arseniy

Bixenter - Crystal World (The Guardian Legend areas 6 & 9)

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Sorry! Kind of busy behind the scenes, sort of missed this one.

EVAL:

Going to throw this out there, it's preferable to be able to download the track over simply listening to it on Youtube. Youtube is a great site, but it's nice to be able to analyse the waveform when giving it a review and such, which in turn helps us give you more accurate advice. Just sayin'. :)

Interesting (and repetitive) source, and at first this is a pretty conservative take on it; it concerned me that it might stick to the original a little too much. However, there's a great middle section at 1:30 that really keeps you on your toes. I didn't hear too much source connection there, but it did a great job giving your ears a break from the rather static nature of the first minute and a half.

The beginning portion (0:10 - 1:30) has a pretty static soundscape. Those relatively simple synths all do the same thing all the way through with little break and play through the source twice (though the melodic instrument changes at 0:51, which helps a bit). It's not bad, per se, but it does lead the listener to believe that it's not going anywhere before you can really change it up at 1:30.

The fact that a lot of your synths are vanilla doesn't help you in this regard, either. With the saws and rectangle waves, the synths are made up of a lot of simple waveforms. I obviously have no issue with these types of instruments (being a fakebit/9-bit arranger myself), but until the 1:30 mark there doesn't seem to be any reason to be using the synths you've used. In the beginning you use EQ envelops to keep your synths interesting; I suggest utilizing other envelops and such in that section to keep your instrumentation interesting for the listener, which would also help make that beginning section less static, as well.

The drums in this have little presence. They're fitting, but that bass should be mixed more to the front, and that snare is extremely dry against the wet backing. Giving the percussion some more attention in the mix would help with the track's overall impact on the audience. If it comes to it, consider sidechaining the bass a little to give the bass drum more room in the mix.

Did I mention that I love where you took this in the middle through the end? I love where you took this in the middle through the end. ;) 

This would likely be one of those tracks where some people on the panel would give it a YES and others would give it a NO, where it stands. The arrangement is strong (as is the production), which might get this a pass in its own right, but the static nature of the piece for the first 1:30 would certainly hold this back, as would the weak drum presence and vanilla synths.

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Hey Gario,

Thanks to checking out. I need some specifications please.

1. download here: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/726443

2. there another great thing I did. I expanded the original loop with continue melody. The thing you hear like after 0:36 is my original melody expanding the game loop. That was initial purpose as I hate how the original loop feels unfinished. I am not sure is conservative so bad, but I expanded the game loop showing how the song could be much better in the original game.

3. Not sure what you mean about static soundscape. Not the melody I guess?

4. I have no idea what Vanilla means here. It is few layers of simple waveform presets(made by myself) some of them are filtered + some backgound brass like synth. Personally I find this sound quite pleasant and fitting the electricized background. I can try to change the lead sound. But see no point to make it frequency moving. The moving might make sense for background instruments.

5. Not sure what kind of drum precense you mean. Louder? The snare has some ammount of verb but it is lost in all the other reflections. Adding more reverb to snare doesn't make it audiable but only makes things muddy. I'll try other snare. Maybe you mean to make stronger kick? This kick came from the older version of the song. It's pretty short live kick pushed up. It can be changed to other kick but what kind? Stronger snap? Should it be longer one? There is sidechain from the kick on the low frequencies on the bass. So when kick plays the lows below 150hz are ducking. Maybe to sidechain more stuff with the kick? Not only the bass?

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Sure, I'll help clarify. Also, thanks for the link - Newgrounds, while unconventional, certainly hosts well enough. Hey, I used it for the longest time, myself (might get around to posting more of my music there someday), though if you submit simply attaching the 192kbps Mp3 to the e-mail is preferable. ;)

First, as far as being conservative is concerned if the track sounds too precise to the source then it's not eligible to be a posted remix. It's also ineligible if the arrangement has too little connection to the source material - OCR is all about that sweet spot between having the source recognizable while putting your own spin on it. It's not objectively a good or bad thing how conservative or liberal a track is, but when we do mod evaluations here we need to consider what will be post-able on OCR, and that's just the site requirement for posting material. This falls within the parameter, so don't worry too much about it this time.

