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Everything posted by djpretzel

  1. First off, definitely a YES for me and a fun, uplifting, power-melody power-medley, with strong production and crunchy guitar harmonies aplenty. I think @prophetik music's right about the drums being a little loud, but they also ended up feeling a little samey to me around the four-minute marker - not the programming, the sounds. When that snare is hitting at the same velocity, with the same impact, over & over, it ends up having more of an EDM vibe, but in this context & with these melodically distinct sections, it did start bugging me. I guess the other thing would just be: OMG melodic overload You know me, I love me the melody part, but... this is almost non-stop melodic content, for 5+ minutes. Even my copious appetite for melodic riffage was feeling a little stuffed/sated towards the end - would have benefited from a sparse oasis or hell, a few more bars of progression MINUS melody. I don't find myself advising "filler" often - it's usually the opposite, actually - but in this case I would have varied the level of emphasis on lead melody a bit more. Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning. YES
  2. Quirky AF and I'm loving it; absolutely dig being surprised like this, a wonderfully creative & still very recognizable take on the source that relishes exploring interesting instrumentation combinations. Muted trumpets flutter by, a wide slide guitar lazily recounts the melody, bass walks around a bit, pads swell in & out like an inflating/collapsing lung, and.... well the whole thing feels like an organism, exhaling & inhaling with its own confident, off-kilter swagger. Almost Cowboy Bebop-esque - not in any similarity to Kanno's score, but to that show's irreverent wild west futurism. We haven't posted anything from Geoff since 2005, and now I'm scratching my head on that.... either way, I enjoyed this rather a lot, and believe it succeeds in a worthwhile & utterly unique concept. YES
  3. OH HELLO THERE. Not really an intro, per se, just kinda... throws you right into the action. When I was a kid we used to wake up in the summer at 6:30AM and jump into a freezing cold local pool at 7:00AM for swim practice, and this kinda feels like that, right at the beginning - no ceremony, no build, just trial by fire. Would I have preferred *something* more... introductory? Perhaps, but by the time the mix was over, it wasn't a big deal Great transitions & sense of unity, and great use of both guits AND rock organ (yeah!!) to help make that happen. Exciting, inviting, and never overstays its welcome, while also serving up a heapin' helpin' of Celeste rock/metal. Cool. YES
  4. I think @prophetik music covered the highlights - playful, syncopated, & textured take on a trap/lofi rendition of this theme. Melodically conservative, but there's enough personalization. It's a bummer, though - this melody could have been stretched out, spliced between multiple leads w/ tradeoffs, doubled-up with some harmony, etc. - SO MANY WAYS that would have worked SO nicely with this genre/treatment. Instead, the second go-round we DO get some additional layering of string-esque patch to differentiate, but I feel like there were a lot of missed opportunities to do more with the melody, both compositionally & from a production perspective. Also could have extended duration with a really minimal/sparse breakdown/buildup, something Tune In With Chewie has a few great examples of. Nevertheless, we're judging what's here, not what could have been, and I think this is substantive enough & applies its hybrid genre influence adeptly enough to earn my vote. YES
  5. Both @prophetik music & @Emunator have a ton of great feedback and I agree with most if not all of it. There are some neat instrumentation/production choices in the second half, but a clear melodic line never materializes, and in a sense it's tied too closely to the source - deviation would be necessary to give the piece more direction as a standalone arrangement, as opposed to something explicitly designed for looping while playing the game. Without a melodic identity, this ends up feeling like a chord progression in search of a lead. The intro orchestral is okay, but a little robotic - the subsequent funk is a lot more fun/colorful, but in both cases there's no central melodic voice, so it's two different progressions, in two different genres, back-to-back. I would advise trimming the intro and fleshing out the second, funkier, more engaging portion, and either utilizing a secondary source or getting creative with this source to provide a melodic voice that is, at the moment, somewhat absent. NO
