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Flexstyle

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Profile Information

  • Real Name
    Michael Birch
  • Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Occupation
    Freelance media person

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Artist Settings

  • Collaboration Status
    3. Very Interested
  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
    FL Studio
    Logic
  • Composition & Production Skills
    Arrangement & Orchestration
    Drum Programming
    Mixing & Mastering
    Recording Facilities
    Synthesis & Sound Design
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (List)
    Drums
    Vocals: Male
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (Other)
    Hand Percussion

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Flexstyle's Achievements

  1. See above for my exact feelings. ALSO NO (resubmit with a cooler back third pls)
  2. Gonna keep this concise if I can. You’ve listed James Landino, Dj Cutman (and his GameChops label), and some other VGM stalwarts as influences. Good taste. What they all have in common is an ability to take simple melodies and execute a REALLY tight blend of production and arrangement to put out the product they do. Actually, with Cutman and a lot of GameChops releases, it’s less arrangement and more just market-savvy packaging. Regardless, they all have a way of using a specific, targeted sound set and high production value to achieve their goals. This, however, is all over the map. Is this song a tight EDM track? It shouldn’t meander the way it does, never settling on an identity. Is it an experimental jam? Lean into it but don’t expect to have mass appeal. Sounds have been selected that don’t complement each other or have a clear cut goal and that hurts the stated aim of this song. It’s presenting itself as one thing but is fundamentally not that thing. There’s a lot of other specific, actionable feedback already given (instrument selection, mixing, etc) so I’m going to stay high-level and say that if your goal is to sound like modern commercial VGM/EDM remixes, you’ll need to drastically simplify your approach and then polish it to a mirror sheen. FOCUS on just a few elements to showcase, and everything else should support those elements. If this song passes the panel, cool. It’s got some neat ideas and goes on a journey, even if it seems to detour too often. My vote is due to clumsy, over complicated execution of what should be much simpler. NO
  3. No need to stretch a vote out here -- I'm on the side of "gotta be more substantial." This could probably work if the genre execution was better, but as it is, you've got a lifeless drum kit paired with a too-simple piano and some tasty bass that could stand to be a little more featured. For lo-fi hip hop (or boom-bap, for the old heads in the room), you need to execute your drums, bass, and the tone of your instruments very precisely. With the sharp, reverb'd shaker, the extra-crispy-and-dry snare, and the lack of anything resembling dynamics, this misses the mark. Gotta add some more realism and probably don't let it sound so very quantized...a J Dilla-style beat would have a lot more "humanity" to it in small imperfections in timing. Shaker with all the reverb contrasts poorly with the rest of the drum kit, and all of it sounds too "crispy," aka there's too much high end there. Saturation and low-pass filters are your friend here. Also, playing with more than just a few drum samples throughout will help. Get us some variety in sounds...remember that a lot of old hip hop music sampled MULTIPLE drum loops that would appear at different times in the song, creating more timbres to work with. You're on the right track with those vinyl-sampled tom fills -- if you can get that kind of texture on more of your drums, you'll be on the right track. For mixing, the piano as-is can work, but genre-wise it's probably better to add some low-pass filtering to it to soften it up. Making the performance more dynamic would also help, since right now everything sounds quantized to grid and to velocity. Bass was decent but not featured prominently enough for the genre. This one should come back with more dynamics, better drum processing and wider variety of sounds, and an overall tone that feels less crispy and more dusty (less high end frequencies in key areas). You'll be helped by embellishing the arrangement as well...don't just make it the same throughout but add some variation to the themes, maybe do some call and response with the piano and another instrument. NO (resubmit)
  4. Just posting here because that guy up there (Emunator) is probably the single best person you could find on this site for this project -- he directed the DKC3 remix album as well!
  5. YO. This is absolutely killer! Love the track. MW is wrong about this production style being objectively wrong -- this gets the energy across EFFECTIVELY. He's just not listening to it loud enough, I guarantee you :P in all seriousness, this is a genre that needs to be heard LOUD to be understood. When it's loud, it's actually EASIER to hear the lead synths, since your brain is filtering some of the other sound information out. Not something I recommend for every genre, and even in this one it has to be done well, but this is done pretty well. Additional notes: Those drums, despite being busy (and clearly sequenced), are sounding great. Everything comes through where it should. Bass is making my subwoofer rumble in (mostly) all the right places. Sub drops are the only time it gets a bit too obviously mushy down there; you could stand to carve a bit more room for them out of everything else when they hit. Love the ambient effects you chose to sprinkle throughout. Synth choices are on point. I dig the way you translated these themes to this genre -- the oddball time stuff from the Airship theme screams "METAAAAAAL," and you did it justice. That guitar tone is just pure CRONCH and I am here for it. Pardon me while I headbang for a few more repeat listens of this one.... YES
