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Everything posted by DaMonz

  1. IT LIVES! Completely forgot to write here about it! So this is a quick note to let people know that I've taken over this project a few months ago, that I've salvaged as much as I could from the previous attempts, that I've scoped it down to much fewer tracks, and that we're shooting to have all tracks finished by the end of next month. Things are looking great so far, and you can be quite certain that this project is going to see the light of day, albeit as a shorter, more compact cute little package.
  2. First thing that I noticed listening to this is that I feel like this arrangement lacks energy. There are a few elements trying to keep the energy up, like the quick hi-hats and castanets, but most of the elements (the guitar, the synth leads, backing elements, eventually the snare and bass drums) sound very weak/low-energy to me. I feel like the intent isn't really cohesive throughout the different instruments, and it's really my biggest personal problem with the track. Also, specifically for the synth leads, I'm 100% with Chimp. Their current implementation really doesn't blend well with the rest of the instrumentation. The sound is way too wet to be able to pierce through and have a strong effect (the phaser effect on the some of the leads, and the vibrato on all of them, are both particularly applied way too heavily). I also agree that more interpretation would be really great, and that this feels like a cover for a big part of the track. This combined with the lack of energy drop this below the bar for me. NO
  3. I'm also new to this one. I'm not familiar with the source (and it's kind of a minimalist source), but after a few listens it sounds to me like the source is well-represented here. I'm with Mike here, the production sounds unpolished on the drums and on the drops. The biggest issue, to me, is the hi-hats not blending well with the snares, especially. I think they should be closer together in the mix, and maybe different sample choices would have blended better together. Some more velocity work on the hats might have also helped a bit there, to make things sound a bit more natural? That's more debatable though. Other than that, I like the sound design in general, I like the pace, I like the soundscape, I like the chords... Plenty to like in there. This is good stuff. Let's go! YES
  4. Here is my take on source usage: 0:00-1:44 Direct source usage 1:44-2:53 A-section chords 2:53-3:08 B-section chords (1:09 in Firelink Shrine) 3:08-4:00 Clear usage of B-section melody 4:00-4:34 B-section melody 4:34-5:47 Clear usage of Maiden in Black Even if we do not consider the sections using only the chords, the count is still easily over 50%. And I strongly disagree that this ReMix only uses chords from the originals. There are melodies in both original tracks, and the ReMix references them directly repeatedly throughout the arrangement. To me, this is undeniably a YES on source usage. And everything about this track sounds great to me. The drums are repetitive, yeah, but this is lush, full of rich emotions, absolutely beautiful. I want to see this on the front page. YES
  5. First off, I really like the ambience. The soundscape is well-built, nothing is too crowded and it never feels too empty to me. The occasional lead downtimes leaving just the pads, drums and bass are very satisfying breaks. The sound design is great, I particularly like the sound of that last lead, super tasty. The only balance issue I can hear in this is that, in my opinion, the lead at 2:07-2:21 takes a bit too much space. Other than that, I really enjoy how the different elements were placed in the mix. Also, I agree with Chip and Palpable about the transition between the two sources. I didn't hear a problem there at all, I felt it was very smooth and didn't surprise me in any wrong way. The flow in the drums, bass and pads kept things very coherent for the entire duration of the track. Good stuff! YES
  6. First off, I disagree that the mixing is a problem here. It's hard to hear a few things that seem to be happening in the lows from time to time, but overall most of the foreground is clear. I like the punch of the kick and snare, works very well for me. I like the large soundscape provided by the big pads and the super wet arpeggios, although maybe all that reverb and delay is contributing to the cluttered lows. You might want to look into that, make sure that your reverb patches for the pads, leads and arps have their lows heavily EQ'd out, I'm pretty sure you don't want those frequencies in there messing with your bass and kick. The arrangement also works fine for me. The copy-pasta at the end didn't bother me. The structure is good, the breakdown is very satisfying, the subtle melodic and harmonic embellishments, combined with the genre adaptation, are plenty for me to believe there is enough interpretation in there. Personally, I'd have messed around much more with the melody in those last 30 seconds to make a bigger climax, but hey this isn't my track, it's Paul's. Fun, groovy stuff. Works for me! YES
  7. Here is a new version of the track. Joe told me that he really prefers how the guitar sounds in his first submission, though. https://app.box.com/s/bhf54067j06ak0bofrbp0hmylwd7vg3m
