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Everything posted by Liontamer

  1. Biased because I help the site run these days, but I came in as just a fan (and am not a musician). Once I tried all the arrangements outside of the games I was nostalgic for, I only then realized how special this site and the community was. If you’re interested in video game music, music production and collaboration, there’s arguably no better place to get better than here. In terms of other VGM hobbyist arrangement communities, other places have more relaxed standards (not inherently a bad thing, just different, and OCR started the same way), and in terms of pro audio communities, it’s oftentimes difficult to get in depth (or civil and constructive) feedback. There also the Discord server, which you should join at https://discord.gg/VABjqGa.
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  6. Hold up there, not quite. Our Standards say, "Sound effects alone are not considered music, and submissions primarily consisting of them will not be accepted." What that rule mainly speaks against is constructing an wholly original music piece out of in-game sound effects or placing SFX & voice clips over an instrumental not based on game music, neither of which we count as VGM arrangement. There's nothing in this concept incompatible with OCR, including extended audio intros, just so that's clear to Angélique, the judges, and anyone else interested in the standards & guidelines. As far as how I'd look at the source tunes being dominant, I'd just look for the source tunes to be referenced during at least 50% of the musical portion of the track, in this case starting at :49. The gimmick is awesome, including the pseudo-voice acting with the song construction steps, which is supposed to sound robotic. I agreed somewhat with prophetik in that the overall development here feels limited. More could be done to make the steps sound like the track's evolving more substantially over time, but I also think there's enough done in terms of gradually adding parts here that can be taken in conjunction with the premise here. However, you still have to have reasonably solid production, even if the premise is reviewing the building blocks of a song. I'd just say the samples mostly sound super fake, whether it's the pizz strings, piano, claps, or mallet percussion. Stuff shouldn't sound so exposed and unrealistic. The bassline brought in at 2:25 was off-key, but seemingly wasn't a problem once it switched to arranging Bomberman Hero "Redial" at 2:57. As this point, the groove is fleshed out some more, but very stilted with textures that are thin and not fully filled out. It wasn't until the string lead at 4:33 from :20 of Ape Escape "Oceana" that it felt like the song finally had some more body to it, but it was still hamstrung by all of the other previously mentioned issues, so I can't say that things actually gelled. Until the instrumentation is humanized and given more body/realism, Angélique, this is a fun concept without the complimentary production execution. Cool stuff though so far, Angélique. Consider seeing what more you can do with it in terms of beefing up the production quality. NO (resubmit)
  7. Really great to hear from Tobias, who I recognize from the VGMix2 days. I'll timestamp what I could make out there, but it wasn't anywhere near what Tab had laid on in his notes as the source tune connections: :00-:46, :51-1:24, 1:30.5-1:33.5, 1:37-1:41, 1:45.5-1:49, 1:49-1:55, 2:11.5-2:24 (quiet, maybe gaps), 2:24-2:32, 2:47.5-2:49.5, 2:57.5-3:17.5, 3:27-3:34, 4:03.75-4:27, 5:03.5-5:13 Fairly generic synths to open things up, but creatively processed and within an interesting arrangement idea. Wondering how this has 2 NOs to start, but let's see. Drops off at :46, but comes back with the source melody at :55 and some nice organic-sounding beats derived from the source. Another dropoff at 1:28, and I can't tell what if anything's being referenced. Same with the line at 1:41, it doesn't sound like Mario 2, but you have the Underground backing beat from 1:49-1:55. Alright, nothing really wrong with the original section; we'll see where it goes. Arguably cluttered after more textural filler arrived at 1:56, then... OK, actually cluttered from 2:11, or, wait... damn, from 2:26-2:33 was very cluttered. Yeah, this was a bit much, but a purposeful build, so respect for paying this off. 3:35 was just a bunch of clutter, moreso at 3:50, and I'm still not recognizing anything melodically from Mario 2 for the longest time; is this ever going to circle back? When the underground melody finally came back at 4:04, it was just completely buried in muck, but thankfully sounded better from 4:12-4:27 once the soundscape cleared up. On the production side, decluttering this would be very nice, because you have sections that just descend into indistinct noise that undermines the writing and contrast