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Gario

OCR03697 - *YES* Donkey Kong Country 2 "Squitter's Dream"

9 posts in this topic

Name: CrimzonWolf777

Name of Game(s) Arranged: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Name of Arrangement: Squitter's Dream
Name of Song(s) Arranged: Forest Interlude
 
Comments: This is definitely one of my favorite songs from DKC2. I really loved the way the melody just sounded. So I tried my own take on it, and gave it a bit of an R&Bish sound to it. As far as the title: Take Squitter, doing what he loves the most, in a place where it seems like a dream, and BAM! Squitter's Dream. haha
 

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This one took me by surprise; the beginning sounds pretty conservative, even mimicking the source instruments, but then things start taking shape and developing into something more interpretive. At 0:46 I let out a small 'Whoa.', and if you get that outta me you know you have something pretty cool on your hands.

The arrangement is conservative, but the pacing and additional textures help it shine, and some subtractive arranging in the middle help keep it distinct enough as the track goes on. The reliance on similar sounding synths used throughout is both a blessing and a curse; they draw the track closer to 'too conservative' territory, but at the same time when things break away the impact is far greater. The approach has it's flaws, but the impact it had on me definitely justifies their use, for me.

The pacing in this is a bit slow, with long subtractive sections dragging a bit too long. I like those sections (like at 1:44 & 3:40), but they do drag after some time. Not a big deal overall, but something to pay attention to next time around, since it makes the track sound pretty static as the sections grow with little change.

Overall I think this is great, though, with the positives largely outweighing the negatives, and some of those negatives even growing into some positives. Nice work, and dream on, littler Squitter.

YES

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Other than the conservatism Gario rightfully pointed out, my big concern is how busy this gets in most of the flute-led sections: 0:23-0:45, 2:54-3:39, and 4:48-5:34 all suffer from this issue, where the pads and arps substantially bury the lead, and since that's the main melodic hook, it's a big deal.  (It's a little quiet but acceptable in 1:20-1:42.)

Gario's also right in that it does drag.  I felt that the subtractive sections were paced well, and I really enjoyed the noodly marimba-synth and piano sections, but the pads never take a break or a change in direction, and the percussion is doing the same thing everywhere it appears.  The third flute-led section also seems to be a copy-paste of the second, as well.

I like the structure, the sound design, and the original writing a lot.  But I think the balance in those main melodic sections is a critical issue that needs to be addressed, and some changes in the texture or pattern of the pads and percussion as the remix goes on would be extremely welcome.

NO (resubmit)

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The lead at :22 was getting buried by the ethereal soundscape; it may be a purposeful choice, but the part-writing got swallowed up and couldn't be appreciated. The track could use a volume boost as well, since it sounds needlessly distant.

Good additive writing from 2:09-2:50 to provide some much-needed originality. 3:39 also had another smooth segue to some original writing, then flowed into more original writing integrated with variations on the source melody over the core backing patterns of the source at 4:01-4:48. 4:48 went back to the main melody in play, and again the mixing felt odd with the melody pushed so far back; it's not that this can't be allowed, but the mixing's done in a way where the soundscape just becomes cluttered, and there's no line to focus on (even if it's not the melody).

This was a pretty subdued arrangement that didn't change the part-writing as much as the mood and balance of things to start, but later on the original writing integration was more substantial (and seamless), and I felt the overall level of personalization/interpretation was solid.

I wouldn't mind another pass at the mixing to see if it could be improved, as I shared MindWanderer's criticism about the lead getting buried, but I'm more open-minded as to what the balance can be as long as the track is getting more right than wrong, which I think is the case here.

