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OCR01571 - *YES* Donkey Kong Country 2 'Tricky Swamp Style'

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Swamp theme from DKC 2

Trickey Swamp Style, remixed by Siamey (Heath Morris)



OCR Forum ID 10956

thanks to openspc for the dkc2 samples i ripped.

Thanks for your time, judges.


http://snesmusic.org/v2/download.php?spcNow=dkq - "Bayou Boogie" (dkq-08.spc)

Some of the synths were pretty tacky (first sound at :00, lead at :03, lead at 1:17), but it may just be a matter of personal opinion. Would have liked a cooler lead at 1:17; something less syrupy could have worked better with the other sounds, but that's a matter of opinion as well. Hahaha, nice sound effect solo from 1:47-1:59. Those samples sounded too lo-fi though, along with the rest of the track.

Why's this so muddy? No good reason for it to sound like mush. Whatever's causing that, you gotta pull it back. Volume's way too abrasive, and the sounds bleed together especially during the fuller sections (e.g. :18-:33, 2:01-3:09, 3:24-3:39). Everything sounds loud, muddy, and lossy. The arrangement is creative, but reassess the production and send it back. I couldn't post this as is when it sounds like a mess. Sorry, Heath, but definitely resub. I'd like to see this posted in some form.

NO (refine/resubmit)

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  • 1 month later...

The intro's synths sounded quite cheap, especially compared with the good synth choices made later on in the mix. I agree with Liontamer in that it is quite mushy. There seems to be compression on the drums, and that sounds good, however I think the instrument balance needs to be addressed. Each instrument needs to have it's own place, both in terms of volume and frequency range - in the more full sections everything competes for the same place.

I didn't personally think that the low fi sound was bad, it suited the style and the overall eq balance was fine. I would like to see a resub of this. I do strongly feel that changing the intro synths would give this mix a better first impression, as on their own they sound, well, cheap.

NO (please rework and resub)

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I think the glitchy sounding intro would have worked better if it were even more glitchy/gated. I think it would work a LOT better, in fact. It Doesn't sound too muddy to me, though the high end is kind of lacking. I think this track actually has a lot of good going for it. The instrumentation is actually quite effective in some places. However sections like 2:25 just sound bare and akward.

The synths sound raw, but i dont find them objectionable in any way.

I'm going borderline YES

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i am pretty familiar with this theme. i worked on it for a long time with kungfuchicken and through that process, became very fond of it.

this is a very nice arrangement of it. why? simply it takes the source's strengths and builds upon them. it varies well throughout and while some ideas are treated too short, it has that character where you will rewind to listen to it again. a good thing. musically, this is on point. it grooves nicely despite the breaks and jarring discordant behavior of the track after the halfway point. again, it uses the strengths of the source to drive where the arrangement is going. you know what you're doing, in other words. the major concern everybody is having is clearly with the quality of the synths and on a lesser extent, the muddiness that is, to be honest, a result of the synths. i personally am not distracted by it. i hear a great deal of imagination and intelligence in tihs arrangement. the synths could be better but cookie dough ice cream can have more cookie dough.

i'm diggin it.


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My arrangebias is kicking in. i really like this. the production is definetly nothing to write home about, but it doesn't distract me from the great ideas the mixer is bringing to the table. The overall presentation lands this just barely on the sunny-side of the "bar," as I see it.

Either that, or I have a soft spot in my heart for someone else who uses animal sounds as the transition between segments of an arrangement.


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This arrangement is spot on! I've never played DKC 2, but the connection was clear, and I was very impressed with how well you maintained interest throughout the piece. I found your rhythmic choices very fresh and innovative– not just in the percussion itself, but the way you swung and stuttered the lead synths. Definitely club worthy... not that I'd really know. ^_~

I, like a few others, wasn't crazy about your first few samples, especially the intro bass. It sounded very dry and fakey. But the more layers you brought in, the better it got. Are those "Ow ow!" noises sampled from the game? They remind me of the alligator bopping game I used to play at rollerskating rinks, haha. Creative transitions, especially your usage of the animal noises.

