I make music for Team Spontaneous Combustion (my game jam team) and participate in miscellaneous music compos. I'm also into indie games. Avatar + banner by Frostyflytrap (https://twitter.com/frostyflytrap)

Annette @Random-storykeeper


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Random-storykeeper's News

Posted by Random-storykeeper - August 15th, 2022

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.



Posted by Random-storykeeper - March 29th, 2022

The submissions period has now ended. Check out the current submissions here or in these playlists: 1 and 2.

The Art-Inspired Music Contest is back and starting up soon! For those unfamiliar with the concept, composers pick one piece of art from the Newgrounds Art Portal and create a piece of music inspired by said art.

The submissions period begins on Friday April 15 this year, so you can start searching up artworks you'd want to use as inspiration, but no creating your entries until the submissions thread is posted.

In the meantime, I am still looking for:

  • Contributors for the prizes.

If you're interested in contributing to any of the above, feel free to send me a message or leave a comment below and I'll get in touch with you as soon as I can.

Also, if you have any questions before the contest starts, you can also ask them here. I look forward to hearing these future entries!



Posted by Random-storykeeper - March 17th, 2021

AIM 2021 begins! Submission thread: https://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/topic/1468445

The Art-Inspired Music Contest is happening this year on Friday April 16, 2021. In this compo, you create a piece of music inspired by art from the Newgrounds Art Portal. More details and the rules will follow in the official submission thread (to be posted on the start of the compo), but they're probably going to be the same as the previous years' rules, so check out last year's submission thread here for an example of what to expect!

You can start searching for art, but you cannot start creating your entry before the submissions thread is posted on April 16, 2021. For now, there are a few matters that need to be addressed now:


There's a couple of things I want to touch on for this year's compo - judging and voting for the fan favourite.

Fan Favourite

I do love the idea of having a fan favourite vote, but it doesn't seem like not a lot of people actually vote. Thankfully, we've managed to get a Fan Favourite winner by default when all other contenders were actual winners, but it would be nice to have a system that was a little more fan controlled. I remember touching on this last year, but I'm thinking of making it so that people can vote on more than one entry simultaneously. The question is whether it should be a ranked voting (eg. award 1, 2 or 3 points to three of the entries) or equally weighted votes (eg. you can vote for 3 but all votes are worth 1 point). I might lean more towards the ranking system as I think it might allow for a clearer winner. What are your thoughts?


Judging in previous years was usually pretty lax. Here's my previous post about how we judged the entries for 2020's compo. While the current system does allow for a quicker selection of winners, it doesn't really allow for all participants to easily get feedback for their entries. It's something I do think about a lot in regards to the competition. Feedback is great, but giving decent feedback can be extremely time consuming and if rushed, then it just becomes about the first impressions of an entry, which I don't know if that makes for a necessarily good merit of judgement. Either way, I've previously been super iffy about implementing a straight-up points rating system. Judges on AIM could use their own points system in the past, but it was never put in place across the entire panel. Maybe it would be good to have a standard on that front.


As per usual, AIM requires three other judges to evaluate all the entries. UPDATE: We now have a full judging panel, thanks! @Troisnyx has stepped forward to be a judge again this year, so we just need two more judges to fill the panel.

Promo Art

This year, Troisnyx has also offered to do the promo art, so thank you!


So far, prizes have not been super clear this year, but generally more stuff gets offered during the submission period, so that may be the case once more. As per usual, winners get to be on the AIM compilation album, but aside from that, there's not a lot that has been confirmed yet. If you have some ideas for prizes or want to donate prizes for this contest, please let me know in the comments.

I hope to see you all participating, in one way or another. Remember, don't start your entry until the submission thread is posted!!!



Posted by Random-storykeeper - August 1st, 2020

The judging process for AIM 2020 proved to be challenging, and picking out 20 winners from the 88 entries was going to result in some great entries not making it into the final list. There are plenty of entries that I really love that didn’t make it onto the album at all, and I’m certain the other judges have entries that they really love that didn’t make it onto the album too. Nevertheless, decisions had to be made, and I wanted to make sure that the winners took into account the evaluations of every judge as best as I could do.

