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*NO* Donkey Kong Country 2 'Thorns in The Sky'


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ReMixer name: Mark Shell
Real name: Markus Szelbracikowski
User ID: 35768
Name of game(s) arranged:
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Name of arrangement: 
Thorns in The Sky
Name of individual song(s) arranged: 
Stickerbrush Symphony
Link to the original soundtrack:
My own comments about the mix:
The idea was to make a Joe Satriani-like rock instrumental track out of the original song.
Edited by Rexy
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I'm not sure the drumming style from :19-:58 works here, like slower machine gun drums, but basically the same intensity (though bouncing around the stereo field). Same at 1:36, the backing writing sounds very thin, so you're left with really energetic leads but relative emptiness behind it. At 2:14, again, the snare work plods.

I like the treatment of the source tune and feel that's not a question here, but I'd also like to hear some musician Js better articulate what's not clicking here -- and one could argue this gets more right than wrong, so I'm not inherently against this passing -- but I thought the areas that felt empty or plodding because of the drums (:19-:58, 1:37-1:55, 2:14-2:53, 3:12-end) added up to drag this down to a more borderline case for an otherwise solid rock arrangement.

NO (resubmit)

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  • 2 months later...

This is a pretty great rock arrangement.  I love the copious additions you've made to the original, from little riffs to entirely original sections.  They sound like natural parts of the existing material, no small feat.  Although boo on the fadeout ending.

However, I completely agree with LT's criticism of the drums; that whole first section is overly simple and mechanical, and even when the percussion pattern gets more interesting, it lacks humanization.  And of greater concern is the lack of bass.  The bass is super, super quiet; I wasn't sure there even was one until almost a minute in, and even then it's hard to hear most of the time.

Between the percussion and bass both being underwhelming, this sounds almost like a proof-of-concept than a completed arrangement.  The lead and rhythm guitar work, and work well, but they lack support.  The bass is so quiet it's hard to evaluate; it sounds like it'd probably be fine if it were only louder (although take that with a grain of salt for the time being), and the percussion could really stand to be livened up.

NO (please resubmit!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ooh, I love the expression on your lead guitar!  I understand the Satriani-esque vibe you were going for with that.  The arrangement itself is a straightforward rock cover complete with solos, and even they felt sweet and dense like a virtuoso work should be.  It's an interesting minimalist setup with just a single rhythm guitar, two leads, bass and percussion.  And yet, most of the time it doesn't feel too empty all things considered.

I do have issues with the drums like my fellow judges.  First, I'm going to have to disagree with MindWanderer regarding the tom groove (not machine gun drums) at 0:19.  It's the most engaging part of the entire drum track, with the writing and occasional 16th note flourishes.  I do agree on it sounding mechanical, and that also is a problem with the rest of the track's notation.  You've made a start with adding accented notes when necessary, so some further velocity tweaks around the quieter notes can add some human life to these patterns.

Talking of patterns, I sensed a lot of cut-and-paste among the drum writing as well.  You have the ride groove at 0:58, the 16-beat at 1:17 and the 8-beat at 1:36, but these parts repeat in sequence from 1:55 onward with no alterations from the previous section.  It's fine to have an established groove for a specific part of the track, but you can spice them up with different fills, flourishes out of nowhere or even changing up the kick pattern.  Take the time to experiment and see where it takes you.

I also feel the balance can be improved as well.  I'm in a completely different direction to MW yet again here - I can hear the bass, but the rhythm guitar feels buried whenever the leads are in play.  With a minimalist setup and the rhythm guitar being the only instrument in the low-mid section, it does become a problem.  If EQ tweaks can't work out, it's an instrument I would like to hear a touch louder.  Support with a keyboard pad can also help fill out that area if further assistance is required, but this will depend on exactly which Satriani track(s) inspired you.

It's a satisfactory arrangement with an ear-catching lead tone and a more intriguing soundscape for rock arrangements, so it'll be neat to hear on the front page down the line.  But to get it up there, I'd like to see you spice up those drums and get your rhythm guitar to stand out more.  I too thought it almost went over the bar, so I do hope you keep working on it.

NO (resubmit)

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  • Rexy changed the title to *NO* Donkey Kong Country 2 'Thorns in The Sky'
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