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OCR01524 - *YES* Cave Story 'Moon Rhapsody'

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Remixer Name: DrumUltimA

Real Name: Doug Perry

Email Address: DrumUltimA@comcast.net

Website: http://www.peabodypercussion.com (my personal site is offline)

Forums userid: 5728

Game Remixed: Cave Story

Individual Songs Remixed: Moonsong, Balcony

Game information: Cave Story (or Dokutsu Monogatari) was a freeware game for PC (and/or Mac, but it was made for PC first) entirely created by Daisuke Amaya, or as he goes by, Pixel. He started Studio Pixel, and used it to demonstrate his game projects. Pixel did not collaborate with ANYBODY. He single handedly programmed the game, drew the graphics, wrote the plot, wrote the music, and programmed the format of the music.

Original Soundtrack: http://doukutsu.rdy.jp/stored/up0031.zip

Comments:

Hey guys, thanks for considering this one. This is my first submission to OCR! At least, I think. I'm hoping you never got the MIDI type thing I sent years ago ;D

This remix was my first project in sonar (or any digital music program) ever. I'm gonna try to refrain from saying too much about it to keep this from turning into an interview piece (i.e. a piece that sounds better while the composer/arranger is talking about it). When I got to the part of the game where Moonsong was playing, I was totally blown away by the level of atmosphere I was faced with. I suppose this would happen when every aspect of the game is coming from the same mind. So I really wanted to make something with it. The synth sounds were chosen really to keep rooted in the original, while the rest of the arrangement is what the themes presented in the original meant to me. Balcony came into play kind of as a fluke, but I kept the idea because in Cave Story, Balcony and Moonsong are the only two songs that play when you are outside. The arrangement is based really on what the melodic and harmonic themes mean to me. There's not much more to say other than that. The other thing I like about this is how the gradual crescendo of the peice itself is kind of representitive of how much I learned while making this. It was a blast :D There are a bunch of other outside influences that I draw upon as well, I'll leave you to recognize them if you do ;D

Oh yeah, there's some live playing in this as well. Flute is performed by myself, violin and viola are performed by my mother. If you feel that her performance in this is enough to qualify her as an additional remixer, please cite her as "MomUltimA". If not, then don't worry about it!

Here is the link:

Oh, one last thing! If you choose to reject this, please keep the link posted.

Thanks a bunch for considering this one. See you all around :D -Doug "DrumUltimA'' Perry

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This track is rock. The arrangement is sophisticated and emotive. The leads, bass, and drums are all sequenced beautifully. The live performances are fantastic.

The composition and partwriting are the high point. Leads and counterharmonies weave in and out like dancing. The appropriate instrumentation and dynamic arrangement build a vibrant atmosphere. This is easily one of the best-written arrangements the site has seen for a long time. Synth solo @ 3:10=gold.

On the production end the track isn't perfect, but there's nothing that comes close to warranting a rejection. The guitar sample, and the drums in particular aren't fantastic samples, however they are used adequately; the guitar is unobtrusive, and the drum fills are fantastic. As far as I'm concerned the only problem that actually detracts from the track is that the entrance at 2:50 is particularly loud. This is nowhere near enough to enter into NO territory.

easy YES. Great job.

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Cave Story (Game Rip) - 24 "Moonsong" & 28 "Balcony"

First few minutes were pretty cover-ish but had a fair amount of interpretation with the supporting work. Good stuff. 1:04-1:16 felt a bit empty in the background though. The tone of the drums was lacking, IMO, though the percussion writing was good. To me, they sounded thin and flat, undermining the energy level.

Beautiful stuff at 1:34 with "Balcony", dropping out the percussion and giving a more genteel and organic rendition of "Moonsong" with a very personalized flavor at 1:48. That's awesome.

Weakest point in the track was from 2:19-2:49 where the drums really stuck out as thin. Really need to see that improved so there's less of a sound quality disparity. I see where Vig's coming from, but the drums have no meat on 'em and don't quite gel with the rest of the instrumentation to me, leaving the background rather thin and tepid. Once that's improved, then I'd be solid on it. Then all of a sudden a great crescendo at 2:50-3:06; came in a bit too loud, maybe, but the performance was awesome. I wouldn't even touch the volume there; it's like a punch to the face that you find yourself liking.

