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    NI Kontakt 5, EWQL Symphonic Orchestra, Synapse Dune 2
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  1. Okay finally having a listen. I love the ambient textures you've got going on for the first minute or so, and throughout the rest of the track. I'm into the slow fade-in, and the panned metallic sounds starting at 0:26 or so are awesome too. Later this dark attitude is taken over by some persistent swirling synths (particularly noticeable during gaps like at 1:35 and 2:00) and this is a nice evolution of the mood. I think these textural elements are my favorite aspects of the piece. I like the choice of a church organ, instrument-wise, for a Robotnik boss theme arrangement (makes me think of the Sonic 3D Blast Saturn boss music actually lol), but I'm not too crazy about it just repeating the same two-note interval from 0:30 until the plucked lead comes in at 1:05. I'd consider exploring a slightly more varied progression there. It doesn't need to deviate super-far from the two notes it currently repeats, maybe you could just climb up and down slowly between higher and lower notes in the same scale while still centering on the two primary ones. It'd make this section more engaging. While the atmosphere is great and things are well-mixed to my ear, I do agree that this remix is pretty far from the source track musically-speaking and probably doesn't have enough of it for OCR's purposes (the submission standards say the source material must be "identifiable and dominant", which I find is often interpreted to mean "50% or more of your remix should use recognizable material from your source track"). Also, on your Flying Battery piece a while back, I mentioned that things sometimes got "a bit too homogeneous/repetitious," and that I wanted "to hear some contrasting energy to break me out" of the established groove for a bit. I feel that way with this track too, but rather than a breakdown I think what I want is a section that's MORE intense somewhere. So, a way to possibly address both these things at once. From 1:05 - 1:34 we get our first clear melody sequence on that plucked synth lead. It's a bit tough to pick out the melody of the source track here, but it's there. I think this is a fine way to introduce us to what this remix is based on, but considering that 1:05 to 1:34 is the closest you ever really get to the source track, I think what I'd like to hear somewhere is a higher-energy section that references the original more closely. As far as all your other lead sections in the piece, there's 2:18 to 2:38 which happens on that harsher more square-ish sustained lead, and then there's a sort of reprise of 1:05 - 1:34 at 2:40 - 3:00. After that, the rest of the track is pretty much pure atmosphere. I really like the sound of the lead at 2:18 to 2:38, but I don't find its progression all that engaging. So I wonder if you could transform this section into a harder-hitting, closer-to-the-source cover (maybe of the B theme, 0:19 to 0:31 in the original). Keep the same synth lead sound, and maybe you could bring the church organ back for supporting harmonies since it doesn't really show up anywhere except the first minute. That's just an example though - go with whatever implementation you might prefer. The idea is to make your track feel like it's building up to something more intense and more familiar from the original that you can then "cool down" from as the piece gets closer to the end, if that makes sense. I remember you saying on your Flying Battery thread that you were "used to structuring [your] original trap and hip-hop tracks to fit verses and a chorus on them". I do think this piece also sounds like it's "waiting" for lyrics or rapping to be layered on top, which would be cool if you decided to pursue it, but as-is I think it creates some perceptible emptiness. 3:00 to the end at 3:52 for instance doesn't really have much going on or introduce us to anything we haven't already heard elsewhere in the piece. If you don't intend to add lyrics or a rap performance, I think the best thing to do would be to fill out most of this empty space with one or more clearer covers of melodies from the original, as I described above. As for the title: I think it's fine, it got a chuckle out of me and on a Sonic 3 remix album I'd immediately know which source track it was referring to. Nice work and good luck!
  2. Hey @Seth Skoda! I was gonna give you a listen on this and post some thoughts but the link you have there goes to a track called "Nightcore RS" rather than "Gangsta With A Mustache". Could it maybe be the wrong song ID in the URL?
