Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Practical tips for recording, editing, and mastering.

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by imMature »

MetalPnkx wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2023 1:05 pm

The adventures of Kattalina Gosellius - immature
Yay pop punk! A nice up beat tune. With the instruments used it felt like a pixel art style game maybe a platformer but this is the interactive credits scene and you have all the powers from the game, going through a version of each level passing all the other characters from the game and all the places you have been. With a fake slow fade to black before the screen lights up with new colors. New game+ unlocked.

Dude, I totally love your comment!
What actually inspired the pace/growth and even bpm of my song was the visuals of the first intro video to the Dragon Quest - The Adventure Of Dai (anime)! I didn't write it in sync with the video, more the 'up and downs' and trying to get that feeling of a dance between two melodies.

I don't know if you can hit the links, but here's my first sketch of the song just put on top of the dragon quest anime intro! ... oEiPW5opFo
or direct download I guess? ... 4?download

Thank you very much for your comment, it makes me so happy to hear you actualy got that feeling I had when I wrote the song! <3

I'm telling santa to treat you extra well this year my fellow amazing nerd!

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by SpotlightKid »

MetalPnkx wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2023 1:05 pm

Take the Helm and engage Fusion drive - Spotlight Kyd
[...] Really jazzy and eventually thought of casino levels from Sonic games.

The reason for that is probably this:

Casiopea: Japan’s Most Energetic Jazz Fusion Band:

(esp. the part from 8:15 on)

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by bsg75 »

Here are some comments and feedback:

Rugo - A-Lin
Pads and background melody in quite first part are hardly noticeable but very sweet.
The echo/delay thing in the main part feels a bit overwhelming.
Snare feels too loud in the higher frequencies. The B part around 1:35 resonates the most with me :)
Again the pads in the background are sweet, almost bittersweet.
Has moments but still some rough edges.

overcut - LAM
The dub-stepy stuttering effects are cool. Daft punk vibes appear with the overdriven guitar.
That vibe intensives when the formant synth hits hard. I am missing an arpeggio (e.g of the overdriven) so hardly on this one.

Take the helm! - Min Jun Gi
Nice melancholy progression. The high energy bass line works well.
The 5th on the main instrument feels not always right. A quite "break" part might work well.

Navigate Obscurity - NickTheSic
The melody feels a bit random. The 8th note pulse, which is on for almost the entire song, feels too repetetive.
I like the ending, when the energy intensives. The snare sounds bitcrushed. I wonder if this is done with helm alone or with another plugin.

Tribute - Sahaathyva
Tasty dark vibes. Oh, that moment when progression kicks 1:17 and tension is released, is extra tasty!
I am not so much a fan of kick (too loud in lows) and snare (too noisy). I like the hats, which groove and pushes the beat realy forward.

Take the Helm and Engage Fusion Drive - Spotlight Kyd
As always Spitlight Kyd's compositions play in another league.
Decent production, but it feels a bit cheesy. For my taste, too much is going on in the foreground.

Lambda Dance - Trumpetrespas
Improvised? The ganrly bass is a bit too much. I missing some rythmical guidance. The snare helps, but it is only on the left channel, which feels disturbing. Lambda Dance is actually is nice title!

window with view into fog (how'd you feel) - cieciu
I like the saw instruments with the portamento or pitch bend. It for sure creates mood.
It has some prominent highs. The sub feels also a litle bit too much. I wonder how it would feel, if the song had a break.

theAdventuresOfKattalinaGoselius(makeCGAFfunAGAIN) - imMature
There is again a nice punk rock sound in it, but I cannot listen to this almost unprocessed saw tooth sounds for long. I like the tempo variation and the key change though. But again listening the saw tooth is not pleasant.
+1 for the random frequency solo near the end :) and for the source code having the "return cacophony" statement in it. Made my day :)

At the Gates of Earth - nyx eles
Dude, this rocks. The stabs are great. The hit hats are driving. The low pass filtered section could be twice as long for my taste. +1 the stab solo leading into the furious finale. Sound design could be a more elaborate.

