Gario

*NO* Jazz Jackrabbit "Get Your Static Now" *RESUB*

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Previous Decision

Contact Information

Your ReMixer name: metamorphosis
Your real name: Matt Bentley
Your website: www.soulstudios.co.nz
Your userid: 20560

Submission Information

Name of game(s) arranged: Jazz Jackrabbit
Name of arrangement: Get Your Static Now
Name of individual song(s) arranged: Tubelectric
Additional information about game including composer, system, etc: As for Gario's feedback, I'm immensely grateful - he pointed out exactly where the mix was going wrong, and I've been able to reign it back in on the high frequencies - and I think the result speaks for itself.
As for the others - I'm not changing the structure of the song. Contrast is the *whole thing* - it doesn't work without it. I don't want to submit yet another bland remix. Likewise the bitcrushed samples stay in, though I appreciate your feedback on this level because I realized how ear-burny they were, and I've rather drastically reduced the high frequency content there too. 
Clearly you guys do not listen to as much hardcore industrial as I do :)
Part of the theme is contrast, electricity, static, and I've changed the title to reflect this (also what's being said in some of the samples - was a title originally, but threw it out in favour of JDHD).
Thanks once again,
Matt

 

 

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It's definitely an improvement--my ears aren't in pain this time, for starters, and I'm not hearing anything that sounds like an unintentional error.  I'll withhold comment on the structure and the static, since I made myself clear on those points before.

However, balance is still an issue.  There's a lot of conflict, made more severe by the high levels of reverb.  The hats are taking up a lot of bandwidth; in the quiet middle section especially, they drown out a lot of the textures and are still a bit grating.  There's still a lot going on in the highs and very little in the lows.  The mids come and go, from nearly absent to too much (3:20-3:35 in particular).

This still isn't quite there yet, IMO, but it's getting there.  Improve the clarity in the highs and mids and this'll have my blessing.

NO (resubmit)

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Well, this IS certainly an improvement; the overall soundspace improved and some of the offending instruments (static & synth) lowered in the mix, and the stranger clashing notes seem to have been fixed. The arrangement still gets cluttered at 3:34 - 3:58, though, with the lead getting buried at 3:34 - 3:46. The dirty synths take up a lot of sonic space so they're naturally contributing to the muddiness of the mix whenever they're present. It would improve with some sculpting in the midrange EQ so they don't take up so much space, but I don't think the track gets sunk by these things, either.

Nice to hear you come back with this. Muddy sections aside, I think this has a nice spot on the front page. Best of luck on the rest of the vote!

YES

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I wasn't involved in the previous decision, so this vote is more of a fresh perspective.

Looking at the arrangement, it started as a borderline MIDI-rip with the synth melody's expression adding small hints of subtractive writing.  But the part at 1:53 with the smooth jazz variant caught me by surprise with the bass writing, the expressive violin performance, and the backing piano also varying from the original's synth arpeggio.  Seeing the source treatment over different moods, I feel confident over your idea of contrasting styles here.  You made the right call in deciding not to change it.

Now, I didn't hear what went wrong with the production last time, but I did notice a thought-provoking choice of sound palette going on.  The timbres themselves and placement in the stereo field are serviceable to me.  Though, I would've liked to have seen some further EQ separation between your rhythm guitars and lead synths to get them to stick out more.  It's not a dealbreaker, but it's something to look out for when making similar tracks.

Another tip I can give you for the future is to consider the idea of equalizing your reverb as well.  Looking at 1:24-1:39 and 3:34-3:57, the wet output was at risk of overpowering the rhythm synths in the background.  By adding a high-pass to your reverb, this can pull back any dampness among the low-to-mid section and add some clarity onto where it tonally matters most.

Seeing the sum of the parts come together, I believe this track barely passed over the bar with just about enough arrangement and presentation.  I can see it on the front page, but regardless of what happens, I'd love it if you keep going and take your skills to the next level.