  3. Liking this new draft, Souperion. I like the harp at the lower registers during the early sections better, and another new detail I'm fond of is the extra harp part that's harmonizing with the original one at 1:08 now. It's a small change, but to my ear it sounds much richer than before, to the point where I wish it would go on a little longer. The more touches like this you can include in your tracks the better - interesting harmonies and counterpoint can do a ton of work in elevating your arrangements and stirring emotion in your listeners. Listening to version 2 and 3 back to back, I have to say the velocity and note placement changes are pretty subtle and aren't making a huge difference for me. I notice them here and there though and what you've done does help. To expand a bit on what I said before about humanization - there's a lot of other elements to it besides velocity/timing of individual notes. As an example, if you're crafting a MIDI-driven distorted guitar performance, pitch bends at the starts of certain phrases for emphasis and satisfying vibrato on the tail end of your sustained lead notes can be really impacting. A thing that's helped me a lot with learning how to humanize MIDI stuff well is to look up a bunch of Youtube videos of people playing the instrument in question live. Listen and watch real closely to the many techniques they use to vary up their performances, and you might be surprised how much you end up noticing that you never did before. It comes to my mind now that I wish there were places you could add glides or vibrato on your leads for interest but to be honest, this might not be the right piece for it. Your flute lead is pretty synthy and might not lend well to such flourishes. Keep all this in mind for future pieces though; it's good stuff to think about when you're still writing your parts and deciding on instrumentation. The vibraphone sounds good sample-wise and I wouldn't say it's out of place, but I'm also not sure it's bringing everything to the table that it could be. For instance from 1:17 to 1:48 it sounds to me like it's often mimicking the non-sustained higher string notes pretty closely and I find that I want the strings/vibraphone to be better-differentiated in their roles. I can't say I'm noticing much delay on the vibraphone either, I think that may be getting lost in the mix. Some EQ work to create more space to hear the nuances or simply exaggerating the delay effect might help if you want it to be more apparent. Finally, something Rozovian mentioned to me recently on my Volcanic Glass thread might be helpful to you. It's not necessarily productive to spend too much time refining a single piece. I'm going to be wrapping up Volcanic Glass as soon as I can and submitting it so I can get a judge panel review and see what I learn from that. The reality right now on the OCR WIP forums is that official evaluator reviews are very rare due to lack of staffing/time, so you might consider wrapping this up and submitting it soon now that it's been a few months. In the meantime you could start another piece and put everything you've learned while working on this one into practice from the beginning. Just some food for thought. Best of luck!
  4. Hey, thank you both for the extra thoughts! This is really helpful. @Rozovian - I'll see what I can do about EQ'ing those accompaniments (or maybe low-pass/high-pass filters as Seth suggests) to help out the mids/highs situation and avoid competition with the leads. I think you mean the marimba-like chromatic percussion here is what needs some EQ carving, correct? Though you might also be referring to the heavy synth chords that come in at 1:44 and persist until about 1:54, those take up a lot of sonic space too admittedly. Then I'll give the bass another review, and find out what the panel thinks. Very much agree that too much nitpicking on one track ain't worth it.
  5. Very nice improvements, Souperion! I find this version a lot more engaging. I can lose myself in it now, rather than being a little too aware of some of the repetitive/dissonant aspects of the first draft. The double bass and amped-up synth pad are really helping out the low end, harp is working better than the music box I would say, and even the new wind sounds are a nice upgrade. I can't pick out all the instances of it, but the "gentle attempts" to treat homogeneity you mentioned seem to be paying off - it definitely sounds more varied to me now. One minor nitpick I have is that the first entry of the harp at 0:05 through to 0:12 is in a high enough register that it makes the instrument sound a bit too synthesized to me. You might try dropping that section down an octave. The harp phrases at 0:21 sound better to me, for instance. I'd say the arrangement is in a solid place now such that you could do a pass on the humanization if you like. I noticed you marked it Ready for Review though, so perhaps you'd prefer to wait and see what an Evaluator has to add first.
