ReMix: Cave Story "Polar Star Overdrive"
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3,806,407 bytes, 2:35, 192kbps
Aight then, "April is Support OCR Month" is officially underway, and while the emphasis is on supporting OCR for the sake of supporting OCR, there's some prizes this time that'll be given away at random, to make things a little more interesting. Read all about it and, if you can chip in, it's greatly appreciated. I'll beat the dead "bad economy" horse one more time and reiterate that our Google ads no longer fully fund our operational costs; your help from last year has been filling in the gaps, and hopefully that trend will continue.
Speaking of trends continuing, I feel like we've been seeing significantly more resubs getting posted these days, and I'm really excited that the evaluation process has been eliciting awesome persistence & revision. This Cave Story mix from newcomer Joren de Bruin (aka Tensei-San) fits that desciption well. In his original sub letter, Joren wrote:
"What I always try to do with each mix I make is to break new ground for myself, be it in terms of sequencing, concept, musical genre or arrangement technique. For this mix I tried to contain myself and leave it to a relatively limited instrumentarium to fill out a relatively short mix, while I did my best to improve yet again upon the standards I have set out for myself with drum and synth sequencing :).
My main inspiration for this mix are the archetypical Scandivian Power Metal bands, in the vein of Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius. I tried to incorporate the typical elements of a wailing keytar, epic synth strings, distorted bass, harmonized lead guitars and rapid-fire drum work. Besides that, I'll admit that I've incorporated some other elements that could be traced back to the likes of Dragonforce (the high tempo and some of the machine gun rhythm guitar riffs) and Children of Bodom (Most of the drum patterns).
I have to add that this was a new genre for me, and my improvised soloing style doesn't really lend itself to such a high tempo, which is why the guitar solo is a bit on the sorry side of things. Mixing and Mastering was entirely done in FL Studio, Synths are self-made Reason presets, Bass is the Broomstick Bass demo ran through Guitar Rig 2, Drums are from the Addictive Drums VST and Guitars have been recorded with an USB-interface ran through Guitar Rig 2 and Amplitube 2."
While down with the arrangement, judges had pretty unanimous gripes with the production, which Mr. de Bruin has since resolved. In his resub email, he wrote:
"I've spent a lot of time honing my production skills since then (I hope you can tell :) ) and I'm quite confident you'll find the production and mastering a lot more cleaner this time around, hopefully to the level of giving this a yes. I've kept the arrangement the same since it was apparently already well above the bar. Enjoy!"
Looks like said confidence wasn't misplaced; while Larry still had some issues with the overall EQ being a little sizzly (Joren lost the project file and could not re-resub), others found this a trivial concern, with Vigilante going the furthest:
"The track is topheavy, but it's not enough to pull it under the bar. Everything else is pretty tight. Balls to the wall, testicles in your chesticles, Nuts on your butts, donkey in your bathtub, et cetera."
A truly visceral commentary. At 2'35", this is a pretty short piece, but it's also pretty damn fast, with some square wave synth lead soloing that motion blurs its way through runs & 'peggios, undulating kicks paired with higher-end snares, and meaty guitar that plays more of a rhythm role up until 1'20", where we get a nice guit solo in place of the synth. In two and a half minutes, it's a little less meaningful to talk about development and dynamic variety - basically, this mix starts off fast & loud and STAYS that way, which makes sense given the scope/construction. To pick some nits, I would have liked selective LFO vibrato applied to the synth lead (aftertouch makes that a lot easier, but mod wheels work, too) as well as some tasteful pitch bends or some other form of modulation; while the simple squarish wave employed does have some delay on it, it gets a bit stale at points, and these tweaks would have helped it have some of the same movement & energy the guitar solo does. All in all, though, a solid debut mix that packs some serious heat in a tiny package. Looking forward to hearing more.
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