DarkeSword

Mega Man X: The Sigma Fortress Remix Gauntlet 2015

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As I believe someone already mentioned, having a listening party is something that someone does out of the kindness of their hearts, maybe someone would be nice enough to collect the reviews into once place?

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Hey guys, due to some severe family related stuff I won't be remixing this week, Cash will be taking my place instead. 

 

Just to add to this, our plan is to have Supercoolmike remix in round 8, and Trism remix in the final round.

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Here are some reviews for you guys (Round 5).

 

KingTiger ~ Es-cop-ay

Great execution on the rapping; the words are clear. I kinda wish there were less words though, so some sort of instrumental portion can be incorporated that emphasized the source usage more prominently. I found the source usage to be hard to notice (and I prefer to listen to the track with the rap on it to give it a fair shake) since the rap is so prominent and busy. The production is pretty solid.

 

Cam3 - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Maverick

I actually get a spy-like feel from this, almost. Man, that kick is subby. Nice sync lead. I didn't find the arrangement to change gears that much though; to me it feels like you relied on the same groove the whole time, and so you could have incorporated a second, distinct energy level to the arrangement to give it a greater dynamic range.

 

evktalo feat. Jorito & Tuberz McGee - Subtle Haystack Tibulation

Nice ambitious arrangement. I like the varied textures you used, and these are particularly hard to mix together. Clean+distorted guitar with violin and organ... it's a bit too dense IMO, and could have used better separation, especially at 1:44 - 2:30. The frequencies just smoosh together and the harmonies become hard to hear. As a result, it was also hard for me to hear your source usage in its entirety. I still voted for this in the top 3 though, based on the pure guts you had doing it.

 

Garpocalypse - Straight Outta RAGE

I found the soundscape to be rather strange; you have a pretty upfront bass, distant padding, and distant leads. It's almost as if you were going for a chillout track of some sort, but I thought the important instruments were too distant, making the track feel... I guess, not busy enough. Try examining the amount of reverb you have on the piano at 2:48, for instance---that's a high decay time and low low-cut!

 

WillRock feat. Jason Covenant and Ghetto Lee Lewis - Palace Of The Beast

The orchestral instrumentation at the beginning was okay, but it was a bit stiff. I thought what came after, at 0:39, was much stronger. Unsure why there appeared to be so much reverb... I can hear the harmonies pretty well, but I also felt a high amount of ambience. How ironic---Will, now I'm the one telling you that you have too much reverb! :P The arrangement was definitely varied in energy and showed great understanding of dynamic range, so that convinced me to put this in my top 3. However, the orchestral portions and the piano part were fairly mechanical or tonally invariant, so I ended up putting you guys as #2. Props on the ambition though.

 

Amphibious - Chiral

This was a cool concept. To me it felt like glitch hop (or it could have been that). Personally I felt like it somewhat missed the mark on perceived production effort. Relative to general similar tracks, I thought the snare could have had more low-mids strength, the bass was rather plain, and the leads could have had more body. So basically, more substance to the soundscape, plz! :) The arrangement felt straightforward but certainly not low-effort. I think you should keep polishing this because I think it's fun to listen to. I also want to collab on this if you find the time. ;)

 

Anorax - Beached Whale in Miami

Cool glitched drums. Man, what is with people and subs this round? :P I do get that watery feel you were going for, though some instruments felt rather dry and stuck out, like the bells at 0:44. Also so short! :(

 

Usa - Requiem for a Reploid 

Woah, that first impact is too heavy. o.o And the track is quite loud, by like 2~4 dB. Surprisingly decent humanization on the orchestral instruments (although some of the pizzicato trilling was too quick to be human and some of the legato strings could have used more emphasized volume automation to increase the dynamic range a bit more). I love how expansive the arrangement is though. At 3:05, I kind of feel like I'm in a rocking ship in a stormy sea or something. Really, the main things holding this back for me were the overall volume, and the general handling of expression and dynamics of the orchestral instruments, and they weren't major issues. If you do sub this to OCR though, please fix those things! :) Great stuff, and voted it #1.