  6. Thanks @Seth Skoda, glad to hear it inspired you! I do know what you're saying about the chimes, by which I'm pretty sure you mean the panning metallophone instrument that's there for the first 28 seconds or so (and comes back at various points later). This is a gangsa, which is used in Indonesian gamelan music - specifically I'm using a sample from the Native Instruments Balinese Gamelan library here. Gamelan instruments aren't pitched to the same scales as Western instruments, so this library comes with both "original pitch" and modified "concert pitch" versions of all the recorded instruments. I'm actually using the concert pitch gangsa here, but it does still have a slightly "detuned" sound to it. I personally enjoy this subtle detuned quality as a point of interest, but I can see how you might perceive it as a sort of unwanted dissonance. I tried messing with the Tuning knob on the instrument in Kontakt's synth rack view, but anything beyond 0.7 semitones up or down was too much (i.e. it just started clashing with the rest of the instruments), and anything less didn't seem to make a perceptible difference to my ear in the full mix. Returning to this song a few weeks later, I'm feeling pretty good about it as it stands, although I'd be interested in an Evaluator's thoughts on the gangsa situation (and the piece in general), so I'm going to mark it Ready For Review. (Looks like my source videos for the original track also got taken down, so I'll fix those too lol)
  7. This is solid Seth! I love the source track (well, I love just about every song on the S3&K OST, but this one does probably make the top ten for me, especially Act 2). And I think you've got some nice variations on its themes here, and have found a unique vibe to explore with it. Like Souperion said, it's fairly relaxed, which makes for an interesting contrast against the urgency of the original. I also agree that it sounds Megaman-esque, maybe it's those synth toms lol. Your synths are all sounding good and they meld together as a set nicely. Mixing-wise, about the only thing I'm not a fan of is the hi-hats. They sound pretty dominant on my headphones (Beyerdynamic DT 770s), to the point where I feel like they're masking some of the nice synth work going on elsewhere. I'd reduce the volume on them a bit. Arrangement-wise: you say the song has a long intro in your Newgrounds description, but actually some of my favorite touches of the whole remix are in the first minute. I really like the groovy progression that comes in at 0:30 (sounds a bit guitar-like, to my ear) and continues until 0:55 or so. And the transition from 0:56 leading into the song proper at 0:59 is really cool too. I missed these later on and would love to hear them return elsewhere - maybe a breakdown section or two, where the primary hi-hat-based percussion falls away and all we get is something similar to what goes on at 0:30 to 0:55 for a bit. You could lead into/out of it with effects similar to the transition at 0:56. I say this mainly because there's sections of the song where I feel like things are getting a bit too homogeneous/repetitious, and I want to hear some contrasting energy to "break me out of it" briefly. The shift into the B theme just before 2 minutes is a good one, and I like the fat sound of your synth lead here. It's more around 2:27 where I first start feeling like I need a breakdown (or something similar) to mix things up. I think the omnipresent hi-hats are partially responsible for this, so a break from them here and there might help your synth work shine through better. I'm also not sure the piece needs to be as long as it is - you've got a melodic exploration at 3:05 - 3:26 that's good, but then it basically repeats itself from 3:27 to 3:55 and I don't feel like I'm hearing anything fresh here to keep me invested. 4:27 - 4:55 also seems to me like it's just layering a couple previous explorations together in a way that isn't particularly novel, and I'd almost rather it skipped to what you have at 5:00 instead, which I like better. I think you could get the song just under 5 minutes this way, which would still be plenty long imo. A caveat: I'm not too familiar with trap music, so maybe some of my thoughts above would push you too far out of your chosen genre. Disregard any suggestions I've made that you feel would mess with the song's identity too much. I'm basically just looking for a few mixups to give my ears a break from what they've gotten used to over the course of the song. Some nitpicks, take 'em or leave 'em - I think that plucked synth sound all by itself in the beginning is a touch harsh; as the synth strings come in you pull it back and it sounds better to me like that. Maybe have it start at a lower volume, more equivalent to where it's at alongside the strings. I'm also not a huge fan of songs ending on a fade-out, so... maybe consider ending it more definitively somehow, but that's not a big deal ;D
