2024-JUN-02 Info: Happy 10 Years Anniversary, everyone! Check out our current running games Mix Challenge 098 and Songwriting Competition 082.

SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Winners announced

Thematic Songwriting Competition - recurrence: monthly
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Mister Fox
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Winners announced

#1

Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Songwriting Competition 081 - May 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): SWC081__ArtistName__TrackName.wav or .mp3
    • example: SWC081__MisterFox__ColorOfTheSky.wav
    • example: SWC081__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 #025 -- Voting: Summarized entries and start of voting process
Post #034 -- Results: Results of the Songwriting Competition
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAY-2024 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#2

Post by Mister Fox »

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Wednesday, 01st May 2024 to Friday, 24th May 2024 (24 days)

Challenge submission will end on 24-MAY-2024, 23:59 UTC+2/CEST (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: "Audio Matrix"
GENRE: Electronic (any sub-genre)


Image
Image Source: iStock.com, photo by fermate



A few word about this month's theme:
Staff (Mister Fox) wrote: Here is a wild idea.

What would happen, if you connect instrument A, to effect module B -- something you've never connected it to. And then you take this idea further, connect more devices, let them interact with each other, create something unexpected, yet still musical.

Congratulations, you have just experienced modular synthesis and sound design. Please hold on to this new and interesting feeling - because that's exactly what your task for this month will be: create something with modular sound design.
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YOUR TASK FOR THIS SONGWRITING COMPETITION:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Considering the short premise and general game direction this month, you are automatically encouraged to create a production in any sub-genre of "Electronic Music".

Doesn't matter if it's Techno, Trance, Electronica, Chiptunes, Electro-Pop, Synthwave, Drum and Bass, Electro-Industrial / Electronic Body Music, Ambient Electronic, Chill-Out/Lo-Fi, etc. You can even blend orchestra instruments with electronic instruments and sound design (as in: create something hybrid). The "Electronic Music Genre" is a vast realm. Please don't feel cornered to stick to certain pockets.


:arrow_right: There is just one twist:
You have to use a modular setup in some shape or form.

May it be Cherry Audio's Voltage Modular, VCV Rack, Disthro Cardinal, Softube Modular, Native Instruments Reaktor, MuTools MuLab Plugin (previously MUX Modular), Bitwig GmbH's Bitwig "The Grid", Image Line "Patcher", Reason Studios "Reason Plugin", etc. Or if you prefer to use hardware, go that route (did you know, that you can use an analog mix console as a synthsizer?!). You can even use your own DAW's routing capabilities to create a custom "patch network". It really doesn't matter how you "get there" - as long as you do.

To put your mind at ease, you don't have to do this for every instrument or effect, or only work in just one specific environment. Decide for yourself whether you opt for a "main sound generator" or for custom effects that you would never have dared to dream of (because you never tried!). Or you're comfortable and go all-out.

The idea here is to "patch things" together that you normally wouldn't do. Create new sound generators or sound sources, new effect modules. Either create something from scratch, or supercharge your already existing instruments. Look beyond your limits, push your boundaries, be adventurous. You never know what will happen if you don't try. It is also a great way to expand your knowledge on the topic "synthesis".

Maybe see it as a similar game to our yearly recurring special sound design / limited sound set challenge Community Scramble. Only that you are not limited to just the provided sample content this time around. You can use whatever tools you have at your disposal.


:arrow_right: However, there is another twist:
Our community is all about sharing knowledge, and learning new things. I kindly ask you to provide screenshots or photos of your "custom setup". For example: a screenshot of how you connected things together in Disthro Cardinal, or a photo of how you patched your hardware together. Maybe even create a flowchart of your setup (not only for you to understand/recreate things at a later state). Then upload and share that alongside your song.


As usual - vocals are optional. Don't feel pressured to provide any.

Experiment, make music, and have fun in the process! :headphones:
This will be an interesting challenge, and I'm curious about the results.


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 - SWC081 May 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAY-2024 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#3

Post by Mister Fox »

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

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
Wikipedia - Electronic music
Wikipedia - List of electronic music genres




Video Collection -- providing Sound Examples, Synthesis Basics, Tips, Tricks and Tutorials (hours of content!):
► 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: 30-APR-2024 08:40 UTC+2, updated 00-MAY-2024 00:00 UTC+2
juhu
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAY-2024 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#4

Post by juhu »

Q: Shall experimental patching of a semi-modular hardware synth (e.g., the MS20 Mini) be considered as ticking the main minimum requirement box for SWC081 (modular synthesis), or not?
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAY-2024 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#5

Post by Mister Fox »

While semi-modular synths like the MS-20, ARP 2600, U-HE Bazille and ACE, Moog Polymoog (e.g. Cherry Audio Polymode) would indeed tick the boxes for "modular" as absolute basis...

