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djpretzel

OCR01449 - *YES* EarthBound 'Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Scientist Boy (and the Magical Monkey)'

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(yes, the title is "borrowed" from a Guided By Voices song)

This was supposed to be for the "experimental" Earthbound project I was planning that eventually got cancelled because it wasn't going much of anywhere and I didn't time needed to really push it harder. Bound Together was coincidentally released right after my cancellation, and I wrote a lengthy and somewhat negative review of it that might have pissed a few people off and got me hit a little bit harder in reviews and comments when I released this mix on vgmix. Or maybe not. Ignoring the review, this one does go more extreme with dynamics and does a lot of different things in a short period of time, so I can maybe understand why it would be too intense for some people. Still, I really see this as a logical extension of the kirby mix - lots of effects and the "wall of sound"-type stuff. It obviously is more succinct and takes some ideas to the extreme (I really think I improved my percussion a lot from much of the cheap loop-based stuff I've used before, for example), but it's not too much of a stretch to me.

I hope people enjoy this, but I have a feeling I'll get more of the kinds of responses I got previously. I put a lot of effort into intentionally making everything sound this way, and it makes me angry when I get more flack than if I would have "gone the easy route" with this. I just think it's necessary to expand the pallete of people in the community who are used to hearing things a certain way. Plus it's much more fun for me to fuck around with knobs. I'll close with my mini-description on vgmix (which is where the link to the mix is due to me no longer having a server):

This is about a kid who looks towards machines to give him the answers to everything. It's about an awkward, and uncomfortable kid who fidgets obsessively over the slightest tweaks in the bits in pieces of whatever the lastest thing is he's working on. But mostly, it's about a kid who's too naive not to know he can help save the world (with the assistance of a magical monkey, of course).

- Adhesive_Boy

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The compressed drums make me think of Flaming Lips.

this mix is very well done. the atmosphere is beatifully decorated and texutred. The music swirls in and out like a writhing storm. or something. At any rate, there's immense subtlety to the structure of the song that makes it work very well as a somewhat atmospheric piece.

YES

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As for anyone that subs over the bitrate limit (in this case, 212kbps VBR)...

 

Bitrate should be as low as possible to achieve the desired sound quality, within reason. We recommend and use the free MP3 encoder LAME. If it's a really short song, feel free to bump up the bitrate a bit, but do not exceed 192Kbps . . . if it's a realllly long song, and won't fit under 6MB, please consider cutting a shorter, alternate version. It's a bandwidth thang ^^

http://snesmusic.org/spcsets/mo2.rsn - "Snowman (Snow Wood Boarding House)" [mo2-063.spc]

 

Played this on VGF71 for the EarfBound luv. Personally, I VEHEMENTLY disagreed with AB's assessment that some of the Bound Together arrangements were "unnecessary and out of place for not only the album, but for the game" for not retaining the offbeat style of the original game. Who cares? That wasn't the project's intent, and there are too many arrangements out there that don't intend to work in the same style as its source material. Frankly, that's a lot of what this community is about. On a more specific level, there's certainly a place for bLiNd's own ReMix of "Snow Wood" alongside this one, and especially "Da Black Market". A decidedly odd, close-mided POV from AB regarding a soundtrack that, ironically enough, you'd have to be open-minded to like in the first place.

But AB has his own vision of what an EB arrangement project would be, and this was an excellent arrangement and enhancement of what made the EB soundtrack so good. If you're willing to "Relics of the Chozo" your EB project and do most of it yourself, I think the results would be good.

Like Jesse mentioned, the atmosphere was masterfully done; loads of delay and swirly textures for a thick, mysterious setting. Very skillful, very purposeful. For the people out there, either you'll appreciate it, or you'll hate it. I'd say listen to it multiple times to get more accustomed to it if you initially don't like it.

