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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - preparation phase

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:30 am
by Mister Fox
It is the 26th December 2018, 0:30am GMT+1/CET - this month's Songwriting Competition has official ended

Hello and welcome to the new participants. Thank you so much for your participation and last-minute entries post deadline extension - although I really hoped to see more entries this month. I'm fairly positive we'll exceed 10 participants in January 2019 though. :grin:

We had 6 participants, which is 1 entry less compared to last month (7 entries).
The "staff balancing vote" add-on rule does not apply
"Sole Winners Podium" rule (equal or less than seven participants results in a single winner) does apply.

There were no productions submitted after the deadline
For Marius L - please make your song downloadable through SoundCloud. Thank you.



:arrow: How do we go from there?

Over the course of the next (hopefully) 24-48 hours, I'll gather all links into one post and hot-link to that from the first post of the thread. So please, check your links again. Mistakes and hiccups do happen on the internet. We then perform with the "public vote" system.


We have 6 participants, those being: TrojakEW, donkey tugger, RichardClarke, A Future in Noise, MarkS and Marius L.
That means that each participant can vote for 5 tracks, the staff will not cast a balance vote

The Top 10 list (or Top 4 per participant rather) can look something like this:
01 (10 pts) - Mr Moon
02 (9 pts) - Mr Sun
03 (8 pts) - Mrs Venus
04 (7 pts) - Mr Mars and his companions
05 (6 pts) - Mr Hale-Bopp
...
How your voting could look like, please take a look at these posts (sans the technical information):
viewtopic.php?p=2311#p2311
viewtopic.php?p=2478#p2478
viewtopic.php?p=2819#p2819
viewtopic.php?p=3522#p3522



Please also take note of the Rules and Guidelines on giving feedback (mandatory for participants, failing to do so results in a disqualification)

Feedback from non-participants is highly encouraged (voting not needed!). Musicians and Engineers are always after constructive criticism. This is what this forum is about.



If you have an idea for a theme/genre or want to see a specific theme tackled in the future, please voice your opinion here:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=168



Please have an eye on this thread! :tu:

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - Voting until 01-01-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET (extended)

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:32 am
by Mister Fox
Let us kick off the VOTING PROCESS, which will end on Tuesday, 01-JAN-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET latest


There is a GLOBAL COUNTDOWN to check for deadlines.
Just follow this link: Global Countdown (on homepage)



Here is the collection of productions from all participants:


TrojakEW wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:50 am
"First Snow"

donkey tugger wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:50 pm
"Enclosed"

MP3: http://www.bennyleeds7.myfreeola.uk/swc ... closed.mp3
RichardClarke wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:21 pm
"Winter Solstice"

A Future in Noise wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:21 pm
"Flames"

MarkS wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:27 am
"1st Day of Winter"

WAV: https://www.dropbox.com/s/km4nfpqa5uoxr ... r.WAV?dl=0
Marius L wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:42 pm
"Winter Solstice Ritual"

.


Please consult the last post of how your vote could look like (which links to more sources).

To make it easier on yourself, and more helpful for each participant, maybe focus on the overall production value. What you really liked with the song, what you'd like to see improved, etc.

SWC016 participants giving feedback to each other and casting a vote is mandatory, else you will be disqualified


Good luck to all participants! :tu:

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - Voting until 01-01-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET (extended)

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:47 am
by A Future in Noise
Haven't you forgotten one entry, the one from MarkS Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:27 am? Or isn't his list of instruments etc detailed enough?

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - Voting until 01-01-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET (extended)

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:00 am
by TrojakEW
Yes looks like somebody miss this entry. MarkS should be there too.
MarkS wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:27 am
This song as its name says it was inspired by first day of winter with its cold and white.
I used for composition usual stuff from magix and synapse audio. this time, i added for vocals
the chorus patch from Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra library.
link to audio:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/km4nfpqa5uoxr ... r.WAV?dl=0

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - Voting until 01-01-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET (extended)

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:23 pm
by Mister Fox
Thank you for pointing that small mishap out to me. Apologies for overlooking MarkS. Apologies.

I just updated the posts. That means we have 6 entries and not 5, so each participant can cast 5 votes.

