#1
Hey guys, attached are a couple of pieces that I've written (and had to rewrite/rearrange as a result of someone stealing my first laptop ). There are still several more songs that I'll have to rewrite, and I'm not even finished with these two. There are some parts that I'm not sure are possible to play (though the guitar parts are alright for the most part).

I honestly don't know what genre these songs would fit into, but I think they have a little bit of everything.

A word of warning: Invictus is very long.
Attachments:
Tempest.zip
Invictus.zip
Invictus Edit.gp5
Last edited by D2BII at Feb 16, 2016,
#2
Hey bud, thanks for listening to my piece and giving such a deep critique of it, I really appreciate it!

I'll be taking a listen to Tempest first.

I think the intro is fine as it is, might be cool with more soundscapes but it's pretty good in its simplicity. I unmuted the drums but I'll ignore them for the purpose of the review, seeing as you haven't written full drums for the piece.

When T2 comes in I start listening to all the different instrumentation and while I can pick out certain ideas that to me seem really interesting, it seems like when you wrote these parts you were thinking linearly for a single instrument and not so much paying attention to how the whole interplays with itself.

I find the section sounds better already if I remove the harpsichord and string section, since those underlying arpeggios and chord shapes clash with the guitar work quite often, and it really makes the good ideas on guitar sound muddy and unfocused. I think it has potential and it has some very unique ideas and textures to it that I like, but the orchestration needs work, and I'm not sure it's even needed at all.

The guitars sound great together, the bass is a bit clashing in some parts too though.

Now I know you haven't heard much of my work, I'm quite a fan of dissonance when employed in a certain fashion but here it seems like the focus of your ideas is lost; I would try focusing on what lines you consider your principal ideas and making everything else sort of complement, or dance around those ideas harmonically, while still making sure your underlying rhythmic idea or phrases come through for the listener.

For example at measure 33 you have a passage which matches on all instruments rhythmically but the way you harmonized it between the clean guitars and the bass just doesn't come off as harmonically structured - you don't have to employ straight harmonies, and there are ways to do shifting harmonies or counterpoint within that, but without certain guidelines it comes off as harmonically messy, I hope you understand what I mean.

It tends to help me when I write more complex harmonized stuff to put it down to 50 percent or 25 percent speed, focus on what I want the main phrase to be, and then make sure everything complements it well.

I do like those little harmonic passes on bass, the harmonics on the 9's are pretty cool. Overall I see some great ideas and a lot of ambition in your writing already, just needs some work on harmonization between the instruments that helps focus on the main ideas of each section.

The idea of having a different emotion when T3 comes on and then shifting the lead throughout is really cool to me - I think the transition into it could use a bit of smoothening though.

T4 comes on having a cool feeling to it also, again though on measure 53 the bass, the arpeggios, and the chords, really feel like they're clashing for attention and it comes off as muddy. You're also holding a chord on strings while the guitar is doing a 4 chord transition and it clashes heavily, while the guitar is moving around doing chromatic work; having a fourth measure with some more movement and expression is great, and I like the idea structurally, but it lacks focus as it is.

I like the little guitar leads you do when there are just chords holding out though, and whenever I single out any of your tracks, I hear really cool phrasing, voicings, and ideas that I really find tonally interesting, and if I seem to be very critical overall, it's because I see a lot of potential in these ideas and I'd love to hear some of those ideas focused down so that they're allowed to shine on their own instead of struggling for space with the rest of the instrumentation.

I think T5 is the perfect example of this phenomenon.

It's really hard for me to pinpoint and discuss everything I hear in this because it's so incredibly dense and I hear many many things that could be great, and many many things fighting with each other, that I feel I could go through hours of comments on minute details.


It seems to me, taking an overall glance at your work, that you have some interesting ideas on each instrument individually, you have a good grasp of the concepts of songwriting when it comes to having a certain flow, different moods and emotions throughout, and interesting rhythmic ideas; In that vein I would suggest perhaps trying to fine-tune what you consider very strong ideas and making things that really complement those, starting with a bit less and building up from there.

I hope it helps...
#3
Thank you for your critique! I think I understand where you're coming from as far as the clashing and lack of harmonic discipline goes, and I certainly agree that there are many areas where things could be tidied up. There are a lot of parts, especially in T5 and its variants, which are incredibly busy and difficult to take in with a single listen (in fact, it's so dense that my computer can't even process all of the notes that I input ). I'd imagine that a lot of the problems stem from the fact that:

1. As I write, I do think of each part linearly and generally jam the parts together if my ears allow for it. It's difficult for me to explain, but it's like your ears become attuned to parts that would ordinarily make listeners raise their eyebrow. That's where it's good to have different perspectives to reign things in.

