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mod-review You'll Want Your Gravity Suit (Metroid Prime - Underwater Frigate Reactor Core)

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Hello everyone!

This is a remix I did of the "Underwater Frigate Reactor Core" theme in Metroid Prime. I created this remix quite a long time ago (and posted it to OCR for feedback)... I only recently felt that I had improved enough to significantly rework the track.

Original track:

Final [updated Feb-22]: http://soundcloud.com/justicez/youll-want-your-gravity-suit

I am planning to submit this track in the near future, so any and all feedback will be much appreciated! :)

Cheers!

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Its...pretty good. I like the concept and arrangement, but there are some things about it that I have reservations.

In the beginning there is one particular synth that is not only grating to the ear at first, but also completely drowns out the rest of the song. When the song becomes more intense, it's applied in a more balanced manner, but in calmer parts it definitely stands out.

Also, beware of repetition. The synth I was referring to before goes on for the ENTIRE SONG. There may have been others. The judges have a tendency of NO'ing for that specifically.

I personally think you should boost the bass drum-thingy (I am so unqualified). It feels weak at certain points.

Keep this on Mod Review until you get feedback from at least two more people more qualified than me.

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First of all: my English is not my native language and as always: sorry if I can't express myself clearly (I guess I will write this sentence into my signature.)

I guess I found that pattern which was mentioned by Nonamer. It sounds like a trumpet for me (I don't really know about electronic music.) And after a few more listens I found out what I don't like:

-I feel that that "trumpet" is making some parts of the track to... "crawl".

-There is a mystique-like sound before that "trumpet" many times. Maybe it is just a basic background tune, but it is in a weird contrast to the "trumpet".

These are my opinions. I am no professional, just an enthusiastic listener. These are just my feelings about your music. Which I liked, by the way, even though it's not my style. (I mean the music style, not the liking.)

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mod rev:

Muffled and too loud bass drum, can barely hear the snare or any other percussion, compression problems, first bright synth sound's filter abruptly opens half way into every note, and the whole thing seems to run out of ideas and just loop stuff for length.

ARRANGEMENT / INTERPRETATION

- Too conservative - structurally and melodically

PRODUCTION

- Drums have no energy - well, all but the bass drum

- Overcompressed (pumping/no dynamics) - the bass drum's fault

- Mixing is muddy (eg. too many sounds in the same range) - there's some benefit to be had from some eq separation

STRUCTURE

- Too repetitive - or specifically, too few ideas for a 6:20 track

Good start, but needs more work.

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Thanks for the review Rozovian. You have actually critiqued this song once before, don't know if you recall.. but I'm glad to get some feedback from you again!

Muffled and too loud bass drum, can barely hear the snare or any other percussion, compression problems, first bright synth sound's filter abruptly opens half way into every note, and the whole thing seems to run out of ideas and just loop stuff for length.

Can you expand on the compression problems? I'll see what I can do about the bass drum (I do want it to stay quiet-ish, but not muffled). As for the quiet percussion and beginning synth sound's filter, those were both design decisions. The synth is the groundwork for the rest of the song, I was using it to set an emotion (for me mellow / sad). I also was aiming for a mostly ambient vibe, even when it gets going I didn't want it to get crazy.

PRODUCTION

- Drums have no energy - well, all but the bass drum

- Overcompressed (pumping/no dynamics) - the bass drum's fault

- Mixing is muddy (eg. too many sounds in the same range) - there's some benefit to be had from some eq separation

Drums: I assume you are referring to the percussion (snare/hats)?

Overcompressed: Can you give me a bit more detail on how this can be fixed and how its the bass drum's fault?

Muddy mixing: This I understand. I assume the biggest problem is my "closeness" to this track at this point. Are there any particular offenders?

STRUCTURE

- Too repetitive - or specifically, too few ideas for a 6:20 track

Ah... Yeah, so like I mentioned before, when I wrote this I had a very ambient vibe in my head. And at least in my mind, that meant a bit more repetition of the background elements. Not sure if this is "correct" or good, just thought I'd explain where I am coming from. I do agree with you though, I just really don't know where I should tear it down and build it back with more content.

Overall, this is a tough one for me. I'm so used to what it "used" to sound like that I'm resistant to big changes. This is why I posted it back up here... in the hopes of getting some outside opinions that could help me determine exactly what it still needs.

Thanks again Rozovian, and I hope to speak with you again! :)

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:D

Can you expand on the compression problems? I'll see what I can do about the bass drum (I do want it to stay quiet-ish, but not muffled). As for the quiet percussion and beginning synth sound's filter, those were both design decisions. The synth is the groundwork for the rest of the song, I was using it to set an emotion (for me mellow / sad). I also was aiming for a mostly ambient vibe, even when it gets going I didn't want it to get crazy.

Ambient isn't the word you're looking for with this. Chill might be more appropriate. If you're going for ambient, you're having way too bright and clear stuff in here. :P

I'm not sure we're talking about the same synth, there's filtered backing stuff in the intro, but I'm talking about the obnoxious lead thing that regularly hops in and is all loud an annoying. it might be two instruments, one that's smoothly fading in and one that starts later and is way less smooth.

