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#1 cardinalgray   Members   -  Reputation: 140


Posted 19 August 2014 - 01:04 AM

Hi, everyone.


A couple of years ago I've got my first game project and started my previous topic here. After that I have done more projects and have gained more experience. But I still feel like a beginner, and it is still pretty hard for me to find a new paid project. So I'm asking you again to listen to my music and to provide me with some wise critisism and advice.


Here are some of my latest tracks in different genres:





And please, feel free to contact me via denzlobin@gmail.com if you want to collaborate.


Denis Zlobin,
independent musician.


#2 Keith G   Members   -  Reputation: 216


Posted 19 August 2014 - 06:52 AM

Aurora is pretty excellent, reminds me of Blade Runner.  


You can't be complacent when it comes to the pacing of your music.  It should be evolving and changing, even for slower songs (subtly changing).  People aren't going to fall in love with your music if you make minimalist tracks like hundewache.  It does sound beautiful, but the rhythm never changes and nothing really seems to happen in it.  Consider any kind of popular music.  Reference dubstep, metal, rock.  You don't have to like these genres but they reveal a lot of fundamental patterns/techniques that get people hooked into listening.  


When composing your music in a studio its easy to get bogged down and I find that's the reason why songs fall into boring structured loops and the beat never mixes up.  Hum or sing the lead and experiment without the piano/without the computer only using your mind and concentrate on the rhythm and what it can lead into.


I had the opportunity to work on some tracks for mobile touch shoot-em-up.  The levels were very short and due to filesize restraints I could only create very short tracks.  My first few attempts the project lead told me that the song takes too long to get going not much happening.  It was a good exercise.  I highly suggest creating some practice tracks with the same objective in mind.  Concentrate on making tight fun loops.  Here are some clips.






In these I always establish the theme of the level in the first 1 or 2 measures and then kick it up a notch.

Edited by Keith G, 19 August 2014 - 07:06 AM.

#3 musicbender   Members   -  Reputation: 180


Posted 19 August 2014 - 10:56 AM

Great tracks! I love the first one -- very beautiful. I like the use of recorded atmospheric sounds as well.


I would have to respectfully disagree with Keith. Minimalism is great! You hear it all of the time in today's music particularly in games and film for good reason. Yes, popular music hooks you into listening to the music, but sometimes that's the last thing you want! That can distract from the actual game and kill the total game immersion. Sometimes music is designed purely to make the listener feel something without actually being noticed. Also, can you make awesome music with only using one repetitive rhythm? Of course, composing is cool like that. Limitations like that are great opportunities for creativity.


Of course, it all depends on what the context calls for. Sometimes you want your music to evolve and change a lot, but sometimes you don't (and everything inbetween!). There are no set rules in my opinion. :)


In any case, enjoyed your tracks! Do your two high energy tracks need to change/evolve more? I think it would work as is, but if you wanted to go that route you could consider changing things other than your rhythmic theme, like: more dynamic variety, using more variety of instrumentation, adding controlled modulation/filters to some synths for added musicality, etc. Plenty of things to manipulate if you still wanted to add more interest. The sky's the limit. 

#4 Keith G   Members   -  Reputation: 216


Posted 19 August 2014 - 02:15 PM

Music definitely depends on the type of game and type of scene you're producing for.  There really wasn't much context provided so the tracks were critiqued on how they hold up on their own.  


Reading the description of hundewache it's an adventure game track.  That could mean a lot of different things: myst, flower,  The track felt more like taking a nap at the beach.  The music does very little to convey what could even be happening.  


Try a soundtrack from an old adventure game called Lunacy-Lost Memories. The music for this game is enchanting, yearning, mysterious.  

The music

  • has interesting arrangements and patterns,
  • transitions nicely from part to part and
  • it punctuates loudly at parts. 
  • becomes more quiet drawing the listener in more

It isn't hiding in the background.  It's helping the player think.  

Note the arrangement of the piece.  The subtle (and not so subtle) changes in instrument velocity.  You could easily replace the whistle with violin/cello/etc here. The song is mostly consistent in its rhythm, but at 1:00 there is arpeggio that fills silence.  It then becomes more quiet drawing you in even more.   Comparing it to hundewache, hundewache carries on with the same meandering chord progression until it's done.  It's a pretty song, but it isn't very interesting or telling about the mood for which it was produced.


Another track worth referencing is one from Flower.  Much faster in its pace but it's still calm somehow.  



If you feel like you're stagnating or behind in your talents then just start grabbing references and dissect how they were done.  There is no faster way to learn.  

Edited by Keith G, 19 August 2014 - 02:24 PM.

#5 cardinalgray   Members   -  Reputation: 140


Posted 19 August 2014 - 03:32 PM

Thank you, guys!


Everything you've said about changing and evolving is a really good point, and I really understand that my music lacks that. Most of the projects I worked (casual and mobile games) didn't need that aproach, but I think that I should develop my skills to produce more dynamic and evolving tracks in future


Speaking about "Hundewache" - it was produced for an indie 2d adventure game of the same name, which, unfortunately, was cancelled about a month ago. This particular track was produced for an intro scene: old sailor sits by the seashore, right after the great storm that damaged his house, his ship and the lighthouse he has to take care of. Lighthouses are very important for this world, beacuse they are the only way to navigate between different floating islands, and our character's duty is to keep them working. He is sad and tired, but he understands that he has lots of work to do, so he is just taking a short breath before starting a long and difficult journey. The whole scene was a kind of meditative, an so is the track.


Speaking about concept - it was a kind, pensive and very intimate story, so I decided, that minimalistic and intimate soundtrack with only piano, violin and atmospheric sounds would be a perfect fit for that. This was a concept of a whole soundtrack, not this particular track. Anyway, this project is already cancelled, but maybe one day I'll find something with a similar mood to use my sketches. 


Many thanks for your advice - it is very important. And thanks for the reference track, Keith - they are both great and really distinctive.

Denis Zlobin,
independent musician.

#6 Elahrairah   Members   -  Reputation: 126


Posted Yesterday, 03:22 PM

Ahoy CardinalGray,

Altogether I very much enjoyed the tracks. Here are my individual reactions:

HundeWache: These sound like live instruments being recorded (are they?). The music fits the scene very nicely, although here and there I felt like a little more body or direction (chord progressions, pads, pedal tones, etc) might've been a benefit.


The Story Unfolds: Great mix of instruments and nice effects. I feel like the whole thing could've been more effective with a wetter reverb, but the EQ was nicely balanced and is the kind of sound that I've always wanted to get.


Aurora: Similar to the previous track: I did think that a wetter reverb might work well here, but aside from this point all the elements of a good background track are here. The synth pads mix well with the built up rhythmic texture, and you have enough going on to keep my ear busy as I listen.

That's my two bits! 

#7 cardinalgray   Members   -  Reputation: 140


Posted Today, 01:38 AM

Thank you Elahrairah,


You are right, there is live violin in Hundewache. The piano is Addictive Keys, but to preserve that live sence I produced the hole track off the grid without correcting any midi-notes in my DAW.


Speaking about sound in The Story Unfolds - there is also live solo guitar, but the whole sound concept is not actually about EQing, it is more about dynamic processing: I used parallel compression for solo guitar, and a complex structure of different distortions and saturators in send channels for practically every instrument. Solo guitar is also kind of double tracked (this is, although, not a real double track): we recorded same performance on two separate tracks, one of which was distorted, and the other one was clean. After that I panned these tracks to left and right and used some different dynamic processing on the channels. 

Denis Zlobin,
independent musician.