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Gario

*NO* Sonic Adventure 'Big Fish' *RESUB*

8 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Prior Decision

Hi judges, here's the updated version for Big Fish, taking your feedback into consideration (previous version is still up if you want to compare).
 
All the previous info is still correct. Thanks and keep up the good work!

LINK: 

 

Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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It looks like you went and addressed the big issue that was catching me, so that's a great improvement. That lead now sounds a little underwhelming, but if it were any louder it would hurt to listen to due to the narrow EQ range. Realize that narrow EQ leads often have the problem of having no ground that is both well balanced in the mix and doesn't hurt the listener's ears - unless there's a specific reason to do so it's often a better idea to widen the EQ range of your leads to get more volume without causing piercing (I like to use sine wave leads, so I personally know the struggle well).

I don't have issue with clashing in the lead like Jivemaster did - the slightly off slides work well in the context for me. The organ bugs me somewhat due to it's consistent presence throughout the track, which gets stale over time. I honestly wasn't able to catch that last time due to the inability to listen to it in one take last time, but listening again it gets pretty stale.

Outside of that, I think it does exactly what it needed to do. The lead is loose, but it fits within the style well enough, and the rest of the music around it is well performed. I could complain about the mixing a little more, but none of it is enough to sway my vote against this. Best of luck on the other votes!

YES

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I never heard the first version, so I'm coming into this fresh. Production's definitely not an issue now; sometimes the supporting guitar was comparatively too loud behind the lead, but it was nothing dealbreaking or worth timestamping because everything sounded reasonably well-mixed and above bar there, IMO.

Strange how I've never heard this source before. Can't say I enjoyed the source tune OR this version of it initially, but that's because it followed the structure of the original which already has some pretty odd writing that never clicked for me. It was a moot point by the 5th time I listened to this and got used to the flow of this arrangement, but I'm just getting my stream of consciousness out there on how I reacted to the source.

Dynamically, I was disappointed by this one. Again, I'm always fine with pieces that have a narrower dynamic curve, as long as enough is going on within that curve. I don't mind this going for a laid-back, surf vibe, but it just came off as plodding as well as texturally empty in places, despite the obvious musicianship demonstrated in putting it all together. I'm not saying this needed more grandiose energy anywhere, but the organ line definitely dragged out over time, and the overall energy level felt pretty static. I think one cause for this compared to the original was that -- unlike the source -- your chorus sections (first at :47) kept the same instrumentation and energy level as the verses, so nothing in the composition introduced a real shift in the writing or sound. Not saying you have to slavishly follow the source tune's structure and change the instrumentation for that section, but that was just a way the original song was more dynamic.

On the flip side, props for varying up the drumwork so nicely to not let that aspect get stale. That stuff was subtle enough though that it didn't create more overt dynamic contrast within the arrangement, but it was what it was.

Boy, those dropoffs at 2:47-3:11 just didn't feel right either, even though that went in the right direction as far as varying the textures. Ultimately, it's seemingly more of the same writing, instrumentation and energy level only minus some parts. By the time the song picked back up at 3:11, the whole piece was dragging, IMO.

To me, the instrumentation never changing combined with the flat dynamics ended up killing it for me. I'm unfortunately but initially a NO (resubmit), but I will certainly be listening more to this one, and am open to the possibility that I'm "old-manning" this and not getting it. I'll need to see more feedback from the other Js here, but I will be watching this discussion for anyone to make a compelling enough case for me to flip my vote. It's really difficult to be calling this a NO when the production was so solid, but the arrangement being so samey throughout is nagging me.

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Well, last time I mentioned that there might be issues I wasn't noticing because of the balance/EQ issues, and Larry has certainly picked up on a big one.  The changes meant to hold the listener's interest are fairly small.  They're definitely there--each of the breaks at 0:16, 0:48, 1:28, 2:00, 2:17, 2:32, 2:48, 3:12, and 3:28 are clearly noticeable, and the style never quite retreads itself--but those changes are primarily subtle ones to percussion.  Sometimes one or both guitars drop out, but when they're there, they're playing in the same style and with the same energy level.  1:28 stood out because of the key change, which is the most exciting thing the guitars do.  At least as importantly, the organ almost never lets up and does almost the same thing except for 2:48-3:28, and that makes a huge difference since it's the primary textural element.

