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Everything posted by Jivemaster

  1. Nice subtle build-up. Drums progressively come out of a filter. The synth/choir sounds are quite retro, I've initially taken this as intentional. The rhythm guitars that land at 1:12 are quite thin, and could do with a touch of their low-end returned. Main theme plays out on a porta-synth, with a consistent drum beat. 2:26, we get an unexpected guitar solo, which sounds great. There is some dissonance and timing issues in the notes of the second half which do detract a bit from the overall performance. 3:18's arpeggio synths lose some volume after the first few seconds — I wasn't quite sure if this was playing as the lead, or doing background duties. The outro brings back a mixed accompaniment of previous synths and slower lead guitars. The mixing here is ok, there are some low end issues, but they're not mix completely breaking. The rhythm guitars are a little thin and could be beefed up to match their lead counterparts. Arrangement wise the song progression is ok. The vibe of the source was there, with original parts scattered throughout. Given the other votes, have in part been unsure where to lean on this one. I think the lead guitar note issues tip the scales here, there is enough of them to IMO to get a resub. If we can tidy those we'll be in a good place. NO
  2. Firstly, @Emunator gives you some solid analysis as to this track's challenges. There is a master bus compression issue here that is making the mix pump in a weird way. The kick drum is quite high in pitch and feels somewhat out of place — I would definitely recommend swapping it for something deeper (or at least dropping it an octave). The main synth has a bit too much low end that could be dialled back to make it less dominating. After the initial build-up the ambient section has a somewhat pleasing atmosphere, albeit plagued by the same compression issue. Some of white noise (whoosh) FX seem to be cutting off abruptly, which is noticeable during the transitions, and sounds like an error. Although the arrangement is quite minimal in terms of instrumentation, there is a decent amount of variety between the sections. The vibe of the original is mostly retained, and I like the expansion on it. I think the mix shows promise, but has some issues in the mixing department. I'd focus on giving the instruments more varied velocity, and the mastering should be dialled back to give everything more breathing room. Let's revisit. NO
  3. I agree the guitar backing is out a bit, which is quite distracting. The initial build-up is otherwise interesting. The change to a minimal squelchy synth-scape worked well, with different parts coming in over time. Production is mixed. Synths sound good when there isn't too many at once, piano is basic but decent enough. The drums were quite muffled across the mix. The track is a bit low-end heavy as well — parts that don't need it could have their low end dialled back a bit to allow the bass and drums breathe some more (similar to what Rexy has mentioned already). This would also brighten the track, which is needed. The biggest strength of this track is the arrangement — you cover a lot of ground and unpack a number of ideas throughout the duration, with a lot of variation which is a great achievement. Production just needs another pass on this one. NO
  4. An interesting synth layered approach with a slower pace compared to the original. The sounds are decent, though the drums lack the punch I would’ve expected here. At 1:13 we get some added cymbals and snare rolls. Things calm down at 1:38 with a small break exposing the bass as synths slowly re-emerge. The drop at 2:25 had a decent feel to it, with an energetic synth line, and a solo of sorts afterward. The mixing of the drums let this part down. Things start to wind down at 3:25. Arrangement is good, with a different progression over the original, and nice original additions that accompany the source. I think the main challenge this mix faces is the mixing — the synths used carry a lot of low end, which when layered tend to take up the majority of frequency space — leaving the drums little room to breathe. A HPF to lift the low end on the synths that don’t need those frequencies I think would fix a lot of the issues we see here. I don’t think this would take too much effort and I’d be keen to hear a resub. But let’s see what the others think. NO
  5. Nice thumping kick. Detuned lead plays the main melody for us the first time around, with a more traditional synth taking over soon after. Arrangement is fairly minimal, with a number of changes/layers that are circled back to over time. The voice samples helped to break things up, and appreciate that they weren’t overused. The track certainly takes me back to the earlier OCR days in its construction, with the sound selection and approach to arrangement. There are sections that have a copy/paste feel to them as we pass the mid-point, but there are some unique elements between sections that offer some variety. The ending is a bit abrupt. It would have been nice to see some further original material mixed through. Production is mostly ok — some drums and backing elements are a bit dry which makes the leads feel a little disconnected from the rest of the piece, but it’s not a major gripe. Overall I think this is ok — definitely could’ve gone further but I think it ticks just enough boxes to get through. YES
  6. Piano sounds decent, with a good amount of low end. Solid emotive arrangement all round. Things keep a fairly consistent pace throughout, with a few interludes to break things up. Some sections sound similar to each other at times but carry different dynamics and articulations to separate them. Things close out softly. Dynamic expression overall is pretty good. Track volume is a bit quiet but serviceable. It would have been nice to hear a bit more evolution of the track, but what is here sounds good. YES
