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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 10:54 pm 
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Portal Mastery - diminished chords....yes!! a definite keeper...good melody. Maybe just add some voice leading accomp. to help the harmony along...

Sword 1.5 - I like it a lot better (than the original) for some reason... it really has a good backgroundness to it. I like the movement in the background and the swells on top. Not crazy about the perc line, its hard to hear. I'd prefer to hear the percussion on some booming brass and pizz strings...maybe.. just a thought. Although I'd keep the timpani for cresendos... overall, very good.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 3:33 pm 
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LithiumMongoose wrote:
I'm really more interested in comments on the actual content of the tracks, which help me make them better.


I'll review them that way, if you want.

After some download preferences weirdness, I have all the tracks. I would prefer that you lay out (in an easy-to-read list for lazy people like me) what the intended purpose of each track is. This can make it easier for me to tailor my review, but I'll start without it.

Also, beware: I don't know what any of the instruments are called beyond a basic understanding of high brass, low brass, strings (not even reliably "synth strings"), bells, choral, drums, woodwind.

Personal Biases: Love ghostly choral stuff, love horns, love bells (the non-tinkly kind), hate repetition.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 12:14 am 
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Okay, my review of all the songs (unless some mysteriously didn't make it onto my playlist).

LithiumMongoose: READ THIS! I listened to all the music and made notes of the things that jarred me. Non-good stuff jars me more easily than really good stuff because the baseline is "quite good". So please don't take it the wrong way, though almost all of the comments are negative. The truth is, I greatly enjoyed all of the songs with two exceptions: "There Can Be Only One" and "Portal Mastery". And even those I wouldn't recommend for the scrap heap.

Songs obtained on 10/27/04

Encounter:

Baseline seems a bit strong in beginning, not so much when it goes to a lower pitch.

Timpani section could use some more interest.

Transition to multiple melody instruments seemed abrupt.

When baseline eases up just before the beginning of the choral section, it sounded AWESOME!

Transition at 3:09 - Loved it! Just a little more love and it will be purrrrrfect...

The blend you have going at around 4 minutes I enjoyed muchly.

When it all comes together around 5 minutes, the great sound was marred only by the male choral going higher than it feels like it was meant to.

Transition at 5:35 - 5:37 feels too sharp to me.

Overall, a great track whose best moments need some more polish so that their tiny flaws don't stand out.




In The Pale Starlight:

In first 30 seconds, the third instrument (whatever it is) makes it sound jumbled. Timpani, baseline, and high strings work fine. But whatever the other thing is, it turns the whole thing into almost white noise (my sound card is admittedly not so great, though).

I really like the key change at 1:30, VERY nice sound. The timpani seems kind of out of place in it, though. That synth noise sounds like a good addition, but creates a bit stronger of a standing wave than is pleasant on my ears.

Female choral changes the mood, which seems to itself fluctuate at the end. Sounded so good, I didn't mind ^_^

Overall, atmospheric in the best way but sometimes (perhaps 5 times in the whole song for less than 5 seconds) the instruments seem to start crowding each other too much.


Legacy:

Trumpet thingy in the beginning seems sharp in the wrong way, or the reverb isn't quite pleasing to me.

Ooh, a bell! *melts*

Second choral instrument is a marvelous addition, I must say.

The periodic fadeouts and subsequent (fadeins ?) could be spiced up to make them more significant.

High choral toward 6 minutes is neat. Went back to measure the periodic of a standing wave that was irritating me...and it wasn't there. *MisterMerf blames his hardware* *cough*

Legend:

Aaaaaah! The reverb! AAAAAAHHHH! (Just at the beginning)

But I like the melody instrument so much!
And the choral swells!
So nice! (though that instrument that sounds like silenced machine-gun fire is kind of weird)!

About 2:30 +/- a bunch, you introduce an instrument in one ear (I think) that feels like it's getting lost.

I love it! Lots of sound and it doesn't feel too busy. My favorite thus far, though I wouldn't pooh-pooh any of them.


Mejoff's Battle:

Choral instrument introduced around 1:00 has great effect.