you're attempting to make. But yeah, the crux of why this is deemed too liberal is because of your treatment of "Underworld Theme Part 2 Lead", which is mostly unrecognizeable. In the original, it's only a 10-note pattern, so when you've altered it as much as you have, no one would really pick it up, and I even grew up on this theme and don't recognize it here, just the part 1 section, the drum pattern, and the melody's second half from the part 2 lead. Maybe it would seem too pedestrian for the arrangement, but you didn't need to alter the part 2 melody so drastically. As long as you feel it wouldn't compromise your vision of the piece, Tobias, go more straightforward with the melody; you already have a transformative and expansive enough concept as it is. If not, no worries, and I hope you submit something else so we can finally have you posted here. NO (resubmit)
  8. Sounds ultra-conservative to start, so we'll see where it goes. The lead at :12 wasn't my taste, but we'll see where it goes. With the dropout of the melodt at :48, I was waiting to see how this would stand apart from the original. Some beat entered in at :59 and I'm not getting a synergy with that new part together with the padding or lead. Nice drop at 1:24 though. Yeah, same with the beats at 1:35 (which were getting buried), I'm not getting the feeling that these sounds glue together. The source melody was interpreted more from 1:35-2:28, so that was a positive thing. By 2:00, I'm still feeling the soundscape is very cluttered and that the beats from 1:35-2:24 plodded, mainly because of the snare, which also had an underwhelming tone. I liked the closing section from 2:26 until the end, which had a lovely ethereal quality to it. I'd also argue the lead could stand to be changed or have some effects applied on it to give it a more complementary sound with the other instrumentation; I apologize for not better articulating why the lead and drums don't seem to work well here. I'm glad Chimpa gave feedback on how to possibly clean this up, because I agreed on the textures being too muddy. Incorporating some other ideas to help the first half stand apart from the style of the original wouldn't be a bad idea either. Solid development that still needs fine tuning on the production side. NO (resubmit)
  9. Yeah, this would have been gold back in ye olden days of OCR, 15-20 years ago. I hear how the padding MindWanderer pointed out didn't click, but it was a quiet background component and didn't register as clashing for me. Same with Chimpa's problem with the intro build still fading out after the melody took over; that didn't clash to my ear or bother me either. Solid extended build with the piano and into the melody finally arriving at :32, but the mixing wasn't sharp. Loved the transition stuff from :57-1:00; great signal of a change in the energy level. The core drumbeat plodded after 1:00 and sounded like it was far away and stapled underneath (as opposed to souunding like it shared the same soundscape as everything else). The melody was also super conservatively handled from 1:00-1:51, which was a more significant negative when the overall arrangement was so short. Dayum, a 20-second fadeout within a 40-second outro? I liked these final bars, but they still repeated for too long (1:51-2:32), even with a fade out for the last 20 seconds, IMO. It's not shocking that the others feel the overall arragement needs more development. I think the substance of the arrangement's being shortchanged, but I can see where the others are coming from, as the middle section's very melodically conservative, while the final outro's very repetitive. I'm more hung up about the mixing needlessly sounding lossy and hope there's a way to brighten this up, but I do hope you're willing to add some more substance and/or variation to the second and third sections, especially if you had no interest in adding any length to this arrangement (which isn't necesary, IMO). Really strong foundation here, Neon! You're talented enough that I think you could revisit this and push it over the line here. NO (borderline/resubmit)
  10. Sounds very similar to the original to start in terms of apeing the lead, but we heard some support and ornamanetation come in at :31 and voice sampling from :45. A beat comes in from 1:00-1:48 that sounds super dry, lo-fi, and unsync'ed with the timing. That can potentially work, and I see what you're going for with the off-beat, but the sound doesn't click here at all; there's absolutely no synergy and the other parts don't even feel like they share the same soundscape. The second beat from 1:51-2:39 was properly positioned in the background, fit more comfortably and seemed to click together better with the production of the bassline and SFX. After 2:43, the strings sustains didn't sound realistic, but served as semi-effective padding, while the lead became significantly brighter until the