Naru

1. work-in-progress Mario Kart DS - Raining Bows (Bow of Rain)

8 posts in this topic

Update: 

I'm working on a Mario Kart Medley for my achievement of 7k plays on Soundcloud. It's gonna include 4 of my favorite Rainbow Road tracks (DS, GC, 3DS, 64). This is the DS version. Some feedback would be nice in terms of what I could do better, what could change, etc.

Source: 

 

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Congratulations on 7k plays! May you get many, many more. :) It's interesting how you phase out the bass in the beginning and then phase it back in. It sounds kind of spacey which fits in with Rainbow Road. Maybe you could do the opposite and phase out the high parts while the bass has the melody and phase it back in? Overall, your remix sounds pretty good (and is much better than the original). 

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On 8/8/2017 at 8:25 PM, Light_of_Aether said:

Congratulations on 7k plays! May you get many, many more. :) It's interesting how you phase out the bass in the beginning and then phase it back in. It sounds kind of spacey which fits in with Rainbow Road. Maybe you could do the opposite and phase out the high parts while the bass has the melody and phase it back in? Overall, your remix sounds pretty good (and is much better than the original). 

Thanks so much! Maybe I could try doing more with the phasing of the melody. I'll do some experimentation with that.

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Normally, I'd break it down and comment on production and arrangement separately, but I think with a mix like this, the line between the two can be pretty blurry, so I'll look at them both together.

First off, I don't think the intro works particularly well. Right now, you have the full punch of the arrangement coming right out of the gate, with percussion, bass, melody, and a phasing/filtering effect on the the whole thing, and it's a bit jarring; after the intro, you then town it down and bring in individual elements, but.... the best way I can describe the feel of this is that it feels like I'm reading a book that tells me the entire plot in the first few pages, and then introduces me to the characters and setting afterward. You can occasionally pull something like that off in the right context, but it's hard to do and I don't think it really works in the context of this arrangement. I'd try to make the intro less busy.

I'm not wild about the percussion samples; they sound a bit dry and don't sit all that well in the mix. This may be fixable with EQ and effects, without actually changing the samples; if you haven't already, I highly recommend you check out Zircon's percussion tips. Percussion also needs more variation in general.

The mid (particularly upper-mids) feel a bit busy; I'd try to EQ out a bit more space for your leads.

The arrangement is fairly conservative; aside from instrumentation, very little is changed form the original. I think this alone would prevent it from getting past the judges were you to submit it.

Now, having said all that, there are a few aspects of this that I really like.
At 1:14, you have a cool little mixup in the percussion. This is a cool little flair, and I'd love to see you more of this sort of variation, as well as some changes to the bass and the other instruments to accentuate this little mixup, rather than keeping it almost-hidden the way it is now. When you recycle the exact same mixup a few bars later, this sort of takes away from the novelty of it; as I said above, more variation in the percussion would go a long way.
I like what you did starting at 2:08, though the jury's still out on whether I like the distortion I can hear in some parts of this section (particularly at 2:18). I can't tell if you've got clipping somewhere in your signal chain or if the distortion is deliberate; I'd fiddle around with this a bit, but I'm not sure what the ideal solution would be.
Also, this mix is, on the whole, just plain fun! Despite all my criticisms, you definitely capture the fun, carefree feel of an afternoon playing Mario Kart.

Are you planning on extending the mix past it's current end? The section at 2:08 would, I think, work great as a bridge of sorts, but I like it less as an outro, and I'm not wild about the fadeout; this would be a moot point if you extended the mix past it's current end, obviously.

Overall, the mix is fun, but I don't think it's likely to make it past the judges' panel in its current state.

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I would agree with @Geoffrey Taucer for the most part. My main concerns about this would be the arrangement copy-pasta, and the odd mixing choices.

ARRANGEMENT/STRUCTURE

The big red light is that 0:00 - 1:04 is EXACTLY copy/pasted at 1:05 - 2:08. That instantly tells me that there can be more effort into putting variation and interpretation into the arrangement. Sorry to say, but this loop structure is one major reason why this wouldn't pass the panel at this moment.

Beyond that though, the intro just leaps into the action headfirst, without easing us in at least a little. The dynamics are fine, but it doesn't sound like you've incorporated any other source tunes yet.

MIXING/PRODUCTION

I'm not so wild about the high pass automation going on in the first 30 seconds and after 2:08, as it sounds awkward and clips the limiter. The distortion does not sound deliberate to me. It's a result of the high pass being too spiky at the resonant frequency that everything collectively clips there. It's quite prevalent, so I felt like it was necessary to bring this to your attention. 

The sound balance is a bit strange as well in terms of the panning, since the midrange-heavy sounds are sometimes to the slight right, while the upper-frequency sounds are on the slight left. I generally would keep the meat (the 500 - 5000 Hz range) of the sound design centered. 

SUMMARY

Overall, I think you should keep working on this, particularly on expanding past a structure where only 1:04 of it is unique and the rest of it is an exact rehash of what you had already stated.

Furthermore, the odd mixing choices of using a dramatic resonant high pass filter automation and having most of the midrange sounds slightly right-panned would also contribute to a NO on the panel.

Don't get discouraged though, and keep trying. This is in fact fun to listen to, particularly if you're a run-of-the-mill fan of mario music in general. Here are examples of Mario Kart mixes that passed the panel to get you going:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DCZey2P5KlI

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=U8koP8Zimxo

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HftNT3UDaEg

 

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You've got some lovely commentary on here, but I'll add my two cents and cap this off with an official mod review.

EVAL

You've gotten quite a bit of energy put into this track - the instrumentation sounds far better than the source while losing nothing in the original source's energy and intent. Of course, when handling the track in a way that's similar to the source you run the risk of being TOO close to the source for OCR's purposes, which unfortunately would be the case here. The notes, the style, the instrumentation, etc., is all very close to the source material, to the point of sounding like a sound upgrade rather than a re-arrangement of the material. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it wouldn't be something OCR could post.

On a related note, the arrangement does a direct loop with no difference between the loops (other than the automated highpass location). It's a bit of a side effect of following a source too closely, but it's still an issue in it's own right worth addressing: if the repeat is nothing more than filler for length then it's not worth having in a stand alone track. In this case it's a method of achieving an almost three minute runtime rather than a meaningful expansion of the track. Give the listener something new to grab hold of if you use such repetition in the future - some new textures, variation in the theme, a variation in the drums, etc..

As far as the production values go, this isn't bad - the overall loudness of the track is about where it should be, and save for the moments where the highpass overtakes the track there's little notable overcompression or limiting artifacts. Those automated highpasses, though, really cause production problems (clipping/limiting artifacts), and they make little musical sense to boot. Techniques like automating the highpass should be used with some purpose in mind, not simply in the middle of an otherwise straightforward arrangement just for the sake of having an automated highpass. It really tars an otherwise enjoyable track.

It's not bad, but it would be stopped right at the gate due to how conservative the arrangement it. Furthermore, the strange use of automated highpass would cause it some problems, as well. While not a bad arrangement, it's not something OCR would be looking for.

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Sorry for the delayed response. College life hit pretty hard. Thank you all for your feedback! I will continue to work on this remix!  

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