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Everything posted by Chimpazilla

  1. What a gorgeous source tune! Ok on to the remix. The intro is already super loud. The piano sounds very rigid and blocky, the timing with the violin is frequently off, and there are moments where the notes don't match, such as at 0:14 and again at 0:40; the piano and violin are playing different notes. At 0:33, the soundscape is now very heavy and the percussion sounds very loud, dry and very overcompressed. By 0:58 I am already hearing overcompression pumping across the track. At 1:49 the entire soundscape is smashed to smithereens, with crunching and unwanted pumping. The addition of the Hitler recording is a bit shocking and it's a very bold and interesting choice. I can see how this recording adds to the theme and feel of the track. I was alarmed when I heard it at first, not even because it is Hitler but because the recording is way too loud and dry, it dominates the track while it is playing. I think you can keep this idea, it's good, but it has to be mixed better. You need to turn the volume of it way down, and give it a touch of reverb so it sounds nestled into the soundscape instead of being heavily on top of it. It is menacing, but does not need to be THIS menacing. At 1:49 there is a note progression that makes no sense, I'm not sure if that was intentional but it does not sound good to me. At 2:34, the previously established soundscape stops abruptly and there is a short piano-only outro. This piano part sounds pasted on, as there's no flow from the previous section which was stopped absolutely cold. This is awkward. Ok, listening to it again, what about doing a very short white noise sweep to wrap up the previous section right before that last bit of piano? The sweep should stop abruptly right where you have the rest of the instruments stopping. That would make your abrupt outro idea work. I think you've crafted something very moody and cool here, but it needs a mixing overhaul. Go through and re-balance the volumes of things, most especially lower the industrial percussion volumes because they are too loud. Check the notes of the piano and violin, and make sure they match where they are both playing the same line. It would be very good if you could do some humanization on the piano so it sounds less blocky and gridlocked, and more natural/real. Lower the volume of the Hitler recording and add some reverb to make it fit into the soundscape. EQ all instruments so that nothing is playing in the low-lows other than bass and bass-drums. This will clear out inaudible mud and give you more mastering headroom. The last critique is the mastering, it is waaaaay too heavy and hot. Lower the gain on your final limiter by several db (I'm thinking 5ish), such that the overall track doesn't have that crunching and unwanted pumping. I look forward to hearing this one again. NO (resubmit)
  2. The Bravely Second sfx would have to be removed, first and foremost. This soundscape is really repetitive once it gets going. The arrangement seems to be multiple repeats of the same thing, followed by a fadeout. As the other two Js have said, there's a concern that the guitar in the arrangement is taken right from the source song. Regardless, the arrangement continues on in a very repetitive and non-evolving way. The energy, instrumentation and writing just repeat over and over, until the fadeout. That isn't enough arrangement creativity and development for OCR. The volume balancing needs another pass as well, as the clicky percussion is way too loud, and lead plucks are pushed backward into the soundscape. The mastering is on the loud side but I don't hear any over-compression artifacts but it's right on the cusp of that. NO
  3. This is the third time I am evaluating this track. Re-reading my two previous votes, and listening now, I have to say WOW you have come a LONG way in your production skills, and as Emunator said, I admire your persistence with this, that is how a producer can get good, just keep doing and learning and trying. This really sounds loads better than the first two submissions. Give yourself credit for the progress you've made, it shows. My complaint however is still the same as in the last version, the arrangement is leaving me flat in terms of how it develops. There isn't a lot of motif going on and so the arrangement lacks structure and ends up sounding nebulous and repetitive as the same bass, pads, plucks and drums play the same patterns again and again and again. My suggestion is to vary things at different intervals: change instruments, change drum groove, vary the bassline writing, or add more lead motif over the top of it, something that is a memorable hook. What you are using as lead motif (which is the lead motif in the source) is so repetitive in this arrangement that it doesn't sound like a lead but more like a countermelody or backing element, making the track sound leadless, if that makes sense. At 1:48-2:30, that section would benefit from having some original lead motif written right over what you have here. It feels like a great soundscape to really say something with a motif, but nothing is being said there, it's a lush backdrop but nothing in front. If this one still doesn't end up passing our panel, and especially if you are frustrated, I suggest starting something new to work on, keeping all of our critiques in mind. Sometimes it is easier to start something new, doing things right from the get-go, rather than continuing to hack away at something you have worked with long enough that it haunts your dreams! It sucks to ditch an arrangement you've invested time into, but we have all done that (multiple times, most of us here), we have taken the lessons-learned from it and moved forward with more skill under our belts. NO
