Mmm, detailed comments... <hugs MisterMerf>
LithiumMongoose: READ THIS!
lol I read everything people write, especially in this thread. :)
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.
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. :)
LithiumMongoose: Thanks for an enjoyable hour!
My pleasure, I enjoy doing this stuff. Glad you enjoyed it. Stay in touch. :)