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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Winners announced

Thematic Songwriting Competition - recurrence: monthly
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Mister Fox
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Winners announced

#1

Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Songwriting Competition 079 - March 2024



:information_source: BEFORE WE GET STARTED:
  • Please consult the official and very simple "Rules and Guidelines" (TL;DR version) for the Songwriting Competition regarding principles of the game, it's engaging game mechanics (allowed editing/re-submission of your entry until the deadline has been reached) and upload/submission guidelines.
  • The general idea of this game is to "...just make music", to also challenge yourself by stepping a bit out of your comfort zone, and take a dip at realms you've never worked in before. Instrumentals are just as welcome as productions with vocals.
  • The Genre and "Premise" of this months challenge can be found in in post #002
  • Filename Template (Important): SWC079__ArtistName__TrackName.wav or .mp3
    • example: SWC079__MisterFox__ColorOfTheSky.wav
    • example: SWC079__Mister_Fox__Color_of_the_sky.wav
Read more about this month's competition further down below. And if you got any question, please also reach out on Discord.



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:arrow_right: SONGWRITING COMPETITION THREAD INDEX

Post #001 -- Introduction post and index for the various stages of the Songwriting Competition. Will be updated as we progress
Post #002 -- Submission Period: General Information, Source Material, Sponsors
Post #003 -- Cheat Sheet: A couple of examples / audio demos for this month's challenge (limited if genre is "free to select")
Post #039 -- Voting: Summarized entries and start of voting process
Post #058 -- Results: Results of the Songwriting Competition
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAR-2024 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#2

Post by Mister Fox »

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Friday, 01st March 2024 to Sunday, 24th March 2024 (24 days)

Challenge submission will end on 24-MAR-2024, 23:59 UTC+1/CET (Germany) - until further notice.

Want to find out if you're still within the deadline, please either consult the Global Countdown (dedicated page), or the countdown on the landing site. There will also be short reminders on Social Media and on Discord. Does the game time frame feel too long? Why not set a personal shorter one of 5-7 days absolute max to push yourself to focus on the essentials, then use the rest of the time to ask for feedback and possible refinements. :bulb:



SONGWRITING THEME: "Chip away"
GENRE: Synthwave


Image
Image Source: Andreas Lischka (via Pixabay), released under Creative Commons CC0



A few word about this month's theme:
Staff (Mister Fox) wrote: Ti SN76477, Sharp LR35902, Yamaha YM21280, Ti SN76496 / Yamaha YM2612, MOS Technology SID 6581, Ricoh RP2A03, Sony SPC700, Ensoniq 5503, Roland LA32, E-mu EMU8011, QSound DSP16A, MOS Technology 8364 "Paula", Ensoniq ES-5506 OTTO...

If some of these sound chips instantly ring a bell for you, then you might know where this month's songwriting game direction is going. These are all chipsets from early 1980s to mid/late 1990s. Chips that have not only shaped generations of video game music, but also formed the (technological) basis for certain cutting-edge instruments and samplers that have changed the audio industry forever. We still use or emulate some of these tools today. Just to name a few of them: Yamaha DX7, Roland D-50 (and it's derivatives), E-MU Emulator/Proteus Series, the Ensoniq Mirage, Ensoniq SQ-80, Kawai K1, the Dewanatron Swarmatron concept was heavily inspired by/built upon a 1970s Texas Instruments chip, etc.

The task is simple: make "retro" music. Ideally even with some of these sound chips (or their evolution) as center-piece instruments. Please read more about the "fine print" further down below.
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Your task for this Songwriting Competition:
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This month, you can create a production in any "Synthwave" genre or sub-genre you feel like.


"Synthwave" (umbrella term) is a "revived derivative" from Synth-Pop, a music genre from the late 1970s to mid/late 1980s which dominantly featured synthesizers and other electric instruments rather than acoustic ones. The Synth-Pop genre found a slow "revival" with a new "genre label" during mid 2000s, also thanks to video games and certain media adapting stories and/or aesthetics that were set in the 1980s.

