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Everything posted by djpretzel

  1. I tried to keep this brief, but as you might know, that's not my forte. FIRST, the facts... On October 28th I informed staff that I was stepping down from my role as president/admin/owner/etc. of OverClocked ReMix, and on November 1st I also stepped down from the board of Game Music Initiative, the 501c3 non-profit organization that funds OCR. In short, I no longer feel I have the bandwidth to do these roles justice and to not only maintain, but advance, the missions of both projects. I will be working with Shariq Ansari (DarkeSword) to transition my responsibilities and ensure continuity of operations. The (excellent!) mix posted on Halloween was published without my direct involvement, subsequent posts up to the milestone #OCR04500 have been superbly executed, and I am confident that staff will continue the work necessary to operate - and evolve - OCR in my absence. I will be even less available than I have been, lately, so I apologize in advance for any lack of responsiveness. THEN, the feels... Where to even begin? It's hard to encapsulate over two decades of history; omissions are inevitable. What began as a neat side project I started in my parents' basement in 1999 snowballed into something far beyond my wildest expectations, due to the blood, sweat, tears, and unbridled, rampant creativity that thousands of you have contributed. Much of this happened before social media was even a thing and before the platforms/services we now heavily associate with the modern internet had come into being; it was a frontier, and we were on it, and we took it pretty seriously because we knew how amazing VGM is, how creative arrangements could effectively convey and explore that vast musical landscape, and how a small fandom communicating via email, IRC, & forums could collaborate to build mighty, new things. We took it seriously, often too seriously, but we ALSO played more than a few rounds of Shaq-Fu at conventions, made some truly ridiculous (but always musical!) joke mixes, and developed internal circles of lore with our own memes & jargon. NOT in strictly chronological order: there was some drama with now-legendary composer Jake Kaufman; VGMix entered the fray; we added a judges panel so it wasn't just me making stuff up; we released our first community album; the unmoderated forum birthed its own sort of... subculture; the site itself evolved to be database-driven and not just two giant dropdowns sorted by game/date; we posted mixes submitted by composers George "The Fat Man" Sanger and Jeremy Soule; we met/interviewed Hiroki Kikuta and Nobuo Uematsu; our album trailers by the incomparable José the Bronx Rican started blowing minds; we started appearing in person at Otakon, PAX, MAG, others - much love to all for having us; we bumped into Leeroy Jenkins at ROFLcon and gave him a hoodie; we started hosting from our own server and managing the technical side of things ourselves; thanks to Mr. Shael Riley (among others!), we got to remix the music for an actual Street Fighter game (!!); we released fifteen more albums... ...and then we turned ten, on December 11th of 2009. Quite a first decade, and I missed hundreds of things I shouldn't have. Hundreds of firsts, some tragic lasts, and millions of memories that can't quite be conjured by words. In 2011, we stood up for Fair Use at World’s Fair Use Day, an event organized by the non-profit Public Knowledge. In 2012, we launched our kickstarter for Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin, it was taken down, we talked with Square lawyers directly for a couple hours and made the non-profit project structure clear & contractual, and we relaunched a successful kickstarter. That's not always how those things go! We launched Game Music Initiative in 2016, creating an official 501c3 charity to formalize the finances around OCR and potentially support other VGM-related projects, too. On a related note, I’ve absolutely loved seeing OC ReMixes featured by charity speedrunners Games Done Quick (GDQ) - it’s exactly the type of thing I always wanted to see, that synergy. Things do start getting a little quieter from then on out, and I think there are a ton of reasons for that, but it has been an incredible and improbable journey that I wouldn't have missed for the world. Thank you ALL for making it possible; OCR was always yours, I aspired only to stewardship of something I wanted to exist for everyone. FINALLY, the future… It's time - some would say past time - for OverClocked ReMix itself to be ReMixed. That's the point, right? Infinite permutation; endless possibility. You don't always know the day, month, or even year when your influence on something starts holding it back, or when the waning amount of time and energy you can dedicate becomes a liability. That type of certainty is often elusive; it can be a difficult diagnosis