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DarkSim

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Everything posted by DarkSim

  1. Nice vibe to this one. Reminds me of halc's early stuff, especially that bitcrushed and filtered percussion layer. The synths are, indeed, very basic in their sound design, but they're chosen well enough as to form a cohesive palette. Production sounds clean, although I felt the transitions could have been smoother, particularly the 3:36 sweep effect, which sounded too loud. Hearing that sax synth at the end, I understand the choice to keep the sound design basic. Any more interesting sounds would expose the sax sample as too fake - it doesn't sound the best as-is, and the real deal would be ideal - but you work with what you've got, and I respect that. Arrangement is fairly straightforward to begin with, however the ponderous tempo left me checking the timestamp after just over a minute, wondering when it would pick up a bit. It's chillout, sure, but I found myself wanting to be engaged with it just a little more. I really like the idea of the pad at 2:33 and other sections. If I'm being picky though, some more body to it in the low-mids would serve to fill out the mix some more, and give emphasis to those sections. Heck, you could even bring in a nice warm and fuzzy bass layer there to really tickle the ear drums, and I bet that'd sound lovely. It's a nice remix, that's for sure, but nothing about it wows me. The main point of interest is the sax solo, however that's the weakest of all the synths. It's super close, but I think something needs to be elevated to nudge it over the edge. NO (resubmit)
  2. Great source tune, and it's clear you want to do it justice and pay tribute to the character of the original. The choruses sound great, I do like that synth that plays the melody at 1:27, although it's fairly vanilla. The rest of the instrumentation sounds very 16-bit FM, much like the original source, and especially the bass sounds almost indistinguishable from the source. Did you use soundfonts for this? There's nothing wrong with that inherently, but there are a few occasions in this remix where it's crying out for some more interesting sound design to hold my attention, particularly the long sections where the bass is playing by itself. At 4:30 you add some background arps and a pad and it sounds a lot better. However, that brings me to the next point - it's a long source, and an even longer remix! I was fully ready for it to end at 4:30, but then it keeps going, for almost 3 more minutes! I definitely think you could cut at least 2 minutes of material and not miss it. At the end, I'm not sure why the bassline needs to come back in and then just fade out. The phasing pad around 6:48 would have been a perfect way to properly end it. I did appreciate some of the automated effects on the bass though to mix up the character of the sound a little more. Production-wise, it does sound like a thin mix. I often found myself thinking that it could use an extra layer in there to fill out the soundscape some more. There's a lot of space available, and when the string-like pad comes in at 4:30 then the sound feels much fuller. Some tasteful pads would go a long way towards helping with this in other sections, as well as an overall mastering pass. Playing the remix and source one after another, you can hear the source fills out the soundscape a lot more evenly, despite being 16-bit. This feels like one of those remixes that's torn between a cover and an original interpretation, and it's just leaning too far towards the source for me at the moment. When you retain so much of the original's character, it's hard to hear your own stamp on it. There's definitely some rearrangement going on, but for me it's not distinguishable enough. Think of opportunities you have to take ideas from the source and run with them yourself. There's a part at 3:50 in the source where there's some cool syncopation on the bassline. In your remix, at 2:05, it's much less syncopated, and as such doesn't sound as interesting. To summarise, I'd say it needs condensing down into a really juicy track. Take all the best bits and get rid of any bars/repetitions that don't need to be there. Fill out the soundscape either by adding layers or adjusting the mastering. As it stands, it's a great tribute to a cool source tune, and it'd be nice to hear this one again! NO
  3. Wow, where do I start with this epic track! There's a lot to digest here, and some great feedback from Kris already, but as I listened without reading the other J's feedback, I'll give my initial thoughts. First off, I was really impressed for the first 45 seconds or so. The mood was dark, brooding, loved the sound design and atmosphere, and was excited to see where it would go. As the track progressed, however, it felt more and more like you had built this great foundation, but everything else was tacked on, never really having its moment to shine. There are tons of effects employed, but none of them feel particularly naturally implemented. The transition at 1:45-1:49 with the stuttering is one example of this. Forgive me if this isn't the case, but it feels like you're