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danny B

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Everything posted by danny B

  1. Original, well-sequenced and moody. Would have liked to hear more dynamic contrast, and there are a few little sound quality issues, mostly staccatos that are just a bit too short. Nice work. YES -D
  2. OK, as someone who played Max Payne 2 religiously for a LONG time, I think i'm quite qualified to judge this one. All the the lead violin in ripped directly from the game. No brownie points there. The string additions are very minor additions, and while they conform to the melody, they don't really bring much to the table. Starting around 2:00 it gets kind of interesting, but these string progressions really need to be part of a cohesive arrangement. Other than the minute alteration of adding some strings, and an annoying rumble, this is nothing but the original's violin sections sampled. NO -D
  3. I applaud you for the recording of these parts and syncing them together effectively. If you did this on your own, and not at a studio, i'm particularly impressed. So, it's needless to say that sound quality is largely not a problem on this track. However, it's not to say this track isn't without its problems. The drums are simple, and that in itself doesn't bring the song down. However, they are mixed rather low, and seem to have no EQ whatsoever. I should be hearing a crack on the rim knocks, when all i'm getting right now is a paltry thud. So basically, the set sounds like it was layed down to tape and left alone. If it was a 2 track recording, that's understandable, but it still needs more presence in the mix. The artificial components are very similar to the original. The sound quality is marginally improved over the original, most notably the organ. However, the bass has no life to it, it's a super-quantized, undynamic robot bass. The guitar has a very MIDI quality to it, I actually thought it was another organ the first couple listens. The saxophone solo is probably the highlight of the mix. It's a little bit more staccato than I think it needed to be. It could have used a lot more expression in many sections. There are also some questionable notes, and tuning problems. On the run up the scale in the second part of the sax solo, around :57, there seems to be one or two brown notes. The solo also is very rudimentary in what it does. But not nearly as much as the trumpet. The trumpet solo takes very little risks, and contains several obvious mistakes. Mostly bad articulations. However, like the sax, the solo itself consists of a verbatim iteration of the main melody, followed by excrutiatingly simple patterns that dwell on the same note and occaisionally jump to a fifth. There are, of course some variations from that formula, but they aren't anything i'd call difficult for the average high school student. Not to mention some of the rhythm issues present, most notably the trumpet lagging behind the beat. It's a solid track, for sure, but the performance and arrangement leaves a lot to be desired. Get a more rehearsed recording of the sax and trumpet, and maybe throw down some originality on arrangement. Until then - NO -D
  4. I had a nice, long review typed up, and IE decided to crash and eat it. Basically, the sound quality and instrumentation isn't doing the arrangement justice here. The guitar is way GM, the marimba sounds like a retriggered synth rather than an actual instrument. There needs to be more attention to dynamic contrast with the instruments, and a more fleshed out groove to qualify this as reggae and make it sound complete. Right now, many sections are simply flat. Oh yea, ending is no good, either. NO -D
  5. I thought we weren't accepting anything more from JD Harding.... Oh well, this starts out as pretty much just an upgrade, and then totally innapropriate 808 percussion comes in with some dynamically flat conga work. There is some attention to modified harmonies, melody, etc - but not much. The main draws of this mix are executed well enough, yet are verbatim with the original. The original parts are comprised of lo-fi strings and flat piano runs. It also suffers from mechanical harp glissandos, which sound inferior to the original. Given that it repeats itself quite liberally with little variation, this is a track that falls definately below the bar. Also - the crazy spring reverbed starting congas at 4:47 are inexcusable. More like a glitch than an intentional effect. NO -D
  6. This is about as basic as it gets. This it what it would sound like if you put a midi of the prelude into a trance-machine. Sure it's not exactly the same as the original, but there really is no effort here to make this anything but a sped-up, trancified version of the original. With such a widely known and known theme, there has got to be at least an inkling of originality. Nice electronica song, but doesn't really qualify as a true rearrangement, i'd say. NO -D
  7. What we've got here is a run of the mill, pretty standard dance track remix. Timbres on average are of a pretty authentic quality. The rhythmically cut-up synth lead is a nice touch. Arrangement zips around a bit, which is good - it doesn't get stale. Some interesting percussion work at about 3:10. Kept the rhythm track mixed up, nice work there. This isn't really a track that could turn the dance world upside down, but it's definately not a first time fruity loops effort. I disagree with Jesse on the ending, though - I think it could have been much more gradual and with a pretty clear resolution to tonic, rather than just interrupted the cadence with a boom. Nice boom, though. Solid. YES -D
  8. While still in respectful disbelief that this will be posted, can we at least ask for a re-recording without major errors?