I may be wrong, but to my understanding, a common thread in your criticism with regard to linearity and focus is the ability to construct 3-dimensionally. That is, the ability to envision the entire sonic-atmosphere and build from there. And that is definitely something that I feel I need to develop as a musician.

2. My theoretical knowledge is rudimentary at best. Aside from [barely] knowing the structure of basic scales (major, minor, harmonic/melodic minor) and how chords are constructed, I don't really have an intimate knowledge of "what works," or the more deeper level of understanding: "why it works." In actuality, my pieces--even the at the most basic of lines, are composed note by note using only my ear as a guide. As referenced previously, that's where things often get hairy.

It'll take quite a bit of time to sort out the issues that you pointed out. I'll have to be a bit more careful, observant, and studious. I definitely have your criticisms in mind.
Last edited by D2BII at Aug 14, 2014,
#4
Thanks for your thorough reply and criticism i will try to do the same albeit a bit shorter than yours. I heard both your pieces and you definitely etched your own style of prog which i very much enjoyed, pretty fun solos. But mostly will focus on your suggestion and tell you what i think of Invictus.

Cool use of arpeggios for the intro lead to you first riff fits well. I2 is a recurring riff that sets up the song as a whole with the light drums and synth give it a calming feeling even though there's a lot going on with the guitar that would otherwise sound heavier.

In I3 bass enter and this riff works for the song but sound a little more chromatic than i would've liked, it links with I4 which also in the guitar end sound more chromatic instead of carrying a more melodic structure.

I5 enters a jazzy solo that i dig, reminded me a bit of cynic so that's cool, also nice ending leading back to the intro riff(I2/I6). I7 is a reiteration of I3 which actually flows better in this instance, thinking the drums and addition of a few more note helped ease the harshness of the main riff.

Skip to I13 since from I7 seven to I12 are just a repetition of previous riffs in the song. I13 is basically a long solo which works for the most part but has some notes that clash with your synth chords, or you just wanted to make the solo very chromatic sound throughout that excerpt.

Going in I14 i can say that it was my favorite part of the tune those chords worked good as they are pretty melodic and give a sense of "finality" but also helped you bridge the last couple of riff going to the ending well imo. the twist was I15 which worked even better in this context since its still basically still the I7/I3 riff but with more guitars giving it a more dense feeling. I20 and I21 where very cool and melodic great job on that part overall the song works and i enjoyed listening to it, but it might need some tidying up. Sorry not very good at reviewing but your tunes where enjoyable enough to practice with.
#5
^ Thank you for your criticism! Hopefully I can make some real changes to both of these songs by the New Year. I want to make sure that note clashes are minimal and intentional when they actually are present. I'm definitely keeping your suggestions in mind as I revise these songs.
#6
I still need to add drums--I always do find drums to be difficult.


As promised, I tidied up the harmonies where JazzDeath pointed out. I tried to really lock into a harmonization with the rhythm guitar in tracks 1 and 2 and the bass tracks. The bass, at parts, is harmonized an octave or two below the a perfect fourth of the guitar rhythm lines.

T2 has been changed up to harmonize a bit more between the rhythm and the bass. I made some slight modifications to the transition into T3.

T4 has been changed up a little bit to tone down the clashing. However, the instrumentation of track 5 has been improved a bit--different rhythm highlights, the notes closely follow the 4-chord changes. I made the bass the highlight of this part at the end of every fourth bar. I cut out the rhythm guitar on the 4th bar in order to cut out on the clashes caused by the chromaticism. I miss that rhythm section a bit, but I feel that T5 is enough to get my point across.

T5 has been toned down considerably. The harpsichord and lead guitar has been taken out completely--now it's just the rhythm guitar, the bass, and the string ensemble (the chords have been changed a bit). I love that lead part, so I decided to add that in toward the end of the song.

I changed up some of the instrumentation. The bass tracks--one is picked, the other is synth. I felt that having those two would be a bit more interesting than just having one. And I felt that having slap would be a bit too percussive for the piece. Track 5 has been edited a bit.

It's still incomplete. I need drums, and I feel that there are certain parts that could be filled out a little bit more.
Attachments:
Tempest 2.zip
#7
Listening to Lullaby now. Yeah, I've definitely heard this before.

The intro is really cool, but I was expecting some variation on the 4th repetition of I2.

I3 sounds like a buildup, mostly because of the constant bass, but then, as a buildup, I don't think it's that effective. Maybe it'd sound better if you added drums there?

