Liontamer

*NO* F-Zero "Break City"

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The first 40 seconds or so leading up to the drop is just a buildup riffing on the main chord progression, from there until about 2:20 is more or less a faithful arrangement of the original track.  After 2:20 I get into a synth solo and a breakdown, and then it's back to the tune again one more time until the end of the track.  Overall I didn't mess with this one too much, but I think it's heavy and fun and recognizable to fans of  the original.
 
Thanks!
 
Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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For the source tune usage, I needed to hear the "Mute City" theme for at least 125.5 second for the source tune usage to dominate the arrangement.

:00-:15, 34:25-1:12, 1:33-2:10.5, 3:25.5-4:03.5 = 128.25 seconds or 51.09% overt source usage

Once the drums were brought in at :04, the soundscape got crunchy for a moment. There doesn't seem to be synergy with the instruments being used, not that what's here is broken, just not ideal. The beats in particular didn't really fit for me, and the faux electric guitar chugs were pretty fake-sounding, though they had a decent tone. It was subtle, but good job varying the drum patterns during the second iteration of the verse at 1:33; it keeps the expansive feel, but prevents it from being repetitive.

2:10.5 starts the original writing over the simplified chord progression of the original before dropping out the vague source tune at 2:32. Jeez, the 2:43's section was way too repetitive; after a few bars, at 3:04, this needed something to break up the monotony.

3:25 brought back the source tune, though at 3:30, it essentially sounded like a cut-and-paste of :34's section; not major repetition, so not a major crime. :-D The final guitar riffing at 4:03 petered out for the finish just when the ideas were sounding promising for more material; definitely a let down, and I think Sebastien could have gotten more out of it.

It's not the most polished and cohesive arrangement, but it's also not borderline for me. The interpretation is still well done, expanding the instrumentation and (for the most part) effectively working in original sections. There are some instrumentation tweaks I would have done, as well as a stronger resolution for the end, but it's ultimately not a big deal, and even the faux guitars were used reasonably well. Let's ride!

YES

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I agree that those initial drums seemed off, but they settled in quickly enough.  I also agree that 2:43-3:26 was a bit repetitive, but it was just at my limit where I'd really complain.  Overall the arrangement is pretty solid, and I enjoyed it.

On the other hand, there's production.  This pumps like crazy every time it gets even a little bit loud.  Looking at the waveform, it's a classic sausage, peaking at over +1.5dB and taking only brief breaks from maxing out the volume.  The rhythm guitar lacks depth, and the lead guitar steps all over it, turning it into what sounds not unlike a tortured duck.

It's a really solid start, but I think it needs more work in the EQ and compression departments.  Shouldn't take a ton of work, but it is critical work IMO.

NO (resubmit)

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Now, that is what I call no-brainer fun!  Larry nailed the source breakdown and progression of the track, so consider yourself good with fitting the theme in and adding in some robust original writing.  That solo at 2:10 was fun, expressive and had a surprisingly pleasant tone, and that's something I would like to hear more of going forward.  All this and the framework is tight and evolves appropriately despite the structure being as pop-rock as it can get.

I do also relate to the issue with the 2:43 section dragging for longer than needed, but I also didn't feel entirely sold on the drum writing.  Yes, we're going back there - an issue that I had already touched upon in your prior DuckTales submission.  There is a changeup on the kick pedal in the second run-through on the source - but that's it.  Even the fills have the same repeated tom roll going down in pitch and moving from left to right across the stereo field, and that's going right across the track.  I can accept it here as the energy from the other instruments is sweet, but I'd still like to see you keep working on it for the future.

Looking at the production, it does feel biased on crunch overall.  The timbre on the drum pieces has more of an emphasis on higher frequencies.  The synth that appears at 0:21 has a high-tone buzz that luckily doesn't interfere with the body.  And the guitars also have that same balance between tone and harmonics.  But at the same time, the instruments are still appropriately balanced, and I can identify the parts in the mix - sometimes with more presence than anticipated (!) - and therefore has gone further over the bar than the arrangement.

I mentioned my issues with the composition, but neither the drum repetition or lengthy original sections are dealbreakers.  The interpretation and original sections as a whole sounded great, and the production values are also serviceable.  I can see this on the front page, and a solid debut at that!