still learning a lot of the tools you have at your disposal, and your production hasn't caught up with your ambitions just yet. That's not a bad thing! You should always be pushing yourself to learn and improve, and OCR is definitely the right place to do that. I'll bullet point some areas that I think you should definitely focus on for the fastest improvement: Mixing - Kris made some great points earlier. Give elements room to breathe in the mix, and avoid crowding the same frequencies, particularly in the low end Dynamics - Your track is 6 and a half minutes long, but the energy levels are high throughout. Give the listener a break! It does wonders for the flow of a track, and helps you as a producer highlight the areas you want the listener to pay particular attention to. Transitions - Part of a good arrangement is moving between sections smoothly and logically. If you're using stutter or glitching effects, make sure that they're not too jarring, and there's a reason you're using them. Would the transition sound better without them? Drops (for this genre) - Typically these will be the high points of your track. Make sure they're memorable and worth the wait. This links back to dynamics, but you want maximum impact after a drop. Don't reveal all your tricks before these! The final drop at 5:36 is the best of the lot, but it has a Mario sample that sounds like it's been chopped out early, which dampens the impact. There's also the distorted vocal sample beforehand that possibly makes the Mario sample unnecessary. See previous point. Length - Make sure you're not outstaying your welcome with the track length. I know it's tempting to loop another 4 or 8 bars if you're really pleased with how something sounds, but don't worry - that's what the repeat button is for! Try and distil all your best ideas, and be ruthless with things that aren't necessary. I'm sure that even with a couple of minutes trimmed off this, it would still sound awesome, and you wouldn't miss the cut parts. I can tell you're bursting with ideas for this one, but I think it still needs a lot of work to get where it deserves to be. I'd love to pass this one in some form in future, but for now it's a NO
  4. Well first off, this sounds great. Bass is a tad boomy, but compared to the source it's actually stylistically similar. Drumkit packs some punch, but it's possible the compression is acting on it a little too much. You can hear it in the hats particularly during the B sections. No major crits on the production side though. It's drums, 2 guitars and a bass and you can hear all parts clearly enough. Love the fast soloing/scale runs that are present in the source and remix at 0:20. Arrangement is essentially a cover for the first 2 minutes, with an ABAB structure, but then it's all original and actually a really nice rhythm section break, before it ends with some chunky chords and a satisfying drum fill. I feel like there's definitely a place on OCR for this with some arrangement tweaks. I'd like to see the break section in the middle, then maybe some more original material (solo?) over the top of the final run-through of the AB section, to make it less of an obvious cover and stamp your own mark on it. At the moment it sounds more like one idea tacked on to the end of the other, rather than one cohesive piece. NO (resubmit)
  5. Hey, thanks for the submission! A trailer music composer sounds like a cool job. I can hear the cinematic influence is there in abundance, although it's definitely more of a trailer than a full film at the moment. A minute of material, which is a cover version of the source tune, repeated and fading out is not what we look for on the judges' panel. Don't get me wrong, it's a great start, and I would definitely encourage you to pursue this track to submit to us again once it's finished, but it needs a lot more work. Try and work in some original material, and tell a cohesive story from beginning to end using the arrangement. Production sounds good, although it's heavy in the low-end so watch out for that. Hope to hear this one back again once it's finished! NO
  6. OK, for the first 2 minutes I was worried that this was going to just be a decent cover. Sounds very MIDI-rippy, albeit with some nice instrumentation. After 2 minutes though, we get the Neon X treatment: double-time percussion, a slick solo, some chord changeups, different arps, then back to some familiar territory with the soft arp, before... a fadeout?! Man, I was fully primed for another run-through of the main melody with that double-time percussion and new arp, with a few original flourishes thrown in for the finale. This remix sounds great, but it feels like it's missing its 3rd act. There's 2 minutes of source, then some great original work, and it's crying out for a big finish that brings the two together in a more satisfying way. I may be way out of line here, but I subscribe to you on YouTube and I see how productive you are. Your remixes are great, and I see no reason this shouldn't be featured on OCRemix, but the ending does sound like it was rushed out. I get the YouTube grind is hard, but some extra time spent on the ending/final section would elevate this track from "passable" to "one of the best Aquatic Ambiance remixes of all time". YES Edit: Still not exactly the finish I was hoping for, but it resolves a lot better now. Still got goosebumps in the middle. Big thanks to Neon X for being so receptive to the feedback and willing to change the fadeout to a more satisfying ending! Edit 2: One of the best Aquatic Ambiance remixes OF ALL TIME BAYBEEEEE