  4. Well hello there! Great source tune, and I like the concept for the remix in chiptune! But I have to agree with my fellow Js that this arrangement comes off really repetitive as well as very conservative to the source tune. And the production is odd, I think the low end is broken? There is activity below 40Hz (mostly inaudible) and a dent between 40-80Hz, I can't say I've ever heard or seen a low end like this! The inaudible low-end content makes the master overblown without even sounding loud or having any impact. This production just isn't cutting it. The reverb on the chiptune is fine, but the overall balancing and mixing isn't there; the drums are too weak and the leads are too loud. Perhaps take this track to our workshop for further feedback. MW is right, this is a good start! Now take the time to learn proper production and arrangement skills. Everyone starts somewhere, welcome to OCR! NO
  5. Wow this is loud and overstuffed. By 2:00 my ears are already fatigued. The guys are right, this needs to be pared back severely. Each section can be cut by half, playing different combinations of things in each section, instead of ZOMG EVERYTHING full time. Wow. My brain literally hurts from this much stimulation. Everything is the same volume, and on top of that, the track is mastered so heavily, it is clipping all over the place and sounds super over-compressed and crunchy. All that said, I think this could be a great track! But it has to be sculpted into a workable arrangement by removing many elements from each section. In each section, one or two elements should be featured, with one or two backing elements. The featured elements can be varied in the sections, providing sonic interest and contrast. And the mastering has to be done much more gently. Right now it is mastered even more heavily than I would expect from an EDM track. NO
  6. Square Enix sfx are a no-go right from the start, so those would need to be removed. But once it gets going, the arrangement is simplistic, underdeveloped and on the repetitive side. It needs further personalization as Larry said, by changing the writing, groove, instrumentation, melodies/countermelodies/solos etc. along the way. The track would also benefit from a proper outro instead of just stopping cold. The instrument volumes could also be re-balanced as the drums are all extremely quiet and the main lead is very loud. Nice vibe though, it's a decent start. As for the pumping, I'm suspecting it is sidechaining and not master over-compression because I don't hear any crunchy artifacts, but I could be wrong. It sounds to me like the entire mix is sidechained, using one compressor. The sidechaining is too heavy-handed, and does not release fast enough, which is made worse because there are multiple kicks in a row and not just one. This is giving a pumpy effect to the track, which is exacerbated further by the drums being generally too quiet in the mix. So it is a lot of gain reduction on the entire track, and in that volume-reduced dent, there is this very quiet kick, which feels so unnatural. In the case that the pumping is due to heavy-handed mastering, I always recommend bringing the overall volume up gently using two or three different compressors in your chain and then a final limiter. Each compressor should be using gentle settings, bringing the volume up in stages using different algorithms. This method allows more loudness with less chance of any over-compression unpleasantness. NO
  7. I love this concept, the bass sounds amazing right away, full of presence. I love the clips of nature and kids playing in the park, perfect. This really is such a great idea. Sadly though I am on board with my fellow NOs, because there isn't enough development in this arrangement. Once the soundscape and vibe are established, it is two identical loops through the same material. I checked by layering the second half together with the first and playing them simultaneously and A/Bing too, and they are identical. Then the track ends in a lazy fashion by just.... stopping... mid bass-loop. Not enough development for OCR, but I enjoyed it nonetheless! NO