 

Cash - Victory at the Palace of Rejects

I do kind of get this party vibe, if that's what you were going for. You've definitely improved since last time. I dunno, I just thought the arrangement didn't have much going on. At 1:02, the melody felt rather random IMO. Keeping the whole track in a coherent key can be hard, and you are getting better at that, but there were still residual off-key portions unfortunately. At 2:09 and on, it felt to me like you ran out of ideas on a solo and just wrote something with an arp randomizer to begin with, and then wrote something to match that, IMO. :( Keep working at it!

 

Ivan Hakštok - Leap of Faith

Great work on this despite the amount of time you had to record/mix it. Personally I feel like this is in your comfort zone, so I just get this idea that you were playing it safe for the sake of time (which is understandable). It's why I thought this wasn't particularly stand-out relative to your other works, but it's solid work nevertheless. Straightforward rock with great solos. I can see Rock-lovers voting for this.

 

pu_freak - Rise of the Sigma

Seems you were going for kind of a dramatic tone with this. I thought the reverb amount was pretty high, and the low cut on the reverb could be higher to minimize low-end mud. The piano could also have more variation in tonal hardness to make it seem less mechanical---the timing I'm not so much worried about since you play piano. In terms of the soundscape, many of the important instruments are in the back for some reason (such as the organ and percussion). As a result, the whole track sounds oddly distant and tame when I think you meant it to be powerful and big-sounding.

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I appreciate Jameson, Darkesword, and you guys weighing in with ideas. As a compo host and participant myself in the past, striking a balance between all the responsibilities of everyone involved and keeping people motivated is tough. Voting and promotion are the things I've always struggled with the most. I like the idea of providing more feedback through the voting process, however I agree with NutS that even the current system is too complicated and restricted. I fully appreciate and agree with the desire to bring people to the forums to vote with the hope they'll stick around and get involved, but I'd argue if that's even working (if that's the intent). In each of these compos, it's always just (some of) the participants and a handful of forum regulars that vote. And as the rounds go on, voting consistently drops off. It seems that any automated process to encourage more people to vote and participate would be beneficial, however with the trade-off knowing there could be ballot stuffing if a public/social method was used for voting (which is a legitimate concern). For me personally, I struggle with keeping my motivation when there is little voting activity, little feedback (I also fully realize I haven't provided feedback, so I'm part of the problem), and little outside promotion/awareness of the competition. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that a large part of my motivation comes from trying to outdo the other competitors to get votes. I also realize I don't have any ideas or suggestions on how to make any of these things better, I'm merely stating my opinions and observations :)

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WillRock feat. Jason Covenant and Ghetto Lee Lewis - Palace Of The Beast

The orchestral instrumentation at the beginning was okay, but it was a bit stiff. I thought what came after, at 0:39, was much stronger. Unsure why there appeared to be so much reverb... I can hear the harmonies pretty well, but I also felt a high amount of ambience. How ironic---Will, now I'm the one telling you that you have too much reverb! :P The arrangement was definitely varied in energy and showed great understanding of dynamic range, so that convinced me to put this in my top 3. However, the orchestral portions and the piano part were fairly mechanical or tonally invariant, so I ended up putting you guys as #2. Props on the ambition though.

 

 

Thanks for the review! The reverb there was suppose to simulate a live environment. Apparently I overdid it? Oh well :P

 

That said, I do feel compelled to point out that the piano part was actually played live by Ghetto Lee Lewis. Could have been the playing style or possibly the sample? Wasn't sequenced tho.

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Taking a break between blocks to write reviews sounds great to me at least in theory. I really admire and appreciate everyone who has written reviews for rounds. I just don't seem to have the time to sit down and write down what I have in mind from listening (at least for me, it takes a lot of time & relistening).

