2020 has been quite the year for everybody. We lost a lot of great people, but we also gained a lot of great people. For me, 2020 was considered another turning point for my music (as with every year). Also, I noticed that 2020 was the first year I did not do a Touhou cover/remix.
As I did with 2019, I will give my personal top 10 of my top electronic songs and cinematic/orchestral songs (I am including ambient and lo-fi with this list).
Topic One: Top JK Tracks in 2020
TOP 10 JK ELECTRONIC SONGS OF 2020
10. Dangerous Game (collab with LambyO7)
We start the top 10 with quite an interesting song. @Lamby07 and I had done a collab, and Lamby quite surprised me with his improvement. Compared to The Evil Society, Lamby has improved a lot on production and sound design (of course, compared the two songs is close to comparing apples and oranges). My 2019 collab with Lamby didn’t make either top 10, but he did this time in 2020.
9. Simultaneous Positions (from Superposition)
A quick fact: the original tempo of this song was supposed to be 135 bpm, but it was changed to 128 bpm to match the tempo of a normal house song. At the time, Simultaneous Positions stood out quite a bit, especially with the pre-drop cinematic breaks. The drops themselves was just a bass stacked with a three-track high-end that plays crazy 16th notes on the same root note but different octaves. The main idea was to create a progressive house track, and that was it.
8. Dangers of Science (from Dangerous Science)
I like to do an acid trance song once in a while, but I’d say that this is my best of the bunch. It combines the crazy synth rhythms with a nostalgic-esque percussion to create this song. Crazy enough, the targeted theme was the sole idea of dangerous science itself.
7. Plasma Sword 3 (collab with TheFantasticZ)
@TheFantasticZ and I (as usual) decided to continue the saga of Plasma Sword with our third Plasma Sword song. Compared to the first and second song, the third song stands out the most in that our styles have changed quite a bit since the second song. It combines the spacy atmosphere with a very bright atmosphere.
6. Big Red Sun (from Dangerous Science)
At first, I wanted to make a dark trance song (which is somewhat true to the final mix), I then thought “what if my song Disaster was a trance song?”, and this now exists. It is my most played song of 2020, as well as my third most played original song (my first and second are complete garbage). Despite its simplistic sound design, the sound design provides a bright atmosphere with darker elements (as the theme requires).
5. Roll it Back
This was my first synthwave song, as well as my first midtempo song (“midtempo synthwave”, if you will). It reprises some of my bass design from Welcome to the Post-Apocalypse. Not much can be said about this, except for the fact that the title itself is a pun. The first part of the pun is the “rolled back” tempo, while the second part is the fact that the song is synthwave (and is somewhat based off of an 80s atmosphere).
4. Crystallization (Art-Inspired Music 2020)
This song was quite a special song to me (and was inspired by an art piece by @Kyuri08). It was a very melodic song with a bit of the “future” elements (which I’m still new to doing). The song itself stands out in a way just for the sound design used (as well as the blending of atmospheres). The song blends both the darker and brighter atmospheres together to form this near-masterpiece.
3. Iter in Saecula Saeculorum (An Adventure Melody)
This was also a very special song to me, mainly due to it being my 400th song. My goal was to make a song (rather, a medley) solely based on the idea of an adventure. I wanted a clever name, and I went with “Iter in Saecula Saeculorum”. The name itself can be translated to a few English phrases (go to the song link to read the description for context). There is a section of the song that a lot of people have pointed out that stands out the most, which is the big buildup between the synthwave and house sections (I even had a couple people tell me that it should be in a movie).
2. Biological Warfare (from Imminent Outbreak)
This song is quite an interesting one to describe. Although it combines both my old-ish bass design with my newer bass design, it also combines a lot of known and unknown atmosphere designs (for me at the time, at least). It is a slow-moving song that also brings in quite a bit of power. It also provides a “hands up” feel from the second drop, which I wanted to do an intentional “hands up” drop for quite some time.
1. Welcome to the Post-Apocalypse (from Imminent Outbreak)
It is not much of a surprise that this is my personal top electronic song of the year. Compared to my other electronic songs, this is the song that stands out the most. It uses the dark and eerie atmosphere of Imminent Outbreak and combines that with the more powerful drops (compared to most of my music in general). The second drop, in my opinion, is one of my best drops I have ever done (the first drop too). I wanted to end Imminent Outbreak on a high note, so I decided to go all in and created something that has a design that is well outside my comfort zone, but it also has a lot of elements that I am familiar with. The process of making the song was both motivating and exhausting (especially mixing the song).
TOP JK CINEMATIC/ORCHESTRAL SONGS OF 2020
I realized that I didn’t make 10 tracks that were exclusively cinematic/orchestral, but I’ll do with what I have made this year.
7. In the Halls of the Mountain King Cover
As I have already stated, I realized that I didn’t make many cinematic/orchestral songs. We start off the top cinematic/orchestral with a cover of a classical song. Not much to say about this song other than the fact that it was started in April 2019 (I never really worked on it around a year prior to its upload).
6. Supersonic (from Superposition)
This song starts out as a cinematic tune and transitions into a darker orchestral piece. There isn’t much else to say, other than the song has a basic design.
5. Nothing Remains (Lost in Space bonus song)
When I released Lost in Space, I had put three tracks in as bonuses. This was the first track. It takes a very sorrowful feel and combines it with a warm yet dark atmosphere. The song itself is quite lengthy, but I had tried to increase the variation throughout the song to help it flow better (and sound less boring).
