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Everything posted by Jivemaster

  1. Well done. While the main melody is quite repetitive, the creative use of samples and dropping layers in/out gives this a similar style and feel to the original soundtrack. This would likely be my main criticism as well, in that your mix takes a lot of cues/inspiration from the original soundtrack, and while not necessarily a bad thing on its own, it would have been nice to hear some further creative exploration of the piece. That criticism aside, mixing is good, arrangement progression is good and mix duration frames the content appropriately. YES
  2. First time listening to this mix, so apologies if I cover some previous ground relating to the previous submission. I found the selection of instruments quite interesting, while odd in parts I think they worked together well. The synths during the intro portion threw me off completely as far as determining mix direction. A strange move but I'm down for different. There are some clicks during the intro portion which I believe may be the bass, I found this a little off-putting. The piano arp at 0:57 was quite robotic, with the piano in general needing some humanisation. On the arrangement side, 1:30 sounds like we're closing off, but the mix starts up again. Not sure how I feel about this approach for introducing the second section of the mix - it almost felt like two variations of the same mix were glued together one after the other. This hurt the arrangement side for me, as I didn't feel that things changed substantially or built up enough between the two halves to warrant both sections. Mixing is ok. There are some parts that are competing for the place of lead, particularly the piano and violin. The cymbals on the right side made the balance feel a bit off in the high end. I agree with MindWanderer that the ending is weak (the "ending" half way felt more like an ending). I think this is close. Some aspects could do with further work. The lack of humanisation in the piano parts made things feel quite rigid (and became more apparent as the piano persists through the majority of the mix). Mixing could be improved to better regulate supporting instruments to the background. Although there are some good ideas here, I thought the arrangement was lacking and missing direction. A tough one as this is a resub. I am open to revisiting the vote as necessary, but I feel this mix still needs refinement. NO
  3. Basic synths with stereo separation worked well. At 1:02 I was taken off guard by the direction of the arrangement. While I usually find the use of sound fx from the game a remix is based on to be cheap and often irritating, but here it works rhythmically to complement the arrangement as opposed to acting as cheap filler. The following transition where strings were introduced was a nice change. Percussion that is mixed throughout fits well, and helps to differentiate this from other minimal mixes. Creative take on the original. YES
  4. I thought things started off ok - no major production issues from me (which I would expect from a solo piano mix). Piano could do with being a bit less stiff. As we hit the 1:17 mark, I found there wasn’t much in the way of personal interpretation of the original - apart from short licks at the end of each set of bars, things remain relatively similar right through to the conclusion. From my perspective, your mix has a good foundation here for some personalisation … and that kind of sums up how I feel where this is at currently - a starting point for something bigger. The repetitive nature of the original comes through too much here, and there’s a lot of potential to build this into something more substantial. I would like you to revisit this and see what you can come up with. NO
  5. Reminds me of something out of a Tarantino film. Guitar twang and all. The arrangement while fairly minimal, has a reasonable amount of changes. Some things repeat at little too much for my taste, but I think they change enough to maintain interest. The fade-out at the end could’ve been done differently, but I do like how things changed up for that final section. Production quality is ok here, mostly passable. I felt the percussion on the right ear was quite loud but things weren’t too off balance. I agree some of the percussion patterns were a repetitive and stiff at times, the lack of humanisation there detracted a bit from the overall presentation, but not so much to ruin the track overall. I think this gets the job done. It’s certainly a unique take on the original. YES
  6. Enjoyable rendition. Agree that things were mixed too quietly - not a major issue but the overall volume could've been bumped up a tad for this one. I appreciated the variance of instrument lead in each section, parts drifted in out making way for the next transition. The changes to the main melody early in the mix are subtle but add much needed originality. Things felt like they had wound up at the 2:20 mark but built up again, adding further original material. The attention to detail here IMO was quite good, natural changes in pace and velocity. Short, sweet and whimsical. YES
  7. Minimal and ambient. Initial panning of the percussion screws a bit with the mind, but things thankfully balance out as more elements are introduced over the first minute. A slight change of pace occurs at 2:01, where we have a slight break down and build-up section. The arrangement keeps a fairly similar feel and pace throughout, although the changes featured in some of the lead progression helps to make things feel different. I feel the mix could’ve stopped close to the 3:50 mark, as the sections introduced afterward don’t particularly add any major value to the arrangement. This worked against the mix, especially with it already being minimal in its presentation - it made the problem stand out more. The section at 4:48 which changed things up a bit could’ve shown up earlier in the mix to help close things out sooner. Production is ok, but I mostly expect that from a mix that keeps layers to a minimum. I thought the percussion initially being left panned would become irritating, but the counter percussion on the right hand side restored balance. The ambience of the lead was largely dominating, but I understand it was being used to fill the soundscape. I think arrangement variation and overall duration are an issue with this one. Willing to revisit and reconsider based on the other judges comments, but I find that the mix covers a lot of similar territory over its duration which makes things sound somewhat repetitive by the time we reach the mid point, leading me to say that the arrangement needs a revisit. NO
