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OCR03642 - *YES* Donkey Kong Country 2 "Forest Blast"


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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2017/03/19 - Donkey Kong Country 2 'Forest Blast'

Opened up pretty quiet, so we'll see where this goes dynamically. The arrangement was pretty straightforward for the first 2:45 or so; while it's personalized, it could be moreso.

The glassy accents had some odd notes from 1:26-1:39.

The gradual transition to "Stickerbush Symphony" at 2:36 was noticed, but it still didn't feel substantive enough to not sound like a big break in the flow of the arrangement. Also, the treatment of "Stickerbush Symphony" will have to be even more interpretive, just because the "Forest Interlude" section felt so straightforward.

Not sure what instrument that was at 3:35, but it sounded flimsy. Texturally, this sounded pretty empty from 3:28-4:16. Even when percussion work came in at 4:16, the other string and woodwind instrumentation had a thin, uncanny valley feel to it all; it's serviceable, but pretty exposed, IMO.

I don't feel like the textures in the "Stickerbush Symphony" feel cohesive or full, so that hurts the second half.

I'm a NO (resubmit)  for now, but would really be interested in the musician Js' points of view to help better inform me on why this doesn't gel in the second half.

EDIT (3/24): Thanks to Gario for weighing in after I asked. There's a lot of positives in terms of adapting the instrumentation and adding some new writing into the picture. I appreciate his POV, particularly calling the "Stickerbush Symphony" a pointilistic approach and noting how the string swells there obscured other instruments; particularly for the second half, I felt like balance of the instruments took focus away from the melody, something that her Chrono Cross sub was criticized for and I didn't agree with, but would argue is the case in areas here.

All that said, I still don't feel the execution of this clicks. The bridge between the two themes (2:36-3:08) was clearly purposeful but still felt superficial and disconnected; maybe if the transition hadn't been an extended wind-down of the first theme, then an extended rebuild of the second, the composition would have felt more unified. I've usually defended Rebecca's medley structures, but for this it felt like two separate arrangements were very simply put one after the other. And I felt the instrumentation was stiff through more of the track, which wasn't a dealbreaker in of itself, but added to the count of smaller issues adding up.

So it's not to be obstinate, and I wouldn't have a problem with being outvoted, but I'm still not feeling I'm missing something yet.

EDIT (3/27): I'm not schizophrenic, I just had the volume too low. I'm listening more and more, and Gario's swayed me. I'm better appreciating all of the new writing accompanying the source, and, with the volume boosted up some, I hear the fullness of the textures in the second half more and can appreciate the "pointilism" of the instrumentation more. There's still the issue of the uncanny valley of sorts with the string and woodwind timing, but it's not a dealbreaker. I think the switch between the two themes still didn't work all the way, but I listened through the piece a ton more times, and with acclimation it works enough that I'll let it go. The main thing pushing me over is better appreciating the intricacies of Rebecca's well-written additions giving a different character to the piece.

YES

Edited by Liontamer
Added comments with Gario's vote in mind
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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2017/03/19 - (1N) Donkey Kong Country 2 'Forest Blast'

I'm not quite feeling the 'blast' of the forest in this track, but I do like what's presented in this. It's far more laid back and subtle, and while it uses the whole orchestra it's not at all a dense track because of it.

In the beginning of the track (up until 0:52) the strings and woodwinds have some stiff articulations, which sounds a little unnatural in this track. The handling of your instruments after that point is far more natural, but I did need to point that out.

The arrangement of Stickerbrush Symphony is pretty interesting, as the instrumentation is very pointalistic. This makes the arrangement sound pretty light, but the soundscape doesn't sound empty to my ears. The pointalistic background instruments in this second section do tend to get drown by the sweeping strings in the mix, though, so you would do well to tone down the dominant string harmonies to give your more interesting background textures some room to pop through in the mix.

It's conservative, but I think the harmonizations, the instrumentation and overall pacing of the track has enough personalization to it to help it shine. The production is well done, if a little quiet, and I personally enjoy this style quite a bit. Nice work!

YES

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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2017/03/19 - (2Y) Donkey Kong Country 2 'Forest Blast'

Yeah, I don't think this is Rebecca's finest work, but it gets the job done.  There's some random percussion which kept throwing me off (e.g. 2:13, 2:45).  I felt the backing strings and general atmosphere were a little static, so I did begin to lose interest by the end.  But it's still a strong arrangement overall.

YES

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  • 1 month later...

Not much too add here that hasn't already been mentioned. Some of the instruments and the chorus do feel a bit more on the mechanical side, but there's a lot of subtle work being done here as well. Similarly, the arrangement is more on the subtle side, but the personalizations are there and the track is a nice listen. I wasn't feeling the transition too much, but I didn't feel like that was a dealbreaker here either. Overall I do think this one's a bit close, but I'm good to give it a pass.

YES (borderline)

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  • Liontamer changed the title to OCR03642 - *YES* Donkey Kong Country 2 "Forest Blast"
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