Emunator

*NO* Rez 'Sidestepping Creation'

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Cool ideas, some neat stuff on the sound design front but there's a few mixing issues that stand out. That 808 is out of control! After the 2 minute mark things start to get pretty repetitive. Definitely worthy of some feedback ~ Emu

Contact Information

ReMixer name: StateOfCreation
real name: David Barnatt
email address: 
website: http://davidbarnatt.com/
userid: I can't find this anywhere within my profile or anyone elses, sorry!

Submission Information

Name of game(s) arranged: Rez
Name of arrangement: Sidestepping Creation
Name of individual song(s) arranged: Creation the State of Art

Additional information about game including composer, system, etc. (if it has not yet been added to the site): It is in the database for the dreamcast, but it was also on PS2. This track is by Ken Ishii originally. Multiple composers did the music for the game but only 2 are listed so far.

Link to the original soundtrack (if it is not one of the sound archives already available on the site): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaoTmhU4J8U

Your own comments about the mix, for example the inspiration behind it, how it was made, etc: I love the game Rez, it is actually what got me into electronic music believe it or not, it is a very personal game to me. I also remixed another track from the game at the same time as this; originally called Rock is Sponge by Joujouka (which I'm not sure if you'd allow me to submit sooner than the 3 weeks? Since it is a companion piece of sorts). I wanted to keep them as dance tracks in a similar style but just add my own touch to them as a tribute. There is a mix of samples and unique sounds mostly made on synths.

Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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Really been listening to this one a lot, it's a bit of a head scratcher for me. The soundscape is pretty unique, which fits the original, but at the same time it's pretty out there compared to a lot of other electronica tracks you hear. At times there are some unconventional balance choices that offer a unique perspective. Overall I enjoyed what you went for here, though I felt like (especially on headphones) the low end is a bit too strong and could be toned back. This is especially evident towards the end. 

The mix is fairly repetitive, though there's a ton of evolution as new parts are added and dropped. Very reminiscent of the source, so that works really well IMO. I felt like the transition at ~2:08 was weak, but everything else worked well.

I think this is pretty close, and I'm curious what the other judges think. Right now I'm going to say this is a really close NO, and I'd love for you to tweak the balance especially. Hope to hear this again!

NO (resubmit, please)

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I'm getting a very early Detroit techno vibe here, (Juan atkins, mayday, etc), with even some german touch there from kraftwerk.  I love your sound design here, very analogue sounding.  The groove has that special feeling that early techno/electro songs had and that is not that easy to reproduce.  There aren't many issues I can point at in the production here, there is some quirkiness like with the 808 kick at 02:11 and later on but that quirkiness is part of the authenticity of this style.  I don't notice any issues bringing down the mix so stuff like this is just flavor really.

The arrangement sticks fairly close to the original, but you managed to give it your own spin.  I didn't mind the repetitiveness at all, as there is plenty of variation, and addition/subtraction of elements throughout, and honestly if it didn't have its fair share of repetitiveness it wouldn't work in this style imo.  I do think however that you could've sent us a shorter "radio version" of your arrangement so it was more palatable for the general listening public.

Overall I loved this and I totally get what you're trying to do here, and I think it's fantastic.  However I'm sure a shorter version would help sway the votes in your favor as I think the repetitive nature of this style may get on some people's bad side.  However, for me this is a

YES

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Interesting source and remix. Your arrangement is a true remix in that you took a lot of elements from the original and shifted them around. I liked a lot of the extra elements you added, and overall, I thought your song was quite hypnotic. This is some pretty old-school techno. From 1:09-2:09, I thought you got a little far from the original, but at 2:09, the bass/drum section from the original came in and you took that all the way to the end. In all, it seemed connected but still distinctive enough to stand apart from the original.

Basically, the only question I have is: is the sampling too much? I'm not sure exactly what is sampled and what is recreated, but the vocal samples have got to be and I think some of the instruments are too. From a textural perspective, this is sitting pretty close to the original. I think I'm tentatively ok with this, but I'd like other judges to weigh in before I make a final call.

 

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That's some solid, old-school techno. The overall samples sound like an "upgrade" of sorts to the source, but the arrangement has more than enough personal touches to make it stand out as his own interpretation.

That being said, Palpable has a good point on the amount of sampling that's going on. From what I can gather, I don't think this breaks the official submission rules:

Quote
  • Taking the original game audio and simply adding drum loops or using an existing MIDI file and assigning new instruments does not qualify as substantial or original arrangement.
  • Submissions must not include any sampled audio, including sound effects, from material owned by Square Enix or its subsidiaries.

It's certainly not the original with a drum loop under it, and there's no Square-Enix that I can identify. If there are any other rules involved in sampling the source material, a link to it would be great, but I think he's in the clear on that front based on the site rules. He samples, resamples, rearranges and makes it into something of his own.

EDIT:

Also, this:

Quote

 

2. Production must show significant attention to sound quality, mixing, mastering, and utilization of effects.

  • Synthesized and sampled elements must be reasonably sophisticated.

 

 

As I said before, the sampled elements do seem to be reasonably sophisticated - lots of gating, resampling and such to make it distinctly his own. "Reasonably sophisticated" is a loose term, though, so I could possibly see someone thinking differently, but I believe it's still within site parameters.

