Gario

*NO* Donkey Kong Country 2 'Rush of the Rainforest'

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Posted (edited)

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Submission Information

  • Name of game(s) arranged: Super Mario Bros. Brawl
  • Name of arrangement: Rush of the Rainforest
  • Name of individual song(s) arranged: Bramble Blast
  • Comments: This was originally made for the fan album Harmony of Heroes from 2014. I still have the full rights to the track. 

 

 

 

Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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Damn, that's some clean acoustic guitar in this. The style is calming and expressive, and the production on this is crisp - this is a pretty great track. Darren gets some great music on his albums in general, and this is no exception. The Jungle Hijinx in the middle is a surprise, but it's an interesting break from the rest of the track, and it leads into and from it well enough. The kick seems to lack presence in the track in many of the fuller sections (like at 1:04 - 1:51), which makes it feel top-heavy in the EQ when everything is going all at once. This is odd, since the kick at 3:04 seems to be well defined, so it seems to be intentional. It's strange once you notice them, but otherwise the sounds in this are pretty top notch.

Yeah, I'm definitely digging this.

YES

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"Top-heavy" is a good word, and a bit of an understatement IMHO; I felt like this was missing presence in the lows almost throughout, and not just because of the kick (although that contributed).  It was fine in the middle at about 1:59-2:40 or so, but elsewhere the mix felt very thin. The busiest sections (1:29-1:52 and 6:25-6:52) sounded crushed up into the mids-to-highs; the individual instruments were each audible, but they all had a muffled sound to them.  The clean guitar that started at 3:02 was better, but even it has a slight buzz to it, and it too gets more muffled as the mix goes on.

I also wasn't a big fan of the quavering pads used throughout.  It's a distracting texture that drew away from the other instruments, and it's quite unpleasant when exposed (e.g. around 1:55).  It also eats up a lot of the spectrum and is contributing to everything else sounding muffled.

I'm sorry, but to me this doesn't sound "crisp" at all, but thin, distant, and wet.  Other than the exceptions I described above, it mostly sounds like I'm listening to it being played through a stereo on the other side of a wall.  I like the arrangement, but I really don't think the production is as full and as clean as it should be.

NO (resubmit)

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This is excellent; I am personally loving the soundscape, even with it being high-heavy. Really great choices of sounds, and the guitar fits in very nicely. The arrangement is thoughtful and fun while retaining an air of mystery at points. I don't have any big complaints here, aside that a touch more low end would have been nice, but not a dealbreaker to me. 

YES

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The mix is indeed a bit top-heavy, but never sounding tinny or piercing.  Also that kick is so damn hollow, it sounds almost wimpy.  I think the mix also sounds overly charged most of the time, with some backing drones that are getting too much presence and interfering with the instrumentation such as around 5:13.  I think the arrangement itself is amazing as well as all the performances in it.  I wish there was less hubris to go through in the mix to enjoy the otherwise excellent interpretation.

I'm really borderline on this one, though I'm slightly edging towards a pass due to the excellent arrangement.  The issues with clarity in the mix and mix balance bring down the song at some points for me, but this is a long song, and I think there's more to be enjoyed here than not.  I definitely wish the mix would've been more refined.  Not an easy decision for me, and I wouldn't be surprised if other Js feel like asking for another pass.

YES (borderline)

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Great opening sequence. The combination of acoustic guitars for rhythm, and the electric guitars for lead works very well. Across the duration the mix is packed full of licks laying over each other which help both with transitions to new sections as well as keeping things fresh. Parts are well played, tight but not overly nudged. Backing instruments create a full soundscape. Arrangement wise, parts are not visited long, with something new frequently presented to the lister. Bird chirping is a little loud during the section around 2:00 but they don't go for long.

Mixing wise things are quite full, sometimes overly so. You don't always have a heap of instruments playing at the same time, but even in sparser sections the parts share a lot of frequency space which tends to cloud certain areas (the worst of this was later on during the section starting around 5:10). There wasn't a point where you completely ruined the clarity, but the mixing in these kinds of sections definitely pulled this down a bit for me, I felt some tweaked eq for sections that were fuller was definitely needed. That said, as the others I think this is overall very well done, you've expressed a lot of creativity in particular with the guitar in this track, having it fill a number of roles (rhythmic, lead, backing, sfx) which I found impressive.

YES 

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Opened up very similar to the source tune, so I was waiting to hear how this would begin to stand apart from it. The chorus hitting at 1:05 but retaining a lot of the same instrumentation from the start was that first change and set the interpretation factor off in the right direction going forward. The "DK Island Swing" stuff in the middle of the track was odd, but worked in reasonably well, and you get used to the transition after multiple listens. Enjoyed Johnathan's treatment of the themes overall.

I definitely hear the other Js on the mixing here not being ideal with the kick sounding puny as hell like Sir_NutS pointed out, instruments mudding together and fighting for the same space (3:04's section), and then some pretty badly noticeable and extended crowding at 5:11's section, but the arrangement arguably making up for it. I'd nonetheless like to hear 5:11-6:49 tweaked before approval, if possible.

The track sounded better than MindWanderer's crit that it sounded like it was "played through a stereo on the other side of a wall," but I did laugh at that and he's definitely not wrong even if it's hyperbolic to make a point. Definitely take all of the production criticisms into account to clean up your future works. We can post what's here, so I wouldn't be upset at all if this passed, but there's definitely that element of disappointment that the production ultimately undermines the arrangement.

In a few years, I think Jonathan will look back at this one and wish he knew then what he knows now. We can all agree this is a sweet arrangement, but there's just too much of the track where the mixing is cluttered and messy. Looks like it could still make it, but if it didn't, definitely just address some of the mixing concerns, and this would be an easy pass.

NO (resubmit)

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There are some really great moments in this track, such creativity, and the guitar playing is absolutely ace.  The mixing needs work though.  The first couple of minutes are so thin and lacking bass that it almost sounds like an extended intro.  The lead guitar at 3:03 is WOW loud compared to the soundscape.  The kick is so strange that it really sounds like something has gone wrong in the track, like rendering pops instead of a kick.  The mix is crispy enough that I'm wondering if it is a bit overcompressed.  Many parts feel cluttered and overly busy, too many elements and possibly too much saturation used on things.  The arrangement goes on a little long for my taste.  This one isn't quite there yet for me.

NO

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Man, dat smooth guitar lead.

Minute or so in I was ready to give this one a stamp of approval.  Then some nagging issues crop up that are giving me pause.  I know it's been mentioned but I'll sign off on the flimsy kick remark.  The drums overall aren't super strong tone-wise, but the kick in particular is oddly almost non-present.  Toms have a similar tone issue when they play on the fills (and it sounds weird to me when they do because of it).  They both sound like high-pitched indistinct thud/click sounds rather than having any meat to them.

I don't have as much issue with the low end vs. high end issue (though it could be balanced better) as I do with the cluttered mix in the busier parts.  Areas to focus on for this would be 1:30 & 6:25.

I like the arrangement a lot and I never felt it overstayed its welcome.I can definitely understand the yes votes here and could see it being posted as is.  If I was the artist personally, though, I'd like to have the opportunity to tighten things up first.

NO (borderline)

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I'm baffled at the mixing of the drums here. What's going on with that kick? Agree with Justin on the cluttered areas too.

The arrangement is gorgeous but this mix really needs another once-over.

NO, resub

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