  8. Not much more to be said here (again). Greg and Mike got things very well covered. I agree that the arrangement is very nice, the writing stands out to me as being particularly strong during the solos, but the whole arrangement showcases great writing skills for sure. I also have to agree that the production is deal-breaking, though. The bass is definitely too loud compared to everything else, and the synth lead's sound design is very generic. The general balance feels off, and I recommend rethinking the levels of the mix to try and identify what the priorities are, what should be heard up front, etc. I'd love to hear this with improved production. I hope you'll rework it! NO (resubmit)
  9. I have to agree with both of my colleagues here. The arrangement is fun, but the production is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed. I think the biggest problem is in the bass drum eating up most of the space, which I don't think works well with such a busy writing. It's not the only problem, though, as was already pointed out. I don't want to beat a dead horse, Greg and Mike were very specific on the issues present in your track, but I do want to stress that the low-end was particularly problematic because of the multiple tracks fighting for space in that range. I strongly recommend looking for in-depth mixing and mastering advice, and the Workshop boards here can be a great place for that. As it is now, I have to agree that a lot of work needs to be done to make the production on par with the site standards. The arrangement *is* fun though, so I hope you'll keep trying to improve your production skills. Best of luck! NO
  10. This is very nice! Beautiful arrangement, and cool concept for sure. I have to agree that the break in the middle is *quite* long, and is honestly the biggest deal-breaker for me. The storm alongside the music didn't bother me as much, but I do think toning it down just a little wouldn't be a bad idea. I also think there's just too much repetition once we get into the second half of the track, and more variation would go a long way. This is definitely very close, and I hope you'll send in a revised version soon! NO (borderline)
  11. I agree that the higher frequencies could use some more attention in this mix in order to expand the soundscape some more, but I disagree that it's a deal-breaking problem. I think Mike's vote is on point here, and I could pretty much quote-vote him. This is a short and sweet arrangement that accomplishes what it's going for. I think the production could be clearer even without altering the instrumentation, with a more definite frequency distribution with careful EQ'ing of the different instruments. Although, I think this track is worthy of OCR even considering its flaws. YES (borderline)
  12. Well, this is fun! Where are the balls though? Production is clean, arrangement is cool, I don't think the SFX are overdone. I want to ask @Chimpazilla though, the last note in both runs of the initial theme (roughly 0:22 and 0:26) are a semitone lower than what we usually hear in the source, is that intentional? It can very well be an intentional divergence from the original to give it a different color, but since it was such an isolated change I thought it might have been unintentional. It's not a problem at all, but I wanted to point it out just in case. Good stuff! YES
  13. I'm basically in full agreement with Gario's vote here. I also think the arrangement flows well enough to not suffer from medleyitis. Although, I have to agree that the execution is deal-breaking here. I don't want to beat a dead horse, so I'll just redirect you to Gario's comments on that because I don't think I could state it clearer anyway. I will also add that the bass seems to be having some strange hiccups around 4:50-4:56 that should definitely be addressed, if you decide to send in a revised version. And please do! There are plenty of great ideas in your arrangement (as usual) and I'd love to hear them executed better. Best of luck, Rebecca! NO (resubmit)
  14. Okay, so here's my take on a source breakdown: 0:23-1:20 melody on the harp and strings 1:27-1:32 melody on the brass 1:46-2:30 melody on the brass again 2:30-2:38 melody on the strings 3:00-3:20 evocative chords, but don't add to the count IMO 3:48-4:11 melody 4:55-5:24 melody (a bit drawn out) 330 seconds of music, 166 seconds of source: 50.3%. Source usage (barely) checks out. Let me know if you think my breakdown is wrong, @Liontamer With that out of the way, I really like your track. I agree with Mike, and I think the arrangement is excellent. I think the volume contrasts are appropriate, and don't seem like an issue to me. I think this is a very expressive package that tells an engaging story. The Howard Shore influences are definitely present, and I think it was a great idea that you executed quite well. I also think the low-end should have been toned down, and the reverb is arguably slightly too much, but they're not enough to bring this below the bar, in my humble opinion. YES
  15. Okay, the first thing that I want to say is that the basslines are indeed super awesome, and the marching band snare writing caught me by surprise and I really, really liked it! The bass and percussion writing are definitely the strongest parts of your track, they're both *super* tasty. They really are what make the arrangement stand out as being great, in my opinion. The synth and guitar work left me a bit wanting, though. The simple synth design is fun, but I personally think the lack of expression brings its value down. For example, instead of having a constant vibrato applied to it, I think applying vibrato only on specific notes/timings would go a long way in making the melodies more enjoyable. Adding more subtleties to the writing in the melody (like slides, bends, etc.) would also have been a lot of fun. I also agree that the guitar sounds pretty synthy and live guitar would most probably make this even better. These issues are definitely not enough to bring this below the bar, though, and I'd be glad to see this on the front page. Nice work! YES
