Skyhigh 10 ch22 Music Chapter
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music chapter the party'93 music review ------------------------- by pri/tia/oxyron. hello everyone! in this article i will be taking a close look at each of the tunes which competed at the party, ex- cept for the following ones: doh/crypto- burners, which i was not able to get a working version of, the fake tune by "herr tie/mtv", and of course syndrom's and mine. first i will analyse each tu- ne, then display a survey of the results and finally give a short comment on all this. i have made up my evaluations after the following four main aspects: 1. ideas: does the composer have ideas of his own or does he use rather com- mon patterns? what is the quality of the themes, melodies, rhythms,harmony patterns, etc. he uses? do all these components match? 2. structure: what is the order the com- poser has put his ideas into, and how convenient is it? are there things such as intro, different recognizable parts, breaks, soli, recurring parts/ themes, variations, end? 3. instruments: what is the quality of the sounds used (e.g. pulse, vibrato, filter, wave-sequence)? how well does the composer handle the hard-restart (which avoids having the typical his- sing sound which can occur when using an instrument with waveform $80 at the beginning of the wave-sequence) ? 4. atmosphere: what kind of atmosphere is generated by the three components above altogether? what general impact does the listener get; does the tune affect him or is he rather bored? the overall result equals the average of the four components above. let's start! 1.ODY/EASTGANG: the tune starts off with a quite short intro (4 bars) after which already the lead voice comes in. there is, however, no explicit theme or anything else reco- gnizable; it rather seems like some un- coordinated variations over the chord pattern f-c3-dm-c which ody sticks to during the whole tune. only sometimes there are little passages where there a- re chords only. after some minor changes and some more variations the tune is fi- nally faded out.- there almost always is the same simple bass/snaredrum-groove, the bassdrum only comes in once during a short interlude. ody uses only one leadvoice which is a bit too static; ge- nerally the pulse vibrato should have been increased on most of the sounds. furthermore, the hardrestart does not work out too well. the mood of the tune is quite happy, but because of its sim- ple structure it gets boring easily. ideas: 35% instruments: 48% OVERALL: structure: 20% atmosphere: 25% 32% 2.RED DEVIL/FAIRLIGHT: the intro of this one starts with a nice melody,after which bass,drums and chords come in after one another. the simple 2- bar chord pattern c-f,a# is stuck to all through the tune, over which some moti- ves are introduced and varied in the le- ad voice. there are some "question-ans- wer"-sections where also ringmodulated sounds are used. after a short tom-se- quence there is a sudden end.- most of the sounds are somewhat above the avera- ge, only the bass does not appear too clear. on the whole this tune is quite powerful and happy, however, the chords dominate over the lead voice action, and as the chord pattern is so simple, it gets boring later on. ideas: 60% instruments: 66% OVERALL: structure: 30% atmosphere: 45% 50% AMADEUS/MEKA DESIGN: this tune falls in two parts, namely one main part and a kind of epilogue. the main part is based on the harmony pat- tern cm-g#m-fm-g.sus4,g. after the the- me has been introduced and repeated (2nd time some staccato fill-ins are added), amadeus immediately comes over to a lar- ge solo section where he regrettably keeps on using the same leadsound. after that follows the harmonically slightly different epilogue, after which there is a sudden end.- the theme itself and the single motives used in the solo section are not bad really, however, the solo section bears the danger of getting on the listener's nerves as it mostly con- tains notes of the same (fast) value,but no pauses for the listener to "breathe". the hardrestart on both drums and bass is not handled very well, which is quite disturbing as the bass is quite loud through the whole tune. furthermore the bass drum lacks deep frequencies, and there's too much pulse waveform on the snare. there is no real intro or ending, and the structure is quite linear with- out any major changes, so i repeat my- self: it can get boring later on. ideas: 50% instruments: 37% OVERALL: structure: 25% atmosphere: 35% 37% ERIK AF EKHAGE: this "technos/ambient" tune is restric- ted to rhythm and percussion only,except for some small melodical breaks. there is a big variety of sounds,many of which use sync or ring modulation, and also a big amount of rhythm patterns which are not structurized too badly.the bass drum seems to have an unwanted "aftersound", but there are many interesting effects, although some can get on your nerves if repeated too often. in comparison to the unmelodical rest, the few melodical breaks seem rather misfit.