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Gario

*NO* Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 'Darker Sides'

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Edited by Rexy

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I've been mulling over this one for a while.  A lot of the arrangement is on the conservative side, but what's really bugging me is the production.

First, the soundscape is pretty thin.  There are tubas and kettle drums but they lack low end.  There's not much in the high end either, just snares and the occasional triangle, bell, or flute.

Second, the performances are mechanical.  Same timing, same attack, for the most part.  There's some variation but it's minor.  The fast string runs are the strongest example

Third, you're doing a weird thing with compression.  A section sounded both quiet and pumping, which is unusual, so I took a look at the waveform.  You see how that section from 1:34-2:07 has a completely flat top?  You've got a hard limiter there, at about -3.8 dB.  The result is that the individual sounds are muffled and are causing each other to duck unnecessarily.  There's pumping to a degree elsewhere in the arrangement; this is just a severe example that leapt out at me.

I enjoyed many of the original transitions, and there are a lot of great ideas.  Work on the production, maybe take this to the Workshop forum and get some advice, and I'd love to hear a revision of this.

NO (resubmit)

 

waveform.jpg

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The performances in this one don't sound very natural.  Making orchestral music sound natural is no easy feat, but this is too far from fooling me.  Brasses don't show a lot of nuance and the snare drum feels pretty static.  The soundscape feels pretty artificial as well, with the orchestration not having that feeling of depth of a full orchestra.  Now, not every song has to have a full orchestra behind it but the arrangements tend to be adapted to a smaller instrument count.  This, however, sounds like an arrangement for a full orchestra, and it falls short of having that depth.

Going back to the performances, you need to add subtlety and dynamics to the instruments.  Not every section should be performed the same even though they might share the same arrangement.  Expression is lacking.

The production is pretty spotty as well, and as mindwanderer noted, some weird compression issues pop up in the middle of the track and inconsistently, which is something I haven't encountered before.

The arrangement is pretty conservative, and although I liked some of the transitions, the feeling of this being a medley is very strong, I think that could be helped with more interpretation and motifs carried over in the harmonies between different sources.

This needs more work.  It's not as bad as my wall of text may make it seem, but nonetheless needs more work.

NO

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I too sense a lack of realism on those instruments.  The parts sound too static, the limiter squashing dynamics down in the Dark World Dungeon section is unnatural, and a lot of your leads feel dry.  If you're going to be writing for a full orchestra, it's a good idea to:

  • Make it feel as if the performance is in a concert hall, with attention to the placement of parts in the stereo field and the amount of ambient space they have.
  • Abandon the limiters and let your parts have room to breathe.
  • And most importantly, go over each instrument and make them feel more humanized.  Loosen up the timings, vary the velocities and emphasize which ones you think are the most dynamic notes.
  • You can even consider using the volume envelope to shape the dynamics for sustained notes.

The arrangement has the source present, but there's a four-section medley going through straight interpretations of your source material.  I liked hearing Ganon's theme adapted near the end of the Dark World theme at 1:19, and similarly, Dark World reprised near the end and accommodated at Lorule Castle.  But I would've liked to have heard more of that kind of idea in other areas around the track.

That idea above is one of a few things that can be done to personalize the arrangement in a subtractive way.  Other possible suggestions include adding original parts in the background, or even some original writing to make the transitions between sources feel smoother.

It's not bad, but issues on both arrangement and production fronts have weighed this down too much.  It'll be a good idea to take it into the Workshop and experiment with new ideas, then try again.

NO (resubmit)

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