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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Winners announced

#1

Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Songwriting Competition 43 - March 2021


This is the introduction post, where we directly link to the challenge corresponding files (theme, submission information, sponsors) and start of the voting process. There will be no Round 2.

Read more about this month's competition further down below.




Please take note of the following
  • Please consult the official "Rules and Guidelines" for the Songwriting Competition regarding principles of the game, it's engaging game mechanics (allowed editing/resubmission of your entry until the deadline has been reached) and upload/submission guidelines.
  • IMPORTANT: please use the following naming convention for your productions (artist name = forum username):
    • SWC000_ArtistName_TrackName.wav and/or .mp3
  • IMPORTANT: if you only submit your production through Soundcloud, name your files properly prior to uploading and make the production downloadable. The forum can also convert your links into a Soundcloud player through the [soundcloud] BBCode from the text editor (orange square with a white cloud in it)



This post will be updated with the corresponding links as we progress, and of course the suitable thread headlines. So please watch this spot:


Submission Period: General Information and Sponsors
Cheat Sheet: A couple of examples / audio demos for this month's challenge (usually not available if genre is "Free to Select")
Voting: Summarized entries and start of voting process
Results of the Songwriting Competition: Results of the Songwriting Competition

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Submissions until 24-03-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#2

Post by Mister Fox »

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Monday, 01st March 2021 to Wednesday, 24th March 2021 (24 days)

Challenge submission will end on 24-03-2021, 23:59 UTC+1/CET (Germany) - until further notice.

Want to find out if you're still within the deadline, please consult the following options:
The Global Countdown on it's dedicated page or the countdown on the home page. You can also consult the World Clock at the top of the forum or alternatively the following tool - in this case please select "Berlin (Germany)" as location 1, and your location as location 2: Time and Date - World Clock Meeting Planner. We do post reminders via our Twitter account and Facebook page.



SONGWRITING THEME: Spring Blossom (Spring Bloom)
GENRE: Ambient


Image
Image Source: Pexels / Pixabay, photo by Pixabay, released under Creative Commons CC0


A few word about this month's theme:
Staff (Mister Fox) wrote: Even though our world is still upside down, time just doesn't stand still. It quite literally flies by and we're already in March, the start of (meteorological) spring on the Northern Hemisphere. The sun is coming out, pushing back cold and dark days, nature starts to re-awaken.

Let us push aside all negativity from recent months, and focus on the positive, relax a little, try to recharge our batteries again. And I'd like to do this with a more relaxed songwriting game this month, focusing on Ambient music.
.



Your task for this Songwriting Competition:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This month, you can create a production in the "Ambient" genre. Just like with many other genres, "Ambient Music" has a very broad spectrum and definition. Nowadays, Ambient is also synonymous with "Relaxation and Meditation" music, because of the use of slow, ever evolving soundscapes, nature sounds running in the background, etc. As usual, I recommend to read more about this further down below in the Cheat Sheet, and the linked-to Music Map (see Songwriting Competition - Addendum)


What I'd like to see/hear this month:
I'd love to hear you combine one or two (two absolute max) acoustic instruments with an ambient soundscape (think: evolving pads, soothing sound effects, etc). Doesn't matter which acoustic instrument: piano, guitar (clean e-guitars are also fine, if you rather prefer that), flute, Kalimba/finger harp, hang drum, dulcimer, cello, etc.

I am not against using percussive elements, as long as they're reserved/laid back and not the driving force. Think a really slow and soft electronic drum beat/loop, or pushed back snare drums through the help of reverberation. Vocals are always optional, of course. Please don't feel pressured to add any. But if you do want to add the occasional airy "oohs/aahs", go for it.

The overall tone should be, or rather, feel "relaxing". Experiment with sounds and sound design, maybe even take a dip into "Binaural audio" ("headphone surround"). I can only offer some corner stones. Please let yourself be inspired by the photo and short description above, then go from there.


What I do not want to hear:
Ambient can easily drift into subtle full-seated orchestras, because of the focus on soundscapes through "pad sounds" (usually created with stringed instruments, or synthetic strings). Please try to find a suitable balance. If you decide on a beat section, there is a fine line where things can drift into "New Age" (electronic loops). Keep the overall concept in mind.


