DarkeSword

Mega Man X: The Sigma Fortress Remix Gauntlet 2015

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Heh, I guess hardly knowing music theory has its positive sides too; at least I don't get confused about scales and keys ;)

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Heh, I guess hardly knowing music theory has its positive sides too; at least I don't get confused about scales and keys ;)

At least it's better than knowing enough to figure some things out, but being confused as soon as things don't go the way they're "supposed to go"

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At least it's better than knowing enough to figure some things out, but being confused as soon as things don't go the way they're "supposed to go"

Maybe that sums up how I feel about music theory, somehow to me it feels like an after-the-fact explanation of 'hey, what did I just do?'. I definitely see the value in having theory that explains why things are the things they are, but not playing an instrument and relying on ears and 12 notes in an octave probably skewed my perception...

Anyway, it'd be good for me to learn a bit more music theory at some point, as well as (re-)learning score and a shitload of other stuff. Choices, choices :)

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Thanks for the review. It is a very strange song for sure and everything you said about it is true. The second source always ruins my arrangement too. Any tips on what kind of mindset I should have when incorporating both themes? After making both songs match keys I'm at a loss as to how to go about successfully integrating the two. It's always been a problem for me.

 

 

I just looked at the source track link I sent in from Audicity and it says it is 2 channel at 44100 kHz with some wierd mono tracks at (1:28 to 2:09) also in 44100 kHz. The bass is way too loud from 1:28 to 2:09. Something must be messed up in my project.

 

I've been meaning to get back to you, but couldn't find your post, lol.  On the whole your arrangement feels really chaotic.  The dynamics on the drums go all over the place, and so do the melodies.  I think that would explain why it made me feel uneasy.  There doesn't really seem to be much semblance of song structure either.

 

The drums themselves are really boomy.  The problem this creates is that rather than emphasize a rhythm that drives the song, the drums are just kind of there in the background muddying up the harmonic textures going on.  You can make drums punchier by using compression intelligently and placing your microphones closer.  Also eliminate as much reverb as you possibly can.  You don't seem to have a proper type of mic for the kick setup, so the punchiness isn't coming through at all.

 

The melodies in the song just seem to go all over the place constantly.  You should always place emphasis on a single melody, and use the other instruments in the mix as backing instruments to make the main one stand out more.  Your bass need to interact and compliment the drums to drive the song.  I think your bass has too much distortion on it muddying it up so it doesn't really establish any rhythm.

 

Then again maybe you were going for a chaotic/ambient sort of style.  Unfortunately I think a lot of people are going to find it very hard to appreciate that sort of thing in this compo.

 

Listening again it sounds like a lot of things are being compressed together very badly.  A word of advice, don't ever apply a master compressor until the very end during final mastering.  You should always fix issues in the arrangement first, THEN apply EQ to individual instruments to separate them.  Finally when you're trying to get rid of an occassional peak in the final mix you can apply some light compression.  To be honest when I mixed this week I didn't EQ anything until Friday or Saturday after my entire arrangement was already finished.  All I did pretty much was balance the loudness on everything.  As a result mixing and mastering was super quick and easy.

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Maybe that sums up how I feel about music theory, somehow to me it feels like an after-the-fact explanation of 'hey, what did I just do?'. I definitely see the value in having theory that explains why things are the things they are, but not playing an instrument and relying on ears and 12 notes in an octave probably skewed my perception...

Anyway, it'd be good for me to learn a bit more music theory at some point, as well as (re-)learning score and a shitload of other stuff. Choices, choices :)

Yeah, it actually IS supposed to be used to explain music after-the-fact, to get an idea of what the composer did and how one could accomplish something similar. I don't actually formally think about music theory while I write.

 

Also, @ GLL: I tend to mix as I go, so that I can hear things in context. I feel like if I mixed at the end, it would drastically influence my sound selection.

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Yeah, it actually IS supposed to be used to explain music after-the-fact, to get an idea of what the composer did and how one could accomplish something similar. I don't actually formally think about music theory while I write.

 

Also, @ GLL: I tend to mix as I go, so that I can hear things in context. I feel like if I mixed at the end, it would drastically influence my sound selection.

 

The problem with mixing as you go is that if problems result from arrangement issues (for example, trying to put 6 instruments into the same octave), you just wasted all that time for nothing trying to mix them all.  Mixing is so much easier when everything already makes sense in the arrangement.

