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    Beverley Wooff
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    3. Very Interested
  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
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    Arrangement & Orchestration
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    Vocals (Death Metal; Female)

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Rexy's Achievements

  1. This demake is cute - it would fit right in an old-school Dragon Quest game as a shrine theme, which is appropriate considering Grandpa's role in Stardew. However, the consensus is already clear - it's two and a half run-throughs of the BGM, each with different textures and no compositional changes aside from a key change for the last 30 seconds. Arrangement-wise, there's not enough personalization, meaning we unfortunately can't accept this in its original form. Absolutely nothing's wrong with an NES / Famicom sound palette, and that approach is possible on OCR. But Brad's arrangement/transformation suggestions are worth looking into if you are to return to this concept in the future. Please keep up your efforts. NO
  2. The original Puzzle Bobble / Bust-A-Move theme is so happy! That makes it an excellent fit for trap/hip-hop, and you managed to get at least a good foundation going. However, as mentioned, we have a sampled audio intro, a rendition of the theme, and some sax noodling over the accompaniment of the A section before a closure. In a fuller remix, splitting the track at 0:55 would turn the two halves into bookends, and with the kind of groove you have, the best suggestion I have is to allocate yourself more track time for re-interpretation and other ideas. Passing a shorter track isn't impossible, but I doubt the pacing and style would suit something of this current length, so adding more would have to be the better solution. Then, we have the current production state. Yes, the instrumentation is relentless, the subtle sidechain worked well with your kick, and the render surprisingly doesn't have any clipping despite the emphasis on your bass. But at an RMS level of -10 dB and too many details trying to appear all at once during said B section, there's not a lot of thought going on to balance overall. You buried the sax underneath the higher-frequency percussion, source melody and sudden arpeggio textures. Rather than have everything go full-throttle, it'll be a good idea to balance the instruments' volume based on overall importance, pan similar elements to get them to stand up against each other, and if there's still some frequency clashing, either opting for some EQ cuts or shifting octaves depending on the part. As of right now, the submission you sent in sounds more like a two-minute rough sketch of what would hopefully become a stellar developed track. I'd like to hear a revision with more source interpretation and an overall cleaner sound, so I hope you'll be able to keep at it. NO (resubmit)
  3. I'm down to see a Croc arrangement on the site in some form - that OST has some fantastic jams. But unfortunately, I concur with the barebones borderline MIDI-rip approach that Larry and Brad brought up. I'm hearing a palette change with no writing transformation, some very exposed and reverb-heavy drums, no articulation on your melodic instrumentation, and overall, no development. It would have had a direct rejection if you submitted it under the old email system. Don't feel discouraged, though. You have the workshop for research on interpretation and production, and for asking for feedback, so please keep working on your craft. Hang in there. NO
  4. I had never heard the original sub, so I must go by ear for this one. We got evident source use, with some lovely transformations like the choice to bring in the B section's bass (albeit offset by two measures) over the A-section at 0:18, sprinkling in bits of the C-section at 1:24 and 1:33 during the re-build, the double-time at 2:07, the call-and-response between the original writing and source section in that entire section that starts at 2:11, and the shift to a minor key at 2:29. Interpretation-wise, you understand how to personalize a track, and I can see the cases for the Yes camp liking this one based on the general idea and presentation. However, I have some qualms with its presentation. As mentioned by my fellow Js, the textures are very bare-bones and rarely ever have anything more than bass, melody, and percussion happening simultaneously. Other parts like pads, arpeggios, and keys can go a long way and add more density to this. You do have instruments like your bells that have enough layers to function as three at once, and you substituted the percussion aspect at 1:17 for a pad underneath - but they further expose the gaps in the soundscape. See if you can add some other subtle textures underneath to thicken things. Even if you do that, there is still the problem of mixing everything. As things stand, the bells are way too loud, even with the brick wall master in consideration. The kick drum is barely audible and could fare better with some EQ shaping on the bass to make it stand out. Additionally, the only multi-layer instrument you've got are those bells, as mentioned earlier, meaning your dry/exposed parts of the percussion kit need some textural tweaks if they are to be more upfront. I appreciate the creative direction behind the mix, Troy, but the sparseness and your mixdown are two significant issues that I'm afraid I can't shake off. This track needs some further TLC with additional instrumentation and a thorough mixdown, and I'm glad you've spoken to Hemophiliac as an extra pair of ears to help you out. I hope you get back to this one soon. NO (resubmit)
