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Dream of the shore- aquatic downtempo


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Greetings from magfest :) hopefully someone still finds time to give some feedback. I made this for the 10th anniversary round of the PRC. This is first remix I've made that I really really WANT to see completed. Although the plan changed as I was working on it, i settled on a more aquatic vibe, which I hope comes through.

https://soundcloud.com/jesse-mitchell-3/edge-of-the-dream-dream-of-the

someone said it gets a bit repetative near the end, so maybe ill have to fix that. It also might not be long enough, i cant decide.

Edited by Esperado
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Actually, I feel like it's the intro that drags on too much. 0:11-1:11 is the same few bars over and over again, and then it repeats again at 1:40-2:13 and 2:40-2:52. Honestly the arrangement doesn't hold my interest at all.

The lead is also too quiet throughout. The backing seems fairly solid to me.

Could we get a source link?

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Pretty sure this is the source.

I wouldn't say I'm as far on the repetitive side of the fence as MindWanderer is, but I'm still nearby. If it were really that repetitive, a lot of trance tracks wouldn't make it on OCR. :grin:

I think what this needs is a sense of development and a clearer dynamic curve. Try developing the fuller parts more slowly over what is already there. For example, if you have section A and section B each of lengths 1 minute, where A is mezzo piano and B is forte, try making it so it sounds like section A and A', each 30 seconds, where A' is mezzo forte, and section B and B', each 30 seconds, where B is not quite forte but B' is forte. Draw it out so it seems like it's developing the whole entire time, but keep it based on the same length of time so that it doesn't feel that long. By those dynamics, I don't mean literally automating volumes to add swelling, but knowing what to add onto the complexity and what to take out.

To be more specific with your remix, 0:00 - 0:24 sounds fine. 0:24 - 0:47 would need some refinement on the progression to seem less repetitive to more people. Maybe change the notes at 0:24 - 0:36 to sound more arpeggiated and pulsing, and bring a different instrument to the forefront at 0:36 - 0:47. Perhaps the piano could be louder there, and/or changed to something different because of what I want to say for 1:11.

1:11 sounds like it could be a breakdown section, so maybe you could simplify the bass sequencing (bass-like notes, less large jumps, but feel free to go Jaco a bit), change the rhythm of whatever lead you want to use to something that makes you feel more suspended (something ethereal, like just quarter notes or something), and/or perhaps change the saw arp in the background to a sine arp (something that is soft with few harmonics is easier to mix it in quietly)? Maybe you could highlight the melody from 0:13 - 0:46 in the source more prominently right after that section. Right now the instrumentation makes it sound "the same" as the rest of the track (even though it doesn't to me, it could to other people).

It's not too long, but if you're going to keep this length, it would be worth it to work on that sense of progression. Maybe this will inspire you. I do want to see this finished, and if you want, I'd be willing to collaborate to either replace some sounds or polish the production. :) Your pads sound much better now though.

Edited by timaeus222
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Pros:

I really like the synthy brass instruments you have playing the initial chord arps/stabs. In fact, the general sound of the song really does it for me. It sounds almost ethereal with a little bit of an edge. I love the atmosphere! Especially that wobbly pitched synth. The piano really lends itself well on top of the synth sounds you have. I can't say any more how much I enjoy the sound.

The drums give this an easy groove and I think the sound you have achieved with the drums really complements the rest of the track. I found myself bobbing my head while listening to this mix.

Cons:

Stylistically the mix is a solid adaptation from the original source, but I worry that the progression and chord structure would keep this too much like the source to be considered as an OCR track. It is somewhat repetitive, but it's to be expected (to a degree) in this genre. There are many clever things you can do to keep it refreshing even if it is repetitive.

I think what this needs is a sense of development and a clearer dynamic curve. Try developing the fuller parts more slowly over what is already there.

I think timaeus hit the nail on the head here. He's got a lot more suggestions in his reply that offer some very specific changes that could really help you elevate this mix above the rest. It's on the edge of something to really capture the listener, but it's not quite there yet.

