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Posts posted by djpretzel

  1. 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)

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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/

  6. 12 minutes ago, DarkeSword said:

    I personally am sorry I didn't catch this on the first go-around; I didn't see the first decision and I was specifically asked when the second thread went up by Dave to weigh in, which is the first I heard the track and when I made my opinion very clear that this track is not a fit for OCR.

    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...

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.


  11. I particularly liked the layered/distant choir, here; it blends nicely with the pads and creates an ambient oasis, but you can still make out individual articulations and voices and details, and it's quite striking; a lesser choir sample would have worked, given the usage is masked/blended, but I sure am glad we got this one instead - elevates the mix.

  12. Extensive vocoder... and it's NOT @Jorito?!?

    So much fun! The sax solo put it over the top, for me, but the whole thing is just a blast. The glitching/record stops at the very end are a little less 1970's/disco, but very much in keeping with the mix title, and the hook reminds me a little of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky". I was coincidentally JUST playing this (gorgeous, creative) game, and while I will always remain a dog person, it's a unique & extremely well-done experience.

    Amazing to think that composer Nurykabe had a Faxanadu mix posted wayyyyyyy back in 2009; time flies!

  13. Superb debut from @suikun - I have Pianoteq AND the SWAM plugins, and I haven't been able to get them to sound nearly this good :) I'd love to see a project file or screenshots of some of the automation curves; as he writes, physically-modeled instruments are like a double-edged sword in that they can do anything you tell them to & are more flexible than sample-based alternatives... BUT you have to know what to tell them to do! I think having a background actually playing violin must help; I find the SWAM brass instruments more intuitive, probably because I played euphonium. At any rate, this sounds excellent, and is exposed & articulated in ways that require and benefit from such flexibility. The verb/space adds realism and unifies the three instruments, and I love the super-high sustain note. I've been an evangelist for physical modeling for a long time, and while they're not cheap, Modartt & SWAM represent the state of the art. I think eventually we'll have an AI layer that can add artifacts and increase realism even further, or a hybrid approach that also employs samples in some form (technically the SWAM flutes do this, on the attacks) - it's all very neat stuff, and I love to geek out on it...

    Speaking of geeking out, for the life of me I can't read this mix title without thinking of TNG's "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" :)


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