DonaldFletcher's News

Some thoughts on Audio Portal Voting

2009-01-03 10:34:14 by DonaldFletcher

I've been thinking about this for the last couple days, but prompted by some shit that happened in the last 12 hours I decided to put it in writing to see what various users' thoughts might be.

Of course, I know that anything I or anyone else has to say about the issue is most likely never going to be taken seriously by anyone in charge here, so all this is purely hypothetical.

Here are my three main points:

1. Only flash artists and experienced audio reviewers (defined by having submitted a certain number of helpful audio reviews) can vote zero. The purpose of the Audio Portal was, face it, always just to support the flash. So to keep with NG tradition and to keep random or malevolent users from outrightly bombing tracks out of the sights of talented flash authors, this is probably a good idea.

2. If an Audio Track in one genre is presently ranked above the highest ranking submission of a voting Audio Artist, any votes cast by that artist that would lower the score of the voted track beneath the voting artist's highest ranking submission are voided by the system. This would largely prevent artists from competitively bombing each other's tracks to climb through the first page.

3. After any user votes on a single track more than five (I'm pulling a common number out of my ass here for example) times, the user must write a review for the track. This review will replace any previously submitted review for said track, if applicable. The score shown will directly reflect the user's votes cast on this submission. Not only will this encourage a little more constructive criticism on the Audio Portal (which is severely lacking, as I think you'll agree), but it will force repeat voters to defend their positions with their name attached. That way, those who go out of their way to repeatedly bomb (or 5, for that matter) a certain track will have to go out of their way to explain why before they can continue to vote (Is that really too much to ask?). Any retaliatory bombing against a well-reasoned and thoughtful low review will of course be subject to the same rules, thus this factor in any track's score will also be severely diminished.

Those are my thoughts at the moment. Feel free to tell me I'm full of shit ;-]

WTF, a carpet bombing??

2009-01-03 04:16:59 by DonaldFletcher

Are my eyes tricking me, or did someone just zero bomb the fuck out of the top Industrial tracks?
I wasn't paying that close attention, but when I saw that my new track got bombed again, I checked on the front page to see what took my place. Now it's looking like at least the top 5 or more tracks all took a hit. Most of which I thought were pretty damn good. And it was just a few hours ago I checked. Unfortunately for me, I haven't been getting a ton of votes overall so I got slammed. It happens. I'm over it.

It's one thing to zero a song because you think it sucks. It's another entirely to bomb a track because you want your own shit to go up in the ranks. Whatever, you can be a crying bitch if you want.

But when you roll in and start bombing the top tracks of a genre just because your pokemon hentai torrent froze up, you've got serious fucking issues, kid.

Yeah, I know I said I'd probably put more audio out by the end of the year, but, well, that came and went.

2008, RIP.
Damn it, you were a pretty shitty year from my perspective anyway.

Reason being that I decided to split one idea into two because for no predictable reason a scar on my shoulder prompted me to take a new direction with my available ideas last night.
In case that needs clarification, yes, I'm still drunk, and no, I haven't slept, and yeah... that scar has a story of its own to tell.

So the leftovers from "In Saturn's Ring" are now evolving into two separate projects. Which is how I work sometimes. Hopefully I'm working efficiently enough to get at least one of these experimental pieces out to you guys by the 12th when college starts up again.

Oh and, ah fuck it, happy new year. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Maybe I'll sleep now.
Eh, probably not.

Made it into a new flash-

2008-12-28 10:41:21 by DonaldFletcher

And it's actually a damn good one. Cheers to gtaplaya14. So check it out. If you're anything like me you'll love it.

Without Will

Aside from the obvious intuitive answer that you're just cutting and pasting someone else's work. But hell, at least you [hopefully] paid them for it. If you make your own loops like I used to, then kudos to you for the effort.
That being said, I've got nothing fundamentally against including them in your work as an artist. There's my preface.

So as some of you might know, I've been away from this scene for a little while, in between computer crashes and getting hammered (by higher education this time - alcohol, unfortunately, was only a small factor there)

But now that I'm getting back up to speed here, I'm noticing endless amounts of repetition inside a lot of the top tracks. I.e. it's obvious that the common misconception here is that original music constitutes nothing more than an intuitive arrangement, rearrangement, and repetition of loops. While some of you do a great job with this, others need to rethink their approach a bit.

First off, I'm gonna state the obvious good things about loops.
#1. They prevent you from having to go out and buy, say, a drum set or a guitar, or any number of other pieces of hardware few of us can afford. (Not to mention the time it takes to learn how to play an instrument, or the time it takes to get good at it.)
#2. They save a hell of a lot of time. Face it, engineering your own sounds and FX can be time consuming. And being able to stretch a simple wave file through the length of your song is sure easier than placing any number of sounds yourself. Same with writing your own notes.

Sure as hell is a convincing argument for using loops, ain't it? Truth is, the biggest problems I have with loops come right out of the second element listed above. Let me state it another way:
#2. Engineering your own sounds and FX is an important part of the creative process, and the temptation to fill up a ton of space with a handful of really cool loops should be the 8th Deadly Sin because you're cheating yourself by cheapening your song by leaving little room for appropriate adjustments.

