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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Winners announced

Thematic Songwriting Competition - recurrence: monthly
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by TrojakEW »

MarkS wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 16:14 CEST
Maybe, but I don't try to compare it to superior drummer or steven slate drums. Because i don't need for now these kind of possibilities.
Well this is reason I have said that it is limited. I'm not talking about extra ultra super revolutionary features, but about really simple stuff that is very hard to do with such a simple tool. I'm sure swing or shuffle works there just with whole kit and pattern. You can't use shuffle just for snare or? So using daw is better choice no matter the samples or synth used for patterns. You can make drum pattern faster and more complex.

I just cut small part of pattern and made 2 screens to show what I mean. Those are patterns for kick and hihat ensemble I made for track made for KVR OSC. Sounds are made using free synth Lords of the springs. I don't see any way to reproduce this with your tool regarding patterns. And this is really simple pattern. :P
Image Image

And here you can hear the the patterns in action. This is just drum track nothing else. You can consider making pure drum track in order to improve your skills.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by MarkS »

TrojakEW wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 17:34 CEST
You can't use shuffle just for snare or?
(this is starting to get to ,,my synth is good your not or vice versa,, as i had thought when i had wrote previous comment)

anyway, your method i can call the easy way, but i can tell you that for me it is not impossible to achieve. So you want
let's say kick drum and hihats, each one to have own swing. Ok here it is. I can make your pattern with kick and hihats and
their velocities.After that i will copy this instrument.in first instrument i delete the hats , in second i delete kick
drum.so i can apply different swing to each drum kit element. Probably i will get a similar result as yours,but i will
need to choose the long way. So i think it's a matter of choice. when you are limited with something you start to work
to achieve same result but in a different manner.(example: in magix music maker mx you are limited to only two insert effects
per channel,in premium version, the same, so i searched a multi fx vst to deal with that. After some searches i have found
free magix indepedence fx. it has a lot of effects. so i had to use just a vst but with a lot of effects). of course i can
go your way i don't mind not at all( a drum vst and a midi pattern should do it),but as i mentioned in my above comments i just try to
stick with my current set of tools for a period. I can not prove my words with an audio since i am not at ,,my studio,, :) it's only a laptop
and some headphones, but i think you have got my idea. maybe again you will prove me that i can not do that or that. believe me if
i want to achieve something i will try to do that, even it is in a different manner, slower or difficult.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by NERVA »

You guys all blew my track out of the water!! So much talent here...

J I L L I A M “Heavy Exhale”
Interesting sounds, a lot of which I wish I had at my disposal, love the change ups. Very well constructed, a variety of flavors. This track has attitude, however it gets a little muddy at the end then cuts out too suddenly, almost thought it was buffering due to a weak connection or something.

MarkS “2nd Step”
Sounded to me like a lot of off beat, off key experimentation, almost seemed like they just pressed record and did each track in one take. The song has a strange vibe, but it plays to the imagination which is never a bad thing.

TrojakEW “Little Racer”
Love the bass in this track, has a lot of great arpeggiated synths too, really nailed the back and forth panning, it inspires me to utilize that in my future productions. The toddler voice was kinda creepy, but the song was done extremely well and I can definitely see myself listening to it more than once, super glad I used headphones!

Leonard Bowman “Weapon of Choice”
Whoa! What a trippy intro. Great use of samples. And though this track sounds like it had a lot of impressive surgery, the vocal tracks start sounding a little awkward closer to the end. Love the beat.

minuskx “Experiences”
Excellent work staying on theme (you could teach me a thing or two, LoL) definitely hear big beat in this one. Lacks bass, but the way this track was put together was very impressive. Love the sounds and choice of instruments.

toadhjo “Sharper Knife”
Noble effort paying homage to Prodigy, I’m not too familiar with their work, but from what I HAVE heard from them, sounds pretty similar to this song. The beat seemed like it was missing a few instruments, but it was a comfortable tempo.

Shiftdelete “The Virus”
Sounds like someone just couldn’t wait to show us how it’s really done. Bravo sir!
The elements used in this song are very ear friendly, I thoroughly enjoyed this track, very excited to hear more from this artist, but I don’t look forward to competing with them. They are scary good.

donkey tugger “I am donkey, you are not donkey”
Hilarious, surprisingly well done and very entertaining, I may have to show my friends. I definitely got a 90’s vibe, love the guitar track, it went extremely well with the choice of snare.