I want you (the participant) to do more than that. As in... way more.


The task is to do something you haven't done before, and then push even further. If you're used to the Korg MS-20, you can probably easily set up a patch, and then add some more cables until things sound weird. But that's still "within this environment" (EDIT: unless you use the synth as a modulator, considering that you can use external control signals / sound generators and all). I want you to maybe use this as a sound basis, then push further... run it through pedals that have a parallel setup, some of these pedals feeding into each other / feeding off of each other (feedback loops / cross-fades, etc).

Another example: Disthro Cardinal can use "Ildaeil" as plugin, offering you the option to load any VST plugin/instrument and use that as additional sound source or FX device. One could do the same with Image Line Patcher, Bitwig's "The Grid" or MuTools MuLab Plugin.

Yet another example: most modular "suites" also feature very interesting sequencers and randomizers. If you never thought of using those, you could connect these sequencers to your go-to synth, create a patch, let it be modulated further by that sequencer, maybe go one step further even and run that setup through more effects you would normally not use in that context.


This is the idea here. To patch together tools you might not usually connect with each other, then see what happens. Record it, then use it in a sampler to create a beat or melody out of it. It's a more free-form sound design challenge (think "Community Scramble" in January, only with your own sound sources this time around).

Or, if synthesis might be too much, then why not use a modular subhost / environment to create custom FX modules.

There are so many possibilities. :thinking:
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAY-2024 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#6

Post by Arelem »

Hello All,

I wanted to post to see if I can get some feedback on maybe where to make some changes. I am mostly happy with my track but I feel like it needs a little something different/extra. I used patcher to create an instrument and while I am familiar with patcher, I don't think I've ever used it as a generator. I also created a patch to use as an effect under said instrument. Additionally, I used guitar rig and its various automation controls as it felt a bit analog to be dragging all the different automation effects kind of like patch panel. I also used a lot of automation in general. I wanted to dive into Reaktor as that was one of the suggested plugins but I can't get my NI access to actually work, so after fighting with it for a few hours I gave up.

EDIT:
Posting my final version now. Ultimately, I have 3 instances of patcher, one generator using a sine wave and two for effects. I also used some of the 'analog' features in guitar rig for some additional effects. While it was interesting to work this way I think it is a lot quicker to use something like Vital that is designed for this sort of thing. Still, I am happy with the result. The song does not have a singular voice rather it is almost 3 different songs that are threaded together by common elements. I really tried to make the changes feel organic as best I could. I wish there was a deeper reasoning or a story that it was meant to tell but it was just where the music took me as I progressed through the creation of the song. Anyways, I hope you enjoy it!
Here are some images of the patcher setups I used: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing



Details:
► Show Spoiler
Thanks,

Arelem
Last edited by Arelem on Wed May 22, 2024 06:30 CEST, edited 3 times in total.
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAY-2024 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#7

Post by Mister Fox »

Let me break the ice with some feedback.


Aside from the obvious "please check your Loudness values" (currently at -11,4 LUFS and peaking beyond 0,00 dBTP), you got an interesting production so far. I don't know how much you pushed regarding Patcher, but I think we'll see that once you're submitting your final version.

What is missing... maybe a counter melody in the first fourth of the song, like there is in the last section. You should also definitely check the volume on some of your sound snippets here and there (they tend to get a bit lost).


Other than that... I you don't have to push yourself regarding "Reaktor", if it's not working, it's okay. It is just one of many possible sound design tools out there. (and far from being the only "modular" device).

I know, this feedback isn't much, but maybe sets you on the right track. Let's see if others might have any additional ideas.
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAY-2024 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#8

Post by Arelem »

Thanks for the feedback Mister Fox.

It shouldn't be peaking over -1 but maybe that's the mp3 compression :hmmm:. I've given up on LUFS and will just accept the lack of points there.
I don't know that I pushed patcher too hard but I did want to try a few things I had no experience with in using it as a generator as well as using Fruity peak controller's LFO to automate some parts of the chain. It does make a pretty good effect IMO though as the sound going in is just a sine wave and the bass/synth at the start and middle is the result. As for the snippets, they are maybe a bit too quiet, I'll have to play with levels and see how that translates on a few different devices (ie speakers, headphones, car).
Arelem
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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAY-2024 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#9

Post by Arelem »

I created a transition patch and used it to finish out the track. Here's a screenshot of the 'wiring'.
In case the image isn't loading here's a link to it on Drive https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C0e_Ul ... drive_link

Image
Last edited by Arelem on Sun May 12, 2024 23:55 CEST, edited 1 time in total.
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC081 May 2024 - Submissions until 24-MAY-2024 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#10

Post by Mister Fox »

:arrow_right: A friendly reminder:
Including today, 13 days left to submit your production.

So far, we have 1 entry and with some feedback and additional interaction.



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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