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OCRA-0017 - Donkey Kong Country 2: Serious Monkey Business


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Last I'll say on the subject of vocals, because zyk0 wants to know.

The way the words are said make me laugh, because to me it sounds kinda cheesy. I love the song itself, but the way the lyrics are sung just seems cheesy to me, and I love it. The words themselves aren't cheesy or funny at all.

And I realized that after posting and re-listening, Nicole. Still, beautifully done album!

Edited by Mirby
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The way the words are said make me laugh, because to me it sounds kinda cheesy. I love the song itself, but the way the lyrics are sung just seems cheesy to me

If you ask me, zyk0's voice in The Backwards Room is about as cheesy as OA's voice in Party's Over Here is badass. :razz:

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Just some quick thoughts on the tracks that hit me strongest on my first listen through the album. Disclaimer: I tend to be a fairly distracted listener of music, generally doing 3 other things at the same time, so if some of these are a bit general, or even just wrong, that's probably why. Also, if I don't mention a track, it wasn't necessarily because I didn't enjoy it as much, I was probably just focused more on what I was doing during it. On the whole I thought the quality bar on this album was really high. Usually on these massive collabs there's a track or three that stands out to me negatively in terms of production quality or just a failed central idea, but nothing here really hit me that way. Awesome collection, and much appreciation to everyone involved.

djp's tracks: Frankly, I have a nostalgic reaction to everything djp does that's quite similar to what I feel towards the original tracks themselves. His sound was what I originally got used to from this site, and all his tracks bear that familiar sonic signature. Particularly enjoyed the low-key (that's... probably not quite the right description) intro to sturm und kong.

Rare Respite: Once the meat of the mix was reached, I really loved the combination here of the light and playful feel much of the accompaniment had with the more melancholy and peaceful main melodic line. Just a really nice mood evoked by this track, very relaxing.

Old School: This track just had a really massive feel to it that I liked, most likely brought about by the combination of the really strong bass line and the slow pace.

Token Up: Have to wait and see the results of repeated exposure, but at the moment I feel like this is probably going to wind up being my favorite track from the album. I absolutely love the combination of things being fairly faithfully reproduced from the source tune with the various original guitar/synth bits thrown on top. Very nostalgic, and it just has a fantastic feel to it. The use of the many rather sharp transitions from the source kept what was an otherwise somewhat meandering track constantly interesting.

A New Place: Most of the time if I have an issue with a vocal track, it's because almost all of the arrangement work is done on the instrumental side of things, and then the vocal just feels tacked on - as an example, perhaps just duplicating a main melodic line already present in the underpinnings. This tends to leave me with the feeling that the vocals are really just a distraction, and I'd be getting more out of the mix if they were removed. From the volume of complaints on the subject, I suppose I'm not alone in occasionally feeling that way... but it was a complete non-issue here. This track was very clearly built as a vocal arrangement, with the human "instruments" carrying the main part while present and the rest of the track supporting them. Further making this track stand out was just how well mixed the vocals were with the rest of the track, it just had a very polished and professional feel that's frequently lacking. Fantastic job here. (Yeah, btw, I liked the song too :P)

Paleolithic Park: This was one of my least favorite source tunes from the game, dominated by a repetitive and verging on just downright unpleasant rhythm section, and featuring a short melodic figure that really didn't seem to go anywhere to me. Problem solved, eh? Fantastic cinematic feel to this, I found myself day dreaming some sort of indiana jones-esque action sequence while listening. Great production, and the many additions to the central melody really fleshed it out for me.

Backwards Room: No idea whatsoever how you got the idea for this out of the source tune, but I'm extremely glad you did. Love the dark, almost desperate, feel that this track has, put me in mind of Bauhaus style gothic rock. Plus I'm pretty much a sucker for anything that combines heavier rock/metal elements with the electronic.

Dance of the Zinger: This is just so cliché sounding, and so obvious from the source... but just so well done, and so damn fun, that I can't help but love it. Massive trance sound, massive nostalgic melody, 5 minute long constant build... it's great.