  6. I don't recall hearing the original submission, but this in-progress re-submission sounds like it really addressed a lot of the issues raised. Love the vibes of this one -- I'm a sucker for a good retro synth atmosphere, and you've really put the WAVES into synthwave. GEDDIT? BECAUSE IT'S THE OCEAN? AHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Ahem. Just gonna let that ship sail....sorry. That really is a long intro for an OCR submission. I was wondering when we'd actually get to the source, but we did get there about a third of the way through the track, starting at roughly 1:30something. From there forward the source is pretty audible until the sound-effects ending. I'm not gonna break out the stopwatch, but this feels like at LEAST 50% source usage, so good enough for me. No major mix issues to note, everything seems to more or less have its place. The poetry insertion does a good job of carrying the middle section, and I like how it's even roughly in sync with the rhythm of the track. Neat touch. Finale could have had an extra gear to it -- maybe something soaring over the top of everything else, just for that last, final push, but it does still work. Actual arrangement of the source material is pretty simple, but the track is creative, it tells a story, it's presented well, mixed cleanly enough, and it has ~vibes~ for days. I give this one a... YES
  7. Y'all, this is what sparse instrumentation looks like when executed right. Those drums? Simple as heck. Not super dynamic samples, but sequenced in a way that stays interesting the entire time, creating movement in exactly the spots that need to move forward, and groove where it's time to just sit a spell and vibe out. The bassline is simple, very relegated to the low spectrum, but it moves in a way that lets everything else shine through without letting the low end feel empty. Piano? Not busy, but still melodic and intentional. Pads? Not dense, but they lift the song up right where it's needed. Sound effects? Right where they need to be to fill the soundscape. The panflute sample lead? Plenty of subtle movement on a patch that could have been dry and boring without careful, judicious treatment. This hits like a lot of late '90s/early '00s lounge vibe music, but maybe with a more dynamic lead line on that piano, and I think it works REALLY well overall. I love the original song -- Bastion is in my top-5 favorite OSTs for games I've actually played (and the game itself is fun and thoughtful) -- and this absolutely does justice to it. Can't wait for this to hit the front page! YES
  8. Master Mi is on a good track with the 4-input Steinberg unit. I will caution that the Steinberg units have been iffy under Windows, with weird dropouts (I own a UR12 and a friend owns a UR22 and we've both had issues). That Mackie unit has a knob on the front that will let you either monitor exactly what's going into the unit, or will let you hear what's coming from your DAW, or a mix of both. That's the MIX knob. Most interfaces have them, just under different names sometimes. From the description of how you're using your mixer, I really don't think you need it. You can get an audio interface that will let you track three individual lines quite easily instead. Here's a Behringer unit that allows for up to four separate inputs and it's under your budget constraint: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UMC404HD--behringer-u-phoria-umc404hd-usb-audio-interface Best of luck!
  9. Yup. It's called an audio interface, and you have a whole lot of options: https://www.sweetwater.com/c695--USB_Audio_Interfaces?sb=popular&params=eyJmYWNldCI6eyJQcmljZSBSYW5nZSI6WyIkMTAwIHRvICQyMDAiXX19 How many instruments and mics you trying to record at once? Depending on your needs, you may even be able to just ditch your mixer entirely, since most of these have separate outputs and volume knobs for both headphones and speakers.
  10. Let's close this one out. Honestly, this sounds a lot like some vintage Andy+Jill (zircon/pixietricks, for anyone reading this who's not in the know) stuff here -- breakbeats, etherial vocals, organic instrumentation elements, arpeggiated synths, shimmering textures, the formula is all here! The overall mix is a bit hollow -- lacking in a lot of midrange energy or at least clarity -- but it doesn't hold the song back from communicating what it needs to. Obvs the source comes through clearly. This is an imaginative take on the tune, it's executed well enough, why bother holding it back? YES
  11. Hot dang, this is some ridiculously beautiful playing here. I mean, harps + cellos is a combination that is gonna be a winner when executed well no matter what, and this is well-executed for sure. This feels like everything the original wanted to be, just that the original was limited by things like "file size" and "sound palette" and we have no such issues here. My studio monitors are VERY happy playing this back -- sounds clean and clear to me, and every little piece has its place in the mix. My sub helps me feel the low rumble of the cellos without sensing any mud at all. Source tune comes through just fine for me, obvs, and so that makes this an EASY... YES
  12. TBH I'd still NO-RESUB anything that was this blatant of a copy-paste. Gotta show some effort for arrangement, can't just make half a song and then double it up!
  13. 2013 called, and they said that the loudness wars weren't over yet. Also that crunchy basslines will remain cool forever. Pretty sure at least that last one is correct! :P I agree that this thing is mixed pretty hot, and there are a few specific parts throughout where a deep, boomy sound is just getting in the way of the rest of the bassline -- would have been better to let it do its thing, then bring the bass back in, because otherwise we've got some thick mud right there. It's not egregious enough to hold this one back, though, just pretty obvious on my studio monitors + sub setup. Interesting choice to focus on the background elements of the song, but hey, it definitely works for this track. I dig that this thing keeps trying new stuff out without getting stale, but still gives us callbacks to song sections as well. Well done. Something else I want to call attention to: the beat very rarely changes throughout the sections, with JUUUUST enough fills to keep things moving along. However, it works because you end up using synth elements to change the rhythm instead -- a good example is the SID bassline at about 1:19, which acts as a 16th-note percussive element of its own for that section. Just a note for anyone looking through these decisions for what to maybe imitate in their own tracks. Creative take on a good source tune, with some great energy! YES
  14. My only comment is that I wish there were a cool 16th-note synth arp skittering around behind the rest of the instrumentation in the "chorus" sections at 1:20-ish and at 2:50-ish for that True Synthwave Sound (tm). Other than that, I dig the arrangement, the instrumentation is sweet, the drums are punchy, the mix is pretty clean, and this is gonna look great on the front page! YES
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