- the evalua- tion of this tune is difficult as major components such as harmonies, melodies etc. are left out totally. ideas: 43% instruments: 50% OVERALL: structure: 28% atmosphere: 30% 38% ECHO/COMIC PIRATES: this tune is one of the more alternate ones. it is structured clearly and made up of a nice variety of chord/bass pat- terns, rhythms, tempi, themes and melo- dies. using 3 different filtered melody sounds, echo does some nice moivical- thematical work, furthermore rhythmical and also stylistic variations (when switching over to the techno part in the middle of the tune). the different parts are well separated by breaks. only in the slow b-part the composer shows some insecurity concerning the usage of sca- les (d# over a#/5-harmony doesn't match) except for the techno-part, a delay-ef- fect is used constantly in the lead voi- ce, which sounds nice but can "lull" the listener "asleep" if used too often. an- other characteristic is the bass' actave glide down and up again. only the intro which is only half a bar long seems to be a bit fucked up?- the instruments are definately above the average, the bass sound only lacks deep frequencies which would have given the tune more power. ideas: 74% instruments: 71% OVERALL: structure: 79% atmosphere: 66% 72% ZYRON/ANTIC: the intro starts with an accelerando of arpeggio-like chords (mpf, technical terms in foreign languages..) which form the basis for the following nice melody. after that the chords come in,and final- ly a short cool break leads over to the main part. the quite overused harmony pattern 1-6-7-1 is varied to the good here (cm-g#-a#-d#/c). in the melody zy- ron does some nice thematical work which regrettably is not always congruent to the current scales. later on he varies the bassline and also comes over to a rhythm part with some cool trioles play- ed by tom-like sounds which, however, could sound better.at the end the sounds and the structure of the intro are taken up again,and the tune ends with a decce- lerando - neat idea! - regrettably, in the main part there is not too much ac- tion concerning variation of harmonies and grove, also the hardrestart of the octave-lead doesn't work out very well. the rest of the instruments, however, sounds nice. ideas: 79% instruments: 69% OVERALL: structure: 65% atmosphere: 70% 71% TRIDENT+DANE/TRIAD: this tune uses the unvaried harmony pat- tern mentioned above (1-6-7-1) which is slightly varied to 1-7-6 in the b-part - not very inventive. the groove is always the same, the quiet chord layers only form the background over which the melo- dy does some motivical work. some trans- pose up, some transpose down, and no real intro or ending.- the non-working hardrestart in the bass is quite incon- venient, the rest of the instruments is average. ideas: 45% instruments: 52% OVERALL: structure: 35% atmosphere: 50% 45% BLUES/LIGHT: this is probably the most weird, or bet- ter, individual tune after the one by e- rik af ekhage. when listening to it for the first time it seems quite confusing, but soon one recognizes that it is made up of many little parts which are struc- turized to some different sections with different tempo, feeling, mood, instru- ments. these sections, however, do not have any relation to each other. finally there is a short percussion-"epilogue", followed by a strange dissonant ending. - sometimes there are strange doublings of tempo or melody licks which, however, always correctly go along with the sca- les. some of the sounds are quite indi- vidual, but mostly good, although the hardrestart does not always work out 100%. i am not sure if this tune is to be taken fully seriously or if it has some wanted irony (caused by the weird licks and the strange ending) in it. by the way, the four sections are indepen- dent modules (entitled: 1001 ride - x2 - explotion - jungle fever) which are switched "manually" (=everytime the ras- ter bar flickers). this also explains why the tune occupies so much memory. ideas: 68% instruments: 72% OVERALL: structure: 57% atmosphere: 55% 63% MAGNAR HARESTAD/MOZ(IC)ART: this one combines good instruments, cool grove and nice structure. there are dif- ferent parts containing melody and soli as well as varied moods, drum/bass pat- terns and harmonies, separated by vari- ous breaks. like the first melody, al- most the whole tune is of quite happy character. there is some nice thematical work to be found, and also the soli are built up well. at the end (cm-f/c-a#/c- f/c) a harmonical relation to the intro (c-f/c-a#/c-f/c) is established. the instruments sound rather good (very con- venient: a combined bass/drum-sound), and the happy mood and the nice structu- re never allow the listener to get bo- red. ideas: 84% instruments: 87% OVERALL: structure: 75% atmosphere: 87% 82% EMAX/TRSI: after the intro, formed by two voices u- sing a delay effect,some powerful chords come in. after that the theme is intro- duced, which, however, does not appear too clearly as the delay-effect here is squeezed into one voice. there is not much action in the bassline; emax mostly sticks to the current keynote here. the end is formed by a sudden stop.