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Gario

OCR03678 - *YES* Line Defense "Reversing the Alien Attack"

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Hi guys.

I just discovered you. Great work. Congrats.


I composed the soundtrack of ‘Line Defense’, an arcade mobile game:

https://soundcloud.com/legalradiation/line-defense

 

This is the remix I created for the original score (mp3 file attached):

 

ReMixer name: Stam
real name: Stam Sarris
email address: 
website: legalradiation.com
userid: 34066

Game`s Name: Line Defense (iOS)
Name of arrangement: Line Defense Remix
Name of individual songs arranged: The original soundtrack of the game
Composer: Stam Sarris


The game was released late August on the appstore and got featured by Apple under “Games We Love”.
It is an action arcade mobile game for iOS devices. At the moment we are working on a major update

and that`s the main reason I composed the remix of the original soundtrack.
You can find more info here: http://line-defense.com/press/

 

Thank you,
Stam

LRT - LOGO

Stam Sarris / Game Designer, Composer
 

LEGAL RADIATION TEAM  
www.legalradiation.com

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I imagine that major release has come and gone by now, but hey, a mixpost is good publicity whenever it goes up.

This starts off as a nice reinterpretation of the original score, going from mournful instrumental to Tron-like synth hybrid.  However, it does get closer and closer to the original source as it goes on.  Starting at about 1:20, it's quite similar to the source.  In fact, as an experiment, I tried playing the remix and the source together, time-synced with 1:20 in the remix to 0:52 in the original, and in many places the differences between them aren't huge.  The source and remix do diverge again as the arrangement progresses, but largely it still has the feel of a few instrumental changes on top of the core of the original.   The remix does more interesting things with the instrumentation than the original, but doesn't make use of much of the original's melody; similarly, some of the instrumental replacements (such as the piano replacing the source's synth arp at the end) are melodically simplified.

Because the arrangement does focus on a small part of the source's melody, it does get pretty repetitive, but the changes in instrumentation do keep coming just fast enough to keep it from getting excessively old.

Also, that high piano in the intro, and especially at the end, is uncomfortably shrill, and could use a slight low pass to take some of the bite out of it.

I feel like this is close, from an interpretation perspective.  It's substantially different for the first 1:20, which is nearly half the mix, and the rest is clearly more than just adding drums and assigning new instruments.  I wish it had done more, especially with the melody, which would also have helped with the repetitiveness, but I think this is over the bar.

YES (borderline)

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Always neat to see a composer do an arrangement of their own music on here, and it's even better when it's an interpretive arrangement of their own work (as it is here). As far as I can tell, this is a slower paced, more dramatic rendition of the source, which is a pretty interesting approach to take.

There are some key issues with the production that are holding this back, in my opinion. In the beginning there are a few concerns about humanizing your strings better than they are at present; there is a swell in every attack of that viola/cello lead that wouldn't realistically be present in a real performance. Pay attention to your attack envelope, and make sure your lines sound more like phrases by only incorporating those swells in the beginning of a melodic line, in general.

The larger concern, though, involves the crowding that is present in most of this track, which evolves into compression issues later on. At 0:32 your first real synth comes in, and it's very clear that there is too much reverb on your synth, making it too wet. While it's something that could be passed as artistic license if no other issues arose from it, the more instruments you add to the mix the muddier and more crowded everything becomes. When that arpeggio comes in at 0:48, your waveform on both left and right channels are completely consumed, leaving no room for your backing strings to be heard throughout. This really comes to a head at 1:20 when the bass comes in, which actually starts to cause pumping in your backing instruments. Your subtle piano and string elements just get completely lost, and the pads just get washed by the wet synths above.

I think the arrangement was decent, but the compression issues, crowding and wet instruments that contribute to those issues place me firmly on the other side of the fence, here. I would suggest cleaning up the mix so that your instruments are each identifiable throughout, hold back on the reverb with those synths, and consider incorporating more sidechaining in order to accomodate the kick appropriately. I hope to hear a cleaner version of this sometime soon!