Looking forward to listening to your productions. :phones:

Songwriting Rule Summary / Add-On Rules:
  • create a production fitting to the given theme, genre and general premise
  • you can use any tool that is at your disposal (samples, virtual instruments and/or real instruments)
  • IMPORTANT: if you use non-licensed material (as in: non royalty free material from sample CDs, etc), give full credit to the source material
  • do not go higher than -14LUFS ILk/-1dBTP in terms of perceived loudness (mastering). Music doesn't have to be squashed to bits in order to be impactful
  • for newcomers: no productions that have already been released outside of the time frame of the current Songwriting Competition (Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, etc), no cover versions or remixes, no ripped acapella's
  • ADD-ON RULES:
    • <no add-on rules specified>

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please take note of the official rules - they can be found at the following thread:
Songwriting Competition - Official Rules and Guidelines

Please address any OT question in the official Gossip thread:
Songwriting Competition - Gossip and Discussion

If you like what the Mix Challenge (community) has been doing in recent months:
Please consider supporting us

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


SPONSORS (Prizes):

Prizes for Songwriting Challenge participants:

Note: All licenses are NFR (Not-For-Resale), except where noted.
Changes to available prices on short notice may be possible and will be announced separately.


RECURRING LICENSE SPONSORSHIP:

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IK Multimedia is kind enough give away one license of MODO BASS to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on IK Multimedia: https://www.ikmultimedia.com


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Tone2 is kind enough to donate a license of Saurus2 to the winner (until further notice)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Tone2: https://tone2.com


Image
kv331 audio is kind enough give away a bundle of either SynthMaster 1+2 Bundle, or a freely selectable set of 3 SynthMaster Expansions
License will not turn into NFR, you need to have a kv311 audio user account in order to pick up Expansions
More info on kv331 audio: https://www.kv331audio.com


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JRR Sounds is kind enough give away any-1 sound sets or sample set of winner's choice (exception: Bundles)
More info on JRR Sounds: https://www.jrrshop.com/jrr-sounds


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Luftrum is kind enough give away either a license of Lunaris, a license of Bioscape, or any two sound sets of winner's choice (exception: Bundles and Nano Electronics)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Luftrum: http://www.luftrum.com


Image
Rekkerd Sounds is kind enough give away 1 sound set of winners choice (exception: Krezie EDM and Neurofunk Vol. 1)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Rekkerd Sounds: http://sounds.rekkerd.org/


Image
Ghostwave Audio (Vincent Bastiat) is kind enough to donate any 2 sound sets to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Ghostwave Audio: http://ghostwaveaudio.com


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Hollow Sun is kind to donate one license of "Music Laboratory Machines - The Suite I" to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Hollow Sun: http://www.hollowsun.com


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Hornet Plugins is kind enough give away one license from the depicted tools (see image) to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Hornet Plugins: http://www.hornetplugins.com


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Sound / Graphic Designer, and honorary Mix Challenge staff satYatunes is donating one commercial product of winner's choice (until further notice)
More info on satYatune's page: http://www.satyatunes.com/





THANKS FOR THE DONATIONS!
And also a thank you to all former contributors as well.

If you want to sponsor content (please have a focus on instruments, samples and sound sets), please get in touch with the Mix Challenge staff.

Please spread the word of the challenge on social media.
For example with our dedicated Twitter Account or Facebook Page

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good luck to all participants.
And most importantly, have fun!

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Submissions until 24-03-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#3

Post by Mister Fox »

AUDIO EXAMPLES:
---------------------

Articles and Info Pages:

A great starting point is the (new) "Addendum"/Supplementary thread for the Songwriting Competition
Songwriting Competition - Addendum: Music Maps and BPM Charts

Additional Articles on Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambient_music


Two informative Youtube Videos:

Alfo Media - An Introduction to Ambient Music (2019) - highly recommended watch!
Antoine Michaud - Ambient Songwriting Tip - Chords & Melody: You can do so much with so little (2018)




Music examples (selection, Youtube):

Brian Eno - Thursday Afternoon (1985)
Tangerine Dream - Zen Garden (1985)
blu::elements project/Forsenses - Mountainous "Feeling Free" (2009, borderline pop music, but stays fairly "ambient" -- "Forsenses" has been mixed for/in "headphone surround", listen to this video on headphones!)
Adrian von Ziegler - Spring Charm (2012)
Tastelike Cake - That reality distortion called Love (2013)
Tastelike Cake - Never Say Goodbye (2013, borderline gracing Chill-out/Lounge)
Nils Frahm - Says (2013)
Max Richter: Consteallation 1 & 2 (2016, from the "Sleep" project)
r beny - Spring in Blue (Eurorack Modular Ambient) (2016)
Perry Frank - Ambient Guitar XIII - Landscape #3 (2016)
Chords of Orion - Relax & Chill with Cosmic Ambient Guitar Music (2018)
Kim De Bills - Volca Keys - Kalimba ambient jam (2019, borderline "electronic")
Rodrigo Rodriguez - A Journey to the End of the Universe (2020)
Moby - Relaxing sleep music (2021)

This is just a fraction of what counts as "Ambient". By using the search term "ambient music" on Youtube, you can dig through thousands of hours of "relaxation music", "meditation music" and similar that technically counts to ambient these days. The more recent type of ambient music also heavily features nature sounds (rain, a river, etc), or sounds from certain environments (like a cafe, or a street).

