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fantastic plot twist

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Official '20 NGADM finals review

I'm surprised by the large amount of castle crashers vibe. I don't expect to think that's what you were going for, but it really had a sense of nostalgia for coming across that way. It has that lighthearted dance feel, and it has a great selection of sound choices used to create the full atmosphere. I definitely got the cartoony feel of a pirate like adventure, and there's some imagery of, again, a castle crashers style pirate level that I really would enjoy clubbing some baddies to. In terms of the writing though it did feel a little stagnant (also fade out lol really). Especially in the bassline. I liked the rhythm, but I would have liked to have seen a little more variation. I wonder how much I would have paid attention to the chord progression too if you'd focus on changing up the bass a little bit, but I also notice that the chord progression stays about the same (barring some key changes). As I pay attention to the melodies, there are tons of scotch snaps everywhere lol. The melodies themselves aren't good earworms since they move kinda fast, so instead of having a motiff or theme in the composition, there's more of an emphasis on keeping the feel similar with the style each melody has and what instruments are involved with it. 2:17 is a nice breakup with what you have going on here, which is great since it's a refreshing break, but I'm also dissapointed because I feel like you could have done more with that. Like I would have loved to have heard a melody developed in that section and drum breakdown before going back to the normal groove (by the way, the guitar gives me an Infected Mushroom feel there). Which on the topic of structure that also circles back to the bassline thing, the energy feels flat throughout the whole thing. It makes it come across with the sense of little progression. This is also maybe why the 2:17 feels extra special too.

What I think you did a lot better on though is the instruments and sounds you used. I question the drums a bit because they're surrounded by so many "real" instruments lol (aside from the VGM synths). The strings are super lighthearted and lush, there's a crazy cool amount of electronic stuff that really meshes with everything you got here, but the drums sound like older cheap dance drums lol. I don't hate them though, because I feel like they add to the nostalgia "Castle Crushers" feel like retro Newgrounds. I don't know if that's what you were going for, but for the benefit of the doubt, I'll run with that. However, I love picking out all the stuff you have in this. Like how you mesh the harpsichord with VGM sounds, the distorted guitar with the "squishy" bass, the marimba duetting the violins (or violas???), there's just a lot of cool details. Like the slammed drums at 3:37 is another cool detail I like, as well as the violin runs at 4:07. Just to listen to the sounds and details is an audible treat, and it's really fun to pick them out.

Yeah, really cool. I'm glad to see you here in the final rounds, and I liked what you have.

PredatorMusic responds:

Thank you so much for the constructive criticism!

That is exactly what I was aiming for, a cartoony, CC, inspiring, adventure-themed song! Glad that I could transmit it in the end.
Thank you for pointing out the VGM + Orchestral + Breakbeat mashup! Little details that most of the time are not noticed.

And yeah, I think my biggest weakness is still the basslines, and the chord progressions, I think I got used to do the same progressions as WF. I'll work on that!

Thank you again! <3

Official '20 NGADM Finals review

The title on it's own sounds super poetic. And the beginning of the intro is exactly what I expected from you combined with this title. However, the tone it started taking through I couldn't tell what to expect so I'm surprised with anything you do. This hits the right emotions right on the head too with the composition. There are so many details, and there's a good handful of orchestral things that I'm not surprised about, but you have a ton of digital / electronic stuff that's added in that just works. It all just works. All around this is just super epic. Out of all the pieces this one carries the most emotion and just stands out to me the best. I love the super quirky guitar that just sticks out at 0:45. It sounds goofy and dry, but once things start jumping in it works. I love how rhythmic the 3:00 section is. There's a cubic-ton of detail there too that just meshes together so where. Like I was totally surprised that there was something electronic there when it started coming in. The choir is just fantastic. The voices and how everything shouts together make it super climactic and powerful. Ugh there's just so much good writing in this.

I love the production in this too because you have things that are super dry, but they just work. I probably would have messed it up if I were trying to mix this because I'm surprised by how well it works lol. Not to say that everything is dry. You add in just the right texture like on the strings or like when the choir first starts up. I cannot get over how much I like the 3:00 section.

I think this one's my favorite. I love you Albe <3

AlbeGian responds:

Aaaaaaaa tysm for the kind words man!! It makes me really happy that my works could cause an impact this big in people's ears and (hopefully) hearts, it really does. Again, really glad you liked it!!

Official '20 NGADM Finals review

The writing style is so unique but it feels familiar. Maybe it's the synths you're using, maybe it's some of the melodic writing, I'm not sure but I don't hear stuff like this enough. You've also managed to make something that's high energy, but definitely not tiring. The melodies are super complex too but also still fun to listen to, and I find myself struggling what to say because it's really good at multiple levels. One thing I really appreciate is that you don't shy away from messing with the time signatures and bringing across interrupting measures. 3:00 is a great example, and you throw them into the structure like nothing and they flow well. There's a bunch of spots like it too where you kinda have instruments that shout at the end of the phrase without like 3:47, 0:48, 2:38, there's more spots than I could mention that make the composition super complex and I thoroughly enjoy. Also your fantastic use of harmonies that's just everywhere and in everything. It's such a great example of how just about everything is used together to highlight the main idea of the song, and not just harmonies that ride along with the melody. The arpeggiation at 0:35 is littered in so many fitting spots, my favorite being how it gets introduced leading into 3:00 and quickly becomes the main voice of that section. There's also details like the strings at 1:04 that are a slower reprise of the melody that they're directly referencing to. This is a compositional feast lol. The only minor critique is coming from a drummer is that I feel like the drums could have done a few things to help emphasis attacking or shouting chords instead of straight grooves in the main sections. Like 0:50 ish and the 3:00 section.

As for production, I don't think this could be any better. Each sound works together so well to the main mix, and I love the texture each one has. On their own they might not sound like much, but the way you use them feels so fresh and unique. It's also super clean and polished too. Someone could say they sound cheap, but they add to the charm so much, like the drums and the brass for example. I don't think anything else could have worked with what you have. I'm also really glad you stuck with this style for this round because it's what I wanted to hear and man did you deliver. I'd love to be able to make "videogame music" that sounded like this. Yes it's indisputably retro, but doesn't sound archaic or dated.

Love it. Can't get enough of it.

Mackievellian responds:

Great, thank you. This is a lovely critique, man. Makes me feel GOOD. You know, I thought about sitting in the drummers chair while writing them and I'm thinking, a drummer would put a fill here and here, over there. But I missed some spots... Was thinking mainly for the adding attack to the lone brass sections when they're carrying the melody.

Thanks for your time, my man.

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there are no cheeks more beautiful

This has the correct vibes. This is great

Beautiful work! I love it

Do you like dubs? Do you like Wubs? I've got them in SPADES! Sprinkled in is some actual melodic content so you don't think I'm a hype junkie

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