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OCR04144 - *YES* Night in the Woods "Climb into the Air and Close the Sky"

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ReMixer Name: Minnie Moog
Real Name: Natalie Bützer
Website: https://twitter.com/minniemoogshy
UserID: 28894
Additional Performers: Reuben Spiers (Acoustic guitar)  

Submission Information

Game: Night in the Woods
Name of Arrangement: Climb into the Air and Close the Sky
Songs Arranged: Home Again, Back to the Holler, Rainy Day, Shapes, Ghost Hunt, Mae's House / The Long Fall (Motif only, see breakdown below)

Publisher: Finji
Composer: Alec Holowka
Platforms: Steam (Win/Mac/Lin), PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS/Andriod
Soundtrack: YouTube, VGMdb ( Vol 1 / Vol 2 / Vol 3 )

Source Breakdown

0:00 - 2:00 Home Again
2:01 - 3:23 Back to the Holler (w/Rainy Day motif playing on the woodwinds during the chorus segment)
3:23 - 4:27 Rainy Day
4:28 - 5:15 Shapes
5:16 - 6:16 Ghost Hunt
6:17 - 7:08 Mae's House (Main motif at the start of the song) / The Long Fall (Section between 1:47 - 2:29)
7:09 - 8:34 Home Again & Back to the Holler (Combined melodies)

Artist Notes

Long track means long write-up, right? :)

My first submission! I'm very nervous. I let this track sit on the shelf for a few months after I finished it, discouraged from submitting because it functions like a medley. Recently, some OCR friends encouraged me to submit it anyway. So here we are, for better or worse. I'm aware that medleys are risky with OCR - but my goal was to retell the game's story using movements, and a hybrid approach to the arrangement's instrument palette.

Relating to the game itself, Night in the Woods follows an anthropomorphic cat named Mae, who returns to her hometown after suddenly dropping out of college for unexplained reasons. My first movement reflects her journey back home, with an emphasis on electronic elements (synth arps, pulsing bass, e-drums) to set the stage.

At home, Mae spends time reconnecting with family and friends, only to find that in the short time she's been gone, things have simply changed. My second movement reflects a stark feeling of change using organic elements (acoustic guitar provided by the great Reuben Spiers, strings, ethnic percussion). Alec Holowka's melodies are surprisingly cheery when you remove a lot of his wonderfully saturated reverb and dig a little more into them, and I wanted to reveal those hidden feelings.

Later in the game, we learn that Mae dropped out of college due to a unique form of anxiety and depression, and also that there's something in the woods. Something terrifying, but something to overcome. Because this portion of the game deals so heavily with metaphorically confronting yourself, I tied the electronic elements and organic elements together, and created a climax at 6:17 - 7:08 where the organic and electronic instruments trade off as if they're battling each other. In the end, these elements come together for the arrangement's finale at 7:47, uniting the themes and illustrating the concept of overcoming one's fears.

...Like overcoming my fear of submitting. :)

It was ambitious, and for a while I wasn't sure if I had properly achieved my vision for the arrangement. Thankfully, a lot of people have listened to the piece, and it has really resonated with them. Hopefully that means I did something right. That said, if the track is rejected, I will take it with grace, and simply try again with something new in the future.











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  • 1 month later...

Heads up:

The artist has withdrawn the submission, so there is no need to vote on this track.

Note from the artist:


I need to withdraw my Night in the Woods remix submission as soon as reasonably possible. Without going into detail, there was a incident brought to light in the indie game industry today, and at this time I no longer wish to support the creation of fan media related to this game.

Thank you! <3

- Minnie"

Edited by Gario
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That's a shame.  I won't do a detailed analysis (although I'd be happy to critique if asked), but it's a great arrangement overall.  It has aspects of a medley, but that's because it's telling a story, which it does very effectively.  I'm glad I got a chance to hear it, and I hope we hear more from Natalie.

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If you folks wouldn’t mind, let’s evaluate per normal, but don’t make it public, so we can at least provide our usual feedback. If it’s a pass, we can at least verify that and potentially work with the artist for a fast-tracked replacement.

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Historical note: the whole situation Minnie alluded to has gotten even more complicated.  I'm not sure if that changes her decision, but once this reaches a full YES or NO, we should check in with her just to make sure.  As I said before, I love this arrangement, and it would be a shame to toss it, even though I fully sympathize with and respect Minnie's decision either way.

Each section is a fairly conservative take on the original, so despite the plethora of sources, it easily checks out on that front.  But it's beautifully orchestrated, with lush textures throughout, and judicious use of synth elements.

Production is on point, with everything clearly audible despite the often-complex layers.  The one exception is 6:42-7:08, which is excessively busy, and where the synth arp gets far too loud and the lead too quiet.  It also does get a little shrill in 6:17-6:42.

The realism of the orchestral instruments won't be fooling anyone.  The brass in particular is quite fake and the strings, when they lead, have varying velocity but consistent timing, attack, and decay.  4:04-4:24 is particularly weak on this front, and 6:17-6:42 isn't great either.  However, the problematic sections are short and I can forgive them.

There's room for improvement for sure, but overall I think this is great, and well over our bar.  Either way I'm definitely looking forward to more from Minnie.


