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51 Audio Reviews

VGMC, 8-Bit Wandering: "Dreamland Wanderer" Review

I'm really blown away by this entry!! There are so many details scattered throughout it, particularly in its sound design. Even from the first sounds alone, there's so much to unpack: the swelling bitcrushed chords, the mega-distorted synthesizer lead, and the bitcrushed pluck fading in alongside it are already filled with so much sonic depth. You also utilize a ton of different timbres of bitcrush across all the instruments in this song, somehow managing to consistently make them sound great, even at their most crushed. The section at 1:35 and its eventual fusion with the second chorus is particularly stunning, the glitchy top loop and murky percussion blend together so well with the vast, sweeping chords you employ here. Everything else about the piece (its structure, composition, etc.) are interesting enough to carry the song through its 3 minute run-time, but simple enough to allow all the wonderful sounds in this song to have their spotlight.

If there's one thing I have to critique, it would be how you convey the chords of the two choruses. Specifically, I think you need more bass during these sections - right now, without a reliable presence of the chords' root, it's harder to decipher them than it should be. I know this was probably a tricky thing to try and balance, with the kick being so bassy, but I think you could pull it off with the right amount of sidechain. Also, I kind of wish the section at 1:35 were a bit louder, or crunchier, but that might be passing the threshold of personal preference.

Overall, really phenomenal work! This is a super evocative piece, and a definite favorite of mine from this event. Keep it up! :)

FateModified responds:

Thanks Stardew! I was excited to see your prompt of "8-bit Wandering" in this challenge, because I LOVE that type of video game music, with "Hyper Light Drifter" being one of my favorite vgm soundtracks, actually.

Thanks for all of the great feedback, and I'm really glad you like it. :)

VGMC, 8-Bit Wandering: "Ocean Tides" Review

I love the concept of this tune! You've integrated the back-and-forth motion of ocean waves into so many parts of your song. The interplay between the song's synth parts, for one, is an ever-present indicator of this theme - I adore how they bounce off of one another. I love the moment at 0:32 where two distinct synths are toying with each other, before they team up at 0:48 to create a swirling bubble-stream of chords. Additionally, some of the percussion you use sounds distinctly water-like - I noticed this particularly with the delay on the cymbals at 1:10.

There are two main gripes I have with this song: dynamics and harmony. The dynamics of this song are very steady; I can't identify a single moment that's definitively quieter or louder than another section. While steady dynamics aren't inherently a bad thing, I think that the concept you've based your piece around is one that correlates with dynamics quite a bit, and I wish you had integrated them into your song more. For example, having the synthesizer parts swell in volume and / or filter as they interact with each other would make for an even more ocean-y experience! As for harmony, I think that throughout this song, it's often quite difficult to grasp its chordal content. Maybe you could remedy this by having a pad swell in the background with the synthesizers' movement, possibly an octave higher than the chords you currently have written? You'd have to mess around with it.

Regardless of these qualms, I still think you managed to create an effective and overall lovely piece of music! There's a lot of cleverness in this song, and I think if you discover how to convey it in every aspect of your music, you'll be a great musician. Keep at it! :)

VGMC, 8-Bit Wandering: "Underwater Bitz" Review

I think the aspect of this track that stands out the most to me is its sound design. You note in the description that you've assigned a story to this song of sinking through the ocean into a different world, and I think that your success in conveying this is largely due to the sound design decisions you make throughout the tune, with some smaller contributions from composition and structure. While a few sounds you employ throughout this piece are questionable (particularly the dubstep drop at 4:38, which I think could use some more care), the majority of the sound design on this track does a great job of making the song sound underwater. Your use of reverb and delay shines through in particular (I adore 1:44, and the hollow sounding section at 4:02 before the ensuing drop), in addition to some of the shiny, resonant timbres you create, like the bass at 0:52, and the murky guitars (?) at 1:28. The progression of this track is wonderful, as well - the dark, sinister place we end up at 4:38 is miles away from the optimistic moment at 1:17. The downward motion of this track is incredibly palpable.

Unfortunately, there is one facet of this song that's stifling its true potential: the production. For one, the kick you use is way too loud throughout the song, with its gargantuan sub frequencies eating up the rest of the mix, interloping on the space that the mid and high-ranged frequencies should be allowed to flourish in. Compression seems to be a big problem throughout this track, as well: a lot of your bassier sounds are squished to unnecessary extents, some of your higher synths as well. The entire song itself is actually compressed farther than it needs to be - as you can see on the waveform, the full 7 minutes of audio all reside in a thin strip at the middle of the waveform, with plenty of room above and below the small threshold you've set.

Compressors are tricky to figure out when first approaching them - a lot of the changes they make to sound are almost unnoticeable to those who aren't familiar with them. They took me quite a while to figure out, and I'm still not really the best at using them on certain sounds. I think that with the ambitious scope of this song, though, once you figure out how to produce your songs better, you'll be able to make some really great stuff! I implore you to keep at it. :)

Teckmo-X responds:

Honestly this is a lot to process. I like the review really brings light. Sorry this is so well reviewed I'm speechless. I did for a fact though make the bassline deep on purpose. For me whenever my basslines are deep and hit hard I feel that feeling of accomplishment. I've used compressors in the past and I like them for certain projects but instead I prefer to process everything using the EQ plugins. I have realized how much easier in my opinion it is to process everything. I'm still working on it. I'm slowly working my way up in sound design. Thank you!

Recent Art Reviews

1 Art Review

gorgeous!!!!! the stippling really suits this piece. in some places, like the bricks on the bridge, it begins to almost look like ascii art, and i think that's rad.

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aspiring sound magician
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