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Groboclown

wip Star Control 2 - Ur Quan Kzer-Za theme remix (electronica)

18 posts in this topic

Another style on the tune, this time in downtempo / drum-n-bass.

https://soundcloud.com/groboclown/the-kzer-za-chill

(Original Post)

As soon as I heard the Ur Quan theme, back when Star Control 2 first came out in 1992, I recorded it on cassette and listened to it again and again. I wrote several piano transcriptions and re-interpretations, and then forgot about it.

Now, twenty years later, I finally returned to it. The current version is a purely synth piece put together with LMMS. The earlier versions were made in Milkytracker. The main change in this is turning the theme from a 6/8 time to 4/4, as well as lengthening the original 30 second song. I assembled the original versions in Milkytracker.

I've taken it through many different turns, and I think it's closer to a final version now.

Link to the source:

Link to the Remix:

http://soundcloud.com/groboclown/kzer-za-from-the-future-2 (style 2)

http://soundcloud.com/groboclown/kzer-za-stomp-v7 (style 1)

Edited by Groboclown

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Right off the bat, for a drum-n-bass track the drums are too weak. They lack the necessary "uumph." Although the drums do get stronger towards the end. The bass seems grating to me, especially at the beginning and end. The bass also isn't all that interesting. The track seems pretty sparse, I don't hear much panning or much in the way of pads.

Despite those issues, I think the track has a nice feel and atmosphere. Before you submit this, my suggestion would be to make those drums more powerful and stand out more, especially the kick. Also fill out the track a bit more. Of course this being drum-n-bass, I wouldn't expect much high frequencies. Good work.

Edited by Cash

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Yay, Star Control love. :D

Despite having played this, and despite the source link, I can't hear the source in the mix. I hear parts that I can guess are adapted from source... heavily, unrecognizably adapted. If it's supposed to be a remix, you may have to make the source more overt. I can imagine a few ways of adapting the source to 4/4 while keeping it easy to recognize, so I'm sure you can as well.

It's got a cool atmosphere. If you can get it louder, it'll make a nice track.

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Thank you for all the great feedback. I've updated the track with the suggestions, along with some fixed nits of my own.

http://soundcloud.com/groboclown/kzer-za-stomp-v3

The big part I've been playing with is the bass that starts at the :20 mark. I think this current one mixes well with the timpani, once it starts in, but seems a bit out of place at the start.

I may have overdone the kick drum at the 1:20 mark, but it really depends upon what system you're playing it on.

As to the unrecognizable theme, I attempted to make the bass line and melody from the source stand out more at the 1:45 mark. I couldn't find a good place to add the transition/bridge from the source, so you won't hear that part.

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Yay, Star Control!

I'll have to agree with Rozo, good and bad. The atmosphere is very promising, it's omnious enough to fit the Kzer-Za, but also quite chill. But the source isn't there dominatingly enough I think. It sort of reminds me of the source, but I don't get "this is the Kzer-Za theme!" feeling.

I also think that adding the new bass thing in the third version also added some bad-sounding dissonance. I kind of liked the second version better, although the feel that the new bass added sounded different from the second version (more omnious and less "nice" chill), and may be just what you're going for.

I've also tried to make this (really rather sparse) source to 4/4 (combining it with the intro theme), and I couldn't do it, at the time at least, so that it would have sounded good *and* familiar. This adaptation sounds good arrangement-wise and the basic idea (although production needs work to be on OCR level), but it's not familiar enough. Good start though I think, and it was fun to listen to!

--Eino

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Thanks everyone for the great feedback. I've been slowly working through it all, and I think it's near the final version.

http://soundcloud.com/groboclown/kzer-za-stomp

(with an updated link on the first post)

I've found a place for the bridge part of the original, I've tried (struggled, really) to reinforce the parts that show off the main theme, and add a bit more range to the instruments, so it fills up more of the register in different parts.

Again, all feedback is much appreciated.

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Easy no. Sorry.

About a third of the track is intro. That's not good. The second minute is a build-up, and the third is the payoff... which lacks impact due to the sound design. Which is really newby.