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - Voting until 01-01-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET (extended)

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:03 pm
by RichardClarke
This is my first time in this competition. I hope my feedback is useful to you all.

Here are my scores.

Scores
10pts - TrojakEW
9pts - Donkey Tugger
8pts - A future in noise
7pts - MariusL
6pts - MarkS

TrojakEW
Very clear sense of arrangement, the track progresses really naturally. Its very professionally composed and has the best production quality. I love the vocals (what did you use for these?) and the woody guitar type sound that create a crescendo into the final section and then sits in the background. You also used a nice variety of instruments and textures, and i'll be straight about it...i was fairly jealous when i heard this!

My only critisms, the piano meledy the in the quiet midsection gets a little lost after around 1:20 and could command things better. The final chimes at the end feel a little out of time and added on, nice idea just felt a little off timing wise. It does get a little wooden and quantized feeling at times although this is not a huge thing, just something i started to feel nearer the end, maybe the drums could just do with loosening a little somehow.

Donkey tugger
The sentiment appeals to me a lot. I am from the midlands in the UK and watched the field i played on as a child turned into housing estates. I live abroad in Amsterdam now but it really took me home again and in a reflective mood. Musically I really like how some of the instruments slide in and out creating a strong but not overly obvious melodies. I really like the vocal style and the guitar too. I think the arrangement is solid in the way the track grows and it keeps you engaged and most importantly its a good tune underpinning it all!

More use of harmonies and slightly less delays would have brought it up a level for me, especially to help the raise at the end. Generally production wise it was a little washy/muddy at times and maybe some eq changes might have helped, maybe just a couple of pass filters to help with a little masking in a couple of instruments.

A Future in Noise
I really like the instrumentation and how each one comes in, it building it up. The sounds are nice and definitely set the mood of winter, the melodies keep me engaged as they unfold. The main problem for me was it does this really nicely then once its peaking i expect more to come in (possibly drums, etc) a little like the last section on TrojakEW's track but with less grandure, so it left me feeling a little cheated. For me its a great feeling of suspence you've created but fustratingly for me, i wanted a different outcome.

MariusL
Production is generally pretty nice, love the drum sounds! The vocals could sit a little higher for me. After a while it is a little dynamically flat and slow moving for my tastes and i think making more a show of the vocal in some way would have been beneficial. Also the vocal could be more vocal hooky and commanding and less drifting to engage us more.

I really like the gentle pick up change around 4:54 and the percussive element the background chimes bring in. Overall for me this track is a really nice collection of sounds and ideas, it just could be arranged a little better and be a couple of mins shorter for my tastes. I also wonder again if a bit of pass filtering and clever eq'ing would make some of the subtler instuments shine more and helped with this.

MarkS
I like the minimalist sound, for a pure simple more stark electronica sound it fits the brief for me. I did feel it needed a stronger hook to move it forward and sometimes the motif's felt a little randomly cut and paste at times, definitely i think a little more care could be taken with the arrangement. 7 min tracks are super tough to do and i admit i struggle to keep attention unless it has a lot of hooks, movement and ear candy. I do like the voice sounds that come in around 4:47 and thought you could have played with that a little more. This is my personal tastes speaking here but i would have wanted more effects too, for me it could start cold and sparse but had effects generally added to parts/motifs that are repeated as it went along too keep it more interesting.

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - Voting until 01-01-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET (extended)

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:02 pm
by MarkS
The top:

1.Trojakew -10 points
2.Donkeytugger-9 points
3.A future in noise-8 points
4.RichardClarke-7 points
5.MariusL-6 points

The recommendations:

Trojakew, when i listen to your song it is like being to some ancient cultural event. i have nothing to add.
Donkeytugger, i think your drums from last part of your song can fit in first part too.The song is like a christmas
tune sang next to fire.
A Future in noise, i think your track needs some percussion. This will add some rhythm to the track.
Also it ends too quick, try to make it at least 2:30 or 3 minutes long.
Richard Clarke, the kick in your song should be a bit louder to have some presence. Or you should cut its frequencies
from pad sound. At the 0:56 when it starts, it is barely heard.
MariusL, your song have some similarities of the Trojakew's song, but doesn't have so much varition.
A new instrument like a synth or pad should do the work.