If other people hadn't pointed it out already, I might not have noticed how lossy this sounds at first. I'm pretty sure the casual listener wouldn't pick up on it, but it does show a lot of room for improvement. The parts could stand for clearer distinction, especially because they all sound a little high-freq. And something about the supersaw at 3:10 bothers me... It's a little overpowering when the other stuff drops out- too exposed.

(By the way, what's with the 12 seconds of dead air at the end?)

All in all, an easy resub!


EDIT: P.S. Did you mean "tricky"? o_O

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Man, what is up with your production lately? Seems like you have been getting louder and louder and just shoving everything through a compressor. Don't do that. It's not going to sound as good as intelligently treating the volume levels. That being said, this isn't much more abrasive than Beatdrop's stuff; the opening is one of the more painful parts. The main production problem IMO is the muddiness. The lows to low-mids are crowded and there's a lot of reverb throughout. Some of the highs are pretty piercing, too. The rhythmic SFX from the game are tasteful though and I think most of the synth design is good, as is the drum sequencing.

Arrangement is a tough call. In some ways its a little simplified - there's a lot of emphasis on rhythmic layering and flashy sounds rather than really creative treatment of the source tune, in my opinion. That being said... it definitely deviates from the original, isn't very repetitive, switches up the texture, and is definitely a unique interpretation. So, there are some pros and cons, for sure. I am inclined to feel like this is not quite at our bar yet, however. The structure of the song feels "off", like there should be a climax somewhere, more harmony, something bigger.. but that never comes. Or maybe it's because the whole thing sounds "big" and there's really nowhere to go from there.

I think this can be reworked to be passable without too much difficulty. The mixing/mastering & production issues aren't too bad and the arrangement can be improved with minimal effort. Go for a resub.


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This is pretty good stuff right here. The major problem that jumps out at me is an overreliance on those particular heavy beats that you've repeatedly used right through the mix. While they work well in the thicker sections you have, there were a few parts where they felt like they were overpowering the rest of the mix. I think backing them off a bit would've been welcome, and would most likely have made the more prominent sections something to really look forward to.

Some of your instruments probably could've been produced a little less rough. But most of the mix is quite dirty, so it boils down to context, which is what's letting it slide by me.

I'm happy to let this one through. It could be better, no doubt. But it's refreshing to hear something new from Siamey, and while this one is still almost over-reliant on those beats, the rest of the arrangement supports it satisfactorily


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This was a pretty tough call (obviously, as most 4Y/4Ns are).

Here's my assessment.


This is above the bar in terms of arrangement. I don't think I need any further explanation regarding such. Also, I dig the overall vibe of the song. It has a nice energy flow, which I found engaging for the better part of the track. Decent and fairly interesting array of synth textures progressing through the song.

Now for the cons:

Production did make me grimace slightly at times. Mastering left room for improvement, mainly in the drum volumes. The loop that kicks in at :18 is a fun little groove and all, but TO's right about them being overpowering at times. Choice of synths probably could have been thought out slightly better in a couple places as well, but I'm not completely put-off by your choices by any means. I'm with Jill on the ending. Why wasn't that cropped? Must have been an oversight. That probably needs fixing regardless.

All in all, I'm going to give this a YES because I liked what I heard, despite the quirks. I think this is a borderline call, and truthfully, I almost hate to vote that way, because I think that while it's acceptable in it's present form, it could be substantially better. The reverb didn't bother me too badly, but I can easily see how it creates a muddier soundscape, and that bothers some people. Also, the mixing levels could have used just a little work. And you know what would have been phat, would be to apply some tastefull cross-pans and filter sweeps and other various modulations to the drum track. 2:24 would have been absouletly PRIME for that, bro.

So anyway, there you have it. It's passable, but I wish some of the stated suggestions had been implemented to push this one above and beyond the call of duty.

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  • 3 weeks later...
sooo... what's going on with this one, exactly?

PMed Heath about the nature of the decision and the offer to tweak the production before posting. Provided him a copy of the vote to see what the criticisms were firsthand, so I imagine we'll hear back in a couple of days on how he feels. If Siamey's content to let this one go as is, then it'll be posted in its current form.

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