How man times have I been listening to a track I thought had enormous potential, and just when a well executed key change or sharp note would have absolutely made the song, I'm let down by, guess what, another, another, and another repetition of the same damn loop. Whether it was cool the first time I heard it or not, it's lost me by the 8th repetition. Using loops, especially complicated ones including a number of instruments and sounds which can't be modified independently result in this almost every time.

In addition, the fallacy behind the tendency to overuse loops that seems obvious to me is overwhelmingly pervasive. The apparent quality of a cool loop leads artists here to believe that there's no need to alter the clip at all throughout the song, whether for a key change or a shift in your equalizer. Either one of these changes placed appropriately would work wonders. Yet almost no one's doing it.

And philosophically, I believe that there's no beat in a track that can't be made better in some way. Maybe that's why I take so long to release material. I don't know. Sometimes it's something as simple as strumming a different part of the guitar string. Or changing the volume of a snare by a decibel or two on certain beats. Everything should be intentional, and everything in your track should be there to help support the concept behind it. This is something you'll have trouble doing with a loop.

And if anywhere in your mind you're intending to make your track sound "real," remember that real instruments don't play the same every time you use them. A guitar note can be played a million times, and like snowflakes the waves produced are not once repeated precisely. Also, a number of identical repetitions cues any listener to know you're stuff is just mixed, not recorded, i.e fake and not real, whether the loops are of your own creation or not.

Finally, if you're still going to use loops (which, if you spent a bunch of money on some libraries, and you really, really like them, you probably should), remember that if you found a loop you want to base a new track on because it speaks to you, or it's just cool as hell, you're cheating that piece of sound out of it's potential through not pushing it to new levels with your own improvements, or using it in conjunction with a variety of accompaniment that varies at least subtly through your track. Not doing so crosses the line between taking advantage of all that potential, and simply cutting and pasting, rearranging and repeating. Whatever you're trying to say with your music, then, will be lost to what amounts to laziness, intentional or not.

There's now a version of "In Saturn's Ring" available for you to stream on AcidPlanet, where the only limitations on a song's quality is that it's under 20MB. Which means that there's a 24 bit file over there for you, with a sample rate of 88200 Hz (the way I recorded it). I kept it under 10 MB so everyone could still actually stream it.

So here's the link: ID=1187784&t=3036

Then come back and vote/review it here. I'd like to know what you think of this since I've completely upgraded my sound.


Damn, it's good to be back.

2008-12-19 22:00:15 by DonaldFletcher

So, after recovering from the death of my five year old computer and the most insane semester I've ever stepped into, I'm finally looking forward to getting caught up with NG again. Plus, my old job refused to take me back for the winter, credit the economy, so I should have plenty of free time over the next month.

So thanks to that, I just uploaded my newest track for you ladies and gentlemen:

In Saturn's Ring
(yeah, four months in the making, haha)

In other news, I'm thinking about abandoning my old material as part of a larger project in light of the fact that I'm using 100% new equipment now, and my new stuff should bear little resemblance to anything else I've submitted before today. I'll keep ya posted. You'll be hearing more from me before '09, trust me.

See you around

Double The Standard #1 Industrial Track (as of noon Sunday)

2008-09-07 12:32:28 by DonaldFletcher

Thanks again to everyone on Newgrounds who's been voting.

Looking down the list I'm pretty damned impressed by most of the other songs on the top 10, so it means a hell of a lot to me that NG users appreciate my work.

I recorded some vocals as my personal sample (I won't release it of course- my voice was pretty foul from too much smoke this week) so I have something to work with as I compose my next release, so things are well underway. I can't wait to see what you're going to think of this one! I've been taking everyone's advice and I hope I can pay you all back by putting out something truly epic for your listening pleasure.

Once again, thanks to everyone who listens to my audio. Special thanks to everyone who left the killer votes! You're awesome.

And don't forget to add the myspace page for all the details, news and graphics for this project!

Double The Standard #1 Industrial Track (as of noon Sunday)

Short lived, but worth it.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, look at the last bulletin I posted and you'll understand completely.
Good thing I took a screenshot earlier, because when I checked the chart just now both tracks had gone down around half a point each!
Regardless, this all proved that there are some people out there who actually appreciate the material I'm putting together, and that's all I need to keep me going. Thanks again, gentlemen. Job well done.

Meanwhile keep your ears open for more material. I'm sorry I got stuck playing this Necronomicon card game for four straight hours (ironically, during which time my tracks dropped off the front page, haha) because I should have been working on my next track. Anyway, I'm recommending the game so you can have a great time while your tracks fall off the front page too (evil watery laughter)

OK, I'm gonna have a cigarette THEN figure out if I'm gonna sleep today for the rest I missed LAST NIGHT because of NEWGROUNDS. Heh, thanks for the great night NG, dreams ain't as much fun as they used to be anyway ;-]

OK. The website. Check it. Add it. Love it. Later on, mates!

Maybe like, 3 hours of fame? Ha ha ha

Damn. I need a cigarette.

Thanks to you listeners out there, "Double The Standard" and "The Inverse of Three" now occupy slots 2 & 3 on the Industrial charts.

Actually, that's funny, because DTS ended up on 2 and I3 got slot 3... double gets 2 and three gets 3... hmm, fate? Haha. Funny what being up past 6AM will do to your perception of the universe. Of course, I know it's every one of you listeners.

I'm so glad my brother turned me onto NG. This is the best output for new music online, no doubt, and it's the listeners that make it happen.