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  • 4 months later...

i appreciate the artist's attention to events surrounding the game. i'd also encourage them to recognize and separate the art that was created from the actions of the creator. i went through this with lostprophets years ago when their lead singer went to jail for some particularly heinous crimes, and ultimately decided that i was willing and able to separate the created from the creator. this might be partially due to my classical background (goodness, wagner's even got a part of his wiki entry devoted to his anti-semitism), but ultimately i am not willing to draw the line from material to actions. i recognize fully that others don't feel like this, but (to borrow a popular phrase) cancelling something because the creator did bad things - or even if the material contained that! - hides that, rather than recognizes that it was something that happened, and that we changed and moved on from it. in an attempt to not get into the crazy amount of drama that surrounds the entire situation, i choose to see holowka as a sad reminder and warning at the importance and seriousness of mental illness and mental abuse, not as someone to be hidden, forgotten, or sanctioned. vilify him if you will, but don't vilify it.

bardicknowledge has a lot of good things to say about this (why he still teaches 'cancelled' composers in his game music class, for example).


right off the first minute or two, there's a great ear for tension and release shown in the strings. i really like the integration of the electronic vs. 'acoustic' instrumentation, as well. your writeup really helps me understand what you're going for, and i do feel like you did a great job capturing that. i can't help but wonder what some of this would sound like with the attention of someone with more orchestra part-writing chops - your writing is beautiful but admittedly fairly tutti throughout (sounds like patches of string ensembles vs. unique parts).

i appreciate your willingness to get into some funky chords to help convey what you're going for. 5:02 and 5:06 stood out to me as being really well-executed. your combinations of synth and orchestra parts are real fun later on too - like 6:17, which is superb despite essentially being like four lines going on total. i agree that the balance here gets a little out of whack. i'd say that's the only time i really had an issue with that.

if i wanted to complain about anything specific - i'd say that overall the song is actually more cheery (to steal your word) than i expected based on the subject matter and what i've heard about the game. i have never played it, but your track really consistently feels very uplifting and forward-focused, which is a real trick to do with an 8+-minute track.

overall i think this is superb. and, to inject my earlier opinion again - we need stuff like this in the community. we need music that generates discussion and drives attention to both great, genre-defining, generational composers, and to the people we don't ever want to deify or lift up (or even meet). hiding them only encourages the narrative that broken people deserve to be hidden for being broken, which is likely a part of why what happened happened. i can't accept or encourage that. the composer clearly had serious issues and did stuff that's unconscionable, but it was out of that troubled mind that made some music that inspired and moved people. those can both be true statements, and we don't have to hide from that. as a community, we can do our part in spotlighting both the beautiful music and in turn the truly sad outcome of the situation. we have a voice.

Edited by prophetik music
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If you want my take on the whole thing, it's the creation that matters so much more and not the person behind it.  As a radio show curator, I've aired arrangements of music originally done by some known jackasses - and I air them because the arranger saw something in the soundtrack, and not the person.

It has been some time since the whole debacle, and I too hope that you haven't changed your mind regarding this track because let's be serious - the arrangement and ideas are brilliant.

Yes, you presented this track like a medley.  But each source ties into a larger picture and have also been substantially interpreted individually.  The backing consistently evolves throughout with its consistent accompaniment switch-ups.  I like the pacing changes for the melodies too - like at 1:31, where the second half of Home Again had breathing space to draw anticipation for the next movement.  Most importantly, you gave enough care to link all segments together seamlessly, so it feels more like a rhapsody rather than a medley.  It flows, it draws upon the recognizable parts of the sources, and the message got carried well.

Granted, I do agree with both MindWanderer and prophetik, regarding the orchestrated parts not sounding all that realistic.  But with the electronic side of the palette feeling lush and sophisticated, the orchestration doesn't need to be realistic - instead, it needed to compliment the synth palette and not de-emphasize either side of the setup.  As a collective whole, they sound clean, they're mixed in well and remains tight for its 8-minute duration — definitely no small feat.

If I didn't spell it out by now, I'd accept this, provided that you'd still go through with the mixpost.  But regardless of what happens, this track has signs that you got what it takes to make it onto the OCR front page.  Some of us judges, past and present, had also been scared of sending music to the panel at one point or another, but there's absolutely nothing to fear - we post it if it gets accepted, or there'll be useful critique if it doesn't.  So I commend you for plucking up the courage to submit.  It was an extraordinary experience, and I hope it gives you the motivation to keep contributing!


Edited by Rexy
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  • Rexy changed the title to 2019/05/04 - (3Y) Night in the Woods "Climb into the Air and Close the Sky"

As a medley, this flows very smoothly, the transitions are great.  I think the instruments are serviced just fine and I love the electronic accents.  The track feels like an epic tale.  The production is very good and the writing and detailing are on point.  Nicely done, I hope you will agree to have it posted despite what happened with the game behind the scenes.


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  • Rexy changed the title to 2019/05/04 - *YES - NEED remixer's approval* Night in the Woods "Climb into the Air and Close the Sky"
  • Rexy locked this topic

After talking with Minnie, and after she decided to talk with others, we can go ahead with the mixpost.  Let's do this! :)



"I'd like for the mix to be posted, if that's okay... I talked with some others, and all I received was encouragement to do so. I'm still kind of worried - but that's just who I am. I worry about everything. shrug haha

So um. Yay! lol"


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  • Rexy changed the title to 2019/05/04 - *YES - TAG* Night in the Woods "Climb into the Air and Close the Sky"
  • Liontamer changed the title to OCR04144 - *YES* Night in the Woods "Climb into the Air and Close the Sky"
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