As far as 'static' goes, it's an informal term used to mean when the soundscape sounds the same for long stretches of time. If you don't change it up for long periods, the music starts to sound the same, which is tiring to the listener. In this track's case, the bass, the drums, the texture, etc., sounds like it's all used in the same way from 0:10 to 1:30, going through the source twice relatively straight. The change in melodic instrument helps change things up a bit, but the fact remains that the rest of the instruments are all being used in a similar manner, using similar textures and patterns for a long period of time without break.

'Vanilla' simply means the synths sound basic and/or like common premade synths from a program utilized without some form of personalization. Granted, I do hear the use of EQ envelopes to keep it interesting at some parts, which helps alleviate this issue somewhat, but it's not quite enough in that first section. I'll paste a nice summary of this term here, used in another thread:

Quote

"Plain, unimaginative and/or boring sound design" is what vanilla generally means. There's some subjectivity to it, of course, but it does have some objective base to it. It's helpful to think of it using a basic litmus test: 

  • A. Is it an easily recognized, overused preset (like Supersaw) or a pure waveform (saw, square, etc.)? If so...
  • B. Is there a particular reason for it, like trying to emulate a particular sound (squares to emulate NES) or style (Supersaws for old school electronic music)? If not...
  • C. Is there anything in the texture that makes them otherwise interesting (Quick arps, gating, etc) that might be muddy or messy with more complex instruments, or against itself?

If the answer to the first is 'YES' and the other two is 'NO', doing something with the sound design of the simpler instruments will objectively make your music sound more rich and complete, without losing something in the arrangement in return. Do know, though, that this does NOT mean use a different sampler/synthesizer/etc.; it means do something with your tools (envelops, layering, etc.) that makes the instruments more interesting.

Consider two of the three points in that litmus test in some detail: if you're actually going for a particular sound, then that not only justifies the use of simpler sounds, it may even require them ("8-bit" and "Fake-bit" is a genre that requires square waves for that sound, for example). Also, sometimes the use of pure sounds is necessary in order to apply more complex textures: doing hyper-fast 64th or 128th note arpeggios with virtually anything other than basic square or sines WILL sound like trash with more complex instruments.

One final point that sums all of this nicely: Above all else, make your choices sound intentional rather than incidental. If it sounds like the composer made a purposeful choice on the sound design/synth/instrument rather than chose an instrument/synth just to carry the notes, it'll probably sound correct.

Again, this applies more to the first half of the track than the second, so keep that in mind. I may make this a sticky someday, since it's a lot to write out. :P 

As far as the drums, to put it simply: yes, the kick is not loud enough. From what I can tell the kick doesn't have much bass EQ, so either tweaking the EQ so it has more bass or finding a kick with more low end would help considerably. I do catch two snares in this, and one IS very wet. I'm likely talking about the dry snare, and I'm not talking about more than a few clicks of reverb on it; it's just so it matches the wetness of the other instruments.

Hope that helps. :)

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Another revision of the music. I was going to post this in a Happy New Year topic in the fan group of the game. The Guardian Legend game on NES.
This version is changed quite a lot in the mixing. Let me know what you think. Maybe some obvious mistakes need to be fixed.

P.S.

Is there some kind of player possible to insert into the forum? I haven't uploaded this to youtube yet.

Bixenter - Crystal World SE v2.mp3

Edited by arseniy

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Hey, I remember finding your old version of this track long ago! Really appreciate the take on the ol' Guardian Legend, I'm a sucker for the game's soundtrack. 

Anyways. I've a (much) less trained ear than Gario, but I enjoyed this new approach to the mix. The percussion is a bit more pronounced and there is a generally more crisp feel to the piece as a whole. Very chipper. Your arrangement is fairly the same as the previous, which I personally don't find much of a problem. Sometimes, repetition with simple variation is nice. Still, there is a lot of room for more deviation in the melody. I second what Gario said about a conservative approach, and personally enjoy liberal additions to old melodies. Still, this is nice work, keep it up!

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