Sign in to follow this  
Gario

OCR03693 - *YES* Wolf Among Us: Season One "Binding"

Recommended Posts

Contact:
Name: aluminum
Email: 
Submission:
Game: The Wolf Among Us
Name of arrangement: Binding
Name of songs arranged: Opening Credits/Prologue
Game info: Released in 2013 on multiple platforms; composed by Jared Emerson-Johnson.
Comments:
"Probably time to work on a new OCR submission... let's see, my last one was... *checks page*... 9 years ago?!" Hmm, that was a bit longer than intended.  Anyway, here's a Wolf Among Us arrangement that I hope you like.  The Stabbing Westward track "Why" was a big influence here; I wanted to make something that blended a bit of that style with the dark 80s-esque synths of the original, as well as some aggressive modern elements.  

I used an extended version of the main melody to bookend the song, with some original material in the middle.  This track has probably the most production work I've ever put into anything (although, no, not actually 9 years worth--which would be particularly impressive since the game came out in 2013 ;) ).
 
Thanks,

--
aluminum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a little light on the low end for 80's dark synths, but otherwise it definitely nails the era.  Highs get a little crowded at moments, especially during the sweeps, but it's not a huge issue.

The one huge issue I do have is with the original content.  Other than some of the percussion synths, it's like a completely different song.  It adds a guitar and completely changes the energy level.  It even has its own introduction.  If I were listening to this on an album, I would assume it was the next track and would have been completely surprised that it returned to the original melody afterwards.  It's pretty good stuff as a standalone song, but it doesn't belong in this one.

And it's a shame, because I really like everything else, and I like that one section by itself, but even though this only uses one game music source, I feel like this is a standards violation on sounding like "multiple songs pasted together."  I'd actually recommend taking that original section, setting it aside to use for another piece of music in the future, and writing something new that's more compatible with the rest of this arrangement to put in its place.  If you can do that, I think the result would be a great addition to the site.

NO (resubmit)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very tasty soundscape to this one - those classic synths with the theme and bassline that this source provides is a perfect match. The production is impressive on this, and while I'm not feeling the guitar on this one otherwise the sound design is top notch.

I don't agree that the significantly different section MindWanderer points out violates our standards at all; while the mood changes and new instruments are introduced (which to be honest I wasn't feeling that much, either), it works on its own as a break from the plodding arrangement, and it does transition fairly well. Nothing in the rules saying we can't do that.

There still is one point that is a bit iffy - the track is pretty liberal. There's not too much material to work with (really, that one hook represents the entirety of the source), and while it's used well in this arrangement there are a lot of moments that simply let the atmosphere take hold. That's cool and all for an independent track, and it does wonders here, but it also could hurt as far as being able to recognize the source is concerned. Fortunately, the rhythmic bass motif is prevalent in many of those portions, which is certainly a part of the source. If one were to count that, then this is how the breakdown would go:

0:10 - 0:50 (Bass)
0:50 - 1:03 (Bass + Harmonies)
1:03 - 1:56
1:56 - 2:10 (Bass)
3:51 - 4:45
4:45 - 4:59 (Bass)

188s / 312s

60% source usage

If the bassline isn't counted as source then the track hits something like 40% source usage instead, so I could see judges swinging both ways, as far as this being liberal. I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt on it, though, since the open, spacious portions really do evoke the source's less melodic, more open and spacious portions in my humble opinion.

Overall, I could see how someone could look at the middle section (2:10 - 3:51) and believe it's too liberal, but I'm willing to give it some credit for that bassline, which means I see no other reason to hold this back. Nice work!

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is definitely a tough decision. Love the 80's vibe here for sure, though, and I think the track really captures the feel of the original while expanding on it. That being said, I do think that there is a lot of liberal sections or unrelated sections that I'm not sure make this recognizable enough to the source. To me, looking at the broad view of the track, I think the track gets by in the usage of the melody strongly so that the original/liberal sections can be forgiven in this instance. It's close though. I can see this going either way, and I'm curious what the other's think here.

YES (borderline)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aluminum? well that's quite the blast to the past, I used to listen to your sm64 remix a lot.  Anyhoo, I see the 10 year break wasn't in vain, as your production has indeed evolved for the better.  I really liked the sound design on this one, strong drums, and I dig the usage of pitch bending in those vowel-filtered synths.  It keeps a dark atmosphere throughout, with a pace that can seem a bit plodding at some spots, but there are some sections that change things up, like the high-energy guitar section.  I think the listener could've been eased into this section a bit better, but the transition is not something I think detracts from the track as a whole.

In some sections the production isn't perfect, as I hear the drums ducking a bit behind some of the layer of pads and synths at some spots (i.e. 1:35).  But there's definitely a lot to like here in the different and varied textures used to build this track.  The arrangement can be a point of contention though, as it's very loosely related to the original in some sections, but I think the main elements are recognizable throughout.

On a side note, I haven't played this game or heard this soundtrack before, but this source is right up my alley.  Nice pick there.

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The track was 5:11-long, so I needed to make out at least 155.5 seconds of overt source usage for the VGM usage to dominate the arrangement.

:10-:28, :33-2:06.75, 2:39-2:46, 3:48.5-4:05, 4:08-4:55 = 182.25 seconds or 58.6% overt source usage

Yeah, in listening to this I agreed with Gario on the bassline matching up with the opening bassline in the source at the very start, the only difference being that the bass notes drop occasionally (removing part of the source's constant pattern), so it's not the complete phrase. But it was directly referencing explicit writing from the source, so I counted most of the bass work in my timestamping.

I disagreed with Gario on the synth design being strong. I did like most of the sounds here, but I thought the saw-style synth at 1:26 & 3:48 was vanilla, and the synths string timing from 4:15-4:41 sounded very stilted & exposed rather than stylized. I was put off by that, particularly the string synth, because alum's sound design usually feels fully cohesive. That said, most of the sound design was super cool.

On the mixing side, I thought the lead synths at 1:26-1:53 were too loud/sizzling alongside the cymbals; this also seemed too hot there as well from 3:04-3:41 & 3:48-4:41 particularly when you had loud synth lines (e.g. 3:36-3:41). Maybe it's just me feeling like this was too loud at times, but I'm surprised none of the other Js ever brought it up.

Re: MindWanderer criticizing the 3:03's rock section, I can see how he was put off by it being so different, but the transitions in and out of it were substantive, so it's not like there was a jumpy & sudden change in style, it was just a very distinct break. I can live with that, and the overall approach still felt unified.

I'd appreciate another pass at the mixing (my biggest issue), and tweaking some of the instrumentation I wasn't digging, but those aren't enough to pull this down to NO when the arrangement is solid. As much as I'd like the mixing to not sound so loud and almost abrasive during the densest sections, I can live with this as is.

Really catchy source tune choice by the excellent Jared Emerson-Johnson, and from a Fables game adaptation I didn't even know existed until now. Much like WayForward and Capcom, Telltale always works with the coolest outside IPs. A nice welcome back to (and from) aluminum! :-)

YES (borderline)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this