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OCR01754 - *YES* Castlevania 2 'Castle of Tears'

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Remixer Name: DigiE/Digital Element.

Real name(s): Maurice Willems & Sanjay Sampatsing.

Your email address: NemesisTheory@gmail.com

UserID: I can only find 'digie'. There's no number. Maybe I'm blind. >.>

Remixlink:

Our FTP is a little messed right now, and this file is only available for a week.

If by the time you're processing this song, it is no longer available, please let me know and I'll find an alternate way of uploading it.

Original Game: Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.

Name of Song: Bloody Tears.

Hi guys!

After a long break of deciding what to remix, we went through a bunch of songs but were never really sure of what we'd really like to do.

We went through Street Fighter, Lost Odyssey, Double Dragon and even tried another One Must Fall track amongst others.

We ended up back, once again, to one of our childhood favorites, Bloody Tears.

We've tried to remix this song countless of times, but were never really satisfied with the end result(s). We tried it again recently out of a whim, and sure enough it sounds better than all of our previous efforts on the track that ocurred before. We hope you agree on this.

We've had a lot of fun working on this, and it's great that we finally got a reasonable result out of like, 6 tries.

All in all, we hope you enjoy it! :D

Greets,

Maurice Willems & Sanjay Sampatsing.

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

http://www.zophar.net/nsf/castle~1.zip - Track 2 ("Bloody Tears")

The mixing stuck out pretty quickly. There's a slight muddiness to the entire track; the parts could be better separated. Produced a different way, this sound a lot stronger, but I'll leave a production savy J to analyze it.

The snare beat of the drums brought in at :26 didn't quite fit, IMO, but I'm always particular on that stuff.

IMO, 1:06 should have had a lot more energy and power to it given the lengthy buildup. Especially at the 1:49 section (where the rhythms reminded me of the 2:34 section from Another Soundscape's Breath of Fire IV "Endings, Beginnings and One Hell of a Trip"), I felt like the textures were on the simplistic and hollow side, with the lead synth having some a pretty generic sound. Anyway, the core of the piece is good, but the energy felt tame and needed something to boost it up.

Definitely feeling the changeup at 2:15, thought the usage of the "Bloody Tears" melody from 2:42-3:08 was obscured early on.

Chugged along fairly nicely, though hitting 4:45 it seemed like new territory wasn't really being hit at all. Nonetheless, the substantiveness of the arrangement did give it some leeway, not making me feel like the repetition was kiling it over the long haul.

I can live with this going up as is, but this could be mixed a lot better. I'd rather see it tweaked thanks to some production suggestions from other judges. Nonetheless, the adaptation to electronica worked fairly well, with some good new support writing and melodic interpretation. It's squeaking by to me, but I could certainly reconsider it.

YES (borderline)

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Pretty solid techno arrangement here. Love the beat, the high energy, and the supporting parts. The way the source is used definitely has some creativity to it, even if it stays pretty conservative. Like Larry, I think 4:45 was exactly the point where it needed a change-up. Dropping out some instruments and bringing in some new stuff could have maintained the creative flow - it was disappointing to hear it retread. That's pretty minor ultimately, as the arrangement is pretty bangin' for the first five minutes.

The mixing is a huge thing though. You guys know how to put parts together, and I think the separation is decent for most of the song. But the strings that open the song are extremely loud, almost louder than the rest of the song at its peak! Definitely bring those down, and then try cutting some room out of them cause the drums that come in at 0:26 are barely audible. Maybe bring up those drums too; you guys could stand to go back and play with the faders a little to make the sound more balanced. Use more EQ whenever stuff conflicts. Your biggest problem to me is that the song needs to rise and fall more smoothly volume-wise. Other than that, I think this one is really solid. Good luck with the rest of the vote.

NO (resubmit)

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LOOOUD!

Overcompressed in my opinion. Not just my opinion. I'm pretty sure you can't disagree with me. Go ahead. Try.

...

See? You can't do it.

I think the arrangement is pretty sweet. The instrumentation is good too. Just wish it were a bit more subtle dynamically. The strings in particular are constantly stomping on my fucking head. I think the track would be better with a major dynamic overhaul, but I think it passes the bar regardless.

