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Liontamer

OCR02712 - *YES* Super Metroid 'Shinesparks'

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"Shinesparks"

Super Metroid (SNES) - Maridia Rocky Underwater Area

Kenji Yamamoto, Minako Hamano

Name: Nicholas Tam

Website: http://www.nicholastam.ca

Forums ID: 20602

For this jazz combo rendering of "Maridia" from Super Metroid, I set the bass line in marimba to get a more metallic timbre and a more versatile sound in general. The two keyboard parts were fully improvised and recorded in one take apiece. The song's original chord progression is inherently fascinating as it is, so I took the opportunity to stock it full of minor sevenths and deliberately pattern my piano style after the modal voicings of Herbie Hancock, adding some spontaneous rhythmic complexity wherever I saw fit.

Share and enjoy.

- Nick

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://snesmusic.org/v2/download.php?spcNow=sm - "Theme of Super Metroid" (sm-16.spc) & "Maridia Rocky Underwater Area" (sm-24.spc)

Weird little piece of work. The comping/noodling isn't terrible, but it's not impressive either and feels like it goes off the rails too often. That being said, that's the direction you wanted to take it in, and it's not really a major issue for me.

Sounded like the track distorted at bit at 1:09 and 1:43, and several other places I haven't noted. Gotta listen to the track on some headphones before you send it in, the devil's in the details.

Aight, so where were the source tracks from Super Metroid used? Since the track is 5:20-long, I need at least 2:40's worth of overt source usage for the arrangement to be at least 50% Metroid. Otherwise, that's not enough to be a focused enough tribute to the game music compared to the original writing ideas.

Well, Palpable mentioned the chord progression usage as something that I could be overlooking, but I'm not really picking it up, plus that's a pretty weak connection to carry the majority of any arrangement. Barring anything I'm missing, I'm hearing the tunes from:

*:00-1:11

*3:14-3:38 (though the source usage was pretty faint/marginalized in the background while more comping took place)

*4:07-4:49

So about 2:17's worth of Super Metroid source tune usage that I was picking up. Of course, if I'm missing anything significant, I'd be glad to reassess it, but it sounds like you're mostly going off and doing your own thing. Needs more source arrangement involved for my vote.

Aside from that, the distortion would have to be fixed. You definitely put out some good material Nick, and I wanna see you up on OCR; been enjoying your material since VGMix2. If you're willing to revisit this piece, I'd love to see something more Metroid focused to really bring it home. The jazzy take on these themes you had is a good concept.

NO (resubmit)

Edited by djpretzel

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Yeah, good concept, good combination of instruments, but it really strays too much. Aside from Larry's breakdown, I think I found the chord progression between 1:11 and 3:14, but with all the jazzy notes it's nearly impossible to make out that it's an arrangement of Maridia 2. The lack of source usage is going to make this a NO. I also thought it was a little noodly, and needed more of a steady anchor so that you knew where you were. I appreciate the rhythmic complexity of some of the playing, but especially around the two minute mark, it gets too much. I think when everything is playing a little off, it becomes overwhelming.

Larry mentioned the clipping. I also thought the pad coming in at 3:14 was a little strange, almost like an afterthought to incorporate the original melody. I think it would have more impact if it were more pronounced. Production was fine enough overall.

I'd love to see this one reworked into something more connected to the original melodies. I think you can strike a balance between keeping the improvisation you want while meeting OCR standards.

NO (resubmit)

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So you guys are way off. The chord progression is the same as the original the whole way through. This is fairly standard for jazz. Melody, solo over the head. The only reason you are having trouble hearing the original is because of the vastly altered groove. Do you really want to instantly reject songs that are in the jazz format? It's one thing when you are complaining that a song doesnt have >50% remixed material when the other material is unrelated, but there's never a point in this song when the original chords aren't used. By rejecting this track on the basis that it's "too original," you are setting a dangerous precedent.

That said, the distortion is way too bad to allow to pass as is. I'll say YES conditional on fixing the clipping.

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I really like the style here. Excellent mood, great performances and execution. We don't get a lot of more "legitimate" jazz subs, and we pass even less, but this one is definitely solid. On the production end the only thing I have to criticize (like the other judges) is the distortion/clipping.