Marc Rapture “NXT Level”
This track is all too familiar, I can hear it in clubs or movies. It seems a little dry and a little too sample crazy, but it drives the point home. The beat is not too repetitive which is good, very good choice of instruments as well.

functionform “Buddha Be Praised”
Good ambiance, perfect for a video game, not a huge fan of the mix, but the seemingly complex beat makes up for it.

Mellow Browne “Flint Eastwood”
Very unique once the beat comes in, LOVE THE COWBELL!! ...or am I hearing things? I enjoyed listening to this track from start to finish, thought the beat could have come in a little sooner, or at least I was expecting it to. Maybe it works to come in that late anyway. Great work!

Hats off to those who rocked it this month, it’s not easy to do what you do! I learn something new each time I come here, and it’s truly an honor to compete along side you all! Here are my votes:

(11 pts.) Shiftdelete
(10 pts.) minuskx
(9 pts.) Mellow Browne
(8 pts.) TrojakEW
(7 pts.) Mark Rapture
(6 pts.) donkey tugger
(5 pts.) J I L L I A M
(4 pts.) toadjho
(3 pts.) Leonard Bowman
(2 pts.) functionform
(1 pts.) MarkS

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by TrojakEW »

MarkS wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 22:00 CEST
(this is starting to get to ,,my synth is good your not or vice versa,, as i had thought when i had wrote previous comment)
Looks like you don't understand what I mean. You don't need to get any new tools, synths or vsts. It is that you already have tool better suited for this in magix (I just google some info and screens) and it have normal piano roll. Why not use this instead of that beatbox thing that have limited way to manipulate pattern. Just use only sounds from beatbox but without using this limited sequencer that it have and trigger them with sequence/pattern right from piano roll - midi editor or how it is called in magix. Why to limit yourself. :shrug:

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by toadhjo »

As usual there were lots of great tracks this month!

My process
I download all the tracks (in lossless format when possible) and randomize their order in my media player. I then listen, write comments, and assign each track a preliminary rating. Then I listen again -- sometimes multiple times -- and modify my comments and ratings until I feel like I'm done. Then I rank the tracks according to my ratings. Sometimes I listen to two closely ranked tracks one final time to make sure I'm happy with how I placed them.

(Note that I don’t read anyone else’s critiques until I’m done writing my own. I don't want your opinions to influence mine!)

If you have any questions about my comments, ask away. I’d be happy to clarify or offer further insight.

I like the overall sound. It reminds me of early The Prodigy – especially the guitar riff that briefly appears at 0:32 and comes back a few more times.

I think the track could use more fleshing out. It’s on the short side. But it’s a nice start!

This one grew on me a bit between my first listen and when I listened again a couple days later. The production is great. The primary issue I have with it is that the lead lines feel directionless, which in turn makes the song feel directionless.

A good test for pop leads is “Would it sound good if a person sang it?” Now I’m wondering if one’s native language has an influence on the kinds of lead lines they prefer.

I like the positive energy! This one has more of a Fatboy Slim feel. The opening few seconds threw me off guard, but as soon as the beat came in I felt the “Big Beat” connection.

I like how the track progresses and develops. And the vocals make me chuckle :hihi:

My only criticisms are that it’s a bit on the short side and the beats could probably sound a bit “bigger”. Very nice work!

The track is in 4/4 many of the instruments use odd rhythms that make it hard for me to feel the flow. I feel like it’s both too simple and too complex. For instance, the bass line has a complex rhythm that spans 4 bars, but it just repeats over and over again.

I just don’t really get this one. Maybe I’m misinterpreting it. It would be great if you could share a track that you like by another artist to give me a better idea of what you’re aiming for.

Marc Rapture
I’m of two minds about this track. On one hand, I love how lush and full the percussion sounds. But on the other hand, I feel like there should be more emphasis on the first beat of every measure. (I know not every “Big Beat” track follows this convention, but most of the best ones do!)

But I do like how you used samples. And despite my above qualms I do feel you did a good job of capturing the Big Beat sound!