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Please keep in mind that right now, the draft, the submissions gathering, the encoding, tagging, and uploading; the voting, vote collection, and tallying; it's all done manually by either you guys or by me. There's very little that's automated about this process for gauntlets, and it's why scoring hasn't gone up yet (I have spreadsheets to help me tally but it's still some manual labor on my part to get everything in there).

 

In my spare time, I'm working on a database-driven web application that will help me manage and automate practically everything having to do with the competitions I personally run on OCR. This is a large-scale, complicated software development project and I'm still in the data design phase of the whole thing. These kinds of ideas can certainly be incorporated into that, but it's a long ways off. I don't anticipate this application being done any time soon.

 

It's also worth noting that the more complicated you make the voting process, the less likely people are to vote at all. VGMix had a lot of these problems with their review system. They attached scores and weights to reviews (through meta-ratings on reviews) which ended up intimidating people from participating, which led to a total crash of the entire system.

 

Building the kind of things you're asking for into the current competition's scoring system is pie-in-the-sky; it sounds great and I understand the intent, but to be honest it's needlessly complicated for the purposes of this competition. If you're interested in detailed feedback about your track, please feel free to ask for specific feedback either here or in the Workshop forum.

 

Nonetheless, I appreciate the comments and aware that feedback can be an issue. Perhaps next Gauntlet we do (rest assured, we will be doing one next year), we can have a one-week break in between blocks where people can be encouraged to review and dissect tracks from the previous three rounds. Maybe setting up a separate review thread per round could also be beneficial next time.

 

On a related note, this December 18th will be 6 year anniversary of the first Grand Robot Master Remix Battle, which is the first of the large scale choose-your-theme competitions that everyone has enjoyed so much over the years. I'm happy to say that I've seen so many awesome artists who've either gotten started or gotten better by competing in these large scale events, many of them honing their skills to the point of going pro and making careers out of music. I'm not pretending to take any credit for any of that, but I will say that I'm proud of everyone that's given the compos a shot and have managed to push their skills higher and higher.

Ah man I'm sorry dude, that was disrespectful of me to not consider the tremendous manual undertaking this contest is, or the factors that go into it. I'm kind of an outsider here so I'm going on surface level observations. That is really cool that you are still developing that competition system in your spare time. Also dude, I've said it before and I'll say it again, these contests are an amazing thing that you orchestrate and I know people have really grown and gone places from all the hard work you've put in helping out. Have nothing but respect for you and what you do Darke.

 

Superior X: Great points. This situation is more complex than I imagined. In addition I'm having a strange deja vu that I probably presented a similar idea during the Wily Gauntlet and have just forgotten about all these factors involved.

KingTiger: That idea is great! Hey Darke, what if we just had threads for each round just for feedback?  I can help peel through the thread if you want and collect reviews and we could maybe encourage people in the op to come at it from different angles if they want to? What do you think? Trying to think of something that would be as little strain on you as the event organizer as possible.

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We could try using some pre-existing service like SurveyMonkey. I don't know if it's truly free or if it would actually work for our needs, but it's a thought. There's also Google Doc Forms.

 

Using google forms would be a great idea :)

 

Edit: Now that I think about it, that would also make voting more.......not sure how to word it. But basically to where votes don't influence each other.

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Using google forms would be a great idea :)

 

Edit: Now that I think about it, that would also make voting more.......not sure how to word it. But basically to where votes don't influence each other.

"Independent" is the usual word.

 

I agree that the compos don't seem to bring people to the forums for the purpose of voting.  It probably promotes downloads, but not votes.

 

I would think that the easiest way would be to use something like Google Forms, and just have people fill in their OCR username.  The only issue would be if people decide to be jerks and post votes under someone else's name, but with this community I'd imagine Wheaton's Law would suffice.  Otherwise, one could just arrange it so that each voter sets up an association between their Google and OCR ID's in advance.