YES (borderline)

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from an arrangement perspective, there's some real fun stuff going on here. the significant drop in tempo does a lot to keep it from sounding same-y throughout, and i appreciated the choice of instrument for soloing in that section (although i found the violin to be both a bit pitchy and unintentionally out-of-time occasionally). i loved the glissandi, they felt very appropriate.

i'll echo MW's thoughts about both the fluctuating appearance of mids and the seeming lack of low-end. additionally, i also found the hats in the middle section to be significantly more present in the mix than expected, and it sounds more like static than an instrument with how reverb is applied there. additionally, i found the synth guitars to be very awkward, to the point of really cheapening the mix. i don't think they particularly fit from a synth-rock perspective either. i'd love to hear either some better samples there or a live recording.

i don't think this one is particularly close. the heavily-featured synth guitars lack punch, clarity, and realism, and the soundscape has big holes occasionally in the mids and usually in the lows. additional work with your eq - and instrumentation - will help fill out the aural range, and some updates to your guitars will really add body to the mix that it's currently lacking.

 

 

NO

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I think I'm mostly on board here with what Brad is saying here. There's a lot of interesting color choices, and I personally find a lot of the separate sections to be interesting takes overall, but there are some strange choices that aren't working out great. There's definitely a lot of reverb that I'd muddying things up, along with a prominent choice of the synth guitar. I'd like both of these things to be addressed. 

I'd also like to bring up the weird transition at 1:48. It's a really jarring slowdown that really had no lead up and doesn't really tie the two sections. Maybe lengthening the slow down of the tempo could help, but I think it might just need a re-write to transition better. 

Not quite there for me yet.

NO (resubmit)

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I wasn't part of the previous decision, so coming in fresh on this one.  wow, someone shamelessly using synth guitars in a modern arrangement.  I like them! they somehow work here and they're kinda cute.  Not a fan of any of the bitcrushed effects (static/voice clips etc.) as they don't seem to mesh with the song quite as well.  The mix is ok, stuff is clearly separated although instrument balance is sometimes off i.e. around 3:30 the rhythm guitars kinda overpower the lead, or at least occupy the same frequency space enough so that the lead melodies don't get the priority they need.

The arrangement is ok, I kinda dig the tempo changes, and the structure changes after the first run through the original melody.  There are some nice sections with cool bass and piano writings that I actually kinda liked more than the big, fuller sections.  This is a very close one for me.  It seems like the other Js took issue with the synth guitars but honestly I kinda like them here.  Without that issue I think I don't have a lot of things that I can honestly say that need to be corrected before this can pass.  Some of the mix can be cleaned up further but it's ok as-is.

YES (borderline)

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I feel like the leads are quite often too loud, the balancing isn't optimal but it's serviceable.  When the first arp comes in, it sounds crazy loud, so does the first lead.  The arrangement and variation in writing and sounds used is very good.  I like the slowdown section, the transition is a bit abrupt but it works.  The piano in that section sounds very mechanical but the electric violin quickly makes up for that.  It's a fun and unique track.  I don't feel like the sub-optimal balancing sinks the track.  The track dynamics are exciting if a little extreme.  I think the synth guitars are cool.  Let's do this.

YES

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I haven't heard the first version that was voted on, so I'm hearing this fresh. As soon as this started, the structure, instrumentation, and tone were all super close to the original source tune, so I'm waiting to hear how this breaks out from that, since the opening just sounds like a sample upgrade.

Immediately, you hear that the mixing's cluttered and muddy, so that would need to be cleaned up as well. It's more obvious at the chorus at 1:09. Also from the chorus, you can tell how rigid, static, and relatively soft the drumwork sounds.

It wasn't until 1:47 that we hit anything resembling a higher level of interpretation with the jazzier section, which sounded nice and would have been a cool overall approach to go with instead of the sound upgrade from the first half. Back to more of the sound upgrade + SFX for the closing section at 3:19.

In terms of what we're looking for with the Submission Standards, the whole arrangement should have been the jazzy section, which was pretty strong, then it would have been on solid ground in terms of personalizing the presentation of the theme.

