Gario

*NO* Stardew Valley "Leaves from Trees, Fall for Me"

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Remixer Name: Von Nebo

Email Address:

My Website: https://soundcloud.com/vonnebo

UserID: 33369

 

Sub. Info

Name of Game Arranged: Stardew Valley

Name of Arrangement: Leaves From Tree, Fall For Me

Name of Individual Song Arranged: Fall (Raven's Descent)

Original Composer: Eric Barone (ConcernedApe)

System: PC/Nintendo Switch

Original Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idOmc35hlhU

 

My Comments:

"I'm delighted to present a cover to a song that moved me greatly.  

 

This song [and game] came to me at a time when I was troubled.  The music and demeanor of the game gave me comfort, and pointed to the fact that I needed to press on with life.  My cover gives a bit more of the sense of 'strife' than the soothing original, as I was trying to capture my personal struggles and feelings while I was going through this game.

 

The strings you hear are distorted ukuleles, and the percussion is bongos.  These were recorded through a microphone, and it was the first time I had recorded bongos.  It was a different experience than I was used to, but it was enjoyable.

 

I would like to thank the OCRemix judges for giving me the opportunity to submit my arrangement and taking the time to review and listen to it!"

 

You will find the song attached to this email.  Please let me know if there are any problems.  Thanks!

Edited by Rexy

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Rhythmically, this doesn't really sound like the source tune at all, at least on a first listen. Can anyone else make sense of this one?

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@Liontamer The lead guitar part at about 0:48 does loosely follow the lead part at 0:21 in the source, as does the "arps" in the backing guitar part. Whether or not we could count any of these as close enough to the source is certainly debatable, but it's debatable enough where the panel should have a shot at it, in my opinion.

While I'm here, though: I actually like this - it's calm and relaxing (much like the source), but rather than present the atmosphere in a new-age sort of way this instead evokes someone relaxing on a private beach on an island. It's different, and I gotta give credit to an artist for taking something like this in such a different direction. The guitar part, while the recording is clean, needs to have the performance tightened up - rhythmically it plays pretty loose throughout, with a few notes that sound erroneous in the background (like at 0:27 - sounds like notes are ringing when you lift your finger from the neck). With a track that has so much exposed acoustic guitar, it's going to need to sound pristine, which this doesn't achieve.

There's an over-focus on only the first half of the source for this arrangement, but honestly there's nothing saying the artist can't just ignore most of a source in order to focus on elements that they like. As far as direct source references, I'm definitely hearing something resembling source at 0:48 - 1:25 and 1:51 - 2:54 in this track (either direct source or riffing based on it), which could debatably constitute ~52% source usage, but there's a lot of empty space in that time frame which a tighter stopwatch would count against it. Making the backing guitar part better match the arpeggios would allow for a much clearer connection to the source material, and that seems to be the intent of the arrangement besides, so I do suggest reworking the backing guitar part to more clearly represent the source.

Overall, despite my misgivings I actually do like this arrangement quite a bit. It reminds me a lot of Secret of Evermore and it's more hard atmospheric style. It's a debatable case whether there's enough source in this, though, and the performances need some reworking in order to really make the piece shine, so I do suggest cleaner recordings of the parts, and reworking the backing guitar part so that it better reflects the source material. Best of luck!

NO

Edited by Gario

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Re: source usage, I can hear the source in this pretty well.  The rhythmic arpeggio in the remix is a modified version of the arpeggio in the original, and the lead melodies in the remix are taken from the lead flute right at the start of the song, and expanded a little throughout the arrangement.  The original evolves into something different after the first minute or so and I don't hear any of that in this remix, so that might throw some people off.  Discarding a lot of the original material is not really an issue if it helps make the remix sound as a coherent standalone song.  I've done some of that myself, and I think that's the case here.

The performances are loose, but not too loose to make this seem too sloppy, it's more of a cozy and intimate performance here.  There are some audible breathing and ambient noises that I'm not sure if I would like them removed or not because they do add to the intimate atmosphere, but I'm inclined to think that the song would be better off with a cleaner recording.  The main arpeggio probably needs a re-recording though.  The notes are left suspended and sometimes they resonate a bit too much as to make it unpleasant, and it also kinda blurs the notes together.

