The AIM 2022 compilation album is finally out on Bandcamp (link), which means my time with AIM is pretty much done for now.
This year's AIM was great, but I feel a bit more exhausted from it. I guess because I was trying to find the time to go through all the entries while I was dealing with other stressful moments in my life and it was becoming quite the challenge. One big takeaway I got from doing AIM these past few years is that the participants really want feedback in the form of a review. It's understandable - don't get me wrong - but I think I let it get to the point where I was trying to push myself to leave larger quantities of reviews with each passing AIM and it's become too much for me to handle.
That's not to say I hate leaving reviews or don't want to. I love providing details and context and analyzing an entry to provide some insight as to how I experienced their work. The issue, however, is that leaving an in-depth review is extremely time consuming and mentally taxing. It's listening to an entry multiple times and parts of it even more and trying to document all these thoughts into words. Multiply this by 91 entries and the task of reviewing all of them becomes impossible.
I'm grateful and appreciative that every year, I've had judges like @Troisnyx and @Quarl who did have that time and commitment to write out reviews for every entry and I really wish I had that time and drive to do the same. I don't expect any judge to leave reviews for every entry, especially given that I cannot do the same.
It's a significant part of the reason why a scoring system was introduced to this year's AIM, even though I was reluctant in past years. It at least gives some sense of how the judges experienced every entry, even if that cannot always be put into the form of in depth reviews. The scoring system is super new and there's opportunity for refinement - though it's something I'd need to look into.
So yeah, AIM 2022 - great year, but I definitely need a break from it. But before I go, I wanted to mention a few non-winners that I really enjoyed:
Night Rain by @CattyxOwOriginals
The groove in this one is super catchy. I quite enjoyed the bassline.
Anamnesis by @JoMoMusic
I like how this one starts out like it's going to be a silly little jingle then gets into one of the smoothest comforting loops I've heard all compo. I like how the bell line gets referenced later on in the track - that was one detail I didn't even catch the first few listens.
Neo-Noir Nights by @LuckyDee
Holy crap, what a melody. I really love the development of that melodic line, especially when the accompaniment and basslines gradually enter and slightly adjust the way it is heard. That break at 1:56 where everything but that guitar drops out is golden.
3am Waltz by @Zechnition
This piece is effortlessly replayable even after the number of times I listened to it when reviewing. I'm still enchanted by the blips and embellishments that sparkle within. And that ending is <3
Rock 'n' Roll by @UncouthkidAC
I love that this captures the emotional angst of being young and done with everything. That sense of adolescence really connects the music to the art.
Shining Lights by @xZiriusX
I didn't really like this one on first listen, but when I was in my slog of finishing up listening to every entry and giving a rating, it started to resonate with me more and more. That loud business that turned me away from the track became this perfect representation of being in this crowded space where everything just gets to and overwhelms you and that connection made it become one of my favourites from this compo.