Dead Raggening: First of all, disclaimer: Mazedude's my favorite mixer on the site, by a fairly wide margin. I've absolutely loved pretty much everything he's put out, and his classic deconstruction of a familiar tune is something I always look forward to. As such, seeing his name show up late in the tracklist it was a pretty obvious song to look forward to as a likely standout for me. And... at first I was a bit disappointed. The atmospheric and low-key nature of the track just wasn't going to be able to live up to my hopes. Frankly though, given the simple and repetitive nature of the source, there really wasn't much chance of that to begin with. Really enjoyed the slow build this had, right up to the Requiem for a Dream-esque repeating synth line at the end. Tight, very tense mood, and it gets high marks as something that would actually fit into a game well itself.

High Seas: Not sure what specifically I like about this so much... it just _feels_ like a video game tune, despite not really recalling the source for me. Just something here that I really enjoyed, made me stop what I was doing and pay attention.

Pickin' Out The Fleas: Great late 80's hard rock/metal feel to this, a nice guns n' roses-like base with classic guitar god wankery over top. Fantastic all the way through.

Castle Crescendo: Another one that made me sort of sit up and take notice. The kind of industrial sounding rhythm parts combined with the string and synth leads really worked well for me.

Monkeys Disarm Their Kremlings: As someone who actually listens and enjoys a fair amount of the more extreme side of modern metal, I figured I should comment on this. First, while I wouldn't say Brandon's vocals stand out, they are quite acceptable, and that alone is quite an accomplishment in this genre. There're really only a handful of truly exceptional death vocalists, as despite the rather understandable "wtf is that noise" reaction many have, it's an extremely difficult thing to do. Brandon's vocals were clear and understandable, which puts him a leg up even on quite a few of the people who spend much of their lives traveling around touring this style of music... and it was very important, because the lyrics to this song are fantastic and hilarious. Not sure about the recorder finish, but since the lyrics themselves had already killed off any seriousness the track might have had, it worked ok.

Re-Skewed: There's something about having the original composer work on, or even just acknowledge, a project like this that just lends an air of legitimacy to the site. It probably shouldn't be necessary, the great music here stands up on its own merits, but it's still a nice bonus. Add in the fact that this really was a solid musical contribution, and you've got a truly wonderful conclusion to an already great album.

All in all, a fantastic album, and thanks so much to the many people that gave their time to make it happen.

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Hmm. Do most vocalists in the game arrangement community know other languages? There aren't all that many vocalists to begin with. That may be TOO much of a limitation. :lol:

Nah, the vgm community is pretty international. Dunno how it is in the US, but outside the english-speaking countries, it's not a problem. I recruited a friend of mine to sing for a remix, he could easily cover Swedish, Finnish, and German, plus probably do a passable Norwegian and maybe Estonian. Other languages vgm fans from the nordic countries might know would be French, Russian, and a couple of middle east languages. And Iceleandic. And Danish, if it's really a language. :D

And that's just the northernmost of Europe. ;)

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Clearly there's a nerve on subject of vocals. I was not attempting to be racist (please), and for the most part I actually like the vocal tracks. That doesn't mean we can't think about them critically. You've got to keep in mind that I am not criticizing you personally; rather I am just looking at the track itself.

I am finding the complaints over my choice of language to be bordering on racism. OCR is a diverse community with listeners and remixers from all over the world. If a remixer's primary or only language wasn't English, I don't think this should prevent them from writing lyrics and singing on a remix. Nor should we alienate non-English-speaking remix fans by only allowing vocal remixes in English.

I'm not saying you can't do them; you can do whatever you want. They just didn't work for me as a listener. It was a risky choice creatively and sometimes people react differently to risky choices. My reaction was "WTF?" I just couldn't get into the lyrics. Maybe someone else likes them; good for them. That's not a slam against you (as I've never even talked to you before this). Since I don't speak Mandarin, my first reaction was that it was gibberish. Even then, I just found them distracting to the overall mix. If you feel that singing in a foreign language is the best way to express yourself, then power to you, but I wouldn't expect everyone to react to it positively. Also, if I offended you, then I apologize, as it was not my intent; I was just describing how the lyrics came across to me.

Um, no, the source is used throughout the entire song. The first and second verses are based on the minor key melody of the original. The break in "A New Place" has the same bass progression as the transition in the source (the part with the delayed piano).

When I say the main backbeat, I'm referring to the rhythm synthesizer present in the beginning of the original (which doesn't come in until later). Yes, obviously the main melody is there, but there's more to the track than that.