  7. Well, this is a tough one! There's a lot to like here. The sound palette is great - the rythmn guitar in particular sounds chunky and clean, and there's some nice layering of the backing synths too. Nice to hear you using the 5th string on that bass as well, with those low B notes in there! That synth lead you use at around the 1:20 mark is classic, and it's awesome how you're blending the synth sounds with the stringed instruments. It sounds much more like a lead synth than the one at 0:36, which does sound lacklustre in comparison to the rest of the mix. The arrangement leaves a lot to be desired, unfortunately. I like how you've tried to mix things up a bit with a break in the middle, and dropping out the percussion for a couple of bars just before the finale, but really there's very little new from the source's A/B/A/B-with-a-little-extra-oomph pattern. It's ever so nearly there, and I did spend well over an hour deliberating this decision, but I'm afraid I'll have to send this one back for another go. At the moment, it sounds like a great cover, with some quiet lead synths in places where they could afford to be bolder. More original stuff, more engaging leads, let's have it back! NO (resubmit)
  8. You're doing a lot of things right with this remix. Opening pluck arp and bass arp work well together to grab the listener's attention, and the crackly effects are ok for a bit of atmosphere. Opening the filter up on the bass arp is also a nice touch to vary the sound. I also really enjoyed the solo at 3:23. Some nice detail in the pitchbends and 2-note chords that worked well with the bass at 3:46. 2 major areas you could improve are the lead synths and the percussion. The lead synth sounds so thin that it gets buried behind that bass for the most part. It's only when they get doubled up in the B section and parts of the solo that the leads start to have the body and presence needed. I mean, they're called leads for a reason - make them stand out! There's a decent attempt at making the lead sound more interesting by varying the panning, however when you move the lead around the stereo space so much, it can be distracting to the listener. I think if you make the leads bolder, you can back off the panning changes and instead use tools like ping-pong delay to fill out the stereo space whilst keeping the listener focused on the melody, not where it's coming from. Percussion-wise, the main offender here is the snare. Similar to the lead, it's far too thin and doesn't pack anywhere near enough punch in the mids to drive the beat. I can hear you're using 2 separate samples at different points, alternating between them for a spell in the first verse, so you already have that good habit, which is great! Did you try layering different samples on top of each other already? If your snare is missing some punch in the mids, just find a sample with some weight to it and layer it up with your existing one. See how they sound together. Don't forget you can tune the samples as well, which is always worth experimenting with whether you're layering them or not. The hi-hat patterns are good, and I like the effort you've made with the fills and fast repetition that almost sounds like a glitch effect. Again the samples are pretty weak, and I'm sure you could find something with a little more presence and clarity in the highs. It could just be a mixing issue though, as they're pretty quiet as a whole. The arrangement is straightforward, which is fine, although due to the fairly vanilla sound design, it did start feeling repetitive by the end. I'd definitely love to hear this one come back again with a revamped and upgraded sound design. Slightly louder mastering overall would be appreciated as well - it's a bit on the quiet side as-is. That said, it's a very cool interpretation of the source that deserves a little more time to do itself justice. NO (resubmit)
  9. Hello there! Thank you! Love the ambition with this one. Those vocals matched with the pulsating bass and dramatic, cinematic instrumentation remind me of the Theme from Farscape. Instantly though, the vocals seem far too quiet. They're a huge point of interest within the mix, but I'm straining to hear them. What I do hear sounds great, although could benefit from a little layering at key points for emphasis, and some more reverb/delay/backing harmonies to really fill them out. There's definitely space in the mix for them to sit right in the middle of, so it may just be a case of turning them up and seeing how it sounds. One thing I've learned when using vocals is to be bold and confident when applying them, especially if you're not used to implementing them in a mix. These sound too tentative for me as it stands. Arrangement-wise, the energy levels are pretty even throughout the piece. A break section somewhere wouldn't go amiss, and although it starts dramatically, the sense of drama soon fades as there's no release of tension and build again. There's the briefest of breaks at 3:27, for about 4 seconds, but notice what a difference that tiny break makes once the vocals return at 3:31. This is really close, and may not require all that much tinkering to get it sounding far better. I'd love for you to take another crack at that vocal mixing as a must-fix, and if there's anywhere you could fit a more substantial break section in, that would be a welcome addition. NO (resubmit)