  9. I don't think anyone is suggesting that the recording quality alone is killing this mix. There are obvious flaws in the performance, mostly in the first half. I can pinpoint their times exactly, but I think they're easily located. They're simply too blatant to be excusable. If someone is going to take the time to record a song to be posted on the site, they should make every effort to make it sound presentable. I guarantee that even if my personal favorite piano piece on the site, MC's "Scriabin's Long Library", had performance flubs I would reject it. That, along with the fact that the second half of the mix is an original tune completely unrelated to Chrono Trigger. Other than MAYBE a semblance of similar chord structure on a VERY basic level, there simply is nothing to connect the ideas, nothing to insinuate more than that the guitarist learned to play the original, and then tacked on an improv ditty. It's not a terrible song, but I really believe this borders on submission violation. -D
  10. I hear a poorly played rendition of the original with obvious flubs. Straight up bad notes, strings buzzing badly due to lack of pressure on frets, timing issues up the wazoo. The second section really seems to have little or nothing to do with the original. Completely different feel, no real connection to the original chord progression. In summary, the playing is decent all around, but there ARE definite mistakes. The recording is passable, but just barely. The THUMP at the end is inexcusable. The "Arrangement" consists of one very close iteration of the original followed by an unrelated section in an entirely different feel. This would be auto-reject material to me. NO -D
  11. ....why am I not surprised? Bad sample usage and questionable arrangement = yes??
  12. I'm not attacking your judging ability, I just simply don't think this is a sufficient arrangement to warrant being posted among much better songs. This song would lack any merit whatsoever without Gigasamples; a mediocre arrangement of a song in the same genre, with the theme from the Highwind thrown in arbitrarily and innapropriately. I've never passed a mix that I can think of that was this close to the original both in harmonic/melodic structure and style. I would label this a submissions violation, but I guess there's barely enough arrangement to escape the N.O. As for the orchestrators comments, I have issues with a lot of Russell's technique, and Israfel I haven't heard enough to make that call. But Jared is an undoubted talent when it comes to orchestration, especially in the ReMixing field because he attempts to make it somewhat his own. I'm not trying to attack your opinion or anything, but I don't think I was suggesting we hold submitters to the standard of the masters. What I do think we should hold submissions to is the basic tenets of orchestration, instrumentation and especially arrangement. This track lacks dynamic range of any kind, any substantial rearrangement, and effective use of the great things Giga brass is capable of. I think those are pretty major violations. -D
  13. This is not good orchestration. If I might be totally biased for a second, Jared Hudson's "The Frontier" is an example of a good arrangement. It involves taking the original melody somewhere other than putting basic string runs and timpani over a near-verbatim arrangement of the original. Please listen to the original. But what do I know? It's just my major.
  14. I'm almost positive this isn't a real piano. The "Staccato" sections are actually quite bad-sounding. Nothing at all like a real piano. Very electronic. As for the arrangement as a whole, after repeated listens, I find that it is a sufficiently diverse and dynamic arrangement to pass in that regard. However, I would need the loud, choppy staccato notes to be fixed before I can pass this. They're too glaring a snafu. NO Resubmit.