My favorites this round: overcut and At the Gates of Earth.
See you in next LMC :)

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by asublin »

Here is my feedback:

  • A-Lin - Rugo: Here is the LUA script that helped me to do the second half of the song
  • LAM - overcut: I love the alternance between the warm paddy sections and the hectic breakcore ones. It's going all over the place both rhythmically and sonically but managed to remain coherent and harmonic. The mix is also very good, it does not suffer from muddy basses and if well balanced, yet is quite ambitious sonically, this could have gone very wrong but didn't. Special +1 for the break at 1:25. A mind blowing entry as far as I am concerned.
  • Min Jun Gi - Take the helm!: Nice little cute song. It has a few problems though. Around 0:35 the sustain of lead/pad interferes too much with the chord change. Then it got resolved, but the damage is already done, IMO. Also, there is too much interferes in the lower range, like around 0:50 and so. To deal with that I would usually place high pass filters on the tracks (like your lead/pad) that could potentially interfer. It's an enjoyable entry nonetheless.
  • NickTheSic - Navigate Obscurity: The composition and mixing have problems. The melody is not enough coherent with the chords, such as at 00:31, 01:00, to cite only a few. This creates a sense of lack of melodic meaning here and there. Maybe read about Fux counterpoint theory, that may help (then forget about it). At 01:08 and 02:07 there are dissonances in the bass register. Becareful with these dissonances. I have a say "bass is not a right, it is a privilege". Beware that the lower the register, the more pronounced the dissonances are. Make good use of high pass filters, use them surgically. The negatives out of the way, there are still good things. The rhythm is varied, coherent and interesting. The sound effects are interesting. There is a nice xylo-like-sound introduction at 00:26, a nice melodic answer from that same sound at 00:40. There is a nice change at 01:38.
  • Sahaathyva - Tribute: Interesting noise effects combined with delay. I like the polyrithmic play, especially at the end, I like that modest kick. My complain is that the song lacks coherence, not at the musical level, the chord, bass and rythms all fit together, it's just when elements are introduced and removed, it feels arbitrary. This sometimes produces the unsettling feeling that the musical entities are not communicating with each other. For instance in 1:24 the clap ends for no appearent reason. At 2:33 the shaker stops for no appareant reason. From 3:45 onward it is also a bit too repetitive (with the exception of the polyrythm between the bass and the arpeggio).
  • Spotlight Kyd - Take the Helm and Engage Fusion Drive: Lively, unquantized and quite good as usually. I find the resonance on the sax-like instrument sometimes a bit too much, but that's probably a minor detail.
  • Trumpetrespas - Lambda Dance: I suppose in it's own style it probably nice, but it's not my style. I do like the constrast between the various instruments though. Lambda Dance... Is that a sonic representation of lambda terms reducing to normal forms?
  • cieciu - window with view into fog (how'd you feel): It's a bit underwhelming but it carries well the feeling described in the title.
  • imMature - theAdventuresOfKattalinaGoselius(makeCGFAfunAgain): Nice happy chiptune-like song. Quite enjoyable, I like the question-answering counterpoint going on with the melodies. The slow down after 2:00 is a bit weird at times, but why not.
  • myx eles - At the Gates of Earth: Solid entry. I do find the lower-end a bit borderline at times when the bass pad in present, it's still in the limit of the acceptable though.
  • sg75 - u-eh-lie: "You Lie - You Lie - You Lie". Nice in it's own style. I like the building tension between 2:00 and 2:25, but it also ends somewhat underwhelmingly. Nice formant twitches after 2:34.
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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by LAM »

Here is my feedback:

  • A-Lin - Rugo: Few elements but very carefully chosen. I like the overall mood. It probably misses a proper second half development. Sound design and mixing are very good.
  • LAM - overcut: -
  • Min Jun Gi - Take the helm!: I enjoyed the melody of the lead synth. I find the other elements are bit too much on the back. A pity it's only 1 minute.
  • NickTheSic - Navigate Obscurity: Taking the sounds individually I think is a good work. The problem is that together they lack a proper arrangement to work well.
  • Sahaathyva - Tribute: The ingredients to make a nice dreamy electronic track are all there: nice arps, nice pads, a steady bass, noise hats. There are quite a few problems in the arrangement and mixing. Without those problems it could be easily my favorite track of this round.
  • Spotlight Kyd - Take the Helm and Engage Fusion Drive: Great composition, arrangement and mixing. Gives me late 70s / early 80s vibe. Sound design of some elements isn't great as the rest, but it's almost mission impossible with all those elements.
  • Trumpetrespas - Lambda Dance: I think the general idea is interesting. Sound design, arrangement, mixing could be done a lot better.
  • cieciu - window with view into fog (how'd you feel): I like the atmospheric, movie score tone, with a nice development. Sound design is good, mixing seems a bit lacking definition on the lows.
  • imMature - theAdventuresOfKattalinaGoselius(makeCGFAfunAgain): I like saw waves but this goes above 100% saweness. :) Idea and arrangement are cool, with a proper sound design and mixing could be a really good track. How it is now it could be painful to listen for some.
  • myx eles - At the Gates of Earth: This hits hard. Great evil vibe. Sound design is on point for every element. I find the mix in the lows suffers a bit in the bass heavier parts.
  • sg75 - u-eh-lie: Another hard hitting track, that makes a great finale! :) Sound design and arrangement are on point. The formant sound is cool, but after the first half it loses interest without a proper break or variation. Mix in the lows is good, could be a bit more open in the highs without risking to lose its dark nature.

in mix, nobody can hear your screen

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by SpotlightKid »

Here are my comments for the submissions of this round.