The intro is very evocative and the primary beat is compelling. I can’t tell what the vocal is saying but I do like the sound of it.

That being said, I feel like the track would benefit from more space. The beat never stops. I think this track would benefit a lot if you had the beat drop out completely somewhere in the middle, let some tension build, and then brought it back harder than before. That would make the track a bit longer, too. As it stands it’s on the short side.

Leonard Bowman
The first thing I have to say is that the ride(?) cymbal on the left side is too prominent. It detracts from the song and should probably be turned down or EQed differently.

The break at 0:48 is really slick – nice playing on the bass. The samples around this time are nicely placed and the way you let the percussion ebb and flow is quite masterful.

The mid-section is my favorite part. The beginning and end I’m not so high on. But overall a very nice piece!

It takes a while to get there but once the beat drops it drops hard. Although I do like the beat I must say it gets a bit repetitive – it would’ve been nice if you had changed things up somewhere. I do like your lead lines. There are a lot of good things happening here. If you make the percussion more dynamic you will have a really excellent track!

The breakbeat immediately calls to mind big beat -- it’s a smart way to kick the track off. I like the way you use a filter on the lead around 1:40. It creates a nice sense of movement despite the lack of melody. And the break just after 2:00 is well placed. Just the right place to change things up before us listeners get bored.

You do a great job of controlling the flow. No real criticisms from me – I just wish there were some vocals and/or samples!

This one has that The Prodigy feel right from the get go – both in terms of the beat construction and tempo. You’ve combined a lot of dynamic parts and made them flow nicely. Vocals would be appreciated but aren’t necessary. My biggest criticism is that it does feel a tad bit repetitive towards the end, but this is dance music so I can let that go.

Mellow Browne
Too much dissonance for my taste. The synth (or sample?) that starts at 0:29 and repeats ad infinitum overpowers the good things happening here. When I listen on headphones I can hear you spent quite a bit of time adding little details. I do like the beat and feel that this track has potential but in my opinion it would need some tweaking to reach its potential.

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Mister Fox
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by Mister Fox »

A friendly reminder:
24 hours left to submit your feedback and vote.

If you didn't do that yet, please do so. It would be a shame to see you disqualified

Marc Rapture
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by Marc Rapture »

What's up everyone!

I carefully listened to all your tracks in the car and in the studio, more than once to be fair. You all did an excellent production in some way, shape or form. This was an excellent challenge for me and I hope for you guys too. If you feel I'm a bit harsh with my critique on your submission, don't take it personal as I will not take it personal as well. This is strictly for us to learn about everything we do right and wrong. And to help us improve our productions.

Peace out, and good luck to you all! :cool:

JILLIAM - “Heavy Exhale”
You totally have all the elements that makes that “Big Beat” sound. Love the bass, just a bit too loud. Overall a good composition.
My only gripe is the distortion. To my ears, its ear rape! It’s just too much. Get rid of the distortion or tame it down. I think this will let your track breathe.

MarkS - “2nd Step”
Your Track is ok. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was your instrument arrangement. It’s just too random. It really doesn’t have that “Big Beat” Sound.

TrojakEW - “Little Racer”
Great arrangement. I really dig your style of story telling in your song, very creative. The only thing is, I felt like it lacked the sound, punch, and style of the “Big Beat” genre. Overall a good production.

ANTHEMIC - “Assemble”
I dig your track. But as you stated “So once again I think I screwed the pooch on sticking to the theme.” Which yes, this production did not have that “Big Beat” sound. But It’s still a decent production. I could totally hear this song in a movie soundtrack.
But overall, It could use a better balanced mix.

Leonard Bowman - “Weapon of Choice”
I think you’re using too much Xfer OTT in the mix. This could be making your sounds thin. Your low end or bass synth are a bit loud. With that said. Your kick seems to be missing or barely there. It feels like the bass carries the entire track. It’s just missing that “Big beat” style punch.

minuskx - “Experience”
Awesome sound selection and arrangement! You hit it on the money for that “Big Beat” style. My only gripe is that your mix lacks balance and punch. Maybe focus a bit more on the lower frequencies in the mix. Other than that, good job.

toadhjo - “Sharper Knife”
Good arrangement and sound selection. You definitely captured that “Big Beat” sound. The only thing is you might want to pan out some sounds in the mix. This might give the track a bit more room to breathe. Maybe do a little more processing to your drums, they lack a little punch. Overall it’s a good production, nice touch with your vocals too.

