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Gario

*NO* Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 'Heart Medicine'

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I really love the chords, I love the overall handling, the soundscape - I'll start by saying that I love this arrangement. I think some might find the static background a bit much, but I actually feel it's unchanging nature enhances the overall atmosphere, especially with the subtle changes that occur throughout.

The only this I've got against this is... er, why is this so quiet? I checked; you can easily push ~10.5dB using an amplifier alone, and with minimal limiting you could easily get another 5 dBs without noticeable loss. This is just too quiet for OCR, and there's no reason for it.

I'd actually be fine with letting us do the basic amp'ing of the track if we had a WAV, but this time we just have the Mp3 so we should ask her to boost the levels as necessary.

YES (Conditional on Levels)

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It's indeed a beautiful atmosphere, which meshes perfectly with the ethereal vocals.

However, as Gario anticipated, I'm finding the static background too much.  In particular, at about the 2:00 mark, the droning bass string pad gets just a hair louder, which calls attention to the fact that you've been hearing the exact same thing the whole time.  It reminds you again at 3:00, and then closes out with it.  The rest of the background could stand some variety, but it's that bass drone that goes beyond static to grating, for me.

And yeah, too quiet.

NO (resubmit)

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The production isn't how I'd do it, and I could see others rejecting on those lines, but I can make out the parts and nothing's majorly broken, just not ideal. Arrangement-wise, I dug it; pretty experimental new age stuff here. I get MindWanderer's point about the droning bass, but it didn't bother me and there's enough evolving the with soundscape behind the vocals.

Light pops at 1:05, 1:07, 1:19, and 1:27; probably other spots I didn't point out; not sure what you can do there, but fix those if possible.

It does sound pretty lossy. If the muddy vocals handling the "Song of Healing" melody transitioned into something clearer later as a form of contrast, that would have been better (or at least a way to vary up the vocal production some). As is, the instrumental sounds clear while the vocals sound muddy, so it makes it feel like the two don't really share the same soundscape. Would have liked to have heard more variety with the vocal performance; 3 verses and the performance/tone was the exact same for all 3; even with the soundscape morphing around in the background, it makes the vocals feel static and repetitive in their delivery.

That said, my criticisms aren't major negatives to me, just some things I'm questioning while recognizing the overall creativity, uniqueness, and novelty of this arrangement. Cool stuff, Rebecca! See if you can determine the source of the light pops to remove those and boost the volume, but I've got no issue passing this.

YES

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You have a beautiful dreamy soundscape and a more unusual arrangement approach - a new-age backdrop with only the vocals providing source use.  In this context, a three-verse track carries source use well, and the vocal style combined with it adds such a delicate charm.  The non-vocal instruments also sound well balanced and add more to the atmospheric beauty, so good job on picking some lovely timbres out in this case.

However, this track does have a couple of production issues.  First of all, yes, I agree with my fellow judges that it's too quiet.  A peak of around -11dB makes it too tempting to manually boost the volume even when listening to similar tracks, so a slightly louder mix or wave normalization can quickly remedy it.  Had this been the only problem, my vote would've also been a conditional yes as it's very swift to fix.

But as this is a vocal track, the vocals themselves are essential to see it through.  And while your performance is sweet and delicate, the recording and mixing currently don't do any justice.  Not only are there the pops that Larry pointed out, but the recording quality sounds too lossy to consider clean, and it feels so muddy to the point that I can't make out the lyrics.  It clashes way too much with the already-gorgeous backing track that I'm going to have to see it as a dealbreaker, I'm afraid.

Rebecca, this is extremely promising, and I'm in favor of seeing a mix of this kind of scope on the front page.  If those vocals can get re-recorded and mixed in more effectively, it'll be much easier to convince me to accept it.