The arrangement ideas were pretty straightforward, as the lead was pretty simple and a lot more attention seems to be paid to the percussion, but that's all in creating that authentic off-kilter feel. Props on the work put into the drumkit. Great contrast with the intro and the percussion coming in at :35, BTW. The track does end abruptly, but it loops pretty nicely so it'll be great for repeated listening. AB being a fan of me or not (OMG NOT!), this was unmistakably cool.

YES

Hahaha, taking another listen on this now with my headphones setup as opposed to using the radio station speakers, there are some issues here. Overall, I like the percussion and how it was handled, and the atmosphere was well done. Sections like :35-1:12 sounded very nice on that level. There were some brief but glaring low points. 1:33-1:38 was ridiculous; the drums were so loud that they were distorting. Then more of the same from 1:47-2:05 & 2:48-2:52. Any no-name would get killed for this.

So I readily take back the word "masterful". Definitely doesn't deserve that adjective, and those issues push my vote to a borderline NO. Just tweak the levels so you're not dryhumping 0db and needlessly distorting things and you'll have the easy YES from me, Abrasive_Boy.

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Impressive. The Snowwood theme is instantly recognizable amid the ambiance of the intro. When the compressed drums make their entrance, the listener is pretty much AB's bitch for the next two minutes or so. This remix takes many of the ideas presented by the original composer and just runs with them: the mild dynamic contrasts are exagerated, the psuedo-polka section is put on steroids (and crack), and the ambient atmosphere of the original is captured, at least when the drums aren't melting your face. The synths are well chosen (especially the rhodes that takes the lead).

Basically the production is very well done, the arrangement (especially the use of dynamics) is challenging and sophisticated, and I have no qualms with giving this my seal of approval.

My only gripe with the arrangement of the piece is that the ending is a bit abrupt for such an ambient arrangement. That being said, I'll chalk it up to personal taste and just give this one a

YES.

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The drumkit actually caught me really off guard. Seemed way out of place, especially given the atmosphere. I would have thought a non-acoustic kit would have made a lot more sense given the context of the song. The abrupt 1:34 change struck me as being really out of place, as well. The background harmony is of course pretty cool, but I would not call this really masterful as far as the atmosphere goes.. it's just a few simplistic synth instruments and the obnoxiously loud crashes. Finish it off with a really lackluster ending.. I gotta say, I really did not like this one at all.

That said, does it TECHNICALLY meet our standards in terms of arrangement? Yeah, I suppose. But is it coherent, and does the production sound up to par? In my opinion, no. The mix was generally crowded and the soundscape completely unchanging. The same instruments are used over and over, despite interesting sequencing. The structure is essentially nonexistent. Skip to any part of the mix except the very beginning and it all sounds like one of two things; a random, messy, overly-reverberated break or a spastic drum section. That's all. We have consistently rejected mixes like this.

NO

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I'm leaning strongly towards agreement with zircon on this one. This wasn't enjoyable at all to me.

I don't think this even technically meets our standards. The drums are way over the top with the smash and crash loud sound. I don't know how we could reject other mixes for being muddy and loud and yet let this one pass. While it does have some creative ideas and the backing is creative, the drums just completely and utterly ruin any atmosphere in this.

The arrangement in this is basic at best. It's ambient, so give it an ambient sound. Pasting layer upon layer of loud crashing percussion and drumwork over the top just makes the mix sound horrible and steals away the atmosphere you set up in the beginning.

Whether it comes to personal taste or not, I feel that we've rejected things in the past over technical issues that had less issues than this piece does. Holding that standard up, this is as definate a NO as I could give.

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what technical issues do you speak of? compressed drums dont count as a technical issue. if you dont like them that's one thing, but it's not a technical issue. Listen to Flaming Lips - Soft Bulletin.

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"This wasn't enjoyable at all to me"

I'm still not convinced that an aesthetic dislike for this mix is motivating both of your NO votes.

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I don't think this even technically meets our standards. The drums are way over the top with the smash and crash loud sound.

Whether it comes to personal taste or not, I feel that we've rejected things in the past over technical issues that had less issues than this piece does.

here were some brief but glaring low points. 1:33-1:38 was ridiculous; the drums were so loud that they were distorting.

