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MindWanderer

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    http://mindwanderer.net

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    2. Maybe; Depends on Circumstances
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    Reaper

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  1. I'd like to take a step back and look at what the artist is trying to accomplish here. He mentioned being inspired by The Lonely Trumpet by Parov Stelar, which was certainly not a connection I would have made even if I'd been familiar with it! But listening to that, I can hear the connections: it's held together by a very simple repetitive synth beat which differs only by being present or not present. It does play with energy levels despite that, and the arrangement itself is quite different, but I recognize the intent. I do think that Trumpet works better than this because its boomy kick and sharp clap fill out the space better; in particular, this remix has nothing in the highs except the violin, with not even the hats having that necessary sizzle to fill out the soundscape. The good news is that the performances are top-notch, and I think the arrangement as a whole works. I think this can be improved without changing either of those things. Go back to Trumpet and listen to what Stelar does to keep things interesting and fill up the space. Play around with the percussion and make sure you're letting some highs get through. You can also use arps, swells, sweeps, and drops to add depth and texture and retain engagement. I definitely want to see this back again, so please do your artists' work justice! NO (resubmit)
  2. Can't argue with any of that. It's a kickass cover, barring some fairly minor production concerns, but the fact that the track consists of two loops of the same thing, which is far too conservative. I enjoyed this, but it's not what we look for. NO
  3. There's a lot I like about this. The general tone, with the Korg melody over the Behringer bass, sounds as good in practice as it does on paper. Beautifully chill. However, you absolutely lost me at 3:45 when the random drum solo pops in. You could make that work with more intentionality, but honestly I don't think it does with the rest of the piece at all. And it goes on forever. And then the section after it is is a loop back to 1:42, with what sounds like a wholesale copy-paste job. It would probably work if instead you transitioned to a climax here, e.g. a loop with some extra layering, such as an arp or counterpoint. I do have some production notes as well, although they're pretty minor. Your bass has good timbre, but it's too quiet and the frequency distribution needs tweaking. It caps out at -15dB (which should be -12dB; you have about 3 dB of headroom you could stand to get rid of), and is almost completely flat from 0-120 Hz. This particular genre needs bass with oomph. It should be louder in general, especially in the 50-100 Hz range. You can put a high pass at 20-40 Hz to give yourself more wiggle room in the audible frequencies. Pump up the volume, especially the bass, and come up with a different ending, and I'll be excited to put this on the front page. NO (resubmit)
  4. That all jives with what I'm hearing. EQ is a persistent issue, and there's a whole lot of not-music here. It's fun and creative, but for all the reasons above, it's not the sort of thing we're looking for. NO
  5. I enjoyed this, and didn't mind the imbalanced sections the way Kris did. The bassy intro was clearly intentional and vibrant; the mid-lows seem fine. However, I'm listening on headphones that don't have much sub-bass to them, and I can see from a spectrum analyzer that there is indeed a lot of presence in the subs. That's a big part of what's causing the pumping Kris mentioned, and I can definitely hear that. Similarly, this peaks at +8 dB; the clipping may not be audible on everyone's setup, but it's there and it's causing distortion. The snare sounded fine to me, though the kicks are lost in the mud in the lows. I don't think there's a ton of work to be done here, but it's not a 5-minute fix, and it's pretty critical. I hope you can send this back to us soon! NO (resubmit)
  6. I enjoyed the hell out of this! This Deadmaus-style glitch-house is one of my favorite styles of remix, and you really nail the genre and the energy that such an arrangement should have. Unfortunately, Kris's criticisms are dead on. Your interpretation of the Underworld theme is a lot of fun but it's not recognizable without either a ton of imagination or a clinical evaluation of the notes used. It's the lynchpin of the whole arrangement, and without it, I don't feel like this meets our standards for source usage. Her comments about the mixing are correct as well. It's muddy more often than it isn't, and some sections (like 2:26-2:33 and 4:04-4:10) are a wall of noise. Loud, hissy sweeps and risers, and tons of competition in the mids and mid-highs, combine to make this difficult to really listen to and appreciate. I'm glad you submitted this---it's a lot of fun, catchy as heck, and supremely original---but I don't think we can post it as-is. I hope for your own sake you clean up the production---and it's certainly something to bear in mind for your next submission---but the source usage is still a problem for us. NO