The genre quite literally exploded early 2010s with movies like "Tron: Legacy" (2010, the OST itself being heavily inspired by the first TRON movie soundtrack by Wendy Carlos) or "Driver" (2011), and in the video game realm with games like "Hotline Miami" (2012), "FEZ" (2012, blending pixel art, with chiptune/electronic music) and "Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon" (2013, itself being a spoof of 1980s action flicks). Another "jolt" happened in 2016 with the Netflix series release "Stranger Things" (2016), and in parallel with "Sci-Fi/Indie Horror" games like "Stories Untold" (2017), with similar 1980s aesthetics. Just to scratch the surface.

"Synthwave" also covers the sub-genres Synth-Pop (it's roots), Retrowave, Dreamwave (which can easily drift into Vaporwave), Darkwave, Video Game Music (most notably the 4th and 5th generation of video game consoles) and Chiptune. Some mix techniques for current style iterations are heavily inspired/adapted from modern day electronic music.


This month's general idea is based upon various requests on the forum, on Discord and behind the scenes (via email). In fact, an old request was to go "chiptune with a theme". And while this particular genre does indeed cover "Chiptune" as sub-genre, and you are allowed to go that route, maybe try to find a middle-ground. The idea is to have a "general vibe" from that era, but it can be as modern as you want it to be.

You set your own parameters and limitations. And as usual - vocals are optional. Don't feel pressured to provide any. Maybe instrumentals are working better this month, you never know.

Bonus comment:
There might be a follow-up to this month's general premise later down the line with a future Songwriting Competition. :thinking:


Have fun, everyone!

Looking forward to the results! :headphones:


Songwriting Rule Summary / Add-On Rules:
► Show Spoiler

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:arrow_right: LICENSE SPONSORS (Bonus Prizes):

A huge thank you goes to our very generous License Sponsors for this month's game. Those being (in alphabetical order):

Cherry Audio, Ghostwave Audio, Hollow Sun, Hornet Plugins, IK Multimedia, JRR Sounds, kv331 audio, Luftrum, Musiclab, Rekkerd Sounds, satyatunes - Sound / Graphic Design, and Tone2.


A detailed list of offerings can be found in the following information block.
► Show Spoiler
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good luck to all participants.
And most importantly, have fun!
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAR-2024 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#3

Post by Mister Fox »

AUDIO EXAMPLES:
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Articles and Info Pages:

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

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




Music examples (selection for inspiration):

Technology examples and why "the era" sounded like it did (assorted, 05 videos)
Songs (23 videos)
► Show Spoiler
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Some Instruments / Samples worth looking at (selection):

The following assorted list is by no means "complete" in any shape or form. You can find a lot of "modern emulations" of certain sound chips / hardware by just typing "<hardware> VST" or "<chipset> VST" into your preferred search engine.
► Show Spoiler
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Please also check in with the following threads in the the Gear Talk sub-forum, if you're on the look-out for new tools:
Places to fuel your GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) (the starting point if you're in need of audio tools -- from free to affordable).


if you're new to/need help with songwriting - please check out the following tools:
► Show Spoiler

More tools of the trade
► Show Spoiler

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UPDATED: 29-FEB-2024 10:10 UTC+1, updated 03-MAR-2024 10:10 UTC+1
Arelem
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAR-2024 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#4

Post by Arelem »

Hello Everyone,

I've been absent for a bit; I had a lot going on. For this month's theme/genre, I struggled a little bit because I'm not a fan of synth-wave in particular. However, I was able to make something that I really think came out great! It is a cross between mid-tempo and synth-wave. It does lean heavily into mid-tempo but there are obvious synth-wave elements and influences. It's good to be back and I hope ya'll like it.
(EDIT) Made a few minor changes, mostly in the mixing. Also added a counter-melody to the drop at the end of the track.
(EDIT 2) Changed out the kick for something more genre appropriate. Had to adjust some levels to get it to punch through properly but nothing major.


Details:
► Show Spoiler
Last edited by Arelem on Sun Mar 24, 2024 07:14 CET, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAR-2024 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#5

Post by TrojakEW »

Arelem wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2024 10:08 CET
For this month's theme/genre, I struggled a little bit because I'm not a fan of synth-wave in particular. However, I was able to make something that I really think came out great! It is a cross between mid-tempo and synth-wave. It does lean heavily into mid-tempo but there are obvious synth-wave elements and influences. It's good to be back and I hope ya'll like it.
You are not alone. For me the synthwave is also "struggle" but at the same time fun. If I have no clue what I'm doing, it leads me to discover and learn something new that was ignored by me before.