Taking Over

I took over organizing AIM from RealFaction, and one of the questions I asked before AIM 2019 (the first of these contests that I ran) started was how to judge the entries. Basically, in the past, each judge would list out their top 20 entries (which included their top 3 entries), then the organizer (who would also be the judge) would compile these lists and tally up the votes. Entries in which every judge picked, for instance, would be considered runner-ups at the very least. 

Last year, I was able to use this system to determine both the runner-ups and top 3 entries without much trouble. Most of the judges’ picks had overlap in terms of who they thought should be winners, so it was easy to extrapolate this data and determine the first, second and third place from it. I assigned 3 points to an entry ranked first in a judge’s list, 2 points for the second and 1 point for the third. Based on the rankings, the first place winner for AIM came out with 8 points (it appeared in all of the judges’ top 3 lists), the second place winner had 5 (appeared on two judges’ lists in 1st and 2nd place) and the third place winner had 2 points (appeared on two judges’ lists in 3rd place). While there were other entries that would have scored a higher amount of points, they only appeared in one judge’s list, so entries where at least two judges picked them would be prioritized. 

The judging process mostly takes place over Discord, and I use Excel / Google Sheets to compile the data. 

AIM 2020

This year, picking out 1st, 2nd and 3rd place appeared to be more difficult. I do think part of it has to do with the amazing turnout of entries this year - 88 entries compared to last year’s 43. When the judges put in their picks, there was almost no overlap. Some of us debated a bit over whether we needed a more refined points system for determining the top 3. Ultimately, after every judge’s top 3 lists were in, only one of the entries had overlap - the first place entry. This ended up being 1st in two of the judges’ list, while every other entry in the judges’ top 3 lists only appeared once. 

Seeing as second and third place would not be possible to extrapolate from this data alone, unlike last year, I decided to compare the top 3 against the picks for the top 20 runner-ups. There ended up being exactly 3 entries in the top 3 list in which 3 of the 4 judges had picked to be at least in the runner-ups (the rest had only appeared in 2 or 1 of the judges’ top 20 lists). Of the three entries that appeared in 3 of the judges’ runner-up lists, I proposed the following:

  • 1st place would be the entry that appeared 1st place in two of the judges’ lists, as well as appearing in 3 of the judges’ top 20 lists.
  • 2nd place would be the entry that appeared in 3 of the judges’ top 20 lists and was ranked 1st by one judge in the top 3. 
  • 3rd place would be the entry that appeared in 3 of the judges’ top 20 lists and was ranked 2nd by one judge in the top 3. 

I proposed this lineup to the judges on Discord and asked if they were okay with it, if they wanted to make any changes, etc. They were fine with it overall, but requested that an explanation be made as to how we came to this process. 

From there, the rest of the top 20 was determined by comparing the judges’ top 20 lists. Out of the 88 entries, 50 of them appeared at least once in the judges’ picks. There was one entry that ended up in every judges’ list, but only as a runner-up. I asked if anyone felt if it should get a spot in the top 3, but the judges, overall, felt it was only suitable as a runner-up. I then included all the entries in which 3 of the judges had them in their top 20 lists, along with the entries in which 2 judges picked them and they had a placement somewhere in the top 3. We now had 11 of our winning entries set. There were 9 remaining spots to fill, and 11 entries left that had appeared in two of the judges’ top 20 lists. So I posted these 11 tentative entries and from there, we determined two entries to eliminate to narrow the list down to 20. 

In the end, I tried to keep the judging process similar to last year’s (and similar to how the previous organizer determined the winners) and use the judging data to objectively (or as close to objectively as possible) figure out the top 3 and 17 runner-ups. Only about 23% of the entries could actually make it as the judge’s winners, compared to the near 50% of the last contest. An entry that did not win was not necessarily “bad” by any means. As with any music compo, judging comes with a considerable amount of bias and it’s okay to not agree with the decisions made. Just know that the winners were not determined solely by any single person by their own particular list. 



