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Almost Valves (Tiberian Sun remix)


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Hi there. Here's my second track to post here on OCRemix. This time it's a remix of Valves from Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun. Haven't actually spent too long on this one as it seemed to come together rather quickly and, I think, sounds quite good (at least compared to other things I've done :P).

https://soundcloud.com/fraser-jennison/valves-remix

The original track Valves: http://youtu.be/8zZjdE6INo4

EDIT: I updated the link with a download.

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Well... It's kind of chaotic. Especially the first half managed to capture the Tiberian Sun feel very well, but after that , especially the cow-bell, it became annoying. And truth to be told... I stopped the track after 3:00, and up until that point I didn't hear much of the source except for that heavy synthesizer in the background. The guitar solo threw me off, as it was way too loud and overpowering, combined with the cow bells... Meh. I was kind of looking forward to the iconic tune (in the original starting at 0:23, after those heavy drums), which you featured for a very short time at the complete beginning but which didn't return. Somehow this track sounds like you mashed two TS scores together, with the light drums and hi-hat taking too much centre stage instead of heavy drums. I guess this just isn't working for me right now. Perhaps a sense of mission would be good for the track. Check out how the original track titles reflect a certain mood, and picture in what kind of setting you'd hear this music for the first time. If you can somehow translate that feeling to your mix, you might find that you've got a sense of where you're going. Not a pro talking, though, this is just how I feel about it.

I'll probably check back on this when you have a revision...

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especially the cow-bell

There is no cowbell so I'm not sure what you're referring to, especially at the beginning. There is a ride bell around 4:00 mark and onwards.

up until that point I didn't hear much of the source except for that heavy synthesizer in the background.
That is basically the bit of Valves that I like and wanted to use. Also the little tune that starts in Valves at 01:42 is the tune that is present during the whole beginning and end segment, with a slight variation.
The guitar solo threw me off, as it was way too loud and overpowering

I don't think it was too loud at all, the bass and synth riffs and the drums are definitely equally audible without being confusing, at least from my speakers and headphones.

I was kind of looking forward to the iconic tune (in the original starting at 0:23, after those heavy drums), which you featured for a very short time at the complete beginning but which didn't return.
Actually I never used that tune at all.

I don't think the purpose of this is to sound like the original, I just like parts of the original and wanted to create something using those however I do agree that the middle segment feels completely different to the early and end stuff. Although I quite the like the synth solo in the middle it is way too upbeat for the rest of the track.

I've done a much different take that changes the middle and end completely, incorporating a version of the Valves melody start at 0:23 like you mentioned and some kind of heavy drums segment. But... I also feel like it lacks something that a solo type thing provides so I'll just have another go at it.

Updated with an altered solo, slightly more conservative... and the new end segment I think makes the whole thing make more sense. The track still changes direction slightly in the middle but then flows onto the end much better, whereas previously it just went back to the beginning moody start.

Edited by OmegaBolt
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  • 3 weeks later...
I just want to bump this topic as I'd like to put it up for mod review. The final version is downloadable from Soundcloud in MP3 320kbps, but I can provide it in better quality if needed.

There's no truly better quality than that high of an encoding. In fact, 224 kbps is practically indistinguishable with a 16-bit 44.1 kHz WAV file.

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That's probably true but the waveform is slightly different to the uncompressed wave.

That's true, but while visually it's slightly different, listening for the differences, there's almost none, so you might as well save computer space and just render as 224. Hardly ever will you need 320 (I haven't, at least, in all the time I've written any music). Anyways, I'll give this a listen sometime soon.

Edited by timaeus222
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Well, here it is:

There is no guitar solo. :lol: It's not a guitar, it's a sync lead, and it's a synth. I can see how it can maybe be confused with a guitar, but it's 100% not a guitar. ;) The ride bell, as you call it, is indeed a ride bell and not a cow bell. Now that we've got that out of the way...

The most major issue in here is the lack of direction. The lead meanders and its melodic contour doesn't make sense... It sounds like you wrote one prolonged improvisation where you just did it all in one take, not knowing what you wanted to do next, and then kept the entire thing as it was. Not that you actually did that, but that's how it sounds to me. Mainly, what is the point of all those pitch bends? I think they're all excessively overdone and too randomly placed. I don't really have any desire to urge you to make this remix sound a lot like the original, because you don't have to, but it should sound more like the original than not.