YES

Edited by Rexy

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wow, this is a really high-energy mix! what a fun take on a great piece of vgm.

i'm going to approach this primarily from a production and execution standpoint, because i felt that the arrangement was solid. i didn't feel that it was too repetitive, nor did i find it to be tiresome or too esoteric. overall, i think it sounds loud, in a bad way. the guitar is not doubled or panned wide, and as a result everything sounds like it's coming from right in front of me. this is exacerbated because the drums do sound panned, so there's a ton more stereo separation in the drums compared to the other instruments. i'd encourage you to listen to other synth-driven rock tracks that have similar instrumentation. i think you'l find that they regularly are doubling every guitar part, which gives the guitar more body and allows it to set the soundscape like a pad does in less energetic styles. additionally, once you do this, you won't need the guitar to be nearly as much in the forefront, which will allow you to turn it down (so you can hear other instruments clearer), and then reduce the compression so it doesn't pump so hard.

i don't want to make it sound like i hate it. this is a fun track with a ton of energy and an interesting approach, complete with a great solo and good implementation of synth work within the style. the lack of doubling/stereo separation in the guitar combined with the really overblown mastering kills this one for me.

 

 

NO

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Gotta essentially agree with what the other judges have already pointed out. I'd like to note that it took me more than one listen through to notice some of the subtle changes you made in the parts to keep things varied. I do wonder if some of that will be lost to listeners. I generally think you could do a little more in that regard in the future to make your changes and style more recognizable.

My biggest issue definitely stems from the volume of the track, and this is definitely chugging throughout. I think in the end this doesn't outweigh the arrangement but only do think it is on the close side. Good luck on the rest of the vote.

YES (borderline)

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The arrangement is good enough but the mix is not.  Feels very pedestrian in its execution, some tracks sound dry, and even though the song is very loud, the soundscape ends up feeling very thin and lacking warmth.  It feels very raw for some reason.  Also a lot of of ducking due to compression, noticeably in the synth solo.  The drums have too much presence IMO.

I think this needs a second production pass, relaxing the mastering and bringing some warmth to it while bringing the different instruments/tracks together cohesively.

NO (resubmit)

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The looped intro rhythm strumming feels a little clumsy timing wise. Synths pick up the main theme shortly after. The arrangement you have here is okay for the first minute or so. There are some solo elements dotted through which help quell some to the lack of variation. Breakdown around 2:45 was mostly well done and greatly needed. Agreed the mix is somewhat generic in execution, with some sections repeating a bit too often. Mixing quality is ok. There is not quite enough here to sustain length IMO, with a lot of segments feeling loop based. I think the arrangement could do with some improvements, perhaps by hitting the breakdown earlier and introducing the original elements sooner. This certainly has potential, I'd just like to see some refinement of the final package.

NO

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This is a fun, high-energy track.  I agree with most of the criticisms already pointed out, primarily the hot, crunch, pumpy, overcompressed master, and the repetitive nature of some of the sections. The most grievous example of this is the section from 2:43-3:26 which is four times longer than it needs to be.  On my second listen, my ears feel fatigued from so much crunch in the mid-highs and highs.  My two requests are 1. tone down the compression and remove some crunchiness, and please trim the section from 2:43-3:26 by at least half.  I like it though, please fix it and send it back so we can post it.

NO (resubmit please)

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Chimp really nailed my feelings on this track.  I'm especially nodding my head at the crits on the levels/compression (I just judged a track with similar issues).  I think this would be served so much better by backing off the levels a bit and letting your instruments/synths breathe a bit so we get better presence & tone out each of them.  I also agree that 2:43-3:26 felt longer than it needed to be.  Maybe I'm missing some subtle changes, but the last run through on the main melody felt like just a retread of what we've already heard in the beginning half, so it would be nice (though not necessary) to bring something else/different to differentiate it from the beginning.

It may not be the most creative take on Mute City, but the arrangement is solid and there are good, creative ideas on display here.

I think this is close.  I'd probably go for it even if just the levels/compression were toned down a bit.  Keep at it!

NO (borderline) resubmit, please

Edited by Nutritious

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