  6. Right out of the gate, really like the FX application on the intro synth; some combination of flanging/phasing/delay/widening/etc, and it sounds great... Like some of our judges, I'm not a huge fan of the hardstyle sound/genre, but I dig this more than a lot of what I've heard, AND I think it makes sense for the source... No huge missteps on production or major glaring issues, but what I'm missing is a sense of focus/direction & development - it kinda feels like patterns with similar instrumentation, placed next to one another, as opposed to something that flows along, as a continuity/stream. For example, the relatively basic bassline doesn't modulate or throw in any curveballs, but it also doesn't even transition from section to section with any sort of a bridge/lead-in - it just starts a new pattern, right on the beat. The bass part in general needs *something* - a few surprises, and/or alternate FX application at select points, or even a different patch. As-is, the bass feels underdeveloped - not exactly the kiss of death, but more noticeable & more of a problem in a sparser setting + with this genre. Everything else is solid, it just needs to be glued together with transitions/variations that give the listener points of reference & foreshadowing, as opposed to discrete patterns executed in sequence. NO (would love to a see a resubmit, Scott's style has always been unique and plenty to like here)
  7. This opened & ended solid for me - I especially like the combo of psamathes' vox + electric guitar on the last bits. I hate to "help out" with voting by contributing to gridlock, but (while I can hear some room for improvement) I felt that this was enjoyable and production was solid enough, for me; I basically concur with @Emunator, thus we have a third: YES
  8. I'd like to see Rebecca experience with adding some swing/groove to her sequencing, as this could have benefited from a smidge. Rebecca submits a ton of fantastic work, but it's still important that we evaluate each mix in isolation. If this were from another/new artist, I think the vote may have been less critical, but who can say... at any rate, yes it's conservative, and the samples are a mixed bag, AND I think more humanization would have improved the overall piece while also distinguishing it more from the original.... but even after all that, feels solidly above the bar, to me. YES
  9. Because the tempo, structure, and imo genre of the source are all so close, I tend to agree with the judges who don't think the solo & instrumentation tweaks are enough. A couple other things... that organ solo is the type of thing I'd write... but I don't *necessarily* mean that as praise... OR as a criticism. I would expect to get criticized by more professional organ players, of course... leans on ending slides a bit, perhaps? The delay on the bassline is odd; I think it should be EQ'd or otherwise processed to differentiate more with the original signal, because it almost sounds like a sequenced delay as opposed to DSP. There was enough reggae in the original that this isn't really a genre transformation, and the other changes aren't enough to differentiate it... plus some of the above production critiques ring true, to me. Certainly not bad, and you know I love reggae and would love to post more, but for me it's a... NO
  10. As @Liontamer writes, transition at end was a bit abrupt, and then the very ending cuts off - fixable with a fade, most likely. Admittedly, it probably helps with this one if you have a profound love of Dragon Ball, or just... deep male voices talking about power. Otherwise, the generous helpings of voiceover quotes are going to seem a little odd. I could have seen the bass going a bit lower - I think it would have survived a full octave dip for one or more sections. The pulled-back section is less iconically psytrance, but does offer a respite/variety in a genre that can sometimes get overwhelming. Some neat psychedelic panning effects and decent attention to modulation over time checks some of the core genre boxes, and overall it was, in a word, fun. I wasn't 100% sold, but I was sold enough to have a good time. YES (borderline)
  11. Very Hans Zimmer / Gladiator, which of course ain't easy to pull off from a production perspective. @Emunator wrote quite a bit, and I don't think he was way off the mark with any one point, but different things bother me. In a nutshell, the single biggest thing to me is the accelerando - I think it goes too far, too fast. It's a familiar cinematic motif, starting ambient & then picking up momentum for the more epic vibe, but I think it needs to be executed over a smaller BPM range and/or a longer period of time. This starts a seemingly linear tempo increase, and perhaps a curve may have worked better, but I also think it lands just a hair too fast, as well. The thing about this particular cinematic trick is that when it works, it's pretty cool.... but when the tempo curve, length, or range isn't quite right, it can really disrupt the vibe. So for me, that's the single biggest issue: sub-optimal accelerando. The background vox are gorgeous and lush but yeah, a consonant or vowel shift in some of the solo melodic lines would have masked some of the artificiality at points - Lisa Gerrard temporarily morphs into T-Pain for a fleeting moment. But this is more of a nitpick, and the drums, while admittedly a little thin, didn't bother me much. The bigger deal is the accelerando, because it's a key shift in the structure of the arrangement - a pivotal transition that bridges the reflective with the epic - and it's not quite there, and I think even a casual listener would notice. But would they be truly distracted? If this could be revised accordingly, it could really live up to its potential and deliver a stirring, cinematic experience. If revisions aren't possible, that's a bummer, but in the end it would still get a yes from me for the many things it's doing right... and I would just grit my teeth through the accelerando. YES (BORDERLINE)
