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The Day Gato Revived


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A hearty remix of The Day The Earth Revived with some synths and percussion that reminded me of Gato:

I have been taking music theory since my past explorations into music and my own cynical attempts to have something accepted to OCR in the past. I was working in my DAW and experimenting with percussion and drums while playing Chrono Trigger on my PSX. As I began creating a pretty nice drum beat, I was at the part in the game where you bring the seed back to the inhabitants of Arris Dome and the theme (of which I have heard and whistled so many times before) struck me as a least remixed theme on OCR's CT page and inspired me to use the drum beat I already made to make a kind of uplifting version of the original track. The further along I have gotten with the arrangement, the more I noticed a lot of the synths and leads sounded like Gato's Theme, hence the name of the arrangement. I do believe I accomplished making the track seem a little more lively, atmospheric and perhaps even a little cheery, again, where the name came from.

Listen on Tindeck

Update 4: Some adjustments to arrangement and synths.

Update 5: Added a spliced/in-key version of Gato's theme

Update 6: Adjustments to time signatures, key signatures and instruments/synths. Also added a little delay to gato synth and EQ'd the kick & gato synth.

Update 7: Complete re-arrangement and re-work of track, some effects changes, transitions and EQ applied, raised low/mid, raised high a tiny bit.

First track that I made with my new PreSonus I/O.

Let me know what you think.

Edited by Gario
Version 6
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Moved to Mod Review.

I've taken this track pretty far, and near as I can tell, it needs a little mastering (some muddiness here and there) and even a little break from the source. I have thrown in quite a bit of creative measures and phrases, but the source still seems very dominant. Any ideas/crits?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not sure why you're talking about mastering when the track's biggest problems is arrangement. I'm not really getting what you're going for with the track, either. Easy NO, sorry.

What can you do? A lot, differently. Here's some of what I would do. It might help to get a different perspective on how your parts fit together (and which ones don't):

The hihat is too loud. Its rhythm is jerky which works for an intro or a break, but not for the chorus. The whole track seems to be EQd to lose some mids, which makes it sound emptier than it really is. You could improve the intro by fixing the hihat level and making sure there's more mids, either with EQ or by adding some mid-range thing. An easy trick for intros, breaks and verses is to have a very velocity-sensitive pad, play long notes and just up the velocity every few bars. It creates a sense of movement, builds anticipation for the next part, and contributes to transitioning between parts.

That's the next thing, transitions. You have some. They don't all work that well. The first, into the first chorus, sort of works. I get the idea behind it, but it's really just a drop and then a rather empty chorus starts. Start off the chorus with a crash or something to accentuate the new parts. If if it's a soft crash in the background, it helps.

Like the intro, the chorus lacks mids. Worse still if it's not intentional, the chorus lacks bass. Also, the hihat rhythm does not work here. You have piano, hihat, snare, bass drum, synth lead, synth bell, and possibly a synth pad under it all. The piano works ok, but I wouldn't use it with a main chorus. We might have different idea of what to do with the chorus, so don't just blindly follow my suggestions. The chorus should have drive. To get drive, you need a strong, forward-driving rhythm on hihat and snare (bass drum is fine) so I would suggest replacing what you've got with a standard hihat on off-beat, snare on every other kick type super-simple rhythm, and mess with that until I had something more itneresting that doesn't jerkily stagger the track's rhythm; you can't stop the chorus on the last bar, let the synth play something there, too (except when you want that chorus to end on a downer note); add a nice rhythmic bass (or for a softer chorus, bass pad or just long notes) and maybe also the rhythmic pad that follows the first chorus.

Coming out of the chorus, you can break the track right there, you can go into your jerky rhythm, or you can keep the drive the chorus had to ease people out of it. RIght now, you drop out the bass drum and go straight into a build-up mode that builds a bit and then gets stuck on that energy level. For a build-up, you typically want it to keep getting higher and higher and build towards the chorus or whatever part that follows. I would either do a hard break, dropping out almost everything and then slowly starting to add elements during a long buildup; or keep the rhythm for a verse-type part, after which I can go back into a chorus or do a big break and build-up. For dance, you want to have the bass drum running for most of the track, only dropping out for effect in build-ups or other special parts.

Your choice of sound, the sound design, is overall okay. There are some very good chocies in here, and then there are choices that might work if they weren't too loud (which instrument in particular might I be talking about? :P). The piano and the synths blend well together, and I don't think any of your sounds in this track is actually bad in any way. You just gotta find their place and use them right.

You have some good ideas, and you experiment with stuff like the off-beat snare and odd hihat rhythm, leaving out the bass from the chorus and having parts where the kick drops out. That's good. You're just not using those ideas effectively, and instead end up with some weird transitioning parts that listeners struggle to place in a dynamic structure.

I think you haven't quite grasped structure and momentum in music. It'll come. Listen to some predictable stupid simple dance and figure out how they can have that momentum in spite of their simplicity. Consider rhythm, length of parts, dynamics, structure, sequence... consider everything.