I actually took some time to research classic 60's surf instrumentals to see if they had the same problem.  Mostly they were just shorter.  Several insert novelty riffs, playing instruments in unusual ways or adding percussive effects.  Many switch between two or three lead instruments (brass, acoustic guitar, organ).  I think what you have here with the organ for 2:48-3:12 was a good start in that direction, but it's such a sleepy, quiet organ that gets drowned out by the rhythm guitar, and 24 seconds of it isn't enough out of a nearly 4 minute arrangement.

That being said, calm surf rock is a really unusual genre, and there aren't a ton of examples out there.  And calm arrangements are by their nature more static than energetic ones.  It's not like this arrangement goes on for long periods without changing things up at all, but those changes lack impact.  I understand going in this direction, I'm just not sure that it really works without a lot of active effort on the part of the listener to pay attention to the variations.

Gario's points about the lead guitar being "underwhelming" are well-made, as well.

I'm definitely of two minds about this one, and I'll also be sure to keep an eye on this thread and review up until the vote is finalized, but right now I'm coming down slightly more on LT's side than Gario's.

NO (borderline, resubmit)

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Yeah, this is a tough judge track. I can see both sides of the fence here, and I think taking into light the genre change and the intent of the track to be a bit floaty and calm surfer rock that the static arrangement, while not entirely ideal, does work here for me. I can totally see both sides, but I'm good to give this one a go.

YES (borderline)

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I'm not sure if it's just me but a lot of sections in this song feel like there's a clash going on between the lead guitar and backing chords.  Larry pointed out some but to me stuff like 0:57 and 1:18 is really pushing it in terms of harmony.  I also think that, even though the song is meant to feel lazy and laid back, it seems like it's going overboard on that aspect for me and verges on plodding.  

I don't have major issues regarding production on this one, but I don't think the arrangement and adaptation is quite working here.

NO

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Man what's with the weird bendy lead on the OST?

Anyway, it's my first time listening to this song, so here goes.

Off the bat, writing on the organ already feels overly simplistic and repetitive.  It's omni-presence throughout the song, lack of dynamics, and tendency dwell on chorded whole notes (or sometimes half-notes) the entire song makes it feel like it's way overstaying its welcome.  There is a lot more you could do with the writing patterns (and giving it a break when appropriate) to make it more interesting for the listener.

2:48-2:57 breakdown felt underdeveloped and a bit underwhelming after the track builds a bit up to it.  I think it could be much more effective by going beyond instrument drop offs and a few tom hits.

Drum tone sounds good, but the wide panning between the kit pieces while the track overall sounds like it's going for more of a throwback style throws me off a bit - though I view this as a personal nitpick.  Nice variation on the drum writing to keep it fresh throughout.  Note: have you considered trying a more classic pattern on the drums, like kick on 1 & 3.5 and snare on 2, 2.5, & 4?  Seems like it would fit better with the style than some of the more modern-sounding writing that sometimes appears here.

1:30 started feeling like the track was starting to click with me with the added rhythm guitars making it feel more fully-realized after the block chords + lead.  I honestly wish it wouldn't have taken this long to get to a section that felt sufficiently developed & more interesting to me.

Note, sounds like some flubs/clashing notes in the lead notes at :38, :58, & 1:18 that clash with backing chords.

I can hear the arguments on both sides above.  I've listened to this track a couple of extra times beyond what I'd normally do for a vote to make sure I'm sufficiently comfortable with my vote on it.  I'm not ready to pass it as-is, but I don't think it's far.  With some further writing (like organ) and a bit more development to prevent the track from feeling "samey" for long stretches I'd be ready to give it a go.

NO resubmit, please

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This song is well produced but it plods.  The problem is that every element in the track has the same energy level.  The organ is the worst offender since it only ever plays whole notes and it is present throughout the track.  I have two suggestions.  1. Add some elements here and there that have some movement and interest, like a synth arp or filter-motioned synth line or even an interesting hat groove, in the background.  That will add texture, motion, and interest.  2. Change the organ to another type of pad sound somewhere in the arrangement.  You can return to the organ for the ending if you like, but give us some variation somewhere in the middle.

NO (resubmit)

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