Melody lacks forces during the more dynamic background sequences.
Melody blurs in a few places as well.

Last 30 seconds don't seem to be attached to anything to me.

Portal Mastery:

Timpani is more active than the melody...feels kinda weird.


Story Battle:

Discordant cow bell (or whatever that is) is an interesting (but strange) touch.

Sharp drumline seems to be intrusive sometimes, can't put my finger on it.

Transition at 2:45 left me dizzy. Don't know if it's good or bad =P

3:35 descent into a broader melody felt great.

4:20s Probably the only time I will say this: I think less movement in places would improve it.

Overall: I enjoyed some parts of this track so much more than others that listening was a disorienting experience.


Space Station w/ Sunrise Intro:

Melody introduced around 2:10s is too quick for the instrument used...seems to get mushy in my ears.

Distinct, clear melody instrument after 4:00 is getting lost is the less distinct swell.


Sword of Stars:

Sensation of building energy. Some distracting eddies. WHERE'S MY TENSION RELEASE?!?

If I had a bad heart, it would have exploded at 2:30.

Overall: Holy mackerel. I'm wound up and I won't unwind. As I write this, various muscles are still twitching.


Tension:

Interestingly, nothing compared to the tension built up in "Sword of Stars".
Listening to it just afterward, I have no real reaction. It just pales in comparison.


There Can Be Only One:

Reverb is hard on the melody, but it still works.

At the end, my comment on this song:
If I were trying to climb onto a moving stagecoach from horseback and it kept swerving and preventing me from completing the task,
it would be much like this song. It's too jerky for me to come along for the ride, but I want to!



Weird...I had to change writing mistakes in this that I would never normally make (and I'm sure I still missed a few). Must be that right brain/left brain thing.

LithiumMongoose: Thanks for an enjoyable hour!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 3:23 am 
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Mmm, detailed comments... <hugs MisterMerf>

MisterMerf wrote:
LithiumMongoose: READ THIS!

lol I read everything people write, especially in this thread. :)

MisterMerf wrote:
The truth is, I greatly enjoyed all of the songs with two exceptions: "There Can Be Only One" and "Portal Mastery". And even those I wouldn't recommend for the scrap heap.

I can understand not liking Only One; it's one of the ones I salvaged, with almost no modifications, from a bygone era (ie early-mid college 4-7 years ago) which I would describe more as "kid in a candy store" than today, where I like to think I have somewhat more refined sensibilities in terms of how things sound, a marginally better grasp of music theory in general from the college classses on the subject I took, software (and an OS) I'm much happier with, and a bigger synth hardware toolbox (though I still use the Alesis more than the other newer units heh). I will try to update Only One at some point, as I try to dart around and hit everything from time to time, but it may prove difficult in this case since I no longer think in the same terms this was written under (to my chagrin at times heh).

Have to disagree with you about Portal Mastery though, and not just b/c it's new lol. Pushing favorites status for me.

MisterMerf wrote:
I would prefer that you lay out (in an easy-to-read list for lazy people like me) what the intended purpose of each track is.

Meh, was hoping ppl could be bothered to go back and read the thread, but since you asked nicely... :)


ENCOUNTER -- Small scale combat (if we do such a thing as cueing different tracks depending on the size of an engagement, which I am advocating).

High-priority for more work. In particular am hoping to change or improve the pizzicato line. Not currently in my "favorites" list, but pretty close; definitely one of the nicest "sounding" tracks atm, which I'm sure is due to the fact that this is one of the only ones atm that uses the Roland module (and more specifically its Complete Orchestra SRX card) heavily or entirely. (Basically for hardware I have the really old Alesis module with the nicest toolbox, the Roland which I'm upgrading and getting more SRX's for this Saturday which is the nicest sounding, and the Yamaha and Korg units which I really haven't gotten much use out of so far.)

"When it all comes together around 5 minutes", specifically at 4:42, would be an instance of a point where it used to end, then I came back later and wrote more. :)


PALE STARLIGHT -- Large-scale, important combat.

