2019-06-15 Info: Happy 5th Anniversary, Mix Challenge. Join the celebration in this news post

SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Winners announced

Thematic Songwriting Competition - recurrence: monthly
Post Reply
User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1176
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:15 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany

SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Winners announced

Post by Mister Fox » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:46 am

Hello and welcome to the Songwriting Competition 21 - May 2019


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



Please take note of the following
  • IMPORTANT: please use the following naming convention for your productions: SWC000_ArtistName_TrackName.wav/mp3
  • If you only post a SoundCloud link, please name the file properly to uploading and make your song downloadable

Also please take note of the following
  • If you have an idea for future Songwriting Competition themes and/or genres, please post them here.
  • Social Media accounts can be found via the handles @MixChallenge (Twitter) and MixChallenge (Facebook). Please spread the word!
  • if you like what the Mix Challenge (community) has been doing in recent months, please consider supporting us.



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 (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

User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1176
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:15 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Submissions until 24-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:08 am

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Wednesday, 01st May 2019 to Friday, 24th May 2019 (24 days)

Challenge submission will end on 24-05-2019, 11:59pm CEST/GMT+2 (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: Synth Galore

GENRE: 80s New Wave / Synthwave / Synth-Pop/Rock

Image
Image Source: Youtube, screenshot of Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg) "Synth Workshop Through Roland History - Studio Time: S2E4" on Youtube, released under Youtube Standard License - full credits: https://youtu.be/K9lA_mrWe2I


A few word about this month's theme:
Staff (Mister Fox) wrote: Electronic music has always been something special since the 1950s. You've probably heard of one of these pioneers of making music in very experimental form while using electronic equipment - the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Most famous for the creation of the Doctor Who theme - Ron Grainer wrote the song, while Delia Derbyshire realized the theme in very creative ways with early signal generators, and tape machines. The 60s then really kicked off "synthesizer music", not only thanks to synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog, who really put things into high gear with the Moog Synthesizer, and ultimately the Minimoog. Since then, music has never been the same.

In the late 1970s to early 1980s, synthesizers were commonplace in the music industry. For Rock Musicians, it added another flair and was something special to using an Epiano, Hammond Organ or even a Mellotron. Due to more and more versatility with synthesizers, and way better sound creation (especially acoustic like sounds), this formed a new genre in the "popular music realm" - now known to us as "New Wave" and the more synth-oriented "Synth-Pop". Which saw a revival in the last 5 years alone under the name "Retrowave" (although this is more Electro-House in certain cases).

Suddenly we heard synth hymns like "Oxygene Part 4" by Jean Michel Jarre, a more industrial/EBM oriented music by German band Kraftwerk and Camoflage. In the Synth-Pop/Rock genre, we heard Giorgio Moroder, Wendy Carlos, Vangelis, Jam Hammer, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Hot Butter, The Human League, Propaganda, Visage, The Petshop Boys, Eurythmics, Ultravox, Thomas Dolby, A-Ha, Alphaville, Erasure, David Bowie (coming from Rock), Peter Schilling, Valerie Dore, Sweet Connection, Depeche Mode (more into EBM), Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, Howard Jones, Falco, The Buggles, Industry, Hubert Kah, etc. Japan had it's first wave of "Pop Idols", one of the most known ones are Mariya Takeuchi (80s) and Megumi Hayashibara (early 90s). And that is just scratching the surface. "New Wave" was a broad genre that was mainly aimed at "new pop rock", but music genres evolved super quick during the 80s. One of these branches was "Synth-Pop" and "Synth-Rock" (some called it "Synthwave"), which fused more and more synth sounds with traditional rock elements.

Over one decade of a lot of very, very interesting productions that are still enjoyable to listen to - to this very day. Soundtracks, TV show themes, pop music anthems, you name it. And the revival of "Synth Pop/Rock" and "Synthwave" (now called "Retrowave") resulted in interesting music projects like Carpenter Brut, Mitch Murder, Waveshaper, Pertubator, PYLOT, etc. Dialing 80s type synth sounds to the max, while using modern day synthesizers, drum machines/samples and production techniques (in case of Carpender Brut, even with an insane amount of over-compression and distortion). Not to mention on Youtube often combined with 8bit animated GIFs.

