Gario

*NO* Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 'Epic Steps'

10 posts in this topic

Prior Decision

ReMixer Name: Tonalysis
Real Name: Jeff Morrow
Email: 
User ID: 31683
 
Name of game(s): Beatmania, Dance Dance Revolution
Name of arrangement: Epic Steps
Name of original song: Sync
Composer: Outphase (Taku "TaQ" Sakakibara and Takayuki "dj Taka" Ishikawa)
Link to original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-UxUJ6P8nU
Link to remix: 
 
Comments: Frequently, fans discover artists through OC Remix. In my case, I discovered OC Remix by first discovering zircon through Pandora. After learning the basics of how to use FL Studio, and taking a few lessons from zircon himself, I decided to try my hand at remixing. I'm a long-time DDR fan, so I decided to pick my favorite DDR tune as my first submission. My goal was to take the track and make it even more epic.

Thanks for considering my remix.

EDIT: this is a resubmission based on previous comments by OC Remix judges

Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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This is a surprisingly mellow take on this source that I actually really enjoyed.  I didn't get to listen to the original submission, but this definitely doesn't have the severe volume issue the judges described back then.  There's still a little bit of distortion in the hottest sections (like around 3:12), but they're brief and perfectly acceptable to me.

There's a little bit of crowding in some places.  The pad that starts at 0:41 is very hard to hear (which is a shame, 'cause it's pretty cool).  The horn-like synth at 1:54 starts off being buried and turns into the instrument doing the burying as it gets louder.  Starting at about 2:27, the sine synth is buried by the koto.  2:58-3:11 is just busy all around, with lots of instruments stepping all over each other.

You could definitely go further following the judges' previous advice about EQ, but it sounds like the dealbreaking issue has been resolved, and I don't think the EQ issues that remain are enough to hold this back.  Nice job!

YES

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I didn't hear the previous version, but I had no major issues with the mixing here. Like MW says, there are some hot spots, but it's certainly nothing problematic.

The lead synth at 1:09 is super-generic, which I can live with, but arguably too rigid in the timing. Some more creative processing with and/or variation of the lead would be an meaningful improvement. 2:16's section was more unique in the treatment of the source melody, so that was my highlight of the arrangement. Nice use of the dulcimer with the original writing ideas as well; difficult to go wrong using the dulcimer. :-) No issues on the treatment of the source tune, which was heavily referenced and treated creatively.

Onto my main issue, which became a dealbreaker: practically all of the backing percussion writing feels too static, looped, and repetitive; how about some velocity variation somewhere? If you can improve that alongside possibly making the melodic synth lead more sophisticated and varied, I'd be fully on board. It's good stuff so far, Jeff, even if I can't fully support this version, so if this version doesn't make it, it's still very viable. Would love to see an improved version of this posted.

NO (resubmit)

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Didn't hear the first version, but the volume here is fine now :). I agree with Larry that the lead at 1:09 feels pretty generic and the long held notes feel static. I think even adding a little vibrato might make a pretty solid difference there. The interpretation is quite nice, and there are a lot of nice sound choices that really work well with the soundscape you're going for.

After reading Larry's vote I do hear the percussion issue, though I think it's more of a borderline issue for me than a dealbreaker. I'm going to file it under "something to think about next time" for now, though I might switch my vote later if it means getting feedback to you quicker.

Nice work and the revision!

YES (borderline)

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I was part of the first evaluation, and I remember a bit where the issues were present on this one.  I think the artist did a commendable job fixing almost everything we asked for.  I still have a few issues that need mentioning:

First, what is that at 2:45? sounds like an impact hit but it seems to clash with pretty much everything around the lows and just creates an indistinguishable rumble that kinda ducks other elements and takes away from the impact of coming back to the track after the break.  I would like this removed, or perhaps switched with other impact effect that doesn't clash with the lows/subs, or see it high-passed.

Second I do have to agree with Larry with the drums being sort of basic and to a lesser extent, the lead being vanilla.  However I don't think these are deal breakers, the drums could be more varied but I think they just do what they have to here, which is drive the song along.  Most of the heavy work is being handled by the soundscape-building and melodies that the artist is crafting.

Regarding the arrangement I still think it's very good, love the bending synths and pads and the dynamics of the arrangement were well constructed.

Overall I would give this a pass but I would also like that we contacted the artist to fix the impact at 2:45, in case this makes it through the panel, @Liontamer

YES (conditional on fix)

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I didn't get a chance to hear the prior version of this, but what's presented here is actually pretty cool. I really love the soundscape created by the busy textures and lead work that you have throughout, and the handling of the source material is rather good in this. If there were issues with the levels before, that's certainly not the case now.

