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*NO* Spy vs. Spy (NES) 'Dark Embassy'

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Ultimately perhaps a few BPM too fast, and a little repetitive, but has some promising elements.

- djp



Link to MP3
Hope you like it 
Edited by Liontamer
closed decision
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  • 2 weeks later...

Damn, I can't believe anyone still remembers this game! Pretty good track, which I guess is important when it's pretty much the only song in the game.  


The original song is only about 20 seconds long, so we'll have to have some pretty significant arrangement to make it work out, but I believe in you! There are some good ideas that expand on the original arpeggios and harmony, and while I think there are a few production snags, there are some good ideas in here. I think it would have been nice for the breakdown section to have the chord progression in half time, to give it a bit more unique of a flavor, but as-is, it works well enough.

The length of the track is a bit much for the amount of material you have though, I think. At around 3:30, I had pretty much heard it all, and then it went on for another minute and a half or so. I think an edit would be a really good plan here, as there just isn't that much more you can do with the same chord progression and simple melody. Adding in an additional section that changes the chords would be ideal, or a keychange later on to make it sound a bit fresher after a hundred repeated chords.


Productionwise it sounds like there is too much going on in the kick and bass area; If you aren't sidechaining the two, I strongly encourage it. That would give you a lot more space in the lows to get your point across. A bit more beater in the kick would also give more energy to the track, and it would downplay the repetitive nature of it a bit as well.


Overall there are some nice ideas and a pretty good soundscape, but a bit more polish and some editing is what this track needs to pass. I look forward to a resubmission. :-)


No, please resubmit

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  • 2 weeks later...

I loved this theme as well, after discovering it back in 2002 from the couple of old-school OC ReMixes of it. OA nailed it both on the arrangement and production crits. There's a lot of extended clutter (e.g. 3:05-3:46) and the meat-and-potatoes/vanilla/basic feel of the production was repetitive, like he alluded to.

Dynamically, there are subtle additions and subtractions of various parts, but they don't register that well due to the clutter of the fullest sections. On the arrangement side, this is actually pretty good at getting mileage out of the theme, but OA's right that you basically expended your ideas around the 3-minute mark and this just continues without much further evolution or development.

It's a great sound, maybe 70% of the way there in terms of passing for me. Decluttering the soundscape, getting more sophisticated with the sound design and employing some more subtle variations of the melody could be enough to get this above the bar. A bit plain jane for this genre, but the arrangement shows a lot of promise. Keep at it on this one, Mattias!

NO (resubmit)

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Great mix of such a short source. Nice work. Straight off, I enjoyed your choice of synths in this mix, and I also appreciated the work you did with using effects and filter tweaks to keep those leads sounding fresh.

On the arrangement side, I didn't have any major problems with your mix right up to the 2:30min mark. Some decent exploration of the theme was present with reasonable changes in pacing to keep interest. As the track progresses however, it's hard to not notice that some of these ideas are recycled and not really changed the second time these parts play.

At 1:36, some noticeable crunch is occurring across the mix, which I think is due to your master limiter or compressor struggling with the input levels. This crunch appears to re-occur again later in the mix (at 2:50 for example). This seems to be occurring in the heavier sections of your mix where the kick really gets going - it might pay to have a look at that. You also have some low end issues to clear up which OA has already touched upon.

A good start - particularly if you can fix up some of the above mentioned production issues and make some changes to your arrangement decisions later in the mix to keep the originality going, you'll be in a better place.


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