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Super Mario Land - Underground theme WIP


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Here's something I made and actually submitted, and later realized that there was no way it was going to be accepted. I've decided to call it a work-in-progress now.

Download: http://stuffindustries.googlepages.com/distantnightmare.mp3

I, personally, can see several problems with it right away:

-It's far too repetitive. There's a "background" loop that repeats through the entire song. I really need to rework that whole tune.

-It's somewhat abrasive. I think it sounds good, but I could easily see it getting annoying.

-There's too much MIDI. The only MIDI samples are the drums, but that's still too much.

Wow, I just critiqued my own music. That's really the main complaints I see coming up, but who knows? There could easily be more. What I really need is advice. As a fairly new composer, I am a bit unfamiliar with what resources are available, preferably for free. The main thing I need are quality samples. I've taken a look about the forum, and everything seems to be both paid and expensive. That aside, however, tips on better composition (or anything, really) would be great. I'm excited to see what this community has to say, and even more so to finish this mix and hopefully have the judges accept it.

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Due to the midi-ness of it all, it sounds like an actual SNES song. But I'm sure that wasn't what you were aiming for. The melody is what I really like about this theme and it's not really coming through here. There's absolutely no bassline in this remix. This, obviously, needs to be fixed. There's also no reverb on anything (again, midi-ness).

Old wip of mine: http://home.student.uu.se/dahe9761/wip/Phytre Pighlet - Tyrol Pyramid - WiP 1.mp3

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Not bad for a beginner dude not at all, but yeah you gotta do something about those drums.

Definatly need some reverb on that sitar and stuff, I use reverb allot more now as allot of people pointed out it does make allot of stuff sound better.

The midi guitar noise i hate it everytime i hear it :P its like an insult to real guitar :P Although I liked the dropping noise before 55 but when it comes in i didnt like it at all.


P.s. haha!! dafydd I checked out yours and i was like "what the hell is this?" its so cheesy but i was digging it! Then when it kicked in i was like "wtf this is awsome" and I loved the entire thing! The build up is perfect, you need to bring that back dude :P

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Hey, I remember this source. Wasn't expecting that.

Noisy, messy, midi...y. You'd do well to make some instrument replacement "remixes", just to learn to mix and process tracks, get the most out of bad samples, etc. And google is your friend, there's loads of free resources out there. Here's a few soundfonts you could start with.

You're right about your own crits. Put it in a playlist with some recent ocremixes, and you should be noticing a lot of problems with it.


Dafydd, you should bring that mix back, fix it up and sub it. Would be lolsome to have something that blend styles like those. :D Thanks for the review on my posted remix, btw.

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Thanks for the soundfont link. I've seen that one around before, but the problem is, I haven't a clue how to use soundfonts. Are they compatible with OpenMPT?

Now, on to some other stuff...

The midi guitar noise i hate it everytime i hear it

Sorry 'bout that, I need a better guitar sample. (I took a MIDI guitar sample and ran it through an amp VST.) Any clue where I can find one?

There's absolutely no bassline in this remix. This, obviously, needs to be fixed. There's also no reverb on anything.

Thanks a ton for pointing this out. Now that I think about it, I haven't put any bass in any of my songs. I'll have to work on that. Also, about the reverb, is that extremely important? I mean, it's no problem if it is, but I've never really noticed it in other songs. I'm sure I'd be able to pick it out if I was looking for it, though.

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The thing about reverb is that it normally shouldn't be noticed. It just makes stuff sound more natural.

Anyway, OpenMPT seems to be a tracker. You should PM OverCoat or some other tracker user. As for soundfonts, some VSTs might be able to help you there. Might be something in the guides/tutorials on the site too.

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Also, about the reverb, is that extremely important? I mean, it's no problem if it is, but I've never really noticed it in other songs. I'm sure I'd be able to pick it out if I was looking for it, though.

Rozovian explained this well, but I'd still like to warn you about reverb. What usually happens when someone is new to making music is they don't even know what reverb is. When they find out, they overuse it something terrible. After some time, they will have learned to use it with moderation.

This example actually has too much reverb in my opinion: http://www.zirconstudios.com/Reverb%20Example%203.mp3

And I stole it from Zircon's remixing tips compendium. It's a little technical, but listening to his examples in part 4 certainly help make you understand what the various effects are all about. Check it out! http://www.ocremix.org/info/Zircon%27s_ReMixing_Tips_Compendium/Part_4:_Effects_Processing#Reverb

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Thanks for that link, it should be really helpful. Also, those soundfonts will be compatible. I've found a plugin called "sfz". (Apparently it's pretty well-known around here, so I would imagine you know about it already.) I'll have an updated song tonight possibly!

