Chimpazilla

*NO* Castlevania: Curse of Darkness 'Live Forever'

6 posts in this topic

Contact Information:
ReMixer name: ladyWildfire
real name: Elizabeth Carter
website: https://soundcloud.com/ladywildfirehttps://www.facebook.com/ladyWildfire/https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9uzIBogkhkGxjFBzMMNfwg
userid: 11659

Submission Information:
Name of games arranged: Castlevania 3, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, Castlevania: Symphony of the night
Name of arrangement: Vampire
Name of individual songs arranged: Abandoned CastleEntranceWarakiya Village

 
Lyrics & Source Usage:
 
(Abandoned Castle)
(Warakiya Village)
(Entrance)
 
(bell intro) 
 
sirens are calling
enticing my darling
captured in my trance
don't keep me starving
 
every night we all go out to play
and dance the night away
until the morning sun
don't you want to be born again
living forever, your new life begins
 
move to the beat
set yourself free
we can dance til the end of the night
your blood smells so sweet
and now i can see that you're wondering if this could be right
 
we'll stay here together
we'll be young forever
don't be afraid dear
nothing to fear when you're having the time of your life
 
(synth lead 1)
(synth lead 2)
 
driven by hunger
no sense of danger
sinful adventure
we live for the pleasure
 
every night we all go out to play
and dance the night away
until the morning sun
and when you hear the beat the party never ends
who'd ever want to be human again?
 
so move to the beat
and set yourself free
we can dance til the end of the night
your blood smells so sweet
and now i can see that you're wondering if you'll miss the light
 
we'll stay here together
we'll be young forever
darkness will take you 
so don't be afraid of the shadows that dance in the night
 
so melt into me
my kiss is so sweet and i promise you won't feel a thing
one day you'll see
our love will grow with the power the darkness can bring
 
we'll stay here together
we'll be young forever
i hold the key
to life never-ending
as long as you stay here with me

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The intro sidechaining is too heavy, even for me, especially on the lead bell timbre.  The beats all through the mix are quite simply written and with bland timbres with no delay or anything to add interest to them.  The lead sidechaining is again too heavy starting at 1:34, it becomes disorienting.  The breakdown at 1:34 is not terribly interesting; doing a drumless section with more/different sounds/sfx etc. would go a long way toward breaking up the arrangement.  The lyrics are interesting, the vocals are ok but the processing is very static all the way through the track, it would be nice to hear them processed in a different way here or there, some harmony added, or the occasional verse center-panned to contrast with the wide reverby vocals.  Let's see what other J's think, but I'm leaning towards

NO

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Oooh, this is pretty fun. This is the round that I sadly didn't participate in, but you did a pretty darn good job with the sources. Kind of wish CV3 Beginning was a little more recognizable... that was my source. *grumble*...

*Ahem*

The overall energy keeps the music moving in this pretty consistently. There's really little to break the motion of this track, though, and since the energy remains pretty consistent the whole song feels a bit static. The beginning and the end have a small pause in the energy through dropping the instruments and drums - more moments like that throughout the song would help give the arrangement more "peaks" and "valleys", as far as musical drive is concerned.

While I like the sidechaining, there's really never a moment where the music doesn't sidechain heavily. I personally don't think sidechaining that heavily is wrong, per se, but I do think the technique is overused in the track, which contributes to the static energy the piece provides. The drums are also a constant presence, and they don't change very much at all. Change those things up - be willing to play with the beat a little, or drop the drums from time to time. Play around with the hats and snare. Do something that jerks the listener in a different direction from time to time - it's important to keep the music interesting throughout the arrangement.

The vocals are pretty good, but they're a little unrefined. The notes that you hold sound like they waver a little bit, such as at 0:30. I think they're still passable, but there's still room for improvement. I really like the difference between the dry vocals for the verses and wetter vocals during the chorus, though - the differentiation really helped break the music apart.

At 2:42, you need to bring out your 'L' in "Blood" out a bit more. I'm not catching the 'L' sound every time the word 'Blood' comes up, and my immature mind hears something that makes me giggle ("butt smells so sweet", hee hee), instead. Overall, the diction is pretty good, but I thought I'd point that out - probably not what you want your listeners to hear.

Your production values are quite good, and the lyrics are really cool. The style works well, but the static nature of the arrangement hangs this one up a bit. Change up the drums, be willing to let go of the side chain from time to time, etc.. The vocals are alright, though they could be landing on the notes a little tighter, and while most of your diction is great, bring out the 'L' in 'Blood' a little better. I'd like to hear an update to this, as it's a pretty slick arrangement otherwise.

