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Posts posted by DarkSim

  1. Hearing this for the first time, and it's a fun one! To use that judging cliché though, "it sounds like something that might have passed in 2005".

    Right out of the gate we're dropped into the thumping retro-techno beat without so much as a sweep-in or intro. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I'd expect at least a tiny bit of variation to start off the track. I really like that arp synth that comes in at 7 seconds, and as the melody is introduced, the whole feel of the track changes. It's a happy melody, and the pumping tempo really does remind me of OCR of old.

    The kick and bass seem a little muffled/boomy, certainly lacking in clarity, and the synths individually are very generic sounding, however you do mix them up a lot which keeps things sounding fairly fresh throughout. There is some detail in the automation, particularly filters, however there doesn't seem to be a great deal of stereo separation, and the mix feels very narrow as a result.

    This isn't a bad track by any means, and there are a lot of fun ideas. I like the big organ at 1:40, and the quirkiness of some of the oldschool sounding synths like that heavily detuned saw arp at 2:05. The strength of this definitely lies in the energetic arrangement, though, which does have its own surprises in there too. The transition around the 2-minute mark is a little iffy, and the break at 1:03, although having a cool acid arp, does expose the very dated-sounding percussion.

    It's a battle between heart and head for me. My heart is saying yes, but my head is saying no. It's a great effort so far, that still needs more TLC to pass the bar, and if not better synth sounds, then no mistakes elsewhere. Cleaner percussion and mixing, tighten up the transitions, wider stereo space, and try to bring some je ne se quois that helps this mix stand out.


  2. Quote

    Cool arrangement and creative approach to the style, but unfortunately the mixing needs a complete overhaul. Once the bass comes in, it's extremely hard to focus on much else. There's a lot of acoustic energy in the lows and low-mids that's fatiguing my ears as I listen. Is there any reverb on the bass? Sounds like there could be - if there is, dial that all the way back and that'll be a good starting point, then look to do everything Chimpazilla suggested.

    I always think of mixing as "the easy bit", as it can be done after the song is composed, but in reality, with a completed track it can be a daunting task. The good thing is that mixing skills apply to everything you'll ever make, whereas each arrangement is always unique. Give this one another crack, and hopefully it'll clean up nicely and you can take those skills forward.

    My original review ^

    Unfortunately, this seems to have gone completely the other way! I can now barely hear the low-end, and the sound is very thin. There's clearly bass there though, so I've delved a bit deeper and had a look at the spectrum in Live 10 and Audacity to see what's going on.

    I'm pretty sure the problem lies in your sub-bass frequency. For starters, your kick is at 30Hz, which is way too low. Of course, you can use sub-bass kicks in certain circumstances, but only if you're very careful about the rest of your bass and sub-bass. The bass here is also fighting for the sub frequencies, however, which is probably causing your master compressor some problems, ultimately leading to the thinness.


    You can see the fundamental/first harmonic of your bass (the lowest frequency) is competing around the 30-40Hz mark, and then the second harmonic (double the frequency of the fundamental) is much louder. If I'm remembering my physics correctly, then typically the fundamental will have the highest amplitude/energy, and all harmonics above will be lower. The fact your second harmonic has more energy could be due to a number of things, most probably the synth bass you're using has multiple tones, and one is playing an octave higher at higher amplitude. I would suggest looking into that, and either removing the voice playing at the lower octave, or simply bumping all the notes up an octave (you would however still have a second harmonic at 120-140Hz in that case, which may have its own set of problems).

    Getting someone else to master your track is often a good idea, however if the problem is as ingrained as this appears to be, no amount of rebalancing EQ on the master channel will fix it.

    Arrangement is fun and energetic, with some really creative choices (especially the throat singing - love that addition!), but again it's the production that's letting it down. I hope my advice above can help, and you'll be a better producer for it!

    NO (resubmit)

  3. Hey, what a cool source tune. Love the direction you've chosen to go with this.

    Some cool sound design and a nice vibe is laid out in the intro, and the lead synth sounds decent, albeit too high in the mix. It could do with fattening up a bit when it's standing on its own. Might just be a case of turning the volume down, though. Things get a little muddy at 1:09 with the half-tempo section. Funnily enough, the lead is fattened up at 1:22! I like that detail, it works in this chorus section. The percussion is difficult to pick out during these busy sections though, and could definitely be mixed a lot better. Choosing some less 'hissy' samples might be a better choice as well, particularly as the piece progresses.