  7. Great rendition of the title on guitar. Rhythm guitar is tight. Lead is emotive, and echo's the themes well. The transition at 1:54 was a bit abrupt. Things are pretty minimal here, but there are occasionally some guitar licks that accompany the main lead. The lead in this section are good. The transition at 2:53 felt smooth. The lead and rhythm in this section play off each-other well, with some nice soloing at play. The transition at 3:55 could've been smoother. The harder section at 4:23 was a nice change of pace for the arrangement, and mixed things up a bit. Things slow down at 5:00 and wind down to a close, only to start-up again soon after. That said, the solo in the final section did not disappoint, but it did make the progression of the arrangement a bit odd. Production is a little dark in this one, and could've done with being a bit brighter. Drums are audible but could've had more highs also. Overall not a bad mix here, this medley features some interesting additions and soloing which do a good job at modernising the originals. Well done. YES
  8. That organ playing the melody is a bit hard to hear. The accompanying guitar portions sound good, with decent tone and technique. The arrangement structure is pretty straight forward, sharing several sections with the original, but there are some nice additional layers throughout. Mixing is a mixed bag. The synths/organ fall too far into the background and can’t be heard all that well, which is a shame as they carry the bulk of the burden when it comes to the main melody. While the track certainly follows along with the original, I think the mixing for the lead organ parts need to be fixed so the main theme is more overly audible. NO
  9. Bassline has a solid tone, percussion has good sense of movement. Lead synths fit well with the synthwave vibe. The short break at 0:59 worked well. The second section doesn’t repeat verbatim, which is appreciated. The percussive elements change around and mix things up. As the track continues we get some variations of the previous theme sections with some different lead additions. The outro hits some different notes and includes a nice little solo to finish things up. Some creative work here across the arrangement, even for a fairly minimal mix, there are subtle changes to the parts throughout that keep things fresh. Production here seems fine, with nothing major standing out as an issue. Fun take on this track. Well done. YES
  10. Being on the last vote I look forward to seeing how things turned out here. The brass seems a bit more under control now. The saxophone lead could do with being louder. The rhythm guitar adds some interesting balance. The stereo field is definitely cleaner now. Guitar solo at 2:21 is still too soft IMO. The solo at 2:47 has better presence. When the brass and the guitars play together in the last third, their levels are more complementary — I’d say the guitar could’ve even been louder there. Things felt best placed to end at 4:24, but it’s not a major problem. Overall things are better. With production being the focus, you’ve done a bunch here to level things out. I still think some levels are off — the guitar solo sections in particular, as well as your sax, could have gone a couple db louder to give them more presence, now that you have headroom. I think things are ok now though (unless of course you want to refine further with the suggestions made). To echo Emunator’s comments in the previous vote, you’ve certainly taken on an ambitious track here, I enjoyed the creativity. Nice job. YES
  11. Guitar is clean, and the performance is mostly good, with only a few slight missteps here and there. The production quality is warm, and mostly consistent. On the arrangement side, this is a bit of a strange one for me as I’ve not judged a submission verbatim based on another performance. If Cecil’s mix was posted, then I imagine this would have to also, provided (1) production is up to scratch, which IMO, seems to be; and (2) it’s within our rules to do so. That said, more original interpretation of the source would’ve been nice to hear, to take the track off into it’s own territory. Interested in what the other judges have to say. Edit: Thanks @Rexy for clarifying — in that case I do still stand on this Yes, provided the artist has Cecil’s permission to post their rendition of his work. Edit 2: Given @Rexy's additional analysis, I'm switching over to NO for this one (was initially unaware it was similar to another piece). NO
  12. Percussion and guitar start things off, with bass and accordion coming in at 0:40. An accompanying piano line enters at 1:12. These play off each other for the next section, building up into the guitar’s return at 1:52, and altogether at 2:08. Arrangement is fairly basic, but does introduce a number of added elements to the original. Production wise things are ok, given the track is quite minimal — less issues are expected. I will say things do sound a bit stiff/to the grid, and could do with some humanisation, although I don’t think it’s a dealbreaker. There’s not a lot to it, but I think what here works well enough. A tidy little track with a different slant on the original. YES
  13. The beginning bar is a bit fumbly/out of time. The following section sounds ok. The intro section at 0.26 is fun and stylistically supports what you’re going for, well done there. The main theme chorus portion works fairly well. At 1:06 we slip back to the previous section with some different lead, which feels less confident in performance than before. At 1:36 we get a solo which doesn’t sound too bad, and covers a bit of territory. As the solo begins to wind up before the transition starting around 2:07 there are a few timing fumbles. Things end fairly well. Arrangement here is ok, with a good variety of sections. Production is quite flat — dynamics could certainly do with more punch overall. This mix has a lot of potential, but I felt the performance was a bit timid in its execution, with some notes not properly hitting their mark. I’d like to hear some retakes and some revisited mixing on this as it shows a lot of potential. NO