Honestly, I'm torn about this one.  I like it very much, and I think this accomplishes a lot with so very little.  I went and read your write-up and I think you managed to infuse the arrangement with your feelings at the time, as this left me feeling a bit melancholic.  But I also think the recording could be cleaned up and the rhythmic parts re-recorded with a better performance.  This is very close, and I think I'm leaning towards a resubmit for this one.  I've already listened to this many times, but I think I'll hold on to my vote for a few days and give it a re-listen later.

EDIT (8/21): Listening again with fresh ears, I have the same feeling of this being very close but not quite there.  I think with a bit more polish this can make it, but for now I'll ask for a revision.

NO (resubmit)

Edited by Sir_NutS

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I personally don't feel the need to stopwatch this.  There's plenty of explicit use of a good chunk of the source melody, and the uke arpeggio is clearly referencing the xylophone.  Subjectively it seems well over the top in that regard.

I also personally feel like my fellow judges are nitpicking the performance.  It's not perfect, but it isn't sloppy either.  It's clearly more than competent, and I don't feel like our bar needs to be higher than that.  The minor performance flubs do stand out in such a minimal mix, and I do think they'd be less notable if there was more in the way of accompaniment, but at the same time I think adding more layers would be a disservice to this arrangement as well as to the artist's intention.  It works with what it is.

I respect the concerns, but I think this does far more right than it does wrong.  I'd be happy to accept it as-is.

YES

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First of all, here's my take on source use.  There's an interpretation of the A and B melodies at 0:48-1:29, and again at 1:51-2:55 with some further personalizations.  If I deduct 10 seconds of nothing but bongoes, it barely bubbles under 50% source use - but its means of use doesn't affect the quota too much.

It's also an intriguing artistic direction to have a more minimalist soundscape like this.  You aimed to capture a more melancholic feel with just having two live instruments and a wind effect.  It's a risky decision, but the parts all sound clean and don't have overlapping frequencies.  Timings are loose, but they're mostly not so loose that it becomes distracting.

Some things add up to not entirely pushing it over the bar, though.  Firstly, I am with Gario and Nuts regarding the performance of the rhythm part and how some notes overlap with each other.  It doesn't feel clean or intentional, so consider re-recording it and minimizing this error.

Secondly, I'm okay with the wind effects, but why is there so much boom on them?  It feels more like it's rubbing into the microphone, which gives out an unpleasant feeling.  Recorded ambiance like this can benefit a lot from a high pass, rolling out the bass frequencies and adding clarity to your outdoor folk feel.

And this thought is more of a personal taste thing, but I also feel the soundscape can get thickened up without compromising your minimal vision.  I can see one idea where there are either multiple takes of the same instrument or some use of delay to get the feeling of a fuller sound.  I can also see another idea where there's subtle stereo reverb on both of those instruments for a sense of larger performance space.  I can see both of these ideas lifting the track's soundscape, but it's up to you in deciding whether they go against your vision or not.

Nevertheless, I'm all for a re-recording on that rhythm part for added clarity.  The other production issue(s) are a close second, and any potential new source additions are a non-issue or distant third depending on how you look at it.  It's a unique take, and you should be proud of it, but I feel it needs more polish before it gets posted.  Please revise it and send it back.

NO (resubmit)

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i love this concept so much. it's so very quirky - like, bongos and uke and a bass clarinet? such an interesting combination to approach this track with, and i love the way that the arrangement is adapted as well. i agree with MW that there's no real need to stopwatch the arrangement - between the arpeggio and the clear restatement of melodic content as rexy mentioned above, it's way over half the track.

i found the recording technique, as a whole, to be somewhat lacking. the booming in the wind recording comes from air pressure on the diaphragm of the mic, @Rexy, and i believe that the remixer simply didn't apply any post-processing to what they heard. it is certainly distracting. there's also some breathing at 2:25 and several points after that (or it's noise from moving your hands on the string?), and there's no real room noise here either. uke is an instrument with little sustain thanks to the design of the neck, and while you really need to get a mic in close to hear the initial pizz, it benefits immensely from a room mic to get you the resonance of the body. i think that's part of why the upper uke sounds so lacking in body - beyond the effects laid on it.

continuing the theme of boxes not quite checked, there's silence to start and end the track which needs to be trimmed.

as a whole, i love the concept, and i love the backstory on why the remixer went this way. i think it just doesn't sound polished enough to be on the site yet.

 

 

NO

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