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OCR02775 - *YES* Sonic CD + Sonic & Knuckles 'Pyroclastic Tides'


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Hi DJP & Judges!

This is a remix I originally made for The Sonic Zone Remix Competition that I was hosting over in the forums. The zone theme I chose was Lava Reef (Sonic 3&K), and this was for my Round 2 matchup which was supposed to be against AkumajoBelmont (Tidal Tempest - Sonic CD - JP). I know I needed to go all out if I wanted to have any chance to beat him, but he unfortunately had to drop out due to time constraints, but I think this mix was still well-received! I really liked the Tidal Tempest source and wanted to do a pretty chill, downtempo mix based around that source's structure and then find interesting ways to weave in the Lava Reef source. What I ended up with was still my most laid-back mix to date, but it does has quite a few jazzy bits that always tend to pop-up in my mixes (whether I intend them to or not) between the rhythmic synth and the piano. I think I did a good job creating a lush atmosphere with this song. What I was going for was a relaxed, yet somewhat dark & exotic tropical feel. Given my sources, that seemed appropriate. The waves & jungle noises in the intro were meant to set that "tropical island" setting and then the layering of the bass, heavy ethereal pads, and the smooth synth lead were meant to create a very full & powerful soundscape. The jazzy piano bits and the trumpet solo were meant to infuse the song with some additional life and character. I was really trying to create a song that would transport the listener to another place. I could go on forever on how I view the setting and various sections of this song, but I think you guys get the point!

Speaking of the trumpet solo, I recruited C7 (Adam Prack) to perform the part, and he absolutely nailed it! He took the solo I wrote and added a lot of his own personal touches, between the grace notes, run up, etc., and he completely blew me away with the performance. That last bit was well over an octave above the bar, but he was still able to sustain the notes. I just can't say enough about his performance, it's really solid stuff. It definitely made the piece, in my opinion! Not to mention, he was a lot of fun to collaborate with as well!

This version is slightly revised from my compo entry version. I got some great feedback from my buddies in the WIP forums, particularly Phonetic Hero, Sir Jordanius, Amphibious, & Gario, that helped point out some areas that needed a little extra polish. Lots of thanks to them for their invaluable feedback. Also a big thanks to everyone that participated in the Sonic compo. It has been an absolute blast hosting the compo and seeing the support & excitement within the community. Overall I got to say I'm really proud of this finished track and I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it! Thanks!

Here is the source usage breakdown, with YouTube links!

Source Usage Breakdown:

0:00 - 0:09 = Some intro shenanigans

0:10 - 0:19 = More intro shenanigans with an original arpeggio synth melody

0:20 - 0:28 = Same arpeggio synth with Tidal Tempest opening

0:29 - 1:15 = Tidal Tempest A section (bass, piano, glass bells) with arpeggio synth alternating between original pattern and classic Lava Reef background synth melody.

1:16 - 1:33 = Lava Reef Act 2 A melody, piano, apreggio synth pattern with Tidal Tempest bass

1:34 - 1:43 = Bass exposed, built around Lava Reef Act 2 melody

1:44 - 1:53 = Synth lead from Lava Reef Act 2 B melody. Piano and bass are a swung hybrid of LR Act 2 B piano and Tidal Tempest bass.

1:53 - 2:02 = Reverts back to Tidal Tempest B section, minus the lead. Right-hand piano embellishments.

2:03 - 2:11 = Same Tidal Tempest B section, adding synth lead (with Spring Yard cameo on piano/bass)

2:12 - 2:49 = Tidal Tempest C section (bass, piano, pads) with trumpet solo hybrid of Lava Reef Act 1 A melody and Tidal Tempest C melody (on the second run-through) combined with some original embellishments.