NO (resubmit)

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this track is such a departure from your usual style, rebecca, and i really appreciate the leap that something like this takes. i don't believe this track is at the level of something for OCR, but there's a lot of great stuff here.

i agree with some of the other judges in that most of the background is simply too vague. i disagree heartily that this is enough arrangement for a track - you could layer any song's melody sung on top of that background and it'd sound similar to this in execution and style. an arrangement needs to be more than just a melody laid on a background that is unrelated, and i'd argue that the background here is unrelated. there is no correlations between the vocals being sung and what's supporting them, and that's simply not enough to satisfy the arrangement requirements on this site. there needs to be more linking the background to the source.

please don't let that be a criticism on the sound design, however! i really enjoyed the verby windchimes and especially the last section (3:45 onward). the overlapping, clashing vocal pads really added to the unsettled nature that the precariously perched vocals created. i also really appreciate the approach to the vocal part. there were some clear parts where you didn't support enough from your gut and you sounded thin (1:23 and 3:30 are great examples of this), but when you DO support (like at 2:25), there's a beautiful clear tone in there that sounds through in a great way.

the track is indeed way too quiet - a limiter would do wonders here. beyond that, there's numerous oddities to the vocal part as well, like some odd artifacts at 0:44, some clear intonation issues like at 1:14 vs. the bells in the background, 1:50's lo-fi feel, the non-pitched tones at 2:44, and 3:12's punched-in part that has a totally different sound than the surrounding sections. all of these can be fixed with a combination of better microphone technique (that is, maintaining a consistent distance from the mic between takes so that you don't have significantly different recording profiles between parts) and attention to detail in your singing. ensuring you're consistently breathing from your belly and supporting when you sing, even in the sections that are supposed to feel lighter, will add continuity to the vocal part's performance and in turn improve the final product significantly.

i really enjoyed the track, but there's not enough attention to detail in the vocal part and arrangement in the background to qualify it for posting at this time. i'd love to yes this another time after some of the arrangement and recording issues have been corrected.

 

 

NO (resub!)

Edited by prophetik music

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Brad has said anything I was going to say and more here, I am right in line with his vote. To me the background really just isn't adding anything to the track arrangement-wise. The atmosphere is great, but the singing and the background could be two separate things just happening together. 

Brad also has some really fantastic advice for getting more clarity and support in your voice. Using that belly breath to push those vocals will really help especially in the higher areas, and overall will help you rise over the background.

I like the concept you have here but I need more connection between the background and the vocals for me to be on board with this.

NO (resubmit)

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I love the concept of this SO much, it fits the sweet melancholy of this source perfectly with the sad yet hopeful vocals and ethereal droning background.  I am so torn on whether this should pass, solely on the vocals.  There are just enough pitchy moments to consider holding it back, and I know you are addressing this on your future vocal tracks.  I also think going forward it would be good to do something more interesting with the vocals as the track moves along, instead of just leaving them alone in the middle with one reverb setting the whole way through.  But ultimately, this track hits me hard in the feels, and I believe it will for others as well.  Let's do this.

YES

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I really like the idea here but the execution is lacking.  First, this track's volume is too low... again.  Recurring issue here, not gonna dwell much on it but I hope future subs don't have this.  Your vocals are pretty good! unfortunately there are indeed a lot of moments where the pitch drifts off and takes me out of the zen state that this track gives me.  Other than the voice, there's not a lot to find here, some windchimes glissandos and pads/drones without much change in tone.  I like the textures a lot though.

I feel like if the vocals were less pitchy and the rest of the arrangement more substantial I would pass this as the concept is something I really enjoyed.   There's not much rearrangement to speak of as the main melody is sung with no modifications.  I would have liked to hear some subtle doubling on the vocals to accentuate some phrases and also change things up.  In addition, the issue of the track being too quiet is going to push me for a rejection sadly. 

NO

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Vocals lend an interesting quality to the arrangement, and while not terribly tight/pitch perfect, I can see what you’re going for, there is a sweetness to them. It’s a good out of the ordinary mix for you — I love to see artists to step out and try something different. I will say I found the arrangement a bit too sameish throughout the duration, I was left waiting for some kind of evolution that never eventuated. Not to say the choice was bad, but I think this could’ve been even bigger if the mix evolved and things picked up at the halfway mark. Even without major changes, I think the mix would benefit from more variation. Overall mix volume is quite soft as others have mentioned. This has placed me on the fence. While I do want to see this posted, in thinking what’s best for the mix — it would definitely benefit from a resub to correct some of the above mentioned issues.

NO

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