The main diference here is, that "Retrowave" is a bit more monotone and "overproduced" to sound like productions from the old days, while Synthwave (or Synth-Pop/Rock) had a lot of melody and hamonies rather than a minimalist approach.



This genre has been a very long request.

And this month can't be any better for this, because we're not only celebrating "Moogfest" (End of April, USA), but also the biggest European synthesizer event as of now: "Superbooth" (early May, Germany).



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

This month, I'd like to see you be creative in writing a 80s (very early 90s max) type New Wave/Synthwave or Synth-Pop/Rock production.

The focus should be on "more synthesizers and synthetic drums" than real instruments, which were the driving force of this genre. On top of the occasional thrown in over-driven guitars.

You can scratch the surface of Electropop, EBM (Electronic Body Music), Industrial and Darkwave - but I'd really like to hear you produce something more "general upbeat" this month. With or without vocals. This challenge is not(!) about highly "Modern Retrowave" (simulates synths and production techniques form the 80s, but uses modern day synths/drums and mixing), neither is it about Vaporwave (which is basically a Synthwave production that has been audio degraded on purpose to simulate a "dream type state"). I am aware that Synthwave is also a root to the "Electronic" genre - but please do not(!) create anything House/Trance/Techno (we might revisit that in the future again).

I urge you to check out the Audio Examples below. Especially "Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music".

Have fun! :phones:

Songwriting Add-On Rules:
  • Create a New Wave/Synthwave/Retrowave or Synth-Pop/Rock production that would have been played on the radio in the 80s
  • you can use any tool that is at your disposal (samples, virtual instruments and/or real instruments)
  • IMPORTANT: if you use non-licensed material (no material from sample CDs, etc), give full credit to the source material
  • It is recommended to not go higher than -14LUFS SLk (avg) or K-12v1 (avg) in terms of perceived loudness. Music doesn't have to be squashed to bits in order to be impactful
  • for newcomers: no cover versions or remixes

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

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

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


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.


MONTH EXCLUSIVE:

Image
Aly James Lab is kind enough give away one license of VPROM 2.0 Vintage Drum Computer (Month Exclusive / May 2019)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Aly James Lab: http://www.alyjameslab.com


Image
Rhythmic Robot Audio is kind enough to donate one "E-MU Systems" samples bundle (Month Exclusive / May 2019)
More info on Rhythmic Robot Audio: https://www.rhythmicrobot.com/


RECURRING LICENSE SPONSORSHIP:

Image
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


Image
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


Image
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


Image
Luftrum is kind enough give away either a license of Lunaris, or any 2 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


Image
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


Image
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


Image
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!

User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1176
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:15 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Submissions until 24-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:19 am

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

Various 80s New Wave productions (Youtube)
80's Synth Pop / Alternative Playlist
80s playlist - 13+ hours of top hits from the 1980s



Bonus Videos (80s Style)
Solton Ketron Programmer 24 + Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf
Yamaha DX7 - 80’s Hits, a-ha Take On Me, Europe The Final Countdown, Mr Mister, Berlin, Madonna by Youtube Channel Power DX7
'80s/Italo with Drumulator, Juno-60, Poly-61M by Youtube Channel "SynthMania"
"Christian" - Jupiter-8, Juno-60, TR-707 electronica - 1980s style by Youtube Channel "SynthMania"
Gazebo - I Like Chopin (Instrumental Cover by Franck Choppin) by Youtuber Frank Choppin

Bonus Videos (Retrowave, 80s style)
Night-Runner - The Driver
Nightcrawler - Genesis (feat. Dana Jean Phoenix)

Bonus Videos (Retrowave with modern synths and drum machines)
Carpenter Brut - TURBO KILLER (official music video)
Pylot - Caine


Bonus Articles
Sound on Sound - A-ha 'Take On Me' by Richard Buskin, published March 2011
How the Terminator 2 music was made by Youtuber Alex Ball
All that you need to know (!) about 80s Synths (a supercut of presentation videos and mini presentations)
What Makes This Song Great? Ep.61 VAN HALEN (#2) by Youtuber Rick Beato (more aimed at 80s classic rock with added synths)