This one was supposed to convey an "everything's on the line, not-quite-hopeless-but-doesn't-look-good, heroic finest hour" kind of feel. A current favorite. There's nothing resembling "white noise" that I'm aware of in the first 30 seconds, but I would hazard a guess it's your speakers or headphones limiting you a lot more than your soundcard.


LEGACY -- Galaxy map background track, aimed at an old, sad, hardship-ridden but proud/strong race, possibly elf-related. :)

"Trumpet thingy in the beginning seems sharp in the wrong way, or the reverb isn't quite pleasing to me." It's the same trumpet instrument used throughout. I can make it quieter, or use something else, but I have no control over reverb (for the moment all I know how to do is use each synth/patch as it comes on the hardware; I am as it happens looking into patching OS X AudioUnits into the recording pipeline, but that would probably only be able to add reverb).


LEGEND -- Victory screen or end credits thing.

Second current favorite so far going down the list. "Aaaaaah! The reverb! AAAAAAHHHH! (Just at the beginning)" Again, I have no control over that atm. This is another one salvaged from the old days with virtually no changes, and as such I'm going to try partially Roland-izing it at some point.

"(though that instrument that sounds like silenced machine-gun fire is kind of weird)!" ROFL, it's march percussion, you know, the guys who stand around with white drums strapped to their waists. Funniest description I've ever heard though. :) Pretty sure I'll be able to come up with a better drum sample after Saturday.

"About 2:30 +/- a bunch, you introduce an instrument in one ear (I think) that feels like it's getting lost." It's another synthstring line, meant to add more oomph to the last transposed-repeat of that section. I will probably drop down to 3 repeats here (I used to do 4 as is evidenced in this piece, but those "refined sensibilities" I mentioned include keeping things moving without getting too boring/tedious). It probably feels like it's getting lost because it's the same instrument as one of the other main string lines. Your sentiment is noted.


MEJOFF'S BATTLE -- Standard medium-scale combat.

This was my "take" on a midi done by Mejoff, my Audio Lead predecessor. Needs more work is about all I'm prepared to say atm, but I haven't felt like dealing with it for a while.

"Melody lacks forces during the more dynamic background sequences. Melody blurs in a few places as well." Yup. Also possibly another good candidate for Roland experimentation next week, will have to see.


PORTAL MASTERY -- Title screen theme.

This is my third and hopefully final attempt at writing something for this purpose heh. The name is kinda sucky but I was trying to keep it in line with the previous two (Portal Dance and Portal Ceremony). Said previous two both came out sounding like combat tracks inadvertently, so I was happy to finally have a genuine fanfare without straying too far into cinematic territory.

"Timpani is more active than the melody...feels kinda weird." I disagree. It's more active than my usual timpani roles, sure, but that's a good thing. :p Strat did want me to flesh out the melody with some accompaniment though, so maybe that will help.


STORY BATTLE -- Originally something for story-related combat (hence the name lol), ie space monsters, the Orion Guardian if we have such a thing, etc. Now, I'm not so sure, possibly a normal combat track.

This is another sub-favorite (like Encounter and PortMast) atm. The section starting at 1:38 was supposed to evoke a shot of a captain staring out the monitor watching things blow up on both sides in slow-motion.

"Transition at 2:45 left me dizzy. Don't know if it's good or bad =P" The section starting at 2:45 was supposed to be a sorrowful mourning "we have to go on" lull, but given that I'm not *actually* doing a cinematic track here (or am I? ;), it doesn't fit. Will absolutely be giving this piece more attention at some point in the future.

"Discordant cow bell (or whatever that is) is an interesting (but strange) touch." ROFL again :). It's a synth harp instrument played, in this case, like percussion. I used to use it a lot (one of my original favorite Alesis patches), but toned it way down since ppl didn't seem to like it much on here. At present this is possibly my only FO track that uses it.

"Sharp drumline seems to be intrusive sometimes, can't put my finger on it." I believe it's the same silenced machine-gun you were talking about earlier. :)

"Overall: I enjoyed some parts of this track so much more than others that listening was a disorienting experience." Other ppl have had a similar reaction. It will get addressed.


