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Chimpazilla

OCR03465 - *YES* Vampire Killer "Number of the Beats"

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Hey there,

 
Remixer name: Jorito
Real name: Jorrith Schaap
Website(s):
Userid: 3899

Submission information:
 
Name of Game(s) Remixed: Vampire Killer
Additional Game information:
   System: MSX2
   Developer: Konami
   Genre: Platforming
   Released: 1986
   Composer: Kinuyo Yamashita, Satoe Terashima
 
Name of Arrangement: Number of the Beats

Names of songs arranged: Vampire Killer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ_IDqunQtk)
 
Link to the remix: 
 
Comments about the mix:
 
Since you never can have enough Vampire Killer, here’s the other version I did of this track (I submitted another version earlier). This is actually an oldie that I did early 2014 for an MSX game cover compo, where it ended at second place. It also was definitely my way back into music after doing nothing music related for years. Learned a ton of new things while creating this track and it firmly set me on this path of composing and learning that I still enjoy a lot.
 
Back when I created this, complextro was all the hype, with lots of inspiration from zircon, madeon and the likes. Sounded interesting enough to give a shot at this EDM business and incorporate some complextro bass stuff myself. Also played around with all these short arps that are all over the place, and in general I had a lot of fun while creating this track.
 
The German speech part was ripped and edited from the PC-Engine version of Dracula X. Thought it’d fit well. Quick translation:
 
"In the good old days, people still lived quiet and in peace. Nobody believed things would change in the future. After 100 years, evil rose again. The lord of evil, count Dracula has awakened.”
 
That’s all, enjoy!
 
Cheers,
Jorrith
 

 

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Great source tune, and great concept!  I'm loving the sounds used here.  I love the spoken breakdown at 1:11, and the soloing at 2:18.  

The mixing could be better, I feel like better mixing would knock this out of the park.  The mix now is overly reverby, with reverb tails overlapping each other and the reverbs need to be high passed so you're not reverbing lows.  The instruments compete for frequency space when many things are playing at the same time, everything needs some eq treatment.  The kick would have more impact with heavier sidechaining.  The snare is very weak.  The rest of the percussion sounds pretty good.  The instruments generally are somewhat generic, but they are used well.  The section from 1:41-2:18 could be sooooo awesome if that growly timbre were mixed to be more full and wide and upfront like a lead, with the teensiest touch of delay (it could move into the background when the solo lead starts).  

Mastering seems ok, but there's some distortion from 0:30-0:34 when that fast kick pattern plays.  Either lighten up on the final limiter, or address the sidechaining in the mix which will help that issue by clearing the soundscape with every kick hit.

My other concern is the amount of source use.  I hear enough source or chord structure up until 1:11, then 1:11-2:35 is really quite original with no recognizable source use.  At 2:35 the chord structure of the original returns.  So that's a minute and 25 seconds of zero source in the middle.  If I count the rest of the track, there is enough source for me, but let's see what Larry does with his stopwatch.

I like this track and I feel like it is over the bar despite my concerns, but if this doesn't pass, take a look at the issues I've brought up.  More attention to detail in the mixing of this track will make a huge difference.

YES (borderline)

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The track was 3:56-long, so I needed at least 118 seconds of overt source usage somewhere within the piece for the source material to be dominant per the Standards:

:03-24, :26-1:11.25, 2:33.5-3:48.5 = 141.25 seconds or 59.8%

The 3-note progression of the stuttering beat pattern here (D...B-C, first at :03, more easily heard at :07) is explicitly derived from the beat pattern of the source; it's present and heard in the MSX version, but sounds more obvious in the NES version (:00-:03 of that version). Thanks to that backing pattern, the arrangement's pretty anchored in the source usage, even when the melody's not in play, so it checked out just fine for me. I'm not sure why Jorito linked the SCV4 version of "Vampire Killer," as that pattern's not a part of it. But it is in the MSX version, so his classification of the mix being from that game makes sense.

There was some muddy mixing here that ends up obscuring the softer synth lines referencing the "Vampire Killer" melody (e.g. the softer lead synths during :25-:55). I would have liked another pass at the mixing to clarify things, but it wasn't a dealbreaker for me.

The speech clip didn't do anything for me, but it was well integrated, especially the original writing and ambiance behind the voice clip. Fun dub-wub elements from 1:48-2:18 leading into that final synth build toward "Vampire Killer" returning at 2:33.

At 2:56, I would have liked to have heard something different with the arrangement, which finally happened at 3:11 with the electric guitar doubling the chorus; nice touch there to finish with something high energy and different before the winddown. The electric guitar synth sequencing wasn't the best, but that was almost completely mitigated by layering it with the electrosynth and downplaying the need for it to sound realistic.

There could be some production things tightened up, and I see why Chimpa went borderline, but it wasn't a huge enough deal for me to go NO on when the arrangement was strong; the production improvements would just be a "nice to have." I really enjoyed Jorrith's take on a classic theme here!

YES

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Wow, talk about some tasty texture. I agree that the mixing is a bit off (theme being mixed into the background at moments like 0:34, background elements getting lost behind the bass at 1:50, etc.), but these aren't dealbreakers for me. It would be amazing if the mixing was crisp and clear, but it's okay as it stands.

The energy is pretty high on this one. The section with the vocals and pads works very well in breaking up the piece, but otherwise the second half of the piece lasts a bit too long, fatiguing the listener toward the end. The stretch from 1:50 - 3:50 begins to sound the same at the end, as the texture doesn't change that much, the beats remain static and the harmonies are recycled throughout (3:10 - 3:19 being the only break in harmonies). The bass (not the wubby bass, the rhythmic one) repeats that same pattern over and over in that time frame.

I'm glad to see Larry post that time stamp, as there is quite a bit of original writing in this one. I agree that the three step bass-line and harmonies help link this to the source in the long stretch without the melody, but it's still a bit of a stretch. The arrangement is well organized and fun to listen to, and it's got just enough for me to connect it to the source.

It's a tough call. The production isn't quite enough to bring this down below a YES vote, but that whole second half drones quite a lot, too. I think it's still a pass, but it's a very close call, for me.

YES/BORDERLINE

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As usual now with Jorito, we get a solid arrangement but with some production issues bringing it down.  In this case there's a lot of mud in the mix, obscuring the drums and bass, and instruments competing for space around the low-mids and mids.  The mix could've had more air and be crisper and brighter.  The wubs worked ok, but had a bit too much of a white noise quality to them.  I will agree with Deia that perhaps a slightly harder sidechaining could've helped clear up some bottom end.

As previously noted, the shining aspect of this remix is the arrangement, which is creative and flows well, while also going a lot of places in the song's duration.  I loved the lead solos.

I know Jorito has been working on getting his production game up lately, and when he does he'll get one easy pass after the other.  Right now that's not the case but regarding this song the non-ideal mix and master is not that big of a hurdle for the excellent arrangement to overcome.  Take our feedback to heart and keep improving!

YES

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