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - Voting until 01-01-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET (extended)

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:05 pm
by Marius L
Hello everyone,
Nice to be here and participate in this contest. Here are my scores and feedback.


10 pts - TrojakEW - First Snow - I like the cinematic music. This is a very evocative track and I enjoy listening to it. Good production and arrangement. Very good build up and finale. I liked very much the break and then the rise (it sounds like a clock) to the last section.
The song is introducing and settling nice the atmosphere around the theme.

9 pts - A Future In Noise - Flames - I like the gentle sounds and melody. Very nice atmosphere and wintery theme. Also a very nice evocative soundtrack. Because I am into cinematic music (it lets more room for imagination) it is hard to decide and be more objective in giving feedback to all participants. I like how this track grows smoothly and caresses the inside of the ear and heart. Good arrangement and story-telling.

8 pts - RichardClarke - Winter Solstice - For me it is a track with a sense of emerging. I like the percussive parts and the adding of sounds as it grows and especially the spacious atmosphere from the middle to the end. The intro is just a little too high for my ears, but I don’t know if I am not just tired and sensitive to the high frequencies in this period of time.

7 pts - donkey tugger - Enclosed - I like this song and it reminds me somehow of Savage Garden. Very good production and arrangement. For me this is a very good song but, besides that I am more into cinematic music for it being more evocative and fitting in easier, the theme of winter solstice (as it was in the description of the contest) is not exactly represented for me in this song. Maybe the difference is just culturally or experientially.
Otherwise a very good song and a radio-ready production.

6 pts - MarkS - 1st day of winter - Simple and minimalist track, maybe like shy snowflakes in the first snowing day. Maybe for my taste I would like a more cohesive work of instruments. The wooden percussion sounds good to me, like a precipitation falling from the sky, be it snowflakes or raindrops. Sometimes I very much like repetition, if it is catchy and inducing a kind of trance meditative state like in the Electronic Berlin School music (and they have very long tracks usually there), but in this track I would like more variation and instruments supporting each other and, of course, the line of the story. Also more effects could help adding depth and expression. Maybe some pads, drones or atmospheric sounds in the background will fill more the space.


So these are my scores (it was hard to choose some points but I had to decide) and I know it’s all subjective and less technical. I am the type of guy who listen sometimes to just a drone or a noise and hears music in that, other times I like to listen to a wall of sound or to different type of sounds which hardly can be called music.
Thank you all for this experience and feedback, and the opportunity to listen to your beautiful creations for this theme of the contest. I feel it like a growing factor and a valuable experience.
It is my first time here and the track I came up with was made in the last day allowed for submission (December 25) and “finished” and uploaded in the last few minutes before the deadline, so other ideas that I had for it just couldn’t fit in this short time. I was working with midi and fx without freezing tracks because of the hurry ;) and it was a little difficult for my laptop to keep up with the mixing and the arrangements in this form. Probably I will use this project for a more refined track.

Happy Holidays and A Happy New Year!

Marius

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - Voting until 01-01-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET (extended)

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:46 pm
by TrojakEW
First I want to apologize for my reviews if somebody feels that is little too harsh but I'm writing this way with good intention. In order to improve one needs to know his weakness. I like to be honest and tell people what I really think so they can move forward and become stronger. I'm also trying to improve my mixing skills since there is too much to improve for example frequency masking/overlap of instruments and millions of other things :P

Also I always score based on overall quality of track, theme, composition mix and so on. If I have to score based on my preferred style it will be totally different.

10 pts donkey tugger - Enclosed
Every track you have in this competition shows your skills. You always have good composition and high overall production quality. Even if I do not listen to this type of music (I just like more instrumental and classical music) you deserve full points. Mix is good and it covers wide freq spectrum. I can hear cleraly lows, mids and high. Many people tend to cut too much from some spectrum and creating kind of inbalance in mix. This time maybe only this texture/pad in background is little muffled. Like the air was cut out leaving only freq below 2k and causing some kind of resonation for example part starting at 0:55 when there is no singing also in other parts without vocal it is most audible. Later introduced drums cover this. I would like to hear some instrumental next time from you. Also if you could add lyrics since english is not my native laguage and it is hard for my to understand them. Maybe without music I will understand them clearly but with music it is hard for me.