I'm going to try to concentrate my comments not so much on aspects of composition and production this time, but rather on how I feel about the tracks. But don't hold me to that.

A-Lin - Rugo

I'm a sucker for these kinds of tracks: nice repeating plucky patterns and majestic synth lines over them. Plus the sounds remind me of my old Waldorf synths, which I like. So, yes, a bit short, and maybe a bit old fashioned, but I really like it.

cieciu - window with view into fog (how'd you feel)

This one creates an atmosphere rather than a musical progression. It does a good job of evoking emotions, but I wouldn't associate them with what the title suggests. I rather envision a bleak industrial city landscape. But that is very subjective, of course.

imMature - theAdventuresOfKattalinaGoselius(makeCGFAfunAgain)

I think immature mentioned he wanted to channel pachelbel's canon and I think he succeeded in that goal. I don't find the simple raw sounds too jarring and easier to listen to than his last entry. Just using one sampled sound from helm defeats the purpose of the challenge a bit, imho, but it is an achievement in itself. The drums are a bit dull, soundwise, though. Fun track, but not holding my lasting attention.

LAM - overcut

I like the sounds in this very much. The calm beginning is matched by soothing and twinkly sounds and when it gets into motion, the sounds become progressively more abbrasive. And the guitar sound is awesome. I'm always looking for a musical "story" in a track, and unfortunately, due to the way it was constructed in Bespoke, I believe, this feels more like a collection of scenes, than a progression. Still, one of the top tracks this month, imho.

Min Jun Gi - Take the helm!

I guess my title pun wasn't as clever as I thought it was! ;-)

Though short, this shows promise. The main melody is easy on the ears and there's even a counter melody. But it's over before you can really get into it.

Two tips for improvement I would have are: a) make transitions between sections more interesting, by building up to them or inserting little ear candy effects and b) make the sounds for the different parts (melody, pad, bass, etc.) more sonically distinct.

I would like to hear a full length track from this artist in the future.

NickTheSic - Navigate Obscurity

This has some interesting sounds but plonks along a bit like a little river with not much macro structure in the first minute. Then there is some development, but the sections do not really have much binding them together. There are a lot of dissonances between parts but they do not seem very purposeful. If you have these dissonances, make them mean something! As you can probably tell, I did not enjoy this very much.

nyx eles - At the Gates of Earth

This is similar in how it feels to sg75's track, but a bit more hard hitting. Easily in the top five.

A memmorable riff, with nice syncopation. I guess this is trying to evoke Djent'ing guitars. Sound design is top, though the main screetchy lead sound may be a bit over the top. Drums could be busier, imho. Good mix, but in danger of triggering listening fatigue.

Sahaathyva - Tribute

This sits somewhere between Trance and Acid but doesn't have all the necessary ingredients for either. For the former it is lacking the big synth hooks, for the latter the drums and the 303 line are too tame.

Add some melodic hooks to this, make the mix more punchy do a more impactful drop and build up and this could be become a banger.

BTW, Tribute to what?

sg75 - u-eh-lie

This somehow evokes strong visual associations in me. As I've written in a comment on SoundCloud.

"I envision flying in my Gunship through the post-robo-calypse wasteland scavenging for precious scrap under constant threat of being detected by the AI drones. :)"

Also, this takes me back to playing the awesome U-boot shooter game "Schleichfahrt" in the nineties.

One of my top two picks.

Spotlight Kyd - Take the Helm and Engage Fusion Drive

I was trying to recreate an early 80s fusion band in Helm with this track (think Casiopea or David Matthews (not Dave!)). So I restricted myself to mostly six instrument parts (plus some overdubs): keys (e-piano, sometimes doubled with synth), rythm and lead guitar, bass, drums and sax lead.

I spent days on trying to get the drums to sound right, but still think they sound a bit weak in the mix. I also didn't manage to make a good ride cymbol, so I only used different crashes.

I'm moderately happy with the result, but I spent way too much time on it.