Drums: I assume you are referring to the percussion (snare/hats)?

Overcompressed: Can you give me a bit more detail on how this can be fixed and how its the bass drum's fault?

Muddy mixing: This I understand. I assume the biggest problem is my "closeness" to this track at this point. Are there any particular offenders?

Keeping most of the percussion and rhythm tracks subdued is a good design decision for softer styles, but here they're not really softer, it's just low level. It doesn't sound deliberate, it just sounds like bad mixing. I made a similar choice in my posted F-Zero mix, despite Liontamer's warnings. Listen to the levels of my leads, it's hard to miss, and sounds stupid. A more appropriate way would be to use softer sounds and apply delay or filters to them to have a softer rhythm. Listen to my posted OoT remix, it has a filtered latin percussion loop and a noise-based shaker sound that add momentum without taking center stage.

As for the bass drum, listen to how other tracks disappear under it, especially the high sounds (high synths, hihat). It's a different thing when it's clearly intentional, like the 4:17 part where there isn't a bass drum. The lack of high frequency sounds during the bass drum makes it sound like everything is being ducked under it - the master compression at work. Besides, it's too loud for ambient anyway. :P

Concerning mixing, the piano is too soft and gets partially masked by the trance synth, and the lead thing is also getting into that same range.

Ah... Yeah, so like I mentioned before, when I wrote this I had a very ambient vibe in my head. And at least in my mind, that meant a bit more repetition of the background elements. Not sure if this is "correct" or good, just thought I'd explain where I am coming from. I do agree with you though, I just really don't know where I should tear it down and build it back with more content.

My idea of ambient is pretty much the opposite, with lots of changing backgrounds but with more recurring elements in the foreground. My way of working is to build separate parts and then write transitions from one to another. This usually leads to some weird meandering and an odd arrangement, but I try to avoid repeating myself for too long. Each of those written parts is based on one or more ideas, things I've done with the source. This seems to be an extension of one or two such ideas, where you've tried to vary things as you went along on those few ideas. I made a 7 minute track for the DKC3 project. It has more than two ideas. ;)

Of course, the ideas have to decent if not good, and they have to work together. These do, there's just too few of them. At least, that's how I'd explain it.

One way of varying things is to write new chords and adjust melodies and harmonies accordingly. This can easily sound like an arbitrary "new chords" bit, so you can just as well just omit changing chords, let it sit on the same chord for a while longer, then change to another chord that you've also used. You can also write a new melody or harmony and adjust everything else accordingly, and these can be used in conjunction with writing a new rhythm. Dunno what I'd do, my remixing style doesn't lead to this kind of mixes anymore.

Before screwing to much with this, take a backup of it. get into a habit of taking backups before doing any major edits. Just to be safe. :)

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Alright.. took a bit longer that I expected, but I'm back with a newer version. Same link as before: http://soundcloud.com/justicez/youll-want-your-gravity-suit

@Rozovian: A lot of your feedback was very useful, so thank you again. I didn't act on all of it, but I'm sure you will hear the new additions as well as a some mixing things that you pointed out.

--

I'm not sure if this should still be in Mod Review or not, but I couldn't see how to change it anyway. I'm still considering submitting it... so maybe it's OK the way it is. :)

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I have to say, i'm liking the feel of the intro. Its strange how its conservative and yet gives off a completely different vibe. I will say that when the drums come in, this starts to feel generic. The drum samples don't suit the feel you're going for here, I'd either bring up the drums and add some punch to the full drum part sections or change your drums to better suit the more chill sound of your mix, to steal a description from Rozo. The bass and the drums, both in samples and writing feel generic and rather repetitive imo. I'd say this sounds ok in the EQ department (things don't sound muddy anymore) but the majority of Rozo's critiques still stand, and he's hit this quite well imo.

This suffers from a bland basis for your backing track. Try and vary up those drums a little if possible, if not writing, dynamically. You've got alot of room to kick things up a notch, and it would make more sense for you to maximize the dynamic range of your mix based on your style, and i'm not just talking about the drums. The structure doesn't feel like its going far for a 6 minute track, altho for about 3 minutes it holds my interest before I start to feel it loose some steam due to repetitiveness. Production ain't horrendous, I could definitely see the drums working from an aesthetic point of view if you got the balance between powerful drums and subdued... atm they aren't quite clicking.

You have a bit of work to get this over the bar but keep working at it and you'll get there, this is a good base, you just need to work on melodic and dynamic expansion.

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Thank you for the review WillRock. You and Rozo both bring valid points to the table.

I think I may be too close to this track atm, might need to retire it for awhile... at some point I'm just going to burn out on it. Don't take this as a negative response though, I just think I've taken this as far as I'm able to for now. :)

In the end I'm happy though. It's an enormous upgrade from what it used to be...

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