Then again... I5 just came in, with the drums, and part of what makes this section so cool is that the drums finally arrive. So, not sure what I think about I3.

Why no drums at I6?

I7 sounds way better this time around. See! The drums changed everything. Maybe alter the bass at I3 so it's less buildup-y and more just riff-y?

I10 - seriously, man, why no drums!? Is it just not finished?

Not a huge fan of I13. I'm not sure if trading off between clean and acoustic guitar is that necessary, and it also makes the entire thing sound a bit disjointed. I mean, you're basically splitting up the entire solo into two bar sections, it gets a little stale. I'm also not a huge fan of the constant shredding, it doesn't add much to the song as a whole. The whole tone stuff in 110 is pretty cool, and the last chord in 114 is awesome.

I16 is ****ing badass, and placing I17 right after that was a great idea.

Seriously, you need to do drums for I18

Holy shit, I19 sounds amazing with those harmonies. Bar 200, with the 3-2- on the low E, sounds like a reference to the idea at I15. The last chord was beautiful.

Overall, it was actually pretty decent, but 1) Practice writing drums and 2) Fix I13.

Tempest 2:

T1 is alright, nothing particularly special, but it works. OOoo, interesting, synth bass...

Holy FUCK, T2 is cool. Seriously, what the fuck am I listening to?! I love this shit. The harmonics on the synth bass make it sound so cool. And the harmonies in bar 33 sound so goddamn robotic, I love it. It's brilliant.

The 6878 chord in bar 45 doesn't work well with the lead. Same with 47, that bar is a mess, probably because you're trying to mix whole tone stuff in there for some reason. 49 is borderline

T4 is ****ing awesome, especially bar 53, especially the very last quick chord that leads in 54. Bar 57, are you ****ing kidding me, that sounds incredible.

T5 has the potential to sound ****ing amazing with the right drums, so you'd better not **** that up.

T8 sounds pretty different from what came before it but it's not out of place.

Anyways, yeah. I think I touched on everything. You've definitely got an interesting, unique sound, I think you just need to refine it. I'll definitely be on the lookout for anything new that you post.
#8
I'll offer only a brief critique of Tempest, as the entire track is fundamentally incredible. I agree with RedDeath on just about all of his points.

While all of your thematic material is developed well, and your guitar and bass lines melodic while highly inventive and presenting contrast, the incessant sustained strings ultimately remove any substantial sectional contrasts you could have made. As a result, the piece is presented as homogeneous, but it certainly isn't in all other aspects. Remove the strings in all parts where their presence isn't imperative to enhancing the section. There are many rhythmically busy - but digestible - riffs that would permeate an enhanced dynamic colour without the juxtaposition of long, sustained strings sitting lazily behind them.

I apologize for being brash in my evaluation - my work was evaluated the same way during my four years of study at Uni, and I learned some of my best lessons that way. Do know that you're a skilled composer with a unique and engaging compositional voice, but also be aware of juxtaposition, polarization, complimentary sound gestures, and the practicality of stark contrasts for dynamic effect in a grand structure.
#9
Quote by RedDeath9
Listening to Lullaby now. Yeah, I've definitely heard this before.

The intro is really cool, but I was expecting some variation on the 4th repetition of I2.

I3 sounds like a buildup, mostly because of the constant bass, but then, as a buildup, I don't think it's that effective. Maybe it'd sound better if you added drums there?

Then again... I5 just came in, with the drums, and part of what makes this section so cool is that the drums finally arrive. So, not sure what I think about I3.

Why no drums at I6?

I7 sounds way better this time around. See! The drums changed everything. Maybe alter the bass at I3 so it's less buildup-y and more just riff-y?

I10 - seriously, man, why no drums!? Is it just not finished?

Not a huge fan of I13. I'm not sure if trading off between clean and acoustic guitar is that necessary, and it also makes the entire thing sound a bit disjointed. I mean, you're basically splitting up the entire solo into two bar sections, it gets a little stale. I'm also not a huge fan of the constant shredding, it doesn't add much to the song as a whole. The whole tone stuff in 110 is pretty cool, and the last chord in 114 is awesome.

I16 is ****ing badass, and placing I17 right after that was a great idea.

Seriously, you need to do drums for I18

Holy shit, I19 sounds amazing with those harmonies. Bar 200, with the 3-2- on the low E, sounds like a reference to the idea at I15. The last chord was beautiful.

Overall, it was actually pretty decent, but 1) Practice writing drums and 2) Fix I13.

Tempest 2:

T1 is alright, nothing particularly special, but it works. OOoo, interesting, synth bass...