  8. Hey Souperion! I love the Golden Sun soundtracks, and I'm glad to see you're shining some light on them here (heh). You mentioned in your post that you felt you might be out of your league with EWSO/Sytrus, so I figured I'd do my best to give you a detailed breakdown of what I think is working well so far and what could be improved. This ended up being kind of a huge writeup lol, but I hope some of it helps! GENERAL THOUGHTS The mix is clear, and I don't find myself struggling to differentiate instruments. So you've avoided muddying things up, which is a good start. I find the piece a bit thin and lacking in richness though. I think this is because frequency-wise I'm hearing mainly mids and highs. You seem to have a low synth pad at times (heard most clearly right in the beginning) but it's pretty subtle. You might try beefing up the low end during the busier sections (e.g. 1:16 to 1:40) with a deep cello/doublebass ensemble or something similar. Go for slow-moving progressions with a low attack/gradual buildup on each note, and see how that sounds. Overall the playing style is fairly mechanical. Your voice selection is good - lots of bell/mallet-type instruments which create a nice wintry mood - but these instruments always seem to be hitting right on the beats and with the same velocity each time. In an orchestral style like this, more humanization is often preferable. Give some notes a stronger emphasis (i.e. higher velocity), while others can be quiet, understated, and/or slightly off the beat to sound more natural. COMPOSITION/ARRANGEMENT SPECIFICS From 0:36 to 0:44, you've got some nice melodies on what sounds like a music box, and I like where things are going here. But starting at 0:44 I'm detecting some dissonance between the pan flute and the music box (esp. during 0:54 to 1:04, after which the dissonance seems to clear up). I can't be sure without seeing the notation, but I think what might be happening here is that you're using different scales for the flute/music box progressions, so they occasionally play notes that are out-of-key with one another. The flute sounds close to the original song during this section, so I think the best way to address this is to revisit what the music box is doing and explore some progressions that sound more harmonious with the flute. It'll help a lot to know what key the flute's playing in, if you don't already. Moving on to 1:32 - the strings and other instruments are working well together here, and I'd say this is the strongest part of the piece. It's richer and has some pleasing harmonies. I'm less fond of 1:47 - 1:54 - the sense of completion at 1:49 seems a little abrupt and flat, and what comes after (until 1:54) strikes me as a bit underdeveloped. I might say end on the note at 1:47 instead - draw it out with a faded sustain, which would then flow into what you have at 1:54 to complete the musical thought more succinctly. (You might end up needing to trim out a few seconds of the song to make something like this work, but with a total length of 4:17 I'd say you're safe to shorten it some.) At 3:14 - the swifter, descending progressions here and the way the strings jump upward in pitch for a bit before releasing at 3:33 works nicely. It's a good change of pace, an effective variation on the original piece, and the breathing room for a moment afterward helps with the song's pacing. I'd like to hear more stuff like this so the arrangement surprises me more and seems less homogenous. For instance, there's a repeated musical phrase (an ostinato, more or less) that you first introduce at 1:58 on the music box, and the specific rhythm of this ostinato becomes a bit dominant throughout the second half of the song. It goes away at 2:20, but the strings pick up a close variation 8 seconds later. It's absent during 2:44 - 3:00, but returns again from 3:00 - 3:14. Then it's back at 3:40 and persists nearly until the song ends. So due to this, I came away from the song feeling like the progressions during the second half relied a little too much on the timing of that ostinato, and exploring slight variations on the pitches involved with it. I think your relatively sparse instrumentation is part of what made that stand out to me. It's a fine phrase to use and repeat from time to time, but I'd take a look at some of the sections mentioned above and explore different phrases you could provide for that background rhythm. Or maybe eliminate the ostinato entirely in some of those spots, allowing the piece to flow in a different way for a while. From 3:33 onward I like how the piece wraps up. The final staccato string notes that start at 4:02 sound clipped to me though - like they haven't been allowed to fully decay. This is especially noticable at 4:06 through to the end. I'm not sure if this is something about how your reverb is set up, or maybe to do with your original instrument samples, but perhaps you can hear what I mean. So to sum up: arrangement-wise, what I'd like to hear is more build + release, more contrast in the pacing, more moments where I can anticipate what the piece is preparing to say and then be pleased by what's ultimately said. I think the best example you have of this now is 3:14 to 3:33. More humanization (velocity variation/less consistently precise timing) would also provide dynamism, and I feel like some extra low-end richness (cello/doublebass ensembles here and there?) would help as well. Take my suggestions with a grain of salt though. Sometimes you can identify a problem in a piece and provide a solution, but that solution doesn't work so well in practice. You might find other better answers once you head back in. Good luck with the next draft!