YES

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I'd say there are some really good crits here that all the judges brought up. I'm definitely hearing the balance issues, and while I wouldn't mind then being addressed I do think this has enough going for it to keep it as a pass. Similar to the sections dragging on a bit, though not as much of an issue. Loved the overall mood and the original writing fits in very well. Very chill mix here, Squitter would be honored 

YES

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Relaxed and atmospheric. The 16-bit flute sounds were ok but I found them slightly out of place amongst the synths/sting/pads during the intro. When the piano arrives around the 1 minute mark, you can feel the master bus compression/limiting is quite strong, with some noticeable “heat” on the piano notes,which I felt was worth mentioning. Things continue on at a relaxed pace, with the flute returning as lead around 2:50. At this point of the mix it is quite buried in the sea of atmosphere synths/strings/pads, and being the only melody playing at the time, I felt it really should’ve been louder. 3:40 introduces a nice breakdown with layering back up over time - even though the song’s pacing didn’t require it, it was a welcome introduction. 4:50 returns to the main theme, flute is again too soft for being the main lead here. The main groove marks the final portion, I found the outro somewhat lacking, with the song kind of just ending on a few notes instead of winding down and closing us out properly. Apart from the outro I don’t think the track here is too bad arrangement wise, but it does have some mixing issues that hold it back - such as the flute not being loud enough for lead duties, and some sections feeling a bit too hot compression and/or limiting wise (which was more apparent due to track’s overall softer vibe). If it was me I’d want another crack at this for fine tuning, as these issues would be quick to fix and would strengthen the presentation here.

NO

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Off the bat, there's a lot of competition for space between the various parts featuring reverb and/or delay.  I agree the lead feel buried at that point and the track gets too cluttered.  Still, once the beat kicks in, everything clicks a lot better for me.  It's got a nice groove and great vibe to it.  I would've liked some more contrast in the backing parts, specifically that slow pad which essentially plays the same two chords throughout.

I honestly was a bit disappointed the same issue popped back up again at 2:54, because I was really feeling on board with this one until that point.  The counter melody and other elements are coming through much more clearly than the flute lead and it's not sitting well with me.

Beyond the mixing issues, I'm really liking this overall.  Arrangement is conservative for a while, but branches into new territory as the mix progresses.  I can see both sides, but this honestly should be a straightforward mixing fix to bring down some backing elements and boost/eq/augment the flute lead, so IMO I think it should get another mixing pass first.

NO (borderline) resubmit, please

 

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I've listened to this a few times now and I can see where some judges are coming from.  The atmospheric parts of this song are sometimes burying the leads, and in some cases, the leads and harmonies are competing pretty hard for space.  I do think that not all of the mixing here is bad though, the drums are coming pretty clearly, and things are fairly separated in the stereo field.  I believe this song could be better with another pass on the mix side, but I also believe that what we got is good enough, and enjoyable.  

This remix takes the original atmospheric tone and expands upon it by adding more interpretation that feels a bit jazzy at times, and I was pleasantly surprised by the directions the artist took with some of the variations. It takes its time to develop ideas but doesn't drag on.  This was a very pleasant listen and I think the mixing issues didn't take away much of that enjoyment.  It's arrangement/tone/ambience vs some mixing issues for me, and I think the former tips the scales in its favor.

YES

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On 2/9/2018 at 8:07 AM, Sir_NutS said:

I've listened to this a few times now and I can see where some judges are coming from.  The atmospheric parts of this song are sometimes burying the leads, and in some cases, the leads and harmonies are competing pretty hard for space.  I do think that not all of the mixing here is bad though, the drums are coming pretty clearly, and things are fairly separated in the stereo field.  I believe this song could be better with another pass on the mix side, but I also believe that what we got is good enough, and enjoyable.  

This remix takes the original atmospheric tone and expands upon it by adding more interpretation that feels a bit jazzy at times, and I was pleasantly surprised by the directions the artist took with some of the variations. It takes its time to develop ideas but doesn't drag on.  This was a very pleasant listen and I think the mixing issues didn't take away much of that enjoyment.  It's arrangement/tone/ambience vs some mixing issues for me, and I think the former tips the scales in its favor.

YES

This, exactly.

YES

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