  8. Nice little buzzy bass line. The vocals seem to work well and harmonise nicely with each other. There is a bit of dissonance between the piano backing notes and the main vocal melody however, which I found a little jarring and became a persistent problem throughout most of the arrangement. Production wise, vocals are up front and centre, with backups mostly centred as well. This makes the centre of the mix quite crowded. Things are mostly easy to hear when where aren’t too many things happening, but clarity drops when things like SFX and strings drop in. The outro is relatively sudden and I feel it could’ve had more done to close things out. I think the dissonant disparity between the backing and vocals is something that doesn’t quite work here. Mixing could also do with a revisit for clarity in built up areas. I would like a revisit to see what can be improved. NO
  9. While I'm not an expert, I thought the opening choir was well done, with solid integration of the other elements as they come in over time. Mixing between parts is largely well done, with good use of the stereo space. Some parts could do with slightly more foreground/background separation. The progression is not rushed, although changes could do with occurring a little more quickly. I also feel things were played a little too safe at times, with a lot of the original's cue's being relied on. I would have liked to hear some further originality mixed through. These crits aside, I think this is well done, a softer paced rendition, maintaining the angst of the original. YES
  10. A great adaption of the original. The instrumentation here works well, the sparkly and distorted guitars have a nice tone. When the bass drops in just after the one minute mark, the full soundscape features a good mix of instruments, with some decent mixing. The individual parts do sometimes get drowned out though, especially in the solo section starting at 2:33. This is where the mix loses some points due to ineffective (crowded) mixing. I think some of the parts here weren't needed, and the section would've still retained the same impact if the unessential layers were dialled back in volume or completely removed. The rest of the track is mostly well done, although the drums do feel somewhat muffled. The arrangement while slow, progresses relatively well. There was a little too much build-up before the mix actually got going, but these portions were still interesting in their own way. YES
  11. Hits full force on the first note. Lots of varied sounds, growls and sfx, although the first minute does become slightly repetitive by the time we hit 0:50. The following break certainly helps with bringing in much needed variation. The change of pacing here is great as well. 1:45 we break again with ‘lil spacey build-up, and back into the main growly hook. 2:19 again departs from the main progression dialling back layers and introducing elements back in slowly for a final build-up. 3:11 picks up the pacing to take us out, which appears to abruptly end on the final second. What you have here is done well, and while each section isn’t as varied as I would’ve expected for this style of music (with some elements being reused a bit too much), you do have a lot of arrangement variation which makes up for it. I think the drums hit well and you don’t overcrowd the sonic space too much with additional elements. The abrupt ending didn’t feel right though, it initially felt like a mistake in rendering or my download didn’t finish properly. Overall a nice take on the original. YES
  12. The big synths in stereo spread add a lot of width and impact, and while they draw a lot of attention, they surprisingly don’t take up as much of the low end as I was expecting. As the mix progresses however the bigness of these synths seem to be the main causality for your mix issues - mixing levels are affected due to the size (volume and sonic space) of some of these synths, needing other parts to be cranked up so they can be heard. Better use of complementary EQ curves would’ve worked better here, and further to this I feel some additional thought should've gone into selecting what should be foreground and background material, because a lot of of what you have going on wants to be both. Some of the lighter drum rolls are overpowered by the strength of the synths. There isn’t any major breathing room issues otherwise, which I also found surprising considering the volume that everything is trying to pump out at. I think the arrangement is a good take on the original - while it follows somewhat of a similar structure, it does bring in a number of lead elements (riffing) which do add to the mixes own identity. Mixing problems aside, I don’t have any major issues here. YES
  13. Intro builds up steadily. Lead melody hits us sparsely at 0:40. The pacing while punchy, carries a calming feel with it. Instrumentation is fairly minimal as we hit the first breakdown at 1:40. A pair of plucky sounds build things back up into a full soundscape from 2:15 and again at 2:41 where the main hook plays. Instrumentation still remains fairly basic but does the job well. The second breakdown at 3:36 changes up the melody and rhythm with mostly familiar backing elements. I found the sound effect at 4:33 a little jarring, it plays a little too long and carries some sharpness. Things close off fairly suddenly after the 5 minute mark and could've been more developed. On the mixing side things are done fairly well - while improvement could be made with some of the separation each part, I feel things are audible and well fit into the sonic space provided to them. The same sound fx were used a little too often for my taste, and I would have preferred to have heard some more varied sounds across the mix in general to make things feel more varied - particularly during extended sections of similar melodic content. Overall, some niggling concerns with SFX and variance in arrangement - but not enough in my opinion to drag this back. A solid interpretation of the original. YES
