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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Winners announced

Thematic Songwriting Competition - recurrence: monthly
Blang
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#21

Post by Blang »

Hey all!

I hope you all found peace at the end of the chaotic tunnel. I reviewed the tracks on Composition, Brief and Production; in order of importance.

dadomachado - Humpft
Great title and start! I really dig all the times the band becomes one on the descending line.

At 0:50 the groove gets a bitlost because the timing of the synth lead. The same thing happens at the end. A shame, because because for the rest it really feels much like a band playing together.
Nice energetic guitar solo and tone. The hammond solo now almost feel like a drum solo, because it’s lacking some volume and bite (mids and distortion?).
It’s high energy, but under control. Not very chaotic or driving me mad. I could imagine a band playing this on an outdoor festival.

Minor nerdy things: the guitar solo has the same type of stereo effect as the Left rhythm guitar. I think it would be nice just to have it smack dab in the middle.
The widening on the left rhythm guitar feels a bit uncomfortable because of some phase/polarity shifting. That’s why it almost completely disappears when the track is collapsed in mono. On headphones it doesn’t bother me though.


EsteveCorbera - JamSessionOne
Nice how the rhodes enters; so sparse. Reminded me of Steely Dan’s Aja or Gaucho.
The sax melody could be more lively if it also plays some notes off the beat.
When the drum goes the the ride cymbal, the rest of the ‘band’ doesn’t really seem to go along with the increase of energy. This difference of energy is even more apparent in the bass and drum break. Perhaps that would work better if the drums go really quiet and sparse (rimstick?) and the bass plays some new melodic ideas. The bass is fairly high in a lot of places. You could try transposing a few notes down an octave (for variation).
For me the song has a calm, nostalgic, slightly sad feel to it; Maybe not completely at ease, but also not chaotic to me.

Minor mix thing:
It would probably sound more together (and more like Steely Dan) if you would take the drum reverb down quite a bit (I mean 10-20dB softer).


Gloo - Swamp Head
Like the chords and voicings of the intro.
The sampled chord that announes the change around 0:34 is very cooky indeed. The count-in might have been stronger with just the sample and the whole band kicks in together on the second part 0:39.
The 80’s verb snare seemed a bit out of place and distracting; The rest sounds more interesting to me.
Cool weird overlapping lines in the third part until 1:40. At times perhaps a bit too off, but for this brief it’s good when it goes a bit too far. The following fourth part takes it even a step further. Some polytonal stuff going on it seems. Everything in relationship to the bass seems crooked. I can feel the chaos. I dig how it then goes back to the beginning at 2:20. Love the contrast between the calm and weird.
Cool, daring ending.


becsei_gyorgy - Arroz con mango
Good trumpet sound!
Nice choice starting scarce, without drums. Feels really good when it does enter.

Around 1:50 the synth en rhodes both seem to want the spotlight, but neither of them really shines because they’re in each others way (in playing and volume). The arrangement under the trumpet solo is a lot more effective.

The jazzy swing and hooky bass line, felt pretty upbeat and light to me. It’s not driving me crazy or anxious. To me it feels energetic and perhaps slightly chaotic, but in a joking way.


Erik traks - Warlock
Cool, promising beginning. Nice classic sounds and harmony. It’s calm, but you feel something is about to happen.
The drums going away seemed early, before it got to full strength. I would expect the whole band going full blast after that, but it gently builds up again, in swing now. Clever the way you rhythmically modulate back to the straight groove at 2:20. For this months brief I don’t think it very necessary to be subtle about the changes though, ah well.

The promising intro didn’t really get fulfilled for me, because we keep hanging in this D minor Blues vamp. For a jazz/fusion track, it would be nice to have a harmonic modulation somewhere (in the swing B section for example) and/or have a section that’s more chord based instead of scale based. This also leads us to ours months’ theme/brief. It felt pretty stable and relaxed to me, not crazy or driving me crazy.

The melodies and licks in the solos are so good that I didn’t really miss a recurring theme. But then again, I might like it again even more with a theme.


Askandy - And Over And

Okay, we got weird some harmonies in the horns. A lot of major seconds it seems, providing dissonance.
Funny when the bass goes into sort of a samba vibe around 1:20.

