Sign in to follow this  
rakafella1018

Donkey Kong Country 2 - Credits Theme

Recommended Posts

Hi!

 

I created a remix of the DKC 2 Credits theme, to give it an uptempo groove. This is an original remix, which I created in FL Studio 11. I took the main elements from the original track, and revamped it with an upbeat tempo and some cameos of my favorite DKC2 songs.

 

Please take a listen, any and all feedback is appreciated. https://soundcloud.com/rakafella1018/donkey-kong-country-2-credits-theme-remix

 

 

This version has included the judges' feedback. Looking for feedback on their improvement points:

  • Sidechaining the kick to the bass and backing elements
  • Reducing repetition
  • Adding more SFX and sweeps
  • Dialing back the levels
  • Adding more panning to spread out sound
  • Variation to beat, and beefier kick/snare
  • Achieving a track that evolves over time

 

This feedback was based on the older version I submitted to the OC remix judges: https://soundcloud.com/rakafella1018/donkey-kong-country-2-credits-theme-remix-older-version

 

Specific feedback can be seen here: http://ocremix.org/community/topic/41310-no-donkey-kong-country-2-kong-konvention/

 

Original track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrexCu_gi_A

 

THANK YOU!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice to see you drop by in here to get your music checked out! I'm glad we also get to hear what you sent to the judges, too, as that helps give an idea as to what you were trying to fix. Sweetness.

Well, it's certainly not the source, that's for sure - DKC2 credits is an awesome theme. The arrangement plays it rather straight, too, which is alright. You do have some fun diversions to it, which gives it a little spice. I'd argue that it's not enough to get it posted, though - that's one thing OCR tends to specify. Right now, while the instruments sound better than the source, overall the sound, the feel and ultimately the arrangement sounds like an improvement of the original, rather than something that has your own input added to it. There isn't anything WRONG with that, but it won't be accepted on the site unless it sounds like you really made it your own song. Evolving a track over time truly helps achieve this end, but know that the very instrumentation itself is working against you on this front. Not saying it's impossible to get the arrangement post-able, but I suspect it'll be an uphill battle.

The SFX and sweeps actually do help the track considerably. Nice work on incorporating them. ;)

The sidechaining is a bit much. The issue that sidechaining solves is the fact that the drums cut into the rest of the music, which muddies them considerably. Of course, when you sidechain it gives you the space you need in order to avoid that, but it can also give a pulse that can be distracting (unless, of course, the genre is designed for it). It's distracting, in this context - minimal sidechaining is ideal.

If you want to improve the use of your drums (aside from using a different drum SFX - freesound.org has a few alternatives, if you're interested in looking), you need to have your other instruments designed to allow enough space for the drums to function properly. Using a low pass on the bass drum, for example, will kill any excess high frequencies that may be getting in the way of your other instruments, and ensure that the bass frequencies of your low notes don't play as loud (or at the same time) as your bass drum. You'll be able to make your drums louder without sacrificing the rest of the sound of your music, that way.

I did notice the variety you added to your drums. That actually helped a lot, though the fact that the bass drum pattern stays the same when it is playing still works against you a little. Consider switching up the beat from time to time - it adds some spice and interesting color to the music.
 

The levels of your track are a complicated issue. On the one hand, the sounds are a bit hot in the original (that is, they sound like they're cutting out due to being "too loud"). On the other hand, overall, both tracks are a bit on the quiet side. It's very difficult to perfect, but there are ways to get the best of both worlds here. Whenever I personally try to achieve this, I tend to make sure there isn't any clipping coming from the instrument first (whether it's from the recording or from the synth/sampler). If there is not, I maximize the volume as much as possible without clipping, then I move up to whatever it's connected to and check for clipping there. I keep moving from plugin/mixer to plugin/mixer until I get all the clipping and muddiness out of the instrument. This will garner you quite a bit of volume, overall, and it will make your instruments sound clear. Even a little clipping in the instrument itself will just magnify throughout the other effects until you fix it, even if you lower the master volume of the instruments in question. After doing all of this, a limiter of some sort can be used to bump up the sound with little loss, if you want.