Arrangement was still pretty solid afterward, with lots of great comping and riffing off of the structure of the source from 3:06-3:20, followed by another straightforward iteration of the source with the supporting work carrying the brunt of the interpretation. Drums are still a weak point, sounding well written but too synthetic.

Ending at 4:43 was rather abrupt and I-give-up-ish. Also seemed like it came in a few beats too fast almost to be a smooth transition. Play with it a little bit; perhaps allow it to fadeout at a slower pace and a bit more completely before using that last sound at 4:50.

Awesome arrangement, but those drums sound thin, generic and bland, and are undermining the listening experience. Tweak 'em for the win. If rejected, use this as an opportunity to also work on the ending.

NO (refine/resubmit)

I must say though, Doug, I never heard a thing primarily from you before this, but I can't wait to see what's next. Weird to say this, but...get your mom further involved in a future arrangement to snag her some legit co-credit. Just don't saddle her with the handle "MomUltimA". Let's not go too far.

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This arrangement is terrific. The Moonsong and Balcony themes sound amazing together, so congrats on making that discovery. I was a little worried for a while that you may have been sticking too close to the original, but the rhythmic diversity throughout, and the melody variation from 3:05 to 3:21, easily take care of that. It reminds me a lot of Shnabubula's stuff, in fact. There were a few parts I thought could have been condensed a little, but never so much that it actually bored or bothered me. Everything from 2:51 on just blows my mind. Your mom plays some bitchin' violin, and your own flute work sounds great, too!

Mainly because your arrangement holds so much power, I really, REALLY wish you had picked some better samples here. You're a percussionist, Doug; how could you be satisfied with that drum set? :P There were a lot of places that I felt a back-and-forth panning dealie would have been very effective. For example, when the bass comes in at 0:20 and then repeats at 0:24. That's pretty nitpicky, but hey, I wouldn't feel so strongly if I didn't regard this piece very highly.

In all the densest places arrangement wise, sounds start to blend together. I think part of the problem is too much reverb, but I can't tell which instruments are suffering the most. I (and zircon, too, I bet) would be happy to help you single those out in person. This is the sort of thing that would get roaring applause at a live performance, but somehow the instruments just sound weak in this case.

I so so so so so so so so want to YES this, but I feel like a little extra time and effort will go a long way with the production, so...

NO, BUT RESUBMIT OR I WILL EAT YOU.

P.S. That ending is SUCH a Sonic rip. I love it. :D

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I find it hard to believe that EQ clutter (at least the degree to which such a thing is present in this mix) and lack of a "back-and-forth panning dealie" would convince you this track isn't up to par for OCR.

Again, I've not heard better writing on the site in a long time, and the production issues cited are relatively minor. If they really bug you that much, I reccommend talking to him right now and getting it fixed right now so we can get an improved version...right now. The production ain't perfect, but we can't reject every mix for which we can come up with criticisms.

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I'll start off with the high's. This is a fantastic piece, first of all. Lots of emotional motifs drive this one forward. I really dig the work with the bassline--lot's of interesting support and countermelody there. Drums were done very well for the most part. I had no real gripes there, with the exception of what Larry mentioned from 2:19-2:49 where the do indeed sound a little on the "thin" side. Although, I gather that more from the mixing than I do from the actual drum part you chose. I also think the synchronized bass and strings didn't really help. However, the violin was absolutely breathtaking! I don't mind saying that I was humming that riff in my head for hours (and still do, on occasion).

Anyway, arrangement definitely meets par--not an outstanding amount of deviation from the sources, but plenty to put it over the bar in that aspect. Instrumentation and performance are fine. My biggest gripe is in the mixing. The drums could be just a smidge louder throughout the entire song, but especially from 2:19 to about 3:06. They were really gasping for air in the background, and the cymbal crashes didnt' quite achieve the power they otherwise should have during the violin's power-play. From that point on, things got just a little muddy and cluttered during the "densest places"; I think Jill's right about the reverb being the cause. And what's with that ending? That gets a bit of a WTF? from me, but no biggie. Also, I shared Jesse's concern about the violin entrance being just a wee bit loud, but to be honest, the more I listened to this, I kind of agree with Larry's analogy: "it's like a punch to the face that you find yourself liking." To be honest, I could go either way on that. I wouldn't mind if you toned that part down just a hair, but I wouldn't really mind if you left it as is, either.