9 pts RichardClarke - Winter Solstice
Introduction is too long. I don't mind long intro but in your track it is without any progression making it "boring" after a while. Second part is better with some interesting sounds there. Still I was awaiting some kind of theme evolution through with some kind of main melody line, lead or something in this mid part of track. Outro is better and more "complex" then intro. Mix is nice with nice stage. I think mid section/freq spectrum is little harsh to my ears. Overall interesting track with good theme. BTW to answer your question vocals I used are Eduardo Tarilonte Mystica that is very very good women's chamber choir with awesome legato transition between syllables and easy to use.

8 pts Marius L - Winter Solstice Ritual
Like atmosphere of the track. Remind me the work of Michael Cretu. Mix is kind of flat. Not bad but I'm missing depth. It feels like all instrumnet stand on line going from left to right on x axis without changing z position. Compostion need some changes and break to hold listener attention during those almost 8 minutes. Really like the mood but after a while it feels like the same things over and over.

7 pts A Future in Noise - Flames 7
This is my favorite kind of music but, first it is too short for any bigger changes, evolution in compoisiton. Second, mix is not very good. No stage, mostly dry sound and levels for different instruments are kind of wrong. Some instruments like mallets are too loud compared to others. Also missing dynamics/expression in instruments. I'm not talking about ampluitude but about dynamic changes of instrument. If you don't have library sampled with more velocity layers you can simulate it with for example low pass filter in order to add some fake expression. Automating low pass filter also with volume atomation can help. Composition is not bad I like it even it is short, it is remind me one small part of track composed by Uematsu. I suggest concetrating on dynamics and expression of solo instruments and then on mix.

6 pts MarkS - 1st Day of Winter - 6
Instrument choosed doesn't work together wery well here. I will definitelly remove this drum kick from track because it doesn't fit there. Instruments should support each other but here it feels like they fighting each other. Mix need quite alot of work. Most of instrumnets are dry and they reside in same freq spectrum. Also levels of all instruments are wrong and there is no depth. Simple theme is not bad but even simpler here will be better with more focus on progression in whole composition. I'm missing main motive/theme since the melody feels bit random. Improvizing is nice but this feels more like mathematically random based on some sort of algorithm.

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC016 December 2018 - Voting until 01-01-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET (extended)

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:06 pm
by donkey tugger
TrojakEW wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:46 pm



This time maybe only this texture/pad in background is little muffled. Like the air was cut out leaving only freq below 2k and causing some kind of resonation for example part starting at 0:55 when there is no singing also in other parts without vocal it is most audible. Later introduced drums cover this. I would like to hear some instrumental next time from you. Also if you could add lyrics since english is not my native laguage and it is hard for my to understand them. Maybe without music I will understand them clearly but with music it is hard for me.

Hehe, that's no pad, that's the TC Aeon (ebow copy);

https://www.tcelectronic.com/Categories ... ans(en|en)

Given that I used it on the acoustic (first time I have done actually) I was a bit stuck so I just used what I'd recorded through delay. If I'd done it on the electric it would have been more controllable and I could have stuck it through an amp or amp sim and fiddled with the sound a lot more. Since it was all improvised no real way to reproduce it without a lot of hassle....! I like it now anyway.. :grin:

Lyrics, no problem...



Selling the ground you walk upon daily
Snow's falling now, trudging through darkened morn
Winter's so cold, perhaps now just maybe
Could be so different, depends where you're born

And they stow it away
And they take it way

Towers and shops
Offices factories
Where once we did play
Once we did play

Beautiful symmetry frost on the glass
You struggle through sludge one foot after the last

And they tear it away
And they steal it away

Towers and shops
Offices factories
Where once we did play
Once we did play

It cuts to the last

And they hoard it away
And they swipe it away
And they hide it away

Towers and shops
Offices factories
Where once we did play
Once we did play
Towers and shops
It never stops
Always the cold is
Where once we did play

Enclosing and cold
It never stops
It never stops