- on the whole the tune is not bad, but there are no extraordinary things to be mentioned, either. i repeat myself - the tune ap- pears too uniform and lacks changes! ideas: 61% instruments: 68% OVERALL: structure: 53% atmosphere: 60% 60% SHARK/REGINA: this tune includes some quite different parts of mood, sound, rhythm, harmonies, melodies etc. the intro, consisting of bass and chords only, is maybe a bit long; shark also does not always seem certain using scales, but there are also some real good passages to be found. re- grettably the bass sound lacks hardre- start, the rest of the instruments is ok. ideas: 78% instruments: 71% OVERALL: structure: 70% atmosphere: 70% 73% LICKET/NOICE: in the intro, the fifth-interval (g-c) is played constantly, which gets on the listener's nerves from the start. also in the main part licket uses almost only the keynote as ending for his licks, and the motive g-c is much too dominant. the ending is formed by a final chord.- the melodical action is not very good, there are no recognizable themes; the spectrum of notes licket uses is too small. again the harmony pattern is 6-7-1; the sounds are not too good, either, especially the drumsounds and the bass, where the fil- ter always jumps over. ideas: 28% instruments: 40% OVERALL: structure: 24% atmosphere: 30% 30% THOR/EXTEND: the intro features a filter-lead perfor- ming some quarts downwards,which regret- tably do not always match to the harmo- nies; also the melody in the a-part is not too convenient. the following b-part is better there, also in the harmoniza- tion. slowly the pace is quickened up to double-time feeling and returns to half- time again, when the intro-sequence co- mes in once more to end the tune. an- other good point is the recurring chord passages representing something recogni- zable for the listener. regrettably the filter-lead used in the intro lacks hardrestart, which would have been quite important there as these hissing sounds always become most obvious in a lead sound. the rest of the instruments is a- verage. ideas: 50% instruments: 45% OVERALL: structure: 52% atmosphere: 45% 48% BLEED INTO ONE/CREATURES: b.i.o. uses an asymmetrical double play- er which he manages to create some real- ly neat sounds with. the intro contains a percussion grove, after which a cool "question-answer" part of bass and chords follows. after that a neat melody is performed by a good lead-sound; the bassline is very dynamic. some more parts follow and recur, and suddenly the tune ends.- b.i.o. has put some really cool ideas into a very good structure, in which most parts recur and so find a better access to the listener's ear. in most tunes bass, drums and chords only serve as background for the melody, whi- le here all components are equal. also the instruments are rather good. perhaps b.i.o. could also have included some mo- re (different) harmony patterns or an- other lead sound, and, to round things up, a real ending. ideas: 80% instruments: 81% OVERALL: structure: 80% atmosphere: 77% 79% DANKO/CENSOR: danko uses three samples - bass drum, snare drum and a minor-chord (inversion: 1-3-5) - which he combines in a reggae style (bass-chord-snare-chord). further- more he uses two more sid-generated ins- truments: one bass and one lead. the a- fore mentioned reggae pattern runs all the way through the tune, which already makes the structure somewhat static. the motivical work in the melody is not bad, but the melodical action generally lacks variety. later on there's a part where the bass dominates, and after that again a melody part which kind of forms an "answer" to the first one: there the harmony pattern was "1,7", while on the second one it is "6,7,1" and so leads back to the tonic again. so here we have again that overused harmony scheme, how- ever, in a more variative form. finally, there is no ending, but a loop which leads over to the start.- in fact, not only the samples but also the rest of the instruments have already been used a while ago, namely in a tune which was included in the second part of wonder- land 10. ideas: 62% instruments: 69% OVERALL: structure: 55% atmosphere: 62% 62% TANGO/TRIAD: in the intro tango uses a nice octave arpeggio bass with a closing filter,how- ever, the constantly played sus4-riff is too dominant. also the following melody uses almost only note material out of sus4. after a chord-sequence, a diffe- rent lead performs a somewhat better me- lody. finally, the intro riff recurs, and the tune ends in a loop.