  16. I agree that the arrangement is great, there's no question there. Nice work on that! I think sample quality wasn't much of an issue, but the mix drowned in low-end breaks the deal for me. As mentioned by Mike, I also think the reverb doesn't help on the mix issues. I'd recommend slightly reducing the reverb's decay, and heavily dropping the lows of your reverb patch, because it's most probably only adding unwanted rumble. Maybe reducing a bit of the Amp Env decay on some of the booming low percussion instruments would help reducing the constant low-end rumbling, and some careful EQ'ing might also help. The lack of humanization also bothered me, but wasn't part of the deal-breaking problems for me. If you send a revised version, though, some more work there would definitely be appreciated. Best of luck! NO (resubmit)
  17. I like this. My mind is not blown away, mostly because I agree that this sounds pretty conservative, but I still think the arrangement has enough subtlety to it to make it acceptable for OCR. This is a fun take on a fun source, and there's nothing in there that bothers me, really. The off note mentioned by the others didn't sound like much of an issue to me. The most questionable harmonic choice, IMO, is the arpeggio starting around 3:44, but even then I don't think it's an issue. I think this is fine work! YES
  18. Shnabubula keeps to impress me like he always has and probably always will. I think this arrangement is amazing, and the performance is just as great. I agree that the piano sound undermines the quality of the piece, but not nearly enough to bring this below the bar in my humble opinion. YES
  19. The arrangement is fun and has a interesting progression, and it's nice to have live performances. Although, the performances on the violin and cello in the first part of the arrangement broke the deal for me. The articulations often seemed unnatural to me, but what really distracted me were the off-pitch notes, especially on the cello. The cello run around 1:00 sounded very off-pitch and completely threw me off. That combined with the unnatural articulations, and the violin having a bit of those issues as well, are too much for me to pass this, I'm sorry. I also agree with Deia that the ending felt a bit too anti-climactic, but that's not a deal-breaker. I hope I'm not being too harsh. I'd recommend practicing the first section some more, and I'd love to hear this again with improved performances. Best of luck! NO (resub)
  20. Ohh I remember hearing this track as a WIP on the BadAss 2 private boards! It's come a loooong way! This is definitely a naughty-bottomed track. The straightforward arrangement structure works very well with the style adaptation. Strong drums, nasty guitar chugs and gritty vocals add up to a nice metallic cocktail of badassery. As was previously pointed out, some parts of the mix could be clearer like the cymbals that tend to get lost a bit. Also, some slightly loose timings on the guitar around 2:50 or so tickled my OCD a little in a bad way. Although, those nitpicks are definitely not stopping Sturm from conquering the front page. YES
  21. Quick co-sign here. Arrangement is super awesome, mixing sounds good to me. I agree that the overall panning felt a bit tilted to the right because of the chip plucks, but it didn't bother me all that much. This is easily over the bar. Nice work! YES
  22. This is conservative all right, and I agree that it would need some more interpretation in order to be appropriate for OCR. Still on the arrangement side, I think adding a smoother intro and outro to the track would be a nice plus. I think the biggest problem is the production, though. This seems overcrowded even though there is a limited set of instruments, and that's because most of them currently play in very similar (and broad) frequency ranges. Your leads seem to use a particularly large portion of the frequencies, and I would strongly suggest revising their sound design to take less space. In my personal experience, I find that leads with more compact, localized frequency usage seem to often have more impact. I also suggest reviewing the effects/sound design on your bass. It seems quite wet and undefined, which probably also contributes a lot to the track sounding muddy and unclear. Other than that, I suggest you take the precious advice provided by the other judges. You have a nice potential, and I think you should keep working to try and improve your skills. I hope to hear more submissions from you! NO
  23. Mike and Kris pretty much covered everything, so I'll be brief. First, I think this is a fun arrangement that definitely deserves better production, and I'm sure you're able to bring it over the bar. I agree that the lead at 1:15 blends much better with the track than the other leads, and I think reworking those would help your track a great deal. Kris's comments about volume and reverb are accurate, and I think you should try to apply them. I also suggest to review their sound design. Kick and snare with more impact should then be the next priority, in my opinion, to provide a stronger drive for the track. I hear there already seems to be sidechaining on the pads, and applying sidechain on the bass might help, but I think adding too much of it might end up changing your vision of the track, so I'd advise caution with that. I hope you'll address these issues and send in a revised version! NO (resubmit)
  24. Sent the crits to Joe, he agreed to make a revision. No ETA, though.
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