  7. I don't have a big problem with the production of that one drum, but it is off-beat. Overall I felt like the mix of clean bells and pads with the lo-fi drums worked just fine. I didn't think the "strings" were even trying to be strings, just a synth pad, and I have no problem with that. As an overall package, I felt like it basically worked. The big issue is how nearly the whole thing is overlaid on either a direct sample or a soundalike of the source material. It's just too close. I think that altogether it's just transformative enough to meet our standards of interpretation---although a great deal of it, especially the first half, is not---but the use of the exact same bells makes this not the sort of thing we look for. I think if you replaced that one thing with a reinstrumentation of your choice, even a very similar one, this would probably be acceptable. A bit more reinterpretation in the first half and slightly cleaner timing on the drum would be nice to have as well. NO (resubmit)
  8. Yeah... it still sounds like very old remixes. If that's a compliment to you, feel free to take it as such... There are clearly synths with a lot of potential, but buying synths isn't the solution. You can make great remixes with free synths. It's how you use them that matters. Part of the problem is that there's a wide variety of synths used here, and they don't hang together. Choir, organs, synthwave, dark house... it's a hodgepodge. You can make an arrangement work that way, but it's harder than picking a genre and sticking to it. And there are still a fair number of primitive synths that don't really cut it, chief of which is the drums, especially the snares. And it's all snares and kicks. 0:57-1:09 is the strongest part of the track because it has a pad and bass that go well together, a contrasting but not conflicting lead, and none of those cheap-sounding drums. The synths are also all used in a simplistic way. Take 2:02-2:16 as an example: You have a lead here that's doing the work of at least two instruments (melody, response). That could be two or even three different synths, which could be partially overlapping for more sophisticated interactions. 1:37-1:48 is another example, where the runs could be a different instrument (and the instrument you chose here isn't great to begin with). That's not to say this is the only way to do it, but it's a way that stands out to me where you could make things more interesting and modern. The arps in 0:42-0:57 are a nice touch that show some more complexity, but you also have no bass there... Speaking of which, bass is pretty lacking throughout. There are some pads that help, but the first real bass instrument doesn't come in until 0:57, and it's very high for a bass. And then there's again none until 2:02. You're learning, and that's a good thing. But this does need some more work to bring this into the 21st century. NO
  9. Wow... what a crazy concept! An epic orchestral ska death metal medley of Golden Axe, of all things... certainly never saw that coming! Despite the multiple sources and the genre changes, the whole thing hangs together as a cohesive whole, for the most part. The bookending helps, though the transition back to the beginning at 6:10 could be smoother. 3:37 is also pretty abrupt, and 3:37-4:03 really doesn't hang well with anything around it, but that's more for production reasons than arrangement ones... So, production. I don't have as positive things to say about that, unfortunately. The drums and rhythm guitar are extremely loud, to the point of muddying even the melody. In the orchestral sections, the flutes and trumpets join the fight and make the melody even harder to hear---it's nearly inaudible at times. Go to 4:58 for a stark example: those guitar chugs absolutely run roughshod over everything else, except the trumpets riding on top like surfers on a tidal wave. In the choir bridge, the lead guitar drops dramatically in volume, and even though the drums and rhythm guitar are used only for punctuation, they're comically loud in comparison. The choir's performance isn't stellar either. It's hard to hear because of how quiet it is, but it's badly off-key in places. So, mad props for the arrangement. It's clearly a monumental effort, and it paid off nicely. But this does need another pass at production so all your session artists' work can really shine. NO (please resubmit!)