So here's the deal, my friend. This is an easy YES in terms of the site's standards. If enough of my compatriots feel the same way, since you're obviously active on the site, I'd really like to hear the drum/mixing issue addressed and tweaked first. Less "undermining the energy level" as Larry put it, and more side-by-side with the rest of the instruments. Do I hear a "yay" from any fellow J's on this one?

And yeah, the MomUltimA thing... Do I really even need to say it? :lol:

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As the others have said, the arrangement in this piece is well above the bar for our standards. It's the production issues that I think are holding this one back from being a YES just yet.

That being said, if Drum could fix these issues up, I'd change my vote to a YES without asking for a resubmission. The drums are a major problem for me. They almost entirely kill the mood of the mix because they sound so out of place. It's like a singer's quartet with one person singing out of tune, no matter how good the other 3 are, that one person can ruin the whole song.

The drums in this sound flat and thin. They really need to hold a better standard to fit in with the gentle ambience of this one. Instead it sounds like you couldn't find a good soundfont and just settled for the poor ones. 2:19-2:49 is definitely the weakest section. The drums sound so weak there that they couldn't beat Bill Gates in a boxing match. Fatten them up a bit, boost the volume if you need to, and give it some extra supportive percussion to fill the holes that it leaves.

Other than that, it's good, this'll be a NO with a resubmit request until I hear a new version.

NO (Resubmit)

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If you guys think it would be worth it, I could certainly talk to Doug about fixing up the drums and reverb issues before we close the vote.

EDIT:

Okay, I went over a few of the production issues that were brought up, and he's gonna try to give us an update within the week.

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?

why is there any question as to how this track warrants a "yes?" a reverberating one, at that. the arrangement is superb, the instrumentation is constantly fresh... with the arrangement benefiting infinetly from this fact - it gives drumultima a ton more options in terms of where to take this.

the drums are bothering a couple of the judges but that is their stylistic preference. i personally would have done the drums differently too, but that does not go to say that he should have, also. i don't see the percussion (very well written percussion, no less) detracting from the piece's qualities which are his superb musicality, creative abilities and arrangement vision; to me, this track's disapproval seems farfetched

ultimately, irrelevant

it would simply be a shame to see this panel vote away a song like this. i'm not sure why i'm even engaging in the nitpicking.

if anything, resubmit immediately. this gets lost in some pipeline of apathetic obscurity and i'm going to hold several of you mercilessly accountable.

YES

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if anything, resubmit immediately. this gets lost in some pipeline of apathetic obscurity and i'm going to hold several of you mercilessly accountable.

Wow, I like that phrase.

This is an excellent arrangement. With all other factors considered, I'm going to choose to see (or rather hear) the drums as a stylistic choice - I certainly don't have a problem with them. The ending is a bit strange, with the sudden chord change, but that is nitpicking really. This will make an excellent addition to the site.

YES

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if anything, resubmit immediately. this gets lost in some pipeline of apathetic obscurity and i'm going to hold several of you mercilessly accountable.

It won't! DrumUltimA is my best friend; I see him every day. He's already working on fixing the drums. ^-^

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Pretty much in agreement with the YES judges. Awesome arrangement, solid-enough production. I didn't find a problem with the drumkit used. It's fine. If you think that's a dealbreaker, you need your ears checked, 'cause that's the same kit I always use.

;)

YES

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djp's down with this as is, so the YES doesn't need to be drawn out. We'll be waiting for Doug to wrap up any revisions he had in mind before it goes up, which I'm definitely looking forward to. Congrats on your freshman mix, bro. Whadda ya got coming up?

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it wouldn't happen for a long time

That's fine. This probably wouldn't be posted for a long time. He can have a look to see if it's still on the panel when he has some time spare to fix up the issues.

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Ok, just to clarify here since I think there is still some confusion.

DRUMULTIMA IS NOT GOING TO MAKE CHANGES TO THIS. THIS IS READY TO BE POSTED.

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