Arrangement is another story. Personally, I've always had a hard time with Super Metroid's soundtrack as I think it's really unmemorable, and it just doesn't stick in my head. But even though I listened to the sources over and over here, I simply could not make nearly enough connections between them and the remix here. I would really need exact citations of how the source is used in this to be able to pass it. As is, I'm straining to hear things past what Larry pointed out and even those are tenuous connections. Unless Jesse or the mixer can provide more information..

NO

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I don't see what's to spell out. the chord progression is the same as the original the whole way through. It's a very distinctive progression.

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I don't see what's to spell out. the chord progression is the same as the original the whole way through. It's a very distinctive progression.

I'm not hearing it.

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I don't see what's to spell out. the chord progression is the same as the original the whole way through. It's a very distinctive progression.

The only overt source usage I'm getting are the sections I acknowledged in my vote. On another listen, I'm hearing the chords being vaguely alluded to and being played over from 1:23-2:05, but that's way too minimalistic of a usage for my bar. For me, the source tune was marginalized to the point of unrecognizability in that section, and I wouldn't count it. After that, the track just seems to break down (in terms of placing any source connection) and I didn't hear anything vaguely "Maridia" until 3:14.

I'm glad Vig feels he's hearing the connections distinctly during the soloing, but since I'm definitely not, I'm set with my decision. I'm down with letting the vote ride for more opinions (we certainly could use some), but I'm keeping my vote a NO.

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When in doubt, always ask the submitting artist for more info. Here's Nick's elaboration on the source involvement for you theory majors :-) :

Hi Larry,

The middle of the track primarily consists of improvisations that

explore the Maridia chord changes (especially the strange leap over the tritone, Eb -> A, in the first four bars). Here's a very rough sketch of what I'm playing over:

Ebmin9(#7) | ... | Amin9(#7) | ...

Cmin9(#7) | ... | Gmin9(#7) | ...

Bbmin9(#7) | Fm9(#7) | Dbmin9 | Gmin6

Emin7(b5) | ... | Gmin9 | Amin6

The last four bars are my own departure from the original tune, which I did to give the harmonies a little push between choruses. And of course, I vary the chord voicings quite a lot throughout, though by and large I stay in the framework above.

Also, not to pre-empt the judges' decision, but I ran the track by someone else after I'd already submitted it to OCR, and he was picking up some clipping/distortion that I didn't hear when I was tweaking the EQ on my own machine. I don't know if that's something that was specific to his audio setup, or if you guys are hearing it as well; if it otherwise passes OCR's standards, let me know if I should resubmit.

Cheers,

- Nick

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I discussed this with Larry today. Knowing the chords isn't really going to change my decision on this - I recognize that they are the same, and I still don't hear the connection. I'm finding it difficult to pinpoint why exactly. Perhaps it's because the melodies in this song stray so far outside the chord (as jazz can), or maybe because Maridia is so minimal that the original melody implies the chords and just using those chords is not reminiscent enough. I've heard songs where the chords were enough of a tie, but I don't that sense here, and I've listened both to this song and the original several times now.

Up through 1:11, I'm really feeling this one. It uses some phrasing from the original and I hear the connection. Some minor usage of the Maridia melody here and there in the following two minutes would probably give this the connection I'm looking for and make that chord connection stronger.

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Does no one on this panel listen to any jazz at all? You're not supposed to hear every chord explicitly voiced all the time because it gets harmonically and dynamically stale. To some extent, the melody is supposed to etch the chord progression in your mind so that during the solo you have a fuller context when the rhythm section plays incomplete or altered voicings.

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Does no one on this panel listen to any jazz at all? You're not supposed to hear every chord explicitly voiced all the time because it gets harmonically and dynamically stale. To some extent, the melody is supposed to etch the chord progression in your mind so that during the solo you have a fuller context when the rhythm section plays incomplete or altered voicings.

[12:29] <@Larry> hahaha, Jesse's not liking the NOs on the Shinesparks; we're not jazzing up her friend enough!