  5. I'll start with the production aspect. Yes, the original is superior in every way, but that was mainly because the acoustic strings in the original (Mandolin? Dulcimer? Bouzouki?) were live. Working with a sampled variation, it has a lush feel despite the key-switch limitations associated mainly with a dulcimer VST. The backing pad, while not entirely out of place, doesn't feel as deep as the original either - and some of the vibrato and pitch bending of the cello also gives off a more synthetic vibe. None of these are deal breakers, as when all parts get together, any accentuation issues get mitigated, and the balance is strong enough to make them all work cohesively. Yet, I'm afraid I will have to concur with Brad and the camp regarding the arrangement. Yes, the strings, some percussion, and some string harmonics (2:16) did their involvement under the source transcription to add some subtractive arrangement work. But the structure is still two loops of the BGM, with added instrument work becoming more prominent at 1:22 and only starting to get going within the final third. Now, usually, there's nothing wrong with adding other layers underneath to make a mix work - but when you still have the base pads and folky guitar being used in the arrangement, doing the same actions in the original BGM, there needed to be more to it and much sooner. Methods like assigning different instruments to play the melody, subtly altering patterns on the main parts, and some texture building like you did in the last third can bring this a long way. I'm sorry, but I can't pass it in its current form - and it's all down to arrangement and not enough thereof. You are the artist here; therefore, we want to hear more from you - so if you can revise it with a more original interpretation, that'll be fantastic. NO (resubmit)
  6. I agree about the source being challenging to arrange, but when broken down, it's primarily different rhythmic patterns placed in a set structure. Rather than Michael Hudak's method of taking said patterns and making something completely different, what you did was keep the structure of the BGM and do some subtractive arrangement with your choices of pads and other percussion - then, from 2:20, you began to develop these rhythmic ideas and continue along to the end. It's rare for you to do things like that, as I had often heard you shape up the source and then go into comping for the end - so I am all for it. I don't particularly mind the dynamics of the instrumentation, given that more of the textural attention was on using volume envelopes to shape them, similar to the original. But I did indeed hear the frequency shaping that Wes and Kris brought up. I'm not so worried about the panning, as I can see it as more of an arrangement technique. Still, the rumble and artifacts from one of your synths (0:52, 1:49, 3:13, 4:46), combined with resonants appearing on the mid-ranges (1:18, 2:21, 2:38, 3:50), tell me that they've been leveled too loud to the point of mild distortion or that there are too many things going on in their space that would need some further separation whether it be panning or tweaking different EQs for their own separate space. That irk is only on headphones, though, so it's a fix that's nice to have rather than have addressed as a resubmission. Regardless, more boxes tick for me rather than get left blank. Irrespective of the outcome, I hope the feedback you keep receiving for each mix will transition into building up future material. Cool stuff. YES (borderline)
  7. To put this together across five years, you must've made this a real test of love. Nice! A seven-minute arrangement felt intimidating reading about it, but the overall structure is exceptionally safe. We got that Last Episode opening, into the source proper, into another run with some added bell/timpani/hi-hat action, a return to the A section with that rad clavinet writing, into a guitar solo, and a return to the second half of the source for the end, defining itself with a flute and a beefier set of drums to lead into the finish. Now, I have seen the arguments regarding repetition. I've seen mixes that have tastefully used repetition or have enough background changes to have their purpose, but the same notation with some layers tagged in doesn't feel like enough. I'm more in favor of the "radio edit" route that you mentioned in your notes, which would cut down that problem big time - but one tip for the future is that you can even let accompanying instruments do something else during second source run-throughs. I also agree with the whole issue regarding balance. Firstly, you name-dropped a lot of powerful VSTs, but there's hardly any articulation outside of keyboard input at best. It's better to make them feel more like a performer was using the real thing, usually by combining key switches, envelope shaping, multiple