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What are characteristics of a good song to remix?


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Or is any song do-able?

I'm asking because when I look around for songs I think I'd enjoy remixing I always find myself bookmarking ambient-esque tracks. Is it bad to try and get a remix accepted that has no prominent lead or does that just provide opportunity to make up your own lead work to meet the 50% source, 50% original general rule?

If this has been asked before, I'm sorry :(

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Or is any song do-able?

I'm asking because when I look around for songs I think I'd enjoy remixing I always find myself bookmarking ambient-esque tracks. Is it bad to try and get a remix accepted that has no prominent lead or does that just provide opportunity to make up your own lead work to meet the 50% source, 50% original general rule?

Almost any song is doable, but some require a lot more work to dig up the essence of a source. There's the occasional except which is more sound design/ambience than music but for most part any song will do. That doesn't mean it's easy. The underground bgm from Super Mario Bros is short and a bit irregular, so it's gonna take some serious reworking to get it on the site.

I'd say it's all about how accessible the melodies are. Brinstar Red Soil from Super Metroid is an easy source, it has several easily accessible melodies. Get the chiptune for the game, it's got examples of both easily remixes sources and ambient stuff you can't really do much with.

(and of course, if it wasn't written for the game, it's not a valid source for ocremix - but fans of the game can of course still enjoy it, so don't let that stop you)

Also, there is no 50% rule, that's just a minimum requirement that Liontamer likes to go by when he judges. There certainly is no rule for there to be 50% original material in a remix here. OCR isn't about original material mixed with vgm, it's about interpreting vgm. Sometimes you need original stuff for that. Most of the time you can do it by adapting the melodies to new rhythms, modes, or chords, and using them in new creative ways (like using an expressive bassline for lead or something).

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Almost any song is doable, but some require a lot more work to dig up the essence of a source. There's the occasional except which is more sound design/ambience than music but for most part any song will do. That doesn't mean it's easy. The underground bgm from Super Mario Bros is short and a bit irregular, so it's gonna take some serious reworking to get it on the site.

I'd say it's all about how accessible the melodies are. Brinstar Red Soil from Super Metroid is an easy source, it has several easily accessible melodies. Get the chiptune for the game, it's got examples of both easily remixes sources and ambient stuff you can't really do much with.

(and of course, if it wasn't written for the game, it's not a valid source for ocremix - but fans of the game can of course still enjoy it, so don't let that stop you)

Also, there is no 50% rule, that's just a minimum requirement that Liontamer likes to go by when he judges. There certainly is no rule for there to be 50% original material in a remix here. OCR isn't about original material mixed with vgm, it's about interpreting vgm. Sometimes you need original stuff for that. Most of the time you can do it by adapting the melodies to new rhythms, modes, or chords, and using them in new creative ways (like using an expressive bassline for lead or something).

OK, that was helpful but also brought up some more questions for me.. the big roadblock for me is that I'm not quite 'getting' the idea of re-interpretation. Today I listened to Guifrog's "Shiva Nataraja", and I really enjoyed it, but it seemed very close to the original to me. The only considerable differences to my ears were the samples and the Shiva dancing section. So if I would have heard that in WIP, my first thought would be 'oh, they're gonna tell him that's too close to the source.' Obviously, I'm wrong because it was posted, and any complaints were production-related, not about source usage. So the nagging question is this: what about re-interpretation am I not understanding?

Now.. if I may backtrack to the original question as well.. maybe it would be easier if I linked you guys to just one of the songs that I like but has no melody to play with at all. My guess before I get an answer is that this would NOT be ideal for a remix:

I'm sorry I'm getting all naggy about this. It's just hard for me to work toward any goal without fully grasping all aspects of what it takes to achieve that goal. I've posted here a couple 'songs' and got all the technical feedback I could ever want. Even though I know they were trainwrecks in terms of production, I felt OK because I knew what I was doing wrong technically but I still couldn't grasp my mind around what I did wrong in terms of re-interpretation.

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The vgm you linked to has some distinct rhythms that could be used (the pitch of the noise and other sound design bits could be treated as timbre or even a melody, same with the howling wind-like sounds), then there's the 1:25 6-note melody and the bassline that follows (especially the second iteration, with some additional sounds). Not a good source, but it can be done. Because the useable elements are so simple, it might actually be a good source to work with, but you'd have to get the elements out of it first.

A problem newbs often have is that they want to start by recreating the source. Maybe in a new genre, new style, but they still want to stick to the original arrangement. Not that it can't be remixed conservatively and still be creatively interpreted, but it can get in the way. One of my approaches, taking the bits and pieces of the source and stitching them back together, might not be the best approach to all sources (or for all remixers for that matter) but sometimes it works. By stitching I mean I took a melody or rhythm from source, put it somewhere, and played with it until it did something I wanted.

Beyond Velocity was done by stitching source bits together. Lacrima was built on a three-note arpeggio based on the four note ostinato in the original. Eye of the Storm was partly built on putting the third note on the beat instead of the first (as in the source), also it's adapted to 4/4. It's probably the best example of how I've stitched together a song out of a source. No Escape, No Hurry started off (original intro aside) like the source but then turned into a triplet beat with source-based melodies on top. Interpretation is about taking the source and doing something new with it. Sometimes it's just a new instrument, sometimes it's a completely new thing. You should listen to remixes from games you know well, think about what they do different than the original.

My other mixes have been more conservative, but still done different. Eat Your Own Dust was built on the bassline and a shaker rhythm. Braincooler was built on the beat. Aurora Borealis was built on the staccato strings and ostinatos of the source, and given more flavor by the DnB-ish drums. These are all rhythm-based tracks that I could just play with the source on top of. No Escape, No Hurry is an even better example of that, where I actually just played some source-like things on top of the rhythms I had made.

There's some thoughts as to how I've made my remixes. The posted ones anyway. Hope they shed some light on these mysterious "interpretation" and "arrangement" things. :P

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OK, yeah. The clouds are starting to part and the lights slipping through now.

I listened to the sources and mixes side by side for each example. You seem very consistent with the mood of your mixes... you can make things catchy without driving the tempo up the wall or distorting the samples, which is something I wasn't too familiar with about 10 minutes ago. I feel like I know you a little better now... you are famous for your egg shakers, no? ;) I also noticed you like to give your tracks intimidating names despite your calmer style.. not a criticism at all, just an observation of a nifty little quirk.

I don't really know if I'd like to make such chill tracks myself, but the idea was to figure out the relationship between sources and remixes and that's been done. Thanks, Rozo!

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No prob. Would be cool to see what approaches other posted remixers have used and recommend, and how they built their tracks.

My names intimidating? Braincooler is a chill name, Lacrima means tear (as in crying, not as in tearing stuff apart) in Latin, the eye of the storm is the calm middle of it, No Escape No Hurry means you can take your time, Aurora Borealis is the northern lights. Intimidating? Really? :P

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Well, 'Beyond Velocity' is pretty powerful to me as well as 'Eat Your Own Dust'. Actually, so is 'Eye of the Storm' because I'm pretty sure I've heard a hardcore dance track named similarly. The others not so much, I guess.

Just a matter of perspective, I s'pose.

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