4. The Storm Approaches (Best of LMMS Volume 7)
The purpose of this song was to make my entry for the Best of LMMS Volume 7 compilation, which I was in the top 20. I was quite amazed at how this song turned out. The main inspiration of this song was actually an old song of mine called Other Side of the Door to the Dark Room (mainly for the second half of the song). The first half of the song focuses on a dark atmosphere, signaling the forthcoming storm. The second half of the song has a more intense atmosphere, signaling the storm itself.
3. Element 119 (from Dangerous Science)
This song was one of those very few songs I made that is solely based on the background itself. It has no particular melody that backs it up for much of the first sections of the song. However, the dark and foreboding atmosphere that this song possesses helps the musical flow throughout the song.
2. Deus Ex Machina (An Orchestral Medley)
This song had no initial purpose whatsoever (it was just an idea that I had). The initial idea of making this was to make an orchestral medley (that is just it, a medley). I didn’t realize how much this song would stand out despite its downfalls (one being the loud drums). Despite its downfalls, the atmosphere is a combination of warm, dark, bright, and eerie atmospheres altogether.
1. A Hero’s Purpose (Newgrounds Video Game Music Challenge)
If it wasn’t for the challenge, this song wouldn’t exist. This song combines my old and new designs for both cinematic and orchestral music. This was based off a theme of “The Forgotten Journey”. The story of the theme is about a forgotten hero’s journey to fight a very powerful enemy. The song itself was quite interesting and exhausting to make. It is considered one of my biggest projects to date (and that both says a lot and not a that much). A Hero’s Purpose reprises the atmosphere of my Blast from the Past songs, which blends very well with the song itself.
Topic Two: 2021 Projects
Let's get into what I have planned and unplanned for next year...
Official 2021 Projects
The Universe, Vol. 2: Galactic Neighborhood
Okay, I have mentioned this (I think) twice already in previous news posts. If I didn’t put the “Vol. 1” in “The Universe, Vol. 1”, this wouldn’t exist. I had planned both of them simultaneously.
Connections (Collab EP with TheFantasticZ)
This is actually ongoing as we speak. @TheFantasticZ and I have decided to do a second possible collab EP later in the year, but we are doing this one first.
Recovery and Control EP (Sequel to Imminent Outbreak EP)
Here it is. I did mention a possible EP as a sequel to the Imminent Outbreak EP, and I want to get this done ASAP. I’m doing this because I have plans to have this EP story-based like its prequel (also to have some lore behind it… kind of like my 2018-2019 album project Lost in Space).
Planned 2021 Projects
one was (at first) considered a bit controversial, in which I have it on the fence for now. I have everything planned for it, but doing this may seem a bit weird. (The way I have it is that I have each song based on a disability. I have to make a song about the disability as if I had it myself.) Originally, I wanted to name it “Personalities, Volume 1”, but I renamed the EP to just “Awareness” in reference to the awareness of the disabilities. I didn’t want such a confusion between the two Eps so I made them separate.
Personality Tropes EP
The main idea for this is, instead of basing each song off of disabilities, I would base each song off of personality tropes. Originally, this was named “Personalities, Volume 2: Tropes”, despite the fact that this one actually was the initial idea before Awareness saw the light. Instead, I made them two completely separate Eps, “Awareness EP” and “Personality Tropes EP”.
Kaiju EP (Collab EP with TheFantasticZ)
Okay, before I say anything, I would like to point out that I won’t be the main person for this EP (I mean the organizer). @TheFantasticZ is the planned organizer for the EP.
Now, for the EP itself, this is based off of mythological creatures. We are both creating an idea dump for this EP at the moment, but we will try to narrow the ideas down for two things: for variety and distinguishability. We want to have enough songs where we have enough kaiju, but you could distinguish all of the kaiju from each other.
Unofficial 2021 Projects
Teamwork EP (Collab EP with TheFantasticZ)
This was actually the first of the EP ideas TFZ and I had drawn up. The idea was going to be that there were specific objectives and styles for each song, including the throwbacks of older styles with newer twists.
Lost in Space Sequel
I was asked about this last year and earlier this year about a possible sequel to Lost in Space. My current answer is uncertain. Since the original Lost in Space project spanned 2 different calendar years, I wouldn’t want another one to conflict with my more important projects. However, it doesn’t meant I fully ruled a Lost in Space sequel out. (Not a lot of people likes the Lost in Space songs except for a couple, and that is another reason.)
Topic Three: New Name of RealGDJK
I’ve been waiting so long to do this, but I am now under my more universal name: RealGDJK. Newgrounds is the only place where I am called Jordan Kyser (other than Spotify). Someone had asked me if RealGDJK was more of a game alias, in which it was true (“was”, as I now use it for music). In 2017, I wanted to explore an actual alias besides my real name, and the name ”GDJK” sort of stuck. It may be random letters, but it meant “Geometry Dash Jordan Kyser”. I still think it stupid today, but a lot of people know me by that now (I still go by Jordan occasionally). The “Real” part didn’t serve much of a purpose, but it still stuck.
Topic Four: Final Thoughts of 2020
What do I think of 2020? I have very mixed feelings about 2020. While I hate what a lot of what 2020 brought, I should be thankful for my big change in music this year. Compared to 2016 to 2019, 2020 was the one of those years where I had to go through a reevaluation of my sound design (e.g. sound design differences between The Universe Volume 1 and Imminent Outbreak). The idea was to sacrifice the quantity of music I had with a much better production. Those who remember me before 2019 know that I had 300+ songs made between 2016 and 2018, which is quite a lot.
I plan to do a bigger sound design reevaluation in 2021. I still want to do smaller side projects during my design reevaluation just for the purpose of how my sound design is changing.
Anyways, that is my 2020 end-of-year post. Let 2021 bring many good things to all of you, and I hope you have a Happy New Year! :D