  10. What a playful, innocent interpretation of the theme! The recorders serve to accentuate the childlike qualities, and I like how they've been layered to provide a bit more texture to the sound. Superb instrumentation choices throughout. Those little descending runs on the clarinet at 1:24 and 2:59 put me in mind of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", and you've got a glockenspiel in there too as perhaps another nod to that. I didn't hear the original submission, but everything sounds great to me on the production side. Awesome job! YES
  11. What a cool little source tune! Glad you brought this one to my attention. I must get round to playing Hollow Knight one day. Love the sound design right out of the gate. Usually I'm drawn to bass or leads, but in this track it's the effects and atmospheric flourishes that really stand out for me. Those skittering panned sounds, or the usage of LFOs from 0:20-0:30 are very well executed. When the bass does come in, it's surprisingly basic, sounding like a plain saw wave from the C64's SID chip. As the high-cut filter opens up, it starts to sound a bit nicer, but I think some sidechaining against the kick would make a world of difference to it. Particularly towards the end, from 2:22-3:04, there's less bounce to the bass than I expect for these type of sections. The euphonium and cello work so well with the sound palette you've chosen. 3:04-3:26 is a great way to finish off the arrangement showcasing those instruments, followed by that nice resolving chord with some more atmospheric pads. I'm not 100% sold on the four-on-the-floor sections, but most of the sound design is stellar. The bass could be tweaked to give it a bit more character and bounce, although on balance there's more than enough to like about this one. YES
  12. This feels like a spiritual successor to Dirty Coins, and it's amazing to hear how bLiNd's production has improved from what was an already excellent level. The overall feel of the track is much more laid-back than Dirty Coins, going for a trap aesthetic rather than dubstep, and following the evolution of the EDM landscape since 2013. Arrangement wise, it doesn't have one of those climactic moments that are present in Jordan's trance mixes, but the track does build in intensity slowly as elements are added. I guess the 'drop' is at 2:24, but as we've already heard the elements individually beforehand, some of the impact is lessened. I always enjoy hearing ethnic instruments used in electronic music - and learning their names - so I'm glad the kamancheh gets a run out for this one! As with the presentation of the main theme though, a bit more variation and experimentation with the instrument wouldn't have gone amiss. Minor criticisms aside though, this definitely does enough to pass. Congratulations on 20 years remixing! YES
  13. Surprisingly modest mastering for a metal track - I had to turn my volume up a bit to match my usual listening level. Let's start with a colour-coded arrangement breakdown (yes! Fancy!). Sections in the same colour are repeated. At-a-glance, you can see that the arrangement is very conservative, and the track contains 40% repetition. The whole section from 0:12-1:24 is just copy-pasted (a proper copy-paste, no variation in anything) immediately afterwards, followed by a run-through of the B section again with doubled lead guitars, and more urgent drum programming fitting of a climactic ending. Source structure is the same (sans intro/outro and final B section, although the intro and outro use the pre-verse heavily). Performances are great and sound very natural. I'm particularly a fan of the drum programming. I'm not sure if anything was played live, although I'm 100% sure on the copy-paste. The mix is busy, but never crosses the line into pure mud, although it could be cleaner. There are no dynamics to speak of, which is a shame because it starts busy and ends busy, with no respite in the middle. That's the same as the source, which is a point for improvement. I'd like to hear more expansion - a break, a solo - some more original material that stamps your own mark on it. At the moment, this feels like a cover more than anything. Add to that the repetition, and I'm afraid it's a NO
  14. Really enjoyed this! Your 'Through the Castle' remix from 2012 was always a favourite of mine, and it's great to hear how you've matured as an artist over those 10 years. Very fitting that this one is from SMW2 as well. The remix sequel to the game's sequel Sound design is amazing in this one. The 3/4 time signature makes it sound so playful and mischievous, even though it hits hard. Top stuff!