  14. Good use of stereo space. Synths are crisp, with a nice air to them. Dynamics are punchy, with a solid rhythm driving the mix forward. Separation of the instruments is achieved quite well, with a good amount of low end on the bass instruments that doesn't interfere with the other parts playing along. Arrangement progression does feel a little samey at times, despite featuring a number of transitions to different melodies (or variations thereof). This is mostly due to the underlying elements being relatively static, but thankfully, creative use of glitching and the introduction of different lead sounds add much needed variation to the mix as it progresses. The break starting at 3:25 provided an enjoyable change of pace, which I feel could've occurred earlier. The glitch filled ending sequence was relatively clever but could've been more musical. Overall, while the mix is somewhat predictable given the source material, things are well presented and move along at a solid pace. No major issues. YES
  15. Smooth as. Although we don't get much variation throughout the underlying groove, the lyrics are well constructed and keep the mix moving at a solid pace, making the mix feel like it crams a lot into the relatively short timeframe. Typical dropping in and removal of layers which feel right and we placed well. The bass only break at 1:28, while simple, was a good addition and was timed right. Vocals did seem a little soft in places and could've been more upfront, but I think the blend here works. YES
  16. Sounds good. Well done making this more humanised, it adds to the emotive nature that you were already trying to capture with the original submission. Tone seems good, arrangement felt well paced from start to finish. I don't have any further issues with this one. YES
  17. Good use of stereo panning for the synths here, with their movement and bouncing between channels giving the minimal instrumentation the illusion of being bigger than it actually is. The early break to introduce the main theme was a nice and simple departure from the initial build-up. While pacing is slower than expected, the arrangement progressed well, with a variety of synths and changes in lead working to keep things moving. The kick has decent weight to it, and the 8-bit synth and its associated riffing were welcome additions in the second half. Things return to earlier territory to take us out, which is probably the main area I would suggest improvement - I would've liked to have seen some further original ideas over the final bars. Regardless, this is a creative adaption of the original with its own rhythm and personality, a solid effort. YES
  18. The source tunes fit surprisingly well together. Initially I thought the bit crushed instruments may become tiresome as they continue through the track, but their gritty nature really adds an atmospheric element to the production which I highly enjoy, almost like a secondary reverb source. There are a couple of departures from the main pacing in the arrangement across the different sections, but the momentum of the track is mostly the same throughout. Overall track length is about right here, as I feel any longer and things would risk becoming repetitive. That said, the general riffing and articulations in the mix do help in keeping things fresh, as do the tweaking of the effects, which act as a fill in their own right in some cases. Mixing is also handled relatively well, considering the amount of crushed parts playing, things didn't feel squashed or bunched together. Overall this is another interesting one from Eino, continuing in a style that he's certainly enjoying himself in. YES
  19. Quiet yet emotive intro. Performance is strong, with variable pacing throughout. Mixing is serviceable (although overall volume could do with a slight bump), and there is a good amount of air to the notes played. Nothing here feels repeated, even though each section is quite minimal. Due to the slow pacing and minimal nature of the mix, this does feel quite short - leaving the listener with a feeling of wanting more. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I would have liked to hear some further evolution of the source tune. Otherwise, what is here is done well. YES
  20. On the mixing side there's a noticeable bias towards the right channel in a lot of sections which I feel could've been balanced better. The arrangement's progression works well, lots of section changes with timing and other effects used. The early bridge section at 1:15 was an interesting surprise, a complete departure from everything to that point, making good use of guitar tone and accompanying FX for that atmospheric spacey feel. The synths that appear across the mix are basic in nature but surprisingly fit in well with the guitars, although again, panning was a bit of an issue for me across different sections. Overall a very creative take on the original - a mix that drops a bunch of ideas relatively quickly without overstaying its welcome. YES
  21. This one works pretty well now. The regular use of pitch bends is now absent, and there is a good level of clarity in the low end. There are some portions where the main lead synth does get into a range where some piercing can occur, and it is quite loud in volume compared to other parts, but I found these occurrences not frequent enough to count as a significant problem. Further improvements could be made on the instrumental side of things (some synth tweaking for example would've been beneficial as the synths are quite static), and sure some mixing could be improved, but overall I think what is presented here works well. Good job cleaning this up. YES