Holy FUCK, T2 is cool. Seriously, what the fuck am I listening to?! I love this shit. The harmonics on the synth bass make it sound so cool. And the harmonies in bar 33 sound so goddamn robotic, I love it. It's brilliant.

The 6878 chord in bar 45 doesn't work well with the lead. Same with 47, that bar is a mess, probably because you're trying to mix whole tone stuff in there for some reason. 49 is borderline

T4 is ****ing awesome, especially bar 53, especially the very last quick chord that leads in 54. Bar 57, are you ****ing kidding me, that sounds incredible.

T5 has the potential to sound ****ing amazing with the right drums, so you'd better not **** that up.

T8 sounds pretty different from what came before it but it's not out of place.

Anyways, yeah. I think I touched on everything. You've definitely got an interesting, unique sound, I think you just need to refine it. I'll definitely be on the lookout for anything new that you post.


Thank you so much for the criticism! I happen to agree with you on quite a bit of it--especially regarding the drums. The drums are unfinished in both songs, but they're also probably the weakest part of my writing. I'll have to fool around with ideas quite a bit and really study some tricks from some of my favorites like Dennis Chambers and Garstka.

The note clashes that you pointed out will definitely be rectified in my next revision.

Invictus has a lot of work that needs to be done, but that is to be expected especially considering that it's almost twice as long as Tempest. Aside from the obvious issues with the drums, I'll work on the bass to make sure that it sits well with everything else. I'll probably try to tidy up the harmony toward the end (and give that section a bit more "body" in general).

As for I13, I had a neoclassical-esque solo trade-off in mind when I wrote it, but I probably went a bit overboard. I'll try to scale down that part, and probably the song as a whole, in order to make things a bit more cohesive and to the point.

I'm quite proud of Tempest though--it is my latest semi-complete song; it's my baby. I'm happy with how it has been coming along thus far. Feeling the pressure with T5--hopefully I won't disappoint.

I'm glad that you enjoyed my writing though. I've really tried to carve out new a sound as far as music goes. The bounds of music are practically infinite and it would be a waste to try to completely rehash ideas. It's always a challenge to come up with something different--and it's always a joy to hear other musicians take different approaches to music.


I'll offer only a brief critique of Tempest, as the entire track is fundamentally incredible. I agree with RedDeath on just about all of his points.

While all of your thematic material is developed well, and your guitar and bass lines melodic while highly inventive and presenting contrast, the incessant sustained strings ultimately remove any substantial sectional contrasts you could have made. As a result, the piece is presented as homogeneous, but it certainly isn't in all other aspects. Remove the strings in all parts where their presence isn't imperative to enhancing the section. There are many rhythmically busy - but digestible - riffs that would permeate an enhanced dynamic colour without the juxtaposition of long, sustained strings sitting lazily behind them.

I apologize for being brash in my evaluation - my work was evaluated the same way during my four years of study at Uni, and I learned some of my best lessons that way. Do know that you're a skilled composer with a unique and engaging compositional voice, but also be aware of juxtaposition, polarization, complimentary sound gestures, and the practicality of stark contrasts for dynamic effect in a grand structure.


Your criticism is much appreciated. Criticism is nothing personal at all, it's all about helping others grow as musicians. I'm grateful to receive your compliments and criticisms. While there are issues that I need to take care of, I'm honored and humbled by your overall assessment of my work.

There are many guys on here that are incredible composers, and I want to get on that level by refining my overall sound. I will be working on my weaknesses and strive toward having a more complete awareness of dynamics within compositions.
#11
Quote by RedDeath9
Bar 33 is still the sickest ****ing thing




I can't take full credit for that one. I actually got the idea from this old Japanese band called E-Z-O (some members of that band were also part of a more prolific Japanese band called Loudness). House of a Thousand Pleasures.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwc_XAryLlg


But then again, the section at T5--which was the section that inspired the creation of the entire song... Believe it or not, that was inspired by Metallica's "Blackened."

As for the my editing... I still need to edit parts at 45, 47, and 49. Then there's also the matter of the string ensemble....but....

The drums are quite quirky here, but hopefully you guys like what I have so far.
Attachments:
Tempest.zip
Last edited by D2BII at Oct 14, 2014,
#12
Tempest- I filled out the drum parts a bit more and changed some of the chords from 45-49 to avoid too many nasty clashes. There may be more work to be done to avoid clashes, but for the most part I think Tempest is just about done.

Invictus- This one will need a serious makeover, and that will be started sometime later this month.

I should have three more projects on the horizon. Two will be old originals and one will be a completely new piece.
Attachments:
Tempest.zip