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Profile Information

  • Real Name
    Joe Zieja
  • Occupation
    Voice Actor, Science Fiction and Fantasy Author


Artist Settings

  • Collaboration Status
    2. Maybe; Depends on Circumstances
  • Composition & Production Skills
    Arrangement & Orchestration
    Drum Programming
    Mixing & Mastering
    Recording Facilities
    Synthesis & Sound Design
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (Other)
    Vocal Percussion (Beatboxing)

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XPRTNovice's Achievements

  1. Okay, so, this arrangement is awesome. Personally I don't care if you're trying to fill the shoes of the references you named, and I'm not going to judge whether or not it passes the bar based on whether or not you hit a target. I think this is a great interpretation with a lot of really fun interesting things going on. But I am going to no it because of the mixing. If you ARE going to go for this hybrid EDM thing, the sound has to be full and vast, with a lot more punch and substance. Right now, I feel like we're really missing a lot of the bottom half, almost like you carved it out intentionally in mastering, since it seems to be missing in all of the instruments, not just the ones that should be providing that bottom end. This arrangement has so much power, but it's hamstrung by the way you put it all together. I don't care too much about the panning, but I do care about the way that it's taking a lot of incredible instrumentation and sucking the life out of it with EQ. My issue with giving feedback is that I am not entirely certain how to do it because it's SO busy and there's SO much going on in SO many places that I can't really pick out specific things for you to add foundation to, but I would start with the kicks and the bassline. Also, watch how many times you're stacking pads, and watch how they're EQed as well. I hear several of them stacked on top of each other, so what that does is skew the curve to the right, and suddenly we're missing a lot of stuff. This is a really great arrangement, I know this can be incredible with a little bit of work! NO (resubmit!)
  2. Man thank you for introducing me to this cool ass source. I've never even heard of this game, and this is an 8-bit BOP. This is a great mix. I love the vocal callouts, I love the mixing. THe track is full without being overbearing. We've got some good room to dance without the repeats being draining on my patience/ear. We get a nice break at 1:21 for a few seconds as we build back in, with the chiptuney stuff in the ground being fun. And oh look a modulation. Nice. I'm really not a dance guy, and repetition bothers the hell out of me, but it's funny to me that I'm at odds with other judges on this one re: repetition. Could you have done more with the last third? Yes. Would I have loved to hear that? Yes. Do I think you should do it? Yes. But does it make it so that it doesn't pass the bar for OCR? Nah, I don't think so. It's a YES from me. If you WERE to try to turn this from a B+ into an A, I would just nod to the comments of the other dance afficionados here - variety, storytelling, and an ending worthy of the first two thirds of the piece rather than the sort of flop-over-dead one that you've got in there right now. YES
  3. I'm having a hard time with this one. I'm all about a slow burn and being patient with a piece of music. While I don't really think this needed to be over 6 minutes long, and a significant amount could have been cut without affecting the overall track, it wasn't a dealbreaker for me. My big issue is I feel like I'm missing half the frequency spectrum. The only thing we have going on in the low end for a huge portion of the track is the kick drum. We occasionally have some low synth/strings but they fall out repeatedly, keeping large portions of the mix in the top half of the hearable range. Given the bladerunner-esque soundscape we're dealing with, I feel like there's a lot of missed potential in making this sound full. Given that the piece IS so long, and we have to live in these sections for large amounts of time, to me it pushes it below the bar. Suggestions from me are all in the EQ - the piece just needs more information, and it can be done by either not cutting what you've cut, or adding things in. You can spread out the instrumentation in the stereo field, which then gives you more headroom to restore some of its information without making mastering a mess. NO(Resub)
  4. Very happy with the adjustments made on this one. Great job! I still REALLY think the kick needs work both in the way it's written and the way it's mixed. It's almost being used as a melody instrument here, and it sounds very odd to have the kick hit every time the flute or trombone plays a note. but I think the improvements put it above the bar. YES