Beyond the arrangement not feeling creative or distinctive enough from the source for the first half, the mixing being so muddy and lacking high-end clarity also pulled this down below the bar. Not trying to browbeat any YES's, and no hate on Matt, but the bar's higher than this and I'm not seeing where this rises to the level of what's typically approved.

NO (resubmit)

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Fat bass intro. Lead is a bit loud when it first comes in, and is somewhat on the verge of clipping. The distortion portion is good but could do with some revised mixing to fix some of the collision happening here (you could consider dialling back some of the bite on the bass if you haven’t already to give room for the other parts). The break at 1:50 is a good change of pace, although the transition to it could be improved. The violin and piano portion was unexpected and a nice surprise. Things pick up soon after with a return to the distortion portion. I think things here are climbing over each-other a bit too much and could be mixed in a more complementary way to let each part be crunchy but also heard. Things ended a bit abruptly and close off on an odd bar. I don’t mind the arrangement and instrument choices here, I like what you’ve done with the original to make it your own. I’d feel the same as some of the others here where I think some more time mixing will clean this up. After a tidy I think we’re good to go.

NO

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OK, also coming in fresh here.  Liking the intro synths.  Drums sound very repetitive & stilted sounding for much of the track.  They could also use some more punch to stand up against the louder section.  Before that section, it was a pretty cool retro-ish synth take with all the delay in there reminding me of some of Alexander Brandon's work.  I'm really not sure about the 1:12 section, honestly.  The synthy guitar really overpowers everything, especially the drums, which get just about completely buried. It kind of just sounds like a mess, both mixing wise and guitar writing (I'm really sorry to say :( ).

The 1:49 transition/slow down sounded awkward.  I feel like it's in the unhappy medium between a quick, dramatic drop-off and a more gradual slowdown.  The later speed-up hit more on the gradual side and sounds ok.

This came off a very cover-ish for the first almost two minutes.  Honestly, it almost felt like the track didn't truly start until the violin section, which I actually found to be by far my favorite portion of the track.  It's super chill with an interesting take on the original.  I kind of wish the whole song was this style, or maybe a combination of this and the chill delayed synths towards the beginning.  I was a bit disappointed when it ended and we got a retread of the original synthy parts with some additional elements added in.  Ending felt unfinished as it's mainly just elements dropping out with a drum fill.

This has a lot of potential, and I will reiterate how much I actually really love the middle violin section, but I think it's all being dragged down by mixing, drums, & the synth guitar sections.

NO (resubmit)

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I appreciate the ambition at work here, and how you aren't content to stay in one lane throughout your arrangement. The contrast that you pointed out in your submission writeup helps shake things up after you run through a more straightforward interpretation of the source for the first 2 minutes.

The first few minutes, which are a very straightforward take on the original, follow the same style of sequencing and instrumentation as the original but run into problems with overcrowding. The levels of your instruments don't strike an ideal balance; often you have several sounds occupying the same frequency range at high volumes, and the end result feels quite messy. The velocity/timing of your sequencing is also very stiff - my guess is that some degree of this is intentional (the original song strikes me the same way) so I'm willing to write this off. I also strongly agree that the transition at 1:49 did not work and should be revisited. Between the very rigid timing of the instrument sequencing, clashing reverb/balance issues, and transitions that don't quite work, it all adds up to about half of the song that, although a solid improvement on the original, still feels problematic on a number of levels. 

The jazzy interpretation that comes in midway through the arrangement, however, is absolutely on-pointand I don't find any of these issues present. The live violin offers a great contrast to the synthetic palette of sounds that comes before it. The concept and execution are both incredibly strong here. After that, we go back into more of the same production issues that applied to the first two minutes.

I know others have stated that this would be stronger if the whole arrangement was built around the jazzy breakdown, but I do feel strongly that the arrangement works on a conceptual level in its current form - I just don't believe that the more upbeat sections are as well-executed or interpretive as the middle. I would love to hear this again if you're willing to take a stab at it!

NO (please resubmit!)

 

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