SPACE STATION -- Intro cinematic.

The most recent of my "old" stuff I salvaged for the FO project. The only pre-FO track of any significance written for scifi purposes. The origin point of my extensive use of the 'HornExpans' Alesis patch for scifi brass. (This one synth instrument is a brass line in Mejoff's Battle, Story Battle, Portal Mastery, Pale Starlight, Legacy, and Legend; aside from possibly my timpani patch of choice nothing else has been used this much so far.)

"Melody introduced around 2:10s is too quick for the instrument used...seems to get mushy in my ears." Heh, this is the signature part of the piece, and the only part I really like. Oh well. :)

"Distinct, clear melody instrument after 4:00 is getting lost is the less distinct swell." Next time I tackle this track I'm going to work on the intro, and the strings throughout. The swell here is all string-related. (Except for AnaString I'm not really happy with any of the Alesis strings, and my current Roland string-stuff is... limited... High hopes for the new Roland stuff. :)


SWORD OF STARS -- Ship design screen.

I may take a few more cracks at music for this purpose before all is said and done, but for now this is my offering. Released with a fractional version number since, as I mentioned recently when posting it, the very-long-fade-in instrument on one of the main lines opposite the vocals is probably too long, among other things.

"If I had a bad heart, it would have exploded at 2:30." lol. It's supposed to convey the deadly seriousness of making giant war machines (ships), and obviously some tension over whether they'll succeed against the enemy ships is called for.

"Overall: Holy mackerel. I'm wound up and I won't unwind. As I write this, various muscles are still twitching." Not necessarily a bad thing... ;)


TENSION -- Pre-combat scheduler or ship placement.

"Interestingly, nothing compared to the tension built up in 'Sword of Stars'. Listening to it just afterward, I have no real reaction. It just pales in comparison." It's not supposed to be super-tense, more of a calm before the storm, sitting there waiting for the enemy's first move, blip on the radar but you don't know what it is yet, kind of thing. Third of my favorites in the list so far along with Pale Starlight and Legend.


ONLY ONE -- Huge, big-as-it-gets, mother-of-all-fleets-collide combat.

Talked about this one before. Uncertain future for it in my mind, may not even get used. We'll see what if anything I can do for it down the line.

"If I were trying to climb onto a moving stagecoach from horseback and it kept swerving and preventing me from completing the task, it would be much like this song. It's too jerky for me to come along for the ride, but I want to!" Interesting. :)


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE -- Galaxy map background track, aimed at a cybernetic or mechanical race (was thinking Cynoid/Meklar when writing it).

Final favorites list member atm. The track I managed to get smuggled into the 0.2 release of FO on permanent background-loop mode. And you *completely* forgot about it!!! (Just kidding. :)

MisterMerf wrote:
LithiumMongoose: Thanks for an enjoyable hour!

My pleasure, I enjoy doing this stuff. Glad you enjoyed it. Stay in touch. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:18 pm 
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LithiumMongoose wrote:
Final favorites list member atm. The track I managed to get smuggled into the 0.2 release of FO on permanent background-loop mode. And you *completely* forgot about it!!! (Just kidding. :)


0_0 Oops! Looks like I missed one...

Although, I already know I liked that one from playing the 0.2 windows release ^_^


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 6:22 am 
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"Technosis v0" posted.

Uses only patches from my new Roland Fantom XR module, recorded through my new M-Audio Firewire 410 interface. (By "new" I of course mean purchased last Oct/Nov-ish, but left to rust until yesterday due to World of Warcraft. ;)

Volume level on this recording is annoyingly low, hence the v0. There's a few other connections to try but I don't feel like bothering atm (busy playing Halo 2 heh). Or I might just crank up the gain on the Rolls mixer like all the friggin way and temporarily unplug the headphones so they don't explode, that should work too if background noise doesn't become an issue (it's vastly better than it was with my old/cheap USB interface in any case).

This is a test release. I have some bugs in LlamaWare I need to fix (relating to my new variable-length bank size as well as some longstanding issues with the Category View mode) before I work on it any further. I say it sounds like another combat track but Impaler disagreed, so make of it what you will.

