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OCR03324 - *YES* Sonic Colors 'Wisp Inc.'

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Hello to the esteemed judging panel of awesomeness.
 
Song link: 
 
Contact
Remixer Name: GlacialSpoon
Real Name: Robert Kemp
email: 
Website: happysalad.net (home of my gaming podcast The SaladCast)
OCRemix userid: 52260
 
Submission
Game: Sonic Colors
Arrangement name: Wisp Inc.
Songs arranged: Planet Wisp Act 1
 
About Rob:
Rob has been composing and producing digital music since tracking on an Amiga was a thing under the guises of "Glacial" and more recently "GlacialSpoon" (not "GlacierSpoon" :P). As a hobbyist from Suffolk in the UK, a single track can takes months to evolve and contort itself into something deemed worthy of public exposure. Listen to more at https://soundcloud.com/robert-kemp-15 or http://www.last.fm/music/GlacialSpoon
 
Rob's notes:
I always thought that the music for Planet Wisp, whilst excellent, wasn't a total fit to the massive factory nightmare created by Eggman. So here's a more industrial mix with considerably less whimsy to sort that out! It probably doesn't suit the speed of the game now but I see this as a more appropriate soundtrack to the miserable existence the enslaved Wisps might have.
 
Thanks
 
Source:

 

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You've got a solid start to this track, the concept behind it is solid and you actually have some very energetic dubby synth effects going on, but there's several significant issues dragging it down.

 

First off, the track is loud and relentless. If you look at the waveform of you track, it's almost completely "sausaged," as Kristina calls it, and there's almost no room for the listener to breathe once your track gets going. For a 5 minute track, you absolutely have to have SOME sort of reprieve so that you're not assaulting the listener with loudness the entire way through.

 

Your lead melodies are also very robotic and stiff sounding. The opening piano is written in a very blocky fashion, and once you go into a more synth-driven direction, the same problem persists. Obviously, since you're writing electronic music you'd treat it differently than if you were humanizing a melody for an orchestral or jazz track, but there's still a lot you can do to make your leads more interesting. Sustains, subtle tremelo modulation, or just varying your note patterns more are just a few of the many things you could do to help. Right now, the melodies just feel lifeless, especially compared to the rest of the mix.

 

There's a lot more detail I could go into, but these two issues are most noticeable to me and I feel like they would need to be addressed before the track could be evaluated further. There's a lot of potential to this track and it's clear you put a lot of effort into it thus far, but I feel that there's a long way to go to get this up to par, and it's up to you whether you want to continue hammering away at this arrangement or just take it as a learning experience for your next approach.

 

Either way, good luck! :-)

 

NO

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It is indeed a wave sausage, it's full but not clipping, so it's actually mastered well.  I'm seeing an RMS of -7.5db and that's just fine, and it's not distorting at all.  Things are balanced well.  But yeah, there really could be a break from the loudness level.  I've just learned this lesson myself on one of my own tracks.  On my track, I actually went back and revised a full minute of relentlessness to turn it into a breakdown, buildup and drop around the halfway point, which I think was a significant arrangement improvement (and that was the feedback I got, as well).  This track could benefit from that same revision.

 

I hear plenty of source use.  The intro piano is very stiff and exposed while it plays there alone, it really doesn't fit with the synth soundscape that follows.  It is transitioned pretty well into the synth part, but still I would have preferred a synthetic intro timbre to this stiff and unhumanized piano.  Some really great sfx would help to open the track up, even just some gated white noise or something.

 

When the first saw lead arrives, it sounds really loud and dry to me.  This saw isn't my favorite lead timbre and the writing is simple and stiff, but it works well enough, especially when it is doing call/response with the wubby fills.  

 

The bass tomfoolery is quite good I think, lots of fun detail.  The little vocoded bits starting at 1:53 are awesome.  Some of the bass bits and fills repeat again and again, but they are cool enough to withstand the repetition.  The kick and snare groove is simple and repetitive but the hat fills make up for it imo.  The kick timbre isn't the right fit for this track I think, it has a pop sound to it and not a lot of meat, I think a dubstep kick would fit better and have more impact.  The snare fits just fine.

 

Even with these criticisms, I think the track is very creative and cool!  I'm going with it.

 

YES

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This is a sweet arrangement, with a lot of clever ideas packed into a small scape. I'm a big fan of complextro done well, and this is getting it done. Both the arrangement and production OCR bars are being cleared, so it's more important to evaluate whether or not the song is interesting and exciting to the listener, which this track definitely excels at. I do think there is room to grow as an artist, but this more than clears the quality mark OCR aims for.

 

Great work!

 

Yes

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Intro felt a bit stiffly sequenced, but the added elements quickly covered (up?) that issue.