YES

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Yeah, this is really compressed, no question. Even before the texture thickens up, the strings alone sound limited - not smooth at all. Turn them down a bit, go easier on the compression, and most importantly, use EQ more. You should be rolling off the lows of almost everything except the bass, but even the bass has too much low-end energy. Cutting down on all that stuff will actually make the bass feel tighter and more effective, plus you won't have to worry about constantly hitting 0.0db and causing that overcompressed sound. Some of the melodic elements, like the guitar sound in the break halfway through, are also mixed too low, as the "pad" type sounds (eg. strings) tend to be too loud. The production needs to be cleaner, IMO - shouldn't be more than 10-15 mins of rebalancing and making some EQ cuts here and there.

Also on the production end, some of the heavily detuned saw leads seemed a little too thin (too much high end) and centered - I feel like a wider sound would work better, with somewhat attenuated highs. Maybe some filter or PWM action too, to keep the interest on the sustained notes. As is, the trance lead doesn't have any motion to it. Also, the drums are pretty nice, with a lot of fills, but it would have been good to hear some additional layers by the end. Tambourine, another breakbeat, maybe some kind of ethnic thing. Alternatively, you could just switch it out with another loop more often. Considering the length of the mix, as good as the drums are, they do feel a little repetitive. You could also do more 'glitching' on the percussion. I heard you do it at least once in the mix; some kind of stuttering effect. Throw in some effect automation with reverses/panning and you've now made your drums even better with minimal effort.

The arrangement and overall approach is very cool. This is my kind of mix. You've got creative variations and great use of original material that actually blends with the source.

As it is, the most pressing issue is the unbalanced production. As is, I can't pass the remix in its current state. The other things I suggested would also help, but aren't as crucial. Please resub.

NO, resubmit

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Great mix, just a couple issues.

Kick drum and bassline clash at some points making the mix sound muddy, particularly at 4.31. Perhaps rolling off the lowest frequencies of the kick and the highest frequencies of the bassline will help to give each it's own space.

This mix is definitely overcompressed - this is especially noticable at 2.16, when the drums fall away for the breakdown and the pads, strings and guitar suddenly come in really loud. This needs some work in terms of the compression and balancing of volume levels.

The arrangement and production is very good overall, and the level of energy is great. Just a few tweaks and this will be a pass. Please resubmit, I would really like to see this on the site.

NO (Good candidate for resubmission)

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*GASP*

My first vote in what feels like months.

Well, my first impulse is that this has way too much compression/maximization going on, and to my pleasure, I'm not the only one who noticed (not saying I didn't or wouldn't expect any of the other J's to pick up on it, but after being so inert for so long, it feels good to know that I'm still thinking like my fellow crew.)

Over-compression noted, it wasn't THAT bad. It muffled the lead synth/guitar a bit, but didn't throw the earth's axis off tilt or anything. This is a really great "I'm-gonna-throw-my-junk-up-in-your-face-and-you're-gonna-like-it" arrangement. Lots of energy, and even if at 6 1/2 minutes long it seemed to drag on just a hair, it never lost intensity, and I find that admirable. I didn't really look at the NO votes here, all I'm going to say is that it's a great arrangement of a popluar track, and it's produced cleanly enough (though not flawless) to be passable.

YES

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TOO MUCH KOMPRESSOR COMRADE!! D:

Yeah this whole mix has a really smushed sound to it and the lead eventually gets lost inside the soundscape, particularly starting around 1:45. I think you'd be better served scaling that back and allowing the instruments to balance a little more naturally.

Despite all that, I think this is a pretty awesome track with some wicked phat beats. Yes, I said wicked phat. Pretty epic.

EDIT: I initially had a "NO, resub" here, but I think that this mix is really strong in terms of arrangement and composition, so I'm going to just say Conditional YES

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Cheesy ass intro, in a good way.

Production is a problem. Everything sounds buried, like you got a filter on everything taking out your hi ends. Over compression doesn't help it either. Kick doesn't cut through as it should, the snare is probably the only thing that does. I think what we really need to be doing is calming down the compressor, and doing some EQ cuts instead to make room. The leads are also very quiet, they should be the focus so bring them up.

