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Gario

OCR03722 - *YES* Mega Man X2 & X1 "X's Demise"

9 posts in this topic

*PROJECT MIX* for the Sigma Fortress ReMix Gauntlet album 
 
Your ReMixer name: pu_freak
Name of game(s) arranged: Mega Man X, Mega Man X2
Name of arrangement: X's Demise
Name of individual song(s) arranged
Spark Mandrill Theme (X1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfb79vnpcxk
X-Hunter Stage 1 & 2 (X2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyIeHJmrbhs

Your own comments about the mix
The Sigma Fortress ReMix Gauntlet (SFRG) in the summer of 2016 was a great opportunity to put my new equipment to the test - since I had bought it six months before. It allowed me to try new genres for some mixes, but it also allowed me to up my production skills for my 'traditional' genres. My second entry for the SFRG was one of those more traditional mixes, since my first entry was my (quite short) first shot at an electronic mix and didn't get too many points. So, not wanting to let my team down, it was time to make a long (nearly 7 minutes long) mix in a genre I excel at. And it worked ;)
 
The goal of the round was to mix your Maverick theme (Spark Mandrill in my case) with the X-Hunter Stage 1 & 2 theme from Mega Man X2. Since every Mega Man X track is high-energy and upbeat, I wanted to do the exact opposite: a dramatic, sad version of the X-Hunter theme, infused with bits of Spark Mandrill. This would be the theme that could be played if X was defeated by the X-Hunters in said stage (hence the name). I imagine the track starting with a close-up of X's defeated body, then zooming a bit out to see the room they fought in, heavily damaged. At around 1:24 the violin sets in, and it zooms further out to see the world in flames since the Mavericks won. I guess I visualize too much :P I've added a glimmer of hope at 3:20, where the music gets a bit lighter and sweeter, where X gets up and going into a last stand/battle scene at 4:34. Without a happy ending though, since X is truly defeated at the end...
 
Right, time for a source breakdown:
 
0:00 - 0:33: Original
0:33 - 1:24: Background melody of X-Hunter stage as lead melody (keeps playing basically the entire time, but since it's the only melody here, I'll count it as source)
1:24 - 1:57: Spark Mandrill intro (0:14 in the Spark Mandrill video) is played by violins on top of X-Hunter stage
2:30 - 3:17: Main melody from X-Hunter stage is played as lead melody
3:29 - 4:26: Adaptation of part 'B' of the Spark Mandrill theme (0:38 in the Spark Mandrill video) is played without the X-Hunter background melody
4:34 - 5:23: Basically just a straight cover of the X-Hunter stage
5:41 - 6:21: Spark Mandrill intro (0:14 in the Spark Mandrill video) now played on piano
 
Total source usage: 310 seconds out of 400 (78%)
 
Cheers!
 

 

 

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I appreciate that while this is a longer mix that there's a lot of smaller details in the playing that kept me interested. The arrangement is definitely your style, and overall the mixing is good with the piano sound being lush and realistic. I had a bit of a harder time hearing the Spark Mandrill theme a couple times, but overall I didn't find it to be a big issue. 

It was fun to hear a different style to the typical rock energy of MM music, so that was a nice change as well.

I wasn't as much of a fan of the full stop in the middle of the piece, but I can see the use for it and I think it's more personal taste there.

Overall nice work taking two energetic themes and giving them a different direction.

YES

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Yeah, Pieter's timestamping didn't even count some other obvious uses of the X-Hunter theme, and everything was good to go there. Like Deia, I felt some of the "Spark Mandrill" theme usage was harder to hear, but that was mainly because you used a less memorable line from :14 of the source, and also from slowing down the tempo so much and adding some grace notes. That said, I could reasonably make it out, and certainly nothing was dancing on the line of overt source usage overall, so a stopwatching look wasn't necessary. Good work here with a more somber rendition of MMX series themes!

YES

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Oh, a piano arrangement? That's pretty boss. It blends with some synth accompaniment? That's pretty darn cool, too; I actually really think this is an effective style. It kind of reminds me of older music from Narada Decade. The synths are super vanilla, but honestly the piano blending with them actually justifies them well enough in my book.

There are a few things that throw me off in this. The production, while not having any glaring errors, sounds dull and quiet. The dullness is due to a lack of upper & upper mid's. You've got enough instruments that could cover this space; the piano, the snare, the backing pads, etc., but they all sound like they've been lowpassed pretty hard. The levels are generally very quiet, with them getting to an acceptable level only when everything is together. I'm not against dynamic variety, and that's not a dealbreaker or anything, but consider using a compressor to get 2-3 dBs of sound of this without too much loss.

The mixing in this is acceptable (with a moment or two of being too crowded, like at 1:57), but those drums really sound like an afterthought. If you want them to be effective they need to come through the mix. The kick sounds completely non-existent, and the snare + crash have no presence at all. To be honest you'd likely get a similar effect without them (using the louder keyboard and faster pace to change the mood), but if you intend on using them you'll need to make them more noticeable in the arrangment.

