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F-Zero - Sand Ocean Remix


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After the last remix I subbed getting turned down for not deviating enough from the original (Ref:

) I've been anxious to work on not making the same mistake with my next 'big remixing project'.

This is something I've been working on for the past week to that end so far, and I invite brutal honesty upon my work for growth purposes, if nothing else. Certainly I'm focusing on the composition as opposed to the production in this instance.

Thanks for any time spent deliberating

Original Version :

Remix : http://soundcloud.com/mojohamster/dune-sea

*updated 02/03/2011

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This is a song I haven't heard in a while. You might want to place a link to the source for us so we know exactly what we are listening to. Fortunately, I have the original chiptune to check it against.

The Bad:

You've got a ton of compression on this track. Just looking at the waveform of the song tells me the soundscape is cramped and doesn't have anywhere to go. This leads to pumping and different parts of the song fighting for space.

The reverb on the drums is too roomy. It sounds like the drum kit is set up in a hallway and I'm listening from 40 feet away. That's the most evident, but I think the whole song could use a step down in reverb. You don't want it totally dry, but I'd slash that reverb. It will help with how squished the soundscape is too.

The little breakdown section at 1:25-1:37 is a nice change up, but then we revert to the exact same thing as before. This section has potential. All the parts come back in immediately. Surprise us; write something to stand out in the song here, or extend the breakdown with a sick drum beat or do a funky bassline.

I feel like the melody is a little buried in the mix due to two reasons: First, the electric keys you have playing the rhythmic chords/countermelody are too loud when the melody comes in. Second, the lead instrument is rather flat in sound. You'll want to invest in a new sample, or use some effects and EQing to beef this one up. It's especially buried when all of the instruments are playing at the end of the breakdown through the end of the song.

The Good:

This is quite a different style than the source, and it has a much more open and ambient feel to it like we're riding through a sunny countryside or urban metropolis rather than on a gritty, futuristic racetrack.

You've preserved the source well, especially in the melody. Like I said earlier, my only real qualm with it is that the instrument playing it is flat and sterile.

That breakdown at 1:25 is a refreshing break. I'd strongly encourage you to take some time and creativity in extending this. Write an original part here or sequence a sick drum breakdown or do a chiptune throwback to the 16-bit days of Nintendo. Throw us listeners a curveball that will be fresh to our ears.

Other Thoughts:

There's definitely potential here, but there are some production issues (overcompression, too much reverb, volume levels) and I think you could do well from a healthy dose of original composition in the breakdown section. On the other hand, it's a fresh take on a good old tune from F-Zero. I would definitely keep refining this.

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Thanks Rev, I appreciate the time you took to to consider my work.

I tend to agree with your comments on production. In many ways the production ends up the way it has because I'm mostly trying to bury the terrible sound library I have to work with.

The lead brass is buried almost out of shame I think. Although I also had problems with it since depending on the octave, it seems to get much louder.

The compression in some places is just a lazy device I'm using while trying to address my issues with composition. I found a pretty cool free VST kit but the crash cymbals only really splash at max velocity so I just lazily compressed it to reign in the variance in volumes.

First thing I'm gonna work on next is work on is the breakdown like you mentioned.

I say the word lazy in there btw, but it's not quite as simple as that, I have a pretty bad case of M.E/CFS so it's more of a case of conserving energy since music composition is actually one of the more taxing things on the brain I find.

Edit: Alt Breakdown version added

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Yup, doesn't quite feel like Sand Ocean's setting, but that's not a requirement here. There's some low end that you could cut from some of the instruments. Would be nice to have some more mids, it feels a little lacking in that department like you've htried to make a low-heavy track more clear by just adding highs. I could be wrong, but if not, fix it. :P

Needs to be more balanced, pan-wise., imo. The keys on the left ought to coupled with something i nthe same frequency range on the other side. Gets better later in the mix, but there are places where the mix just seems to lean left.

I'm not sure the reverb is the main problem with the drums, I'd say you should try to get some more stereo width out of it. A combination of mine and Rev's suggestions would probably yield the best results. If you can, you could route the reverb to a bus and widen the stereo on it... if there's any stereo information to begin with (if not, it'll be a lot more work to create it out of mono tracks). Just remember to balance whatever stereo you create.

Cool track. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Revenrend and Rozo have given you plenty to think about and it is all good advice so I don't need to add. I will give you encouragement though.

Sand Ocean is a hard thing to remix as the source is a little odd to begin with. As a huge fan of the F-Zero soundtracks (some of videogames' best) I really found your take on this remix interesting and cool! Props on the original design and good luck getting that mix balance right!

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Updated one last time, I feel like I've addressed some of the useful comments, it should sound much less compressed. The drums should now have a little more stereo quality. Also each instrument should have its place in the mix without too much overlap.

I'm curious if anyone thinks it's worth submitting to the judging process or I should just bank the progress and look forward to my next project.

Many thanks

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Sub it. If it doesn't pass, you'll at least get judge feedback on it.

Man the source is hard to get into. So, no comment on that, but I do hear some similar-ish parts. Or maybe I'm just being source-deaf today. The trumpet gets old fast, making the second half of the track seem like a repeat of the first despite the obviously modified melodies. The guitar thing needs humanization, it sounds like the same sample used over and over again. Sampled is never as organic as a real guitarist would make it, but it's like you didn't even try to get some dynamics into it.

It's a cool track. Fix it up , and when you're done tinkering with it, sub it.

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Hmm, I think you're right Roz.

I'm tinkering a bit more, trying to get a little more source into the melody and a little more variance out of the lead.

I'm switching to keys over guitar since I think keys are easier to humanize. I'd love to play myself but, I can't practice like I used to and it wont sound tight.

Anyway, I'll post the last mix when I'm done tinkering. I spent some time humanising everything I could (being careful not to 'over-humanise'). It's quite subtle but just noticeable I think.

I'm buoyed on because my mixes usually tend to stagnate at this point, but maybe I've learned a couple new things this time around.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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