Sign in to follow this  
Sir_NutS

*NO* Donkey Kong Land 'Another World of Dreams'

9 posts in this topic

#shamelessselfpaneling

Artist: Sir_NutS, Injury
Name of the games arranged: Donkey Kong Land
Name of the arrangement: Another World of Dreams
Name of the individual songs arranged: 'Ancient Beaver Bop'

Links to originals: 

I made this remix for one of the very earliest PRC rounds more than a decade ago.  It was a stylistic tribute to Robert Miles, who sadly passed away very recently.  His music was a great inspiration for me when I started to learn how to make music, and really very few people can claim they have been a major driving force, even called creator of a whole genre.

Needless to say, this is a Dream Trance remix that I tried to make as close as I could to Miles' style within the constraint of the source.  However, this is not the same remix I made so long ago.  That remix was, although solid on the arrangement side, imo, very lacking on the production department, pretty understandable given how old it was.  The original Reason project is literally unusable as I only have a read-only rps file left, so I had to remake everything but the arrangement from scratch using completely new tools on Bitwig.  I think I managed to reproduce the custom sounds I created back in the day very closely while bringing the production up to standards, and then I tweaked the arrangement even more and changed quite a few things.

I still wasn't very happy with it, so I asked Injury to provide those signature, breathy and dreamy vocals found in these type of songs.  Her contribution elevated the track to something I can be proud of now, even if I stick to some basic tenets and cliches of the genre.  My only regret is that the original arrangement didn't leave much space for her to really let out melodically.

Enjoy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitely hear the Robert Miles influence here, but, perhaps due to Injury's vocals, I would have pegged this as an Aversa couple tribute instead.  Which is good, too!  I really enjoyed the arrangement and the style.  It's a perfect adaptation of the source, one of those remixes that I think people will start recognizing for itself rather than for what it's based on.

However, there are some production issues that I feel could use some tweaking.  The strings in 1:43-2:12 are in conflict with the backing instruments and are getting muffled, not carrying the lead, especially conflicting with some of the arps in places.  Same goes for the synth lead in 2:56-3:09, to a lesser extent, and the one at 4:21-4:34, to a greater extent.  It would be nice if you could make a little more room for the vocals at 3:35 and 3:51, too.  The piano is occasionally in some conflict as well, but Miles struggled with the same issue, and I think you actually did a better job than him in many ways.

The piano solo in 2:26-2:40 seems strange and random to me.  I don't get the impression that it's being matched well by the backing synths.

There's a clap at 0:45 that sounds very staticy.  It seems intentional but sounds like severe distortion.

The ending is a little abrupt.  There's not much of a build-up to a climax, and Injury's intonation doesn't suggest finality.

That 808 is a little too pounding for my tastes.  There's nothing objectively wrong with it that I can tell, but it's threatening to give me a headache now that I've been listening to it for a while now.

All in all, though, all my crits are on the minor side.  The EQ is my biggest overall concern, and the thumping 808 is the biggest thing that's affecting my enjoyment of the piece, but neither is a dealbreaker.  I'd love to see those aspects tweaked, but overall I think this is very successful and I'll be happy to add it to my own library.

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is pretty nice, enjoying the soundscape overall. I only have a couple nitpicks at myself. Some of the instrumentation feels a bit mechanical, I would have liked a little more humanization. I do agree that the solo piano does feel a little weird, the melody is just a little too jumpy. Nitpicks aside, the arrangement is clearly there, and Injury's vocals fit in great. The breathy feel really makes a difference! The instrument lead changes are pretty frequent as well, which prevents things from wearing out. Nice work overall!

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not really a fan of the piano timing, which sounded mechanical. Unlike the real piano in "Children", which sounds lush, the sampled piano was dryer than it should be, so the stilted timing was too exposed. The strings at 1:42 were also an issue, both with mechanical timing, and also because the mixing became cluttered. Also, it wasn't the biggest deal, but your bassline -- while it did register -- was indistinct and pretty much buried until 2:11.

The strings and piano being so fakey was more of a problem from 2:11-2:56 when the texture was less dense and you could focus on them more. I did like the different lead from 2:56-3:25 and the chromatic percussion accents were a nice touch.

The soundscape wasn't washed out from 3:25-3:38, but watch for clutter there, particularly for that flourish from 3:35-3:38.

When the synth strings were more in the background as a countermelody from 3:52-4:20 the background placement served them much better and didn't expose the sample.