  5. Well this one was easy. Awesome soundscape, love the source usage, and was very internally uncomfortable with the disintegration of the tune right before 4m. Like...maybe it's a little repetitive? It could probably have stood well at about 5:00 instead of 7:30? I felt like the ending probably didn't need to go on for 90 seconds, but I also understand why that choice was made. YES
  6. Love the drop at 1:19, very satisfying. That like...trash can lid thing hitting in the back starting at 1:25 ish is realllly overwhelming though, like threw me right out of that nice part of the piece. I have to say though - are we judging pieces based on who submits them, or on the piece itself? Regardless of whether or not we might expect better or different from Jordan, you cannot deny that this piece, if submitted by a first-timer, would sail over the bar and we'd all be saying "Man this guy is good." Yes, it's a little repetitive, sure, but there's no denying the quality of production and the source usage. YES
  7. I think this arrangement is clean, interpreted well with obvious source usage, and holds my interest for the duration of the piece. Really enjoy the guitar solo at 2:30 and beyond. While there are a lot of elements going on at once, and it occasionally does sound a little wall-of-sound, I don't think it's sufficiently problematic to warrant a NO from me. I think the master is too soft, but it's not a dealbreaker. That wall-of-sound would be my only concern if I wanted you to take it back and work on it though, and I don't think it would take too much effort to spread this soundscape out. Cutting EQs and panning a little differently would make for a more overall balanced sound, and would actually probably help your mastering problem as well. So, while I might encourage going back and doing that, I think it's above the bar without it. YES
  8. I love the concept of this piece, but I wish it was developed a little bit more. From a production perspective personal biggest beef with this is the piano. The EQ is too boxy - it needs some information around 5k and less at 500hz to open it up. It sounds much more fake than the rest of the instruments, and the performance at times is mechanical and in need of humanization. When it's mixed in with the piece, it sounds better, but at the opening I think it needs to be more cleanly EQed. Vocal performance is stellar. No qualms there. Arrangement, there's just not a lot going on in here; it's extremely simple. I can't argue that this doesn't pass the bar for interpretation or quality, but there's a lot of untapped potential in here, in my personal opinion. And then the piece just sort of ends seemingly in the middle of a phrase, drops off completely. I just wanted a bit more. From a standards point of view, however, this is well within them. YES
  9. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat the shit is this?! Post this immediately. I was so annoyed when I saw that someone remixed fanfare and I was like "what the hell are you going to do with this" and I've never been happier to be wrong in my whole life. My one critique is with the mixing of the lyrics; it could come out a touch, and there's a little bit of...room?...in there. It sounds like you added in some EQ at 1khz which is endemic of rooms where you're recording speech very close to hard surfaces, but since it's mixed in nicely, it's hard for me to really touch. But the lyrics are good and the performance is spot on, I'd love to hear them come out in the mix so I could understand them a bit more. I feel the same way about those KILLER FEMALY LYRICS AT 3:00 YES
  10. Chrrrrrrrrrist that intro is epic AF but it sounds like a total mess of noise between :15 and :50. That's gotta get cleaned, it sounds like white noise there's so much packed into there. It might mostly be the low brass and whatever sweep you've got going on in the background there that's messing around with it. I'll say now that this section is going to NO this track for me, and the following comments are just ways to polish, and don't necessarily need to be fixed for me to consider this a pass. :50 has the piccolo (?) too loud for sure. When we kick in at 1:05 this thing fucking SLAPS. Mixing gets much cleaner (likely because there's 50% less ingredients in the soup), it sounds full and epic and awesome and the performances are great and I would like to work out to this immediately. Guitar solo at 1:45 is lower in the freq spec so it does tend to get a little lost. In order to bring that out, you might need to automate a low-end EQ there if you want to get fancy so that the solo shines. It's worth doing. I would love the bass to come out at 3:30 as well for that solo because it's so good. Again, might need to automate some EQ so you're not boosting mud. Same issue with the guitar solo at 4:15, I want more of it out front but if you push it too far at its current EQ it will further muddy a mix that's already difficult. THE CHOIR AT 4:35 YEEEEEES MAN this arrangement is SO FUCKING GREAT but that beginning's mess drops it for me. Please god finish this, it's so so so so so so good. NO (resubmit or I will personally hunt you down)
