subversiveasset

Mega Man 2 - Dr. Wily's Castle (in a slow jazz lounge remix)

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The original version of this song, as you may be aware is very uptempo. Does it work as a slower, "jazz lounge" sort of piece?

Realistically, I'm probably done with this piece in particular, but I am looking to hear what people think the major flaws are, and what sorts of things should I be thinking about to improve in future works. I know music theory is a weakness -- I mostly go with what sounds good to me (but I guess I don't have a perfect ear?). Also, I only actually play sax, so I think that I'm probably doing all sorts of incorrect/odd things with the VSTis for piano, drums, vibraphones, or bass. 

Remix:

https://soundcloud.com/andrewspriggs/mega-man-2-dr-wilys-jazz-lounge-sax-cover

 

Original:

 

 

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The bass is alright; it's slow, so lots of what you've written is possible in real life. It's also not often exposed, so some actual errors are hidden enough (one of them was the weird hammer-on at 0:08). Parts with the metallic percussion, like at 0:22, sounded like... banging pots? It keeps drawing my attention away from the sax because the fidelity feels lossy. :lol:

The drums are audible enough. Some people have trouble with the kick not punching through or the snare not having enough "pop", but the drum mixing is pretty good here. Nice work!

The piano is also slow, so like the bass, it's possible to play that way, at least until 1:44. What I'd say overall is that the part could be more interesting; maybe some soft high-note fills could help make the pacing more engaging. 1:44 was where I heard the first startling note on the piano. I'd say there, the notes on the piano can use more variation on the velocity magnitudes (especially at 2:00 - 2:01) to make it less mechanical. Also, at 2:06 - 2:10 and 2:39 - 2:41, the chords on the piano could be more "open" or "spread out". It sounds to me like you played certain chords that, if bumped up an octave, are probably harmonious, but at those lower octaves, those notes are mushing together.

Likewise, the vibraphone can have a bit more variation on the velocity magnitudes to make it less mechanical. The notes' rhythm, though, sounds realistic to me.

Of course, the sax is real. But I think I'm hearing you open and close the holes on the sax in the recording (0:21 - 0:22, 0:36 - 0:37, 0:58 - 0:59, 1:45 - 1:48, etc). Personally if you could have avoided recording that opening and closing, I think that would have been better. Not a huge deal, but thought I'd mention that. I did like the notes you chose to play though. ;)

The arrangement itself is enjoyable, and I like it as a general piece of music, though I'm not sure it arranges the Wily Castle theme that clearly. I find myself straining to make connections back to the original, and I'm very familiar with the original. It's partially because it's such a slow interpretation, and because you've changed some chords and several significant notes. For example, at 0:47 - 0:55, I know you're trying to reference 0:00 - 0:03 in the original, but 0:51 - 0:55 doesn't connect back to the Wily Castle theme for me. Another example is at 1:19 - 1:33, I could figure out that you're trying to reference 0:21 - 0:32 in the original, but 1:21 - 1:30 just deviates too far away from the original for me to really say that it sounds like the original, while 1:30 - 1:33 does sound enough like the original. So maybe work on not being too interpretive. :P

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Thanks so much for all the detailed commentary! The main things in your commentary that struck me in particular were your thoughts about the piano chords -- when I was arranging, I felt that there was something off about  them, but I just decreased the velocity to kind of put them aside...but what I was really "feeling" was that they were mushy, as you said. So I'll definitely have to play around with more open chords.

And with respect to variations from the original, now that you mention it, it really does feel that the bass and vibes part from 1:19 - 1:33 sticks out as a sore thumb. As I listen to it again, it feels like the part that's more accurate is the sax part from 2:04 to 2:18...so I thought: "why did I put that after the 1:34 - 2:03 part???" And then from listening to the original again, I realized that thematically, 0:21 - 0:32 is supposed to be pretty much the same as 0:53 to 1:03...I probably heard that and subconsicously thought that I needed to make it more varied. So I'll definitely have to work on reining that back in. 

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