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Gario

*NO* Dark Souls 'My Dear Artorias'

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Hello!
 
This is Drew Etterle (SuprMelO) from the band Moiré Effect with my bandmate Scott Wells (BluuMonk). We can be reached at  and our website is http://moireeffectband.com . My OCR user ID is 34268.
 
We're submitting our remix of "Souls of Fire" from the Dark Souls OST. Our remix is titled "My Dear Artorias".
 
I don't know that there's much more to be said about Dark Souls that hasn't already been said, but I can share my experience from playing it. One thing the original does specifically better than the others is convey the sense of a sparse and dying world. Entropy is happening and this is what it feels like. The music from the menu and character selection screen "Souls of Fire" with its gentle harp and choral elements contrasts greatly with the harsh and uncaring world of Dark Souls. I always thought the melody hinted at a type of serenity that comes with accepting the world for how it is.
 
The story we're telling with the song is about the relationship between two characters Manus and Artorias. [DARK SOULS SPOILERS AHEAD] The stories in Dark Souls are buried in inference and hints, but once you find them you become invested. There are a few good YouTube channels where people are making a living exploring these stories. Anyways, Artorias was a knight of Lord Gwyn who was sent to investigate and confront the Abyss. Legend says he defeated the Abyss, but legend is wrong. Manus, the father of the Abyss, was too much for Artorias and after his defeat, Artorias succumbed to the darkness. Both would later be put out of their misery by the Chosen Undead (the player).
 
In our remix, I wanted to imagine what Manus would have said to Artorias upon their meeting. Beyond that, I wanted to figure out what was the flaw that Manus was able to exploit in order to consume him with the Abyss. I went back to that old and somewhat overused Nietzsche quote “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” and it became the hook of the song. So what was it that Manus found in Artorias that allowed him to beat him? I think it was pride and vanity. Artorias contempt for humanity may have caused him to underestimate his opponent and he was vanquished. If I could choose the takeaway I'm hoping the listener gets from this song, it would be to ask yourself, what flaws am I carrying that allows the darkness in. And what am I doing about it?
 
I couldn't be happier with Scott's vocal performance. I've heard it described as "screamo" which I guess is fair, but I can't imagine how else the primeval human and father of the abyss should sound. And don't say some unintelligible metal growling. We're trying to tell a story and carry a melody here.
 
We pulled a lot of story elements into the lyrics and I can't get into them here, so a full breakdown will be available here (*soon):
 
We also created a music video to tell the story in a visual way too: 
 
A previous version of this song was entered in the July 2017 Dwelling of Duels competition. Glad to share this one with you all here.
 
This may be our last submission for a while. We're on another project for the forseeable future, but have a few remixes in the oven right now. Can't wait to get all this stuff out there.
 
LYRICS:

I knew you’d come
You’re like a moth to flame
Questing on
For glory and fame

Your contempt for the human race
Use all your skill and might
But you’re still leaving here in disgrace

Your lord, your liege is hollow

Swing your sword and your shield till your arms break
Feel the thrill of the kill when you’re taking something
And make it nothing

Guard yourself, but your soul left laid bare
The vanity I can see is staring back at you
I’m staring back at you

I know your story
Your place in the sun
Did you know it’s setting?

Let me share with you
The darkness found in me
They wanted power
I gave them insanity

I won’t stop till I find what was taken from me

Swing your sword and your shield till your arms break
Feel the thrill of the kill when you’re taking something
And make it nothing

Guard yourself, but your soul left laid bare
The vanity I can see is staring back at you
I’m staring back at you

When you stare at me
I stare back at you

 
Thanks,
Drew
 
Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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Fantastic work, guys!  Maybe Scott can do "screamo" but this is pretty traditional rock ballad.  And it's fantastic work all around, both as a remix and as a standalone track.  It's one of those pieces no one would ever guess was a video game remix without knowing the source or being told.  It's a professional job through and through.

I do foresee complaints that it's too loosely derived from the source material.  It's certainly a significant transformation.  However, the guitar is always carrying a derivative of the source, always the same notes, if a (sometimes drastically) different rhythm.  I'm personally fine with it as it stands.  Aggressive stopwatching trying to match the source melody 1:1 will probably fall short, but anyone familiar with the source should be able to grok the connection easily enough.

My only real crit would be the ending, or rather the lack of one.  It could have used at least one final strum to signal a conclusion.  Otherwise, I love this to pieces.

YES

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Man, I really like this track (I generally really love the work that comes from Moire Effect, actually), but I'm definitely having a hard time justifying this track as far as source usage goes. The first 23 seconds are great (as well as the book-ending part at the end), and the loose connection to the textures in that 0:23-1:03 is arguably alright, but basing the arrangement around the harmonies of the source for the rest of the track is really a stretch to call "recognizable" as the source, as those aren't exactly uncommon chord progressions - it could literally be a remix of thousands of different VG sources, by that logic. There's really little to work with outside of the chords in the source, I understand, but that's simply an inherent challenge of arranging such a piece. There are textures, there are general swells used in the source, etc., that could still be used as connecting material, which would help it stand out as specifically an arrangement of THIS source rather than anything else.

I hate to give a track I otherwise love the thumbs down, but I don't think I can justify this being on OCR. Great work as usual - the music was once again spot on - but unfortunately I don't think I can call the harmonies used throughout as uniquely recognizable enough as the source.

NO

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Great source tune choice. It reminds me of Tim Follin's Lemmings soundtrack for PSP in some ways, and I could listen to an extended loop of this all day.