[12:29] <@Larry> fuck it, I'm not gonna YES something off implied notes

[12:29] <@Larry> implied ain't played

[12:29] <@Larry> so NO

[12:29] <@Larry> jazz snobbing on me

I respect where you're coming from, kneejerk reaction aside, and I'm not gonna pretend I have your knowledge. But if I'm not explicitly hearing the source tune (doesn't mean every chord HAS to be explicitly voiced) and it's not jazzing up your friend, then I'm good.

3. The source material must be identifiable and dominant.

* While interpretation and original additions are encouraged, arrangement must not modify the source material beyond recognition.

* The amount of arranged source material must be substantial enough to be recognized.

For the sections you're sticking up for, I'm not hearing the source directly in play for too much of this. If it's there, it's not recognizable to me, so it's too liberal and a no-go. Not to say everyone else would agree, but I'd have to think this could have been handled in a way that more explicitly used the source tune and would thus work more with the standards. Not that my vote is specifically being challenged, but I'm solid with my NO vote. This kind of like ktriton's previous Silent Hill medley, where it had similarities to the sources, but ultimately did too much of its own thing and went off the rails. Can some other theory-versed Js check this out?

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Open hat at :56 was a little too out front, wouldn't hurt to pull those back just a bit. Yeah, I dig the interpretation here.

YE...

No, wait. This clipping is ridiculous. That's a mandatory FIX-FIRST issue. It's quite obvious when it happens.

spine_clipping.jpg

Fix the clipping and I'll be happy to throw a YES out. Great track. But production is equally as important as arrangement per our standartds. For now, as is (if the clipping remains) NO.

*edit* CONDITIONAL YES

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Jim Jam, maybe you missed it, but we're having a debate about the arrangement. :-P

1) You have no specific comments on it, so if this interpretation passes, I have 0 idea why. Qualifying your arrangement call with at least something is basically required once others have a pretty major difference in their points-of-view.

2) Barring that, voting NO just because of the clipping is more of a conditional YES situation. To me, NO is reserved for situations beyond a quick fix of a minor issue. Then again, if it didn't sound like that kind of situation to you, my fault.

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You have no specific comments on it, so if this interpretation passes, I have 0 idea why. Qualifying your arrangement call with at least something is basically required once others have a pretty major difference in their points-of-view.

Yeah I did, Lazy as it was :<

Yeah, I dig the interpretation here.

I dunno, I had this on loop whilst multitasking myself, and I never needed reminding that I was listening to Maridia's theme. If you'd like me to get more specific, I'll try to sit down (not now, but soon) and jot down some particulars. The clipping remains, however, an unavoidable obstacle towards a YES from any judge regardless of arrangement.

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Well I think we're all agreed that the clipping needs to be sorted out lol. eg loud piano between 2.22 -2.50, you don't even need a program, you can blatantly hear it. Moving on...

The issue here is complex because

3. The source material must be identifiable and dominant.

* While interpretation and original additions are encouraged, arrangement must not modify the source material beyond recognition.

* The amount of arranged source material must be substantial enough to be recognized.

is quite subjective. I listen to a lot of jazz so I know that the chord voicings often change and that the 'skeleton notes' of the chord (usually the 3rd and 7th) can be used on their own to identify a chord. With that in mind, I can definitely hear the chord progression throughout, and the fact that the original doesn't have that much melody in relation to a typical jazz piece means turning the source to jazz would undoubtedly involve a lot of originality.

Whilst I accept (from Liontamer's breakdown) that the source usage might not quite reach 50% of this mix - due to 23 seconds - the fact that the chords run throughout, albeit in altered form (I can definitely hear them), and the source melody is explored and altered on, makes this mix a conditional pass for me. Just fix the clipping.

YES(conditional)

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Clipping is HORRIBLE in this. WHYYYYY? :(

That said I think the arrangement is great and I think that working within the boundaries of the chord progression works. This is Maridia through and through; Jesse's right, it follows the typical structure of jazz: head, solo, head.

Considering the nature of the source tune, I'd hazard to say that the chord progression is one of the defining aspects of the Maridia song to begin with; I mean we're not talking about something as ubiquitous as I vi IV V here. I think I can only name one other song off the top of my head that goes up a tritone, and that's because I just remixed it (Into the Thick of It).

I think this is wonderfully chill, and a great take on the source. YES, conditional. Fix the clipping.

