Gario

*NO* Kirby 64 'Autumn on Popstar'

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Your ReMixer name: Paper Coelacanth
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Name of game(s) arranged: Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Name of arrangement: Autumn on Popstar
Name of individual song(s) arranged: Quiet Forest

Every time I think back to Crystal Shards, this level and tune are always what I think of first. I love the fall, so a level so distinctly autumnal always left an impression on me. I set out to give Quiet Forest a bit more intrigue, while still trying to maintain the chill, peaceful vibes for the most part. It's quite different from my previous remix, but I hope you all enjoy it!

 

 

Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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It's a nice, chill arrangement, with good production quality, but it's very repetitive.  It's basically two and a half loops of the same thing.  There's a brief bridge, and there are some brief substitutions piano for flute a couple of times, but that's it.  The accompaniment is unchanged; the square wave scales in particular are relentless.  For me this needs to mix things up more, both in terms of overall arrangement and in terms of instrumentation.

NO (resubmit)

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I've looped this one a few times now... initially, it seemed a pretty straightforward evaluation for me but this track has some sneaky inclusions that warrant further analysis.  First, production is good and the mix is clean.  The reverb was dialed slightly too wet but I understand the intended effect is to have some ambiance there despite the danceable beat and grooves, but it does muddles the instruments just a tad. The drums samples are alright, though the patterns get repetitive.  The sound palette is not extensive but it's properly developed, which the synths having some depth and modulation.  The mix is just a bit empty sometimes, but for the most part, I'd say the production here is good.

Now the arrangement is where things get problematic and interesting at the same time.  First the good, which is the small details here and there, breaking structure and skipping some beats to enhance transitions or just simply for the fun of it (i.e. 1:22/1:40).  These usually come with some change in the bassline progression, which by the way it's entirely new as the original had none.  These changes sometimes go in such a way that you feel the arrangement may fall apart and get messy, with the bassline going in a decrescendo, not entirely harmonic with the ongoing chords.

There are also tempo changes further down, which work pretty well, with the beat going half time with it.  At first glance it seems like not a lot changes but there are very small details, in the hat patterns, bass pattern, lead flourishes, it's all very nuanced but it was fun finding all the little changes.  It is also a relatively short track, so it doesn't overstay its welcome or overextends the repetition.

For the bad: there's definitely some degree of repetition here, especially in the main arpeggio which runs pretty much unchanged for most of the track.  Now, we have some examples already posted where something like this can work extremely well.  But we also need to take in consideration that the drum patterns also join in on the repetition, as well as some of the lead melodies.  Some sections may seem like they repeat but they are structurally changed. To what degree? for some may not be enough.

So yeah, I'm surprisingly having a hard time with this one.  May seem crazy, but I think this one juuuuuuuust reaches up and over the bar.  Other Js may disagree but I did see some value in the arrangement, and some fun to be had as well.

YES (borderline)

Edited by Sir_NutS

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this is an energetic take that has some really funky things going on in it. i really enjoy the initial statement of the melody, and i like the dropouts to generate that unexpected quality to the feel.

i will say that the flute synth playing the response at :43-:44 (and elsewhere, as it's repeated twice more) has straight-up wrong notes in it, and the same wrong note appears later in the run at :55 (and subsequent iterations). you're echoing a fun part of the original starting on the sharp 4 for your run in the upper instrument (F# G A F# E- D- E---), which is consistent with mixolydian mode in the key you're using here. however, the lower part doesn't mirror this mode, and instead uses an F natural, which results in a strange-sounding clash every time it comes up. it happens at least five times that i noted. interestingly enough, it took me a bit to figure out what was going on because there's also a consistent inconsistency in the upper part - the third note of that run (the A) is half the length of the lower (incorrect) note, so it sticks out even more. this happens all three times i heard this line.

this is indicative of a larger issue - that there's a lot of cut and paste here. maybe not directly, but it sounds like the remixer took sections of the track, mirrored it elsewhere, and then added a dropout or an extra beat once and a while to obscure that technique. as a whole, it's really repetitive. i really appreciated the lead change at 1:56 and the tempo shift at 2:16 as much because i felt it really needed something new in those parts. the percussion and backing arp being essentially the same thing the entire track really contributes to the sameness.

there simply isn't enough variation in the arrangement for me to consider this able to be passed, and the inattention to detail on some of those backing parts doesn't help it either. cleaning up those missed notes and articulations will boost this, and spending more time with the backgrounds and percussion will really make for a stronger track.

 

NO

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This track sounds just as fun as the pink ball of fluff himself!  The source is there for the entire duration, the instrumentation choice is simple yet effective, the instruments are balanced well, and that drum writing added a lot of life to the progression all the way through.