Arrangement-wise, this is creative, evolving and developed, and Starla's vocals were performed nicely and produced with that lush sound [although too mudded up in some places (e.g. 3:34-3:38)].

I'm gonna be the grandpa and say the piano and string sequencing shouldn't sound this fakey, in that order. Perhaps you might be able to adjust some effects on those parts to better mask the lack of realism, but either way, I'm not on board until those parts are more humanized.

NO (resubmit)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I LOVE this arrangement, and those vocals are WOW.  But I agree with Larry about the piano and strings.  The piano is so dry.  The strings work fine as a backing element but when they are exposed starting at 2:11 the fakeness is too obvious.  The bass does sound a bit indistinct, I'm not convinced this is the best bass patch.  The overall mix has just a tad too much mid-highs for my taste.  VERY cool track, just needs a bit of production cleanup.

NO (borderline, resubmit)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice intro build up. Progression is solid, with clean transitions into each section. Things repeat themselves a bit in the final third of the mix, it would've been nice if the arrangement changed up more during these sections. I feel there's a bit of a problem here with clarity on the accompanying instruments - parts can be heard but feel muffled at times, like the highs have been sloped off a bit too much. The kick drum has a good thud, while the other drum parts seem to get lost. The vocals and piano are clear in comparison. I didn't have major concerns with the piano or string quality, apart from the strings abruptly ending at times - this could be sorted by adding a reverb or delay tail to the final notes to make them fit more into the surrounding soundscape. I think this really needs another mixing/production pass, to separate the parts more from each other and to introduce a little brightness to the mix, which should take it over the line no problem.

NO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seeing that I've had to study this track for earlier reasons, I may as well give my vote on it, too.

The arrangement works quite well, in my book - it's an old school trance track, and it presents the material with a solid building progression. The synths are a little cheezy, but I think for something oldschool like this cheezy works great. Injury's vocals are great (as they damn well should be), though I think they're overprocessed to the point of taking away their appeal a bit.

The effects on the piano don't work well in this. Nothing wrong with the piano carrying the themes or anything, but compared against the wet background the piano is too dry. I'm aware of the delay that should be giving it some depth and wetness, but a long delay only makes it sound like a dry piano sample being echoed. More room reverb would help it blend with the arrangement better.

The strings at 2:18 are pretty mechanical. When they're layered against the other synths they sound great, but when they're exposed their lack of dynamics and unrealistic attacks make them sound fake. Making them sound more realistic would improve this, but layering some synths over them like before would also make this work well (and would be more consistent with what you have prior).

I agree with the others that the upper end of the EQ spectrum is pretty crowded. While I love the textures being as dense as they are it's hard to hear them all when everything takes that same range. Lowpassing some of the instruments and decreasing the wetness of a few other instruments would help give you more space to work with.

It's a tough call, but I think I agree with the NO's on this one. Fixing the piano part is the most important part since it's so pervasive, as well as cleaning up the soundscape. Nice work, and I hope this gets cleaned up and resubmit.

NO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Liking the atmosphere of the intro.  Piano used sounds off, texture-wise, sort of dull, while still sounding brittle to me.  As important of a role as it plays, I would've liked it to feature a better tone.  Probably could soften the 2-4khz-ish range (it sounds like it's fighting other stuff in this range) and add a bit more highs to get it airy enough to still cut through.  Probably would need to tone down some of the highs on other elements to give it some space.

Mastering is a bit loud, but not overly-so.  Mixing is pretty clear between parts, but could be toned-down in the highs for some of the parts.  There are some piercing freqs in places, mainly caused by some backing stabby stuff - resonant backing part at 3:00 and strings/other stuff at 3:38.  Also, that last note at 4:21 - ouch.

When strings come in prominently, they're noticeably dry against reverbed/delayed other elements.  Also, that last note cut-off at 2:11, beyond being abrupt, left a bad impression, note-wise.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that "natural" instruments used in a dance setting don't have to be realistic sounding.  There could be an uncanny-valley, unhappy medium argument made in this case against that, I suppose, where you need to go more robo or more humanized.  I feel like I may have been ok with this if the piano didn't play such an integral part holding down the main melody, relative to sample quality/production.  It's close for me, and it wouldn't bother me if it had passed.  If I were Nuts, though (and I almost am! See what I did there?), I'd want another shot at this to tighten things up.

NO (borderline)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope we get a revised cut at this, because I was digging it... I'm also curious: is it possible SoundCloud is affecting the mastering/levels? Def. sounded a little over-compressed to me, but I know SC can have that effect sometimes...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this