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Gustav Johnson

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Gustav Johnson last won the day on August 29

Gustav Johnson had the most liked content!

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About Gustav Johnson

  • Rank
    Advanced Composer

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    https://transcendaudio.weebly.com/ https://soundcloud.com/transcend_audio
  • Yahoo

Profile Information

  • Biography
    I teach 5-12 grade band in El Paso-Gridley school district in Central Illinois. I've been "composing" on and off since my first music theory class in college (Illinois State University!). I enjoy writing in many genres and for many ensemble types, and have even been recognized as the winner of the Urbana Pops Orchestra composition contest in 2010. I'm on this forum to help myself improve, as teaching takes the bulk of my time and I have little left to take lessons or courses in composition.
    Please visit my website or soundcloud to see my recent work, and feel free to message me!
  • Gender
  • Location
    Minonk, IL
  • Occupation
    Band Teacher
  • Interests
    hiking, fishing, teaching, church band, drawing, reading, composing (obviously!)
  • Favorite Composers
    Most modern film composers, and anybody from the dawn of time to present day.
  • My Compositional Styles
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Sibelius 7, Ableton Live 9 Lite
  • Instruments Played
    Bass Clarinet & Woodwind guru, although I'm well versed in all concert band & jazz band instruments for teaching purposes

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  1. What does the track title, "Way", mean? Nice string sounds, your samples are pretty good. The "droning" low strings works well with everything else on top of it. @ 1:18 I love the percussion, it's well balanced and well used. I think the second time we hear that rhythm pattern it would be nice to feel a change, and every time after should have some sense of direction. You're doing things in the other parts, but are ignoring the percussive loop. Be careful to pay close attention to every part (as if you were performing it) and find moments where you could use each part to a greater purpose, through playing or resting differently. Good track though, I love the main melodic idea and the textures you've created, very "fantasy" like and very cool! Gustav
  2. Pretty typical of what I would expect to hear from something apocalyptic: (1) aggressive percussion, (2) aggressive articulations, especially in the strings (3) doomsday choir. Believe it or not, it feels somewhat restrained to me in terms of the phrase direction and the levels of the piece, like everything's always the same volume and that's medium loud. I don't think the apocalypse will be "bang! boom! explosion!" all the time, and sometimes the silence before an event is actually more terrifying than the event itself. Play around with phrase direction and pacing, guiding us with builds and releases, and explore more of what you could do with the quiet range of things. Not bad, though, just keep working it! Gustav
  3. Agreed with Monarcheon about re-capping the theme. I think if you found some little riff to bridge the ideas from the chromatic build to the main idea that'd help. I'm not sure it even needs to be related directly to the main idea or the chromatic build, but something more like a "friend of a friend" who walks into the room and everyone's like "Heyyyy!!!" ... ish? 😄 Your sounds are great and the sections themselves are good, though! Gustav
  4. These are pretty good! I especially love small pieces like this, and it's obvious that they're thoughtfully done rather than just scribbled down. #1 - Nice cadence in measure 4! I also rather like the tone that comes from your spacing and register choice at the beginning. Some of your later measures get somewhat muddy, I think your doubled notes may be what I'm hearing...? #2 - I'm not sure I'd have chosen some of your chromatic notes (m. 4, beat 4 = F in bass clef) (m6, beat 4 in bass clef). It's not obvious to me how they fit with the material before and after. Could be that I'm just overlooking something! #3 - I LOVE THIS ONE! I think as a performer I'd be tempted to underplay the staccato notes so as not to distract from the other beautiful sustains. Make sure your slur in measure 6 extends to the end of the tie (the eighth note on beat 4) - at least that's how I would expect to see it. #4 - Very effective, quite cute, for want of a better word. #5 - Why is the piece in 3/4 meter rather than 6/8 meter? Your rhythmic grouping seems to lean towards 6/8, so just curious if there's a reason. Also in measure 4 you change the bass pattern, why is this the only different measure? I assume its to emphasize the cadence point? At first I didn't like it, but now it's growing on me and I'm wondering if I should even mention it at this point! 😄 In all, wonderful writing. I look forward to hearing more from you! Gustav Johnson
  5. More of a build might help. @ 1:14 there's a clunk I don't know if you intended 🙂 @ 0:22 - cool sound, I wish it cut through more in terms of balance. Same with the solo string @ 0:34. The core of your piece is an ostinato, and it's definitely a functional ostinato. In your position, I'd try to find ways to re-orchestrate or develop (probably just re-orchestrate, since I feel the ostinato is pretty strong already) to provide some growth and a sense of direction within the piece. Don't get tunnel vision if you're writing over a loop - sometimes the loop needs to shift (higher/lower, faster/slower, different instrument, etc.) to keep the song from stalling. Think about your phrase structure and how you can make that clear through orchestration and development of ideas. I'm thinking especially of the Stranger Things soundtrack right now, how it's based on synth/etc. ostinatos that develop over time. Might be worth a try to listen to something in the same vein as your work, then come back to your work, then repeat. ("side by side" listening) That always helps clarify for me things that could be better. Good work! Gustav Johnson
  6. This will give me a reason to stop doing school work. I'm in as a participant, and will NOT drop! Question: do judges score or do they just provide comments?