  8. This arrangement feels completely different from every other Michael Hudak piece I have heard, and perhaps the age of the original submission has something to do with that. I certainly was not expecting synthwave! I actually really dig the left-panned tape-fail section; what a cool idea, and I think it was executed well enough although I think center panning would have been a better choice. I can see how it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I like it a lot. I do agree with Larry though that the energy of the section that follows is somehow lacking, and I also feel the transition out of that tape-glitch section could have been more impactful with some filter automation (moving from mono to stereo) and/or sfx, swooshes or similar. I would say if this doesn't pass, at the very least shift that mono section to center-panning, and I think it will be more palatable to more people. For me though, the rest of the arrangement and soundscape fall short. The synths sound very plain, mixing is not quite muddy but indistinct, and the writing is noodley and often uninspired. The lead at 0:41 is quite bland and the writing is not too interesting. Meanwhile, the bass is playing a fast line and it somehow doesn't jibe energetically with the rest of the sound palette. (and Emu is right that the bass patch doesn't really carry the low end, in fact quite often the pads seem to be trying to do the bass's job in the lows) Actually I think that the overall energy and cohesion of the piece could be improved by sidechaining every element in varying amounts to get everything grooving together. The ending is rather abrupt... not a dealbreaker per se, but disappointing. I'm sort of borderline because this piece has many good qualities, but for me the mismatch of energy in the part-writing combined with some pretty vanilla sounds and disjointed/noodley writing is enough to put this under the OCR bar. It feels almost like a B-side track on an 80s 45RPM record that doesn't quite engage the audience. NO
  9. I agree with MW totally. This is a massive improvement! Intro and outro are much better. The soundscape sounds really lush, although the drum elements are still way too dry. Wow those are some dry claps! In the section from 1:22-1:29 and again from 2:30-2:44, I feel like the lead notes clash with the bass and other element writing. Perhaps @prophetik music can elaborate on what I am hearing. I think that motif is directly from the source tune, but in the source tune the bass and countermelodic elements go better with that writing. Overall, my complaint is that this arrangement doesn't feel fully fleshed out. It's a nice soundscape but it is leaving me flat as a full piece due to lack of motivic development, and it ends up sounding quite repetitive. I like the drum groove change at 3:39! But the same bassline, lead and pads are playing the exact same thing over and over. I think adding some kind of lead melody, either from this or another source song (preferably from the same game) or something original over this soundscape, would add a ton of interest. As it stands it's just too static and undeveloped. Please be encouraged though, you're on the right track! NO (resubmit)
  10. 100% mono is an instant dealbreaker. Wow that's a long and boring/repetitive intro. The 303 is very plain when it enters. The drums are completely on autopilot and very loud compared to everything else. Other than adding things slowly in (like the 303 synth, ride loop, additional percussion and synth bits), there is zero development to this arrangement. There is no lead anywhere other than quiet little bits of source motif (not that every track needs a lead, but there's nothing interesting happening other than a static soundscape). I recommend taking this to our wip forum for further advice on how to develop this. NO
  11. Alright, I have been putting off voting on this, because. But if I must vote, it has to be a NO. The layout of this song is: intro, build, drop, same build, same drop (no outro). I find this disappointing because the track is very cool and the production is top notch. Jordan reached out to me about the voting on the track, and I let him know that he needed to make some changes to get rid of the repetition, and what he did (in 15 minutes) is: 2:37-2:51 different buildup drum loop and added white noise sweep used over the same buildup 2:51-3:18 different neuro-bass loops over the same drop (loops sound extremely similar even though they are literally different loops) There are no other changes made anywhere in the track. I just laid the sections together and carefully A/B'd to be sure. I love Jordan's works of course, but this one does not meet OCR's arrangement standards. I would love to hear this again with more creativity in the arrangement. A drumless breakdown with some melodic or rhythmic surprises would be so great, followed by a second drop that is different in significant ways from the first drop, then a real outro. I agree with Flexstyle, I know Jordan can do this (and Flex had some wicked arrangement suggestions!). NO (resubmit)