The second biggest issue for me was the muddy bass mixing. The two basses do not work well together. The first bass sounds like a fake electric bass sound, and the second sounds like a detuned polyphonic sound. When you combine those with whatever those low timpani-like drums are, the harmonies clash in a not-so-good way, the frequencies pile up in the low-mids, and in my opinion, the arrangement flow was lost at 0:23 - 2:38. The harmonies just makes it sound random, all the way until it stops using those harmonies too prominently, which is about 2:04. At 2:04, the bass is just too loud and slightly clashes with the pad's harmonies.

The third biggest issue for me was the volume of certain things. As I said earlier, the detuned polyphonic bass is too loud. The sync lead (not guitar) that enters at 2:48 and stops playing weird stuff at 3:57 is what meanders during the track. Again, I think it sounds as if it was one long improvisation where you didn't know what you wanted to do next, but you kept all of what you did anyways. The cymbal at 3:57, 4:08, and so on is too loud, but the melody sounds a little more focused here. The lead that joins in at 4:20 and leaves at 4:44 is too loud and overpowering everything other than the other, sync lead. 4:44 goes back introducing more clashing harmonies. If I ignore the detuned polyphonic bass's contribution to the harmonies at 5:06 - 5:52, I think this section actually has some direction, but it sounds most like a buildup to me. 5:52 - 6:37 just sounds cluttered, though it appears to be a climax. What's there is too loud and everything there is fighting for attention. The ride bell's persistent, the lead is meandering again, the pad is pushing its boundaries, the bass is pushing the limiter (5:56, especially). What's past here is alright, and these parts are my favorite in here.

So overall, main issues:

- Lack of direction. The lead meanders and the clashing harmonies in most jam/groove-centric spots make those sections sound random.

- Muddy bass. The two basses together do not work, and only clash in harmonies and in the low-mids and bass frequencies.

- Lots of things are too loud in volume.

- The partwriting does not make these instruments complement each other, but fight each other for attention.

- The length of the remix could be cut down some to keep your ideas more concise, less repetitive, and less random. I think the lead meandering may be a result of you wanting to write too long and demanding sections in this.

Edited by timaeus222
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Thanks for the review, it's really helpful.

The lead meanders and its melodic contour doesn't make sense... It sounds like you wrote one prolonged improvisation where you just did it all in one take, not knowing what you wanted to do next, and then kept the entire thing as it was. ... Mainly, what is the point of all those pitch bends? I think they're all excessively overdone and too randomly placed. I don't really have any desire to urge you to make this remix sound a lot like the original, because you don't have to, but it should sound more like the original than not.
The original solo bit was different in fact a bit longer, so I picked the bits I liked and kept those. I don't think the pitch bends sound "randomly" placed to me, they're still in time. However I'm not sure the idea of that segment is to progress anywhere. I personally enjoy long solos in tracks after establishing a nice groove. They don't go anywhere but they're fun and indulgent to listen to. The difference here is I'm not very good, but I guess I'd like to try do those things that I like. :P The second half of the middle section that follows the solo is where it is intended to progress somewhere, since that takes the background arpeggio and builds up with it.
The second biggest issue for me was the muddy bass mixing. The two basses do not work well together. The first bass sounds like a fake electric bass sound, and the second sounds like a detuned polyphonic sound. When you combine those with whatever those low timpani-like drums are, the harmonies clash in a not-so-good way, the frequencies pile up in the low-mids, and in my opinion, the arrangement flow was lost at 0:23 - 2:38. The harmonies just makes it sound random, all the way until it stops using those harmonies too prominently, which is about 2:04. At 2:04, the bass is just too loud and slightly clashes with the pad's harmonies.
I'm not sure I can hear this at all, they don't sound muddy to me although maybe 1) you have a better ear. 2) you have a better speaker/headphone system that reveals things I can't hear. It sounds OK to me on my headphones, speakers and hi-fi.
The third biggest issue for me was the volume of certain things.What's there is too loud and everything there is fighting for attention. The cowbell's persistent, the lead is meandering again, the pad is pushing its boundaries, the bass is pushing the limiter (5:56, especially).
Again it doesn't sound like this to me. But as a note on the mixing, I've tried looking at various tracks that I like to see what their waveform looks like and maybe get a glimpse at their mixing. A lot of the tracks I like seem to have quite prominent cymbols and hi-hats etc in the mix, that counter the bassy low sound of the rest of it, but maybe they could be reigned in a tad. The cymbols are mostly annoying because the samples are quite bad, or not quite right.