layers, etc. On the other hand, the guitar has hammer-on articulation, which is a big plus - but it's so behind volume-wise that it's barely audible. It sounds much better in that regard at 5:04 during the big solo, but the note density further exposes the thinness of the sound. A lot of the thinness sounds like they're from applying high-pass filters across your mid-to-mid-high instruments - which isn't bad, as it does get rid of many frequencies you don't need. However, warmth is valuable on more prosperous instruments like the piano, organ lead, and guitar. It's a good idea to look over your low-to-mid-frequency instruments, see where the EQ settings are, and see if there's a way to give them more of that warmth. Another reason is that the brass and strings have too much power, and they don't know whether to be a support instrument or a lead based on their writing. If your setup can handle some more channels for orchestral instruments, it would be a good idea to separate your writing for leads and for rhythm/pads into separate channels to differentiate them; if not, then it'll be fine to work with volume envelopes, dynamically changing their place in the mix over time. I appreciate you reaching out to us with the hope of getting more feedback overall, and I also understand your overall story for its use on an album release and how much passion you had in working on it. Despite this, I had been back and forth and found more reasons to want it revisited rather than go on the site outright. Personal attachment is something that I faced issues with some of my earlier works - and even a few of my later ones - and the most challenging part is motivating yourself to get back to creating more things, which anyone should still do regardless. That said, the vibe is excellent. The ambition is great. But revised articulations and another mixdown pass are what this thing sorely needs for me more than anything else. I'm all for seeing it on the site, but I'm afraid we will require you to make that possible. NO (resubmit)
  8. It's a solid presentation - an ominous bell and thunder SFX, into going into the source proper, and variations around a 60s-sounding groove. The drums and the theremin sell the entire idea, respectively, with a solid beat and some great expression in an otherwise understated backdrop, and the balance is clean enough to tell where everything is. But I've had to go back and forth on this one because of the arrangement. It's a simple enough source that took pride in vocal harmonies providing whatever melody it had, and thanks to the theremin turning those melodies into a mono voice, what we've ultimately got here is a theme and variations idea. The main issue with going for theme and variations is that you'd want all parts to do something unique in those variations, you'd like to introduce some different instrumentation to replace others before them, or you'd use a combination of the two. As of now, your soundscape is established 30 seconds in and stays that way for the rest of the track, so some change-up to prevent fatigue could be helpful here. I'm all for the cool groove and theremin melody variations; however, the static sound design needs addressing before I can see it on the front page, whether by instrument changes or throwing in different writing ideas. There's some potential here, so please keep at it. NO (resubmit)
  9. Your BGM selection works well for your signature jazz fusion style! You took the two most identifiable parts and made them work well with your A-B structure, and the integration of "Star Spirits Request" at 1:50 also adapted well with the changed key. There were so many great ideas to follow that even the copy-pasta at 2:24 was a non-issue as it was repeating a creative transformation in the first place. I can vibe with that. However, what we've got here on the production side is a muddy mixdown. I appreciate what you were trying to do - emphasizing warm-sounding instruments, which is per the norm for lo-fi, and I don't mind the panning LFO as it's adding some sweet tonal depth. But we have a set of acoustic-sounding drums that sound like they've got a low-pass filter on, affecting their impact in the mix. Due to this, the bass is difficult to hear due to how you've emphasized the snare, plus the cymbal selection blends in too well with your bright-sounding pad, particularly during your B sections (0:40 / 2:24). Jack mentioned a fantastic idea with down-tuning your percussion, allowing their tones to cut through at a lower signal - and any other effects like distortion, compression, bit-crushing, and the like could make them have the more low-tone artificial sound they're looking for. It's worth experimenting and seeing what works for you. I'm all for seeing this track on the site based on the strength of its writing alone, but it'll need another mixdown pass, mainly to fix the drums. Please tell me that you still have the project file - so that you can take action and aim to get this on the front page. You've got this. NO (resubmit)