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The problem with mixing as you go is that if problems result from arrangement issues (for example, trying to put 6 instruments into the same octave), you just wasted all that time for nothing trying to mix them all.  Mixing is so much easier when everything already makes sense in the arrangement.

Well, I guess it works for me because I've been refining my sound selection instincts over several years; I've been mixing as I go since 2013. I just pick sounds that I feel go together in EQ, timbre, and stereo width. For example, I wouldn't pick a supersaw and match it up with a noise sweep and a thick detuned saw wave pad. Too much treble going on.

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ladyWildfire, I strongly urge you to get someone to spit some rhymes over Tribal Hunter if you decide to sub to OCR. The beat is too good and is practically begging for someone to rap over it.

Sounds like a great idea! I'd love to perform it myself, but I'm not really the best lyricist, so if anyone wants to volunteer some help that'd be fantastic!

I may know some people that specialize in that sort of thing ;)

I haven't checked out any of the tracks yet, but will do so tonight!

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Sounds like a great idea! I'd love to perform it myself, but I'm not really the best lyricist, so if anyone wants to volunteer some help that'd be fantastic!

 

If Jason and I have time we could probably help.  I'm pretty good at rapping, and Jason is fantastic with lyrics.

 

By the way Overclocked Collective is pretty damn awesome.

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I believe the the Collective refers to the OC Jazz Collective (who are also awesome)! The hip-hop group is OverClocked Assembled. :)

Indeed. Too many OverClockeds :P

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The problem with mixing as you go is that if problems result from arrangement issues (for example, trying to put 6 instruments into the same octave), you just wasted all that time for nothing trying to mix them all.  Mixing is so much easier when everything already makes sense in the arrangement.

 

 

Well, I guess it works for me because I've been refining my sound selection instincts over several years; I've been mixing as I go since 2013. I just pick sounds that I feel go together in EQ, timbre, and stereo width. For example, I wouldn't pick a supersaw and match it up with a noise sweep and a thick detuned saw wave pad. Too much treble going on.

 

Both of you are right, and also not.  When it comes to mixing and how people do it, there's no right way, there are better ways for different people.  I've heard conflicting arguments over the years from producers working on million dollar pop/rock/edm productions.  There are general guidelines you can pick up and apply them to your work but when it comes to workflow it's all pretty subjective.  Some producers and sound engineers even have widly different approaches to mixing and mastering depending on genre or even the particular song being worked on.  Also there are really very few "don'ts" in production and the very example timaeus presented is something somebody can easily pull off.

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ladyWildfire, I strongly urge you to get someone to spit some rhymes over Tribal Hunter if you decide to sub to OCR. The beat is too good and is practically begging for someone to rap over it.

I might be down for this too. You've got a lot of talent at your disposal.

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Both of you are right, and also not.  When it comes to mixing and how people do it, there's no right way, there are better ways for different people.  I've heard conflicting arguments over the years from producers working on million dollar pop/rock/edm productions.  There are general guidelines you can pick up and apply them to your work but when it comes to workflow it's all pretty subjective.  Some producers and sound engineers even have widly different approaches to mixing and mastering depending on genre or even the particular song being worked on.  Also there are really very few "don'ts" in production and the very example timaeus presented is something somebody can easily pull off.

I tend to think of it this way: if you write it and you know you can mix it, even if someone else couldn't conceive of making those sound selections, give it a shot. You CAN mix a supersaw, noise sweep, and detuned saw pad together, but it can be difficult to pull off. I just don't do it because I have a bias against supersaws. :-P Sometimes I hear "don't write two bass lines at the same time!", but I've layered the sound of a slap bass and a dubstep bass together before; I couldn't just use the Layer tool in FL since the slap bass had keyswitches (meaning I couldn't write one bass line and assign the same exact one to two instruments without clashing), so I had to EQ them manually, and y'know, it worked IMO. B)

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Warning:  The following reviews are influenced by the consumption of alcohol and in no way reflect the views and opinion of team Rock Hard Mandrills
 
ladyWildfire
 
Lots of really big neat sounds in this one.  Solid arrangement, big beats and some catchy grooves in this one.  Although I felt like the arrangement could have used more, maybe some emotional instrumental solos or some vocals.