Hmm, it did end up driving me crazy. Mainly because it feels like the horns are in a different universe than the drum and bass. So, I think you did a good job to convey the brief of this month. However, the weirdness is always the same type. Would be interesting to feature some parts of the chaotic Hendrixian shred guitar and have the horns do something else (or mute them)

The tones of the horns feel a bit cheesy to me. Perhaps turns them into synths. (it might just be my synthetic horn allergy talking :P)

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AskAndy
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#22

Post by AskAndy »

Humpft- I luv da funk. Gotta get that funk. Really nice piece. good room . I feel it just missus the bullseye leaning more Funk than Jazz.
JamSessionOne- Technically a good mix , good balance. The vibe seemed... mono-tonous, not so defined.
Swamp Head- This hit the mark. groovey, jazzy , I like the structure and form for the parameters given. A really nice mix , ready to go to mastering.
Arroz con mango- nice selection of instruments, Kind of a Monty Norman/ Danny Elfman vibe. Good mix.
Piling Up- Very tight another great mix , great piece. Its got a David Gilmour fused with John Anderson thing going on.
Warlock- Love how it builds. the Guitar sounds wonderful( maybe a les paul or a telecaster?) Just a great creation.
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erictracks
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#23

Post by erictracks »

Feedback:

------

Dadamachado - Hupft

We’re definitely taking the funk road here. The bass guitar is giving this a lot of personality, and I appreciate the big accents and fills they’re playing. Primary melody hits hard and evokes the era with the layered moog lead. Keys sound great throughout, and that hammond in the right channel gets me thinking about The Meters which might be the greatest of all bands so that’s good.

Drums are hanging back with a subtle swing that more resembles jam band stuff. In fact that whole guitar solo section brings out the jam ethos with that particular guitar tone and phrasing. Extremely competent guitar playing btw, that’s nice stuff.

My main critique would be that this track sticks too closely to its funk template. Step outside the funky pentatonic lines a bit. This one could use a surprise or two or three. A bit of creative exploration to really bring home the fusion sound. Don’t get me wrong, the bass does a nice job of adding color and effect, and the guitar playing is very good and very listenable. But this is mostly straightforward funk that hangs tightly to its groove.

All that said, it’s a solid track that got my head bobbing. It sounds like writing and recording it was a real good time.

------

Esteve Corbera - Jam Session One

The electric piano that starts this track out is a perfect sound for this month's challenge. Very peaceful vibes from this one. Much like Dadamachado’s track, I like what the bass is doing here to provide excitement and a rhythmic foundation. It also gives us something to hang onto while the moody brass parts intertwine and wander melodically. The very spare drum sound contributes to this haunting atmosphere.

I particularly liked the building melodic bit near 2:30, the sounds you picked and the rhythm works well here.

I know it is not a rule in the fusion genre, but oddly I would prefer more focus in the composition. To me I’m having a hard time picking out a motif to hang my ears on. Of course this could be your intent, if so that’s totally valid. Also the bass could use a bit more sonic consistency, maybe a compressor. It could have an even stronger presence in the track.

——

Gloo - Swamp Head

That’s a pretty, hypnotic groove to start your track. It’s so clean and confident. I appreciate the control you have over all the instruments, this is a very listenable track. I can’t help but think of 80s King Crimson as those clean guitars wind their way through the song’s more chaotic cycles. But the intro is my favorite, everything works.

I like how that little synth hit ties everything together in the first half of the song.

This month’s theme emerges at :35 as the more chaotic elements introduce themselves. Cool use of that repeating chord hanging over top of the chaos and keeping it together. My brain cannot keep it all together when we get to the 1:45 mark, total chaos.

Swamp Head mixes sort of experimental and progressive rock sounds. Elements of jazz fusion are there but my only critique would be this is almost too controlled (despite what I said up above haha) like it could use a little breathing room or maybe improvisation to get closer to the theme. That said it’s a cool composition, production is spot on, and I enjoyed listening to it.

———

Bescei_gyorgy - Arroz con mango

This is a big cinematic track that builds and builds. Definitely the most musical intro so far. This one is packed with little melodic elements. I like how it escalates to car chase levels of excitement and punctuates scenes with those big brass hits. That synth at 2:10 is integrated really nicely.

Not much to add on this one it’s a solid composition that reads more as a soundtrack or big band piece to me. It invokes chaos when the playing intensifies. I would have liked to hear another element or compositional change to indicate the mind-melting chaos that this track hints at. Still, I enjoyed this track and appreciated hearing new little details emerge each time I listened.


———

Blang - Piling Up

Incredible intro progression and dozy slabs of fuzz. I would trip all over that drum part yet you navigate no problem. Man your playing is sophisticated it’s a treat to listen to.

Some really intense compositional stuff going on here, like I didn’t think I’d hear Gentle Giant-levels of interlocking lines and transitions. For example I’m putting this track in first place just for the transition from 1:40 - 2:06.

Overall I’d put this as a progressive rock track pretty much tip to tail, but it does have that Zappa fusion era feel in parts (I.e., this is a tremendous recording with intimidating changes and time signatures). I’d like to hear some looser elements maybe even more improvisation. But overall damn this is good.


———

AskAndy - And Over And

The hallucinatory brass in the intro really sets us up for the chaos to come. Third Stone from the Sun bass line with even more jazz swing. This is like a super progressive fusion groove damn you went and did it haha.