Shiftdelete - “The Virus”
Woah! The first thing to grab my attention was how loud you mastered your track. (Almost blew my ears off). It’s just clipping and distorting all over the place. This creates a lack of dynamics in your track. Although you did manage to recreate that “Big Beat” sound and other production elements. It just felt a little too repetitive for me. Otherwise, It’s an overall good production. Just watch your meters.

donkey tugger - “I am donkey, you are not donkey"
Love this track. It totally reminded me of a Norman Cook (AKA Fatboy Slim) track. Don’t know why, but it does. Great arrangement, use of sounds and a well balanced mix. Now my only gripe is It’s too loud. It’s clipping and distorting throughout. The drums also seem a little too over compressed. Other than that, good job. You truly recreated that “Big Beat” Sound.

functionform - “Buddha be Praise”
Although I felt like your track sounded more like a Breakbeat genre. It stills captures that “Big Beat” style. I just think the mix is a bit muddy and could use a boost in the high frequency range. This could give it more air and separation in the mix. Maybe you could use some better breaks and builds to relieve the tension in the arrangement as well. Other than that, well done.

Mellow Browne - “Flint Eastwood”
Dope track, love the drum breaks. But the high pitch sustained note you have throughout the track is too loud and ear piercing (Ear rape.) Maybe tighten up the mix a bit to give it a bit more balance. Overall, great production work and capturing the “Big Beat” sound.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by functionform »

Thanks for the critiques everyone, I'll take them to heart. Really impressed with how professionally done the tracks were. Really hope to learn from more than a few of you.

Jilliam - Heavy Exhale
Nice brutal sounds at beginning, the groove kind of misses an opportunity
to re-assert on the 1, but continues the momentum. I think the track
has a strong sense of identity, but doesn't really strike me as big beat track.
For production confidence I do like it.

Mark S. - 2nd Step
If I take a step back I hear 90s in this one in a good way, but more
so like a Madonna b-side after she starts going electronica than big beat.
The groove is very understated, but I like the interlude samples
that sort of paint the space between. I'm into the impressionistic aspect of it.

TrojakEW - Little Racer
First of all, cute premise. I like the racing samples used and you
used them well to drive the track. The beat itself doesn't quite
have that prodigy breakbeat vibe, but it almost doesn't matter. Nice job.
I like the bass that comes in towards the end - I wanted it deeper but it works.

Anthemic - Assemble
Heavy opening, but wanted it to get going sooner. Nice chorus sounds.
It has a very strong beat, but its typical four on the floor. Not breakbeatish.
Regardless good mix and production consistency.

Leonard Bowman - Weapon of Choice
Nice open production. Just a few more tweaks would've given you that
breakbeat aspect that I feel is important in the ratings of this.
It's a laid back track. Good usage of the samples, especially 'silence' variations.

-kx - Experience
Nailed the breakbeat and the synth delays. Sounds like classic 90s big beat to me. Perfect level of resonance on the synth. For the goals of the contest, I really hear the target genre. Great mixing as well.
I feel like I'm playing Wipeout in '97. Great drum programming. Just great.
Goes a little long is my minor critique.

toadhjo (Henry J. Olsen) - Sharper Knife
Very nice opening, dark and ominous. Vocals are perf. This is really cool.
I'm picturing Trent Reznor trying to do big beat. The industrial angle is cool.
Good job getting the breakbeat and nice work on the drum programming and

shiftdelete - The Virus
Wow sounds like you found or used the 90s sample discs? The production
is spot on perfect for the time period but with modern spatialization. I like.
Great job with the beat variations. Mix, production and composition sound
effortless. Love the synth growls around midway, so beautiful. The scratches
really do good with the rhythm. Sounds like something that should've been
on the Hackers soundtrack.

donkey tugger - I am donkey, you are not donkey
A little classic rock, why not. This is Kid Rock vs. Smashmouth vs. Moby to be
honest. I do like it, but not quite the target genre. Production of it is brilliant. It's very professionally done and somehow sounds very laid back
despite all the in your face elements. I feel like you if you made an album
of this it would soar to the top of some chart somewhere.