dropoff at 3:08. If you're paying attention, you notice the nice and (again) subtle build of an even more optomistic sound from 2:55-3:08 for some effective contrast before the finish at 3:08. Dynamics-wise, I appreciated the understated builds and breaks; very low-key addition and subtraction is going on throughout, and its so, so easy to mistake the laid-back sound of this as lacking energy or substance. Sound design-wise, I generally was digging this; not a blowaway palette, but the glassier leads had a very nice tone to them, the SFX were integrated well, and nearly everything here fits with a kind of trip hop vibe. That said, most of what works comes from directly sampling the original audio (e.g. comparing :12 of the source to 1:13 of the mix, 2:00 of the source to 1:51 of the mix), so I couldn't vote in favor of it without that being replaced by your own instrumentation from the ground-up, otherwise it's a Standards violation due to extensive samping, IMO. IMO, I'd need 1) the direct audio sampling of the original replaced, 2) to hear the beat from 1:00-1:48 replaced with something that's produced to mesh and be properly balanced with the other instrumentation. For #2, it's nearly a quarter of the track and thus a deal-breaker for me. The beat writing could be the same, and I'm not saying it needs to use the same sample, mixing, or effects as the 1:51 beat. Because the texture from 1:00-1:48 doesn't work, the dynamic contrast I was praising elsewhere doesn't really show through there. Hopefully a musician judge can further elaborate and clarify what may be going on. That said, you have a vision for this piece, and it might not fit OCR because of the extensive direct audio sampling, so if we don't get a revision of this, I look forward to hearing something else in your repetoire, Chiptop! NO (resubmit)
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  13. Jorrith was checking on this and let me know that he sent djp a revision WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY back... which Dave seemingly never passed onto us. Boo, djp, boo. (I've overlooked things in much worse fashion, so no hate.) Jorito had no hard feelings about it, which speaks to his class, but we'd still like to apologize for it. I'm sorry to Jorrith, Kaisyn, Andrew, and Jarrod for us dropping the ball, and we're glad to now pick it back up! Listening to the revised version, the mixing of the various parts is much better; you can hear more of the supporting synth writing which helps spice up the instrumental, the vocals were pulled back instead of being so much louder than the instrumental, as well as given some effects & tuning touch-ups alongside chorusing & vocoder layering in parts which added more smoothness, depth, and variety to the performance. Everything glues together so much better as a result. Loved everything else about this updated piece and am happy to flip my vote to YES; I'm sure any concerns djp also had are meaningfully addressed here. Not that the bar rises due to Jorrith's track record, as the original version did pass, but given that djp agreed with my serious reservations, I didn't want this to potentially get veto'ed. The revised version sounds like Jorito's cohesive presentation we've come to expect, and will better stand the test of time. YES
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  19. Love the opening sound to this. The initial Toad SFX ducked in a seemingly sloppy way at :26; it may be totally purposefully, but awkwardly cuts/drops in a way that felt like a mistake. Melody came in also and things were very structurally conservative; that along with the very steady beats, this was sounding very by-the-numbers and limited in interpretation. By 1:25, I was waiting for this to break out somehow -- not to get crazy, mind you -- just to embrace some additional and distinct interpretive ideas. I really liked the gliding lead at 1:44-2:13; arguably mixed too quietly, but the writing was creative and the effects on all the parts throughout the soundscape were solid. But going back into the source melody at 2:12, the ideas were retreading without much other development. I love the groove, but without something more substantive taking place from 2:12, this is coasting off a great groove and too repetitive. This works great in the sense of a sound upgrade for in-game use, as the groove is nice and you have a logical loop point. Love what's here so far, and it wouldn't take much -- just something meaningful -- to help push this over the top. Changes/variations to the instrumentation (read: percussion!), textures, rhythms, tempo; anything like that can make the presentation feel fresh and evolving. Nice work, so far, Neon, and I sincerely hope you'll see what more you can do to spice it up and develop the concept that additional degree to snag those YESes! NO (please resubmit)
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