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Gario

OCR03718 - *YES* Donkey Kong Country "A Journey Through Grand Oceans"

6 posts in this topic

Hello OCR Judges Panel!

I want to try and make a contribution to your awesome community. First up, a remix of a well known title. The spectacular track Aquatic Ambiance, from Donkey Kong Country. I'll surely submit more remixes in the future, it is an inspiring and fun challenge trying to get a "YES" from you guys.

Contact Information:

ReMixer name: Glejs
Real name: Glenn Liljestrand
Email: 
Website: https://www.youtube.com/glejsmusic
User ID: 34608

Submission Information:
 
Name of game arranged: Donkey Kong Country
Name of arrangement: A Journey Through Grand Oceans
Name of individual song arranged: Aquatic Ambiance
 
My own comments and info: Aquatic Ambiance.. wow, it doesn't really need any further introduction. Might be one of the most loved pieces of video game music of all time, and therefore remixed a million times already. With my take on it, I decided to try and paint a story. The track takes you from the mellow start of "diving in", through passages of the original melody lines and arpeggios but with my twist to them. Also, some brand new original melodic elements and strings arrangements have been implemented. Might be a bold move, but I believe it fits perfectly. By the end of the song, you've reached the shore. Exhausted and glad you made it. Hopefully it was a fantastic, adventurous journey!
 
All the best,
Glejs (pronounced "Glaze")
 

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Definitely a different approach taken, here - it's a slow burning piece of music, which I can always appreciate. Furthermore, it's a good example of how to make a slow burning track remain interesting - that opening sticks with that same chord, but weaves different elements and effects throughout to keep it interesting, and that chord change at 0:58 sounds like a radical change due to how it draws out the first chord. The track moves faster from there, but I appreciated that opening quite a bit.

When it picks up pace at 1:49 the track is standard, though it's still quite good. The introduction of the drums was a bit jarring (considering it there was nothing for nearly two minutes!), and that bassline crowds the midrange when it's just a repeating 16th. These aren't dealbreakers, but the drums could've used a better transition, and that bassline could've been lowpassed to clean up the overall mix.

Overall, though, the arrangement more than makes up for some of these missteps. In particular, it does a great job taking the source in new directions with those harmony changes and new material layered over it from time to time. That arp handling at 4:31 - 5:48 is done particularly well, in my humble opinion. The sound design misses a tad with the above items, but I think it's clearly above the bar otherwise. Great work!

YES

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It's long, but it doesn't wear out its welcome.  Lots of cool ideas, great sound design.  I wasn't bothered by most of Gario's crits, although the repeating 16th notes of the bass do leap out once your attention is drawn to them, and they do get really monotonous.  I don't hear anything that should keep this off the front page.

YES

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Things begin with a swelling synth intro with water/splashing samples panned between ears. At 0:50 a rising synth somewhat reminiscent of a drill hits creating the beginning build-up. Where the song should’ve begun at 1:06, a build-up instead occurs again for a few more bars, finally leading into a buzzy and somewhat mid heavy bass line driven groove at 1:37. The main theme is finally introduced at 2:18. A portasynth with a smooth amount of slide plays lead, and while basic, brings with it a somewhat spacey atmosphere which I think works well. Things go on like this for a while until 3:34 where a distorted synth comes in playing an original melody. Some notes here were slightly strange but didn’t seem too out of place. A variation of the earlier grove continues to play bringing us past the mid point, with a synth string lead taking over. The portasynth lead returns at 5:43 accompanied by the string synth. The distorted synth returns at 6:35 with a slight variation on its prior melody, adding some much needed variation. 7:25 brings back the rising drill and returns us to the spacey atmosphere, with obligatory wave/water samples to help close things out over the next 2 minutes.

I have mixed feelings arrangement wise with your track. While there are quite a few different sections across the arrangement, the mix felt like it went for too long during some of these sections. Some sections took too long to build up, or didn’t vary enough over the duration they played. The outro took a long time to wind things down to a conclusion, and could’ve easily been halved with all content retained. Drums throughout the mix were heavily looped and could’ve done with a bunch more variation. Source was noticeable throughout.

Mixing was not too bad but improvements could be made. Some of the later leads had too much bass (like the distorted synth), which took over the low end when they were playing. Parts are mixed quite loud against each other, and although there wasn’t any point here where I found things overly crowded, it would have been nice if there was some more space between each layer.

While the others didn’t have any issues with the length/variation ratio, I did find the track overly long for what is contained here. Yes there are a number of different sections, but not as many as you think - returning sections might have a new layer over them for example, but often play out in similar ways, taking away from their individuality. This is further made noticeable by the drums, which almost play the same pattern for the majority of time they’re present. For close to a 10 minute song, this is a long time to play the same drum line. I may stand alone, but I couldn’t help but feel the strong content you do have here is spread unnecessarily thin over a long duration, and would benefit greatly from a rethink of the song’s overall progression.

NO

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I didn't agree on the drumwork being too repetitive in the sense that the instrumentation and effects on the beats varied enough, and a lot more was going on with the leads and textures as well to keep the track dynamic and evolving. That's not to say Jive has no valid point on this potentially seeming overlong, but it felt like a YMMV thing than something truly lacking with the track. Jive was also right about the mixing lacking some clarity but not being a dealbreaker, so take his specific points there to heart.

I'm with the yea's, though I didn't think I would be based on the beginning having such a similar tone to the source tune for the first 1:37; but when you have 9 1/2 minutes to work with, there's a lot of opportunity to personalize the arrangement, and 1:37 started (gradually) moving in the right direction. By the time we got to 3:35, this was firmly in the direction of a personalized cover with subtle but good additive original writing for the rest of the time.

Nice job, Glenn; you slowly but surely made a believer out of me with this track!

YES

 

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LOUD.  This track hits -5.6db RMS, and is generally a sausage waveform all the way through; it's a bit sonically exhausting just due to the strong compression.  That said, the track is very well mixed especially for how loud it is, I hear no distortion.  I love the track.  It's long, but it never loses my interest.  Well done!

YES

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