Old MIDI techniques
Yamaha TX802 layered with DX7 IID by Youtuber roboticrealm
Yamaha TX802 layered with DX7 IID by Youtuber SynthMania
Roland MKS-20 + Yamaha DX7 -(layers) by Youtuber Tiago Mallen (Using a Kontakt Library for the MKS-20)


Tutorials on how to make 80's Synth-Pop Music
How to make a killer Italo Disco track (featuring DX7 and Juno-106) by Youtuber Franck Choppin
Old-school synth-pop tutorial/workflow - Retrowave/synthwave by Youtuber Espen Kraft
Why 80s pop music sounds so good / Learn to write music in the same way by Youtuber Espen Make an 80s synth-pop track in less than 20 minutes - Video tutorial by Youtuber Espen Kraft
Making synthpop like 1982 | Those Days pt. 2 by Youtuber Espen Kraft
Make a killer 80s pop track - TUTORIAL Pt.1 - Composing by Youtuber Espen Kraft
Make a killer 80s pop track - TUTORIAL Pt.2 - Arranging by Youtuber Espen Kraft




Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music (needs Flash, or Ad-Blockers disabled)
http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide/

Once you're on the UI, heck out "House" (left hand side) and then New Wave, Italo, Synthpop. Under "Trance" (left hand side), you can find Darkwave and EBM. And under "Downtempo" (left hand side), you find access "Electronic Pioneers", branching off to New Wave and Synthpop


Vintage Synth Explorer (the defacto site for information about old synthesizers)
http://www.vintagesynth.com/timeline




UPDATE: 05-MAY-2019, even more examples and tutorials, thanks to forum user VCA-089

functionform
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:16 pm

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Submissions until 24-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by functionform » Wed May 01, 2019 4:15 am

So basically New Order not Mitch Murder. reddit.com/r/synthwave does a pretty good job at filtering the true 80s synthwave. /r/retrowave and /r/futuresynth would be the genres that are discouraged according to text.

Neato.

Leonard Bowman
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:09 am

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Submissions until 24-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Leonard Bowman » Wed May 01, 2019 6:37 pm

My big question with the topic is:
How exactly should we replicate synthwave / etc / etc, and how much am I allowed to experiment and innovate here?
I don't want to merely copy the ideas of someone else's music...

User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1176
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:15 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Submissions until 24-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Thu May 02, 2019 3:17 am

The main concern with thinking of Retrowave, "Futuresynth", "Outrun" (and how the "reboot" genres are called these days, I mean... come on!) is, that these productions all sound similar in a certain way: 80s type synths, but still modern electronic music production with side chaining, modern drum synths, super loud and bombastic, overuse of certain effects because "It sounds vintage", etc. A prime examples here would be Carpenter Brut (which actually stabs more at French-House, think of the group "Justice") and the more modern feeling productions by Mitch Murder
 ! Bonus Info
If you listen to New Wave or Synthwave influenced Pop/Rock music from the 80s though, you hear some clearly distinct things. Less monotone, more harmony and melody, a certain "thin sound" rather than stacks of sound layers to get that wall-of-sound feel. You might also recognize that signature gated snare, and overuse of Exciters (especially on vocals).
This doesn't mean that you can't go a more modern route while trying to innovate in the process. But you shouldn't stray too far from the given premise - a song production that could have played on the radio in the 80s. A mark that certain recent songwriting competitions barely reached.



I honestly don't care if it's a ballad with layered DX7 pianos and a soul vocalist (Whitney Houston comes to mind). Or if it's a LINN Drum plus a Roland Juno 6 and Oberheim OB-8. You could go Oberheim DMX and Roland 808 for the drums, and PPG Wave 2.0 and Korg M1 on all other instruments. Maybe a Linn Drum and an Acoustic Drum-Set while an Ensoniq SQ80 is more your thing for general sounds. Or you go the Vangelis type (think Chariots of Fire, or the Blade Runner OST) with a Yamaha CS-80, E-MU Emulator and a Roland Jupiter 4. You could even go far out and just one one Sampler/Wavetable synth - like Brad Fiedel did with the Fairlight CMI III for the Terminator 2 Soundtrack. Although, I'd love to hear a bit more than just "soundscapes/noise".