All of that is tricky at first, but you get better at it with time. I do hope some of that helps you out. Also, welcome to the WIP forums! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much better loudness! Intro is just the right volume, in terms of perceived volume. It still feels overcompressed, though. Good job on making the stereo field wider. That helped.

 

The revised version still has some prominent issues that would keep it from getting passed. What I hear is the following:

1. The intro bells and synth pluck are lacking velocity variation and the instrument playing the bass part lacks motion (the motion concern is minor). This combined makes the instrumentation overall feel stiff and robotic. This continues throughout.

2. The arrangement approach is rather straightforward (easy to predict what's going to happen next), using a generic chord progression (namely, C B Ab B for C major); nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but it's not very standout IMO. This is mainly due to the way the bass part is written, and there are also a lot of I-V-VIII (e.g. C-G-C, F-C-F, etc) arpeggios, making it repetitious.

3. The drums are buried behind the rest of the instrumentation and are therefore lacking punch and definition.

4. The instrumentation doesn't really change gear much, until about 2:04, which is after a significant portion of the track has passed by.

5. The mixing is muddy and washy (low-mids clashing and high reverb). The EQ can really use some low-midrange scooping on the synth strings pads to make room for your... "cello" arpeggio? It's a bit odd to be using what sounds like cello to play so much arpeggiation in a dance track IMO. The reverb is also pretty high on the pads and distant sounds (e.g. the high synth string at 2:16).

 

I've bolded what I considered major. Here is what I would do to work towards fixing those things:

 

1. Try thinking about how a pianist might emphasize certain notes. Learning how to play piano if you haven't already is a helpful resource you can have to writing more realistic velocity variations.

2. If you add an interpretive section, it can help offset the straightforward nature of the rest of the track. You have the advantage that this isn't that long yet; people may have the attention span to listen for another minute or a minute and a half in this genre. Perhaps you can extend 1:22 and write something original there that breaks away from the progression you keep using and the almost-unchanging bass part. This way you can incorporate some dynamic contrast.

3. Find more punchy drum samples and try layering them on. I don't know if you're still using FL11, but the Layer tool is very useful to have. Practice with it! I like layering Goldbaby's drums, such as When Alien Drum Robots Attack Vol. 2 and MPC60 Vol. 3. It's about $60 total for both, for over 3000 drum samples. Pretty great deal IMO!

4. This is similar to 2, but essentially, 4 happens because of 2. Because the arrangement was straightforward, and because you may have become attached to the way things were written as you wrote them, you seem to have copied and pasted a lot, giving a repetitious structure. If you work on 2, I think you may touch on 4 at the same time.

5. Maybe even make that "cello"-soundalike an actual bass synth and give it some filter motion. A cello normally is supposed to sound human, and because of the way that instrument is played, it's almost as if it was accidentally written unrealistically, rather than intentionally as a backing element. I would also reduce the amount of reverb in the pads and raise the frequency of the low-cut on their reverb to decrease the amount of low-mids clashing in the EQ.


Other less major but still significant things:

- The bass drop at 2:00 feels out of place. Try putting it at 2:01~2:02. I think that would make more rhythmic sense. (minor)

- There's a clicking at 2:41. Is it from your "cello"? Seems to be the exact same rhythm. You should work to remove that clicking, because it's an artifact that doesn't add anything.

 

It's an enjoyable listen otherwise, since I can get past the overcompression and generic writing, and this is a great improvement so far, but there's still more you would have to do for this to pass. From a technical standpoint, it's mainly lacking the following overall:

- Clearer mixing and less washy soundscape

- Significant and meaningful velocity variation to eliminate mechanical partwriting

- More interesting chord progressions (helpful but not strictly necessary)

- Reasonable repetition in the ReMix structure for familiarity, and not just a bunch of autopilot parts copied and pasted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this