Most of tracks I look at actually just go ahead and limit. I tried to take the queue of one track by applying a hard limit just to shave off the very top and hopefully prevent any distortion but after converting to MP3 that gets changed and it does distort. Not sure how I can accurately convert it over so this doesn't happen.

ObB42Gns.jpg?1

So overall, main issues:

- Lack of direction. The lead meanders and the clashing harmonies in most jam/groove-centric spots make those sections sound random.

- Muddy bass. The two basses together do not work, and only clash in harmonies and in the low-mids and bass frequencies.

- Lots of things are too loud in volume.

- The partwriting does not make these instruments complement each other, but fight each other for attention.

- The length of the remix could be cut down some to keep your ideas more concise, less repetitive, and less random. I think the lead meandering may be a result of you wanting to write too long and demanding sections in this.

If I can get my new FL Studio install to ready my VSTs then I'll give it another edit for sure.

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I honestly took notes as I listened to this and were taken in a linear fashion so here they are:

- Drum Placement is off sounding or just plain weird.

- The timpani that comes in when the drums come in causes masking issues with the bass making the timpani difficult to properly hear and it does not help that the drums mask the timpani hits.

- The limiting is quite audible in the large variances in instrument volume when other instruments come in.

- First few minutes are really quite excellent and the beginning of the lead section included.

- The cymbals are just too prominent.

- The synth solo makes little sense in context with the track. Perhaps tie it more melodically to the original track?

- The E.bass, synth bass, and lead that all play together have the issue of not complimenting each other well.

- Lovely pads.

- The Flanged/Phased drums create too much masking with the other instrumentation.

- Ending is actually quite good.

- The ride is too prominent.

The biggest issue I have is that you're edging very close to far too much masking. In the sense that instruments lose their place due to other instruments. This honestly to me seems like pretty much everyone's major gripes with the track. As for the cymbals. Personally I think they are just a couple of dB too loud. Turn them down a smidgen and all would probably be well.

Now, other than the solo really not making any sense in the context of the track I have to admit I rather like this. When it hits on all cylinders it really reminds me of playing Tiberan Sun and getting my base destroyed by Nod missiles. You got the feeling pretty much spot on and that is pretty darn cool.

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My bad, I said cowbell; meant to say ride bell. Anyways...

Thanks for the review, it's really helpful.

The original solo bit was different in fact a bit longer, so I picked the bits I liked and kept those. I don't think the pitch bends sound "randomly" placed to me, they're still in time. However I'm not sure the idea of that segment is to progress anywhere. I personally enjoy long solos in tracks after establishing a nice groove. They don't go anywhere but they're fun and indulgent to listen to. The difference here is I'm not very good, but I guess I'd like to try do those things that I like. :P The second half of the middle section that follows the solo is where it is intended to progress somewhere, since that takes the background arpeggio and builds up with it.

Of course, I'm perfectly fine with you doing this how you want... as long as it has direction, which is what I'm mostly emphasizing here. Every song has SOME sort of progression, no matter how stagnant it seems, and for me, this felt like it just gets to the solo parts, then the lead tells me to go back and forth between "let's keep going" and "no... wait... I gotta do something first, and then we gotta go back to where we started. One moment. ... Okay, NOW let's go back". What I think you wanted was for the lead to say, "okay, focus on me for now, and I'm gonna jam out while you bob your head" and then say, "alright, ready? We're going to move on... right... now."