It is the level clear jingle; but its the special one that plays when Diddy breaks the barrel at the end of the stage, not at the end of the game like you have insinuated. It can play at the end of EVERY level if you choose to. >_>

Dude, all I was saying is that I got what you did with the end of the track and I liked it. I'm not saying it was end of the game; not sure where you got that from. I was giving you praise. I LIKE YOUR TRACK. You did good. :)

Gibberish? Really? I think quite a few people would like to talk to you since you just called their language gibberish. Just because you can't understand it doesn't make it gibberish. I can't understand it, but they're still beautiful. I view them as more of an instrument since I can't understand them, and that makes it even better. And because you can't understand them makes them illegitimate? Really? Show me the flowchart to explain your point, because to me and many MANY others I think your claim makes no sense.

I just didn't like it; it didn't click with me and if I was doing the track, I probably wouldn't have gone that way. Such is life. On its use as an instrument, I didn't feel that it added much.

But the run run run is funny...

I generally liked the lyrics/singing on that track. I just felt it needed a little tightening. My qualms with that track have very little to do with lyrics, and I overall enjoy it.

The recorder makes it sound like "It's over... wait what's this! DRAMATIC!". And the lyrics describe K. Rool's thoughts before and during that battle on his airship. They're well written too! Even though Nekofrog wrote them a few years back. If you have any problem with those, tell him. You'll have to wait for a response though!

I liked the song and the recorder, not sure why you think I didn't. I also think you missed where I called it the best lyrical track. It's one of THE best tracks on the album, lyrics or not. I clearly said I liked the lyrics. Doesn't mean, again, that we can't think critically about them and what they mean and how they could be improved.

Well most of what you said was "Vocals are terrible!" sooo... Your point is moot. I know all this is your opinion, but you basically said you hate the lyrics in all these tracks.

This is not what I said, the only track's vocals that I didn't actually like were Us Monkeys Together. That's fine; I just won't listen to the track. If somebody else really digs the Mandarin? Great for them. Go hog wild. I did not say "Vocals are terrible." So by not universally praising the vocal tracks, I am a vocal hater? C'mon. This is what I was talking about earlier; if we can't discuss the merits of the tracks without people taking it personally or going the wrong way with it, then I'm not sure where the discussion can really go.

The project just came out after a very long wait, obviously people are psyched about it, but in these post-release threads it seems that any sort of criticism seems to be dogpiled on and run out of the thread. Please don't take mine (or others') criticisms as personal attacks. They are just opinions; you are free to do with them as you wish. But before dismissing others' criticism (or taking it the wrong way), at least consider what they have to say.

Edited by kefkafloyd
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...before dismissing others' criticism (or taking it the wrong way), at least consider what they have to say.

Just wanted to point out that since the "vocals" thing is one of the oldest and dumbest arguments we've had in this community, it's not as if that HASN'T been considered.

Mandarin lyrics are only "risky" to non-Mandarin speakers who don't like what they don't expect. It's up to the listener to decide how successful it was, but if someone argues that it's an inherently bad idea, then we've got a problem. I worry about the diversity of our sound being discouraged from some of these comments; the Fat Man starts to look like one of only five people who "get" what we do here.

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Honestly, when it comes to music with vocals, I prefer vocals in a language I can't understand. Actual meaning in the vocals is distracting; when I have no idea what the singer is actually saying, it's much easier to simply enjoy the sound of the voice itself, the variance in tone and expression which is unmatched by any other instrument.

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I don't like it = subjective, well done you expressed your opinion without offending anyone

IT IS BAD = objective, this probably isn't what you actually meant to say unless you are incredibly presumptuous about your ability to state facts about a perceptive art, please try again

Thank you for voicing something I have been trying to voice for a million-bajillion years

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Troubleshooting, please!

Some of the FLAC files decoded as 24-bit WAVs* which, when burned to CD, come out as static. (I used EAC to burn so that I could make my own cue sheet with CD-Text.) If I open them in Audacity and export them as 16-bit WAVs, will they come out at optimal CD quality, or should some other software be used for dithering?

Or, assuming that others are having this problem too, can we get fixed FLACs that decode to 16 bit WAVs? (Unless it's just a glitch on my machine.)

*I wonder if these are actually higher-quality versions, or just blown-up file sizes.

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I am angry because I didn't like something you did

I am angry because someone doesn't like something I did

Where is Yoda he has something to say about fear and hate and suffering




Edited by Monobrow
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