View Profile ActualElf

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1 Movie Review

This is my sense of humor to a T, Good job man ^^

Recent Game Reviews

1 Game Review

While this game wasn't difficult to play through, it was charmingly fun throughout and was the right length so that the mechanics didn't feel overly repetitive, great job!

Recent Audio Reviews

25 Audio Reviews

This is a wonderful soundscape, the only thing I found fault with was the intro being so overtly stereo. Part of me needed so badly to hear the low end of the ambient wash being more centred, having the sounds be able to move more.

The sound design is lovely, You know for sure my next question is gonna be what's your main synth for sound creation and are the sounds created from scratch or otherwise?

The bass entering in the centre was relieving and similarly to your most recent track the mix is well balanced and spaced, my only issue being the stereo spread, it feels like it restricts the movement that my ears are wishing for, a little more centred would have me lost in the ambient wash (in a good way), but the focus on the far sides leaves me feeling a little disconnected to the music. This is of course only my personal opinion.

Saltbearer responds:

Thank you so much!

Stereo: I'm always uncomfortable knowing that I only have my own headphones (Senn HD 558s) and my current phone's (Galaxy S8 right now) sound capabilities to judge a soundscape with… I might be unaware of what to listen for, we might be hearing different things, or we're just used to different things in general. On my end, I'mmm pretty happy about how the washes come at my head. I don't have much knowledge about the technical problems I could run into screwing with width or anything, so I'm not sure exactly how movement might be *restricted*, or how low end actually works in stereo. If you want to clarify anything, make it public via edit, of course!

I will say that I probably neglect dynamic adjustments to width too much… part of that is that it seems to create ugly artifacts I have to fight with without the finest level of control. But now that I'm focusing on the edges, the outer limits feel like they sit stationary too long, and are rather contained. Some spots in the intro bear too much relative weight, too.

Sound design: SunVox is a tracker-like program with no VST support, but a collection of modules that serve as simple building blocks for more complex designs. One cool feature is that another instance of SunVox itself can be loaded as a "meta"-module. That instance can be used as a processing chain or synth, and even nested within another metamodule.

A couple of the metamodules I made and now overuse are 1. a chain of filter peaks that serve as a resonator, and 2. a double-layered band-pass/reject filter, with band edges similar to devil horns. A synth metamodule I made last May, but never completed anything with until this track, was the stringy thing. It's basically a few rough finger-drawn waveforms with filter envelopes, reverb, and a very imprecise keytracked flanger delay with some touchy feedback. A couple iterations on that over time, more filters, more reverb, a triangle tagalong, and it sounds like it does here. Glide, spot-pitchbend/vibrato, slight timing/volume offsets, etc. were used for bits of character like the sharper-sounding plucks, and the twangs at 4:33 and 4:51.

Originally, this was just going to be a short thing with the looped-ish melody adopted by the stringy thing. I realized as I was playing around that the melody was similar to something I doodled in Renoise a while back, so I made it closer to that original melody.

After looping it a bit, I thought it would benefit from a wash of ambience at the start. I decided to take another metamodule I made for granular synthesis and feed it my old Renoise project, ripped from YouTube. It was just a similar melody on a simple chimey sound, and some simple reverby pad chords with distortion and a bandpass. Densely layered, played at different pitches, with random offsets to controlled sample playback offsets, it sounds like it does at the start… oddly human at times. (I LOVE ambiguously human vocal sounds, by the way. That little nook in the uncanny valley transcends Earth.) Suddenly, instead of adding a wash of ambience, I was working on the drone half of my new longest track. cuz dang, I wasn't expecting it to sound that good.

Going into it, I thought I was going to have occasional little kicks and glitches wherever they could be slipped in neatly, but after putting off designing the percussion too long and getting the drone stuff in, it didn't feel right anymore. I added 6:04 as a weak suggestion/reminder of the percussive presence there could have been, which doesn't fit as well as I envisioned such percussion in general could have. Probably would've been a tad bolder.

5:13 after the chugging drum-like sound is some granulated throat noise, with a butt-ton of modules shaping it. It is *super* convoluted.

The high-pitched clicky glitchy fizzles are a granulated sample of a noise generator I made. Similarly convoluted.