This one never lets you in on its center, so you’re always kind of hanging and guessing where it’s going to end up. Totally leaves you as a victim to the chaos.

This thing really starts swinging at 1:12. Nice fiery solo at 2:18.

This sounds like how I think of jazz fusion and absolutely hits the theme. I think this track would be my #1 pick if it weren’t for the brass sound in the right channel. It worked in the intro but as the song commences it just takes me out of it. The brass attack is just enough off to distract me and it seems to float over the groove in a weird way. But I love how the composition never lets you rest, and your guitar textures in the background work really well.

———

A Future in Noise - Chaos

The mode is instantly recognizable once the track proper begins. The deep brass sound has an almost humorous feel in the intro, then it becomes sort of menacing as it hangs on the B Flat when the groove starts.

Transition at 1:10 works well the electric guitar playing is really restrained and effective. Honestly feeling a bit of a psychedelic influence overall with hints of zappa instrumentation. The changes in this are entertaining. Nice job.


———

Vote:

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dadomachado
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#24

Post by dadomachado »

Hi All,

I hope everyone is healthy and safe out there. Follows my feedback on the tracks:


EsteveCorbera - JamSessionOne

Very nice start with a chill vibe to it. I think the theme could be a little more melodics and lead to chaos latter on in the song. Also felt it could have a different session in the song to hold attention from the listener. On the Mix side, all instruments sounds nice and even.


Gloo - Swamp Head

Starts very nice with an 80's vibe. Not very jazzy. I gets a little crazy / dissonant which is nice and related to this months theme. I missed some groove to it. I think it fells to eletronic to be considered Jazz/Fusion, but it feels very nice.


becsei_gyorgy - Arroz con Mango

Nice trumpet in the begining ! I really like that you gave a nice melodic theme before it gets more chaotic and get back to it's smoother vibe in the end. Nice wide percussions. Nice convention and trumpet impro. Great job !


Blang - Pilling Up

It begins with a wreid (in a nice way) vibe. The dissonant guitars bring the chaos related to the theme. Awesome fuzzy guitar tone. Nice xylophone / guitar impro. At some point I felt like there's too much tempo changes. I'd keep the groove for a little longer. Fits really weel into jazz/fusion category.


erictracks - Warlock

Nice intro, and a great guitar tone. It's Jazzy and groovy. I Misse a more melodic theme that would stick in my mind. Very well arranged tune. The Mix sounds great. Reminds me of some old Jeff Beck songs.


AskAndy - And Over And

I Like the jazz drums in the beggining and the bass completes it very nicely. The Horns brings some chaos to the tune, but I miss a more melodic theme. The song fall more to the arrangement side than songwriting in my opinion. On the Mix side the drums are a bit loud and guitar too low.

Vote:
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Gloo
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#25

Post by Gloo »

Hi! I hope you are well!


AskAndy - And Over And

I like the atmosphere, it's somehow foggy. The brass sounds is intresting and groove is good!

Blang - Piling Up

Amazing harmonies! Guitars are very good, I liked that buzz effect on guitar and panning! 1:53 marimba piano part is great!

Bescei_gyorgy - Arroz con mango

This is :clap: ! Very serious sound and composition!!!

Esteve Corbera - Jam Session One

Very smooty and pleasant composition!

Dadamachado - Hupft

This composition got 70' vibe, I liked it! Guitars and bass are great and very well played!
0:20 theme is cool!!!

A Future in Noise - Chaos

This sounds like good old movie! Intro is great! I like that brass sound! This composition got a good drive!

Erik traks - Warlock

I forgot this track. sorry! Good blues, well played guitars!

Good luck to all, and keep on rocking!

VOTE:

01. Bescei_gyorgy - Arroz con mango
02. Blang - Piling Up
03. Dadamachado - Hupft
04. Erik traks - Warlock
05. Esteve Corbera - Jam Session One
06. AskAndy - And Over And
Last edited by Gloo on Thu Apr 29, 2021 17:47 CEST, edited 2 times in total.

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Mister Fox
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#26

Post by Mister Fox »

Finally added @A Future in Noise's bonus entry to the Song Collection post. Apologies for the waiting time.


For the reviews... if possible, I'd love to read more constructive criticism as well. But everything is fine for the time being. As of this moment, a bit more than 2 days left for the "Voting Period" of the Songwriting Competition.

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A Future in Noise
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#27

Post by A Future in Noise »

erictracks wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 17:29 CEST
Nice job.
Thanks!

(But @Gloo - I don't think you should have voted for me at all, I was too late. Thanks anyway.)

becsei_gyorgy
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#28

Post by becsei_gyorgy »

It is interesting to see how diverse solutions have been developed for the jazz/fusion genre as well.
Playfulness is a real feature of the genre, and I would have expected more of it in several songs. It was as if they had taken themselves a little too seriously many times :smile:

dadomachado - Humpft
Great funky vibe. I like the guitars and the keyboards too. Nice sounds and solos.
Pleasant melody changes. It has a pleasant old B-movie feeling. (I can almost see before my eyes Tarantino elbowing out the window of an old Cadillac.)
I would still listen the song for a while. Big Like.
Mix: Check monocompatibility, some phasing issues, the guitars completely lost in mono.