  15. Maybe a better review than "make a more solid song" would quantify your opinion.
  16. If there's ever been an example of a remix transceding sound quality, this is it. This is easily one of the most inspiring and impressive arrangements i've ever heard on this panel. Mind warping, and yet at the same time refreshingly familiar. Excellent percussion work, very interesting harmonic alterations, and consistently impressive synth programming. The humble beginning suggests a low quality, standard fruity loops jingle. But what follows is oh so much more. Eschewing the conventional ABA-based formula for electronica, the mix transcends genres while keeping a firm foot in a solid, funky electronica vibe. The sound quality feels somewhat lo-fi, but this is a rare occurence where it seems like the lo-fi sound was an intentional product and not a culprit of lazy mixing. It's only a positive aspect, in my mind. The very beginning synthwork is a subdued wah'ed line that very adeptly transmogrifies into the Hunter's melody. Once that rockin' main melody kicks in, some very abstract yet perfectly-suited ep chords back it up. I'm drooling over these chords. Great work. The mix then takes a surprising turn and plays through a minimal iteration of the main theme, before delving into a polyrhthmic drum feature that exhibits advanced knowledge of the drum kit. Then, the crazy bass synth launches into an atonal, chaotic run that smoothly transitions to a chilled out, jazzy section. The chordwork here is nothing short of beautiful. The utilization of the modified original melody with the new chord structure makes it seem fresh yet at the same time familiar. Suddenly, it plunges into a mean, minor-keyed motif. Very good use of key change to advance the song along. Following this section, sheer chaos erupts. I'm not sure how keen I am on some of these rhythmic discomboblations, but it generally works well enough to segue into the conclusion. Again using a methodical build-up to acheive a poignant musical statement, the conclusion is not over-the-top, and it isn't a ho-hum affair. It captures the mood of the piece in but a few bars and helps to wrap the whole thing up. Excellent synthwork, adept percussion usage, and a more original harmonic rearrangement than this judge has ever seen in his tenure. YES
  17. First off, the percussion is on average, messy and unbalanced. There's little dynamics apart from the two distinct loud and soft sections. The flams are often too loose and sound like rushed 32nd's rather than a true flam. It's difficult to hear the toms, as the whole drum mix is muddy and seemingly overcompressed. Some nice use of EQ helps a little. The arrangement of the percussion is as a whole is not bad, it just seems to overextend itself far too much. It's ok to let the drums go 2 measures without a fill. Really, it is. Overfilling causes confusion and tires the listener. The quickbeat hi-hat section is pretty dope, and helps to accent an entirely different mood. The guitar work is excellent. I personally can't find much to critique other than a somewhat muddy presentation due to slightly subpar EQ, but it's nothing rejection-worthy. It makes people happy when people don't shrug off the bass as a simple backing for other going-ons. This mix makes me happy. GJ GL GG AFK YES
  18. Firstly - the harmonica (accordion?) lead in the beginning is unnacceptable. It's like a sample from a $20 Casio keyboard. Replace it with a piano, a synth, a better harmonica - something - this does not work. Grating and annoying. A fairly well-arranged intro features a very nicely played acoustic guitar and enchanting female vox. However, the percussion also sounds very Casio-esque. Bongos are extremely lo-fi. Shaker and tambourine are ridiculously bleh. Once again, the sound quality here is unnaceptable. It needs to be fixed or removed. Then, out of nowhere, a completely unrelated rock groove emerges. This really caught me off guard and disengaged me from any previous enjoyment of the groove. The vocals are on tune and rhythm, but sound very awkward within the mix. It sounds devoid of emotion and expression. I found myself wondering whether the voice was synthesized a couple times. Obviously not, but you get the gist of the criticism here. This, coupled with painfully cliched lyrics turns me off to the whole dealy. I'm not saying the mix is without merit. The guitar is consistently excellent. The production, despite the earlier gripes, is on par with our standard posted mix. The drumset during the main groove is even decent enough to pass my percussive litmus test. The major problems need to be fixed. The core elements are here and in good order. Polish this baby up, and she's good to go. NO -D
  19. phew....another tough one. I do not deny that Jeremy has ability to orchestrate. Nor do I deny he has nice samples. However, I think that orchestral arrangements should be held to a certain (not necessarily higher) standard. Specifically, they should not be mixed like rock tunes, they should be arranged with careful attention to dynamics, instrumentation and phrasing, and should expand upon the original in a creative manner. Unfortunately, this submission suffers from many problems that I personally believe to be important to passing the bar as an orchestral arrangement. I know i'll get poops galore on my freshly cut lawn, but I really think this can be done better. My first comment is to the samples. I'm assuming they're Gigasamples, as his last posted remix was. Regardless of whether or not they are, it just doesn't sound good. In comparison to the PSX sound chip, yes - it sounds pretty good. But i've easily created more convincing orchestral atmosphere on much cheaper software. I'm not trying to advance my ego here, I'm just mentioning this as a testament to the fact that samples, regardless of the quality, require effective usage to reach their full potential. The blatty brass sound dominates the texture of a large portion of the track. Often in rapid succession; often forsaking the effective usage of a "blat" sound - to accent specific portions of brass harmony. I'd really like to hear an actual attempt at appropriate articulations rather than just setting it to "blat" and hoping it sounds intense. This brings me to another point. The entire track is flat. I can't bring myself to say there is any dynamic range here. This is very important, as the length of the piece makes it very tiresome. By the end, I wanted it to end so badly, as it was just the same old same old - strings melody, brass blatting, snare drum roll, crash. Repeat. There's no real attempt here to do anything but reiterate the original in a style quite similar to the original. Oftentimes, the only arrangement i hear is a timpani playing fifths followed or preceded by a painfully cliched snare drum lick. Considering the original track (Weapon Raid) contained a highly similar motif, it's disappointing that more wasn't done here to make a compelling arrangement. The track also exhibits a "Wall of Sound" quality that is effective in other genres, but makes orchestral sound homogeneous and uninspired. I am not in any way insinuating that a sizeable amount of work was not put into this song. It's obviously been thought out and executed to a certain successful degree. My biggest beef with this song, and my primary reason for rejection, is that the scope of the remix is very narrow. It's in a style very similar to the original, and little was done to liven up the arrangement outside of small changes to percussive accompaniment. Many facets of the orchestration are also quite subpar, flute trills/runs and string runs being so fast and devoid of dynamics sometimes that even the best samples in the world wouldn't sound good. This is a case in which the arrangement and the sound quality together bring it down enough to fall below the bar. These Gigasamples are not being used effectively. I have to see more than a mediocre arrangement to badly-programmed Gigasamples to give the thumbs up. Sorry dude. NO -D
