Good to know it’s not my ears:
A big part of it comes down to sound being a second-class citizen compared to visuals — the same story in film as it so often is with video games.
I won’t rehash my complaints about how poorly considered sound has been in game projects I’ve worked on… much. When an often-heard dialogue line done by someone in the studio can’t be re-recorded so it doesn’t have an annoying rhythmic cadence, when the dialogue is a combination of professional voice actors recorded in a studio and programmers mumbling into a budget headset mic, when you can’t spare two minutes to tone down a particularly loud sound so it doesn’t overwhelm everything else, when you ask for music and don’t inform the composer it’s going to be limited to 8kHz mono WAV so they can make appropriate sound design choices… and none of that is considered a quality problem? It’s pretty obvious how much regard the studio leadership has for sound… and how much better an experience competing games will be.
Anyway. When watching streaming shows we usually have captions on. Sometimes there is dialog in the captions that isn’t unintelligible but 100% inaudible, to the point where it makes me wonder if the line was cut from the audio. I’ve also found captions can reveal character names that we are not explicitly told, and spellings that would otherwise be difficult to guess at, which can be nice for someone who’s more of a reader than a movie watcher. But I feel like this shouldn’t be necessary if the story were being told well, and than includes both dialogue writing and good clear sound.
Speaking of sound, I think I’ll record one more track for the next album and then go into artwork/mastering.
Every album is at least a little different from the previous, but some definitely have their own flavor. Sometimes there’s an intentional creative direction — but this time I think it just happened that way.
Overall, this one has been a little less droney. There’s a bit more interplay between parts — call-and-response, off-grid sequences that trigger something else, generative parts based on the audio from another source. The Model:Cycles comes out to play a little, though you won’t find any four-on-the-floor techno or indeed many “drum” parts. Software has a bigger role than I’ve given it in a while, with Grid and VCV patches, plus a little bit of OPS7, Vital, and Quadra. Part of this is because the Launchpad X makes it a joy to play expressive parts on software synths, and VCV’s ability to send MIDI spices up the sequencing and tuning, so I’m using software synths for more than a few supplemental drones. I’m doing more with xenharmonic tunings, making them battle 12TET-tuned parts, and slipping between quantized and unquantized (and “semi-quantized”) tunings. And we’re hearing more Noise Engineering here, with Melotus and Lacrima frequently adding something, a bit of Loquelic Iteritas, and finding my way with the Ruina plugin without necessarily pushing it to extremes.
Given my thoughts about my musical near future, the albums of 2022 stand a fair chance of shifting yet again. More on that as it develops!