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Castlevania III Beginning (The Bloodline Bounce)


Gario
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Hey there, peeps!

It's been quite a while since I've shared something I wanted to touch up for submission. I personally think this one is solid, but I wanted to put it out there, for the extra ears. This was something I submit for the Castlevania compo a while back, so I cleaned it up - brightened the sound, re-mixed the channels, added hints of reverb here and there to fill the space, etc. Literally have a whole community who can give this a listen, give some feedback if necessary, so why not use it, eh?

Anyhow, this is an arrangement of Castlevania X Clocktower (nearly the same as Castlevania III: Beginning), Castlevania II Bloody Tears, and Castlevania II (GB) 

 

Mah track:

The Bloodline Bounce

 

Enjoy, and be sure to leave feedback if you got any. :)

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Gee, I don't know, Gario - you might want to have a judge look at this. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA .... oh, I kill me.

Anyway, this is a fascinating arrangement. I suspect you are guilty of participating in the Super Audio Kart frenzy I've been seeing these last few weeks, 'cuz I'm detecting quite a few 8 and 16 bit sounds in this mixed in some VERY interesting ways. :)

I really like the way you've overlaid the tracks while still keeping each melody distinct, even when you flip back and forth. I especially like all of the improv fills over the melody that I hear ... everywhere. The 'moody' bass and beats you've chosen to accompany this are, IMO, perfect for the sound you create; my only complaint is that all the fills do sound a bit cluttered here and there just because of all the activity at once (one example at 1:33). For an audiophile like me, great to hear all the intricacy of the melodies, but to the casual listener, it might be a bit much.

Other than that, I love it! I was bouncing almost as soon as that bass and beat came in. Great track - and a bonus that you chose two of my favorite Castlevania tunes of all time!

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Nah, I don't have Audio Cart - I've made my own 8-bit+ sounds for ages (Since at least my first accepted submission, and even a little before that). This track was made in January - long before Audio Cart was available. Really, though, it's just a square wave with the duty cycle set at 12.5, 25 or 50%, as per what the NES would have available. Now you know how to do it, too! :P

Thanks for the comment on the potential clutter, I'll clean that up some more before submitting my track. I think I can make it a touch easier to hear, especially at the part you point out. Thanks for the feedback, and I'm glad you enjoyed it otherwise :)

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Updated the link, I think it's a-go for submission. I gave it a few listens, and while I didn't the specific part you mentioned, Nikanoru, I did hear a few parts after that got pretty cluttered due to organ reverb.

As far as the loud melody Slime mentioned, I wasn't catching where that was an issue. Even if it didn't sound like it, the soundscape is actually pretty dense - a bit difficult to add any more chords or pads than there already are. Not much I could think of doing that wouldn't drastically change the style of the song.

Thanks for the listens and comments!

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I don't think the soundscape is empty, but when listening, the melody is the only thing that really stands out to me. Perhaps because everything under it is more broken up and abstract, or because you used a lot of square waves, it's sort of blending together until only the melody stands out? As well written as it might all actually be, my brain only really hears the Beginning theme rendered with an unappealing sounding square wave. Sorry, I guess this one just isn't for me.

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I wonder if simply using more distinctly different waveforms amongst the background waveforms (e.g. triangles are generally pretty soft-sounding, and saws generally have strong harmonics) would make the soundscape feel less dense and more '3D'.

Arrangement-wise I love it.

Another production thing you could try is play around with panning the background arps around so that they have more motion, and that way, they can be dropped in volume and leave room for the melody to be heard while the ear can follow the moving background if it wants.

Example

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13 hours ago, Gario said:

I gave it a few listens, and while I didn't the specific part you mentioned, Nikanoru, I did hear a few parts after that got pretty cluttered due to organ reverb.

I think maybe I'm hearing what everyone else is: To Slimy, it's the loud, 'unappealing' melody sounds and quiet bass with abstract feel; and to timaeus222, it's the density; I think what I'm really hearing is the intricacy of the melody and the sound wave sound chosen clashing with the equally intricate harmony line and organ synth. What I guess I'm getting at is with all that movement and focus that the melody is getting - which is by design, as you said - I can see why folks would say that the square wave sound is unappealing and the 'rest of the soundscape' is too quiet. Maybe the featured melody is too intricate in places, drowning out the soundscape and running against the smooth bass and beats.