NO

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This one's pretty close. I think the arrangement on it's own, while a little repetitive, is above the bar in terms of interpretation and arrangement. The crowdedness is an issue, but whether it's dragging this down too far is what I'm not sure of. I feel like the main parts are still coming through, and I didn't feel like I had a tough time hearing the particulars that I needed from the mix. I certainly wouldn't mind if it were cleaned up a little, but I think this one is okay to go as-is. Curious about the rest of the vote!

YES (borderline)

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This is a very close one for me, but there are definitely some issues here.  Production-wise, I think the transition to the full 4 on the floor kick could've been handled better, I had the feeling the mix would continue with the lo-fi underlying beats which would fit the mood of this highly-layered song, but he hard kick sort of came out of nowhere and in my opinion didn't accomplish that much in terms of energy.  Also the piano high notes that adorn the track have this very strident, almost metallic quality to them that I don't find very pleasing and they could be softened with some eqing.

Regarding instrument quality I hear the issues Gario mentions about the articulations, but taking into account that this track is a mix of those elements along with synthesized ones (mostly synths) these issues didn't bother me much.  I didn't have much of an issue with mix clarity as I really enjoyed the layering on this one and it wasn't much of an issue to identify different parts.  It's a bit hard to tell what's supposed to be the main focus at some points, but I believe that this was intentional.

I also feel that this arrangement is pretty static.  After it establishes all its multiple musical layers, it kind of hits cruise control and I don't feel there was much movement of the energy levels and the arrangement itself.  

I'm not sure whether I should give this the thumbs up or not, it's definitely around the bar but I'm not sure if the issues I am hearing pull it down enough.  Leaving this here for others to consider, and I'll finish my vote on a future listen.

 

EDIT 11/8/2017: I gave this another listen today and man, reading my review I find that my opinions on it haven't changed much.  I still have to make a decision on it so I'm going with a borderline pass.  Not entirely sure how the downs and ups of this track balance each other out. When looking at the track as a whole flaws still emerge but it doesn't seem flawed enough for a rejection.

YES (borderline)

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I'm gonna keep it short and sweet. I agreed that this was overcompressed, but it wasn't a dealbreaker, and I disagreed with Gario's POV that the mix was too wet; the style was purposeful and I could still make out the part-writing just fine, so I don't see what the big issue was.

The arrangement was repetitive towards the end and could have been more interesting with some more dynamic contrast in the picture, but what's here was developed and varied enough to get by.

I thought the changes in this arrangement were substantial enough to stand apart from the original, so I had no problems with the level of interpretation. MindWanderer's analysis on the two songs lining up was helpful, but it's certainly possible to retain the tempo and structure of a source while providing other aspects of interpretation, and that's done here.

Nice work, Stam! Count me in.

YES

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Interesting to be judging a track both composed and remixed by the same artist. Nice tune btw.

Things start off fairly subtle, with the main piano motif playing, with some string accompaniment. Synths progressively drop in from 0:35 following a couple of patterns, with these patterns layered to create variation. There are a few subtle sound affects along the arrangement which are appreciated, and changes between collections of instrument layers happen fairly often to help retain interest.

The biggest thing that stuck out to me was the main theme is echoed here pretty regularly throughout, with a reliance on the accompanying instruments to bring the originality. This is of course ok to do, but I would’ve liked to hear more original sections which broke away from the main theme entirely, as well as less repeats of the original material that is here. The strings for example play similar parts, and do the same fill each time a change to a new section occurs. The synths play fairly consistent patterns. Coupled with the main piano motif, by the end of the track, this repetitiveness became pretty noticeable to me, which shouldn’t really happen for a track of this length.

Production quality here is ok. The low end sometimes gets a little too busy but not to the point where I couldn’t make out the individual parts. There is a slight muffle to the overall production, which would be fixed if the highs on some parts were brought out more.

Overall the remix is ok, but I think the arrangement is lacking in variety and original material. Yes it has its own sound compared to the original piece, but in itself I don’t feel enough happens here.

YES (borderline)

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