to even contemplate, and you need to look for & listen to signs. In addition to just being too much of a single point of failure for OCR (sorry, engineering mindset), the last year I've been asking myself whether it was time to let go, and I think the answer is sometimes in the asking. I have been stretched thin, like butter scraped over too much bread, and that's when you leave the Shire. Beyond representing what I genuinely believe is best for the future of OCR, I absolutely confess a personal wish to redirect reclaimed time & energy to my family and my own music. Being a husband to my wife Anna and being a father to our daughters Esther and Sarah is my meaning; I have always put them first, but now I can put them even MORE first. Esther just started learning trombone, so in a few years, expect a collab! Sarah is building her confidence learning piano & makes me proud every day. I want to write new music for them, and with them, and that requires more time than I've had. I believe the principles that have driven us - embracing all games & all styles of music, emphasizing interpretation & creativity, offering both curation and critique, and providing a non-commercial platform for those who seek it - are truly timeless, but there are many ways to honor them. I look to the new leadership/staff to galvanize, streamline, diversify, and re-imagine, within that immense space. I'll be leaving them with some ideas of my own; please let them know yours. I ask the community to support them, embrace change, provide guidance, and be patient; I believe it will be worth it! Thanks, - djpretzel
  2. Vic Viper = legend. Mix title makes me continue the Pet Shop Boys lyric: "...let's make lots of money" Great stuff! Super-catchy synthwave with some syncopation, then we get the halfway transition with the Krueger quote and go dark for a bit, but not too long. I was totally unfamiliar with the Dave Wise original, so this exposure was a bonus as well!
  3. Very neat piece! And I smiled; "playful" seems like the right word - there's a familiarity to the march setting, relative to the artist's other mixes, but live performances add depth and the intentional use of dissonance and some more animated/"cartoony" compositional effects make this a different ballgame. I'll confess that the first time the Calvi influence pops up, since I wasn't expecting it, I thought something was off... but I wised up quick. Successful concept execution!
  4. @Liontamer Asked me to chime in with a sanity check. I appreciate the time & detail the artist gave to their response. I had fun listening to the track; two things stood out to me, before reading judge comments... which mostly mentioned the same two things: Balance issues (keys quiet, brass loud, general sense of foregound/background not always clear) Repetition (repeated sections may vary a bit, but by the end of the arrangement, you're definitely getting some deja vu, and since it's such a high-energy affair, it starts getting a little exhausting) Samples really didn't bother me all that much and I think some of that is coming from #1, issues w/ balance. So to me, it's that certain instruments stand out as being quieter or louder than one might expect, and potentially what would work better for the track, and then there's just some structural re-treading which, even if bits are tweaked a little each time, still has a fatigue issue to my ears. But I think I need to make a distinction here: It's (generally) good when judges all agree about an issue, or issue(s), with a mix, but... Just because there's consensus doesn't make the issues themselves more egregious, just more discernible... So even if most of us agree what the issues are, I'm kinda with Larry in that they don't feel like dealbreakers... if artist is willing to rebalance a bit & trim a bit, I do think there's a better version of this mix waiting to be found, but if not, I personally think it should land above our bar, as-is... YES (borderline)
  5. I really dig the vintage/throwback texture here - add some vinyl crackles to the intro and I swear it would fit right in on a Tarantino soundtrack
  6. There are parts to this that feel more like jazz fusion, then parts that definitely hit like progressive rock - interesting blend, and Ron Burgundy would love the flute!!
  7. INSANE guitar AND organ solos on this one; really delivers the goods!
  8. Time flies. Good example of tweaking/manipulating a sequenced solo piano mix to sound pretty pleasingly natural, so good job, I think it worked!
  9. @The Coop This sounds performed to me, as opposed to sequenced - can you shed some light? Either way, it's dynamic and has some very nice variation and ebb/flow!
  10. Some realllllly good, creative, satisfying, & interesting transitions, here - at first I thought it might be a bit boilerplate in terms of sounds/textures, but so happy to be proven wrong through the course of the mix. Excellent stuff!
