch on to as they make their way through the journey you've laid out for them! or at least give the bass a more lively volume envelope, hehe

liked this a lot! keep it up :)

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