 

Could also set up an entire, handmade website, where people get login credentials by sending Darkesword a PM.  Raises that barrier of entry again, though.

 

If we did use a form, one option would be to have both mandatory and optional sections.  The simple vote (top 3 or A/B choice) could be the only mandatory part, but there could be an optional section with 1-5 ratings on various categories for each of the songs, or even a comments field for each.  That way we could see how much buy-in there would be for such a system.  But I also agree that ultimately the WIP forum would be the way to go for folks who want lots of feedback.

 

Anyway, Darke, if you're (thinking about) setting up a custom website, I volunteer my services.  I have experience writing company-internal web apps, mostly using PHP and jQueryUI, a few different backend frameworks.  Not sure what you have in mind for an OCR forum-based authentication method, but I have used Google OpenID before.

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Guys, I've already decided against using Google Forms for this competition. I appreciate the thoughts but I'm closing the book on the discussion as it pertains to SFRG.

 

Anyway, Darke, if you're (thinking about) setting up a custom website, I volunteer my services.  I have experience writing company-internal web apps, mostly using PHP and jQueryUI, a few different backend frameworks.  Not sure what you have in mind for an OCR forum-based authentication method, but I have used Google OpenID before.

 

I appreciate the offer, but I'm a professional web developer. I build database-driven websites for a living.

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Usa - Requiem for a Reploid

Woah, that first impact is too heavy. o.o And the track is quite loud, by like 2~4 dB. Surprisingly decent humanization on the orchestral instruments (although some of the pizzicato trilling was too quick to be human and some of the legato strings could have used more emphasized volume automation to increase the dynamic range a bit more). I love how expansive the arrangement is though. At 3:05, I kind of feel like I'm in a rocking ship in a stormy sea or something. Really, the main things holding this back for me were the overall volume, and the general handling of expression and dynamics of the orchestral instruments, and they weren't major issues. If you do sub this to OCR though, please fix those things! :) Great stuff, and voted it #1.

 

Thanks for taking your time to give feedback on all our tracks! I can give you a bit feedback about the feedback, as there are some things many people seemed to complain about with my track, especially the volume. I did this on purpose because most of the tracks in these compose are metal/dubstep/techno, and I didn't want my track to be like 10dB quieter. I's still not really loud with an average of -13dB, but of course since this is a long very dynamic track this is relative as some parts are pretty loud already. In addition, I also forgot the -0.1 dB when mastering, so the WAV got clipped during the MP3 encode. It was fine as WAV, but the encode caused several thousand clippings which also add to the perceived loudness. Something to consider when I do my next round mix.

 

And for all the automation, I really didn't have enough time this round, so I threw this together rather quickly, I only had like 2-3 days in total. But yeah, I guess for that it was decent. I also only halfway optimized the reverb for this piece because I ran out of time. Not to defend my sloppy work, just saying I know i's sloppy and can be better when I have more time to invest :-) Glad you enjoyed it as it is though! Thanks for your appreciation and the nice reviews for all of us!

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grmmphhmurble

 

I'm supposed to go for my team this week but I'm uninspired and also exhausted from the past con weekend

 

WELP

 

GUESS YOU'RE ALL GETTING SOMETHING SUPER WEIRD FROM ME INSTEAD OF MUSIC! :P

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grmmphhmurble

 

I'm supposed to go for my team this week but I'm uninspired and also exhausted from the past con weekend

 

WELP

 

GUESS YOU'RE ALL GETTING SOMETHING SUPER WEIRD FROM ME INSTEAD OF MUSIC! :P

I endorse this. Can we all just make parody entries for the rest of the compo? :D

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Man. I've been loving working with Eino and Jorito. These guys are amazing. 
I only wish I was better at including them in my tracks. :P
I feel like team Maverick Astley is a competition almost. We all compete to see who can be the most whacky, but still coherent and impress the others. 
I really love it and I really have to thank you for giving me this opportunity Darke. <3 You're the bae. xoxo

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