So here's my overdue review for this piece. I decided to look at the original to compare the changes you made to the 2012 original. And while I won't leave a review on it, I will drop a rating. I plan to review this piece almost as if this were a remix of the original. Let's start with the instrument choice.
I'll begin with the vocals. While the original's vocals sounded pretty good in the original, there were moments when they sounded a little 'fumbled', so to speak. That being said, the vocals here blow the original out of the water. They're cleaner and crisper than the original. In the original, around the 0:30 mark, there was this sequence that began and I immediately loved it. I was glad to see it in the original and I'm glad to see it here. It sounds really pleasing. The 'chimes' if you will, near the beginning, were a great touch to bring some more ambiance to the piece. Your medieval long drum sounds great. Personally, I enjoy when artists use unique instruments or define part of their style with unique instruments - I personally have been doing it myself. Everything else sounds nice too. No real complaints.
As for sound levels and mixing, your little sequence I mentioned earlier could benefit from a little sound boost. Just a touch. Maybe it's because I enjoyed it in the original and it was easier to hear there. Everything else is easy to hear and nothing gets too drowned out by anything else.
For composition, Mio seems slower paced than the original and that benefits the section greatly. Having a transitional phrase from Mio to Homura was a well needed addition. I enjoy how your piece pays tribute to your opponent you had. It's a nice touch. Optionally, you could have tried to 'mimic' Waterflame's style in Homura as so to contrast your tranquil composition in Mio to a recreation of Waterflame's style in Homura. While I think an idea like that would've given the song more symbolism, it's just a stylistic observation, not something that's a detriment to the piece. What's here works amazingly well. Homura maybe could've benefited from being slightly more intense to highlight the difference between Mio and Homura. All in all though, I'm enjoying what the piece is trying to do.
This is further reinforced by the song's theme. And while a song without an in depth theme isn't detrimental to the song, a song WITH a theme is ALWAYS a beneficial thing. I enjoy when a song takes its listener on a journey. It develops an emotional bond to the listener, allowing them to get more invested in the piece as a whole. I was emotionally invested in this piece because of the way it gently handles the listener and walks them through the piece. However, I think a final recap of the song's themes near the end would have been the perfect way to close the song. My personal interpretation of the song and its themes is a journey through life itself - complete with its ups and downs. Mio representing the tranquil moments (the 'good parts of life' so to speak) and Homura representing the more intense moments (the 'bad parts of life'). Under all of that, lays a deterministic drive to see everything through to the end, no matter how harsh.
This brings me to my final thoughts. Ambition is the fuel for innovation and innovation is the fire for success. Nothing is too ambitious of a project (Coming from a guy who wants to write and publish novels, compose music, get straight A's in university and still balance the rest of life) and nothing is 'impossible'. The original was hampered by some time constraints but this one utterly flourishes as a great piece. I have come to understand that you have gone through quite the large handful of hardships in your time but to press on and continue in spite of all that is commendable and this song is a testament of this. This 7 minute journey may have few flaws here and there, as all pieces do, but since it speaks to me on a deeper level than 95% of the audio on Newgrounds, I can't find a good enough reason to rate this below a 5/5. I commend your visions imbued into this piece. It's a drastic improvement on the original on all fronts and the definitive version of the Mio/Homura. If I have anything left to say it's the following: don't discredit and ignore your dreams. Even if others disagree, sometimes you must take your own path. And sometimes that path is a long, solo journey you must take by yourself. And something - something in this piece, reflects all of that. I wish you the best of luck on future endeavors.
It's taken me a while to get to this (So I apologize) but a promise is a promise! I've also noticed that this piece is a loop, so near the end, I'll evaluate it as a loop (Like, does it loop well, etc). With that said, let's start with your instrument choice.
The piano sounds really good. I'm liking it. The drums also sound good and aren't too cheesy sounding. I'm not sure if your arp at around 0:17 is playing at the same frequencies as the piano. If that's the case, then that would explain why the piano kinda gets drowned out. You could try ducking one sound under the other sound or change instruments entirely. If however, the arp at 0:17 ISN'T playing at the same frequencies as the piano, then it seems like it benefits from playing in some frequencies that you weren't using too much and so then it would be a good choice of instrument. If you still have the project file, check the frequencies your piano and arp are playing at. Your music box sound at 0:25 was a great choice. The rest of your 'ambiance' in the piece, created by the other sounds, sound great too. All in all, despite the arp I mentioned, there's no real complaints here. Good!
