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I posted up a track not too long ago back in March in light of St. Patrick's day called "Ireland's Coast" which featured live players and soloists!
Step wrote a pretty hefty review, and I'd like to share it with you guys here on my news feed in case you might've missed it!
Here's the track:
Here's Step's review:
Hey man. I really felt the need to review one of your songs one time, so I thought I should satisfy my urge eventually. And here I am! This is one of my favourite songs from you and I'm glad you post your stuff on despite obviously being someone who makes professional-quality music like this. Your interpretation of the Irish style is absolutely excellent, and what better time to review it than on St. Patty's Day?
Also man I love that they increased the character limit, now I can write full reviews freely!
Let me get the obvious stuff out of the way. This is undeniably catchy. I have a real soft spot for music in this style to the point that I sometimes go out of my way to search for Irish/Celtic music in the Audio Portal search bar just to have more music to download, and I desperately want to try making it sometime. I'm a big fan of the energy in this track and how you keep it constant but not tiring by using those drums that are full of energy. The melodies themselves are very happy and exciting; something I would definitely picture in a travelogue. I know I'm going to have this melody in my head for days to come.
There is one main problem that I have with this track; something which may have been hard to avoid in this kind of music. As much as I absolutely adore your melody and think it's very catchy, it's unfortunately predictable and generic. The cadences are incredibly typical and don't vary much, and sadly the composition in this doesn't have that much creativity. The only thing that I really commend you for in creativity was how well you managed to change key for the repetition of the melody at 1:04.
Of course, throwing in some more interesting chords and things may have killed the charm of the track; in my opinion you should've added some more interesting composition to complement rather than replace what you already have here. A few more counter-melodies to play alongside the main melodies would have been lovely as well, and would be able to open up the doors to so many more interesting harmonies. I feel that the fact that the composition here is quite standard and typical makes it lose a bit of its identity, making it more "just another Irish song", albeit a well-made one, rather than something really special, if you know what I mean.
That's just me being a nitpicking bastard though, in all honesty your composition is beautiful and its simplicity allows it to appeal greatly to pretty much everyone, and probably for the purposes of the project it's better like this. As a standalone song, I would've liked some more creativity, which I'm sure you have, to shine through a bit more, but don't worry about it; the composition is great as it is :P.
Your structure and progression are fantastic man. You have such a firm grasp over it and know exactly what you're doing! I have officially fallen in love with how you introduce the melody at 0:23. It's the main melody but it comes in so modestly, and then it opens up gorgeously at 0:38. The way you structured the song makes it very much like a journey. You don't really have as much of a clear 'Section A' followed by 'Section B', etc... but rather this feels like a flow of melodies that intertwine very smoothly with each other. Great use of repetition too.
Needless to say, your transitions are great. As I said above, I love how you did that key change and then played the melody in another key. I was worried it would get repetitive but it honestly didn't; the key change actually added a whole new flavour to the composition. Perhaps the only transition I'm not too happy with is 2:23. It was introduced similarly to its counterpart exactly 2 minutes before it, but while it worked the first time, the second time it shouldn't have such a modest entrance. It's the last time that melody is shining. Give it a more ballsy entrance! A proper buildup would've worked great.
The instrumentation is great, man. Your drums fit so well with your melodic instruments which, by the way, are perfect. The people who played those live instruments are very talented. The playing was immaculate, especially whoever was in charge of the lead cello melodies. The grace notes are very tastefully used and I'm glad they're used here because I can't imagine an Irish song without grace notes haha.
What I'm also very impressed with is how well you mixed them together man. I know from experience that mixing in live instruments is a totally different story from mixing sampled instruments. Sampled instruments from VSTs like East/West or Symphobia are mixed and mastered to be ready for use, whereas live instruments not only require good recording but careful use of EQing and sometimes compression. However, you incorporate them absolutely wonderfully over here.
Hell, all of your mixing is great. The mix is quite deep and full up, but everything is allocated its own little space, and not at one instance does one thing wrongly overpower another thing... well except maybe the less boomy drum hits. The bigger hits are easy to hear but they only come in once in a while and the smaller percussive hits are more drowned out, most notably when the song reaches some big climaxes. Maybe you can try buffing up the high end on the weaker percussive hits to make them a bit clearer? I dunno.
One tiny thing I need to mention is that if you focus on the drums you'll notice that they really don't have much variety to them. I would've liked some more fills in this department. Some more complex tambourine rhythms would've also been appreciated, with more varying velocities. Those are the sole issues I have with the drums, because other than that the drums were highly fitting and the drum and cymbal rolls were especially useful to increase intensity.
Overall, I love this track. While I do have some issues here and there, you're a highly talented composer and I hope to someday reach this level of quality! Great work man, you really know what you're doing and I'm proud to have been the audio moderator who approved you back when you posted your first few tracks :3.