  22. Solid underlying groove. I felt the guitar during the intro was a bit stiff. The offbeat drums put me off initially but once the listener fit into the groove things felt right. In contrast, the 0:36 vibrato synth didn’t fit IMO - its spooky nature felt out of place with the rest of the soundscape, and clashed with the piano coming in around 0:50. Speaking of which, the underlying chords through the arrangement get quite dissonant at times but aren't overly jarring and do fit the partial jazz focus. The 1:43 chip tune synth was off centre panning wise which made the mix feel off balance in that section, despite this its melody fit in well. I would've liked to have heard some more of this riffing/soloing earlier in the arrangement, especially given its short length and partially repeated bars mid-arrangement. Mix ends quite abruptly and felt rushed, I feel you could've taken a few extra bars to lead us out. Great ideas in this mix, solid production effort, but overall this comes off as needing more polish in the arrangement and instrumentation. I'd like to see you revisit this and rethink some of your choices as mentioned above, you're close with this one, with more refinement you'll have a solid mix on your hands. NO
  23. Strong instrumentation, and a highly varied/detailed arrangement here. Jumping straight to my main gripe - I would've liked to have heard the parts visit the original arrangement more than they do here, as I felt there were so many interludes where it was difficult to relate things back to source. I like what you did with capturing the spirit of the source in things like in portions of the bassline. The general movement of the melody is present in quite a few areas (the intro resembles the original the most), but verbatim source isn't present that often. Melodic variances of course count towards source count, so sections that alter the notes in some way I'm not against here. But when it makes the source tune unrecognisable in a fairly significant way, it raises concerns for me. I'm no expert in Secret of Mana, but I've heard the soundtrack enough to know the music - and I couldn't work out what source tune this was remixing until I visited the original and went back and forth a few times, only then could I make it out. To me, that's an indicator that something isn't quite right with a mix, even if it is technically getting itself over the line in terms of stopwatch usage duration. There's usage and then there's perceivable usage, and this mix, while gorgeous in a lot of ways (sounds, production/mixing, progression) - doesn't pull me towards the source tune much at all, and I wonder if that would be the case for other listeners. I find this one challenging as the other judges don't appear to have any major problems with this, and I don't want to unnecessarily drag the vote out. But I wanted to raise this concern for any mixes you do going forward. You've done a great job here - it is so transformative... but by a bit too much, and I honestly don't think the average person will find the link between this and the source tune as easily as they should be able to. NO (borderline)
  24. This is a very chaotic mix that doesn't stay the same for too long before moving on to the next section. I feel my vote is quite detached from the others here. You do hit the style well for the most part. I must say I wasn't a fan of the intro sounds at the start of the mix - there was a bit of muffle during the build-up, the layers didn't feel like they fit together cohesively, the levels of the different parts felt unbalanced, and the kick based booms took up a good chunk of frequency space on each hit which blocked out the other parts (and continued to do so whenever they were used). There were a few purposefully detuned synths used, including one of the main leads during the "verse" sections. These were interesting initially, but over the course of the mix they became overused - their happy-hardcore vibe being overshadowed by their somewhat static presentation, lacking much in the way of tweaking or note variation. The noise driven trance-ish lead during the chorus sections felt someone flat dynamically, and those sections in general were quite dry with a perceivable drop in volume compared to other sections. The snare was quite weak in comparison to the other percussive elements, and the bass and kick treaded a bit too closely at times. Low end was otherwise mostly decent. There is quite a lot of variety initially in the arrangement, and I appreciate the attention to detail given to each section. By the 2 minute mark however, things began to feel very samey arrangement wise - with the main hooks becoming frequent, predictable and overused without much in the way of major changes or surprises. I would've liked to see a section that was a complete departure from the rest of the mix, and more sparing use of the detuned sections, which incidentally would've given them more impact on each appearance. The abrupt ending while nifty in some respects felt a bit cheap, especially by that point when the listener was hoping for something different to take us out. I think there is some work arrangement wise to be done here. I thought the mix lacked overall direction, with a collection of relatively solid sections used a bit too much, spreading the originality thin over the duration. Along with my mixing and instrumentation concerns, I feel there is a bit too much weighing this down. Good luck with the remaining vote. NO
  25. Neat tempo shifting intro. The thing that struck me is that despite the amount of low end here, the bass has a lot of clarity. The synths are fairly standard fare, with not much in the way of innovative sounds. That said the chosen instruments work well together, creating a cohesive and complementary soundscape. Arrangement wise things feel good for the first 2 and a half minutes or so, but with not much in the way of a change in pace, things start to feel quite samey as we push forward into the second half. It's certainly noticeable, particularly when some fills and effects that were used earlier in the track are reused during the final third (or at least, sound similar enough to feel like they're reused). The mix really could have done with something in the arrangement to change things up, a breakdown perhaps, which could've utilised some of the intro's tempo switching to slow things down and build up again. As it stands, I would've ended things around the 3:30 mark. Clearly the lack of content to sustain duration is my main concern here, and seeing as the production is otherwise mostly decent, I don't feel this shortfall carries enough weight to hold this back for me. Let's see where this goes. YES