Talking of which, I have a take on prophetik's statement on the drums being samey.  I did notice the sections for melody A (0:21-1:00, 1:30-1:55, 2:42-3:07) and melody B (1:01-1:23, 1:55-2:16) have their distinct groove based on how many ride bells are present, so it's a subtle lift - but more importantly, only two fills out of the entire track are totally identical (1:00, 3:06) and they closed off melody A sections.  Through this analysis, you can see why I felt this drum writing technique works in the track's context.

As for something that doesn't quite work for me, I would've liked to have heard an extra pad to fill up space - especially at the melody C section (2:16-2:35), where the tempo shift sounds cool, but the minimalism was holding anticipation back.  It's a nitpick at best, so do be careful when approaching similar sections in future works.

However, the arrangement required a lot more thought.  If I put the bum notes that prophetik brought up to the side, the source presence is primarily note-for-note with some selective tweaks.  Bringing up the backing arpeggio first, it's mostly unchanged though there were times where:

  • It got muted for a bar or half-bar to make transitions satisfying, especially at 0:20 where the sudden use of delay was a nice touch to head out of the intro.
  • And at 1:42-1:54 and 2:53-3:07, the rhythm remained unchanged, but the pitches were altered to adapt to the bassline - and as Sir NutS rightfully pointed out, there wasn't a bass in the source so good call to add some spice there too.

As for the melody, it's not entirely note-for-note either as some notation was taken out or had timings changed during the melody A parts, and the melody B sections had some additional notes leading into the segments to add anticipation leading into them as well as no sign of the last few notes on the way out.  Even the second melody section had some additional notation onto the piano lead to compensate for the fact that it's not a pitch-shifting synth.  These melody and arpeggio changes are subtle, but there is attention to detail here saving those sections from being a complete copy-paste.

I feel like I went more in-depth about those subtle changes than what Sir NutS pointed out, but it's there, and it saves the track from being more overly repetitive than the source material.  Should this get rejected, I have some ideas on how to remedy it for resub:

  • Think about either changing the pitches of the arpeggio's upbeats or muting them entirely.  At the moment it's got the source's same doubled note feel, so by keeping the downbeats as they are and changing the upbeats up in later segments, it can release that instrument from increased monotony.
  • The second melody B section is free to have its melody drastically altered.  Drum fills aside, it's a mirror of the first melody B section - and with the arpeggio there already meeting source criteria, you're free to change the melody writing to something completely original potentially.
  • Consider adding some hand percussion in addition to your main drum part.  You've got the kit writing down pat, but to further vary it up, you can add some additional parts like a tambourine or shakers and place them in one or two segments.  Sometimes you can have more than one extra hand percussion part at once, but it's best to save them for the most poignant sections of the track.

As it stands, there's just about enough playing around with the limited source to get it over the arrangement bar in my book.  Coupled with the firm production values, I can see it on the front page, but I also understand the main criticism that has divided the panel.  It'll still be so lovely to see this on the site in some shape or form.

YES (borderline)

Edited by Rexy

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I'm with Brad on this one; there's a lot of repetition here, and while there are subtle changes going on,I don't think they add up to the whole of feeling like there is enough freshness throughout. The wrong notes are also bugging me and it would be good to get those fixed up.

I'd love for you to look into the repeated sections and do more with them. Harmonies or counter-melodies would work well in the track, or some more drastic melodic changes.

Good luck with the rest of the vote.

NO (resubmit)

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I can see why this got some borderline YESs, but I'm in agreement with the NOs on this lacking enough dynamic contrast, even in light of the narrower dynamic curve here. One thing that doesn't help is the beatwork being so repetitive and also relatively empty and basic. Arrangement-wise, this does personalize the sound nicely, and I felt like I was hearing something in a similar vein to Super Mario Galaxy music; this has a lot of personality and the mixing's solid, but the beats need some fleshing out and/or additional subtle variation, and the melody could also use the same, even though changing up the instrumentation went in the right direction for helping this stand apart from the original. This is a really good base, and doesn't need wild changes, but it does need some additional variation. Definitely don't drop this one, PC, this is really promising.

NO (resubmit)

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A little repetitive, but I don't think the arrangement is so long that it's a deal breaker.

The arpeggio is pushed too far forward for the entire track, though. It's cutting through everything. When melodic lines come in, you have to shift focus away by lowering the volume, dropping an octave, changing it to a lighter instrument, etc.; there are plenty of techniques you can employ.

Needs a second look. NO (resub)

 

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