2:50 - 3:18 = Revert to Tidal Tempest A section (bass, piano, pads) with synth lead playing Lava Reef Act 1 melody

3:19 - 3:36 = Outro

My Contact Info:

My ReMixer name: SuperiorX

My real name: Matt Keller

My userid: 28286

C7's Contact Info:

ReMixer name: C7

Real Name: Adam Prack

Userid: 10688

Submission Info:

Games arranged: Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic CD

ReMix Name: Pyroclastic Tides

Songs arranged: Lava Reef Act 1, Lava Reef Act 2, Tidal Tempest (Present - JP soundtrack)

Also I rendered this song straight from ACID at VBR1, per the new submission encoding guidelines. In Windows Explorer properties it says the song's bitrate is at 250kbps, which from my understanding of VBR, must be the average bitrate of the song encoding. Please let me know if this is not acceptable and needs to be re-encoded, however I think I did this correctly. Thank you!

Edited by djpretzel
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  • 1 month later...

Argh, this was totally firing on all cylinders until the piano came in. Why was it so dry? With a nice reverb trail, it would have totally fit into the lush soundscape you were building, but it instead stuck out like a sore thumb. From there, the song was solid but not quite as strong, with the long synth lead needing a little more detail to it and the bass sounding slightly dorky. I was also a little disappointed that you stuck so closely to Tidal Tempest once it came in, but you had very creative intersections with the other sources once they were brought in. Great ending too.

Difficult call. The arrangement was very cool when it deviated, and you had some little touches that were ear candy. Awesome solo too, to go that extra mile. I'm gonna give you the nod on this one, nice work.

YES (borderline)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can see where Vinnie is getting on in terms of the reverb on the piano, but I was a bit more bugged by the somewhat piercing lead synth. Aside from that I'm going to agree with Vinnie (again) that the arrangement does feel pretty close to the original a decent amount of the time. When you do pull away you've got some fun ideas, and things sound great. You could have definitely done more of that here, and I hope you do for your future subs, too :)

I'm with Vinnie, this is a close call, but I'm willing to give it that nod. Good luck with the rest of the vote.

YES (borderline)

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definitely am hearing what Vinnie and Deia are saying about the piano being dry and the synth being a little shrill. I loved the overall soundscape, and those two instruments stuck out pretty far for me.

The arrangement was a bit on the conservative side but I think gets it done, and melds the sources together in a decent way, though the Lava Reef intro on the synth near the end felt really sudden, possibly because of the timbre of the synth. The solo was great, props to Adam. :-)

you get... another Yes (Borderline)

In future submissions I suggest making sure all the elements mesh into the soundscape well, and I think a little more interpretation would be good too. Nothing severe, but more personality. :-)

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Oh my, so many YES BORDERLINEs.

Groove is cool except for the piano. It's not in the pocket rhythmically, it's mixed dry and forward so it sticks out in a bad way.

The triangle lead is too static and piercing a sound to be playing so many sustained notes. The bass is also pretty generic sounding, but that didn't bother me as much.

I really dig the reharmonization and the trumpet. More trumpet, less boring triangle.

Okay now I see why there are so many close votes. There are several really great harmonic ideas, but the arrangement as a whole is a bit straightforward and unvaried. The trumpet is really cool, but the triangle and the piano are pretty bad.

I think you gotta swap some sounds and make the piano groove better.

Great start though.


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Oh wow I can see why this has so many borderlines. I really have nothing else to add to what the others said below me. Dry piano, shrill lead, slightly muddy mixing, but great arrangement and everything else sounded fine sample wise.

Awesome trumpet :)

Overall the pros outweigh the cons imo. Nice work guys, I dig it!


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  • 6 months later...
  • 4 months later...
Overall the pros outweigh the cons imo. Nice work guys, I dig it!

That's definitely where I fell on this one. The piano had some issues, yes, but the arrangement and overall sophistication carried it. This was a good example of following the structure of a source tune closely, but working to present one's own spin on it by forgoing the driving beats, adding good original writing ideas and employing clever tradeoffs with the S&K "Lava Reef" theme. I'm super late to the party with my vote, but I'm still glad I arrived in time to enjoy the show. :-)


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