  10. These production values have cemented a beautifully articulate piece of work. All your instruments, even the choir samples, had been expressed realistically - packed inside an organic space with plenty of appropriate reverb breathing room and great detail to panning. Regarding the presentation, there's hardly a foot stepped out of place, and even the critique about the percussion is no dealbreaker. It's very lush. But then we have the interpretation, which, as mentioned, is a sound upgrade run-through of the source proper, a livelier transformative run, then into the original choir. That stretch from 1:37-3:13 has more than enough transformation throughout, with the additional Irish whistle, livelier percussion, and change to brass as your main lead. These little details had done enough to give that section a unique identity, but when paired with a minimally altered first run-through and the original choir swells from 3:13 onward, I feel there hasn't been enough transformation to make this work yet. Changing the ending is possible, though one idea I can think of is aiming for something Rebecca Tripp likes to do and utilizing either the source proper or a secondary source as part of the minimal instrument wind-down. I'm all for seeing a track like this on the site, but this needs more rearrangement and something done with that ending before it can get posted. This soundscape has a lot to love, so I hope you're willing to return to it. NO (resubmit)
  11. I love your direction with the arrangement, Roch. From a lore perspective, I predict Isabelle is getting overworked while Tom Nook is just booking his next golf game from the sidelines. And it feels that way with a lighter first minute using the central Isabelle motif before a transformation into an ominous DnB break. The appearances of Tom Nook's motif (1:34-1:39, 2:01-2:26, 2:29-2:40, 3:02-3:24) then lead into equally menacing variations on the Isabelle motif (1:39 onwards) or mood-shaking sweeps and pitch-bends into following segments. And after the chaos, the return to her leitmotif at 3:57 felt like a satisfying conclusion but suddenly pulled a 180 turn at 4:19 with the atonal backing chords and melody stuttering. It's something that I see as an art piece in execution, blending your trademark DnB with a slice of working-life horror - and I can vibe with that. I similarly appreciate your sound design, too. Initially, it feels sparse, with just a simple polysynth over a fake acoustic sound. As soon as that gnarly bass starts fading in at 0:45, the sound design becomes more noticeable with your selections of sweeps, punchier drums, pitch bends, and significantly richer textures. I have no issues with either the RMS - which Audacity read as -10 rather than the -6 that Kris picked up - or the minimal polyphony due to these multiple layers, though I would've also liked some similar TLC on the faux-realistic tones on the tail ends. It's no dealbreaker, as the meat and potatoes for the other two-thirds of the track carry and embrace the idea. I'm all for seeing it on the site in its current form, but I can also understand how divisive the track is among my fellow judges here. Best of luck with the rest of the vote, and I hope it'll make it. YES
  12. This arrangement sounds precisely like what Greg said - variations on a theme, which makes sense with the 7-bar loop. Production-wise, it's a basic dance club sound, but your EQ and layering techniques have done a lot to bring your instruments' presence out. I like your ideas about putting in sweeps and cutting textures when appropriate. However, one suggestion for the future would be to see if you could apply a similar sweeping envelope on your instruments to change their tone on the fly. Given that you're using a piano as your arp here, that suggestion wouldn't make sense right now - but it could serve a purpose with texture variation in the future. You've used it to build the idea in the opening build, then when the beat kicks in at 0:36, you've got your chance to go in with the bass shakeup, further digested at 0:51 with the source's bass going from legato to staccato with its writing. The ideas at 0:36 and 0:51 are combined at 1:16 with the key change, then start winding down at 1:36 with thinner textures over time and a slice of thunder sound effects. While I appreciate the minimal nature, the stagnant arp serves as a problem - and combined with the similar groove throughout, I'm also in the mindset that there's not enough arrangement here. There are different ways to vary things even further. As Darke said, additional source cameos could work in addition to the whole evolving landscape thing - though I also feel dropping or doubling up on some notes can be a superb different arrangement technique. It's worth experimenting and seeing what else you could do. To summarize, I do like the direction where this is going, but if there's a way to change up that arp further to fit the idea of variations on a theme, I'm all for listening to another revision—best of luck on your future work. NO (resubmit)