The arrangement in general is great. Huge energy. Well adapted to the style, crazy bass lines, nice little string interludes, its all good. My mind just exploded from the awesomeness of the arrangement at 3:51 til 4:44, but now I want to hear it combined with some awesome mixing. I don't think the mixing is a big enough issue to need a resub, but an hours tweaking would really bring this to life imo. Because you're gonna be doing some work on it anyway for DS's conditional vote or a resub, I'm gonna go conditional aswell.

YES Conditional; Less compression, work on the EQ

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I wholeheartedly agree about the compressor issue. Remove it and balance the levels first, THEN think about compressing/limiting. Also there's these strange crackling artifacts on the bassline 3:11-3:21 and 5:55 onwards. Sounds like digital distortion or something.. I talked to Fishy about this and he said you could try soloing the individual tracks and bypass the processing until you find the error in the signal chain. Could even be something with the synth patch. Otherwise it might be the enconding.

The mix overall is very loud and muddy especially when it feels like every instrument wants to own the entire frequency range EXCEPT the lead melody. Put that lead in the front and tone down some of the obvious background stuff like the pads and saw sounds. Also turn down the bass on some instruments, very cluttered there. Not everything has to be in the middle either, distribute instruments across the stereo image to make it less cluttered.

The arrangement is tops though. Awesome breaks, nice energy, great melodic content and truly an expansion of the source. A minor thing I was kind of put off by is the "tear"-sound. To me it sounded like some skipping sound in the mix, I would prefer a better sample or to leave it out entirely. Not going to affect my vote though.

Still, I feel this one really needs another go at the production stage before I want to let it on the site. First, sort out the issue with the crackling. Then start mixing without effects, set the levels right (not everything has to be up front) and then work with dynamic processing without over-compressing. Then for the love of god, resubmit! I really want this on OCR.

NO (Please Resubmit)

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not much to add here that hasn't already been pointed out so i suppose i'm being counted upon here more for my vote than bringing any new observation to the table as the table has already been set: the track is KOMPRESSED into a chef boyardee can, has a lot of energy as a whole though lacks energy in some of its smaller parts on their own, is arranged very nicely with a great balance of original and source material, gets a bit muddy in the lower end from time to time when bassline and kick collide, and all in all just needs a little EQ tweaking and a little less compression to make it a winner.

YES cond.

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Arrangement's fairly decent. There isn't really 6:29 of material in the mix, so by about four minutes in or so I'm waiting for something really new and exciting or the big finish, but it keeps going on for a while longer, hitting some rehash at 4:44.

I've got more of a problem with the production, which pretty much everyone has already nailed. The whole thing kind of sounds like it's in a fog because nothing is really crisp or clear. The compression is also fairly problematic. I think with the production and slight drag to the arrangement at the end, there's too much holding this back to pass it.

Also, this doesn't really fit in anywhere else but I really love the section from 2:42 to 3:08.

NO (resubmit)

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After hitting DigiE with the conditional YES thread comments, Maurice (Nemesis) & Sanjay (Genesis) really went the extra mile in revising this, so many thanks to them! Here's a summary of what they revised and improved:

We've been more than happy to revise a few things for you guys as you had some awesome tips that really helped brought the piece forward even more!

For the revised version, these things have been changed and/or added:

* Intro has been overhauled.

* Compression has been toned down a lot.

* Cluttered instruments have either been completely removed or toned down significantly.

* Drums have been amplified.

* Certain sections have been completely overhauled.

* Clarity has been boosted.

* Large amount of additions made.

** On the comments of 4:44 and beyond hitting repetition; we completely agreed and tossed in a big surprise for you guys here after the 5:20 mark.

I hope you guys enjoy this mix to the point of it being ready for submission.

If there's anything else you'd like to see changed, added, revised let us know! We're always more than happy to get help for our work to be the best it can be. And with help of such talented individuals such as yourselves, it's made a lot easier!

Enjoy, and most of all; dance! :P

- M & S.

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