So simplified, it's not "basically New Order and not Mitch Murder" - but actually "less modern 2010s, more mid 1980s" Synth Pop/Rock / New Wave/"Synthwave" Era. This month's competition is all about honoring these old synthesizer titans.




:arrow: As of "how exactly should we replicate synthwave":

You can still use anything that is at your disposal.

May it be
  • the actual hardware from that time era (in my case, I could dust off an old Kurzweil K2000)
  • or an emulation in VSTi form (instruments from companies like: Korg, Roland, Yamaha, Waldord, Sequential Circuits, Full Bucket Audio, Siegfried Kullmann, Wolfgang Palm/PPG, Arturia, SonicProjects, Sonic-Cat / Romplers from companies like Roland, E-MU Ensoniq/DigitalSoundFactory, etc)
  • sample players and samplers (like from UVI, AKAI, NI Kontakt with add-on sound sets, SonicCharge Cyclone/TX16W, CWItec TX16Wx as SF2 player)
  • or modern synths like U-HE Zebra, kv311 SynthMaster or Spectrasonics Omnisphere, etc.
Confused as to what hardware is from that era, check out this page (also linked in the "audio demos" post):
http://www.vintagesynth.com/timeline


You can even spice things up with real instruments. Think
  • Kenny G with Saxophone, Congas and Soul Choir,
  • A-Ha with an acoustic drum set on top of their synthesized drum sounds,
  • The Buggles with E-bass and synthetic drums mixed with acoustic drums
  • or the "Gazebo - I Like Chopin" example from above.
As long as it's aiming at that particular 80s music ballpark sound wise.
To those coming from "One Synth Challenge" and might be wondering: you can use presets and don't have to program stuff from scratch.



I once more highly encourage you to listen to the given audio examples. In fact, I just updated it with a couple more videos.

There is no need to rush things. If you're not familiar or comfortable with the genre/time frame, educate yourself first. You still got 23 days to come up with something that might fit this particular challenge.

:phones:


User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1176
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:15 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Submissions until 24-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Thu May 02, 2019 11:43 am

Due to technical issues on my end, I wasn't able to update the Audio Examples post last night.

That has now been resolved. Apologies for the waiting time.

A Future in Noise
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:26 am

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Submissions until 24-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by A Future in Noise » Thu May 02, 2019 3:34 pm

Maybe a stupid question, but anyway:

David Bowie is mentioned among 80s synth artists. I bought Scary Monsters the same week it was released, but I can't think of it as synth music (although he/they used synthesizers).

What a feeling, sung by Irene Cara, composed by Giorgio Moroder (also mentioned in the Mix-Challenge rules) uses a lot of synths. But can you look upon that song as synth pop? Rather Dance music – isn't it?

The reason I ask those two questions is that I like What a Feeling and (for example) Kingdom Come (from Scary Monsters) much better than anything Depeche Mode or Petshop Boys ever did.

My main question: If I was to make a crossover between the two songs mentioned above, have I then – or have I not – violated the rules (or misunderstood them)?

Cheers, A Future in Noise

User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1176
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:15 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC021 May 2019 - Submissions until 24-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Fri May 03, 2019 8:23 am

First and foremost, I have to give a huge shout out to a close friend of mine. He was very active in the audio realm during the 80s and gave me so much more examples of 80s Synth-Pop/Rock yesterday afternoon while having a cup of tea. Due to this, I could fine-tune the "premise" and make it more clear what I'm actually looking for from you for this month:


"New Wave" and "Synthwave" are the genera this month.
But we're actually talking "80s Synth-Pop" and "80s Synth-Rock".



Now that this is out of the door, on to the open question:
A Future in Noise wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 3:34 pm
My main question: If I was to make a crossover between the two songs mentioned above, have I then – or have I not – violated the rules (or misunderstood them)?
I don't see a real problem with that. Irene Cara/Giorgio Moroder's hit "What a Feeling" can be considered a "dance hymn", but it is definitely 80s Synth-Pop. And great one at that. If you want to blend it while adding more rock elements, go ahead. :phones:

Post Reply