By randomly placed, I mean that it sounds as if you suddenly said to yourself, in the middle of writing out the melody, "ooh, what would happen if I just did this right now?", but at an inopportune time in the partwriting. I'm not referring to the rhythmic error, but the randomness of why they were executed in that way in that spot in this remix. It's like someone talking normally for about five seconds, and then suddenly acting weird and yelling incessantly for about 5 seconds, and calming down in the next five seconds or something. That's the 'randomness' I'm hearing. I like groove too, but I honestly don't feel grooved here each time the lead does those wild pitch bends. :|

I'm not sure I can hear this at all, they don't sound muddy to me although maybe 1) you have a better ear. 2) you have a better speaker/headphone system that reveals things I can't hear. It sounds OK to me on my headphones, speakers and hi-fi.
Well, I'm hearing it for sure; I try to treat my observations with uncertainty, usually. For example, a tabla might sound like a conga. But this time there's nothing for me to be uncertain about. What headphones are you using? Try looking it up on http://www.headphone.com/pages/build-a-graph and posting the result. I have a feeling your headphones are low on bass response. If you wanted to know, these are the ones I was using when writing that previous post.

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=963&scale=30

Again it doesn't sound like this to me. But as a note on the mixing, I've tried looking at various tracks that I like to see what their waveform looks like and maybe get a glimpse at their mixing. A lot of the tracks I like seem to have quite prominent cymbols and hi-hats etc in the mix, that counter the bassy low sound of the rest of it, but maybe they could be reigned in a tad. The cymbols are mostly annoying because the samples are quite bad, or not quite right.
I used to analyze waveforms to guess how the balance was, saying bass waveforms are lower frequency and treble wave forms are higher frequency, but I wouldn't put too much stock into that. You can have a completely squashed waveform railing at 0 dB that sounds terrible because the whole song volume was raised until it got to that point (and possibly past that), and you can have a loud waveform railing at 0 dB due to good compression that sounds just right. I'm not saying forget about waveforms, but I don't think you should assume that just because it looks like what you have seen as good, that it actually sounds close to that. Use your ears more, rather than your eyes for this. (Railing in this case means pushing up against 0 dB for a long time)
Most of tracks I look at actually just go ahead and limit. I tried to take the queue of one track by applying a hard limit just to shave off the very top and hopefully prevent any distortion but after converting to MP3 that gets changed and it does distort. Not sure how I can accurately convert it over so this doesn't happen.

ObB42Gns.jpg?1

...What? What is a "track queue"? A regular "queue" is an abstract data type, like a restaurant reservation, or a "please hold" wait-in-line type of deal. Also, hard limiting cuts off the transients (for example, the loudest spike in a kick drum), so if you do that excessively, it can create a small static noise, which I don't think you would want. I would lower the volume of all the drums by about 2 dB, then apply some master compression sometime later so that everything gets raised somewhat evenly towards 0 dB and volumes are evened out a little more. If you DO do this, I would also suggest that you do not do any edits while the compressor is on, but turn the compressor off if you have more edits to do; the compression, if you do it, I would recommend you do last, so what you do to the mixing IS what you should hear. Edited by timaeus222
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  • 1 year later...
On 1/5/2015 at 12:35 PM, OmegaBolt said:

Hi there, have you seen great results from using the Male Extra?. Here's my second track to post here on OCRemix. This time it's a remix of Valves from Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun. Haven't actually spent too long on this one as it seemed to come together rather quickly and, I think, sounds quite good (at least compared to other things I've done :P).

https://soundcloud.com/fraser-jennison/valves-remix

The original track Valves: http://youtu.be/8zZjdE6INo4

EDIT: I updated the link with a download.

As a huge fan of C&C I have to say I liked your remix. It may not be perfect but it was fun to listen to.

Edited by Grebbo
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On 19/03/2016 at 10:18 AM, Grebbo said:

As a huge fan of C&C I have to say I liked your remix. It may not be perfect but it was fun to listen to.

Thanks! I might go back to this sometime in the future and do it better. Way back I reformated and none of the VSTs were linked up in the project file and it would've taken a lot of work to get back on track. The long break is probably a good thing though. My latest C&C one was an update to an old AOI remix you might like:

Currently doing a March to Doom mix as well, I'll see what happens with that.

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  • 2 months later...

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