You will also notice that a lot of these songs are way over 10 minutes long, sometimes even up to several hours. Please ideally try to stay within the 10 minute mark.
.



Please also check in with the following thread in the the Gear Talk sub-forum, if you're on the look-out for new tools:
Free Tools, Samples and deals (collection thread)

Also recommended to check out:
ValhallaDSP - Valhalla Super Massive (an IMO outstanding alternative to Eventide's "Blackhole")
Relab Development - Sonsig Rev-A
MuTools - MUX Modular (for creative sound design purposes)

If you need Foley sounds and/or sound effects, I can highly recommend the following two sources:
99sounds - the Bedroom Producers Blog the indie sound design label
Free To Use Sounds - the biggest, most affordable Foley library out on the market to date

If you want to delve into sound design:
Xenakios - PaulXStretch Plugin and Hourglass Plugin (Hourglass is discontinued and Windows only)
Paul Nasca - PaulStretch Standalone (the original)
Notam - Mammut Sound Processing Software (standalone, read here on how to use it)



UPDATED: 28-FEB-2021 06:30 UTC+1 (sourcing content: a couple of hours), updated 03-MAR-2021 05:30 UTC+1 -- thank you to Clueless for the additional sound design tool recommendations

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Submissions until 24-03-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#4

Post by Clueless »

O
Last edited by Clueless on Tue Mar 09, 2021 09:32 CET, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Submissions until 24-03-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#5

Post by Mister Fox »

Thanks for the sound design tool recommendations, @Clueless - I just added Paul Stretch and Mammut to the "Cheat Sheet" post above.


Notice however, that while Sound Particles is indeed a very interesting sound design tool (especially for Surround and Binaural Audio), you can not(!) use the Trial Version for public projects (only internally, for testing purposes).

Two additional alternatives I could throw into the pool (if you really want to experiment in this field), are New Audio Technology's Spatial Audio Designer (which was used for the Forsenses video above -- the "Headphone Surround 3D" version, aka "Virtual Producer" costs 189EUR). Or, if you can wrap your head around with routing and manage to pull this off in anything else than Cockos Reaper, then there is also the free/open source Ambisonic IEM Plug-in Suite.

:arrow: However, you will not get any extra points if you go this route, It would be a personal bonus challenge for experimentation purposes.
Good old "boring stereo" is more than fine.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Submissions until 24-03-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#6

Post by Clueless »

O
Last edited by Clueless on Tue Mar 09, 2021 09:32 CET, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Submissions until 24-03-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#7

Post by A Future in Noise »

Mister Fox wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 05:56 CET
Two additional alternatives I could throw into the pool (if you really want to experiment in this field), are New Audio Technology's Spatial Audio Designer (which was used for the Forsenses video above -- the "Headphone Surround 3D" version, aka "Virtual Producer" costs 189EUR). Or, if you can wrap your head around with routing and manage to pull this off in anything else than Cockos Reaper, then there is also the free/open source Ambisonic IEM Plug-in Suite.
There is so much information here, and I had never heard of artificial stereo before. It will take a while (at least) before I have time enough to look into this exiting new field, but what I wonder is: “ … in anything else than Cockos Reaper ...” – what does it mean in this context? If I ever want to download the free IEM Plug-in Suite, I won't be able to use it together with REAPER? Or? (REAPER is the DAW I usually use.)

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Submissions until 24-03-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#8

Post by Clueless »

O
Last edited by Clueless on Tue Mar 09, 2021 09:32 CET, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Submissions until 24-03-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#9

Post by Mister Fox »

For clarification, from my understanding, Reaper is probably the only DAW that that can use the IEM Plugin Suite to it's current highest potential. The suite can be configured to Ambisonics up to 7th Order (64 channels). As an example: Steinberg Cubase is only capable up to 3rd Order (16 channels, technically the maximum "discrete" surround channels to export in Cubase are 5.1 or 6.0 - some strange wrapping is definitely involved).

Here are two more articles on the topic:
https://www.waves.com/ambisonics-explai ... -engineers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambisonics


But again - this is a very special topic which introduced a high experimental factor - you will not get extra points for creating a binaural audio mix. The focus is still: an ambient music production, fitting to the given theme. The final format should be in stereo. Everything else is bonus. Or has been done for sound design purposes.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC043 March 2021 - Submissions until 24-03-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#10

Post by A Future in Noise »

Thanks, Mr Fox. Yes, it's a special topic, but a very interesting one (and for me, personally, I like free stuff). But of course I will primarily concentrate on fullfilling my task.

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