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OCR03437 - *YES* Half-Life: Opposing Force & Half-Life 2 "With Indifference"

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Remixer name: Redg
Real name: Brent Wollman
UserID: 41181
 
Game arranged: Halflife 2, Halflife: Opposing Force
Name of arrangement: With Indifference
Name of individual songs arranged:
 
Remix link: 
 
My first ever submission edited and remastered. Two of the best pieces from halflife for sheer \m/
 
Source enters at :15. Nova Prospekt's gnashing pulse eventually transitions into classic Alien Forces
 
Sources:
 

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I find the mix in this track feels overly busy at times, and in the busiest sections it gets slightly muffled.  I think a better job could've been done to keep the mix cleaner, sections like 1:50 feel really compressed and lacking dynamics.  I do think though that the rest of the production is well executed.  Great textures, The drums feel great and hit pretty hard too, and the sequencing is interesting.  When the song relaxes a bit and less elements are interacting it does feels very clear and sharp.

The arrangement makes use of both sources well, and I liked the whole direction of it.  Very dark, industrial/metal sounding arrangement.  Overdrive is used in a creative way around 1:01, not just for guitar chugs, and there are other little ideas and details sparse throughout the track.  The high-pitched violin really cuts through and gives the arrangement a touch of anxiety.  However, not a fan of the fadeout ending.  At all.

Overall this is a solid remix that takes both sources and transforms them into a rather aggressive and dark sounding remix which makes up for its shortcomings with good arrangement and great sounds and textures.  

YES

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Going to pretty much agree with Mike here. The usage of the sources works well, you add a really ominous tone to it. I feel like it does take a bit for the track to settle in, but when it does you've got a nice soundscape going on, though it gets a little busy. 1:01 is where things really start to break in, and I love that section and how it has that slow-but-coming-to-get-you feel. I do find myself a bit close to the fence in regards to things getting overly crowded at times, but overall the parts are still clear enough that I'm not seeing it as a deal breaker.

I do feel like once things really get going the track begins to fade out. I'd have loved some more expansion, and I think you could have stretched out another minute or arrangement without me losing interest.

Overall I'd say this is a close one, curious what the next judge is going to think, but for now I'm good to give this a go.

YES (borderline)

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This is a tough call for me. I think you did a great job giving a new direction to the source material, and the arrangement is very nicely done, but the production is holding this back quite a lot, in my opinion. The whole track seems very low/low-mid heavy to me. I think the big buildup starting around 1:00 is a very good idea, but around 1:35 it starts to get very messy, and up to around 2:08 things get very muddy and seem to blur together in an overcrowded soundscape. I also think the high-resonance filter applied on the master at around 2:10-2:14 is quite awkward and off-putting.

On the other hand, the textures are great, the drums hit hard, and the arrangement is good. Although, as it stands, this is *just* under the bar for me, because of that messy production specifically noticeable in the middle section. I think this may be improved enough for a pass by EQ'ing out some of the lows/low-mids especially in the guitar chugs during that portion, because I'm feeling they're the biggest culprit here.

This is very close for me, but not quite there yet. Maybe you could send a revised version to address the issue?

 

EDIT: New version is still a bit hot, but it's definitely better and fixes it for me. Nice work! :)

YES

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Very full on intro with a lot going on. This mix is a bit of a mixed bag for me.

  • I immediately thought the mix was a bit too full with a lot of sounds stepping on each other for space in the mix.
  • The mix also sounds heavily pressed together with compression, would've been great if this had been relaxed to let the track breathe.
  • Nice drum work. In particular I liked the tom rolls as they pan across the ears.
  • Nice guitar tone, well suited. Nice choice in other instruments, they complement well, but as mentioned, fight for space.
  • Good changes in pace, alternating between faster and slower feeling sections, which is exactly what this kind of mix needs.
  • Solid variation across the mix, I enjoyed the cleaner guitar near the end, the pauses in sections to give the ears a break. The song felt it went by a lot quicker than its duration led me to believe, well done there. Solid arrangement.

