nsmadsen

Evolving Tension - Hybrid, Epic, Orchestral

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Hey everyone! 

Here's a new track that I've been working on as a short, side project. The idea or goal behind this piece was to compose a main idea and let that melody evolve through production and instrumentation more than actually changing the notes throughout the piece. I could see something like this working pretty well as a trailer or certain kind of in-game cinematic. I also wanted to try out some of the new tools and production techniques I've been working on. 

Like with anything, I could probably keep tweaking and polishing this track forever and at some point you just have to release it out into the wild! As always, feedback is more than welcomed! I appreciate any and all comments and the listens! 

Thanks

Nate

 

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Why do they all keep doing that Hans Zimmer Inception thing?
Does anyone believe he would ever copy himself?
 
Anyways, let's get to the piece itself.
People usually prefer honest feedback, so I got a few "pro's und con's" for you:
 
I find the bass a bit too stereo. But if you do want/have to have that in your piece, don't put it on the left side, please.
Imagine any rock band or and orchestra or basically anything human that produces music.
From an audience perspective, the bass is always at your right hand.
 
At 1:17 percussions sound very strange (the sample that's fully panned to the right).
Also, generally, give your percussions a bit more reverb.
This gives'em a bit more rumble and thunk, making them appear even bigger.
Just be sure to not use too much pre-delay on your reverb here as you want to keep your drums sharp and incisive.
 
The nicest sound in the whole piece is imho the solo cello at about 0:20.
It does however disappear with a pretty unrealistic volume fade-out.
And even if that's such a strong carrier, it doesn't re-appear anywhere in the peace, which is kinda sad.
I know, the horns and stuff, but still...
 
The string section is best from 0:58 to about 1:17 when they play polyphonically and together with the horns.
Very good use of the section here, providing a bit of a spread.
 
I also like the 8th-note-staccato-percussive-guitar-synth-thingy that has its crescendo at about 0:40, really sets the tone (mood).
 
And I do love 1:37-1:47 as well. I like how those dissonant voices break the established harmony and how that sawtooth emphasizes and supports the mood that comes with it. Nicely done, here :)
 
A good thing (when thinking about actual use in a trailer or as soundtrack) is that you established a clear climax while at the same time the piece doesn't change a thing. You leave it as you've entered it. In short, it keeps the "current" mood, tone and setting and leaves'em untouched.
That's what you usually want to do in games rather than sending the player on a trip that might end somewhere completly else than what the game actually tries to tell. Having that said, I think, you still achieved your goal, building up tension! :)
 
Last but not least, you might have to work on your balance (think of the bass sounds).
Check out this post:
It's written for visual arts but totally applies to the orchestra as well.
 
Final words: Keep doing what you do, you're doing a pretty good job already! :)
 
 

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45 minutes ago, ptietz said:
Why do they all keep doing that Hans Zimmer Inception thing?
Does anyone believe he would ever copy himself?

Well, actually, a lot of really great composers started out copying others to figure out the nuts and bolts of not only a composition but it's production. Lots of top notch audio engineers have recommended the same thing to build up your production chops. But your second question is ridiculous. Of course he's not going to copy himself. Why even point that out? I'm emulating Inception because I think it's a cool soundtrack and feel I have some things to learn from trying to create something similar. 

Do you really start off all of your feedback responses with such sarcasm and/or attacks? And do you really expect people to want to hear more of your input after you start in such a way? Strange approach if you ask me...

48 minutes ago, ptietz said:
I find the bass a bit too stereo. But if you do want/have to have that in your piece, don't put it on the left side, please.
Imagine any rock band or and orchestra or basically anything human that produces music.
From an audience perspective, the bass is always at your right hand.

Fair enough. I'll have to check the session when I get home but, if memory serves, the bass elements you're referring to were not panned left. Again, I'll have to check. Certain things like bass and drums I usually leave centered, or close to the center. 

50 minutes ago, ptietz said:
At 1:17 percussions sound very strange (the sample that's fully panned to the right).
Also, generally, give your percussions a bit more reverb.
This gives'em a bit more rumble and thunk, making them appear even bigger.
Just be sure to not use too much pre-delay on your reverb here as you want to keep your drums sharp and incisive.

Okay. I do worry about too much reverb muddying up the mix however. I'll give it a shot and see.

50 minutes ago, ptietz said:
The nicest sound in the whole piece is imho the solo cello at about 0:20.
It does however disappear with a pretty unrealistic volume fade-out.
And even if that's such a strong carrier, it doesn't re-appear anywhere in the peace, which is kinda sad.
I know, the horns and stuff, but still...

Actually, it does reappear later in the final section where the choirs join in as well. But since it's a full ensemble at that point, I felt having the solo cello up and above all of that would sound weird. So it's within all of those elements. 

52 minutes ago, ptietz said:
The string section is best from 0:58 to about 1:17 when they play polyphonically and together with the horns.
Very good use of the section here, providing a bit of a spread.
 
I also like the 8th-note-staccato-percussive-guitar-synth-thingy that has its crescendo at about 0:40, really sets the tone (mood).
 
And I do love 1:37-1:47 as well. I like how those dissonant voices break the established harmony and how that sawtooth emphasizes and supports the mood that comes with it. Nicely done, here :)

Thank you!

53 minutes ago, ptietz said:
A good thing (when thinking about actual use in a trailer or as soundtrack) is that you established a clear climax while at the same time the piece doesn't change a thing. You leave it as you've entered it. In short, it keeps the "current" mood, tone and setting and leaves'em untouched.
That's what you usually want to do in games rather than sending the player on a trip that might end somewhere completly else than what the game actually tries to tell. Having that said, I think, you still achieved your goal, building up tension! :)

Again, thank you! 

54 minutes ago, ptietz said:

Last but not least, you might have to work on your balance (think of the bass sounds).

Yup, agreed. This is partly why I chose to do this kind of song. I wanted to see what kinds of issues and choices are required when writing music in this vein. 

I appreciate your input and your listen. I didn't appreciate the snarky remarks at the very beginning but the rest of your post was well thought out and I thank you for it. 

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4 minutes ago, nsmadsen said:

I didn't appreciate the snarky remarks at the very beginning

Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you by any means. It's just that everybody does the Inception theme these days :D

 

6 minutes ago, nsmadsen said:

I'm emulating Inception because I think it's a cool soundtrack and feel I have some things to learn from trying to create something similar.

And yes, I'll give you that one. Sometimes, trying out a few things that you really find cool can help getting a grasp of the technique that's been used. I did it myself and I think every aspiring artist did it quite a bunch of times.

 

Again, please don't be mad at me. I'm glad, I was able to help :)

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It's all good. Sometimes when dealing with just text - it's hard to get someone's intention or inflection. That opening just kinda struck me as underhanded or a bit un-needed. The rest of the post was great. 

Thanks!

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