Okay. I have very serious problems with these statements.

TO, you are completely wrong in your accusation of crippling "technical issues." The compressed drums are not a "technical issue," they are compressed intentionally for a gritty stylistic effect. If you dislike the creative choice, that's one thing, but you are simply wrong to call this a technical issue. This would be the same as calling the distortion on the guitars in any rock track a technical issue just because you dislike crunchy guitars.

Larry's statement is also 100% false. the drums are not so loud that they distort. they are compressed, and amplitude has nothing to do with it.

Look, i realize you guys dont like this artistic choice, but calling it a technical issue makes you look misinformed and it makes it seem like you're voting NO for an invalid reason.

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I don't particularly care about whatever technique was employed to make the drums sound that way, so while I appreciate the terminology correction (not being facetious about it), it still sounds crappy to me. The fact that it's intentional, which I knew in the first place, makes 0 difference to me. Vote stays the same, but toning down the compression in those spots would get an easy YES.

I liked Jesse's take on the nature of the drums, as he mentioned in #judges:

<Vig> i cant tell you what to like, but this one has contrast...soft and sweet segments colliding with chaos

<Vig> it's that contrast that makes this track a creative success

<Vig> and i think that even if the grit is too much for you, you might be able to recognize that it's well constructed and creative, and on the whole a good piece of art, if not to your taste

I agree there that it's a more subjective issue, as we were comparing it to the situation a few months ago with Mazedude's Doom II sub that was narrowly rejected. So again, while I like the arrangement, and I think AB pulled off some good chaotic sounds and textures from :35-1:12, I felt the other areas pointed out all went into the realm of not sounding good at all. I think the chaotic feel wouldn't be sacrificed there if the compression was toned down. Them's the breaks, but good luck with the rest of the vote. I'd encourage those slight tweaks, if it's a 3Y/4N vote, as I'd be glad to switch my NO to a YES.

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I don't particularly care about whatever technique was employed to make the drums sound that way, so while I appreciate the terminology correction, it still sounds crappy to me. The fact that it's intentional, which I knew in the first place, makes 0 difference to me. Vote stays the same, but toning down the compression in those spots would get an easy YES.

so you're admiting this isn't a technical issue then?

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There's a difference between random, overly distorted, clipping, crappy drums, and effectively creating crunchy, distorted percussion without clipping. AB has successfully pulled off the latter. The percussion doesn't clip anywhere; sure it toes the line, and I wouldn't mind if it were a bit softer, but it's not my mix. I can appreciate the intention, and the executuion. The production on this track is just fine.

As for the arrangement, it's pretty creative, though I wish the ending weren't so abrupt. In any case, while I don't enjoy it personally, I think that this song meets OCR standards, and its a pretty interesting piece of experimental music.

Borderline YES

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Depends. It's purposeful, but "technically" I don't think those spots sound good at all. :lol:

The point is that this mix doesn't represent a violation of the technical standards of OCR. You just don't like the choices that have been made.

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Depends. It's purposeful, but "technically" I don't think those spots sound good at all. :lol:

The point is that this mix doesn't represent a violation of the technical standards of OCR. You just don't like the choices that have been made.
Nobody's talking about "violations". Violations are things that automatically disqualify a submission, e.g. MIDI ripping, going over the size/bitrate limit, mixing non-game music. This is a production decision that I feel negatively impacts the mix in a significant enough way to not warrant posting vs. the other material we choose to post.

You should be focusing on the "standards" aspect more. Things like low volume or a cutoff ending or whathaveyou are not violations of anything, as we've accepted tracks like that. Obviously there are non-standard things that are acceptable to some but not all, i.e. nearly any mix that hasn't gone to a unanimous vote on the panel.

Right here, some of the choices aren't up to my standard of a ReMix. The drums don't have to clip to sound too loud, abrasive, distorted, and indistinct. There's more to any production choice being acceptable to most of the panel than literally not clipping. Alongside my view that AB actually pulled off the technique better earlier in the track, I don't see any reason to approve the mix based on the sections I had issue with.