Trumpetrespas - Lambda Dance

This feels like bunch of microprocessors coming together after some hard number crunching work for some relaxation, with a crate of cool electrons, and jamming a bit just for fun. Not very coherent and not very consequential but they seem to be feeling it! :-)

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by MetalPnkx »

Love the feedback!
I definitely heard the mixing issues after I submitted. I was noticing some of the dissonance and tried to fix it but I had quite a bit of copy-paste tracks. The melody did feel odd but I may have gotten used to it.

This made me realize that I never really mixed or created instrument sounds before, I used to use garageband and I think those instruments were pre mixed or something.

I had fun trying it out, I may remix and master this. I'm almost wondering if I should have kept the original 1:36 mix when I hit a block of what comes next.

Listening To:
| Curbside | Safe to Say | Billy Talent | Seaway | I built the sky |

Libre Music Challenge Submissions: ... sp=sharing

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by Sahaathyva »

Hi all!

i feel happy to have found an evening to pay a tribute to my lovely HELM !

Here is my feedback :

Superb! i got a Radiochiption feeling with the lead and arp sounds , mix well balanced as usual, you shoul learn us how do you make those "asiatic" typed wood percussions sounds, its a signature

Overcut LAM:

Lovely starting pad with chorus, remind me of the start of a well known track from moderat, nice ambient then glitchy (can recognize the plugin used from bespoke synth) , i move my head while listening, i dig this, a bit more punch on kick maybe ? anyway i liked ;)

Take the helm ! - Min Jun Gi:

Typically melodies i like , i dont like that much the drums, i would have liked it more without the drums and with another melodic line on top of all. sad it lasts only a minute !

Navigate Obscurity - NickTheSick:

sounds like a GM melody from a 90s PC videogame, catchy syncopated hats, rythm is funny :) its funny too how HELM can give differents sounds, it sounds more like a FM synth than a substractive synth in this track.
and a ring mod at the end, cool!

Tribute-Me :

Well again a rushed thing, but i could not help make a tribute to my tuly beloved HELM ! a shame i could not get more hours to spend on it :(

Take the Helm and engage Fusion Drive : Spotlight Kid

i feel in japan 70s at the start, solid sound design on the cymbal s, the lead sounds like a talk synth (forment filtered?), you got a nice hybrid clarinet/guitar lead sound lol
the composition is solid too , definitively a serious contester there! i guess we cant mesure the work involved in the sound design and composition there ;)

Lambda Dance - Trumpetrespras

got a nice idea of melody , anyway miw is weird in my headphones sadly :(
what is this main tonality? ) hats could have sounded a bit louder, with a proper mix it would have been a really funny experience, woth this mix i struglle to get all the informations of your work ;) keep going on!

window with view into fog(how'd you feel) - cieciu

You are a story teller, and your stories are dark as i like them! as usual i dig the ambient inthere!i like so much that i forgive the low end mix that does not affect me that much on the headphones, can be a loud low end on a big sound system maybe ? idk and i like this track as it is !

theAdventuresOfKattalinaGoselius(makeCGAFfunAGAIN) - imMature :

Gives me an atari st PW sounds feeling, tracker rules :D i wonder if Pachelbel would have like this :) :) :)
this gives me a smile, i dont talk of the mix as its not intended to sound that great in a tracker punky rock track lol :D
Remix this with square waves and you are my king haha !

At the Gates of Earth - nyx eles :
The best snare drum of this LMC IMHO ! i do like this rythm, the stabs could have sounded more distorded imo , however such a nice vibe.
Polish the mix and you get a headbanger to my taste, to listen too while driving :D

U-eh-lie - sg75 :

Formant festival lol :) i hear more the reverb tail than the dry snaredrum lol , isnt the mix a bit high medium centered ?

So much contributions, so great to see the LibreMusicChallenge living again with this vitality !

Congratulations to all , well done !!!

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by Sahaathyva »

Bravo @LAM !!!

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by nyxeles »

The event concludes.
And the winner is... @LAM !

1. [49] LAM
2. [48] nyx eles
3. [45] A-Lin
4. [45] Spotlight Kyd
5. [40] sg75
6. [37] cieciu
7. [36] imMature
8. [35] Min Jun Gi
9. [34] Sahaathyva
10. [26] NickTheSic
11. [26] Trumpetrespas

The same results are also available on this webpage:

See the attached spreadsheet for a breakdown of all the votes. You can also get the spreadsheet from github.

Thanks to everyone for participating! And see you all in the next one :)

P.S. We've tried a livestream announcement of the results this time. If you missed it, you can access the VOD here (available for 7 days):

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