  11. Yeah I had fun listening as well - good stuff!
  12. I usually tiebreak yes, but in this case I found myself nodding my head in agreement with the more critical decisions from @XPRTNovice (agreed on all counts) and then also @MindWanderer's comment on lead fatigue - the lead gets overused, and there's only so much variety added by effects. I specifically wanted to hear some modulation on the space/verb, where cutting it to dry or drenching it on a curve would have been neat & refreshing... but so would simply swapping to a different lead. I do love the structural creativity, but at times it gets so stripped down and exposed that it does end up feeling somewhat incomplete, as Joe honed in on. Hopefully revisions are feasible! NO (resubmit)
  13. Yes! Absolutely, unequivocally! There's so much to talk about, but since @Liontamer covered most of it - the sheer success of the methodology! I love it when a plan comes together... it's one thing to describe recording the different violin parts & then blending with samples, but for the end result to have worked so well is bona-fide gee-shucks impressive. This mix shoots for a stylized, autentico Mariachi sound/space/atmosphere, and while I don't claim to be anything remotely resembling an authority or even a connoisseur, texturally I was transported. Could have played it clean, but got a little dirty, and when combined with the expressive trumpets & overall vibe, I was feeling it. I consider this a difficult genre to execute well, and that's what's been done - megaprops to @Deedubs & contributing artists for killing it, and with style!
  14. Because this just happened to line up with the series finale of HBO's Succession, it almost seemed like an odd mashup or a Jeopardy! "Before & After" answer of some ilk. I always love woodwinds, and while there were a couple tails that could have used progressive vibrato, I really enjoyed the performances, along with the chromatic percussion. The only glock this mix is packing is an -enspiel. The intro conjures a Harry Potter or Tchaikovsky vibe, take your pick, and the overall blend of the live instruments in the space is uneasy-yet-playful & even a bit spooky. Good stuff!
  15. BIG MIX!!! @Liontamer mentioned rock opera but tbh it didn't feel explicitly along those lines, at least not to the same extent as "The Impresario" - to me, that genre is defined by a more traditional & dramatic vocal style, a mix of rock and musical theater/drama sensibilities, with The Who's Tommy and Weber's Jesus Christ Superstar as quintessential examples. This reads more like Badass Metal + Bigass Latin Death Choir of Doom, a genre you could almost just call "Uematsu" if you wanted. I didn't get the camp or melodrama or Freddy Mercurizing that I strongly associate with rock opera, is what I'm saying. But guess what? Doesn't matter, because what's here is DOPE; fantastic, GIGANTIC sound that nonetheless remains coherent & high-impact throughout, with a spot-on choir imbuing each Latin phrase with appeal-to-antiquity gravitas. This arrangement delivers big on a big source, and checks more than a few boxes in the process. Great contribution to the album!
  16. Truly awesome sound design & genre-blending here; lovely organic/crunchy percussive elements, seamless transitions, and non-stop creativity. Great stuff! As a titular sidenote, the quote about the definition of insanity being "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" is often misattributed to Einstein, but there's no evidence he said it... there's a good Quanta thought-piece on "But what if he had???" at https://www.quantamagazine.org/einsteins-parable-of-quantum-insanity-20150910/
  17. Which is because I know you listen to audio dramas & appreciate them - if anything, a bias towards, not against But as you say, it's really a question of the focus of the piece not being musical, primarily...
  18. Love that PIZZICATO BREAKDOWN at 3'01"!! I feel like one should be able to walk into any crowded room, in almost any context, and yell "PIZZICATO BREAKDOWN!!" and random folks should pull string instruments out from under tables or wherever and there should be an impromptu pizzicato jam. I am told that in the 1920s people would just shout "CHARLESTON!!" and then everyone would, you know, do the Charleston... so I don't really think this is too much to ask. Great mix; the "machine gun" in the title often seems to push arrangers towards texturally aggressive electronic/metal treatments, but a good string quartet can conjure quite a bit of suspense, energy, & excitement through notes & the performance of said notes, and this was that. Smart, but also successful!