In regards of your track, yup there is one element of synthwave for sure and it is that synth lead at 2:00. What I found after listening to some synthwave track compared to your is the aggressive mood of your track. I'm yet to find I track that sounds hard in the synthwave style. Even track with scary theme in synthwave sound almost soothing. It paint the proper atmosphere without being to aggressive. In your track the choice of bass and drumkit leads to that hard and violent mood.

Still I'm also beginner in this style so this is only my view based on my experiment and listening to examples. For sure my track will be too mixed bag.
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAR-2024 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#6

Post by JeroenZuiderwijk »

Arelem wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2024 10:08 CET
Hello Everyone,

I've been absent for a bit; I had a lot going on. For this month's theme/genre, I struggled a little bit because I'm not a fan of synth-wave in particular. However, I was able to make something that I really think came out great! It is a cross between mid-tempo and synth-wave. It does lean heavily into mid-tempo but there are obvious synth-wave elements and influences. It's good to be back and I hope ya'll like it.

Welcome back Arelem,
That is an inspirational track. I had some doubts about this month challenge but it is good to hear some example material from other participants....gives me some energy to write something myself.

Cheers,

Jeroen
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAR-2024 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#7

Post by Arelem »

Since I'm seeing others have similar reservations about synth-wave that I have, I thought I'd share some of the types of tracks that were more inspirational to me as they have a different vibe to your 'traditional' synth-wave tracks. They tend to be classified as Melodic Midtempo, Darksynth, or Darkwave so you can try searching those genres for inspiration as well.

https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=sL55w ... 6T_PiEsLPL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK3IDE2me8Y

https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=R9Yv_ ... zEg6hA9NCM
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAR-2024 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#8

Post by APi_ZZ »

This challenge is different. At least on my side of it.
First: Considering myself more of a proghead (uh? synthwave, what's up?), I realised (by a serious look on my HD) that I own tons of albums considered (somehow) related to synthwave. Well, then that ain't bad at all.
Next, another look on my HD (now the DAW samples dept.) revealed some batches of suited -eh- samples, apparently well representing sounds from the 80s synthwave phase.
Then, The notorious lazy side of me decides to work with those samples, nothing fancy (so to say) -- this is my result.

So there are samples from these departments: drums, bass, synths (kinda obvious), sequences, pads, mallet (bells), FX and voices.
Carefully mixed and aligned and (partly) processed.

As I said, nothing fancy. And -oh!- track title first was considered to be Ship Ahoi (dissed for being too cheap).
So now: Wynth seems to be a star system in the Wyloff sector (according to jedipadia); I singlehandedly decided this system to be saved. More cool, I think ... :wink:

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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAR-2024 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#9

Post by Mister Fox »

A friendly reminder:
Including today, 14 days left to submit your production.

So far, we have 2 entries and already some valuable feedback.



If you want to access the extended game mechanics of the Songwriting Competition (asking for feedback during production), please try to release your first edits within the next 7 days to have enough time to get possible feedback (if needed/wanted) and continue to work on your song.

To those sitting on the fence - please don't feel scared off and think "the bar is set too high, I will never make it" - set yourself a shorter private deadline. Just make music, submit your entry, join the conversation. See where this goes.

By joining, you're already a winner. The rest is bonus. :tu:
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC079 March 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAR-2024 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#10

Post by KukoBass »

Hello everybody,

though I grew up in the Synthwave era, I have no experience with writing Synthwave music myself, except maybe for my first entry in SWC055 (May 2022, Theme "Synth Racks, Patches and Cables").
viewtopic.php?p=12873#p12873
The vocoder part is connected to my entry from then: While I was then "living my life in a worst case scenario", now "Things are getting better, bit by bit" and I'm thankful for that.

This is my updated entry for this month:



The Wav is here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Jt36Oh ... drive_link

Tools used:
► Show Spoiler
Last edited by KukoBass on Wed Mar 20, 2024 22:20 CET, edited 1 time in total.
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