 

I'll keep this in mind if I clean this up. I spent a ton of time on the production and mastering, and a lot of the source ended up being a late addition within an hour of submitting it. 

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You actually need at least 19 simultaneous basses playing if you ever want to get a full sounding mix.

Just use basses for everything, especially percussion

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My reviews for this week. I'm not feeling well, so I'm afraid it's not that nuanced or detailed.

 

KingTiger feat. bLiNd - IT'S NOT URSUS:

Some Crescent Grizzly in the intro; intro doesn't do a lot for me, the low-fi to regular sound is a bit too long I think and there's too little builing up in my opinion. However, the drop is effective. Variation on the last part of the X-Hunter stage, with the mix sitll feeling a bit empty. Mix loses its energy at 1:20, for a long build-up. At 2:05 it kicks back a bit again, without the build-up having lead to much. Another drop at 2:33, with - again less energy. I feel like you've had three consecutive build-ups without a real pay-off. Build-up at again leads to a drop at 3:23, but this time it flows into a part with more energy. However, the continuation of the same dominant bass note/chord and the standard beat doesn't give this a climactic feel I expected after such a build-up. The part at 4:23 finally has some other parts of the X-Hunter stage; parts with different chords. However, since you don't use the primary notes (I have no idea how to call it differently), it also lacks a bit of the energy. Furthermore, since the bass note/chord stays the same, it doesn't really mesh well.

 

I think this mix really misses dynamics, a better structure and energy. It doesn't sound bad, but it's not going anywhere

 

6.5/10 

 

Darren Smith - VAAM:

 

Wow, this is glitchy and... weird. A bit too chaotic for my taste, but is certainly has a unique vibe. I have a feeling some of the drums are a bit off in timing; which makes it hard to listen to. I think that the transition to Blast Hornet at 1:09 doesn't flow that well. Crescendo at 1:22 works well. Those low frequencies are flooding my headphones a bit but that could be just my headphones. Oooh I like the final part, nice contrast between the instruments and feeling of the rest of the song. Wow, ending is VERY sudden.

 

Very unique sound, but a bit too unstructured for my taste. I hate to evaluate something with something as subjective as that as conclusion, but it just didn't feel cohesive with a clear goal.

 

7/10

 

Jorito - (Don't Wanna) Hurt You:

 

Setting the vibe right away, with the choice of bass synth and the ominous feeling. Excellent layering of intruments so far (this is 0:41). Good transition into Gravity Beetle, while still swtiching dynamics there. Bridge at the 1-minute mark is well done, with a bit less energy, followed by a sudden burst into a fast-paced part with a nice blend of mixes, which I really liked (the transition)! I felt like the drums needed to go double-time at 2:11 to give a better climactic feeling (this is true for the following parts as well). Aside from that, the Rick Astley-vocoder-parts mix nicely with the rest ;) Ending is too sudden for me in this mix as well.

 

Great mix, nice build-up, altought the climax (the last minute or so) really needed a change in drums and more building up, since it's such a long climax. 

 

8/10

 

ladyWildfire - Tribal Hunter:

 

Nicely built-up, and a nice vibe you're going for. The X-Hunter theme is nicely altered so it meshes really well. I also like the new chord progression. Can't make out much of the Splash Warfly theme out, but that could be because I'm not too familiar with the theme. The birdge is nicely done, altough if you were really going for a tribal feeling you should've used different percussion instruments here. I feel like the part starting from the 2-minute mark are missing some additional instrumentation, a carrying instrument (or vocals as some have already suggested).

 

Awesome vibe, great rearrangement of the X-Hunter theme to fit it. The last part feels like it's missing something though

 

8/10

 

Ghetto Lee Lewis feat. Jason Covenant & WillRock - Caffeine Shoveling Hunter Turtloids:

 

After listening to your Maverick theme I already heard some similarities between it and the X-Hunter theme, so this should be good ;) Classic trance intro, works well, although I don't like the sound of the drums there; they're a bit flat. They're good after the intro though. Nice transition into the vocals, works really well. I feel like the decrease in energy comes too swiftly. The build-up afterwards with the guitar works really well, building further up with a small chiptune part, which makes a re-entry in the climax (which I like). Climax also should've lasted a bit longer imo. Nice piano ending (although the last chord is a bit cheesy).