Posted by Random-storykeeper - April 17th, 2020

I'm happy to announce the official start of AIM 2020. I encourage all of you to join. Yes, you.

The submissions thread, with all the details you need, can be found here!




Posted by Random-storykeeper - July 17th, 2019

I've finally hit the Publish button for the AIM 2019 album. Check it out if you haven't already! There are some great entries and really, there were some entries that I was quite disappointed didn't make it into the album. Perhaps I will make a playlist of these entries that I wish got into the album. But regardless, these picks were a result of choices made by my wonderful judging panel and myself.


These past few days, I've been listening to all of these entries, figuring out some sort of order for the runner-ups, downloading all the entries...even when the compo was over, it felt like there was so much left to do. I think the best thing to come out of this compo was just getting more involved with the Newgrounds community than I ever had prior to this. Last year, I was a judge for NGUAC, but I felt incredibly out of touch with the community in general and parts of the judging period took place when I was unavailable, so I felt like I didn't contribute much at all. This year, however, I didn't really have a choice to not get involved once I agreed to organize AIM, because, well, I was the organizer.

I think the most stressful part of organizing the compo was at the beginning, when I wasn't 100% sure on what to do. I tried to look up previous AIM threads, but they all seemed so scattered and it was hard to make out which threads led to where, especially when it came to finding the results and the Bandcamp in general. Honestly, I kind of wish I had the ability to edit the OP of the Submissions thread so that I could add links to the results thread, the full playlist of accepted entries and the Bandcamp album. It was weird having to bump the submissions thread to just add a link to the results thread, but it felt necessary, especially for archival purposes in a forum where threads are bumped out quite regularly.

But I digress. There were a lot of entries I enjoyed listening to, and I truly appreciated the wide variety of styles and interpretations of pieces of art. I wanted to review a lot of entries, but only got around to reviewing eight of them. Maybe I will go back and review some of the entries, but I make no promises. It's all about whether I have a lot to say about them or not. :P

Fun fact: I actually did consider entering the AIM Contest back in 2016, but ultimately didn't because I wasn't confident that I was able to make something that would hit the 3 minute mark. Three years later, I can say that I can hit that time duration quite consistently depending on the type of piece I make. On the flipside, I'm currently in a compo where the objective is to make a piece that is less than 30 seconds, which 2019 is finding to be quite the challenge, haha.

Well I'm rambling way too much for a news post. Thanks for reading this far if you did. Again, I'm appreciative to have been this involved in a Newgrounds related event. It's been a blast.



Posted by Random-storykeeper - April 12th, 2019

The AIM Contest 2019 Submissions thread is now up, which means the contest is officially OPEN and you can start working on your entries! There's still a couple of rough patches to iron out, but for the most part, we are ready to accept entries. You have until June 17; good luck!

You can find the submissions thread here!


Posted by Random-storykeeper - April 3rd, 2019

The sixth annual Art-Inspired Music Contest is coming up fast. I'm sorry for the late notice. Things are a little different this time around, as, well...I'm the organizer of the compo this year.

You probably don't know me. Or maybe you do...I think the only Newgrounds thing I've really done was briefly judge NGUAC back in 2018, otherwise, I've mostly been a lurker on here. I hope you're all ready to create some amazing pieces of music inspired by art from Newgrounds' Art Portal! If that doesn't get you hyped, how about refreshing your memory with last year's winners, found here?

This year, the contest officially starts on April 12 and submissions will be accepted up until June 17.

(I'm still looking for judges, so if you'd like to be an AIM judge or know someone who'd make a good AIM judge, please leave a comment or message me. I'm looking for 3-5 judges, ideally, who are available from the end of the submissions period up until the first week of July (actual date of results to be determined).)

Update: I think we're good on judges now. Thanks to everyone who offered! If something comes up last minute, I'll let you all know.

Be on the lookout for the submission and discussion thread on April 12! Hope to see many of you then. I've been a participant of many music compos, but never organized one before, so this is going to be interesting.

Update: the submissions thread is now up!