Keep at it. :D

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Big thanks Rozovian, just one last request.

That's a lot to digest. Keeping in mind that I'm only in Fundamentals at the moment, could you break that down into something a little closer to english and perhaps even make a bullet list?

I know my arrangements need a lot of work, but my ADD/ADHD and Aspergers pretty much lead my mind into a chaos of anxiety when trying to digest information and especially my music lessons in class. I know what most of the terms mean, but a lot of it just gets lost on me because my mind ends up backwards when I try and study (blarg! I need pills to calm my butt down 'er something). Strangely enough though, after I study, about a week later I have most of it down, as if my brain rearranged and made sense of it all.

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- hihat is too loud

- drum rhythms are jerky

- track lacks mids

- transitions are clunky

- arrangement doesn't go anywhere

How to solve:

- hihat is too loud - reduce hihat levels

- drum rhythms are jerky - that's okay in the intro and maybe in the break, but for the chorus and other driving parts, you should go for a simple, plain, straight rhythm instead. if you don't want that, start with it anyway, and then modify it.

- track lacks mids - either eq the mid-range stuff so those parts are louder, or add something that adds mids. or both. just don't overdo it.

- transitions are clunky - you can use crashes to start the chorus parts with, and reverse crashes to lead into them. you don't have to, but it's a simple trick for marking parts as new and big and dynamically important. it also helps to have a focused arrangement.

- arrangement doesn't go anywhere - rIght now, it's something like intro->chorus->break->buildup->chorus->ending. it's a simple but fine progression, but the parts don't seem to lead into one another, they just end and the next one starts. make each part build into the next. figure out how to control the listeners' excitement level for each part. this is hard to put into words, but it's kind'a like telling a story with music.

You've got good sounds and some decent parts in here, you just have to make sense of where they are and where they're going.

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  • 1 month later...

Pros:

It is refreshing to hear this theme (The Day the World Revived) included in a mix. It's a beautiful, albeit short, track from a beloved game.

I really like the atmospheric sound you have, namely the stuttered bells throughout the track and the pianoish/bell chords you lay down. The gated synths give this a nice electronic feel too.

Cons:

The drums here are the most glaring issue with the song. The rest of the mix sounds inspired and you've paid attention to the sounds you create. The drums, on the other hand, sound plain, boring, and are not dynamic at all. It sounds very much like a drum machine. Now, I know you don't want something really organic because it won't fit the soundscape. However, there's some significant work that needs to be done here. I can't offer much advice because I have little experience with a trance style of drums, but you might consider some different samples to include to supplement the kick and hihat. That's really all I hear in the song ever is kick hat kick hat kick hat kick hat. You will have a lot more freedom over the sequencing of the drums if you can find some additional samples to flesh out the kit. A snare seems like a must to me and some other hihat sounds and cymbal crashes would help too.

Other Thoughts:

I'll have to listen again later to see if I have any other critiques. The drums really made it difficult for me to appreciate the other things you have going on here. That said, you do have some good stuff, so don't give up! I think with some TLC on the drums you can really make this mix shine.

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MOD REVIEW

Ooo, this is one of my favorite sources from that soundtrack - too bad the source suffers from being so damn short and repetitive. It makes it a tricky one to work with (though Zircon and Tyler Heath did a pretty damn good run of it about a decade ago). Let's see where you took it this time around. ;)

Alright, I see how you're approaching the harmonies on this. Very nice blending of those harmonies - they actually create some really cool vertical sounds. The production is relatively good in this track too (save for the moment when everything comes in halfway through - the track clips in that section).

The melody could use some better interpretation. At the moment, it's repeated verbatim over the harmony in a rather repetitive manner above the cool harmonic stuff below. The last third has some neat things going on with the melody (sounds a lot like Unreal, actually), but that gets old after the first or second iteration, unfortunately.

The drums, as mentioned earlier, really drag this song down. It's not the quality that's the problem, per se - it's just the plodding path that they take in a song like this. The atmospheric setup doesn't fit the drum style that you have going here. It's like you have drums for the sake of having drums; it would be better to not have any at all (and even better to have drums that fit the style and pace of the arrangement).

Be careful with the melodic instruments in this track - they are often the source of clipping that come up in this track. Take a look at them and see if you can balance them better in the mix, since they stand too much in the foreground, as well. Getting the melodies balanced in the mix could kill two birds with one stone.

The biggest issue with this track, though, is the lack of direction or form throughout. It builds up to the point halfway in the track, then just doesn't feel like you knew where to take the track afterword. This give the track a meandering feel that just doesn't sound engaging. If you want to have sections that sound like different sections, you'll need to change how the harmonies are arranged, and creatively make a 'new' section using motives from the theme. I mentioned that this source is tricky - this is particularly the reason why it's tricky.

If you want this one on OCR, fix the drums and melody issues, for sure, but also consider balancing the arrangement better, making a build-up no more than a quarter of the piece, and figure out a way to make a development section after the theme is presented that gives the form some substance. Best of luck, and nice choice for a source :)

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