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Gianny Abel

Looking for Feedback and Tips (oh big surprise)

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Hi there,

I am new to this forum and came here specfically looking for feedback on my work and possible tips for both improving my craft aswell as how to get your foot in the door.

I have around 7 years of experience with Cubase 5 now (no academic background though). I started out doing remixes of video game OST on my YouTube Channel (example: https://youtu.be/sB01cPgwPrE). I am fully aware that in today's culture it is incredibly hard to get a food in the door, just because producing music has become so accessible. I am also aware that most of the things i complained about can be accounted to that fact and that it's true for most other people. However i still wish to get better and what I am doing and ultimately hope to fulfill my dream of working in this industry.

Therefore I decided to visit this forum and seeing how there are many people of different skill levels and expertise here, I hope I can get constructive feedback on my work and tips on how to get better, especially regarding audio engineering. Due to my lack of experience in mixing and mastering, I fear that it holds me back in a way that my music can't fully express the intent behind the composition.

Here are some examples of tracks I made, which i think have turned out well in regards of composition. I'd love if you could take a listen to them:


Character Theme / Location Theme for a possible love interest of the protagonist:


This was done for the game that my gf and me planned on doing, a kind of phoenix-wright-ish visual novel. Here I tried emphasizing the passion and romantic tension between both characters by having a dialogue between the sax and the piano. (Bonus: Allegro Version / Part 2: https://soundcloud.com/user-569017777/fondeta-allegri )


Examination Climax / Boss-ish Theme:


This is also from the visual novel game. As the name suggests this is inspired by the Phoenix Wright OSTs and their cornored themes. I always loved how intense and suspenseful they sounded, like you were just about to crack the case. I tried emulating that by having a steady build up resulting in the climax of the sax solo. I integrated a Leitmotif for this OST, which I use in the majority of the game's soundtrack including the first example Fondetta at 0:21 and can be heard during the climax of this song at 2:10, too.


Desert Level Theme:


An atmospheric attempt at a desert level soundtrack for the game my friend is developing, a 2d action RPG. I tried fusing oriental/arabic with wild-west-elements. My goal was to create something that sounds like adventure. 


Please be as honest and harsh as possible in your feedback, much thanks in advance!


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Welcome! Nice to have you here and thanks for sharing your tracks. 

Character Theme / Location Theme for a possible love interest of the protagonist:

Some nice ideas and development here. I like how the keys/synths will double the horn line. And then how it carried that line while the tenor sax held out long tones. This works well for a loop! At about 2 minutes in, I was hoping for more of a change to help reduce the repetition of the loop. I think you have a great A section to your piece but you need a contrasting B section. Take your harmonic and melodic ideas and expand on them so once the loop does return to the A section, it is more satisfying. 

Also at 1:18 and 3:14 there's a note in the keys/synths that is clashing. If it's intended and on purpose, then I'd look for better ways to approach that note so that dissonance doesn't pop out as much. Right now it sounds like a mistake. 

The only other bit of critique I'd offer is that your overall song volume is pretty stagnant. I'm not hearing a lot of dynamic changes or even textural changes. This can be okay in certain circumstances. Like a really short character creation screen. Something where the player will only spend a brief bit of time before the game really begins. I'd encourage you to look for ways to have your arrangement evolve more. Take out elements or layers, bring new ones in. Change the drum pattern. Have the bass change intensity and pattern. Change the octave placement of the strings. Give each part a bit more life. 

Examination Climax / Boss-ish Theme:

The mix feels a bit muddy on this track to my ears. There's a lack of punch and impact from the bass, which is pretty soft overall and the the mix feels top heavy with the higher strings and solo sax being much more in front than the other layers. I loved the interacting bits and writing however! Some great progressions. I think this track could be great with a bit more production and balancing. 

Also the ending is cut off and feels way too abrupt. 

Desert Level Theme:

The opening 40 seconds or so don't really do much to help pull me in as a listener. This could be very effective for in-game music (don't really know without playing the game) but for a demo reel, I'd trim this out to be much shorter. Your hand drum ostinato is pretty loud compared to the overall mix. I'd bring that down. I'd also look at doing some side-chain compression and bussing your percussion and all of the non-percussion elements in a way that you can get much larger drum impacts than what you're currently getting. The vox pad is always changing to the same voicing starting at around 0:49 seconds. Why not add inversions of these two chords to help further build the tension and give a bit more life to those background harmonies? 

Some interesting harmonic choices too - I'm not sure all of them work like you intend. Going back to the ambient drone at 2:03 doesn't really help the structure and flow of the song in my opinion. Feels more like an interruption and less like a "drop" than then builds way up into a new dramatic section. I think part of this is the key centers of each of these sections don't really relate very well. And like the previous track, the ending is cut off. As it is, on your Soundcloud, it wouldn't loop very well. 

Overall, nice stuff though! 


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This was probably the best feedback I have received period.

Really helpful, i will look into these tracks again and may change things accordingly, thanks alot already!

Definitly a lot of things I agree with upon listening again.

On the topic of mastering and mixing (you mentioned some things sounded muddy), as mentioned before that is what I'm the most unexperienced with. Fondetta was the one I was working on the most in that regard, I would be interested in your criticism for that so i may use it for future reference, if that would be okay :)

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Piggybacking off of nsmadsen's comment, I think the big thing for me that stuck out to me in "Character Theme / Location Theme for a possible love interest of the protagonist:" was the lack of dynamics/change within the composition. Honestly, it's a problem I have myself that I also need to start consciously avoiding. The track sounds great, the instruments all work really well together and really give a nice vibe. Just a little more dynamics!

On the other hand, "Examination Climax / Boss-ish Theme" seems to have much more dynamic and compositional range, which is great for something as nerve racking as a "boss fight". Around 2:13, there seems to be some audio clipping which probably needs a slight tweak. Also, I feel like some areas like :28, while the melody is great, lacks a little "oomph" in the mix, or at least in the composition itself.

"Desert Level Theme": I'm a sucker for Desert themed tracks. I actually don't so much mind the amount of time it takes to develop the track, but I do think the panning of what I assume would be the sound of a sandstorm is a little two aggressive, though that really could just be a personal artistic change if anything. But I agree with nsmadsen, in that some of the harmonic choices don't appear to gel well. The ideas, again, are here though!

You have a good ear for instrumentation, and great arrangements as well!

Can't wait to hear more from you!


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