The arrangement is really interesting, and the themes blend well. Like the others said, it's super obvious where the themes are to the point where the stopwatch isn't necessary, but it's certainly appreciated. There didn't seem to be much structure to it, though - it seems to drag quite a bit while sounding like it's meandering most of the time. The complete stop in the middle doesn't help this aspect, though whether or not that's a 'mistake' is more due to personal taste than anything. Structure is important to a long track like this; without direction it just sounds like you're messing around on the piano and trying out a few ideas rather than presenting a coherent track.

I like the style, and where it shines I really enjoy this piece. However, the lack of structure, the mixing and dull EQ levels puts me squarely on the other side of my peers. Hopefully you could take a look at least at the mixing and EQ aspects, if you don't want to go back and tweak the arrangement at all (though that would be ideal - cutting unnecessary parts to help keep the track more focused and structured). Good luck with the rest of the vote.

NO

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1 hour ago, Gario said:

The arrangement is really interesting, and the themes blend well. Like the others said, it's super obvious where the themes are to the point where the stopwatch isn't necessary, but it's certainly appreciated. There didn't seem to be much structure to it, though - it seems to drag quite a bit while sounding like it's meandering most of the time. The complete stop in the middle doesn't help this aspect, though whether or not that's a 'mistake' is more due to personal taste than anything. Structure is important to a long track like this; without direction it just sounds like you're messing around on the piano and trying out a few ideas rather than presenting a coherent track.

I can't speak on the production aspects, but Gario had some good crits on the drums in particular. As always with Pieter's work, there's some blockiness to the piano sound, but I didn't mention it in my vote because it was basically a non-issue here and the humanization was pretty strong for the piano. The drums for 4:34's final big section did drag things down though.

I disagreed on Gario feeling this effectively had little structure, as well as people saying the track hit a full stop (a full stop never actually happens around the 3:20-3:27 transition, there was just a genteel-sounding transition). Pieter's included comments on the imagery he felt was conveyed in this arrangement -- take it or leave it, sure, but there's a narrative there, and it seemed like a reasonable structure was there.

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The piano sound here is mostly decent. I felt the strings were the weaker instrument, they sounded a little artificial and didn't mesh as well with the piano as I would have liked. Criticism aside however, they do get the work done. The main arrangement is fairly well paced, though parts don't perceivably change up as much as they should, likely due to the main theme being a fairly prominent staple throughout.

I'll admit I was thrown off at the 3:21 point myself, thinking the song had ended only for it to start up again. It wasn't particularly bad, but things did feel like they ended at that point (if a bit too abruptly). The 4:28 change of pace was a nice change - a change I feel would've been better suited earlier in the track where it needed a departure from the overly consistent pacing. The outro while long, was executed well with good use of dynamics to bring the song to a soft close.

My biggest gripe with this piece is that it goes for a fairly long duration, with quite a lot of similarity between revisited sections. I know there are a number of changes through the performance but things often feel samey, which of course is more noticeable in a largely solo instrument track such as this. I don't think the overall offering here is bad, I just think something as simple as bringing the later sections and outro in 2 minutes earlier would've resulted a stronger piece overall.

YES

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This is lovely, but I have to say I agree with Gario's production comments in full.  The overall level is too low, everything lacks sparkle, the pads sound weak and apologetic and the drums are almost comically quiet.  The arrangement and performance are very nice and I could almost pass it just based on that, the pause in the middle doesn't bother me too much, but the production needs another pass.

NO (resubmit please)

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Yes I remember this.  Lovely arrangement, I really enjoy this kind of stuff.  The production is where I think the track could be improved the most.  The strings and pads are pretty vanilla, and I think the drums could've been brought up more in the final section.  I do think they accomplish their purpose for the most part, which is to complement the piano and add variety and fullness to the sections they're in, and outside of what could be perceived as volume imbalances, I think the mix is clean for the most part, and I don't hear anything too offensive frequency-wise.

Reading through the other judges' comments now, I didn't feel the "full stop" effect they perceived, I think the lead-in from an extremely calm section to the next was ok.

Overall  I think this is very borderline and is a matter of great arrangement vs basic production, and I think in this case the value found in the composition takes it over the bar for me.  The pacing was excellent as well as the integration of the different songs.  Something to keep in mind for your next subs would be to use more complex textures for your backings. I'd like to see this up on the front page, though.  Good luck!

YES (Borderline)

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I hear the other judges' crits about the production, but it doesn't bother me much.  It's a piano mix with a little bit of synth accompaniment for flavor, and the piano component is excellent.  I'm with Larry regarding structure, including the "stop," which I felt flowed perfectly well given the context.  The strings aren't great, but I actually liked how subtle the drums were, since they emphasized the piano rather than drawing attention away from it.  There's room for improvement, but for me this is a decent

YES

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