  12. LOOOOUUUUDDDDDD. I suspect there has been no mastering or even final limiting.... the peak is 3.1db. Yes, it is clipping and distorting, and also pumping unwantedly, due to loud mixing and no limiting. I suspect the bass is the worst offender here and it most likely has inaudible lows/rumble that need to be EQ'd out. Arrangement-wise, I like the slow-burn intro although more could be added for extra interest. Once the beat gets going, there isn't much more going on. I think this is a great start! I'd love to hear this again with another section added with a faster drum groove and more melodic elements, followed by an atmospheric drumless breakdown, then another big section before the outro. This could really be something special. Right now though, it feels like an extended concept wip. Do more! (and please add a final limiter set to 0db or better yet -0.5db) NO
  13. Interesting concept, and I think a mix of the two sources can make a cool arrangement! But this needs lots of work to make it OCR-passable. The render is in mono, and I am seeing almost 9db of headroom. The soundscape and arrangement are super simple and repetitive. Everyone starts somewhere! I agree taking this to our workshop to get further perspectives on what can be improved is a very good idea. NO
  14. prophetik's vote covers everything I would also say about this mix. I don't feel like it's a midi-rip sound upgrade, and I don't hear any sampling of the actual game audio, although the arrangement isn't transformative enough, regardless of the lengthening of the intro and outro. I actually think this is a great concept which could work well if there was more variation away from the source tune, both in writing and sound choices. But the mixing also needs work. The kick is ridiculously louder than everything else, and the lack of proper sidechaining of elements makes the kick feel pasted (LOUDLY) on top of the soundscape instead of nestled nicely into it. The lead is super quiet in the mix. Try checking your mix on another device, other headphones, in the car etc. and you will quickly hear how out of balance the sounds are. And prophetik had a good suggestion to get more perspectives in our workshop. I would love to hear this again after improvements are made, I think it's a good basis for a remix! NO
  15. I was able to hear the crackling on headphones, and while I am a YES vote even with the crackling, I have to agree it was distracting. I couldn't hear it on my speakers, but for sure on headphones, so I agree with Larry that it wasn't ideal. So, I asked Will if he'd be willing to change it, and he did. Will made some changes to his vinylizer plugin, and altered something in the final chorus so it would sound less shrill. He also wanted me to note the fact that Larry smells. I may as well let this be my vote, the track sounds awesome to me, so YES
  16. This mix sounds great to me! Super energetic and well performed. Arrangement is good. Sadly though I agree with the other Js that the lead melody when it appears is just way too quiet in the mix. If those leads were louder and more prominent, that would help a lot. Sometimes the lead melody is played very wide-panned which is fine, but for me it buries the lead even further into the busy soundscape. There is a ton of original writing here, and the original sections sound great but together with the de-emphasized melody sections it buries the source material just a bit too much. I don't like to be a timestamp stickler if I don't have to, and really if it is 45% that may be enough. I'm sort of torn here because I really like this track. I think it would be so much better though if the leads were brought up in volume when they play the source melody. Another suggestion would be to add some other element (perhaps a synth or another guitar line) playing or even just hinting at the source melody during the original sections, just plucking those few notes to indicate Lost Woods during those sections. These simple fixes would tie it together for me. I'm more borderline than the other two Js and I even considered going YES. Honestly if we were to be told that the files were gone and no changes could be made, I may even flip to a YES vote. I am interested in @Liontamer's thoughts on this one, I wonder if Larry thinks this is passable as is? NO (borderline) (resubmit please)
  17. Wow this is ambitious! It's a full, energetic mix, instrumental performances are all awesome. Vocals and lyrics are great. Vocal is a tad strained at the highest highs, but is generally pleasant to listen to. Vocal could be a touch louder, as others have pointed out, she does get drowned out in the busiest sections. Other than that, I think the volume balancing is good, mixing is good (especially for having so many elements, everything is audible), mastering is appropriate. What a creative take on this source. I'm loving it, easy vote. YES
