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Any pointers?

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I was just playing around with some new VST's I got (just starting to learn my way around Kontakt, having a field day), and I popped this baby out in one sitting. Sounds like the background music to a puzzle game to me. Any pointers? And do you have a better idea for a track name? "Bagels" probably won't suffice for long...


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Well crap - I wrote a long respone and now it's not there. So here's the deeply condensed version:

- Several times there's a fairly audible "pop" sound. I can't tell if you're doing this intentionally or not. Check your samples and automation (if you've set any) because it can sound like a mistake. If it is intentional then I'd reconsider it. I don't think it's adding much to the song or production.

- I really like the structure of the piece. It's really strong and keeps the attention of the listener throughout.

- I loved the pad swell that briefly came in before the melody appears. Very nice nuance. Perhaps a bit more of this would be cool but you certainly don't want to "over season" the song either.

- I didn't like the melody patch you're using. To my ears it was too distracting and too different from the rest of the instrumentation. Instead of enhancing the tune, it took attention away from it. Could just be me but that was my reaction to it.

- The build up swell after the break down was nice but it stayed in one instrument texture for too long. Instead of keeping my attention and making me wonder where the arrangement was going next - I actually started to lose focus. More like "yeah, okay, get there already." You want to avoid reactions like that. You can fix this two ways: either have the swell shortened or keep it the same length but have it pass through various instrumentation.

- I loved how you brought in the pitz strings and staccato strings on the reprise of the main section. That was nicely done.

- The waves ambience was, to be honest, a bit cliche but it still works.

- The down tempo approach along with simple lines and texture really help the piece lend itself to the puzzle genre so I agree with your instincts there.

- It's nice that your piece actually has changes in texture and in dynamics. I think you can push the envelope just a bit more with regards to dynamics but it's stil nice to have them present.

- Everything seems panned to the center. Why? Begin to experiment with both the left and right as well as front and back "sides" of mixing and EQing. Create more space with your mixes so they'll be more full and also create more interesting "directions" to listen and follow in the song.

What I'd do next is let this sit and "stew" for a while then find ways you can polish and push the production side of things even more. Consider changing the melody patch if enough people voice negative opinions/reactions to it. As I said before - it was just my reaction to it so if I'm the only person to voice a negative reaction, take that with a grain of salt. But if more comment on the same thing, you know there's an issue. Musically everything is really pretty good! And again, great structure to the piece. You clearly have talent.

Soundcloud is actually down right now, one of the rare times I've seen that happen, so these notes are from memory based on what I wrote last night.

Thanks for sharing - I enjoyed it.


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Thanks so much!

-Yeah, my mastering situation is pretty bad. My headphone port is sort of wiggly, it's a long story. But long story short, I'm mixing in mono. That would explain the lack of panning and the pop sounds and so forth. I'm typically pretty audiophilic, and it's kinda painful to release something this underdone.

-Are you talking about the patch at :55? Because yeah, it sounded great in my makeshift lo-fi set up, but I can see what you're talking about.

-Typically my orchestrations (arrangements? I don't even know) are really busy. I thought I'd back off a little bit for this, but I probably backed off too much. It's just a matter of finding a balance between too busy and not busy enough.

-I love incorporating strings into everything. I've never played any strings, I've always been a piano and woodwind kind of guy, but the tremolo and the pizz just had a really nice way of sneaking in there.

-What would you suggest as far as other ambient approaches go?

And I've listened to your stuff and I'm really impressed. This is definitely a field I want to pursue as a career, whether I wind up in film or video games or commercials or whatever. I'm only 16, what would you suggest I focus on in pieces in the future? And in what ways can I start preparing myself for such a career?

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