  15. And here I was expecting Belinda Carlisle. Very nice, atmospheric intro. Love the natural sounds of the cello, trumpet and especially that oud! The synth bass was a surprise addition, and the synth percussion certainly raised my eyebrows. There's some lovely interplay between the trumpet and oud round the 1:00-1:20 mark, and then the violin is introduced as well - another fine piece to the ensemble. By this point the percussion is beginning to feel too static, and thankfully there's a break at 2:01. During the break, the cello and violin do a great job of 'bookending' the frequency spectrum for the trumpet to sit in the middle, doing some great soloing. Moving back to the simplified source melody (thanks for the source breakdown!) at 2:46, the synth percussion comes back in, and I'm sorry to say, really kills the mood. I find myself asking why you'd need the synth elements at all - you've got such a cool sound that's established in the intro, and all the natural parts can fill out the soundscape. Not only that, but there is absolutely no variation in that kick-kick-kick-snare pattern for 3 minutes of the entire 4:21 track length. The only variation is the occasional appearance of a very-much-lost-in-the-desert 808 clap! Worst of all, the groove is so straight and metronomic that it kills all the natural flair of the live performances. The droning sidechained synth pad in the background just adds to the soporific effect of the backing. I will say that I do like the synth bass - it's a cool sound that doesn't feel out of place with the other instruments. That said, there's a definite dodgy note at 1:38, which sounds worst on the bass because it's meant to be anchoring the track. You can get away with some funky scales, especially in this style of music, when playing the melody. Not on the bassline though - you want that to be solid. As the track comes to a close, I find myself being slowly anaesthetised by that backing, and there doesn't seem to be a clue that the track is ending. No intensity increase, or decrease - it just stops. Some more focus on arrangement would be worth implementing to the track as a whole, though I appreciate that would be difficult with so many collaborators. Overall it's a difficult one to call because I think there are some amazing performances, and a lot of creativity and effort has clearly gone into this to bring it all together. Unfortunately, it may be a case of 'too many cooks spoil the broth', and the percussion in particular needs a complete overhaul to do justice to the other performances. If you're dead set on having synth percussion and other elements, then take a leaf out of zircon's book and check out The Koto Chill from The World Circuit album, or one of my favourite ethnic-plus-beats bands the Afro-Celt Sound System. Vary the percussion so that it enhances the other elements, not puts them to sleep. I hope you can rework this one and give it some more direction, in addition to the improvements needed to the backing. NO (resubmit)
  16. Well, that was fantastic. What can I say? I felt like I was sweeping through a ballroom like something in that godawful Bridgerton programme that my wife watches. I definitely don't watch it, honest. The switch to 3/4 was inspired, and the melody works so easily as a waltz, that it all comes down to execution, and that's been knocked out of the park as well. Great interplay between lead instruments, everything gets a turn to shine, nothing outstays its welcome, and there's a big, bombastic finish. 2:39 onwards is glorious. Most importantly, the piece has a wonderful flow to it which you could easily dance to - surely satisfying the goal of any orchestral waltz. Brilliant stuff! YES
  17. Well, I've got to applaud your creative ambition here. It's quite a vision to remix so many sources, in such different styles, in the same track. You've almost pulled it off as well, it's just the production significantly holding it back. I don't think there's any point during the whole 6+ minutes where the melody is the most prominent thing in the mix, and that's a problem. The kick sounds really boomy - proph's comments about reducing the fundamental frequency is good advice there. The snare is also wiping out a lot of the low-mids, and the rhythm guitar finishes them off. The choir is so buried in the mix, and especially juxtaposed against those stabs (see proph's screenshot). I don't think I need to go on about it - proph and MW have made some good suggestions. Just make sure each part is clear, well-balanced in the mix, and if anything needs to be cut as a result, don't be afraid to do that either. It's an ambitious project, and might need some things paring back if necessary. Good luck! NO (resubmit)