    There's a breakdown, a buildup and then a final chorus. There are lots of things fighting for space, particularly the arpeggios, and by 2:42 the character of a lot of the sounds (saws, white noise) blend together to give it a mushy texture, with only the lead really cutting through to carry it. The quiet mastering is also very noticeable during the build and final chorus, where if I turn my volume up to match my usual playing volume, the muddiness becomes obvious.

    After the climax, we go back to the beginning, and then the track ends. Not a huge fan of that arrangement decision, but I could forgive it if the mixing were up to par. As it is, there's too much detail lost, and the muddiness is hurting your master by not allowing you to crank up the volume to the level it should be. Clean this mix up, and it'll be a pass from me.

    NO (resubmit)

  4. Perfect genre for the remix! Doing an arrangement in this heavy style is tricky though, as things can very easily get muddy very quickly. There's definitely room for improvement here in that regard. My favourite parts are those little fills and dropouts at 0:35, 2:17, etc. Really cool detail there, and as things drop out and the mix becomes clearer, it's a nice mini-break.

    I think your stereo separation could stand to be a little wider - the leads seem to be occupying the same stereo space when they're playing together. I appreciate you've paid attention to the panning of the percussion, and there are certain points where you've panned for emphasis, such as 2:33, but getting a clean mix takes a lot of work, and every bit of breathing room you can give your instruments helps. Get in there with the EQ and start carving out space for each one: rolling off the low-ends of everything that doesn't need it, put a small notch in the bass to make room for your kick frequency, filter out any rogue low-end reverb.

    That said, it's a really creative mix, with some good performances and lots of little details to catch on repeat listens. After discussion with Larry and Kris, I'm happy to recalibrate to a


  5. I just got done listening to your awesome Batman: Return of the Joker mix, and it put me in the mood for some judging. How funny that the first track I clicked on was another track of yours!

    Very nice arrangement here, with a clear artistic direction. I appreciate the attention to a dynamic range in the track as well - the climax at 2:33 is the loudest section, although MW is right on the money with his mixing critique. Let's dive in with a couple of screenshots:


    Clipping analysis in Audacity shows there's only 1 instance of actual clipping, however the section preceding the climax has some high frequency content that will pierce the eardrums of anyone lucky enough to still have hearing up to 15kHz:


    The climax also has some resonance issues, and I get what you're going for with the 'epic reverb' type thing, but it does sound too muddy for me. There's some static-sounding noise in there that doesn't sound too great, so identifying the source of that and either removing it, or making it sound more intentional, would be beneficial.

    Back to the beginning, and the soft, emotional section should have some better humanisation to it. It represents beauty, and while I know there's a ton of beautiful synth sounds out there, I reckon this would be vastly improved with some more subtle variation in the tubular bell sound (velocity/timing), and also with the attack/decay/sustain/release on the synth flute sound you have.

    This is a great idea, and you're pretty much there with the arrangement. Production needs more work. At the very least, those high-pitched frequencies need to go, and if you wanted to take on board and change any of the other points, that's up to you, but would be appreciated!

    NO (resubmit)

    Screenshot 2022-10-04 at 21.10.32.png

  6. 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)



  7. I really like this one! It was a very enjoyable listen, and I can definitely appreciate what you were going for. It's got a beautifully peaceful, ambient quality to it. The softness of the synths and the timbre make it a very easy listen, if a little fuzzy. It does sound as if you've used high-cut filters too much, though, and there's a muted nature to all the sounds. After reading your writeup, it makes a little more sense, however I still think the high-cut is overdone. There need to be more moments of clarity in the composition, to show that the 'fogginess' of the rest is intentional. The piano break at 1:10 is a lovely moment, but the tremolo you've put on it - that wobbly LFO - feels forced, like you're trying too hard to mess up the sound for the sake of it. Have a little detune on it, sure, but I'm not a fan of the implementation of that wobble effect.

    I found myself wishing for a clean vocal line over this atmosphere, actually. Something Nordic. It's crying out for one! When I listened to the source after your piece, it clicked into place. That was pretty much exactly what I was hankering after; the way it's done in the source. I think if you did that though, it would sound way too similar.

    I hate to reject this piece, as I think it's a fantastic start, but there definitely needs to be some clearer points of reference to hang the arrangement on. Try experimenting more with the piano, or using that synth arp to lead into a more electronic sound.