It does need to be longer though.

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Sorry 'bout the double post, but Distant Nightmare v0.2 has been completed!

I god rid of MIDI entirely, using some soundfonts from DarkeSword's site and HammerSound. I think I'm addicted now. I also added reverb on nearly everything and changed up the sitar a bit. Finally, I completely revamped the panning; it was absolute crap before. I had done it by channel, not by instrument.

Of course, it's still not long enough, but I'll be working on another 30 seconds or so later tonight. In other news, I still don't completely like the guitar, and the drums need more variety, but what I have will do for the time being.

Download link: http://willhostforfood.com/dl.php?fileid=44362

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Sounds much better. Drums are a little dull, especially the snare which sounds more like a beanbag than a drum. Needs more punch. Drum rhythm could be a little more varied, too. Longer loop, more fills, and some variation. And use a hihat, shaker, or something to cover the higher range, it'll give the track more clarity.

Watch the delays on your lead, they overlapped at the end, didn't sound good. The track is also pretty repetitive. Use the non-standard key sig on some original sections, or rewrite the source for some repetitions to work with another chord progression. You've already got some nice variations in this, the way the instruments complement each other.

Doing fine, keep at it.

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Those sitars could use a lot more reverb. I'm liking the intro but it's kinda disappointing when it doesn't turn into something fleshier. Those drums are really cool in the intro but once the kick come in it's just terrible. The drums are too weak. The lead is horrible even though the reverb certainly helps. It sounds more like a harmonica or muted trumpet than a distorted guitar though.

One thing I don't understand is why you're leaving out the excellent bassline from the original (the one I used in my wip). I know you're supposed to rearrange things, but if you take away the "guitar", no one would be able to hear this is a remix of the underground theme from sml.

I don't wanna bring you down but this needs a lot of work before you can consider resubmitting it. I understand it's hard to make things sound good using a mod tracker but it certainly is possible. For starters, you should look for better drum samples.

Listen to how this sounds with the bassline and a drumloop slapped on top. The last few seconds of the click are untouched, just to show you the difference.


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Alright, so a checklist of things to fix:

-Better samples, especially drums and guitar. Yeah, the new sample was nearly identical to the old one.

-More variety in the drums and synth. Also, I'll fix that weird overlap at the end. Drums, however, are definitely not my stongpoint. That'll take a while.

-Use the bassline from the source. Wow, I can't believe I didn't think to use that. I'll definitely fit it in. Thanks for bringing it up!


Use the non-standard key sig on some original sections,

Umm, I have no idea what this means. Might you put it in simpler terms?

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Read this and these, especially the last two scales. Hm, I'm realizing I've been misusing the term key signature.

Basically, instead of cdefgabc, the egyptian-sounding writing is more like cc#efg#abc. Not sure what key your track is in, so the actual notes are probably different. This is essentially about the gaps between the notes used, another way of saying it would be that it's about the notes that are _not_ used.

I want you to write some source-like original or semi-original sections in the same style - using the same notes. The melody can, and should, be different, you can change the chords and bass and everything, but use the same notes, the same pitches.

You know, I might just as well say it as simple as it gets, no confusion: write something original that sounds like it's part of the source.

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I agree with all of your critiques. That said, I really, really, really like where the melody is going to go in the future. Please continue working on this and bring it up to OCR quality.

(edit 3: So here, I'm trying to explain the music theory in simple terms so your head doesn't explode from all the info at once like you'll get on Wikipedia..)

If you want to change the melody up, study the key that it's in (Rozovian mentioned this), and just crawl up and down that scale and use those notes. You'll say to yourself "Shit dude that sounds pretty good!", and occasionally you'll say "Okay, that combination doesn't work so well." I'm going to edit this post and figure out what key the source is in.

edit: Okay, it's in the Spanish-Phrygian mode in the key of G. That's G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb, F#, G. Play those notes in succession, you'll see that it sounds similar to the source tune. You'll also notice that all of the notes in the source fall within this scale. So crawl up and down those notes, and be sure to really milk that augmented interval between Eb and F#, and resolve to G often. It's in the key of G, so in this case G is called the tonic. When you play towards the tonic, your piece will feel powerful and/or sufficiently ended. That augmented interval is what makes it sound eastern, along with the half-step between G and Ab. It's amazing how subtle differences in the scale can create such a vastly different mood.

Use all of these as guidelines. Feel free to move to a different scale, or vary this scale however much you want. You use the technical stuff as a guideline, and you use your ear to judge.

edit 2: yeah I realize I haven't ever submitted a mix here. At this point, after completing my first music theory class, it's just a matter of money and good software before I really try my hand at it.

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