… beyond that, I don't think there's much else of note.

what's even the character limit on this thing

Okay so first off I'm gonna assume you created this account very recently, otherwise I have no idea why you haven't been scouted already.

You have a really good handle on organic sounds, warmth and escaping from the realm of "this sound came from a soft-synth", something I myself find difficult to do. The main beat itself changes the visual space of the mix, the whole track sort of feels like you're viewing a scene from a distance, rather than being right in the middle of it like most songs tend to be. The mix feels like a closed in space that you're viewing from the outside and I really like that.

Everything has a really nice place in the overall mix, nothing feels like it is fighting for much space, you have a strong ability of giving an element of the track the spotlight whilst not losing the backing. I had moments where I was listening solely to the main element and then realised that the rest of the instrumentation was still at comparable levels of volume. That's something that's really difficult to do right, requiring a strong ear for EQing everything into its own defined space.

In my own music a lot of the time I lose the sense of space and end up with a more noise-wall type of mix after wearing myself out trying to really craft a mix. I have a lot of respect for this.

Saltbearer responds:

New: Yes indeed! Still have yet to make four songs (that I have full rights to) since rejoining. February Album Writing Month should fix that soon! 8) Don't really wanna pull stuff in straight from SoundCloud when I feel like I may improve it someday, and it would throw off the chronology…

Sound crafting: Thank you! I always aim to include some rich textures and fine details. I get particular about minute variations in notes' placements in time and space here and there, but I've also come to *love* RNG as a middle ground between settling on one timbre (etc.) and endlessly overthinking automation. It also buries "flaws" under the movement it creates, and uncovers tones or artifacts you might want to deliberately incorporate or exaggerate.

Mix: Honestly, I don't plan things out much with regards to how instruments' frequencies may fit together - it's all carved out by ear in the moment, and I'm *way* more conscious of the natural space-giving tendencies of stereo delay width, and using volume to dictate rhythm and brain-filtering. Most care I take with ranges is really just second-nature sound design, or purely additive to the mix. And lack of conscious effort comes from a mix of "can't" and won't. I think the snare might not be clipping (the video game way) with other things here as much as it should be... bit noisy. But I'm not sure how best to modify it so that I'd feel more certain about it. I could just end up gutting it in an attempt. Also not very conscious of phase cancellation. or compression artifacts. or all those things you hear to watch out for.

I don't regret trial-and-erroring my way to where I am, or focusing on experimental and unconventionally-mixed music. I'm sure it's left me with a unique distribution of values in my music enthinkulators, and the journey has felt rewarding. But since that foundation's pretty well set-in by now, it might be time to experiment with more tools of convention, and actually try hearing through others' ears...

That aside, I have to say I love "subliminal" stuff - quiet, buried, distracted away from. Really adds to a sense of depth, rewards attention, and when a bold sound and a concurrent subtle one share several attributes, if your brain tunes out the subtle one, it can create this aura where you can't even consciously hear something, but it lends an intangible magical quality to the music. I kind of tried to employ that here by taking an overtone in the bass and making it a clear, quiet synth layer transposed +14. Might've been better to push it slightly quieter and/or lusher.

souuuuuuuuuhhhhhhh appreciate your thoughts and the excuses to dump some brain!

Hey! ^^

Great job with this track, also congrats on the frontpage.

The intro is strong in setting a mental image which is something especially important in lo-fi. I agree with the other comment that the tape crackle could use some fine tuning, but also the drum sounds sound like they should be brought more into the soundscape of the track, made subtler, they currently sound like they're a layer above the rest of the track, putting hats and snares through amp/cabinet simulators always helps me to get that "small" and gentle drum sound that is present through a lot of lo-fi.

Keep it up <3

ThomasTsao responds:

thanks for the actual review!! and all of your ideas are very good, i’ll definitely try to implement them into my future projects. i actually think this is one of my lesser works, so it’s kinda annoying to have it be my most popular haha.

Recent Art Reviews

2 Art Reviews

This is gorgeous!

I love the subtle lighting and the sense of space you've created inside the glass, great job!

I love it, I like the lack of colour in it, it gives everything a stony and more detailed look to it, great job ^^

FaLk responds:

Good to hear! I might add colour to it some time in the future

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