EsteveCorbera - JamSessionOne
Good instrument choices, nice calm track overall.
The mix is quite good, some resonant sounds should be attenuated, but overall pretty OK.
More dynamics would be better for playing the saxophone, but the bass on the contrary, sometimes very shy (e.g. 1:20-1:30).
The composition is pretty jazzy, but I'd like to see a little more melody hook in it - but that's my opinion only.

Gloo - Swamp Head
Nice start and good continuation as well :)
0:39-1:09 my favourite part. Which is a bit missing maybe a little distortion on the guitar?
But even without distortion this part is so great. The best part of the competition this month I think.
(If I were you I would build another song around this chorus part :) )
The middle "chaotic" part isn't really my favorite, a little too disintegrating, but the end is back in the right direction again :)
Overall a song that fits the theme, with some excellent parts. Nice.

Blang - Piling Up
Great rhythmic changes. Nice sounds - great distorted guitar :).
The composition is made up of small fragments, maybe I would put the related parts together. I understand the idea, but as a song, it would work better if there were fewer shifts i think.
But the mix, the musical realization, the guitar playing is fantastic.
I liked this.

Erictraks - Warlock
Pleasant start with the keys. I like.
Good evolving song, nice buildup. Great guitar play. Amazing.
What’s unusual to me is that the drums are mostly in the background, almost as if they weren’t even many times.
In terms of composition, a pleasant jamming, joyful music, but I feel less structured.
The song overall is pleasant, a little less chaotic but great song. Nice mix.

Askandy - And Over And
Overall promising song (some parts are quite finished), but you still have to work with it.
The bass is very dominant. It’s okay if the bass gets emphasis, but then must carry the groove all the way, must be much more melodic (in this genre). There are some really fast paced parts, these are my favorites (the guitar should have to be louder!).
Overall, there are exciting parts in it, but a little long for this structure.
(You could cut together a great 3 minute version with a more balanced mix. :)
Or it would be good for the song a more pronounced guitar solo and a more restrained bass.)

A Future In Noise - Chaos
Nice brass elements,.
1:00 Interesting part, I don't quite understand this bridging :), but the next part is good.
The drum parts feel a bit 'outsider' in the story, but the rest are OK. Nice guitar, brass, keys.
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EsteveCorbera
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#29

Post by EsteveCorbera »

Hello guys,
Here I leave you with my comments and my votes.
Thank you for your comments.


dadomachado_Humpft
The theme is cool and you can do it with real instruments, even more.
But I get the feeling that the issue has to end twice but it keeps going.
I also find a few moments of chaos with the drums around 2:20 and 3:40 minutes that breaks my listening.
But it’s very enjoyable to listen to and it sticks. As one of the companions says, it looks like we are outdoors enjoying the live concert.
Thank you, that these times of confinement are comforting.

Gloo_Swamp Head
It has an 80s touch that grinds with this initial feel. But for me he lacks hook.
I find the mix good and the choice of instruments is also appropriate.


becsei_gyorgy_Arroz_con_mango
Very funny topic. I can’t imagine a rice dish but it reminds me of sophisticated spy movie. I prefer spies to rice.
The muted trumpet is achieved, but I must say in your favor that it is difficult to find a bookstore that makes the trumpets sound like the real ones.
The theme sounds great. It is enviable.

Blang_Piling Up
Quieter theme that is slowly being encouraged. I really like the change around minute 1:50. But instead, I find the final piece too chaotic.
I like very well crafted guitars and percussion.
Good instrumentation and mixing work.


erictracks_warlock
The tempo of the initial rhythm and the other instruments I find unrelated. But the calm tone of the subject is very good. I also really like the keyboard sun, very vintage. The guitar improvisations are very cool.
Good mix, very wide.


Askandy And Over And _BNC-St
At times the rhythm below the Hihats does not link me to the rest of the percussion elements.
There is too much reverberation in the wind instruments, I notice them too far away.
I’m sorry, it didn’t hook me.


AFutureInNoise_Chaos (Bonus)
Cool! Too bad you submitted the topic too late, because it would have scored you well. The improvisations of the guitars on the bass sound and the drums grind a lot. They seem to be talking.
The topic is too short, because if it was longer I would enjoy it more.
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Mister Fox
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC044 April 2021 - Voting until 01-MAY-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#30

Post by Mister Fox »

A friendly reminder:
We're in the final 24 hours to give feedback and cast your vote.


Unless everyone has posted already... :thinking:

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