  10. I can't argue with any of the above. It's a clever idea, but there needs to be more interpretation and better production for us. NO
  11. A fun remix of a classic favorite! Energetic and fun, for sure. I like the creative riffs on the theme, although they're brief. But there are some things holding it back. The whole first minute includes a deep bass pad that sounds detuned to the point of being off-key for me. It sounds extremely dissonant to me, to the point where it's unpleasant to listen to. At 1:35 there's an arp that also sounds like it's off-key, or at least it's dissonant with something else playing during that section. The outro starts at 1:52, and re-introduces that dissonant pad, and ends with a fade-out. Fade-out endings are always a bummer, but usually not a dealbreaker, however, the fact that the fade-out ending begins before the 2-minute mark and goes on for 30 seconds is a big deal. The rest of the piece, that isn't intro or outro, is solid, but it's also very conservative. Most of it is a MIDI rip, though there are extra parts added. The only really original part is from 1:30-1:39---fun, but too brief! I don't normally come down this hard on one dissonant synth and a fade-out ending. In most remixes that would be worthy of criticism but not a NO vote. But in this case, that pad is so loud and runs for so much of the mix (about 1:30 out of 2:30), and the fade-out ending comprises so much of the total length of the piece, that it's too much for me. I'd also recommend having more fun with the main body of the arrangement. Those 9 seconds of originality are the best part, and I want more of that. The arrangement as a whole can stand to be much longer, and more of that sort of thing is how you get there. NO
  12. Nothing revolutionary, but clean and competent. I'm not the biggest fan of the fake ending at 1:27, but it's far from a dealbreaker. My one big criticism is that it does get repetitive, mostly because the iconic intro arp rarely lets up, but there's no straight copy-pasta. I'm not as enthusiastic about this as my colleagues, but I also don't see sufficient reason to send this back. Nice work. YES
  13. Interesting approach. The intro is basically a sound upgrade, but from there it trades off between metal, violin solos, and synth work. It's eclectic but for the most part it works. However, the mix still isn't quite there yet. The bass is frequently overpowering, and the leads often struggle to stay on top. There are a lot of parts, and some of them, like pads, arps, and SFX, are much louder than they need to be. Regarding the drums, I don't think that they're too quiet per se. The main problem is the hats, or rather the lack thereof. Drums need to have some high end, usually hats, sometimes claps. Sometimes snares can fill this role, but your snares have no high in them. There are hats, on occasion, but they have their highs filtered out as well. The result is that the whole mix seems lethargic. I'm not great at writing drums myself, but my impression from listening is that this isn't the only reason the drums seem lifeless, and that the drum writing also needs improvement. Hopefully one of my fellow judges can provide some more constructive pointers on this front. There's some great work here, and it's a fun arrangement. It just needs a little more work to get it over the top. NO (resubmit)
  14. Kind of wild how many times I've heard this music and never really "heard" anything past the first part. Salmon Run clearly leaves no room in my brain for anything but "AAAAH!" Crazy, however, is one word that does not describe this remix. It's very repetitive. Most of it consists of short loops of a simple phrase repeated several times. The most problematic is 0:42-2:35, which is nearly two minutes of just a few measures repeated over and over; 3:46-4:21 reprises even more of that same section, then it repeats the beginning again. I'm afraid this comes across as a 2 minute arrangement stretched out to over 5. The performance chops are certainly there, production seems fine to me for the genre, and it's a solid genre conversion of the source material. It just needs to introduce new material or interpretations more often, or else be drastically shortened. NO
  15. There's some really clever arrangement. Absolutely nails the '80's synth aesthetic. However, it nails that aesthetic maybe a bit too much. The sound is very reminiscent of what you'd get from audio cassettes: not a lot of presence in the highs and highly saturated throughout. It's very believable if you were selling this as a rip from an old tape deck, but the sound quality isn't where we expect it in this decade. Even beyond that issue, there's a general lack of clarity. It's muddy enough that it took me multiple listens to even notice all the parts. The growling bass that starts at 3:22, in particular, drowns out everything else except the kick. Leads in general are too quiet. Arrangement-wise, this is a lot of fun, but it's also really disjointed. The first minute and a half is really well done, interleaving the multiple sources into a cohesive whole. However, the transition to Those Who Fight is abrupt, and so are most of the transitions thereafter. There's the one callback to the first section, and 3:22-4:18 is a pretty good blend, but otherwise it's pretty much a straight medley. We frown on those; medleys have to have a cohesive structure to tie the whole thing together, and this sounds like at least 3 different arrangements stapled together. Also, personal note: if I ever hear another Final Fantasy remix that ends with "Fanfare," it will be too soon. Not a dealbreaker, but the days when that was a fun and original ending are long past. I don't mean to sound too harsh here, because I really did love the creative work that went into this. It just needs cleaner production and to be wrapped up into a more coherent overall package. NO
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