  13. I concur with my fellow judges about the rawness behind the mixdown and the arrangement. It's at the point where while the melodies got used with no problem whatsoever, the chords and some melodic intonation got simplified in favor of delivering energy and enthusiasm from the performers. We also got an excellent progression - lovely acoustic guitar into raw punk, a flute breakdown, a solo, and the recap. The mixdown is a peculiar one, which I noticed from a spectrum analysis has a lot of low-mids for that punk feel - which would explain Kris's answer as to what happened to the bass. Because of this, the kick drum feels hidden among everything else - so if there's a way for you to make an EQ notch in any of your other instruments to make room for the kick, that could work out. Similarly, Greg was right on the money with the lack of space on the rhythm guitars, so a second performance for texture would enhance it big time. Thinking back to the arrangement, I felt concerned about some of those chord changes and their tone when measured up against the lead - particularly when going through the A section's first half (0:27-0:35), where the complex melody tonally struggles against the idea of one chord per bar. However, that was nothing compared to the guitar solo at 2:10, which sounded like the melody would aim for notation based on 7ths or keep going as far away from the scale's root as possible. The more significant issue with the recording was that a lot of the notation was way behind the beat and made it appear sloppy - so I am in favor of a re-record to at least tighten its placement. It's in the gray area of being passable for the album's release, yet needs some tweaks before going onto the front page - a more transparent part of the stage for the kick, a re-do of the guitar solo, and some extra production TLC onto the rhythm part. I don't know if you're still in touch with your performers, but it would be great if you could figure out a solution to get this onto the front page. Keep at it. NO (resubmit)
  14. Okay, this has some stylistic twists in the soundscape, for sure. The pulsating synthwave base, textured bell pads, pitch shifting, and roomy leads - clearly, you put a lot of care towards the soundscape to make it truly feel like a relationship had gotten incredibly dicey, and I love that a lot. Though admittedly, the choice of instrumentation makes it lean towards a bright mixdown complete with more sub-lows than necessary. But the fact that most setups can still go through the sound design just fine makes it a valid case not to see it as a dealbreaker. The arrangement is an interesting one. I love that you turned the BGM from 4/4 to 6/8, meaning being able to change up the rhythms to accompany this pace. The chord selection also means choosing something suitable to ride underneath that melody simultaneously, and it easily fits with your vision of mental chaos. But here's the elephant in the room - a take on the source content. The first variation has the A section used straight from 0:36-0:56, then from there to 1:14, the B section is used twice. But then there's the second variation, which begins at 1:49. It only goes through the first half before hitting the first two bars again, before moving into a melody-less build at 2:02, and going into the B section at 2:09-2:44. My calculations have given me seven fewer seconds than Greg, putting me at 46%. If you utilized other parts of the source other than the melody, this might have worked, but now, the representation is way too sparse. For the future, being able to fit in little theme cameos, whether part of the source itself or other FE4 BGM (or a non-FE game?!), can add up to bringing the source requirement into that "clear and dominant" territory while still being able to maintain your vision. It's a shame that you probably won't be able to return to this track because this is a fantastic twist on paper. With more source use, this would've been an easy fit for the front page, so I hope you may get a chance to re-visit. Please keep going with your craft, and good luck with that future Trapt submission. NO (resubmit)
  15. I don't understand some of those NO votes either. I heard a transformation of the source done with the extended jazz chords as Brad eluded to, careful playing around of the melody, and some neat harmonization throughout. There were also so many minor tweaks that the entire C section (0:48-1:02) wasn't just A-B-A-C like in the original, and there was enough going in the writing to maintain attention. Drum writing feels like a non-issue, as aside from the hi-hats, every individual section has its own unique kick/snare placement. We can indeed argue that the recap at 1:43 has the same backing at 0:13, but the changed melody line still gave it a reason to exist. Similarly, the return of the C section at 2:18 also was direct copy-pasta before going into closure, but that's still 12 seconds of a 3-minute piece, meaning its placement is still reasonable. I also heard some great textures going into the sound design - classic NeonX staple synths all over. That lead has some smooth glides that make it work with the overall aesthetic, and I felt that the parts were clear enough for me to hear on their own. But I did sense the master compression popping off, with crucial points where percussion and synths hitting simultaneously start to squish the mix. Either this is something that a slacking of that master compressor could minimize, or as Greg pointed out, could spur an idea to load up some side-chaining to cut all this. I feel that the pros outweigh the cons. It's a fun arrangement with some mixing flaws, but it felt tastefully twisted within the sub-3-minute running time. I'm all for seeing it on the site in its current form. YES
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