  9. Thanks so much for the comments everyone! @Souperion Yeah, the bells + synth combo was kind of the genesis (lol) of the piece for me, and I built much of it around that. Glad you liked it and felt things came together well. I appreciate the puns too thank you for those XD @Ordonis Happy to hear the remix went beyond your expectations! Establishing a common ground between the two source songs was one of the trickiest parts. Fortunately they do share a decent amount of musical material. One of my early breakthroughs was the idea for the "bridge" section that pops up a few times (first at 1:07 to 1:16) - this helped me move between Act 1 and Act 2 parts without disrupting the flow of everything. @orlouge82 Google Drive link has been added to the OP, you should be able to download the MP3 of this draft from there
  10. Possibly the most laid-back remix of this track I've ever heard, but it totally holds my interest. I like the beautiful, soothing pad work, and the drawn-out builds and releases (that nice rush of wind at the 2:00 breakdown is a great moment). Your percussion's super sparse, but there's a slow rhythmic quality to the low synths in many places that makes me think of gently lapping waves. Agree with previous comments that the woodwind synth is a little dominant throughout much of the piece, but as Gario said it's a fairly minor quibble. I don't personally have a problem with the woodwind sample itself, but I do feel like the two higher synth string notes we can hear at 3:45, 3:59 etc. sound a bit MIDI-esque. That's just another small nitpick though. I also assume the title of the piece is a nod to Purity Ring's Lofticries? Nice ref, haha
  11. (MP3 direct download link here) Hey folks, been a while since I last posted. Here's something very different from the last two pieces I put up here. It's a synth-heavy combo of Acts 1 and 2 from Sonic & Knuckles' Lava Reef Zone. I always loved the inherent juxtaposition of Lava Reef - the fiery magma of Act 1 vs. the cool, almost ice-like crystal structures of Act 2... and of course, the music for each differs appropriately. The goal with this remix was to try and blend the smooth intrigue of Act 2 with some of the intensity of Act 1. Genre-wise it's a mix of things - early on there's some downtempo/chillout vibes, but later it gets more energetic. I suppose there's some synthwave influence too (lots of analog-style leads and pads, heh) Here's a couple links in case you've not heard the source tunes before: Act 1 - Act 2 - Hoping to submit this for review at some point, so by all means - have a listen and critique anything and everything about it! Edit: this track has now been submitted to the Judges Panel, changing the prefix to reflect this. Thanks again for your help everyone!
  12. Thanks for the quick response, ad.mixx! And an encouraging one at that. Very glad you enjoyed it
  13. Hey everyone! Here's a Zelda remix I completed recently, centered mainly around the Ballad of the Wind Fish and Kakariko Village. This remix is meant to be a musical representation of Link's Awakening's ending - a blend of the bittersweet and joyful feelings Link might have had at the end of that journey. I also wanted to achieve that sense of being "at sea" that many of Wind Waker's tracks evoke. There's also a touch of Wind Waker's Outset Island and Ocarina's Zelda's Lullaby mixed in, but only briefly. This first draft is technically "done" and I'm planning to submit it for review eventually, but I wanted to start off by getting some feedback from the community. Thanks for listening! (P.S. - I've got each of the Instruments of the Sirens represented in here, somewhat loosely in certain cases. See if you can pick them all out!)
  14. Loving the use of chromatic percussion here. The fact that the bells/gongs can be heard on both sides of the stereo field add some nice spaciousness. There's some great nuance on the guitar as well, such as the hard hits around 1:36 vs. the softer playing at 1:41. If I'm nitpicking, I might say the solo strings (cello?) at the end sound a little artificial. I think it's mainly the transition between the last two notes at 2:01 and 2:03, they seem to overlap unnaturally. I like the deviation from the original lead melody at 0:58 too - I feel like your take on Terra's theme is more melancholy than the original, which the new intervals here seem to accentuate. I agree it's rather short though! I could easily listen to another minute of this at least, but I suppose better short and sweet than long enough to wear out its welcome. Good stuff!
  15. I really enjoyed this rendition, Dcapo. It's restrained, but your chord choices and the varied speed/velocity of your playing are bringing a ton of emotion. I think your choice to avoid "flashy/virtuosic" was a very good one here. Touches like the quick little runs at 1:44 bring a playful yet somehow appropriate counterpoint to the melancholy mood. This to me mirrors the mood of Majora's Mask itself very nicely, which is a game that's at times deeply sad and at others more mischievous and light-hearted. I'm liking your explorations from 2:35 'till the end as well - the Ghibli-like quality mentioned by one of your Youtube commenters seems especially evident here. That's a good thing; I think Zelda and Ghibli music have a good amount in common and the styles go well together. This song has always elicited a strong emotional response from me, and I'd say your version here moves me at least as much as the original - perhaps even more. Thanks for sharing it!
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