Emunator

OCR03390 - *YES* Nier 'Kainé Absolution'

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Hello, OCR!

Round 2 for the wubsteps! Although it's more like Melodic or Harmonic dubstep now, I think. Seriously though. NieR. It's all I have to say, or should say. Probably, IMO, the best soundtrack of 2010 easily, and quite possibly one of the very best of the entire last generation. Keiichi Okabe didn't just knock it out of the park with this soundtrack, he knocked the park out of the city and into orbit.

Ever since 2010 we had the idea of remixing one of the songs, specifically this one (Kainé theme) but honestly, the mere thought of it depressed us. How could we ever top it? Well, we can't. We realised that this month and just decided to go with it and honor/tribute to it as best as we can. Luckily we had help! Katskachi is an amazing vocalist who, initially, made me think she just grabbed an acapalla from the void in the internet and sped it up. Really talented individual for sure. Couldn't have done this without her!

Details:

  • Your ReMixer name: Digital Element a.k.a. DigiE.
  • Your real names: Maurice Willems & Sanjay Sampatsing.
  • Your email address: 
  • Your User ID: 2761
  • Additional details:
    • Name of game(s) arranged: NieR (PS3, Xbox360).

      Name of individual song(s) arranged

      : Kainé Escape, Kainé Salvation

      -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gilH6f2hHk (Escape)

      -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDftyQ96ZVs (Salvation)

    • Your own comments about the mix, for example the inspiration behind it, how it was made, etc.

      Since the song is in 3/4, drum and bass turned out to be a challenge we couldn't tackle. Dubstep is more suitable for this since the rhythm is pretty slow, but 'violent' or rather, has a big impact. Since the source itself is such a melodic brilliance of a thing, it seemed like mixing dubstep with orchestral backing and slowing it down (yet speeding it up more than the original, how about that) would work out nicely. We think it kind of did. We hope you agree!

    It feels weird writing this. It feels weird knowing we tried to remix NieR. I say tried, because I'll never accept whether it's any good or not. We like the song, we like the result, sure, but the source is too god-tier to believe it actually accomplished anything. But again, we hope it did!

    Enjoy the song, guys and girls! <3

    Remix Name: Kainé Absolution.
     

    With kind regards,

    DigiE.

     

     

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Hey dudes! Love your previous work, and I firmly agree that Nier has one of the most mindblowing soundtracks of any game from any modern game console. It's really beyond incredible and I'm glad that you guys were inspired and brave enough to tackle it.

I got excited when I first downloaded this becuase I've heard some really effective melodic dubstep lately that fuses beautiful vocals and lush soundscapes with aggressive basslines and pounding drums. Listening to your track, I think you absolutely nailed 1 those things, did a solid job with 2 of them, but fell a bit short on the remaining one. I'll go into more detail on each of those points below.

The vocals are absolutely on-point, and I have no complaints there. Katskachi nailed the performance, especially the accent, and like you said, it's difficult to believe this wasn't an officially-released acapella. I'd like to see them mixed a bit more loudly and possibly with touch of a grand concert hall reverb to give it just a bit more of an epic feel, but that component of the mix was a slam dunk in my opinion.

The drums are solidly produced and varied, not much to say in that respect! The hi-hats are the only part that stick out to me as rigid, maybe a little massaging of the velocities would help that part not stick out so badly.

The dubstep wubs and fills are a little bit generic, it's a bit of a mixed bag but I feel like your bass work is serviceable at its core. Nothing that I haven't heard before, but I think it works here on a writing level. The mixing poses some problems that I will get into a bit later.

The one part of this track that I think is really lacking is the rest of the soundscape... To be blunt, it's pretty empty most of the time and I can't help but think how amazing this would sound with some lush, evolving pads to fill things out. The part of your mix that I think got the closest was from 2:48 - 3:04, where you begin to introduce some string swells and choral vocals, but even that felt like it was missing a strong low-end presence to fill out the track. Most of your padding elements play only in high octaves and are mixed very quietly, and it feels like you missed an opportunity to make a really detailed, texturally-compelling remix.

Conversely, I think your bass mixing is way too loud and up-front... there's very little subtlety, even for the genre. The normal bass that fills out the track when the aggressive bass isn't present, however, is relatively quiet and lacking in sub-bass frequencies, so those portions of the track feel even emptier by comparison.

A quick nitpick - the strings work fine as a backing element, but the articulation when they take over lead-duty from 3:05 - 3:29 is not very realistic at all. A patch with a more natural articulation and a quicker attack would suit you better for that section. The lack of humanization is hurting that section, unfortunately.