  18. I love this arrangement, and the vocals are a wonderful addition and they make this interpretation of this source so completely unique. I think the instrumentation is great. I love the total vibe change at 1:58. My issue is the mixing of the vocals and also the guitar when it is playing lead. The vocals are too loud when they are more exposed such as when they first appear at 0:23. The vocal is totally in my face for a couple of reasons. The most obvious reason is the vocal is too loud when it is exposed. (When other instrumentation accompanies the vocal, the volume seems more reasonable). The other reason is that the vocal tends to be heavy on mid-lows. In the intro, there is heavy emphasis from 250-500Hz and it feels uncomfortable. Also, the reverb on the vocal needs to be low-cut, the reverb lows are adding to the over-emphasis of the lows in the vocal stem. The male vocal is also too loud and has the same mid-low issue. At 2:15 the female vocal is singing a very low note to accompany the male vocal, adding to the effect. The lead guitar at 2:25 is also too loud and wow the lows are emphasized. The guitar playing is awesome, but it is drowning out the backing elements nearly completely. I wonder how much this mid-low problem has to do with the lows in the reverb; perhaps simply low-cutting the reverbs across the board will help (along with balancing the volumes of all leads against the backing elements). I think this is a lovely arrangement with well-performed guitars and vocals. Mastering seems fine. But it needs another pass on the mixing and volume-balancing of the leads (guitars and vocals) against the rest of the soundscape. That'll do it for me! NO (resubmit)
  19. This arrangement is all kinds of amazing! It is full of feeling, variation, lovely details and embellishments. But the piano sample is thin and tinny, and the playing is so gridlocked, mechanical and lacking in dynamics; I have a vision of a player piano rolling along in my mind and that is not good, unless that was the planned concept which I'm sure it was not. In addition, it seems like this beautiful piece would benefit from being played much more slowly. That would also help detract from the mechanical feel. Ideally, the pace of this piece would speed up and slow down, if this is live-played (if it is all sequenced, there isn't much to be done except apply a tempo automation which will 100% not sound natural). I admit I am not sure if this has been live-played, and I can't see anything about that in the writeup. It sounds sequenced to me, which is terrible in the case that this WAS live-played. It seems there has been no mastering applied to this file, and no final limiter. The wav slams over 0db again and again, peaking at 3.6db, and I hear the unfortunate crunching when it happens. Needs a final limiter applied, and gently so. Love the arrangement so much, but the piano and mastering needs to be fixed. NO (resubmit) edit 12-19-23 after this closed out: I'm a fool. Cubase imported this wav in "musical mode" meaning the file played too fast for me. How shameful. That's why I heard it like a player piano, stupidly fast and extra big-ass mechanical. I still would have voted NO, but not as strongly or obnoxiously as I did above. I've already apologized to Hemo, but we've been working together on his resub for several hours and the resub is going to blow everyone's doors in, it is so so good.
  20. I don't hear any overcompression artifacts either guys, but ya gotta admit this is a weird waveform!
  21. This is not a good looking waveform, it is brickwalled with over 6db of headroom. Why oh why? I have not heard the original submission so this is my first hearing of this arrangement. Nice sounding bells right away. The lead bell is very loud when it arrives at 0:18, compared to the bass and drums. At 0:54 it is just bass guitar and drums, and the bass sample sounds very simplistic, dry and exposed all by itself. Having some backing element or some kind of sfx or just another element to add interest to such a simple section would have helped add interest and nuance to that part of the arrangement. I like the buildup that follows, with the reverby bell and filtered-in vox choir. The Christmas bells are lovely! Although all the bells are so loud against the bass and drums. The drums are mixed quietly, the samples are simplistic and the writing pattern is repetitive. The kick is barely audible over the bells. The mixing here really isn't ideal, the volume balancing is not good and the bells feel disconnected from the bass and drums as if they are not part of one track. I see in the previous vote that the Js had a problem with repetition. I haven't heard that versions so I can't compare but this version is also quite repetitive. Not quite dealbreaker repetitive for me but right on the cusp. I think I need a few more playthroughs to decide if repetition, simplicity, unbalanced mixing and the strange brickwalled mastering are passable or dealbreaking. ? just not sure yet Edit 12-19-23: Larry's vote reads as a clarification of everything I was hearing and feeling. I re-read my own vote and I share his thoughts exactly, and my vote needs to be a NO (resubmit)