The arrangement is quirky and interesting, and I don't think I can find too much fault otherwise. Yeah, it's repetitive, but it's stylistically repetitive - I don't hear much copy-paste going on with this. It has a whole lot of minimalistic, additive variation, which is pretty neat.

I like it. I think it'd be nice to see on the front page.

YES

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This is repetitive alright, but I think it's justified even just because the source is just as repetitive. I'm hearing this arrangement as some sort of enhancement over the original's direction, for which repetition is key, so I don't think that's a problem. Also, I think the additions and detail work are enough to customize the track compared to the original.

With that out of the way, I think the production is mostly great, but I agree with Deia about the low-end being too strong at parts. Around 2:15 was the biggest bother for me in that regard. It's basically the only problem I have with the mix though and I don't think it's a dealbreaker.

YES

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Well I love this.  The production is clean as a whistle, soundscape is huge, while being creatively sparse.  It is repetitive, but suitably so for this genre.  The additive/subtractive nature of the arrangement is perfect.  With a track like this, I feel the length is justified.  Quite an easy yes for me.  Into the favorites folder it goes.

YES

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Quote
  • Taking the original game audio and simply adding drum loops or using an existing MIDI file and assigning new instruments does not qualify as substantial or original arrangement.

That sentence is a very simplified way to say that if you're going to directly sample the original audio as the foundation of your track, it better be very transformative. Unless I'm grossly mistaken -- and djp as the founder can clarify this -- the intent behind OC ReMix has been to do arrangements where the artist creates the music from the ground up, in direct contrast to sampling the in-game original audio as the base.

We do in fact have at least one mix that directly sampled the original audio yet sounded like an arrangement as well (IMO), which was Dj CUTMAN's MiG-29 mix. That said, this is a very difficult approach to pull off.

That said, while this clearly has some original instrumentation involved, this relies so heavily on the original audio -- both voice work and sections of instrumental writing -- and many of the effects and added instrumentation ideas are relatively simplistic -- a beat here (:06-:39), a bassline there (3:35-3:49). This is cool as a traditional remix, when the original source audio is sampled, but, for Standards encouraging transformative arrangement, this is lacking. To me, it's a Standards Violation, and I don't think the changes here -- while cool and enjoyable to listen to -- represent an overall substantial or original enough alteration of what's sampled from the original song to pass. We're geared toward arrangements vs. traditional remixes, and, IMO, it would take something that did a better job of standing apart from the original song to pass.

NO

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I'm leaning toward Larry's take on the interpretation.  Aside from the sampling issue (I'm also not sure how much is sampled and how much, like the 808, is a similar sound synthesized independently), the structure is extremely similar, basically just taking the first and third sections of the source and changing the effects, with small changes to the instrumentation.  I think if a similar amount of transformation were applied to a more traditional piece of music, it would be a very clear rejection.

In addition, it is repetitive.  It certainly should be repetitive to a certain extent for this style of music, but this is above and beyond.  The source was really repetitive as well, but it took fewer measures to go through more substantial transformations.

I also agree with Emu about that 808 being excessively loud and resonant, but that's on top of the fundamental arrangement issue.

NO

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I'm going to fall in line with Larry and MW here. It's not a bad piece, but I'm not seeing the significant transformation required to justify the sampling.

NO

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Enjoyed the stereo percussion. Interesting choice of synth to start the track. Solid evolution of the intro. Soundscape is mostly minimal but makes use of creative synth tweaking to keep the parts fresh. Although the arrangement pattern is similar, it strides in different directions slightly, with different sounds at different times, and at least initially creates a non-repetitive soundscape.

However this seems to hit a point of expiry. As we progress further into the track past the 2:00 mark, things begin to feel a bit too loopy and repeaty, by the mid-point ideas don't feel as fleshed out as the earlier ideas, and by the 5:00 mark I was ready to close off.

I believe a lot of the issues here stem from the minimal nature of the track paired with the short repeated patterns that are experienced regularly. Although the first few minutes were good, I strongly felt more of a transition needed to be made in the second section - the track needed a departure from what was going on with a change in texture and feel, perhaps to build back up again for a final close out. Instead things felt more like a variation of the original rhythm without any true progression. For this reason I feel some more needs to be done on the arrangement side, especially to justify the length.

NO

 

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Gonna keep it short here.  Listening to the remix, the foundational elements is based upon direct sampling of the original without (IMO) meaningful enough arrangement variation away from the original usage.  Sure, it's sliced up a bit and things are moved/grooved differently, but overall it feels like an evolution/progression from the original, rather than an OC ReMix arrangement.

Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I feel like we used to be more restrictive on direct sampling and this would've been no override.  I remember personally having to cut original sampling used in just the intros of one of my tracks years ago to make sure it was super limited.  Could be that mine was verbatim (though effected) vs. this, which is a bit more arranged, I don't know.

I'll also agree with the repetition comments as well.  It's part of the old electro-genre, and I understand that, but I there's still room for additional variation within the track here.  As stands, this makes me think of the old late 90's live DJ mixes that were intentionally extended/repeated for a long period of time beyond what the original tracks featured for the live dance audience (and not necessarily for listeners at home).  Not necessarily a deal-breaker alone, but a point for improvement.

It's a cool track for sure, but to me it's not to the point of fitting OCR's criteria for arrangement.

NO

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