Other Thoughts:

This is good stuff. The sounds you have and the mixing sounds pretty solid. With some attention to the arrangement and progression (as mentioned earlier by timaeus), this thing can really take flight and garner some serious consideration for OCR.

I hope to hear more soon!

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Okey doke, so right off the bat the thing that strikes me is the balancing. It seems like everything is relatively even volume-wise, which has this odd dichotomy of making the track feel very understated while also causing things to fight for the listener's attention

It's a common problem, it took me forever to figure out that not everything needs to be consciously heard. Subtlety is key, and while this balancing advice seems like more of a production critique, it actually plays a huge part in arrangement and composition because of how it affects the listeners' focus and in turn their perception of how the piece develops

You've also got like 3 things occupying similar space with the piano, chippy lead, and the arpy chordal synth stuff, so everything's fighting for that same frequency space to deepen the issue. At 1:38 you layer that chordal synth with a higher frequency bell, which is GREAT because it helps separate that part out from the rest of the instrumentation by occupying different frequency space. But then the piano comes back in to bridge the momentary frequency gap between the chip and the chordal stuff, and it makes the mid-higher register sound kinda smeary, if you know what I mean

(I know I said I was going to give you some arrangement feedback, and I promise I have a point with all this)

So yeah, with the track as a whole: the biggest reason it fails to adequately develop because there's no main lead line for the listener to latch onto. With everything balanced the same, everything is heard, but nothing stands out. The lead is, in my opinion, the most important piece of the puzzle - it's what will give a piece it's staying power. Pretty much everything else can be underplayed to some degree, except maybe the bass, because it should be occupying different frequency space (and because of how important the bass is for progressions, which in turn can give a melodic line even more staying power by backing it strongly and/or interestingly)

The bass also plays a critical role in song development because it's holding down the base (no pun intended) of the chord, which is the most important part of the implied feel of that chord (no matter how many other tones you have, whether the chord is a triad or a 13th chord). My main suggestion for you is to decide what you want the listener to latch onto, and emphasize that. Then, work the other parts around it, whether that means switching octaves, switching instruments, or slotting the EQ on the other instruments. Hope that's helpful!

Edited by Phonetic Hero
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It's a common problem, it took me forever to figure out that not everything needs to be consciously heard. Subtlety is key, and while this balancing advice seems like more of a production critique, it actually plays a huge part in arrangement and composition because of how it affects the listeners' focus and in turn their perception of how the piece develops

...

except maybe the bass, because it should be occupying different frequency space (and because of how important the bass is for progressions, which in turn can give a melodic line even more staying power by backing it strongly and/or interestingly)

The bass also plays a critical role in song development because it's holding down the base (no pun intended) of the chord, which is the most important part of the implied feel of that chord (no matter how many other tones you have, whether the chord is a triad or a 13th chord). My main suggestion for you is to decide what you want the listener to latch onto, and emphasize that. Then, work the other parts around it, whether that means switching octaves, switching instruments, or slotting the EQ on the other instruments. Hope that's helpful!

Just wanted to mention that I agree with these points, and shall elaborate on these points.

When you don't consciously hear something, it just means you don't hear it the first time through, usually. It isn't the most obvious instrument playing, nor is it obvious enough to the general/common/casual listener. Some examples are hi hats and misc. ear candy. There will most often be times where if hi hats are too loud, they could distract the listener from, say, the harmonies or the melody.

The bass does form the base of each chord in a progression, though it is not always going to rhythmically correspond in the number of notes and/or their timing. For example, one bass note can cover 1 or MORE implied chords, depending on the intended elongation of the current base note (which isn't always the tonic), i.e. to maintain interest on long sustains. One of the hardest parts of arrangement is being able to hear what you want to hear in your head and writing it out as closely to what you heard as possible before it escapes your mind. A good exercise is to try creating a chord progression that corresponds to a melody with a corresponding bass line. There will be multiple possibilities, so there isn't one concrete answer. ;)

Edited by timaeus222
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