  22. I feel like there are some disharmonies here and there, just enough to bug me. Examples: 0:32, 0:51, 2:11-2:31 (what is that arp doing?), 3:23. Really there are too many instances of harmonic dissonance to count. I also think the transitions between mismatched chords are not smooth and they feel very clunky harmonically. The bass and also the primary bell arp are causing this for me. I would be very interested to see what @prophetik music has to say about this. Brad, am I hearing this wrong or do you agree? The bassline's writing is very busy which doesn't work well under so much other busy writing, and the bassline writing is aimless as well and often the notes are out of key. The bell arp plays continuously and loudly during a lot of this arrangement, and it eliminates any possibility of hearing a lead when it plays since it is so up front. All of this busy and disharmonious writing is bugging me after two full playthroughs so far. The soundscape is nice, but the mixing isn't great because everything wants to be upfront so the mixing lacks depth while still sounding clear/clean. The arrangement is generally good. But since the instruments stay essentially the same throughout the arrangement (and with the busy writing) it feels repetitive to me after awhile. Most of the time I'm not hearing any dedicated lead (not that this is absolutely required, but it makes the mix disjointed to listen to, and I suspect this is more to do with mixing than writing). This soundscape and writing is just too random and noodley for me, and the disharmonies put the final nail in it. I love the concept, but I think more attention needs to be paid to which element takes the focus at any given time; there is just too much competing to be heard throughout the majority of the arrangement. NO
  23. This is a lovely cover, but yeah it is a cover until the three-minute mark as others have pointed out. After 3:00 it is entirely original, making this an awkward arrangement for a remix. The little bit after the fakeout ending is really not needed, imo. The guitar playing is beautiful although I agree with Brad about the tone, it is a tad sharp. I also agree that the hammer-ons sound like errors. I really like what's here, but the arrangement is too conservative for OCR. NO
  24. I haven't heard of Nujabes before; listening to some of his tracks on Modal Soul now. His style is heavy on smooth jazz, simple/repetitive drum loops, lo-fi production, piano loops. The production sounds so minimal and dry to me, feels very flat. I get the aesthetic, but I gotta say I'm not a fan of it. Ok on to the remix! Wow that's a warbley piano. The piano playing is fantastic, I love the interpretation, but it is really making it hard to pick up on the source song. And this is a source I know extremely well (too well, it is an earworm). The source motif is more implied than played. I can definitely grok the source from 0:00-1:04 and 2:19-2:43, even thought it is super sparse. From 1:10-1:55, this section is 100% interpretation, and while the playing is ace, I get no recognizable source in that section. So that works out to 53% source, if all of the sparse motif is counted. This is going to be a tough sell. I understand the vibe you were going for, now that I listened to a few Nujabes tracks. But a simple, repetitive beat paired with an unchanging backing soundscape played in an energetically static way typically does not pass on OCR, unless other elements of interest are added. This is a very simple and repetitive arrangement. The snare is so dry and upfront, and the piano sounds like it is playing in another room. The piano playing is very good, the piano sample and its effects are on the odd side. I will be interested to hear other opinions on this. What happened at the end? In the middle of playing, with no slowdown or resolution to the ideas, the track just... ends. This is a dealbreaker for me, even if I overlook everything else I have mentioned. I'm not really sure how to suggest improvements, since this was such a specific vibe being emulated. For me though, this arrangement is not developed enough for OCR. NO
  25. Opening bass sound is super simplistic, and there is minimal other stuff going on at the same time, so it is exposed. I like the beefy beat when it hits, but the drums and synths are sounding really vanilla. The arrangement, as others have mentioned, is generally good. But overall the soundscape is just too simplistic. The drum samples are really basic, and the drum groove is repetitive when it plays. Also, Wes is correct that the pacing of the piece is off. The groove pattern of the drums would suggest that something bigger is coming, but it never delivers. The melodic writing is either completely verbatim to source, or it is noodley, with nothing much in between, making this arrangement melodically awkward. Brad is right that the arrangement is missing countermelodic elements, pads, or any kind of fleshing out of the textures, and this lack gives the arrangement a repetitive feel. There are moments of disharmony, such as at 2:25, when the tails/reverbs of the previous notes mush into the next section. The glitching is awkward when it appears. The glitches are not signaled by anything before they start, and because they happen abruptly they sound like rendering errors rather than a cool effect. I can see why Larry gave his YES, a lot has been done with very simple synths and sounds, and the arrangement works well overall. But ultimately, with writing and sounds this simplistic, it isn't enough for OCR in 2023. NO
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