For me the primary issue is quality, which I would describe overall as muffled and too compressed. I surprisingly found myself preferring the original track and not the new master above - the new master sounded narrow in frequencies to me (likely due to the tapered bass). Conversely, the original is certainly boomy. Either way, I feel this mix needs some boosting in the highs to open it up a bit, and less compression overall. I have no idea how hard this would be considering the original project is unable to be opened properly.

I feel this sits with me as a borderline NO because of the problems.

NO (borderline)

 

 

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This is a tricky one - atypical sources (two of them), and an interesting style, to boot. The structure of the arrangement is pretty simple (AB, moving from one source to another), but it works well enough. You derive more than enough originality in the choice of style, so you're well set, in the arrangement. Personally, while I don't normally like fade out endings, I thought it worked alright in this case. I can see others arguments that this could've developed a bit more into a more substantial piece, but I don't think it's bad the way it is, either.

As far as the production goes, I'm not entirely sold on it. As has been mentioned previously, it sounds a little overcompressed, and looking at the waveform it looks like you were trying to keep it running at ~-3.0dB the whole time. There are parts when everything starts playing all at once (such as at 1:39, and especially at 2:02) which sound cluttered and unclear. Decompressing the track a bit would help give the mix a little more space, possibly helping clear those parts up a bit. I think you need to do some more mixing in those parts as well, but decreasing the amount of compression that's happening in this track will make the mixing easier, as well.

The drums sound amazing, but they're mixed a little too far back for most of the track. It's minor, but I would recommend giving them a little more presence in the mix, while you're rebalancing.

This one is a tough call - the arrangement is pretty good, and the production isn't the worst. I do think that it could be better, though - the density of the mix and the overcompression tip me just on the other side of the vote. Get those things fixed and I think it would be great.

NO/RESUB

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For the record, I've only listening to the remastered version that Brent provided on 3/16.

The track was 3:02-long, so I needed at least 91 seconds of overt source usage. The usage of "Alien Forces" started at 1:00.5 and lasted until the end (even though it was quiet & marginalized from 2:23 until the finish), so the source usage aspect was a clear pass and I didn't need to calculate anything.

Half-Life 2 "Nova Prospekt" - :15-40.5 (drums with gaps), :41-1:00? (sounded similar, but didn't quite match, AFAIK)
Half-Life: Opposing Force "Alien Forces" - 1:00.5-3:01

The arrangement itself was cool; with sources like these, I understand how the arrangement approach was about building original writing around basic patterns and references to the sources.

The levels were strange in that the soundscape became fuller at from :41-1:00, but the overall volume was relatively quiet. Yeah, there's bassline resonance from 1:00-1:20 that should have been pulled back, but it wasn't anything that was a dealbreaker for me.

I was starting to get concerns about crowding around 1:19 when the lower backing strings sounded very indistinct, and that certainly became more of an issue at 1:38 & mostly 1:58 when more instruments joined in and the textures became very muddy until 2:13.

The soundscape was better at 2:14 once the instrumentation changed up. "Alien Forces" is still present through the bassline, but it was marginalized once original writing was added on top at 2:23, making it relatively inaudible. To me, I still hear it and thus still count it, but it would have been better if the presence of "Alien Forces" hadn't (inadvertently?) waned towards the finish.

On the seesaw of what works vs. what doesn't work, Brent's got an interpretive, well-developed arrangement with cool instrumentation but some crowding and levels issues. Nonetheless, even though the production wasn't ideal and hurt this one, I gave this several listens and the mixing choices/issues don't drag this down enough to where I'd reject it. Though I understand the NOs fully, I'm on board; let's go!

YES (borderline) 

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I'm so used to weird stuff from Brent that this qualifies as positively normal! I liked the mood, heavy vibe and the dynamic shifts that the song goes through. I still thought the fadeout ending could have been stronger - it came just as a new section was starting, it seemed - but it was a strong arrangement, with good production. Makes for a YES.

YES

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