P.S. Next project after this will be Strat's "Warhorn" Sakkra track. I swear. Okay maybe not, but that's the plan atm.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 6:54 am 
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LithiumMongoose wrote:
"Technosis v0" posted.

There's some nice moments / ideas in there, but you move between them so frequently and they are so dissimilar that I'm having a hard time imagining what this would be used for... What had you planned to use this for?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:37 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
but you move between them so frequently and they are so dissimilar that I'm having a hard time imagining what this would be used for... What had you planned to use this for?


Like I said, "it sounds like another combat track" to me. I've seen frenetic stuff like this used to good effect before, and I needed *something* to break the monotany of the background-loop patch (the very first thing the track starts with); I happened to choose this nice new eerie choral thing. That being said, I'm not saying this track is a favorite; "this is a test release". Testing some of the patches I can get at atm on the Fantom; testing the Firewire box for recording; attempting to write in more of a techno style and obviously failing miserably. :p


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:01 am 
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LithiumMongoose wrote:
Like I said, "it sounds like another combat track" to me.

Right, sorry... Read that then forgot it by the time I started typing...

Quote:
I happened to choose this nice new eerie choral thing. That being said, I'm not saying this track is a favorite; "this is a test release". Testing some of the patches I can get at atm on the Fantom;

The choir is the stuff from 18 seconds until about 34 seconds (and other times)? I didn't realize that was choir the first time I heard it... though listening again I can sort of hear it. I think the problem, in addition to the rather synthy sound of the "choir", is that the attacks somewhat undermine the choir-ness of it... they're far too... synthy... (for lack of better word), with different frequency ranges seeming to slide in, rather than a single attack, which makes it seem unnatural to me. But maybe that's what you're going for?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 10:45 pm 
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sounds like a good start to something...

This is probably nit picking but dynamics or accents are needed during the kettle pulse (after 0:10). The rhythm as is, is a little boring and plain. Even liven it up with some flams and/or rolls...

and I like the idea of the piano part, but again its a little stiff sounding.

it sounds very techno... what about changing the kettle drums to something more techno-ish? or how about introducing a beat? That ostanato synth thing almost screams for a fast grooving beat. just a suggestion....

anyways, it sounds good...

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:12 pm 
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Sorry about the long delay since I last posted anything new, but here we go...

Portal Mastery v2 -- Changed the abrasive top synth line to choir, added a slow second section. This is my title screen/menu track, hopefully will be used in 0.3. Goes well with prenid's 0.2 title graphic, though it'd work even better if he'd get off his lazy arse and make a 6-minute animated version of his pic, like with a rotating planet and twinkling stars and ships warping in and out from time to time... *ahem* But I digress. :)

Warhorn Extreme! v1 -- My take on Stratcaster's Warhorn track. Thanks again for the midi file Strat. :) Still a lot of work left to do on this, but I figured I'd throw it up now since I was posting the other track and see what you all think. Bonus points for anyone who knows where my title came from (other than Tyreth who I alrdy told).

Also changed how I set my volume knobs in various places with these, should make them louder but I'm not sure yet if they sound a little... off... or not, I dunno maybe I'm just hearing things.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 7:06 am 
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LithiumMongoose wrote:
... though it'd work even better if he'd get off his lazy arse and make a 6-minute animated version of his pic, like with a rotating planet and twinkling stars and ships warping in and out from time to time...


:lol:

You have to wait until i get my rotating planets. :P

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 9:36 am 
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eh, i have provided rotating planets. but you were incapable to implement them in a good way :P

mongoose, you already know that i like it.


Last edited by pd on Tue Apr 05, 2005 10:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 9:56 am 
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pd wrote:
... unabalbe ...
I can't guess what you are trying to say. 8) Maybe your hands were shaking? :twisted:

I like both music themes, but to me Warhorn Extreme! v1 sounds not battleish. At least that's what i was expecting given the file name.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 10:16 am 
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uhm, 3 misspellings in one word - i need more coffee :)


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