 

Ooh, I like the concept here.  Definitely on the loud side, but well balanced in a way where nothing is painful or feels fatiguing.  Impressive production chops on display here to saturate the soundscape yet keep an overall clean sounding mix.  Things did get slightly into a bit too loud territory nearing the 3 minute mark.  I can see Emu's point about a reprieve at some point would be well advised.  Still, not a dealbreaker for me.

 

Clear connections throughout the mix here - doesn't feel like a stopwatch is necessary.

 

Man, I love the sound you've put together.  Definitely a keeper. Lets go.

 

YES

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Source is actually pretty minimal, so you've squeezed a lot of song out of it. No complaints there, necessarily, although you could stand to maybe add some callbacks to a second source to keep it interesting. Other than that, I'm gonna side with Emu on this one--it's a little too relentless for me. We never really get a break, and there's some harshness in the upper midrange that really gets old after the first minute. I'd say either the mix or the energy management needs to be fixed. Just adding a proper breakdown in the middle, like Chimpazilla mentioned, would really give this song room to breathe. 

 

It's really close, but I can't sign off on it just yet.

 

NO (resub!)

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Hard hitting track. I like the ideas here, you've taken the original to another level. Colourful chirpy synth usage, appregos, lots of sound changes. I feel you're in a pretty good place here with your instrumentation.

 

Production is solid and I don't have any major crits here. I like what has been done, decent use of stereo space, mixing would have been difficult in this one due to all the different sounds. Good job with that.

 

On the arrangement side, the track is quite long, and while entertaining doesn't change up too much on an arrangement level. I'm verging towards the camp wanting a breakdown in the middle. Exiting with a tail of white noise and slowly building the layers up again would be a great and relatively easy way to build up the hype again. When a track is at a constant level of hype, it can begin to lose its impact over time. This also tends to make things sound a little samey as the track progresses, even when different things are actually happening in your arrangement.

 

The mix is not bad by any means, but I feel even a short interlude would make an enormous difference here.

 

NO (borderline)

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I was in the middle of stopwatching this and got about 75% through the song before I saw that the ending put it well over the top of 50% overt source usage, so I scrapped my timestamping.

Piano opening things up immediately sounds blocky. That's mitigated around :11 as the chip and electronic elements come in, but that opening was certainly a weak one. The core beat at :45 felt very static, so I was waiting to hear where else this was planning to go. 1:08 featured the melody coming back in. Wow, super-generic lead synth at 1:30 with very unexpressive timing. Coupled with the static groove, and emptier textures, 1:30-1:52 (as an example) just feels like the writing lacks sophistication. It doesn't need to be frenetic, just somewhat more complex and varied.

I loved the vocal mangling from 1:52-2:14, and the chip stuff and other quiet instrumentation behind it added the complexity I was talking about that makes the plain beat pattern behind it much less of an issue.

2:15-onward has more ear candy and subtle supporting writing going on that compliments the melody and beat, and fills out the textures better.

Production-wise, this is getting more right than wrong. The arrangement's super-creative, and while I have problems with some of the bland and blocky synths, once things get fuller, the synth issues there are mitigated, like Nutritious alluded to when also describing his issues with the intro. There's other more creative instrumentation in place that clicks well enough with the more problematic parts.

As far as the dynamic contrast or perceived lack thereof, I'm OK with a track being intense or soft a long time as long as there are more subtle instances of dynamic contrast throughout, like dropping and re-adding certain instruments to somehow vary the textures. IMO, that was certainly the case here.

Robert's got it clicking pretty far. Perhaps he'd be willing to revise this before it was posted, if it in fact passed. That said, this was tilted far enough on the seesaw of what works vs. what doesn't that I was fine with it. Wish the detail work on some of the leads was tightened up, but that doesn't undermine a killer arrangement with solid mixing.

 

"Rock it." :-)

YES

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Good points made here by the other judges, but I think (as usual?) I agree with Larry's opinion the most. Lots of small stuff that could be improved here including the piano, the genericness and blockiness of some synths, but this is getting so much right that I didn't find it hard to overlook the problems. I also didn't feel the need for a breakdown, though I can see why others might. From 2:56-3:23, the instrumentation was basic enough that it gave me the reprieve I was looking for, even if the volume was at the same level. YMMV. I'm happy with this as is.

 

YES

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There’s a lot to like here. Your synth design is exceptional. Source connection is obvious but thoroughly explored. I heard the piano intro as underwhelming, but the synths come in strong and impress immediately. very cool aggro build from :45 into the main melody. This is good.

 

This is overcompressed. Comparing to even the heaviest hitters around (Noisia, Skrillex, etc) your track is burning on all cylinders. You are able to keep dynamics alive across the spectrum, but you push the master too far. Your mix doesn’t get to breathe like a pro mix does and your spatial illusion falters.

 

YES

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I passed on the panel's votes onto Robert, who actually sent 2 new versions on February 12th, but liked his second revision more after mulling it over. The compression's pulled back some, there's more EQ work, AND there's more dynamic contrast with the synth choices & textures. All in all, this makes a good thing even better!

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