  19. Great write-up from @Liontamer on an absolute standout track. I try to avoid superlatives of this particular nature, but for me this is going to be my definitive arrangement that I think of, for this source. I've always loved the melody, and I've always found the lyrics to be a strange oscillation between poetic and... somewhat odd. This version makes everything fit together, for me, makes all the pieces click in a way that I feel like I've somehow always needed... at one point I wanted to do my own country western vocal take (!!) on this, which I still think could sound good & is a genre equally underrepresented in the VGM arrangement scene, but some of the appeal there would have overlapped with the appeal here: taking Uematsu's timeless ballad and giving it a bit more longing, placing it geographically further south, giving it air & sand & wood & fire, making it come from somewhere a little deeper & a little further... Congrats to @CNDR, @Jorito, @Earth Kid & @chriskaudio - quite, quite, quite good; the type of arrangement I will think of & trigger related neurons whenever I think of the album itself, by proxy. You simply must give it a moment!
  20. @Subz1987 Actually, @Liontamer found out what the real issue is - special characters in filenames that aren't encoded right, which are causing issues on Apple devices. We will be updating the zip shortly to address this. UPDATE: zip files on all three mirrors updated with filenames that should no longer causes issues on Apple, etc. devices!
  21. @Subz1987 I just double-checked from mirror 2, and did not have the same issue - all files were there. If the zip downloaded partially, you should have gotten errors when unzipping. Another possibility is that, depending on where you unzipped, certain filenames may have been too long? At any rate, I don't think there's an issue with the zip itself, based on my test.
  22. What an arrangement by @TSori & co.! Heard this source so many times, but I confess that I've always felt that, while immensely popular, there were still some untapped arrangement possibilities & new gold to be mined, and that's exactly what they've done. Opening electric bass just has that grease, that visceral presence.... reminds me of Queen biting the dust, etc., trumpet is always great (I might have played with the reverb and dialed it down for different sections), marimba is a happy surprise, and basically everything else gels... except the drums. I always listen to a piece before reading judge comments, as much as possible, to avoid biasing my own thoughts, but I was relieved that they all picked up on some of the same timing issues I did, and the synthetic nature of the snare. The groove is SO GOOD that it withstands these weaknesses, but some of the fills are outside the pocket in a way that almost sounds quantized to the wrong subdivision, which when paired with an already synthetic snare, makes it sound like a really, really, really good funk band is for some reason playing along with a drum machine that's not quite aligned. I think a more acoustic snare with more timbral variation, a BPM bump of 1 or 2, and a tightening/realignment of the feel for most of the fills would have served this production well, but as stated it's so damn creative & good that these problems aren't deal-breakers. This source absolutely needed to be arranged/inspired in this fashion, and the result is smooth, funky gold!
  23. Super-fun follow-up to @TheManPF's debut mix; I love the creative, fearless arrangement style & willingness to shoot for novel juxtapositions!
  24. Has anyone seen The Amazing World of Gumball? Because I swear this has the same energy... I've heard drums mixed like this before, somewhere (maybe it was Boredoms?), but before we get to that, one thing is abundantly obvious: Kyana can DRUM!! Goodness gracious... I confess that I'm probably more tempted to "excuse" or attribute to intentional aesthetic choice the drum mixing, based on how solid the performance is - it's not how we should really approach evaluation, but it's hard for me to process throwing down such a badass performance and then being.... nonchalant?... about how it's mixed. The kick hits me the weirdest.... drier than a Cabernet in the Gobi, EQ curve that makes it sound more like a cochlea misfire at times... but it's a sound. And in the zany & boisterous context of the overall arrangement, it's a sound that ultimately works well enough for me. Other judges covered various highs & lows already, but the sink-or-swim factor for most seems to be the less-orthodox production, and I side with the approval votes. YES
  25. @Liontamer got the writeup but I wanted to chime in since it's @DCT (!!) - great to see/hear new music after a hiatus, and that electric guitar solo was sweet!
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