  18. Whoa, I love me some synthwave, although hang on, there's piano and acoustic guitar? And wubwubwub bass? Very interesting progression going on here that certainly doesn't dwell on anything for too long. You've clearly got some great sound design, but the glaring issue is the muddiness in the mastering, and the whole balance feels completely skewed towards the low-end. Fellas, what happened?! I chucked it into Live, and in 10 seconds the balance sounded way better with this kind of EQ on it. The bassier section from 3 minutes onward needed even more rebalancing (less low, more high), but it was a quick and dirty fix on the master channel. There's a little bump in the mids for clarity of the leads, but this mixing should be done at the channel level, not the master. There are a bunch of layers in the low-mids like the strings and the choir that are almost completely lost. The dubstep-style bass after 3 minutes sounds great, but don't sacrifice the rest of the instrumentation for it - or drop some out to let the bass shine. As for the arrangement, I wasn't too bothered about the "medleyitis" that was creeping in after the 2:31 mark (thanks for timestamping the sources as well, it's a huge help!), although I did feel that perhaps there were 1 too many sources in there. The main Dissidia Heroes theme works so well as a synthwave jam that some sections, particularly 2:31-2:52, felt a little shoe-horned in. I'd definitely have removed the descending arp at 3:22-3:33 as well. Let that bass have its moment! On the whole though, I really dig this track. It's a cool blend of electronic genres with a solid theme that just about anchors the arrangement. The main issue for me is the clarity of parts in the low-mid and mid frequency ranges, and the overall mastering balance that needs a boost to the highs and a cut to the lows. I'd love to hear this one back after another production pass. NO (resubmit)
  19. Very fun, bouncy, saccharine pop. It sounds like an upgrade of the original, but sadly doesn't showcase enough expansion and original material to pass our judging criteria. Production is great, but I'm afraid it's a NO
  20. Oh boy, I love me some Unreal. Well, Unreal Tournament, at least - I never played its predecessor, but I see the composers are the same, and this ReMix certainly captures the aesthetic perfectly. The sound design is excellent throughout; you’re obviously putting that hardware to good use! Let’s get into the play-by-play: Ambient intro with some phasing/chorus effects to set the scene leads into a bassline worthy of UT. It’s not the same as the source tune, but it’s close. We get 8 whole bars of the bassline alone, which seems excessive, as good as it is. The fill to introduce the drums was exactly what I was expecting, and very satisfying. That hi-hat panning is a big problem though, albeit a very easy fix. At the moment it’s panned almost hard-left, and sticks out like a sore thumb, particularly on headphones. Bring it back into the middle, maybe only 20% left, and it’ll be fine. A little more variation in the patterns wouldn’t go amiss either. Moving onto the A section, and I’m struggling to find a melody in the source tune. What I think you’ve done here is very clever - it sounds like you’ve sped up the long, sweeping strings from this point in the source, and added a few connecting notes to make a melody. I’ve gotta say, it sounds great, and is very catchy. The synth lead reminds me of the one in the UT99 track ‘Go Down’. After running through that, there’s a cool development of the bassline, and countermelody to go with it which complements the A section perfectly. We then drop back to the A section for 8 bars, then another 8 with a softer lead synth. The solo/B section is up next, using an 8-bar loop repeated twice, with an extra synth layer in the second run-through. It’s a decent section, and shows off some more originality in the track. The break maintains the synth layer heard in the second part of the solo, and not a lot else, for 8 bars, before bringing a kick pattern in for the next 8. Then there’s a 16-bar section of drum randomisation, and some snippets of the bass arp to fill it out. After 8 bars, I was tired of the randomisation (which is very obviously random), and was hoping the beats would sound more curated for the rest of their duration. I think if you’re employing randomisation to things, there has to be more manual editing afterwards, otherwise you’ll be there forever trying to get something that sounds interesting. What you’ve got here sounds OK, but certainly doesn’t justify 44 seconds of time in the track. Finishing off, there’s another 8-bar run-through of the A melody, followed by 16 bars of the countermelody. The outro is another 8 bars of the bass arp, into a fadeout. Source usage wise, I think it’s thin, however if I’m right on the melody, that’s