I'm going to link to a reference track that you may or may not be familiar with - take a listen to this and compare the depth of texture with your mix and I think you should see what I mean. I know you're not going for exactly the same sound, but in my opinion, if you could achieve more of a balanced soundscape like this, with the dubstep bass mixed lower (but still audible) a more dominant sub-bass presence when the wubs aren't involved, and more thought put into fleshing out the rest of your track out through pads, delay, or other effects, you'd have an absolute monster of a remix on your hands.

I certainly don't want to imply that your track needs to be on this level in order to pass our panel. However, right now the thin soundscape and overly-loud bass patches are not doing proper justice to your vision here, IMO, and hopefully having a track to reference might better explain what I'm getting at with my feedback than words can.

Hope this wall of text isn't too intimidating or discouraging - on the contrary, I see a LOT of potential in your mix and a strong foundation, especially with the amazing vocal performance. As an avid listener of your previous mixes, I know you can create some very full-sounding mixes (your Phoenix Wright arrangement comes to mind) and I'd love to see you take a second pass at this with some of this feedback in mind. If this doesn't end up passing the panel and you're willing to revisit, feel free to reach out to me directly and I'd be happy to provide more personal, specific input on this track! :-)

Good luck!

NO (resubmit!!!)

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The criticisms first: Not feeling the drums first used at :35; when they came in more fully at :44, the high-end sizzle was too loud and too much; take some of the edge off that so it's not so overpowering. Sounds like the track's clipping/distorting in some places (e.g. :54, 1:37). During the chorus at 1:03, I felt the kick pattern was bland and left the track feeling empty, BUT it would have made sense if the backing writing became more complex and sophisticated later. Unfortunately, at 1:46 when I expected that next level of development, it didn't happen.

 

2:46 was another point where the core percussion should have shifted beyond just plodding timekeeping. I agreed with Emunator on the exposed string articulations from 3:05-3:29. If the strings had been louder, it would have been worse, because they sounded pretty fake. The strings should have been louder, but also more realistic re: the timing. That said, they currently weren't that loud. At 3:31, it sounded like the vocals needed some brief de-essing.

 

Onto the positives: Firstly, Katskachi is a marvelous vocalist, and I hope we hear more great things from her. Despite issues with wanting more creative, less static percussion patterns, and having some problems with the mixing, the arrangement was still above the line, IMO, and the production issues weren't dealbreakers, they were just things that could be addressed to take this to the next level. Emunator certainly had some good in-depth analysis, and I agreed that if the mixing were more like Blackmill and Veela's "Let It Be," that would be great as far as the track having more body. However, I think NOing what's in place right now is making the perfect the enemy of the good. There's already a creative, transformative, reasonably-executed arrangement here. It could be spiced up further and cleaned up some, but I think it's important to make it clear that that's NOT where the line is.

 

YES

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Nice dubstep mix with great vox. You’ve done a good job in taking the original piece and making it your own.


 


Just going to drop a couple of nitpick points:


 


-IMO the vox should be louder. I’m not going to knock the track back for that, but it feels like the vocals were pushed back in the mix unnecessarily, which is weird because it was a great high quality performance.


 


-I think some of your wubs could’ve evolved more sonically - it sounded like some of them were just sampled, chopped up and sequenced in different orders, which become more apparent as the track went on. It’s not a biggie, but evolving your sounds so they’re not appearing to begin at the same start point each time they play would strengthen the mix even more.


 


-There was a bit of unpleasant distortion/clipping occasionally when louder parts hit, but the event of those were few and far between. Something to consider when doing your mastering.


 


Otherwise a solid mix, just wish those vox were louder.


 


YES


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I agree with most of the crits of my fellow judges.  The vox are wonderful, but they are competing with the upper end of the bass and with the backing arp.  The vox are not only too quiet, but the other elements need to be eq'd and/or automated in volume so they NEVER step on the vox's toes, frequency-wise.  The singing is glorious!  Great glitching and fx too.

 

Drums are mixed too up front.  The backing arp gets repetitive, the beats could use some more excitement at some point.  I don't feel the need to restate the other mixing crits given above, they are all relevant and accurate.

 

Too good not to pass though!  So much win, I'm really enjoying this track.   I gotta pass it just for doing a dubstep mix in 3/4.  :-P

 

YES

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The vocals are excellent, I wish they were louder. They sit a little too much inside the rest of the mix.

 

Great idea going the half-time dubstep approach with a 3/4 time song. Ends up sounding like a beautifully aggressive waltz.

 

I love Nier's soundtrack and this is a great tribute. Really wonderful interpretation of the theme, fantastic forward momentum that keeps pushing and pushing. Other Js have production crits which are certainly valid, but overall there's a clean, uncluttered sound to this piece that I really like. It could have gotten ugly, but it didn't.

 

Loving this. YES!

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