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*NO* Animal Crossing: New Leaf 'Hour That Never Ends'

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Contact Information
ReMixer name : Reuben6
Real Name : Reuben Spiers
E-mail: 

Submission Information
Games: Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Name of Arrangement: Hour That Never Ends
Name of Original Songs: 1 A.M

 

Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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This is a nice little folk number.  It's sloppy but that's suitable for the style.  The structure is repetitive, but the lyrics aren't, and that makes all the difference in a piece like this.  Other than a painful half-rhyme near the end, I don't have any major concerns; this is simple but effective.

YES

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I thought this went well in the right direction in terms of the arrangement, but the execution's not tight or reasonably polished, which I'm surprised to say on Reuben's work. Though nasally, the vocals aren't the worst, BUT they lack strength and get strained & pitchy at points; some chorusing, further effects beside the delay/thickening, or additional takes could have benefited this. Back when he started, djpretzel's vocals were brutal; there's more effects on this than his old stuff, but they're still very exposed.

The instrumental backing was sparse, which wasn't inherently bad, but the mechanical timing of the sequenced drumkit was extremely exposed, and you're left with obvious moments where the timing between the vocals and drums is slightly but noticeably off (e.g. you hear a half-beat drop out of nowhere at :41), as well as spots where the tone of the kit sounds really fake (e.g. :48, 1:19-1:21). The accordion timing also sounded really stilted, even though it sounded live or played in live. Whether it's the guitar or the accordion, neither instrument gels with the drum timing, the combinations just aren't smooth. With the thin textures and the mechanical timing of the drums, the pacing's sluggish and stilted, which undermines the relaxing vibe that's part of this concept.

To me it needs another pass to tighten things up; as a WIP to demonstrate proof of concept, I'd get it, but not as a final cut. In any case, don't be discouraged by the criticism of the vocals or performances; let's get another pass at tightening up an otherwise fine arrangement.

NO (resubmit)

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Wow, this is a really pretty source tune.  Has a sad vibe to it.

On to the mix:

Cool take with the instrumentation.  The pace and beat already feel like they're plodding a bit, though.  I think the writing may need a rework on the drum part at the very least to make it feel more natural at this pace.  Timing also felt really loose at times, like :41, 1:06, 3:03.

Layered in with other elements, the drums sounds seemed ok, but when alone and/or when the sequencing doesn't sound natural, they get more exposed and fakey sounding.

A few nitpicks: 1:30 & 1:38 (and elsewhere, but here most notably) there are some hard bass notes that stick out of nowhere above all the others, probably because of the way this particular instrument was sampled.  When I'm using an instrument that has some obvious timbre changes between notes, I've sometimes been able to get around it instead using a note above or below the offending note and pitch bending them up or down to match.

I do want to emphasize that this type of approach is extremely difficult to pull off - doubly so with sequenced instruments because it's so easy for the sample or sequencing to become exposed in a solemn, spare arrangement.  So big kudos for putting yourself out there and going for it.  At the same time, I really got the feeling that this sounded more of a scratch vocal/instrument recording than a finished product.  With some work, I could see this one getting the nod.

NO resubmit, please

Edited by Nutritious

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I love this concept, but this mix really plods.  The drums are super quiet and the beat is not very interesting.  Some of the bass attacks stick out of the mix too far which exposes the fact that it's sequenced.  The lyrics are cool, but the vocal needs some work, either some pitch correction or processing or perhaps some retakes as Larry suggested.  The track is simplistic which can be cool but the elements in a sparse track really need to work to pull it off.  As Nutritious and Larry both said, this sounds more like a wip than a finished track.

NO

Edited by Chimpazilla

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Interesting take. Drums are a bit soft compared to the rest of the mix. The vocals add a level of character and originality. The performance is mostly ok during the verse sections, however the chorus-like vocal portion from 0:50 has some pitch issues which I recommend ironing out. As mentioned, the bass does stick out quite a lot, a bit boomy. Some timing discrepancies along the arrangement were slightly jarring. I am of the same opinion as my fellow judges here - this has the feel of a demo mix prior to retakes. I think this has potential, but you'll need to iron out the kinks.