Don't like what seems too subjective? Tough, because this scenario isn't any different than anything else that's split the panel before. I've been on both the YES and NO sides of other mixes like this, and the feeling that the other side is off-base isn't anything new.

But to say that the NOs (or YESs for that matter) are voting without trying to reconcile the submission with site standards is misguided at best, and poor form no matter what the situation. If you really think people are voting out of pure bias/personal preference, it's best to address those issues privately and not inadvertently damage the panel's credibility. If you levy these kind of claims against someone, there's nothing stopping anyone else (especially in the public sphere) from using the same claims against you, regarding any of your votes and any of your reasoning.

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Depends. It's purposeful, but "technically" I don't think those spots sound good at all. :lol:

The point is that this mix doesn't represent a violation of the technical standards of OCR. You just don't like the choices that have been made.
Nobody's talking about "violations". Violations are things that automatically disqualify a submission, e.g. MIDI ripping, going over the size/bitrate limit, mixing non-game music. This is a production decision that I feel negatively impacts the mix in a significant enough way to not warrant posting vs. the other material we choose to post.

You should be focusing on the "standards" aspect more. Things like low volume or a cutoff ending or whathaveyou are not violations of anything, as we've accepted tracks like that. Obviously there are non-standard things that are acceptable to some but not all, i.e. nearly any mix that hasn't gone to a unanimous vote on the panel.

Right here, some of the choices aren't up to my standard of a ReMix. The drums don't have to clip to sound too loud, abrasive, distorted, and indistinct. There's more to any production choice being acceptable to most of the panel than literally not clipping. Alongside my view that AB actually pulled off the technique better earlier in the track, I don't see any reason to approve the mix based on the sections I had issue with.

Don't like what seems too subjective? Tough, because this scenario isn't any different than anything else that's split the panel before. I've been on both the YES and NO sides of other mixes like this, and the feeling that the other side is off-base isn't anything new.

But to say that the NOs (or YESs for that matter) are voting without trying to reconcile the submission with site standards is misguided at best, and poor form no matter what the situation. If you really think people are voting out of pure bias/personal preference, it's best to address those issues privately and not inadvertently damage the panel's credibility. If you levy these kind of claims against someone, there's nothing stopping anyone else (especially in the public sphere) from using the same claims against you, regarding any of your votes and any of your reasoning.

That wasn't intended as a personal attack, I just wasn't satisfied with how you defended your NO vote. I am now.

I know it's not your job to defend every decision you make, but me opening up the subject for further debate can only be a good thing, right?

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I guess I'm the tiebreaker here.

This one was tough, as I could relate to some of the NO votes. I do have some production concerns here as well. This is one of those mixes that really deserves closer examination and I wanted to let it sink in before I made a vote. This one is probably one of the most divisive mixes we've gotten in a while - there's a lot of strong opinion on both sides. Usually, as in art, with music these usually result in mixes that are definitely worth listening to.

The NO votes do have some valid concerns. I thought at some points the reverb was way too much, it sounded like it was set at 100% (with automation?) and AB confirmed it to me that it indeed was. I also felt the drums, as with some of the other vote comments were too strong. There is overcompression going on here. I also would have mixed this down to -.3db instead of 0db to avert some possible monitoring issues. I question some of the artistic liberties taken here.

The arrangement and composition is the highlight for me though. I was torn with this mix. My opinions on this shifted as I listened to it more over the course of a week. A lot of interesting compositional ideas were interjected in the mix. Though I felt at times there was a disjointed nature in its flow, the ending was also a bit cheap and abrupt.

At the end of the day, the issues in the mix to me take a backseat to the creativity, uniqueness and neat textures conveyed in the approach. Too much work is apparent here, where I am hesitant in claiming the issues I have in this context are necessarily problems. The cons take a backseat to all the neat pros of the mix, so much so that I am inclined to YES rather than even NO resub. Not my favorite of AB's but a creative piece of experimental music that is worthy of passing.

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