  14. Things open up cleanly and quite formally. The orchestra has a playful feel in the opening sections. There’s a good level of variety here in the arrangement, with various build-ups and changes throughout. The piano at 1:42 sounded extremely robotic and ended more like the conclusion of the mix. The second half of the mix explores some different ideas and winds things down well. Production wise, the sound set used here is quite basic, with the brass particularly lacking, which broke the immersion at times. I don’t normally have issue with this, but I felt the sound set particularly lacking, especially with the lack of humanisation in the different parts. There are some good ideas here, but I’d like to see improvements made to the sequencing of each section to make them fit the part more convincingly. NO
  15. We get the theme by guitar lead to start things off, with rhythm added in shortly after. Tone is a bit too bass heavy. The drums are difficult to make out because of this. There are a number of guitar parts that play simultaneously, and while they sound fairly cohesive, it’s a bit difficult to make them out from each other. The section at 0:57 was better, as was the break portion at 1:13. The pace picks up at 1:26 where we’re presented a guitar solo, which sounds quite good, and gels well with the rest of the mix. After a short interlude, there is more solo which is equally cohesive. The drums here are a bit easier to hear too (due to less low end being occupied). We have a tidy ending soon after. Production wise there are a few issues with audibility earlier on, though things aren’t as bad across other sections of the mix. Arrangement wise there is a decent amount of content here. While I think the mixing could certainly do with the some work, given the audibility issues aren’t as wide reaching as I expected, I think we’re ok here. Let’s see what the other think. YES
  16. Guitar and piano work well together in the intro. Drums are hard hitting, but to the point where the guitar gets drowned out. At 1:39 things begin to sound messy, which gets worse at 1:45 where there is just too much stuff occupying the low end. The wah bass takes up too much frequency space. The break afterwards sounds ok. As the mix continues, it’s evident the drums here are simply too big. This is a shame because the guitar portion sounds quite good, with some nice licks throughout, and the solo at 3:39 is decent, but it’s all too difficult to make out. The mixing here definitely needs work. The arrangement seems ok. I like the ideas and feel of this mix, but please revisit the mixing for us to get things into a more balanced state. NO
  17. Nice use of percussive at atmospheric elements during the intro. Themes gel well together and are well audible. The underlying rhythm works well across the mix with its hand-off to different instruments between sections. Instruments are a mix of real and synth and mostly gentle in nature, surrounded by various swells and accompanying sfx to add variety. I thought some instruments felt a little thin (like the piano @1:39), however amongst the rest of the elements I took these as a stylistic choice. The outro build-up was interesting although perhaps not as epic I had anticipated, but certainly in character to what had come before it. Production is decent, with a good level of weight/warmth across the parts, with good use of stereo space. Overall, a cohesive mix of several themes between studios, you've done well. YES
  18. We’re prepared! Interesting concept you have here. Things are definitely christmas-a-fied for sure. The slower pacing fits well, The choir and bells are very thematic. The first minute covers a number of transitions. The section at 1:24 has some weird notes in it (piano) that hit dissonantly during the breaks. Are those off notes in there? Would be interesting to get the other judges opinions. The breaks also feel a bit odd. Otherwise I think the mix progresses ok, certainly doesn’t have too much original content but I think the thematic changes contribute most of what we need here. Production isn’t too bad, although the parts do feel a bit mechanical, and more dynamics could be introduced throughout the mix to make things feel a bit more real. Overall not a bad effort — I’m a bit concerned with notes/breaks in the mid-section — I’d like them looked at. Let’s see what the others say. NO
  19. Good clean intro with solid tone. The backing synths that occasionally appear in this first section don’t add a lot to the overall mix amongst the guitars and probably could’ve been omitted. Conversely the synths at 1:25 worked in fine. The combination of rhythm and lead work well across the piece, with several layers of exchange in each section. The solo 2:35 was quite nice, with some interesting melodic and harmony interplay. There are some parts near the end of the solo past 3:16 where tightness/cohesion get momentarily lost as things pick up, but nothing major. The intro is short and sweet. Production is well done, parts are audible and clean, something others may wish to aspire to in their own guitar heavy productions. The problems here are minor, given the skills of you both there isn’t much to question here. Well done and nice mashup. YES
