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DragonAvenger

OCR03703 - *YES* Secret of Monkey Island "Late in the Caribbean"

7 posts in this topic

It's not from AOCC this time. And it's not a Mana series mix either. New things.
 
Been fiddling with this stupid hing since 2012, and am tired of it. Had a lot of fun with the bass. Not happy with its sound. But it's old, so I don't care enough to do anything about it. Might as well sub it now, cuz it's not gettin' any better. Also, it's summer, so it's topical. Tropical. Something. Less than 48% source without counting chords and chord-derived stuff. Unless I forgot to count something.
 
Along with Commander Keen, Battle Chess and Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island is one of the first games I can remember playing. My cousins had it, brought their computer to our family's summer place one summer, and I couldn't get enough. Not that I even understood English at that point. But any step forward in any puzzle was a success, no matter what it actually did for the story or the game.
 
A few of the melodies stuck with me for at least a decade, when I played the game again. At that point, I could appreciate the game's writing, too. Anyway, there's a bit of my gaming history.
 
mix: 
wav in folder: 
 
"Late in the Caribbean"
game: The Secret of Monkey Island 
source: Opening
 
-rozo
--------------------------------
(Note just the Opening not the introduction)

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Nice xylophone work, and an interesting and effective choice to use that as the anchor of the remix instead of the melody.  I was a little iffy on it at first, but ultimately I think it's justifiable as source usage.  However, the remix is on the long side for having such a simple hook.  There are lengthy sections where there isn't much else going on (1:48-2:30, for instance).

More importantly, the balance here needs a fair bit of work.  The organ is quite loud and a little shrill (especially in 3:50-4:11), and in 0:43-1:14 it totally overpowers the steel drum lead.  I'm also not sold on 2:30-2:51, where the two organ lines conflict with each other a little.  3:29-3:46 also has a lot of conflict, and the timing of the steel drums there is just bizarre and to me doesn't sound like the notes are right.  I also found the percussion claps to be a bit piercing and dominating.

One plus I haven't mentioned yet is the ending (3:50-4:36).  Other than the shrillness of the organ, I really loved the original riffing there, especially the woodwinds.  I'd definitely like to see a version of this get posted that has that intact.

I can live with the long nonmelodic sections, there's plenty of content to make up for it.  But I can't listen to that organ for long, EQ'ed the way it currently is, and the levels could use a few other tweaks as well.

NO (resubmit)

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MW is right that the organ does tend to take over at times, though I didn't find it as much of an issue in the long run. The track has a lot of energy, and I enjoyed the overall instrumentation here. I do feel like the section in the later part of the first minute into the second felt a little bit like there was too much vamping without much direction, and I'm also agreeing with MW that 3:29 sounds a little strange with the slow hits on the steel drums, and some of the note choices don't sound very complimentary. A small section, but worth pointing out. 

Overall I think the arrangement fits really well compared to the source and there's a lot going on that keeps things moving and energetic. The sections pointed out aren't the worst, but definitely do bring the track down a bit, though I think this still is over the bar as-is. Nice work!

YES

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One of my favorite VG themes of all time.  I think you did a great job on the arrangement side here, feels very different but at the same time I can easily identify the original in all the adapted sections.  This is also a very unconventional adaptation, with no clear genre, but feeling cohesive.  The only section I felt the cohesiveness was breaking immersion was in the ballad-like breakdown around 3:20.  Other than that I really like what you've done with the theme on this remix, tons of creative twists.  Production wise I felt it was fine, not an amazing mix that pops out but also no glaring issues.  The pan flute performance felt mechanical and something that could've been improved.

There's a constant arpeggio throughout the song but this didn't bother me, as I'm ok with riffs to ground an arrangement as long as there's movement around them, and that's covered pretty well by the rest of the piece.

YES

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Rozo, always a fun time listening to his stuff since you honestly don't know how he'll take any particular source. His works are fun and varied, I like it.

Anyhoo, as far as this track goes it's pretty cool. The textures are clever, if a bit repetitive from time to time (like that marimba arp in the background, for example). The arrangement makes sense for the most part, even if it's a little long all things considered (with the music sounding like it's meandering toward the end to pad for length). The production and mix are quite good, too, with the exception of the turtleshells at 0:44 getting drown a bit. The issues I have are pretty minor overall, but they're things to take a look at next time around.

Speaking of the Marimba, when working in dynamics into an instrument to humanize it be careful not to copy/paste those dynamics over a short pattern; it ends up feeling mechanical for a very different reason. It's generally better to think of dynamics and level variation in terms of over a phrase rather than over a short pattern, since that's more in line with how people handle long term dynamics. Again, not a huge deal, but something to keep an eye out on for next time.

To be honest, I wasn't feeling the organ as a problem. I'm listening on headphones here so maybe it translates differently on speakers, but the slight panning done on the various instruments helps give each of them their own space so they don't step on each other's toes too much, and the highs didn't seem painful to me. Then again, perhaps I just don't mind highs all that much since I have a tendancy toward that issue in my own stuff. Who knows, but I was fine with it either way.

Yeah, overall it's a fun listen, despite the nitpicking I've done in here. It's a shame that I never got into the Monkey Island games way back when, since the music does seem pretty cool in it, and Rozo does a good job giving it a new feel while keeping it very true to the source. Nice work!

YES

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Man, I'm not sure there's any other vgm tune that's more nostalgic for me than this one.

DA's vote echos much of my thoughts on the mix as well.  There were several sections where it felt like patterns were overly repeated needlessly instead of the song driving forward to something meaningful.  Organ didn't really bother me either.  3:30 definitely sounded like this got a little unfocused on the arrangement side, fortunately only briefly.

I'll add a personal nitpick that I'm not a huge fan of the snare tone as it's very dirty/"slappy/thwappy" (is that even a thing?).  I wish it had a bit more body to it, but that's really personal preference.

PS what was the purpose of the vinyl dust effects at the intro and outro? Track clearly isn't going for a vintage feel to it, so the added effect seemed a bit non-sequitur. 

YES

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I counted the marimba base as a rhythmic change to the melody's opening chords, so all of that counted and there wasn't a need to timestamp anything. The pan flute was stiff, but no big deal. The marimba pattern did feel repetitive and lacking dynamics over time, like Gario pointed out, so that was a a great point; other than that, I didn't have a problem with most of the minor criticisms other Js had. Really strong work, Ad, and I didn't feel like the arrangement plodded or lost its focus; I thought it evolved nicely. Cool stuff!

YES

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