  12. Sticks the landing. The progressive vibrato (i.e. baked into sample and not dialed in via controller, I believe) is doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the flute lead - from a certain perspective, I'm glad it's there, because otherwise the notes would just... sit. From another perspective, it comes in predictably, with the same envelope, each time... I think this could have been masked to some extent with some expression modulation (or if sample doesn't support, just modulating volume), but.... I'll live. I've certainly heard far worse, and the sequencing is lovely. Kudos for slowing the intimate, very cinematic (as @MindWanderer points out) piano bits down and giving them temporal breathing room. I don't really enjoy listening to the original, to be honest - I hear the promise, but it's on tempo rails and hits me wrong - but I dig this treatment, and found it engaging and well-conceived. Repetition/reuse wasn't flagrant, but in the future for extended passages you intend to repeat... just alter something, even if it's one interval, so we know you know, and to give the listener contrast... and, more importantly, to further explore the possibilities of the melodic line. Right on. YES
  13. This right here. Bam. SUPERB example of a single decision that was make-it-or-break-it, for me. I was about to reject this for lead fatigue - the issue to me is not so much one of EQ and no mids (imo the mids are in the main lead, and there's good separation & clarity throughout), but one of a static, overused lead sound. Sure, it's cross-panned (or on every note?) initially and then sits still, but it's the same sound, and had it remained all alone for the whole mix, I would not be passing this. But, as @Emunator points out (I read his decision AFTER listening & coming to the above conclusion, and it made me happy to see it echoed) at 2'37" we get the additional lead.... which is rather interesting/unorthodox, a slightly nasal, distorted, buzzing affair... but it works, and more importantly it adds absolutely-critical timbral variety to the main melody. Without this **one** element, no way. With this **one** element, yes way. Sometimes that's how it is. YES
  14. Yeah. @Liontamer's vote, on this one. Which is actually not that common, where he's the one I agree with the most, but...it's got an idea, it runs with it, executes it well enough, feels complete. There are a gazillion ways this could be enhanced or extended, but that's not really the point - we gotta judge what's there - and I think this is above the bar. Not far above it, but above it. It's a familiar theme for most of us, but I ain't heard it this way, and I enjoyed hearing it this way. Repetition definitely subtracts some metaphorical points, but while it was an issue here, it wasn't flagrant enough to be a deal-breaker for me. YES
  15. Source melody meanders in a way that kinda had to be addressed for a synthwave structure, and I think the artist has done a good job with that - it's liberal, but not too liberal, and even that varies, as some parts connect more. Essentially I'm just echoing @prophetik music & @MindWanderer's votes - read 'em both, agree with 'em both. Lovely warmth and grit to the lead synth, I might add. YES
  16. Really cool sound design on the intro; was a bit worried that thunder sounded mono, but the subsequent filtered noise effect kicked in with a wider field and it made me happy. The buildup kinda leads to almost a false drop? 1'05" didn't satisfy me in the pants like I was expecting, and my pants had to wait until 1'27" - some energy is lost, with this approach. I assume it to be 100% intentional, but from a groove bias perspective it kinda interrupts the flow, deflates a bit, THEN kicks in with that familiar melodic riff. Not awful, just a tad unorthodox, I guess? The rest of it is solid, no huge surprises but a fun EDM take on the source, however... we need to talk about the drums. At parts they feel a little crunchy/muddled, and is it just me, or are they nearly mono themselves? Almost all the elements - kick/snare/hats - seem to sit dead center or only very slightly to one side. I dunno... it's not OA's best work and I have a hard time providing a fully-throated YES - the intro/build has more variety in the sound design, there's a weird transition, and then things kinda ride out in a satisfying/enjoyable but predictable manner. I'd like more of the intro mystery & textural variety sprinkled throughout, at least one breakdown or left turn somewhere towards the end, and a rethink on the drums - with some wider stereo separation - to be 100% on-board. YES (BORDERLINE)
  17. I basically agree with @MindWanderer's vote, but I want to throw in some extra praise: love the production, here. With lofi each element has to be "just so" and then they all need to work together, and I feel like what's here does exactly that - from the silky, rubbery bass to the subtly effected tails of samples, the texture is on-point, and lofi is all about texture. That being said, just needs to.... do more. Two minutes and change, and the first minute is essentially the same as the second. This is such a fantastic foundation and I'd love to see some soloing, melodic embellishment, etc. on top, extending to a three-minute marker and differentiating itself a bit more. NO (but sweet production & I'd love to see a resubmission w/ more meat)