NO

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You have a safe arrangement considering the nature of the source, but the soft ballad approach and appropriate dreamy lyrics are a beautiful way to make it your own.  You've got a robust framework, and your usually-strong acoustic guitar performance fits nicely. 

However, there are some problems that I have with the production, with these being my biggest gripes:
 

  • Shake up the drum grooves.  As of right now, your 2-bar kick-snare pattern changes little outside of fills.  I suggest having a complete change of rhythm when the accordion becomes the main focus.  You did well with changing your cymbal focus from hi-hat to ride, though.
  • Watch the timing on your instrumentation.  It gets more noticeable when the drums go out of sync, so you're better off quantizing those and re-recording any live instrument parts when necessary.  The spot at 0:41 onward is a particularly sloppy beat that needs cleaning up.
  • Following up on the idea of re-recording parts, it’s a good idea to re-record your vocals as well.  They’re appropriately mixed in and I too was in debate as to whether it would sound better with a touch of auto-tune, but the arrangement’s organic nature doesn't necessarily justify it.  Still, this can benefit from doing repeated takes and improving on hitting difficult notes.
  • Going back to the drums again, they're getting buried in the mix.  Usually what I like to do is change the pitch of the kit pieces to hit pitches not taken by any of the other instruments, as well as doing EQ notches at that same frequency for your other parts.  By adding in said notches with the bandwidth at no more than a quarter of an octave, you've got space for your drums to breathe.


I commend you for sending out a more ambitious submission, Reuben.  But please, I advise you to revise your production and try again.

NO (resubmit)

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first off - how have i never heard this ost song? this is beautiful. what a poignant choice for a remix.

up front, i really enjoy the vocal performance. this is a much more difficult vocal part than it may seem initially listening - the range is significant, there's some real uncommon leaps in the melody part, and the performance is pretty good considering that there doesn't sound like there's any post-processing on it. the clarity of tone at 3:10ish shows that you've clearly got the pipes. i also appreciate your care with the vocals - for the most part, you've put higher or sustained notes on open vowels, and it makes for a very listenable performance. there's a few times you let your speaking style get into your singing (2:10 to 2:14 stands out - use less glottal tone and more singing voice!), and that's something that can be easily corrected with extra attention. same with a few of the lower notes that don't quite speak (2:50). lastly, there's some pitch issues essentially every time you jump up, and while i didn't mind that from a stylistic perspective, i know that it won't sit with everyone. another few passes on the vocals would really help bring it in line.

the inclusion of accordion is also a really fun and unique touch! i've always found accordion to be a very relaxing instrument to listen to. i'll sound like a broken record here, but more attention to the recording would have helped all of the instruments on this piece. there's some bangs in the bass at 1:38 and 1:54, your accordion overlaps on a punch-in at 1:36, and several times instruments either don't sustain long enough or come in slightly out of time. i'm assuming this is all you - so you've got the tools to make the recordings just what you want. so do that! it makes for such a better final product.

from an arrangement perspective, the guitar and drums really hurt the mix. both are essentially playing the same thing for three and a half minutes. the fingerstyle was nice for the beginning but doesn't go anywhere, and the drums were particularly simplistic, notably the fills. i understand that the background isn't the melody, but a solid and creative backing track is what supports the vocals, not the other way around.

lastly, the entire track had some mastering issues. while the vocals were clear and in the front, and the accordion was clear, everything needed some room verb to give it body, and the guitar, bass, and drums were so quiet to almost not be a part of the mix. this really stood out on the drum fills - the cymbals were so overly quiet it sounded like it was something going on in the room while you recorded another part. i'd suggest taking another pass on this and cranking the vocals and accordion down significantly, applying some verb on a per-channel basis, and then slowly rebalancing. once that's done, get some compression on here (i think the loudest this got was -3 on one of those bass bangs?) and then a limiter. lastly, from a cleanup standpoint, remove the initial silence and the long tail (and clip!). those are little things that will dramatically improve the overall product.

this is an interesting take that definitely fills a niche. however, the inattention to detail in recording and the overly simple backing track pull it down from being where it needs to be. please take another look and work on it more! i really enjoyed it, it's just not there yet.

NO (resub!)
 

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