NO

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I will disagree with Kris on the intro sidechaining, it's really not heavy, it's fine but the problem is that when you have it affecting your leads without a beat behind it, it will sound like you're overcompressing.  Having sidechaining on your saw pads without the beat will sound fine, as this will form the basis of your groove, but you should do a separate sidechain line for that so you can keep it in places where your beat is absent, and keep the lead melodies and other elements that don't need to follow the groove clear of sidechaining when there's no beat.  Sorry if this sounds harsh, but seems like you are throwing sidechaining around without thinking "should I need this here?", or reacting to what your track needs production-wise.  Sidechaning is a great tool to make your drums come through, and to make polyphonic harmonies such as saw pads or supersaw riffs follow certaing groove.

Sidechaining rants aside, I agree with the rest of Kris' vote, and most of Gario's too, specially the part about energy management in your song, as it feels really static in structure
and energy levels.  I think you had 1:33 to be the "drop" or climax for the first part, but the buildup was a bit weak, and the instruments in the drop don't sound big enough to bring up the euphoric feeling you need here.  The supersaw synth here sounds a bit dull and the bass synth is not big enough.  I suggest beefing up your supersaw so it fills more space, and maybe adding another layer to it with a different synth, perhaps one with a little movement, either way, the drop needs beefing up.  One thing I can suggest is, instead of beefing up the drop, make the buildup to it more intense.  A pause before the drop sometimes adds the tension necessary, maybe some glitching up in the final vowel of the lyrics before reaching the drop, or stronger rising effects.

Regarding the vocals there's room for refinement here.  I think your vocals would fit a more "whisper-y" processing for this song, they sound a bit nasal.  I think the parts where the harmonies are used sound great!.  I think more refinement could be done in the sustained notes as well as when you slide up in pitch, it wavers a little.  

Your arrangement works, I think some sources were better represented than others but as long as we have enough source material, everything is fine.  I think you did a good job mixing 3 different sources into a cohesive unit, it's really not easy!.  The adaptation works, so on the arrangement front, I'm fine.

I think you have some work to do production-wise here before I can pass this, but it's certainly doable.

NO (resubmit)

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Man, I really liked the writing of Curse of Darkness's "Abandoned Castle" theme; the instrumentation could have used an upgrade, but good choice otherwise and one I'm glad is now on my radar thanks to Beth.

Opening claps sounded flimsy yet muffled and too loud/upfront; we'll see where that goes and if the production makes sense. At :15, CV3 is used, and the track continues to sound extremely muffled; if things sharpen up later, it might make sense, but it's pretty off-putting already.

Well, there was kind of a sweep building up to :31 and the lyrics arriving, so things did become less muffled, but the track still wasn't sharp.

The vocals at :31 are obviously mixed too loud and upfront; the SotN "Dracula's Castle" line that was used in the background before :31 might as well have been removed once the vocals arrived because it was practically inaudible; too bad, because the writing there was strong.

Odd notes around :52 ("morning sun") and 2:26 ("and when you"). Really liked the vocals based on SotN "Dracula's Castle" from 1:02-1:16 though; very nice integration of that theme there.

Yipes on that default-y, generic, vanilla SUPAH-saw used from 1:33-2:04; the tone just isn't pleasing or sophisticated.

For me, the core beat pattern at :31 eventually and finally wore out its welcome at 2:35's chorus. It really droned and ending up flattening your dynamic curve here; it's almost always the same pattern, rhythms, and energy level. See what else you can do to subtly but more significantly vary the beat writing or instrumentation throughout.

Would definitely love to have this posted in some form, but this isn't it yet. The arrangement's creative and interpretive, so the core of it is a pass, but you mainly need more TLC with the mixing for better clarity and balance, as well as less metronome-like beats, and potentially upgrading some of the weaker sounds. I hope you'll take this to someone who can help you raise your production skills through instruction and criticism (rather than just tweak it themselves into a passable state), so that you can keep the skills upgrade for the future.

NO (resubmit)

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I really like this arrangement, and voted for it in the compo based on its creative and smooth integration of the three sources.  I think your breathy (breathless?) singing works beautifully in this context, and I'd love to add this to my collection, but that sidechaining that bothered Kris bothered me even more.  I felt it more in the introduction than later on, and I actually felt it was just as problematic whether or not it was accompanied by a beat.

I personally didn't feel like the lack of dynamism was as big of an issue as the uncomfortable sidechaining, since a lot of professional vocal music is similarly static when you take out the vocals.  But I definitely see where the other judges are coming from, and there's room for improvement.

Same goes for the supersaw in the breakdown that Larry wasn't a fan of--I could live with it, but replacing it with a more sophisticated synth or another instrument entirely would add a lot.

Also, at 2:26 there's an audible cut between vocal takes.  You might be able to cross-fade those together to hide it, or else just re-record that part.

I really want to see this posted, so please give it some more love and send it back to us!

NO (resubmit)

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