Marc Rapture - NXT Level
Sounds good but a little under developed in terms of composition.
Needed a little more umph in the synths or something midway.

Mellow Browne - Flint Eastwood
57 till we get goin. I'm going to pretend I'm the music industry asshole and
say we need to get to it sooner, especially if you lead with a high pitch squeal. The beat isn't bad, has some good feel to it.
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by J I L L I A M »

i am going to give my feedback, shortly

donkey tugger
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC020 April 2019 - Voting until 01-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST


Post by donkey tugger »

A few things before I start.

Firstly, this is of course only my opinions, and I have from time to time been known to be wrong... :shock:

Secondly, I think, (with some honourable exceptions) people have been a bit, 'polite' with their choice of sounds/effects for the most part (I may have gone just a leeetle too far in the other direction....). This is Big Beat - for me it should be big, brash, and in yer face!

Functionform - Like the big riff - nice sound. I can see what you're trying to do with the drums here and like ambition of this and choice of sounds - the combination of more atmospheric and heavy stuff is a good idea. Just don't think the mix does justice to your ideas - seems to be lacking in both low and high end. I'm going to mark you high anyway though, because there's musically some good ideas in here. - 11

Shiftdelete - That's more like it on the drums and riffage! Great hook. Would like to have had more sounds introduced as the track progresses - throw in a few breakbeats etc for variation, and mix things up a bit more, as it's all sort of on one level. Good stuff though - 10

Marc Rapture - Again, a suitably big beat! Bass when it comes in a bit disappointing. Love the classic pitching up of the vocal sample. Think that the faux 'guitar' gated sound you've got going on in parts could do with a bit more bite and distortion (think full metel!). Again, liked this one though - 9

Mellow Browne - Good intro (and great title!) Classic Breakbeat (I know it from the Chemical Brothers - can't for the life of me remember where the original is from!) Moves along quite nicely, but can't help thinking it needs one more thing to really gel it together? I was thinking some ethereal female vocal type thing, or even reggae guitar - this is big beat, anything goes! Good work - 8

Minuskx - Like the breakbeat, and would have liked to hear a bit of pitching of the snare in a nod to the old-skool jungle massive an ting..303 stylee synth works well. Overall the track did seem to be missing a bit of low end power. I wouldn't be afraid to throw in an extra bit of 909/808 low tuned kick to emphasise the beat 'on the 1' Also doesn't seem to go anywhere much new after the breakdown. A good attempt though - 7

TrojakEW - A nicely balanced mix, but missing the aggression I tend to associate with BIg Beat - sounds very clean. Also for my money missing a hook - get some kind of big riff in there, be it synth/guitar or whatever - something for the kids to latch onto! - 6

Toadhjo - Takes a while to get going but nice when it does. Vocal is a nice touch - a bit 'goth'! I think you could strip back the arrangement a little or differentiate the sounds a little more - it's very synthy/reverby all the way through - some of the sounds need to be spikier and poke through a bit more with less reverb - 5

Jilliam - Nice riff, and good to hear the distortion in there and also a bit of glitchy type stuff. Drums way to quiet though, and the use of a lot of reverb (whilst not intrinsically bad) gives it more of an 80s industial feel rather than big beat - 4

Leonard Bowman - Like the intro! You've got the idea there with the riff, but again the sounds are all very poilte, especially the drums. I kept expecting some extra low end to kick alongside the clicky kick drum, but it never came. Good inventive use of samples. -3

Anthemic - Nice big drum sound there and the sidechained bass actually works for once! Not keen on the little 'euro' synth sound, it's a bit cheesy, in a bad way and doesn't befit the genre really. I would have liked to hear this one with some big shoegazy guitars (think Chemical Brothers/Bernard Sumner - Out of Control) - 2

MarkS - Musically some interesting ideas in there (I'm always a sucker for reversed stuff), but I don't think you've got a handle on the genre - this sounds more 'electro' to me. Really needs to beefed up as well in the drums - get the compression and saturation going and give them some bite. Possibly a bit long for what it is. - 1

Hope I haven't pissed anyone off - no pint in giving an opinion unless it's an honest one though!

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