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how ridiculous

this decision has reduced itself to bias. the chord progression is there and i'm outright tonedeaf. not that it should discourage you from trusting my ears but the progression is there. interpretation is the point of what we do here, isn't it?

i understand the concerns being shown but this isn't just jazzy, it is also a good study in the style of herbie hancock. in other words, given the intended style, the original progression is very effectively handled throughout the track... certainly, he changes it up as he experiments with new ways of voicing those chords but it almost always stays an interpretation.

the clipping is a serious issue but it is clear that he has recognized this fact and sent us a letter even detailing his chord voicings as well. but really, this means the votes ought to be YEScond and not NOresub.

if i was to have a problem with something it would be that i am partial to tracks that maintain a foundation of the original theme upon which the artist solos for the entire track... i do it all the time and thankfully i can stockpile those at vgmix... but i do so because we do have a certain arrangement bar here at ocremix and that bar is questionable in this track since it really is mostly original work atop the foundation that is surely maridia. does it qualify as having enough arrangement?

i think so.

don't ask me why. i just listened to it and knew what i was listening to.

YESresub this sucker with the right volumes

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Y'see, the kids, they listen to the rap music which gives them the brain damage. They're a'hippin' and a'hoppin', and a'bippin' and a'boppin', and they don't know what the JAZZ, is all about, y'see!?

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To paraphrase and cop zyko, if I of all people can hear it, then it's there.

This mix is Maridia.

YES conditional on fixing the clipping

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I can absolutely feel the chord progression from the source. When I hear this I hear Maridia. While Larry's breakdown is probably accurate to where the source is dominant, the rest IS built upon the original chords of the source. The voicing is not enough to keep the chords from being recognized, at least not to me.

Instead I think this shows excellent musicianship, a wonderful adaption of the source and last, but not least, a fantastic representation of a genre that's way too often reduced to just a ride pattern. THIS is jazz, this is an arrangement and it's damn good too.

now fix the clipping

YES (conditional, clipping)

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So yeah, I'm listening again and while I hear a little more, I'm still not hearing enough to go over 50% as far as overt source usage.

:01.5-36, 37.5-39, 40.75-43, 44-50, 54.5-59.5, 1:01-1:03.25, 1:04.5-1.09.75,

1:22-1:26.25, 1:29.5-1:39, 1:42-1:44, 1:49.25-1:52.5, 1:56.5-1:58,

2:10-2:11, 2:24-2:29,

3:12.75-3:41, 3:45.5-3:48, 4:06.5-4:07, 4:09.5-4:11.25, 4:13-4:14.5, 4:16.5-4:18.25, 4:19.5-4:28.75, 4:33.5-4:38, 4:41-4:49

= 140.25 seconds of a 318 second-long piece or 44.1% overt source usage

I gave as much credit as I could for the more liberal areas (1:22-3:12). I hear the chord progression for much of 1:22-2:00, but then the comping goes off into its own thing for most of 2:00-3:12, where any usage of Maridia became even more abstract. As per my usual, implied chord progressions don't count as overt source usage to me, just like I wouldn't accept an arrangement only or mostly using implied chord progressions as the connection to the source. Voicings do want. That depends on your POV and the overall context of the arrangement, but it can be a slippery slope.

That said, it passed and we wanted to post it for years but not with the huge distortion issues. After years (I'm very relaxed) of back and forth email pings, I ultimately gave a drop-dead date of August 1st. Well, I FINALLY heard back TODAY from Nick and he finally was able to get back to the original computer that he had the track on and re-render it WITHOUT the distortion. :-)

Hey Larry,

Got reunited with my equipment just in time. Here you are:

As a bonus, it's in 192kbps in compliance with OCR's current submission requirements, because yes, it really has been that long.

Distortion should be fixed, but the only headset I'm testing this on seems a little faulty, so let me know if there's anything off with the levels that I'm not hearing on my side. I should be able to give it a better listen later in the week but wanted to send you a provisional copy now so the submission wouldn't be shelved. I'm out of contact from Saturday through Tuesday, but otherwise I'm able to work on this actively again (at least through late August) if you need me to make any further changes.

- Nick

The distortion was indeed fixed, and I'm just waiting to see if there's a WAV available for an even better encoding. All's well that ends well.

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