present for a good portion of the track (32/132 bars), and the bass arp is there almost throughout. The bass arp, like the melody though, is inferred rather than verbatim at any point, so that’s why I’d say it’s fairly thin. Perhaps another judge can nail the usage down a bit more tightly, but I will say again that this track definitely has the Unreal aesthetic, so it’s got that going for it. The main issue I have with this piece is the length of time that sections seem to drag on for. I mentioned the drum randomisation earlier - that could be cut in half easily. Also consider the bass arp intro and outro - in total there are 16 bars where the bass arp is playing almost exclusively. Now I know it sounds good, but that’s way too gratuitous. You could halve that time at both ends and I wouldn’t miss it. When you have such a good framework for a track, you want to distil the best bits, not have them outstay their welcome. There’s a fair bit more I’d like to cut down on, but those 2 sections were definitely the most noticeable areas that would benefit from trimming. I’ve listened to this track for over an hour now, and the more I listen, the more I like it! I can see why you want to keep it going for longer, but if you could give it a trim and sort out that hi-hat panning, we’ll be in business. Hope to hear this one back soon. NO (resubmit)
  21. There was a time about 6 months after I started producing music when one of my friends had a listen to the stuff I'd made on GarageBand and said "You're holding yourself back by using that - just get Ableton and you'll improve massively". I took his advice and never looked back. I feel like I'm about to give you some similar advice! There are some really awesome sounds in this - particularly the basses - but typically synth bass sounds don't have many effects on them, so I'm not surprised those are the best sounding synths on show here. The other synths and percussion sound very 90s, which isn't necessarily a bad thing of course, it's just I'm guessing you're approaching the limits of what Caustic 3 is offering (I'll admit I've never used it), and to get much more out of this would require a disproportionate amount of time compared to what you'd need to invest in FruityLoops, Live, or whatever your DAW of choice might be. It's certainly commendable that you can make a composition sound this good on a mobile app, but it's that extra fidelity that's missing from this that is so much easier to get from a dedicated DAW. Things like automation, delay and reverb, and overall complexity of sound design will become fairly trivial to implement in a full DAW - all of which are just falling short in this piece. I understand if you're comfortable using your phone to make music, and you've clearly got a great knack for it and must have a decent workflow by now on Caustic 3, but I do implore you to give a different DAW a try and see how you like it. You may be surprised at how much better your compositions will sound immediately. NO
  22. I've listened twice through and it's a very impressive performance. Organ music is not at all something I've ever chosen to listen to - although I do appreciate the spirituality of the instrument when in a religious setting. The dynamic range is certainly huge - I found myself turning the volume up at the start, and then by the end it was pretty loud. As stated though, this is intentional and I don't have a problem with it. I'm not sure this piece would fit into a regular playlist of tracks for casual listening, so compression isn't really necessary to normalise the volume there. Over 8 and a half minutes is a long time for improvisation, and I only counted one instance around 5:25 where it sounds like a duff note has been played. The dissonance around 6:10, as mentioned in the submission email, was intentional. It does a pretty good job of grabbing your attention right before the really fast arpeggiated section. In Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf can be found playing the organ just before the final battle. The first half of this piece evokes the calm serenity and contemplation offered by the Temple of Time. The second half escalates into - in my mind - the dramatic boss fight at the end of the game. A fitting tribute to the game's lore which I'm sure OoT purists and any pipe organ fans out there will enjoy. YES