  20. Tommy doesn't know what's in store for him. If it's EWJ he wants - EWJ he gets. Stay tuned.....
  21. I'm afraid i'm going to have to supplement the minority on this one. There are good, as my compatriot minority judge mentioned, serviceable concepts here. However, there really is very little in the realm of arrangement, when it comes down to actual harmonic and melodic progessions. Before I get steaming piles on my lawn, yes - I do understand that there are a few sections with original brass runs, string progressions, etc. However, they delve into such utter simplicity that I really can't call them worthwhile augmentations to the source work. The sound quality is on average, excrutiatingly subpar. The snare drum is arranged well, but has not the reverb to fit into the sound field nor the dynamics to make it sound remotely convincing. The piano is triggered almost exclusively at a high velocity, giving it that WHAM WHAM quality, and not the beautiful, subdued piano sound that is possible at lower dynamics. The choir patch plays interesting chords, but the quality certainly reminds me of Nintendo 64 music. The brass is easily the weakest part of the sound quality here. Very GM and blatty. I'm feeling no real progression through different ideas, just a smattering of ideas from tetris linked together with sound fx. The sound fx are well done, however, and could be a nice addition to a better realized mix. Like I said, the concept is serviceable. Even attention to dynamics would greatly help the sound quality here. Better samples wouldn't hurt. This mix really does work on a conceptual level, and I really would like a resubmit of this. As always, he can contact me for sound quality or arrangement help if necessary. As much as I hate to agree with anything Digital Coma does, NO -D
  22. 1 - Die Hard Trilogy - YES Doesn't compare to the original. Quality and originality issues. 2 - Ys - YES No real arrangement here. NSF + Samples. ROFL. 3 - Command and Crud - YES It's rockin and rollin, yea - but man - this is an upgrade, not a remix. Sorry dude. 4 - Streets of WAAAA - YES sped up a bit, not really much more than sample upgrade with minor improvisation. 5 - Donkey Dong - YES It's been said, and much more eloquently than I. Radical trance original surrounding some donkey dong action. 6 - Some asian bull#@%& - I can't play this mysterious SID file. Until then, if it's not a rip, sound quality and orchestration, etc is fine. 7 - F-Rippo - YES Rip. Could this be OCR's Nukkus? 8 - Earfbound - YES Gonna have to go with mah dawgs on this. Sound inspired by, yet not entirely true to the original. Sorry dude. 9 - Jared Fagson's Final Crap - NO Think I reviewed this one. Great example of how to effectively expand on a small idea, while remaining true to the original. GJ GG AFK LOL
  23. My immediate impression - Fruity Loops presets. Let's see if it improves, or if the arrangement transcends sound quality issues. Basic offbeat bass is not well EQ'd. There is no real meat to it, and it's got that typical "wah" sound that every preset techno bass has. There is no attempt to liven up the bassline. This could have been transcribed in 10 minutes. Typical staccato, then doubled, then legato synth apreggiation. Typical offbeat synth melody. I've heard all of these sounds before. The whole track smells like prepackaged electronica. And it's a stale smell, indeed. But who cares about presets and lazy mixing fundamentals if there's a stellar arrangement? Unfortunately, this mix lacks just that. On top of the typical, chord progression-derived bassline and the arpeggiation to match it, there is little if any melodic or harmonic originality in this tune. Add to that, the vastly overused OOM-TSS percussion with no kind of changeup or anything to tell me that this wasn't lifted directly from the latest Eiffel 55 song. OOM-TSS can be done well, and it can be done in creative ways. Experiment. I need to detect a bit of effort in the arrangement departmentand and a hint of sound quality fundamentals to justify placing this on the OCR front page. NO -D
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