 

Great mix, you've really used your team members' skills well. Great energy, nice blending of sources and good structure. Build-down comes a bit too soon and ending aswell, in my opinion.

 

8.5/10

 

Amphibious - Cloud Hopping:

 

I like the groove you're going for, it fits your Maverick theme well. Drums and bass are nicely done, and you somehow made the phased e. piano clearly audible while not cnosuming everything which I always find very hard to do :P nice dynamics throughout. Good variations in the lead instruments as well, without it being distracting. I also like the creative use of the X-Hunter theme, it works really well!

 

Very well done, the style really fits the Maverick theme well and the X-Hunter theme has been creatively rewritten so it blends in perfectly. Lots of dynamics going on, really keeps in interesting. Awesome job!

 

9/10  

 

Anorax - Soaked Tapes:

 

Also going for the groove, curious to find out what happens. Oh I am not fond of the instrument that sets in at 0:19... it sounds midi'ish and the timing is a bit off (since it has a build up). The synths afterwards also lack some depth and could be of more quality (especially the ones in the background). There are some timing issues in the 0:40 - 1:00 part. Hmm, this needs a change in pace of dynamics. I am also not fond of the out-of-tune later on. And I'm not really hearing any of the two themes in there. Sorry to be so negative :(

 

Not fond of this one; I think the instruments aren't good, there are a few timing issues, the piece needs more dynamics and I have a hard time recognizing the themes.

 

5/10

 

Usa feat. Sir_NutS - Laser Power:

 

I like the ambient intro, very á la aquatic themes (also caused by the high amount of reverb). Sudden transition works very well, with still "aquatic" sounding instruments accompanying the guitar. Transition to the X-Hunter theme works very well. I was going to say the the X-Hunter theme was very straightforward, but the synth part afterwards nicely solves that problem :) original stuff also works well, keeping in line with the overall feel but also having different instrumentation and dynamic. Ending is kinda sudden and the song feels a bit too short.

 

Nicely done, good dynamics, nothing too fancy with the themes and a bit soon and abrupt ending

 

8/10

 

Supercoolmike - A Centipede's Burden:

 

Hmmm interesting adaptation of the theme, but the dissonance is not really working for me. Glad you changed things at 0:44; the additional instrumentation at 1:00 works well, hoever I felt that a change in pace or energy was needed after this part. At the 2-minute part, the piece begins to drag on a bit. The entry of magna centipede at 2:20 doesn't flow really work, but it works. The inclusion of X-Hunter in the background is nice. The transition at 2:40 doesn't work well imo. The mix then further shifts to a very different feel, and again at 3:09 - it makes the mix feel a bit uncohesive. The change in pace at 3:30 is also an example of that. Ending is not that good either

 

Very creative writing with a unique feel. However, some choices do not work that well, the transitions later on in the mix don't work well imo and the mix misses a change in energy or dynamics to keep it really interesting all the way

 

6.5/10

 

The Hiryuu - A Blaze in the Northern Fortress:

 

Wow, this sounds muddy... the guitar are buried in... well nothing actually but they sounds miles away. The timing is really off and the high pitched synths are not really pleasant to listen to. Some synths are also really off-key and the songs feels like it's unintentionally sped up. I'm sorry for the negativety here, but it doesn't sound good to me unfortunatly :(

 

This song shows a lack of time: it's really muddy, timing's off, some parts are off-kley or do not mesh together and it sounds unnaturally fast.

 

4/10

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My reviews for this week. I'm not feeling well, so I'm afraid it's not that nuanced or detailed.
 
ladyWildfire - Tribal Hunter:
 
Nicely built-up, and a nice vibe you're going for. The X-Hunter theme is nicely altered so it meshes really well. I also like the new chord progression. Can't make out much of the Splash Warfly theme out, but that could be because I'm not too familiar with the theme. The birdge is nicely done, altough if you were really going for a tribal feeling you should've used different percussion instruments here. I feel like the part starting from the 2-minute mark are missing some additional instrumentation, a carrying instrument (or vocals as some have already suggested).
 
Awesome vibe, great rearrangement of the X-Hunter theme to fit it. The last part feels like it's missing something though
 
8/10
 

 

Splash Warfly comes in at 0:43, the start of each 2 bar phrase is from Splash, and the same phrases again at 2:43. Also, the vocal melodies at 1:17 and 3:17 are Splash too.

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