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Liontamer

*NO* DuckTales 'Ducks in Space'

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Download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/srq5vx7or6vkfra/Ducks%20in%20Space.mp3?dl=0
 
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 I almost couldn't have picked a more overdone song, but it's just so fun.  I was pretty conservative in terms of source usage in this one, I arranged it in a synth rock/dnb style with guitars & synth leads & a healthy amount of drum breaks.  There is a guitar solo midway through to add some variety, but beyond that it's essentially the same tune everyone knows.
 
 Personally, I've been known for writing primarily soft piano music (and my first 2 OCR submissions represent this), but I've taken the last couple years to branch out and practise my production.  I'm still fairly new to this type of music but hopefully I've made something palatable.
 
Thanks!
 
Edited by MindWanderer

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Muddier than I thought necessary in the intro, but that quickly dropped in and out at times, so you could tell the effects were purposeful.

The sequenced drumming brought in at :29 didn't sound bad, but over time, the tone sounded too perfect/exact at each hit of the core pattern, which exposed the sample and took me out of this by 1:05; no round-robin built into the sample dragged this down, so if that's not at all available, hand-tweak these beats to humanize the sound. As is, that core backing pattern sounds too repetitive/unvaried to me.

Other judges may argue the rest of the arrangement makes this a pass, but the auto-pilot drumwork is pretty overt throughout, so it's a dealbreaker issue for me. We'll see if I'm being too cynical about it, but I don't believe so. If other Js agree and this doesn't pass as is, you know what to address, since the actual treatment of the "Moon" theme was creative and well-handled.

Good base here, Sebastien. I know you're more than capable of improving this one to be an easy call.

NO (resubmit)

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Pretty clean mix overall, with good synthwork and decent guitar performances. The sidechaining was dialed a bit too heavily on the instruments, and it's notable with the guitar mixing.  The drums are simple but they have enough power to carry the energy throughout the track.  

The intro is great, and set me in the mood for some space-faring adventuring.  I think this arrangement is very conservative but there are some new sections, solos, backing harmonies and the like.  It's not overly apparent but I think that overall the arrangement is well executed and brings just enough to the table, though others might disagree due to how repetitive the sections are.  The drum sequencing is pretty simple.  I don't think they are necessarily on auto-pilot, as the beat does change from syncopated to four-on-the-floor, and the hats pattern changes to double time and back between sections.  I do think the snare is the big issue here, as it's the only constant and never changes or goes away.  It does change for the fills, but the pattern is otherwise relentless on hitting that 2nd and 4th every time.  I think having an extended break from it at some point would've helped, not necessarily changing the patter itself, as it does serve as a driving element for the song, keeping the energy going.

Overall, I'm not decided yet on this one.  I think the arrangement is enough and production is over the bar, but the repetition and that constant and upfront snare do take away from the enjoyment.  I'll mull on this one for some more time and come back later with my vote, and I'll leave this here in the meantime for the other j's consideration.

EDIT: 07/18/19  Giving this one a couple more listens now.  My takeaways:

  • The Sidechaining is a bit on the hard side, and I don't like it but it is not grounds for rejection in my opinion.  A lot of modern productions dial the sidechaining this heavily, and even more.  I can cite many OCRemixes from artists like blind, chimpazilla, flexstyle, Ben Briggs, and others that have heavier pumping than here.  In my opinion, you can reduce the release slightly for the instruments bus (if you are using one) as well as the compression ratio and achieve about the same clarity for your drums, while also not bothering people who dislike the heavy pumping.
  • The artifacts at 0:52, 2:22 and 2:39, I believe this is some inter-sampling peaking going on here.  Check if the crackles happen inside your DAW or in your exported Wav file.  If they don't, it means you're limiting the track too close to 0 db and it's causing artifacts in the mp3 conversion.  If this is the case, it's solved easily by lowering your limiter ceiling to a safer range, say about -0.5/-0.7.  If you still hear these crackles inside your daw or in your raw Wav file, it means you're actually clipping and probably not using a limiter.  For this one there are many ways to approach fixing your mastering, and for the sake of brevity I'm not going to go over those here but if you struggle with that, feel free to PM me and I'll try to help out.
  • The snare is still my biggest issue, and fresh ears haven't changed my opinion on the matter.  I think we needed a break from the constant snare pattern than the 3 seconds we got at 2:34.

My final take on this one is that we need to send this back for fixes.  Give the listeners' ears an extended break from that upfront snare and fix the artifacts.  Reducing the sidechaining pump would be welcomed, but not necessary for my decision.

NO (resubmit)

Edited by Sir_NutS

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I don't mind the percussion being mechanical, but I do mind how up-front it is, as well as the sidechaining that NutS pointed out.  There's also a crackle from 0:52-0:59, 2:22-2:29, and 2:39-2:49 caused by clipping (which Rexy pointed out).  You're clipping by about 0.8dB in those sections, and by about 0.3dB in several other sections (though it's less audible).

This is a killer arrangement, and I had really high hopes for it, but you really need to bring the top down, especially on the snares, to let it breathe a little.  That will address both the sidechaining (which bothered me much more than it did NutS) and the clipping.

NO (resubmit)

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First of all, yes, the clipping was what caught my attention right away, and I pointed this out in the Discord group.  On first listen, the arrangement felt fine and personalized to me, so I saw the clipping as an easy fix in the event of the track passing the panel.

The arrangement itself is conservative, but the source is dominating; the bass-only breakdown at 1:27 and solo at 2:00 has a sign of pure fun in the composition; plus the sound palette is top-notch and otherwise well balanced in the soundscape.

Taking a look at the percussion, it is true that each main segment has a unique groove (melody A - 0:29-0:51, melody B - 0:51-1:05, bass breakdown - 1:27-1:38, bridge - 1:38-2:00), but for the most part they all just stay affiliated with each section and the beat for melody A is even re-used during the guitar solo.  The only section that does something different is the final melody A segment at 2:35, where the drums are instead reduced to hi-hats for 2 bars and then go full-whack into the variant during the breakdown.  Now, this wouldn't be a problem for me - but even the fills are significantly repetitive to the point that the last unique one is at 1:05.  If you do want a healthy amount of breaks, it's advised to go back over your fills and see what you can do to make each fill not sound squarely like another already in the track.

And yes, there is the side-chaining irks.  You don't need to send the side-chain signal out to the guitars as well; usually, they're the driving force of energy whenever they're present.  It's as a result of this that I am struggling to hear your rhythm guitars during the melody A sections, so keeping it out of the range of the side-chain can give it some much-needed clarity.

Overall, I see a safe but fun take on the source with a well-picked selection of sounds.  But the amount of drum repetition and compression were tough to bear and are things that can get fixed with another pass.  Keep at it.

NO (resubmit)

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