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djpretzel

OCR03506 - *YES* Warframe "The Last Sequence"

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Dat sidechain though. Not bad, but the heavier-hitting sections might have less source connectivity? - djp

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Hey there!

My name is Ali Popa and I produce music under the name of 'BlueDrak3'. 
Not long ago, I finished a remix of a soundtrack from a game I really like called Warframe.
The remix 'The Last Sequence' is made out of two themes used in the game, one being 'This Is What You Are' and the other one being 'Dream', both originally written by Keith Power.
Here is the link to the remix: 

The two themes which are in the game have not been officially uploaded on the internet, but they are to be found in this officially uploaded video: https://youtu.be/mqMeHmkr4Xc 

I hope you'll enjoy the remix! 


Best Regards,
Ali

Sources:

 

 

 

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First and foremost, damn I love this arrangement as a stand-alone track. The atmosphere and soundscape you create is just gorgeous, and it's very distinctive all in its own right. I haven't heard the source before, but it sounds like the game has a pretty strong soundtrack (one of the sources - "This is What You Are" - had moments that reminded me of Legend of Korra, which is a high complement).

Your instrument choices are just great throughout the track, and you really let them shine through. While it does pump out some four-to-the-floor beats eventually, it also sits just right and lets the instruments fill the space, as well. It sounds a lot like the Stranger Things soundtrack, with the still pads and building 80's synth arp at 0:30. There's some really great stuff in this.

All of that being said, it's not a perfect arrangement by any means. That side chaining is incredibly excessive from 1:59 - 3:29 & 5:03 - 6:36. Some of that pumping is effective in differentiating the sections, but pulsing everything (the theme, the background elements, everything) is very distracting. It's a shame, because it ends up making those sections all sound the same when in fact you make all sorts of small changes in the background.

It really takes its time with the slower sections. This may be a matter of personal taste, but I really appreciate that. In the beginning it feels like it builds to a climax twice, which makes the second build from 1:15 - 1:59 really feel like it's leading to something huge. The payoff doesn't satisfy this intense build up, unfortunately, but I did enjoy how you approached it. 

The source is pretty tough to pick out of this from time to time, and it's a very close call as far as source usage is concerned, but this is how I break it down:

0:15 - 1:15
2:29 - 3:29 (lots of open space, might count as 50% source)
3:33 - 4:03 (Sketchy, as the source is very subtractive)
4:03 - 5:03 
5:36 - 6:36 (lots of open space, might count as 50% source)

180s - 270s / 438s

~(41 - 62)% source usage

I lean toward the higher percentage here (probably marking it at about 50-55%), but I lay out this breakdown for other judges to see where I'm coming from on this one. Sections like 2:29 & 5:36 have considerable space that separates the source, and 3:32 - 4:03 uses fragments of the source, to keep things interesting. In both cases I could see a judge with a stricter stopwatch knocking those items down and saying this doesn't have enough source, but I personally think this represents the source well enough.

There's a lot to love about this, and there's a lot that could've been better on this. It's a close call, and I could see this being sent back due the rather aggressive side-chaining and the borderline source usage, but I think it just barely squeaks by on those accounts. If this does get sent back, lighten up on the use of your side chaining (unlink the compressor from the theme and some of the non-pad background elements), and have a few more elements tie into the source, perhaps in the background of other sections. For me, though, I think it would do well on the front page.

YES

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The source usage checked out fine, and I like Ali's piece from a compositional/arrangement standpoint. That said, the production was a miss for me. Beyond a personal taste thing, the soundscape is just too muddy, IMO. Once it picked up around 2:04 as more elements added to the texture, the overall sound was so washed out, with the kicks in particular crowding out the lead. I'm not saying everything needs to be squeaky clean, and I'll certainly listen to this additional times to get more used it and see if it settles as a dealbreaker, but to me the huge lack of clarity in this soundscape makes it a NO (resubmit).

EDIT (1/30/17): I listened again to see if my POV changed, but I'll stay an outlier.

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hmm, very nice textures you have going here.  I have a couple issues with this one, first there's just too much reverb, which makes things muddier than they should be.  Second I feel the buildups and bridge sections are a bit longer than they should.  This works well on this type of house arrangements for club mixes, but some kind of radio edit would've been nicer to diminish repetition and meandering, for a OCR sub.  

Anyways I'll be siding with Gario on this one, although I will disagree with him on the sidechaining, it's absolutely fine for this genre.  I do take issue with the compression creating pumping in places where it shouldn't such as the break around 4:03.  I feel the arpeggio is causing this issue around this point, but it's undesirable nevertheless.  I agree there's a lot to love here, the main sections are head-bobbing catchy, the ambience is great, and the layering of the different instruments and use of effects on the buildups was well executed.

This is borderline for me but I'm leaning towards passing this one.  If some Js take issue with the muddiness of the track I would totally understand as it's something that's very noticeable and not ideal.  But I think the pros outweight the cons here.

YES (Borderline)

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Those kicks are certainly overpowering!  Lowering the volume on those and reducing the sidechaining a little would definitely make this easier to listen to.  The reverb is creating some muddiness, but the soundscape doesn't have too many instruments at competing frequencies, so the issue isn't as problematic as it could be.  I don't feel like either issue covers up the lead, they're just distracting.

Regarding source usage, I'm not sure I'd give credit for 3:33-4:03, but the rest is fine.  I don't feel like spacing the melody's measures out makes it any less identifiable.

The arrangement is great, a very creative take on totally different sources.  I get a very strong Daft Punk vibe from it.  I don't feel like the length of any given section is inappropriate for the genre, and it's constantly switching things up.  

I'd prefer a version of this with a quieter kick, with the sidechaining either reduced all around or applied more selectively, and with the reverb reduced in the busier sections.  But I don't feel like those are dealbreakers even together, especially for the genre.  There's a lot to enjoy here.

YES (borderline)

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Agreed with pretty much everyone above. The sidechaining is definitely strong, and while I wouldn't mind having it toned down, I don't think it brings it below the bar overall. Hope to hear more from you in the future, the arrangement here is really nice, and the instrumentation is well-chosen.

YES (borderline)

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