Here are examples of what I mean:

1:33 - 1:38: I still think it sounds cluttered here. I'll use the analogy 'it feels like every melody and harmony part is trying to steal the spotlight all at once.'

1:39 - 1:54: In contrast, this part is perfectly balanced.  @timaeus222 @Ganaé Let me know if you two would agree.

1:55 - 2:28: This 'verse' part feels better, more organized.

I hope I'm being clearer than mud, lol. Just an observation about composition, really. I still really like the arrangement and I can listen to it just fine as is. Besides - you're the composer, so if you think this is done, then it is. :)

 

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I gave this a quicker listen yesterday, so right now here are more specific thoughts after I downloaded the track:

  • 1:06 - 1:22 gets cluttered by the organ reverb coupled with whatever pads are in the background. This is in the low-midrange, near 200 Hz. It doesn't make the melody any less clear, but it does mud up the accompaniment.
  • At 1:31 - 1:38, it's a little cluttered, but I'm not that bothered by it; the lead, chordal instrument, and the short+plucky arp are all centered, which is probably why.
  • At 1:39 - 1:54, while I agree it's as cluttered, I think the organ was intended to lead together with the pulse lead, but the pulse lead is a tad loud. I wonder if it could be improved by simply low passing the pulse lead temporarily there. Overall pretty well balanced though.
  • 1:55 - 2:28 is pretty sparse (not a bad thing), but I liked it as a short breakdown/reprieve.
  • 2:12 - 2:28 for me is comparable to 1:39 - 1:54 in terms of the mixing.
  • 2:37 - 2:53 and 4:00 - 1:16 for me are comparable to 1:06 - 1:22 in terms of the mixing.
  • 3:27 - 3:43 for me is comparable to 1:31 - 1:54 in terms of the mixing + busy partwriting.

Keep in mind though that I don't think these become dealbreakers overall. The organ reverb clutter is the largest issue IMO (Gario's concern), and that is probably followed by the potential for the soundscape to be less dense and more '3D' (which would address most of Nikanoru's concerns), but I think the arrangement is so good that I would love to see this on the site. :)

I don't think it's necessarily that the melody is "too intricate"; I think that's fine, but if two melodies don't play well as counterpoint (i.e. they have conflicting motions, giving the idea of two leads fighting for attention), then I would be bothered by that. ;)

EDIT: Maybe it can helped with more separated panning, but to my ears, the current notes are both 'conflicting' and technically proper counterpoint.

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Nice breakdowns, you two. I hear where you're coming from now, Nikanoru - there could be a little less competition for the space in there. If I have time I'll go back and open it up a little bit. Thanks for the timestamp, that helps me focus on what you're hearing. Funny enough, I actually adjusted the volumes at the second version of that later in the track, which is likely why that isn't as much of an issue. I'll give that bit a pass again, as far as balancing.

I hear the issue with the pads, Timaeus. I'll see if I can balance them a little better - the original had them quite quiet, so I may have overcompensated them in this version.

Thanks for the criticisms - I will do what I can to make this even better.

 

1 hour ago, timaeus222 said:

I don't think it's necessarily that the melody is "too intricate"; I think that's fine, but if two melodies don't play well as counterpoint (i.e. they have conflicting motions, giving the idea of two leads fighting for attention), then I would be bothered by that. ;)

Oh boy.

I would suggest you investigate counterpoint a little bit, if your point is to avoid conflicting motion (you could mean otherwise, but that's how it reads) - your point is literally the opposite of what you're supposed to do, with good counterpoint. Contrary motion (e.g. voices moving against one another) is literally the best method of motion, and should be what you strive to achieve whenever possible. Similar and imperfect parallel motion are your methods of compromise, when counter motion isn't possible anymore (perfect parallel motion is strictly forbidden, by the way). Counterpoint is literally the art of making voices sound independent while still working well harmonically. Good voice leading follows the same rules, so it's also useful for creating as pleasing a motion from chord to chord as possible.