The arrangement was 3:56-long, so I needed to be able to hear the source tune in play for at least 118 seconds for the source tune usage to "dominate" the arrangement.

:01-54.5, 2:51.5-2:58.5, 3:06.5-3:13.5, 3:22-3:53.75 = 99.25 seconds or 42.05% overt source tune usage

I'd definitely count the electric guitar notes from :24-:54, since that's just a segment of the melody. Yes, it does sound "generic," but that's explicitly derived from the source tune, generic-sounding or not.

The ambient droning from 1:33-2:19 changes notes around 1:55, 1:59, 2:06, 2:12 & 2:16, and could be related to the vox line that's behind the harp at the very beginning of the source tune, but that's not something I'm readily able to match up. Even if I could, it wouldn't necessarily convince other judges that the source tune usage was dominant in the arrangement. So, for the entire middle of the song, I wasn't making anything out I could direct connect to the source tune.

If MindWanderer or anyone else can point out other explicit connections that I missed, that may put it over the top for me. But as is, I can't get behind this either on source usage grounds. It's either too liberal or too original, and I'm a stickler on the >50% source usage line, because this is a VGM arrangement website and the Submissions Standards say "The source material must be identifiable and dominant," which leaves less room for ambiguity like this.

In a vacuum, this is a solid song, but without the source tune connections being more in use or at least more apparent, I'm a NO for now. If's it just a matter of referencing the source tune during the middle sections, that's easy enough to incorporate.

NO (resubmit)

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This song is amazing, but other than the basic two-chord progression and a few bits that mirror the source's melody (which is so sparse), generally I can't recognize the source song.  Damn... great track, great production, performances and vocals.  Love it.

NO

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Agree with the others regarding this mix. Good execution and strong vocal performance. Production was mostly solid, although I found there was slight over compression on the master bus causing the mix to flap about on occasion. Agree that overt source usage is an issue here - apart from a strong first minute, the only clear source usage I could connect to was in the remaining 30 seconds. When it comes down to it, I would always advise leaning towards easily identifiable majority usage of source as it helps to get the mix over the line a lot easier. I think this really could make it with some more clear source integration, although I am unsure how challenging this would be to achieve. As it stands here, it's a

NO

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Not much to add here.  This song is fantastic.  However, I'm pretty much getting the same source breakdown as Larry.  I can say from experienc, it's pretty difficult to stretch a pretty sparse and repetitious original to a full length remix.  Maybe if you could figure out how to get that 6 note motif to carry through the track in more places in creative ways to anchor it to the OST we could get it going.  Again, great track.  Production sounds solid and the vocal performance is excellent.  Regardless of the result here, I hope you can release it for folks to enjoy.

NO

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Wow, turning a complex and repetitive 18/8 source into a 4/4 grunge track is a great idea!  It delivered a lot of energy, the framework is appropriate for the genre, and all live instruments were on point every step of the way.  The raw kind of sound is what I expect of grunge as well, so nothing sticks out production wise that doesn't clash with the intended vision.

However, as awesomely interpreted as the source is, there's not quite enough of it in the arrangement itself.  I only heard it in 3 places:

0:00-0:55 - Intro and first verse
2:51-3:14 - Guitar solo
3:22-3:53 – Ending

My analysis puts source use over 45%, which is not quite enough.  There's plenty of room in the track to layer a guitar or even a keyboard part playing the melody or other Dark Souls BGM in the background, so if you can find the right spot that can accommodate for it, this will give the track that lift over the bar.

Another thing that sticks out for me as well - though not a deal breaker - is the bass part at 2:51-3:06.  While it is still in key, it'll fit in so much better if the eighth notes played are more harmonically pleasing to match the choral vocals and guitars in the background - in other words, A, G, F and G.  Unusual bass runs are generally saved for when there's not much going on around it in the first place.

Still, the source use and slight lack thereof is by far my biggest issue in this.  You're close to nailing it, so I'd love it if you can revise it and send it back.  I want to hear this on the front page so much.

NO (resubmit)

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i love this style, and i love your singer's voice. i appreciate the nuance on the guitar tone with the layered pads around it - it's got a jason truby solo album feel, and i love that. i like when you are going full bore, as well - the overall package is very emotionally moving and i feel like that's a big part of what you're going for. the writeup on the lyrics i found on your band's webpage is great for someone like me who couldn't get past the first set of skeletons in the original game. the overall mastering on the track sounds great, and as a whole i am gonna listen to this track a lot more. i'm also glad i've been exposed to your music because now i'm gonna go grab a bunch of it =) 

if i'm going to complain about anything at all from a technical perspective, it's the ending. i don't mind a dropout, but i do mind hearing fret noise in it. if you're going to do a dramatic ending like that, commit to it. fret noise doesn't work when you've shown how technically proficient you are during the piece.

all that said, this is a problematic track for the OCR community specifically. the original track never goes to any melody at all - it's just arpeggiated chords realized on a harp. in past remixes that i've found that featured similar OSTs without melodies, they all created unique melodies like you did - but they also featured the original arpeggiated chord structure clearly throughout the entire work, not just in isolated parts. larry already stopwatched it above so i'm not going to dig into it, but there's just not enough of the original for me to say it fits OCR standards. there's not enough of a tie to the original here to make it fit in the OCR community.

that doesn't take anything away from the track, which is freaking awesome! based on the rules here at OCR, however, we can't accept it.

NO =(

Edited by prophetik music

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