Composition-wise, I'm sure you've heard it before. It's a little too repetitive. But, contrary to what others seem to be saying, it's not a huge detriment (It's still a flaw though). The song isn't a complete experience, it's a loop. Loops, in my opinion, are almost always a little repetitive. That's just how they are. One's enjoyment of the loop then comes from how much you enjoy the repeating motif, as opposed to a song, where one's enjoyment comes from their feelings of the entire experience the song creates. That being said, I enjoy the piece from a composition standpoint although it is a little to repetitive for a loop. If the loop wasn't 2 minutes, I'd have no complaints. but, due to its length and repetition, its not as good as it could be. I would've enjoyed it if the song ended around the 1:10 mark, since it already seems to be simplifying down to what the piece started with.
For your mixing/sound levels, the piano gets drowned out. This is really my only complaint. The piano struggles to be heard over everything else. That could be a volume problem, or some other instrument is taking up its frequencies. Everything else can be heard nicely - which is all I care about with mixing and sound levels.
There's very little theme to touch on since loops aren't fleshed out experiences. The feel the loop creates is consistent throughout the piece so that's good. Not much else to really say here.
Overall the loop is good. But not great. If the loop was shorter, then the repetition wouldn't be a huge issue. The piano either gets bullied by the other instruments for frequency space - which causes it to be too quiet, or it gets bullied by the other instruments for dB space - which causes it to be muffled. Those are really my only issues with this piece. These problems are what I find holds the piece back from being pretty good. But it's still good as is!
Sorry it took me so long to respond lol!
Thanks you so much for your review!
It's very well appreciated!
So this is a WIP. So, when I review this, I was going to evaluate the current WIP as it stands (almost like it's a finished piece. Keyword, almost.) and then discuss how a potential final rendition would fare. So let's kick things off with the instrument choice.
The instruments in the beginning sound good. That 'wind' sounding synth right before the dubstep section is pretty good too. All your instruments in said dubstep section are pleasant to the ears as well. I gotta say, the instruments are sounding great: The percussion sound good, the synths and pads sound like long, lost lovers together (which is a good thing!), and the 'dubstep' (I kinda suck at describing dubstep instruments' sounds) parts of your piece sound absolutely great. I'm loving the dubstep a lot.
As for the mixing, The instrument that plays your chords in the chorus seems a little loud, and overpowers some of the rest of the mix, especially around the minute mark. In addition, I feel like your kick could be given a slight volume increase. I can *just* hear it over everything else. Other than that, the mixing is actually pretty good. You say it'll be a pain in the ass in the final version, but that pain in the ass will really pay off if done right.
Composition-wise, it's pretty darn good but of course, since it's a WIP, there are some hiccups. I don't hear much of a drop after your build-up. It just seems to go right into the dubstep. If there is a drop, it could benefit from being more pronounced. The build-up isn't as lame as you say but it does need to be fleshed out a little for the final product. I like the rest of it though. It's headed in the right direction for sure!
For the feel and theme of the piece, there isn't much to say since it's unfinished. The instruments work well together to create the same feeling throughout the piece. In a few words, the theme and feel is really nice!
Overall, I think this piece has potential to be a really good dubstep piece. For a finished product, I would expect: the mixing levels to be perfected from what I hear here, the few hiccups here fixed, and all the great stuff the song has going for it to remain unchanged for the final version (I'm talking the instrument sound and the overall feel of the piece.) Your dubstep composition skills are great and the song is a strong start for a WIP. Let me know when the final version is released. I would like review the final version to see if it has improved upon the WIP in a way that makes it stand out as a great song.
Woah. You weren't kidding when you said you were going to review this XD
Yeah, it is kinda hard to describe dubstep bass instruments. Especially if you're not an avid listener.
Yeah, I'll have to fix the saw. Another person told me it doesn't really sound like a saw so I'll definitely have to play around with it.
The kick is weak, I agree.
It's funny how you say the mixing is good, since this isn't mixed. Well, I mean some of the instruments are mixed with the FX in Serum, but overall this isn't mixed.
I have a hard time understanding what you mean by "drop". The drop is usually where the bass instruments come in. That's the only thing I really need more clarification on.
Other than that, super thanks a lot for this review! I can tell you must've spent some serious time writing this, and it does help a lot. I'll be sure to let you know when the final piece is done.
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