  11. Really enjoy that first drop, haha, where it just sort of disintegrates and comes back together. Jingle bells are killing me a bit at 1:15 - they're just too tinny and out in front. They take attention away from the rest of the stuff going on. I like the addition of them, they're great, but they're too prominent. The transition at 2:30 is fun, but that guitar just jumps way the hell out there and it almost sounded like a different track started entirely. I'm all about jumpscares, but in this case it's like the master track went up 10db. Need to smooth that out so they at least sound like part of the same piece. That loudness really starts to carry forward for the next 30 seconds or so, especially with the guitar. The mixing starts to generate here, with the flute/synth melody getting buried by the very busy soundscape here, again with the jinglebells. We come back in nice at 4:00, but that's a minute and a half of some wonky mixing and meandering. I get what Larry is saying about the lack of direction, and it really only bothered me because it was mixed badly. If that section felt more sonically cohesive with the rest of the piece I actually think the ending is kind of charming, even with how weird that snare drum sounds. It's like "CHARLIE THE SONG IS OVER WHY ARE YOU STILL PLAYING THAT DRUM" Ultimately it's the mixing in that middle section that has me NOing this. That's a large chunk of the piece that doesn't feel as well arranged, orchestrated, or mixed, and it does lend credence to the idea of the song not being a cohesive arrangement. NO
  12. Aw the bells in the beginning are nice. I'm generally of the opinion that if I can't hear it, I don't care about it. If I heard some funky stuff in this, and then looked at the waveform, I could diagnose it, but I don't generally watch the wavforms of my spotify tracks. I don't hear anything in this that makes me go HOLY BRICKWALL at all, so I wouldn't even bother looking at the wav. I like the pacing of this track, I like the mixing, the bells sound full and evoke a nice playful character that matches the original. It has plenty of source and plenty of interpretation. Belongs on the site, to me. YES
  13. There's some really beautiful great stuff going on here! Sources are well chosen and blended, the soundscape is nice, and the arrangement is varied and fun. However, you have some real problems going on in the drums overall as early as 30s. They're not blended, they're mostly center, they're right in your face, and they sound fairly low quality. I'm not sure if these were sampled or played and just mixed badly, but they're hurting the piece to the point where it brings it below the bar for me. And when the kick drum comes in at 1:36, it's muddy, bassy, and again, not well blended. It also sounds almost out of time a little bit? It doesn't fit in so many ways with the music. That being said I want to encourage you to fix this! The arrangement IS beautiful and the performances of the instruments are very nice and create such a great environment - but the drums here are the turd in the otherwise very tasty punch. You can do it! NO (resubmit)
  14. I love this track tbh - it's mixed great, the vibe is fun, the instrumentation is fun. But I have to agree with the other judges that it falls short of its potential due to repetition. I would say by 50% through the track I had already heard and felt everything it had to offer, and when I caught myself looking at the time bar and seeing that it was only halfway through, I was a little surprised. All the other judges have made great suggestions on how to vary this up, so I won't belabor the point, but you might even consider adding in a couple of instrumental solos in there - there's tons of room, and this track functions well as a background. There's LOTS to do in here, and it won't take much to make this shine. NO
  15. Oh man, I had really high hopes for the intro, and then the beat dropped at :15 and suddenly 50% of the entire sound spectrum is gone. We're missing massive parts of the freq spec here, which make the entire mix sound thin and tinny. Arrangement wise, this is spot on and I really like the feel that you're going for. Enough of a hat tip to the original, but enough of your own interpretation too. The piano at 1:10 is a bit harsh, but again it's hard to judge individual instruments when we have nothing to hold them against on the bottom end. That may resolve itself once you fill in the rest of the freqs. Same with the saw lead at 1:45 - it's harsh, but with a proper backing, it might not be. It's hard to make that judgment. Really enjoy the nod to the pan-demonium (see what I did there) throughout the track, with everything kind of bouncing all over the place. I might call it out as a bad thing if I didn't hear it so much in the original, which makes it endearing. This could really could be something fun so I encourage you to work more on filling it out! NO (resubmit)
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