It's been said before, and I'll repeat it here - that lead is pretty plain. I'll give it a pass because there are some cool things that were done with it (slides, gating), but it does still sound pretty bland. The dryness of that lead in combination with that makes the leadwork, while good, sound thin. It's no deal breaker, but it does bug me through the whole arrangement.

Be careful when you have many things going at once; this track has a tendancy to get messy and cluttered when a lot is going on at once, like at 1:58 and 3:10-3:12. When things get really crowded the snare gets completely drown out (which, as Liontamer pointed out, could've been addressed by tweaking the velocities to bring it out more). Those moments sound big and impressive, but they also sound crowded and unintentionally cut out the snare in the process.

It's tough, but I think the clutter and drowning of the snare tips this toward a NO, for me. I wouldn't be against seeing this posted as is, but the soundscape needs to be less cluttered when things are really loud, and the drums shouldn't be pushed so far in the background that they're nearly imperceptable in an electronic arrangement like this one. Giving some reverb and/or delay to the lead would help give it some better presence in the arrangement, but it's not as important as the clutter issues that this mix is having. I hope to hear improvements on this soon!

NO

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I don't disagree with the criticisms listed here, but I still like this track and I feel like my issues from the last submission have been addressed.  Please keep the crits in mind for next time, but this gets it done for me.

YES

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Chiming in also not having not heard the original. The beginning of the track builds up well with its different arp and synth layers, with additions/changes happening at the right time to pull interest. I enjoyed your bass sound, and the kick fits in well here. The balance between the parts here is solid. So far so good.

As the track progresses, mixing wise there are a couple of issues worth mentioning. Some balance issues creep in when your leads and frequency rich backing elements step into the mix, which becomes more apparent as the track progresses and more layers are added. These parts like your main synth become too loud and take frequency space away from the other parts (too much low end or competing mids), reducing overall clarity (especially at 1:50, 3:04). This causes things like your drums and bass to become noticeably drowned out.

Some of your high frequencies on your synths are a bit untamed and while they don't necessarily pierce they do get a bit sharp. At 3:13 when the "chorus" section ends you get a wavering of the track's overall dynamics, likely from the compressor or limiter being hit too hard, creating unpleasant distortion.

Otherwise I feel your track is solid. The arrangement progresses well, some parts get loopy but I don't feel anything becomes overly repetitive. For me I'd like to see another revisit on the mixing - some of your lead parts really just need sculpting with a high pass filter/EQ to take out what doesn't need to be there so the other parts can breathe in the busier sections. This would greatly increase the mixes overall quality.

NO

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Sounding pretty solid as the track opens up.  The lead at :45 feels weak and a bit bland to me for holding the melody.  It wasn't too impactful in the original either, I suppose.  1:09 kicks in with sawtooth synth repeating sequence.  It was a bit noticeable before, but at this point the track really feels like it's plodding and lacking in energy.  Like the track is slowed down a bit too much.  The snare coming in at 1:36 does help it feel a bit more energetic, however.

The constant, unchanging shaker noise got annoying to me after a while.  We have a brief respite from it, but a few seconds later it returns for the rest of the track.  In general, though, the beatwork was very static, without much in the way of changes or even fills at the end of phrases.  At times elements came and went, but overall there's much more room for additional variation.

The added elements around the 3 minute mark start cluttering up the soundscape until the hit at 3:14, which sounds like it's overcompressed or distorted from pushing the limits too hard.  This happens as well, to a lesser extent, around the 2 minute mark as well.

The arrangement doesn't really take much risk here, but incorporates the theme clearly and also puts your own personal stamp on it.  Musically, I think there's room for more development in things like part-writing, flow, building tension, etc. to give the mix a bit more excitement for the listener.  

Minor gripe: the sawtooth sequence lead had a few odd notes, specifically in the more freestyle-y section near the end.  May want to check these out and change to the correct key if needed.

I can see the point of the yes votes on this one, but the cumulative issues I have with writing, repetitive drums, and other minor issues drag this a bit below the bar for me.  It's a good mix and close IMO, so I'd like to hear the artist give it one more pass to get it there.

NO resubmit, please

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The sounds in this track are so nice but there's just that awful synth at 1:09 that just mars the whole thing. Nutritious and Jive have really good crits on production that you ought to take to heart, and I really recommend altering that synth.

NO

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