  7. Hi there! Welcome to the forum! I wish you had posted the video that goes along with this track so we could see them together. The synth sounds are nice, and the compression is pretty standard for EDM. at 1:25 you have a chance to really crank up the intensity with the melodic synth you brought in, I think you could have done more with that (increase velocity, maybe pan things differently, do a filter sweep, etc.). Also, there's a sound that reminds me of clipping, I think you may have one of your compression settings turned up pretty high - if that's the effect you wanted, you got it for sure. The loops are decent. It's more of a texture piece that might benefit from a stronger melodic statement. Keep writing! Gustav Johnson
  8. i should have expected the march style... Gah! Wish you'd sung the vocals so we could at least hear them, but I get the jist. There's a market out there for humor songs, especially about current events, you should definitely share it with the vocals and maybe some real instrumentalists. Shouldn't be terribly hard to find a few local musicians (college, old retired musicfolks, etc.) who would be willing to read down your piece. You never know what could be your break. Melodically it's good, I think you could have had some stronger supporting parts. Consider varying the texture and presentation of the melodic/supporting material to outline the form and provide some moments for the listeners to grab onto. Keep writing! Gustav Johnson
  9. Trying to come up with appropriate puns about key signatures and trumpets... The best I could find is this joke: 😄 I guess I don't care how you notated things, focus on the composition itself first so (1) you enjoy the piece and (2) others enjoy the piece (and hopefully play it!), then go back and fix your "grammar mistakes".
  10. Welcome to the forum! At 0:42 I think your drums could be WAY up in the mix. I always undermix mine because my headphones make drums seem super loud, so be sure to listen to your tracks through several speakers/etc. As a composition it's nice. Could have some more melody? What you've written is really nice as a texture and harmony piece, though. 2:49, cool rhythmic synth! I think I caught a weird note in that range, something chromatic that may or may not belong? 3:00 ish - finally a cool melody! Pump the snot out of that thing, it's a good one so let it come out big and proud! In general your volume is all on the quiet side - don't be afraid to reach for some real highs and lows! Keep sharing! 🙂 Gustav
  11. Definitely not familiar with the games, but based on the image I'll go with dark fantasy! Good sound sets, I'm noticing a good use of all spectrums with active sounds (i.e. instruments, voice) and passive sounds (reverb, sustains, etc.). Super great opening, whatever you did to get that synth pad is awesome. The voice is super effective, as is the flute - good use of panning with the voice. The fiddle (?) around 0:54 isn't as mature as the rest of what you're using, it lacks a human touch - velocity maybe? Same with the vocal grunts ("uh!") shortly after. Feels slightly un-natural, which makes it stick out when it's surrounded by everything else. SWEET violin trill around 1:30. Great rhythmic pulsing around 1:45, wish you had carried it over more assertively into the next section. Could the voice and fiddles have performed together at some point? Might have made a cool combo. Really nice piece! Gustav
  12. Effective, quite nice. Not sure how I feel about the sudden pedal stops, where all the resonating strings cut out, it's kind of jarring. When I listen to minimalism, I tend to go a little trance-y and the sudden stops my reverie is broken. That's a useful tool, but maybe not so frequently as to fully interrupt my journey, so to speak. Odd ending ... from a composition standpoint it makes sense, but it's a little abrupt sounding - might benefit from being extended or from a diminuendo, something to let us down softly. Also I love the sound you've captured in the recording, super clean and mellow. Lovely! Gustav
  13. Definitely agree here. My solution would be to just nix that top oboe and have one player play the lower harmony, so you'd end up with flute above and oboe below (that sounds like an indie album title...). If you're dead set on doubling, I would share the current oboe part between clarinet (top) and oboe (bottom), then just have one clarinet play the current clarinet part. But it's been a while since I've orchestrated, so I may be a little rusty. My big things are usually (1) is it possible, (2) is it enjoyable to perform, (3) does it sound the way I want? If something doesn't meet those criteria I try to re-work it until I meet all three. If you're happy with it the way it is, then keep it I guess! Gustav
  14. I really enjoyed the canonic section from B-C, and when it varies after C. There are a few spots where some dissonances were created that didn't sit quite right with my ear (the B naturals, like measure 74). Must be some sort of theory thing I'm missing, since you use that technique so often, but most importantly (1) if you like it and (2) it does what you intended it to do, the keep it! Cool rhythmic pulsing at H, and in general. Wow, really LOVE the last 2-3 bars, I might steal that orchestration from you sometime. Big ideas from me: I think parts of the piece may sound somewhat muddy because there are so many things--especially sustained things--happening at the same time and in similar ranges, they may conflict a little bit. I don't feel this way when you make the parts more distinct (i.e. the rhythmic pulsing), or when you reduce the total number of ideas happening simultaneously. A good piece! I see you posted several today, I'll try to check out a few more 🙂 Gustav
  15. Good ideas, I wish I'd considered those! I'll go back and make some notes in my score so I can work on that, especially the inner voicing idea. I'm not sure when I'll be able to come back again. I teach 5-12th grade instrumental music and work 60-70 ish hours every week just about all year... I'm way swamped by my work right now especially as I have marching band summer camp and beginner band camp going on, but hope I can talk to my admin about my work-life balance. I miss you guys so much, hanging out with other people who accept my music (and its many flaws :D) is such a high point for me. You rock, Monarcheon! Gustav
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