  23. This is a lovely arrangement. Really chilled-out vibe; I'm picturing someone playing guitar looking out over the ocean as the sun sets. I listened to a few Porcupine Tree tracks too - cool sound! Submissions like this are tough to evaluate because they're so close to being absolutely wonderful, yet there are numerous small production issues that hold them back. While the package as a whole is an enjoyable listen, I feel there are a few easy tweaks that would make this stand out. Kick - Your kick sample has no presence outside the low end, which means it's fighting the bass on those low F and G notes around 44-50Hz. It also sounds a bit 'boomy' to me, like a mic without a pop filter. Consider swapping the sample for something an octave higher perhaps, or notching your bass EQ around the kick frequency to reduce the competition in the low end. Width - The overall sound feels a bit narrow on my headphones. I took the liberty of setting the stereo width to 200% in my DAW and it sounded a lot better. Give those guitars more space to breathe! Better do it on the individual channels though, not the master. Distortion/resonance - You have a lot of effects on the guitars and lead synth, and especially when they get to the higher notes, some of the distortion or resonance effects border on the shrill. See if you can pare that back a bit, although if it's recorded through hardware effects pedals then it won't be as easy a fix. Tambourine - This is far too dry and doesn't sit in the soundscape at all well. It's way up there at 14kHz and needs some reverb to help it sit in amongst the rest of the instrumentation The heavily-distorted guitar around 0:50 has some nice layering around 0:56 that's buried somewhat by being panned in the same fashion. Try swapping the panning of that harmony to the left side and/or adding a bit of ping-pong delay to the heavily distorted guitar so that it balances out the left side of the stereo field a bit more. I think the overall clarity of the mix could be improved too, but hopefully with a bit more stereo width and some tweaks to the low and high end, it'll feel both clearer and more cohesive. The little tweaks outlined above could make a big difference, and I'd love to hear it back again after another production pass. NO (resubmit)
  24. What a fantastic start, and a great choice of source tune. Fits the 'epic orchestra' genre perfectly. MW and proph are the experts when it comes to orchestration, and they've got some great critiques and advice. For my part, there weren't enough dynamics to it. The intensity was very high for the majority of the track. It needs to ebb and flow much more, to provide moments of intensity within the surrounding atmosphere, making each one more dramatic. It's like a Michael Bay film - too many explosions, and you get bored of explosions. In addition to the overall dynamics, the individual performances could also have a more natural ebb and flow to them. MW mentioned the strings, and from 2:11-2:41 they've very noticeably playing with the exact same character. Try and mix it up a bit, the way a real performer might. Overall clarity could also be improved - perhaps it's a result of a little too much reverb, or sample quality, but if there's a way you can bring the instruments further forward in the aural space then that would be appreciated. It's a NO from me now, but a great start nonetheless and I'm sure you can improve on this if you wanted to resubmit. NO (resubmit)
  25. Hey, I like the energy and method used to create this. I usually transcribe things myself too; you often find some happy accidents when doing it that way that help with composition. It's a good homage to the source, although there are flaws in the production and arrangement which are holding it back. The most obvious thing I'd want an improvement on is the sound design. Those synths sound very 16-bit, and although have higher fidelity than the GBA, they don't have much more character to them. They do sound cohesive within the track itself, so that's a plus, however the whole thing just needs an upgrade to fulfil its potential. Prophetik mentioned the snare and hats - the snare sounds like it's in the back room, while the hats are being played in the hallway and the rest of the kit is in the living room. Having the percussion sound like it's in the same space is important, and helps the individual samples sit in the mix, rather than being exposed. The sound clips were cool, adding a retro touch, and I liked the chopping of the samples to add some texture. MW and proph both noted that it feels like a 'remix of two halves', and I'd agree the skid transition at 2:09 needs a little more finesse to it. It's very abrupt, probably intentionally, but could use some foreshadowing in the arrangement. A break section beforehand leading to a build, then the transition, for example. It's a cool way to change up the track, like a boss fight, but with some more attention to the arrangement, this part too could really pop. There's a lot of good stuff in here, and it's a really catchy tune with a great old school vibe. Take another pass at it and hopefully you can elevate it to the next level! NO (resubmit)
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