  20. Interesting choice of source. Things start out with drums, bass, a tremolo guitar and accompanying lead and synths. Things pickup up at 0:53, with some additional lead work. At 1:10 we get a breakdown of sorts, where the synth and bass get a slight exchange, with the guitar lead coming in soon after. At 1:36 we transition back to some similar territory from earlier. There are a couple of problems with the mixing here — prominence of parts doesn’t match their roles. The guitar lead is too soft, and the accompanying synths are too loud. At the same time, the bloopy synth lead is easily mistaken for a backing synth, which makes it difficult for the listener to understand what the focus is. At 2:27 the pace picks up, with some some nice guitar solo work, but the synths are still too loud. The section at 2:52 is better for lead volume. I think the mixing should be revisited. We get another breakdown to a slower section at 3:19, with additional guitar soloing. At 3:45, we pick up again as things get close to the end point. The ending is fairly short but gets the job done. Arrangement is ok with a number of changes over the original. The mixing with competing/mismatched volumes is the main issue for me here. Have a think about the purpose of each part, and use that to guide the listener’s focus. NO
  21. The off-beat staggered drums are a bit off-putting initially, not so much due to the adapted timing (which I thought was a creative idea), but by the swing the parts seem to have which throw them off grid a bit too far from the other parts. This feels better from 0:29. The synth bouncing between the left and right channels adds further movement to the mix while a flute initially takes up lead duties. Things are mixed up over time with bell/chime like sounds. The break at 1:54 was a good departure and reset from the first section, moving into some interesting melodic territory before heading back into the initial loop. At 2:36 a bell synth is introduced which changes this repeated section up. The de-tuning of the instrumentation is creatively used, although I think it’s taken a little too far across the mix, making things sounds a bit too sick too often, and really could’ve been dialled back while retaining the desired effect. The arrangement plays out ok. The production lends itself to the lo-fi theme well, making things feel authentic. This took a few listens to get more comfortable with. It’s not without its issues, I think things could’ve been tighter, but it’s not bad. Certainly a different take. YES
  22. This open up with flutes, which sound great. Things begin to pick up at 0:44. The transition at 1:25 was quite good. The violin sounded nice there. The change at 1:57 had a nice feel to it too. You’ve certainly hit the Celtic feel you were going for. The drums do tend to boom quite a lot. The lead instruments here in this section could certainly do with being louder. The transition at 2:44 was quite surprising, and a playful departure from what came before. Violin comes back in soon after to help lead things out, with the flute coming back for the final bars. Production is mostly decent, apart from the aforementioned mixing issues. Arrangement has a lot of variety and adds upon the originals in a creative way. I’d love to hear the leads get boosted but I think it’s ok as is. YES
  23. Gentle opening. Harp was a nice touch. Strings play the main theme as things begin to build up to 0:35, at which point things instead break down and become gentler, as the pace increases. The violin takes on lead duties from here shortly after. While the overall track is slower paced, the theme is played much faster than the original which provides a nice contrast to the original piece. At 1:36 the pace begins to wind back down. The pace changes across the arrangement are transitioned well. The piece while quite minimal keeps interest. Production wise, things could certainly be louder without dynamics getting crushed, given that the instrumentation is quite minimal. I'd be happy for a louder version if that's possible, but it's not essential. I hoped this could go on a bit longer to explore the theme in more ways, however I think it does enough. YES
  24. Good set of sounds, and I dig the DJ-style vibe this has going. There is a bit of a timing issue with the guitar (or is it a harpsichord, can't tell due to quality), which is making things feel out of time — very distracting, and carries on throughout out the mix. Good beat at play. The vocal sample 0:42 works ok initially and fits thematically but should really be pitch-shifted when the notes change for proper cohesion, as it seems slightly out of place in the last 2 bars. The layers then peel pack, and things retread a bit. The break at 2:18 was ok, particularly with the synth at 2:32, but then it just unnaturally disappears when the chorus hits at 2:45 — I feel it should have continued on into that and done something different to the previous chorus portions. Things end on a fade. There are some good ideas here, but a few problems with execution. The arrangement relies heavily on layer building which is fine, but the same layers are often at play which tends to get repetitive. The guitar portion needs to be fixed for timing. Production wise, the balance is a little off across the stereo field which I'd take another look at. Not too bad overall — some good ideas, just needs some more fleshing out. NO
  25. Things start up pretty quickly, with varied instrumentation that keeps things fresh. The chorus portion at 0:52 sounded like it got a little crunched dynamically, with some rattle/distortion (particularly audible in the brass). The choir portion at 1:10 afterwards doesn’t appear to have this issue. The brass section at 1:36 was a nice addition. Some of the first section is reintroduced here. The chorus portion happens again at 2:15 and seems ok, with more elements coming in at 2:28 which seem to exhibit the same dynamic crunch issue we had on the first chorus. This is something I’m interested in seeing others opinions on. Track is otherwise fine, arrangement has a great level of variety. Just want those chorus portions checked out. I’ll conditional for now but happy to revisit. YES (conditional on chorus dynamics fix)
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