It's... literally one of my areas of specialty, from college, so I will set the contrapuntal record straight any time I see it come up on the forums. But yeah, for the love of Counterpoint, use contrary motion whenever possible. If anyone ever has questions about it, by the way, I'm literally always up to discuss it.

*end rant*

Apologies if that seems a little wordy, but counterpoint errors is one of my biggest pet peeves. Just ask Rozo or Willrock - I've had historic clashes on these forums on it, in the past. :P

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25 minutes ago, Gario said:

Oh boy.

I would suggest you investigate counterpoint a little bit, if your point is to avoid conflicting motion (you could mean otherwise, but that's how it reads) - your point is literally the opposite of what you're supposed to do, with good counterpoint. Contrary motion (e.g. voices moving against one another) is literally the best method of motion, and should be what you strive to achieve whenever possible. Similar and imperfect parallel motion are your methods of compromise, when counter motion isn't possible anymore (perfect parallel motion is strictly forbidden, by the way). Counterpoint is literally the art of making voices sound independent while still working well harmonically. Good voice leading follows the same rules, so it's also useful for creating as pleasing a motion from chord to chord as possible.

It's... literally one of my areas of specialty, from college, so I will set the contrapuntal record straight any time I see it come up on the forums. But yeah, for the love of Counterpoint, use contrary motion whenever possible. If anyone ever has questions about it, by the way, I'm literally always up to discuss it.

*end rant*

Apologies if that seems a little wordy, but counterpoint errors is one of my biggest pet peeves. Just ask Rozo or Willrock - I've had historic clashes on these forums on it, in the past. :P

Yeah, I get what you mean in the bold. I'm not saying it's not counterpoint.

It may be technically correct, but to me the voices that are there now are *conflicting*, rather than playing off of each other "while still working well harmonically". It's hard for me to explain, but what I hear is that the voices are 'vying for attention at the same time', so to speak, so if I try to listen to one, the other 'butts in'. I would prefer that I can choose to listen to each voice without feeling like the other is 'intruding'.

Maybe if you don't want to adjust the actual notes in your counterpoint, it can be helped through more separated panning.

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I think you might be mixing up some terminology, here. You're likely looking for me to make the melody and background elements more distinct (they're "vying for attention at the same time", at the moment). If I mix the background elements down, the melody and the background square won't fight for the same melodic space. That was the point that Nikanoru was making, and I agreed to give more space to the melody by simply mixing the background down a little bit. That would have nothing to do with counterpoint, though, which would literally be changing what notes are being played instead (which wouldn't fix the root problem).

Panning could work too, actually, but the way I achieve a fuller sound for the melody and some background elements (like the other organ) is to pan delays on both speakers set at different feedback levels (mixed appropriately lower than the actual synth). I can still pan something if I want to (I do it at various points in this song, in fact), but I would need to be careful not to clash with these already panned elements. Just an FYI to show that I'm listening, but there actually IS a reason I'm avoiding panning the elements presented that you couldn't have been aware of. ;)

I do appreciate the feedback, though - there are things that my ears have gotten used to that people's comments have made more clear, for me.

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Sorry, I should point out that I was referring to:

Quote
  • 3:27 - 3:43 for me is comparable to 1:31 - 1:54 in terms of the mixing + busy partwriting.

Honing in, I'm looking at 3:27 - 3:35, and I think ultimately I have no 'busy-ness' issue with 3:35 - 3:43. Thanks for trying hard to see what I mean.

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On 7/13/2016 at 4:40 PM, Chalis said:

I'm not qualified to say anything, just wanted to say that I've had this in my main playlist since I heard it in July c: It made me start trying chiptune out. 

Oh, awesome. Chiptunes are pretty sweet - glad I could introduce you to them! I think this came out in January, though ;)

First post is updated with minor mixing changes, will not be working on it further (got more things to work on!). Thanks for the input, everyone, it helps greatly! :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

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