Nice use of the background melodies of the source. Tho they aren't quite dominant I think the arrangement has them there well enough for ocr. Source ok. Should be brought out more in the mix, but the mixing is another matter entirely.

In other words, this arrangement, while a bit awkward in its third minute lead rhythm and taking a very long time to get to the beef of the track, might be passable. There's stuff in the arrangement that may need adjusting after a proper sound design and mixing, but the rough structure is ok with me.

The sounds all sound straight out of the early 90's computer game music. That, in itself, isn't a bad thing, but they'd need to be mixed in better. Levels mixing seems to be ok, but the tracks still all sound raw and stacked on top of each other, not separated the way professional productions are. EQ and reverb where appropriate.

It's also waaaay too soft. Yes you should have dynamics. Yes you shouldn't squash things with excessive compression. Yes, you can start it soft. No, not this soft. If you do the above separation and giving the tracks their own space, their own area in the frequency range and all that, you could probably get this sounding ok with just some parallel compression on top of that.

That's not saying you shouldn't side-chain (if the sound calls for it) or do all the other things, where appropriate.

PRODUCTION

- Too loud

- Low-quality samples

- Drums have no energy

STRUCTURE

- Too repetitive - buildup is long and same-y

You may need to look to some more modern reference material for your sound. Grab remixes from the past few years and you should have a fair amount tracks to compare this to. Just find the ones with appropriate sound design, or mixing, or mood, or whatever, and compare those aspects. Learn from those.

No. (resub?)

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Thank you very much for the thorough review, Rozovian. You certainly gave me quite a bit to consider. I can see all the things you mention there as needing work on this piece. I'll pull it back out.

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Hey cool, you use Linux/trackers too? I use ReNoise, which has a Linux version out. I've used MilkyTracker (and Schism Tracker) too, but I'm not that comfortable with the Impulse Tracker style interface. I realize you used LMMS (which I hadn't even heard of before) for this version, but still - trackers! :nicework:

I'll try to give the new version a listen later today. Hey - a crazy idea - would you like to collab on the previous version? If it's .it, I can load it up in ReNoise and see if I can, for instance, add some other SC2 source into the tune.

--Eino

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I'll try to give the new version a listen later today. Hey - a crazy idea - would you like to collab on the previous version? If it's .it, I can load it up in ReNoise and see if I can, for instance, add some other SC2 source into the tune.

--Eino

That's the kind of crazy I like :)!! I used Schism Tracker to convert to Impulse Tracker (.it) from the .xm (Fast Tracker 2) source files that I created with MilkyTracker. Apparently, Schism Tracker has a common bug with the playback of .xm that causes some of the sounds to not fade out correctly, so it's not a perfect translation.

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Awesome! Slight oops from my part - I thought MilkyTracker used .it format as well so I only mentioned that - ReNoise loads .xm:s too. Well, there's bound to be playback errors anyway if we don't use the same software. I guess the question is though, do you want to go back and forth with the file, or are you "abandoning" it to me? :) If the latter case, we could both use MilkyTracker, but if the former, I can just load the .it version in ReNoise and not worry about compatibility.

edit: I'm not sure I've actually used MilkyTracker after all, hehe! Shouldn't be a problem though. Also, I should mention that I'm pretty short on time, so Ḯ'm not sure *when* I'll actually get around to doing something to the track. Hope this isn't a downer on enthusiasm. :)

editedit: I see you included the .xms, so that's all good.

--Eino

Edited by evktalo

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Again, a quick listen - the second version has very cool source usage. The time signature change, you've made it work quite well. Also nice work taking the source apart and managing to stretch it over the arrangement and make it build. Got to agree about the sounds with Rozo, but that's just something to work on.

I've started the conversion over to Renoise on the first version, but I haven't worked on it in a while. Since it's been months, I'll soon work on it some more.. sorry about taking so long!

--Eino

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I've been listening to both of these, and am pretty hyped about both of them! Great takes, and both feel very source-appropriate. Still looking forward to working on one or the other, need to finish some other stuff first.

--Eino

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