    Hope to hear this one back!

    NO (resubmit)

  8. 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!


  9. 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


  10. 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)

  11. 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!


  12. 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".


    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

  13. 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)


  14. 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)

  15. On 5/22/2022 at 11:30 PM, Emunator said:

    Hi guys!  And greetings to the new judges, Dark Sim and Co.  (っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ herro ♥

    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)

  16. 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!


  17. 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.



  18. Super cool reimagining of this source, with great performances. It's a shame the vocals aren't able to be clearly heard, although the tone of the voice sounds beautiful, and fits the genre perfectly. Not sure if some tweaking on the production side could bring out the lyrics more clearly, but it might be something to look into.

    My major problem with this track is the mastering, which has left in a ton of clipping.


    It's clearly audible in the choruses for extended periods. While I appreciate there is a dynamic range in the track and it's not an over-compressed sausage waveform, another pass over this to remove the clipping is a must.

    There's also a strange overall character to the sound, which seems to leave it feeling both loud and quiet at the same time. I notice there's a lot of sub-bass present in the 30-35Hz range, which could be contributing to the sensation of the track feeling loud, without contributing too much to the overall clarity of sound.

    I think addressing some of the sub bass would go a long way to fixing the clipping, and if the vocals can be cleaned up any more, that would be appreciated. Other than that, excellent work!

    NO (resubmit)

  19. 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!


  20. 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


  21. Ya know, at the beginning of this I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but by the end it was a really enjoyable listen.

    The drums sound pretty weak to introduce the track, and the piano is a little behind the beat on some occasions before the synth comes in. Once it gets going though, everything seems to click as a whole, and it's much more than the sum of its parts. The extended synth soloing, and the character of that (admittedly slightly basic... but let's call it 'retro') sound put me in mind of Kool & The Gang's 'Summer Madness' from 1974. Indeed, if you were going to pursue this kind of genre in future, that track is a good place to start for inspiration.

    The percussion, although very generic-sounding, has some decent variation and fills, providing a solid foundation for the piano and synth to do their thing. The arpeggiated electric guitar chords and subtle pad do enough to bolster the dynamics and fill out the soundscape nicely. The drums peter out somewhat disappointingly, however the piano performance seems to get tighter towards the end, which is a good way to finish.


  22. 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!

  23. 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)

  24. 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!


  25. My still-very-relevant workshop feedback:


    I love it how you've also got this idea in your head for how the emotion of the song should feel when writing it - I think it's important to bear in mind such things when composing, as it can subconsciously translate into the music and make an impact on the listener.

    Onto the specifics:

    Once again I love the lead choice here - which synth are you using? It sounds great, and the harmonies work beautifully in the chorus sections. The source works really well in a synthwave style, and although you say you've chosen a straight 4/4 beat, you've kept it interesting for the whole chorus section from 0:48-1:02. The offbeat snares add urgency to the chorus, and that makes the smooth transition to the 4/4 beat in the verse all the sweeter. You've mixed up the choruses too, adding the lead harmony line for the second one to keep it fresh, and added some stronger glitch effects. I gotta admit the glitching did seem a little harsh in that second chorus - Around 1:34-1:35 it sounds a little too choppy for my personal taste. If I was being extra critical here I'd say you could clean that part up a bit by adding some smoothing to the stutter, or bouncing the audio off to a track and playing with the volume manually.

    Moving on, the half-tempo part is super chill, and you're doing all the right things with the glitter and effects (love that synth at 2:22!). Then the solo kicks in and just caps off the track beautifully. I like how you decide to keep the mellow half-time beat for the rest of the song, too - a stylistic choice fitting the vision in your writeup.

    Overall, I think this track is fantastic. It's got everything I would hope for from a video game remix. It pays homage to the source, yet has enough of your own style in it to give it a fresh new quality. I don't know how long it took you to produce (you do seem to be cranking out the releases quite quickly!), but I think there is room to improve the production if you were willing to dive back into this project. As it is, you'd probably have a good chance at getting it posted on OCReMix, however as it takes a long time for the judging process, I'd say it would be well worth putting a bit more polish on it before submitting. Looking forward to hearing more from you, and if you want any more specific feedback on this track, gimme a shout!

    No shout was given, so my criticism still stands. That glitching is pretty nasty, and a bump in an otherwise smooth ride.


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