Recent Audio Reviews

Meditation Meditation

Rated 2 / 5 stars

* This is an official 2017 NGUAC review *

This one has some great potential, I just feel like it missed the mark in some key areas. On to specifics...

Mixing, mastering and production: Overall, the production is not too bad. But it suffers from preset-itis. That is to say, when I'm listening to Meditation I can hear that most, if not all, of the instruments are presets plunked into the project. They're very basic and generic sounds - a piano, a kick drum, a lead saw, etc. and while that's not inherently bad, there's not a lot of originality to them. When you use mostly presets, it's hard for me to assess your production skills, because there's not much of YOUR production going on - it's the production of whatever presets are available in the software you're using.
There's a few ways to fix this. Make sure to carefully EQ and reverb all of your instrument tracks so that they sound unique to you and to that specific song. Ideally, you want things to sound like all the instruments are playing together in the same room. A big aid to realism is also to edit velocity. Velocity is especially noticeable on certain instruments like the piano - when a pianist plays a piece, not every single note is pressed with the exact same amount of force. So when I hear that in your track, I know it's fake, regardless of how 'good' it sounds.

Finally I would say make sure to look into mastering a bit. Overall the mix was a bit muted and muddy - good EQing and use of a multiband compressor in the mastering stage will really help your music to shine.

Composition: Really good ideas. I'm a big fan of the chords and their progression.
My main sticking point here was the length. A long track is not necessarily a bad thing, but every single second of a track has to have original, innate worth, or what's the point? There's not a whole lot of progression in Meditation, and to listen to not tons of progression for six and a half minutes can get boring. Try having some distinct sections; add a bunch of instruments for one section and take them out the next. Dynamic variety can be a great tool.
The piano is a great melodic instrument and you had some piano melodies going on, but I wasn't particularly wowed by them. The piano/synth combo worked better, and I think you have good ideas regarding melodies, they just need some work.

Hope all this helps! Keep on composing.

Nescada's Theme Nescada's Theme

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

*This is an official NGUAC 2017 review *

It HAS been a bit of time since I first listened to this, so I hope I can remember why I gave the scores I did haha. Regardless, this is really great, generally speaking. On to specifics...

Mixing, mastering and production: I only have one real criticism in the production side of things, and that's that 90% of the instruments are pretty obviously virtual. You've done great EQing, reverb and mastering on all of them but to someone who works with lots of vsts I can still tell, and that takes me a bit out of the piece. Granted, I think most people wouldn't be able to tell. There's no easy way out here, as the solution is actually recording all of those instruments live.
All I can say is that when I'm judging a piece and there are instruments that are intended to be real - such as most orchestral instruments - but are not, I can't bring myself to give a perfect 10.

Otherwise, everything is great!

Composition: Great use of instruments, really solid chords and textures. I docked a few points in the atmosphere and originality sections for - surprise, surprise - the use of lots of virtual instruments that would be better off live. I hate to seem like a stickler on this account but it's something that's very important for me in terms of being as authentic as possible as a musician. That's one of the risks of writing music that demands a great deal of material cost. A rock band doesn't have the same production issues an orchestra does because it involves about 60 less people (not to mention hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars less equipment). So unless I'm fully convinced there's an orchestra actually playing, I can't fully emotionally commit.

Adding the guitar in at 1:48 is a refreshing move. The way you did it was a good way to work guitar in on a client request.

I don't have too much bad to say about this (despite this feeling like a particularly negative review, sorry)! You have a great sense of musicality. Looking forward to what you bring to the table for the knockout round.

Generation Y Generation Y

Rated 3 / 5 stars

* This is an official 2017 NGUAC review *

Oh yeah, this one was fun! On to specifics...

Mixing, mastering and production: One of the main areas this suffered for me was that many of the instruments didn't sound like yours - they sounded very preset-y. It's hard to give points for technical mixing and originality when it doesn't feel like you've built the instruments from scratch.
I think some more punch and volume from the percussion would really have been great. They're useful for atmosphere right now but I think they could fulfill that role and still provide some good rhythmic backing if you increase their volume and bass impact.
Generally speaking, good use of effects - reverb and delay were used well!

Composition: Most of my thoughts on the composition aspect of things can be summed with 'I was waiting for more". There are some good ideas here, good little riffs, instrument usage, etc. but it never really goes anywhere with them. The ideas are presented and then that's it.
With that in mind, I would suggest adding more in. You've got the foundations here, so add some more in and create some distinct sections with the new instruments. Then you'll really have a piece with some flow and some fully fleshed out areas.

Keep on composing!