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As I wrapped up production on another song, I took a step back and asked myself: "how the hell did I get here?" I mean, It's been a few years of me quietly producing below average to average pieces with good intent behind it; I don't do it to throw "just decent" content on the Audio Portal. Everytime I finish a piece, I honestly and truly belive I've outdone my previous work. Which I guess is a good thing. However, some of my songs are plagued with less than ideal choices that greatly impacted thier performance. Others however, showed that not all my decisions are bad.
Nevertheless, I wanted to take a look a finished productions that I could point to and say: "This was a big milestone in some way". No, this isn't a list of my best performing pieces of work - rather, it's a list of 5 songs, in order from oldest to newest, that I made that I thought really pushed the boundaries of who I was back then, for better or for worse, and which subsequently leads to who I am now, again, for better or for worse. In addition, I'll include the song's current score out of 5 and it's play count - just for your own reference.
- George's Swarm [2.96/5] (396 Plays)
This was technically speaking, my first REAL song I've ever composed and I was pretty proud of the melodies. However, it's current rendition on Newgrounds isn't the original creation. The original creation was a MIDI file. I then remixed it in FL Studio and posted it here back in 2014. It wouldn't be until a year later when I decided to "remix the remix" to try and improve the quality and take a few suggestions into consideration. All that work for a slightly above 50% score. But some of those reviews were from the song's first iteration on Newgrounds so who knows exactly how reflective it is.
Now it's a not too bad DnB song. I think the percussion turned out pretty great and it's what I like the most about this song to this day. Using the Gross Beat plugin, I turned the guiros from a "rip" sound into a "squeel" sound almost reminiscent of a weird type of bug and that suits the song well. Why is that? Because George is a character in my book series: The Chronicles of Yeelp. Specifically, he is a small, slimy, legless bug that is a crossover between a scorpion in his appearance and a earthworm in his ability to burrow in the ground. Needless to say, the squeel sounds fit perfectly in my mind.
What would I change in this piece? Well, I would tone down that reverb a LOT and add some chords to fill in the song a little more to give it some structure.
Secrets [3.00/5] (848 Plays)
Out of ALL my songs on Newgrounds, this one has, by far, the most plays. Now plays don't mean a song is good but to this day, I'm still baffled at this song's ability to entice people to play it. You'd think my plays would mean more reviews and more votes but that's not how things work I guess. A mere one 3/5 vote out of all 848 plays this song has received. That's weird in my opinion.
This breakcore song was my first attempt at breakcore and it really gave me a chance to experiment with a lot of fun stuff. I learned a lot making this! I sidechained the Amen break a lot and fiddled with it in a bunch of interesting ways from reversing it to slowing it down.
What would I change? Again, I'd like to add some chords to give the song more structure. It kinda just did what it liked and fiddled around with the Amen break and yeah that worked out well for it but it could be much better. Maybe someday I'll get around to remixing it. Part of the reason I haven't is I'm not sure if it's a good song to begin with. A single 3/5 rating isn't a large sample size to base my judgement on it's quality.
Nuclear Rave [3.50/5] (597 Plays)
One of my better dance pieces. I really aimed for a catchy beat with percussion to get you on your feet. This song gets this spot as I truly feel this is the point where I really put a lot more effort into my mixing, mastering, plugin management and so forth. This song knew what it wanted to be the moment I started making it - a claim not all my songs can make.
This song really allowed me to experiment with rises as opposed to drops which of course create a whole different mood. The song starts with a ambient feel as the intensity slowly rises until the chorus. I'm truly a fan of the Sytrus plugin I used which was an edited of a preset to create an epic sounding string choir.
What would I change? That terrible sounding crash at the beginning was SUPPOSED to be a sort of "whoosh" slide like sound but it just turned out to sound like a terrible crash. I don't know why it didn't get removed in the final cut. It is atrocious.
Sys-Time-atic [2.36/5] (406 Plays)
I'm not sure why this song performed as poorly as it did score-wise. I don't think it's deserving of a less than 50% score but who am I to judge. I guess this song marked a time where I wanted my songs to have structure and not just be all over the place.
The idea for this song was to create a easy to follow melody that hit on the "on-beat" so to speak. I could then support this melody with a similar styled percussion. The whole theme of this piece is structural, yet minimalistic. Everything is systematic in a way (Hah, get it?) but at the same time, there's not a whole lot of things going on. I personally think this minimalistic approach works really well for this piece.
What would I change? I would fill the song out with some chords and then alter the bass to support the chords instead of mimicking the lead synth. This would flesh the song out more, while hopefully not removing it's unique minimalism.
Page, The Original [3.50/5] (231 Plays)
Now this song isn't here because it's my latest upload. I really beleive it's one of my better pieces. Again, it had a purpose and it knew what it wanted to be from the get go. The mixing and composition could be improved a bit but I think this song isn't terrible.
It follows in the footsteps of Sys-Time-Atic by having some semblance of structure but now, it has a theme intertwined as well. At least, it was an attempt anyway. I think this song sort of shows off a lot of what I learned over the years I've spent composing.
What would I change? I'd remove a few of the crashes, I have a bad habit of putting too many in. I'd also like to give the song a better introduction to ease the listener in as suggested in the comments
So that wraps up my personal top 5. I think I've come quite some way since my beginnings and I think it's interesting to look at my progression (or lack thereof) over the years. What do you readers think about my selections? Are they milestone worthy? Which one do you like the most? Also, do you think my proposed changes make sense? If not, what do you think could improve these pieces? I appreciate everyone's input even if I don't acknowledge it.
So thank you all for reading! Heck, if you're a music artist and you managed to come all this way in my post, voice your thoughts about it in the comments, then shoot me a PM with your favourite song you've composed. As my thanks to you for your input, I'll take a listen and review it for you!
Again, thanks to all of you for reading about my personal reflection. It means a lot to me.