  18. Given the new effort/thread, I'm going to lock this thread now, and archive it soon, to prevent confusion.
  19. Yeah, it's a hard one. I don't think CSS alone will do it, unless inline styles could be consistently overridden using !important or something like that. jQuery is an option, and possibly the best option; here's a lead that might help: https://dev.to/gamesover/using-jquery-to-fix-background-foreground-color-contrast-automatically-538i
  20. @Ramaniscence Nice! Just FYI, there should (finally) be some changes coming in a couple weeks to the navigation header, and eventually the forums. Overall theme will be darker, but regions with a lot of text will remain white-on-black, perhaps making a dark theme a bit easier since it will just be toggling those specific sections. With post content itself, one of the challenges is that Invision allows copying & pasting that includes background & font colors, so while the thread you screencapped looks fine, some posts will look quite wrong (white regions, potentially with light gray text, depending on what's being formatted within the post) - I imagine even this could be fixed with some fancy jQuery, and if that's something you're up for, that same logic could eventually be incorporated into the actual site.
  21. Would always be interesting to have more PC98 representation! Catchy source. I get that you're keeping the vibe, but have you perhaps sped it up a bit? I'd consider dropping 2-3 BPM down, I feel like it's running a bit fast. I've got individual observations & you can pick/choose which if any you agree with Drums end up having almost a hybrid EDM vibe because the dynamics are static across large patterns - I like that there are fills/breaks, I could even stand for some more of them - but I'm talking mainly about the melodic parts where you've got the downbeat going; because they're sampled & not explicitly electronic drums, and because the fills/breaks are more humanized, these stand out due to the velocity of the kick/snare hits being maxed out, basically all the time. I think humanizing these would give a bit more organic vibe & more contrast... either the chorus or the verse could be significantly quieter, for example.... hopefully the drum samples you are working with are multi-sampled and respond differently at lower velocities - if not, I think there are some free options out there that do, but I'd have to check. In short: humanize the drum line a bit to prevent listening fatigue. RE: listening fatigue in general, I think a breakdown might help... something to reduce overall intensity, noticeably. Not that waveform is everything, but right now you can tell just by looking at the Soundcloud visualization that it's basically a non-stop proposition... something to cut that up a bit would help. Drum dropout, then fill to back-in, etc. I like the organ solo, but I do like it better for a dirty B3 than the churchier option employed here... if you can get something with more grit, maybe Leslie... You're asking a lot of the sampled guitar, on lead, and I'm wondering if a straight up synth lead might work better.... perhaps for just one of the variations? Right now it's being a bit overused, as a lead, with nothing sonically to distinguish it from section to section. One way of addressing this would be via creative FX application, where it's widened/delayed/modulated in some manner in one section, but not the next. Another is to simply swap the lead out to a different sound, and I think synth could work. If you wanted to get a little cheekier, instead of just making the third variation more elaborate on a single lead (whether you keep the guitar or roll with something else), you could do a call-and-answer style duet between the previously-introduced organ and the main lead, introducing some harmonic combinations, having a couple notes in unison, that sorta thing. Just a notion; could be fun. In terms of is-it-ready-to-submit, I don't speak for the judges panel, but I imagine they'd pick up on some of the same things, all of which I think would improve the track. Hope that helps!
  22. You can do that for yourself, for your personal collection - absolutely, no one's stopping you, and why would they... The key word here is "redistributed" - if you're hosting/mirroring portions of the collection for *others*, yeah, we want the files to be official & unmodified. If you're remixing them, that's no longer redistribution of the original audio, it's a different ballgame entirely. Conversion to OGG wouldn't make much sense (lossy to lossy?) - @Liontamerhas done work on silence trimming so if you find mixes w/ 10+ seconds of true silence (no signal), let us know here. The bigger no-no that we're especially concerned with would be modifying tagging/attribution, FYI.
  23. Yep, agreed. Will add it to the list, might make this change sooner rather than later.
  24. I think FF3 is actually further along, because @Rexy has been a bit more available - @Gario was supposed to be coordinating Lufia 2 but I haven't seen him around much. We'll def. regroup in the new year & figure something out.
  25. @theconsoloist Should be fixed now, sorry for the trouble & thanks for reporting!
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