Hey again Aaron,
OK, in “Night Owl” mode tonight so, thought I would try to go through this one in details…
So, first thing first, the arrangement is better structured IMO ( comparing to the other track ), but it still retains some linear flow and some parts are confusing my ears during the first play.
The track is very busy in terms of elements, and if those are recurrent in the track and if they lack of variations, then it creates that linear flow I’m trying to point you at.
OK, here is an example to start with, at 0:12 in the intro, you introduce that percussive sound and you’re using a repetitive pattern for it. So yes, it creates a kind of atmospheric feel like somebody is walking, but because of this pattern, it’s catching all the attention of the listener and it takes over the other nice elements you have there. There’s already a drum fill & a nice higher frequency percussive sound ( between a bell & a very high tom ) + the synth part.
Why not just dropping this darker “walking” perc sound just once, with more reverb and a longer delay at around 0:29 to give a kind of drop effect that will introduce the 1rst verse ?
Sometime less is more, subtracting elements & introducing blanks can help to create interest & surprise for the listener.
Now something else is happening with this bass synth you’re introducing at 0:29 in the 1rst verse, again, it’s quite a dominant sound in the track and it doesn’t stop until 2:14. A break around 1:30 for this sound would be welcome. Even if this bass synth is following some nice chords progression, it is a very percussive sound with a lot of transient cutting through, so again because of the sound and the pattern, it catches all the attention and IMO it’s not the nicest sound to listen to when I hear all the other nice & more subtle elements behind it. So again, less notes, some blank parts for this sound and maybe some longer notes to introduce variation, but this part doesn’t work for me.
The same is happening in the 2nd verse though this time it’s a bit less obvious because of some variation with this bass synth.
Now the radical change you’re introducing at 3:30 is really confusing, still because of this percussive bass synth. There’s so much going on in the track at this moment, I’m not sure that you need this sound to be so much dominant.
At 4:25 there’s a very tiny detail of something finally nice happening to that sound : it’s ONE HIGHER note, and IMO that’s exactly what this part is missing in the track. A call & response pattern with the use of higher notes or a second layer using a different octave to use as the response and create variation for this bass synth.
The use of arpeggios in the track is nice, though still the same story, don’t overdo it in the duration, the listener’s brain needs time for 2 things : recovering from a catchy change in the progression ( so that’s where you have to use audio markers to clearly identify the different parts ) and also the brain needs to be “lost & surprised” when getting used to a progression and almost sure to be able to predict what’s coming next ( that’s the frontier between maintaining a progression listeners can follow but without getting bored, and that’s difficult in arrangement ).
Again subtracting elements can help, placing subtle fx right on time can help too, you did that with the Fx, but for that tempo and kind of track, it’s not enough, you need to be kind of progressive in adding & taking away elements. If you still have a catchy arpeggio going on when you drop the transition Fx and switch to next part of the track, the signal is not strong enough for the listener brain.
So here are things that could be done to make that track progression more interesting IMO, now mixing wise, I was missing a bit of low end and the overall track is very mid range with quite a lot reverb but that’s another thing, the main thing not working for me is about the progression.
Ok, that said, it’s critical feedback, it’s based on my own listening experience and as discuss before, the track is new to me, I didn’t spend hours tweaking it, so my judgment might sound harsh but that’s not my point here. I’m just trying to give honest feedback when I discover & listen to other’s tracks.
So like I always try to say, take this feedback easy, don’t be disappointed, try to listen back to what I try to underline in the comments, that’s the all purpose of this section on the forums.
Hope this could help, cheers and keep on the good work !!