- the lead sounds tango uses sound nice, the rest of the instruments is mostly average. there is, however, nothing really spe- cial to be found; the overall melody ac- tion i not too goo, and there is always the same harmony pattern. ideas: 40% instruments: 51% OVERALL: structure: 40% atmosphere: 32% 41% MORBID&RRR/SHAZAM&WOM: here we have the second tune using sam- ples, namely bass-drum, snare,a scratch, and the words "one-two-three-yeah". the intro is formed by rhythm only, after which bass and chords come in. there are different parts where melody, chords, bass and rhythm have different proiri- ties. also the tempo is varied now and then, and in between parts sometimes the "1-2-3-yeah"-sample is filled in - neat idea. the tune ends in a pentatonical lick downwards.- regrettably, morbid al- so used the harmony pattern 1-6-7-1,how- ever, he varied the chord voicings by inversion. for my taste the chord passa- ges sometimes are too long, the melodi- cal action should have been given some more space instead. in contrast to the tune by danko, the balance between sam- ples and the rest of the sounds here is shifted on new sid-chips, so the samples sound much too low. the sid-instruments are somewhat above the average. ideas: 72% instruments: 65% OVERALL: structure: 68% atmosphere: 63% 67% THE ALIEN/BCD: right from the start a not too good sound keeps playing sequenced chords o- ver the not very convenient harmonies d#-dm-f-gm. as this runs all through the tune,it really can get on the listener's nerves. after that, drums and bass come in, and finally the melody starts. again there are no major changes to be found to keep the listener entertained, and what is more, the alien totally fails in using scales, so the melody is totally unsuitable to the harmonies. the instru- ments are not too good, either, so there are not much points to be given here... ideas: 18% instruments: 42% OVERALL: structure: 20% atmosphere: 15% 24% YOKO/FICTION: the intro features a nice quart-fifth- sixth-lick. the vibrato of the leadsound used in the main part does not sound too good, and the snaredrum sounds rather bad as well. also the hardrestart does not always seem to work. later on yoko leaves out drums or bass, and at the end elody and the afore mentioned riff play at the same time. again, there's nothing that really keeps the listener entertai- ned, and the tune also lacks power. ideas: 32% instruments: 30% OVERALL: structure: 29% atmosphere: 20% 28% over to the next point: to sum every- thing up, here is a survey of all the results. id.=ideas, st.=structure, in.= instruments, at.=atmosphere, ov.=overall pl. composer. id. st. in. at. ov. 1. MH/MOZ(IC)ART 84 75 87 87 82 2. BIO/CREATURES 80 80 81 77 79 3. SHARK/REGINA 78 70 71 74 73 4. echo/cp. 74 79 71 66 72 5. zyron/antic 79 65 69 70 71 6. morbid&rrr 72 68 65 63 67 7. blues/light 68 57 72 55 63 8. danko/censor 62 55 69 62 62 9. emax/trsi 61 53 68 60 60 10. red devil/flt 60 30 66 45 50 11. thor/extend 50 52 45 45 48 12. trident&dane 45 35 52 50 45 13. tango/triad 40 40 51 32 41 14. erik af ekhage 43 28 50 30 38 15. amadeus/meka 50 25 37 35 37 16. ody/eastgang 35 20 48 25 32 17. licket/noice 28 24 40 30 30 18. yoko/fiction 32 29 30 20 28 19. the alien/bcd 18 20 42 15 24 these results of course are absolutely subjective, and they also differ totally from the "official" competition results (which i doubt to be correct anyway). but this is the difference you get when analysing every single tune very closely instead of listening to them only once at a competition show. what stroke me in the negative sense du- ring reviewing were the many similari- ties especially between tunes at the lo- wer places. it seems most common to use that harmony pattern 6-7-1 and then to find a melody over this which mostly ends up in totally uncoordinated impro- visation. furthermore, the structure mostly is much too simple. many compo- sers tend to build a whole tune on one single pattern which they hardly vary at all. this is of course very easy for the composer himself, but the result mostly is rather poor. so what i am trying to say is: be more inventive and individual! don't always do these these "cm-g#-a#-cm-speed1-dur03 -jam"-tunes; try to vary the structure, include intro, breaks, endings,different parts and let them recur so the listener really remembers something about the tu- ne. vary and enlarge your harmonical sources by using seventh-, ninth-, ele- venth,- (etc.) or alterated chords. use slower and faster tempi than 1/8 note= duration.06, do shuffles or even 5/4 or 7/4 bars. don't always base your tunes on harmonies only, but on definite mo- tives and themes. etc! maybe i will do a kind of music workshop in the future issues of skyhigh in which i will give some detailed hints and in- fos about the subjects above and more, for those who are interested and perhaps don't know too much about it yet. anyway, thank you for reading this arti- cle. i hope you enjoyed it, perhaps even as much as i enjoyed writing it. yours, pri/tia/oxyron.