Sign in to follow this  
Hipnotyk

The Man With the Machine Gun (FF8) - "Esthar Hills Cop"

Recommended Posts

120 BPM - https://soundcloud.com/matt-s-harrison/esthar-hills-cop-man-with

 

128 BPM - https://soundcloud.com/matt-s-harrison/estharhillscop-128bpm

 

Hello friends!  This is actually the first of my creations that I feel like is realistically close to the standard of submissions to OCRemix, so I really want to make sure it delivers.

 

This track has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember.  The original is great, the Black Mages remix is mind-blowing and the Distant Worlds orchestral rendition is superb.  I wanted to take this track to another genre while simultaneously getting out of my comfort zone of "giving the original track some newer sounding samples," so here's the end result.  It's my first EDM-influenced track and I had so much fun putting it together!  It's gone through a few peer reviews to get to this point, but I am still very open to any sort of criticism to make it better.  

 

The name "Esthar Hills Cop" came when a friend pointed out that it sounds like something Harold Faltermeyer (writer of Axel F AKA the Beverly Hills Cop theme) would have written.  I took the opening synth that usually cuts out after a few loops and made that my bass line throughout the majority of the track as opposed to the thumping quarter notes in the original.  I spent hours running the bass through various effects until I finally said "screw it, let's try a vocoder" and strangely enough, it gave me exactly what I was looking for.  Lesson learned - don't be afraid to try something unorthodox because you can always Ctrl-Z back to what you had, and you might stumble upon something awesome in the process.

 

 

EDIT:  128 BPM version posted per recommendation of APZX.

 

 

 

Original:

 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3jho-peCAKs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does have a bit of a Beverly Hills Cop kind of feel to it. I dunno though I feel as though this could be sped up a few BPM and work better. Right now it sounds a bit more plodding than really "dancey" IMO. You'd be surprised at what just a few BPM can do for that kind of thing. The bass works better than I thought it would honestly. Definitely has a groove to it though. But seriously I think a handful of BPM up would give a more dance feel to it. It has a groove to it now, but I think if you wanted to get it more into the realm of dance then definitely speeding it up a bit would be a big boon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm... I just opened up my project file and bumped it to 128 (had it at 120 originally).  You're right, this is much better.  My concern was that it'd sound too frantic because my version is a little more active than the original with the dynamic bass line, but this gets rid of that plodding feel.

 

Uploading the faster version now for comparison.  I'll edit my initial post when it's done being processed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know that is the fun thing with basslines. Dynamic basslines can work even if the track is fast. I mean go listen to some Goa or Psytrance for prime examples of quick paced basslines or heck go listen to some earlier Tiesto work to see how strange bass patterns can work. The thing I've found with them though is they're really dependent upon what the upper melodic lines are doing. If it is really busy in the higher frequency stuff then a fast paced bassline with a ton of dynamic variation can be quite confusing and not really all that good. Sometimes too you get into the situation that a plain simple off beat bass just works best. Creating the most drive, groove, etc . . .. 

 

With this at 128 bpm it definitely works better. Now, despite me loving this theme myself and how much I myself want to do a remix of it, but I've got a Metroid one in the works. I'm going to say this. You've got a great groove going on and that really helps cement it. You've got some great renditions of the different elements as well, but the biggest downfall I feel is that the track has an almost samey feeling to it throughout. Having done work in the EDM arena before I can say that this sounds intentional. However, I feel that you're missing a smaller, but really important facet. When the repeat sections come in there is almost always a small variation going on. In shorter tracks you can kind of be forgiven for repeating to a degree. Really try to think about how you can do small variations that would help mix things up a little bit, but don't really change what you're going for in terms of feeling. For example even small switches in the percussion patterns can have a huge impact on the way the track sounds, but not change the overall feeling.

 

Something you might consider since I'm not really hearing it is actually a pad towards the end of the break and into the second verse. If used appropriately it will lift the track up in a very good way. If you're concerned with it taking too much of your sonic space that is easy to remedy. Pads can occupy exactly what you need them to. Also, a thing with pads or strings is to not be super concerned with keeping their dynamic range intact. A lot of times you can squeeze 5 even 10dB from them and not hear it in the context of the mix itself. Add some sidechaining in and good EQ? Man they can just fill out the track. 

 

Final thing I'm going to comment on is to be careful with overall loudness, but probably not in the way you're thinking. Listen to your chorus parts vs your verse or breakdown parts. The kick, general percussion, and bass is noticeably quieter because it is trying compete with those lead synths. The track is starting to collapse a bit. I know that sounds a bit nitpicky, but it is something to be very mindful of and is very avoidable. The track should be well controlled throughout and at the end you're only adding some volume with a little bit of limiting. Good use of compression and perhaps some EQ for some polish is all you really need to get it sounding complete. The last bit of limiting is there mainly to give you just a small extra push of level. If you had more going on I'd be more forgiving, but this is a fairly sparse arrangement in terms of density, which makes it much easier to keep the volume & loudness of the various instruments much easier.

 

But really I'm digging this. As I said great groove, solid development of space, those leads sounds fantastic, the overall rendition to me sounds solid if a bit truer to source than I personally like to be. But seriously this is sounding good to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all of the criticism, I really appreciate it.  Gave me a lot to think about and try to make this better.  Regarding changing up the drum beat, I see exactly what you mean because I did utilize it fairly well in the section that starts around 2:15 (In the 128BPM version).  I'll probably change the percussion around in the section before that and go for more of a "less is more" effect, as well as finding a way to make the melodic reprises more interesting.

 

I'm glad that you like it despite the flaws, which I definitely intend to address.  My initial goal with this venture into production (just started in July) was to have a track featured on OCR, and it's nice to know I'm within striking distance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, you're now starting to think a bit like how a Trance track would be set up, melodic reprisals or hints. But I'm really serious in how small changes can make a huge impact. An example would be having your closed hat playing as if there is an open hat there. Without it still works, but the moment you add the open hat things just get more driving and complete sounding. Just the open hat and no closed hats? What about swapping which beat the snare is on? These things aren't really game changing in feel, but small little things that just mix it up. I guess the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to just experiment with small variations and see where that takes you. 

 

If you just started in July you're like a billion times further than I was when I started. When I first started I couldn't make a kick & bassline sound good together. Now, I think I've got an okay grasp on mixing, but am still far too lacking in other production skills. It just takes so much work and thought to even do small changes to a track regardless of it being a remix or not. Sometimes I question whether that work pays off in the end or not. But when you listen to the track and get that perfect sense of sounds gelling together? That just makes all the headache all good.

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