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Gario

OCR03966 - *YES* Donkey Kong Country 1 & 2 "Drowning in Brambles"

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EDIT (07/26): Track has been updated to address prior concerns about levels.

- Gario

So two of the most remixed tracks on all of OCR are Aquatic Ambience from DKC and Stickerbush Symphony from its sequel, but as of this submission, no one’s attempted to combine them yet. They’re both terrific tracks and fit their aesthetic perfectly on their own, and are easily two of the most memorable David Wise compositions so far. These themes make the games themselves much more memorable and it was cool the SNES could pull them off. From childhood, having played these two games for endless hours, I know both these themes so well, I was able to transcribe them from memory (albeit not in their original keys.)

So originally this was going to be just an Aquatic Ambience synthwave mix, mostly to see if I could produce one that would meet the high standards of the mixes that were already up. While Logic was playing an early version of this back, I accidentally hit one of the media buttons on my keyboard and iTunes queued up Stickerbush Symphony by chance. At that point I decided, why not go for it — two of the most remixed tracks on OCRemix, but lump them together somehow. Both tracks in this mix borrow elements from each other; Stickerbush’s expanding bass synth and percussion play during the Aquatic section for example, while the Stickerbush section borrows Aquatic’s arpeggio and ornamentation. But I still wanted to go with a cheesy, reverb-soaked 80s snare, warbly synths, slightly glitchy pads, and punchy bass for that heavy synthwave feel.

With this track I envision a dark bramble-themed underwater level full of bright neon purple grids and random yellow, green, and hot pink shapes floating around in the background.

--

ORIGINAL TRACKS

"Aquatic Ambience" from Donkey Kong Country -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAPpVplHiDE
"Stickerbush Symphony" from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdPlcKg-qFs

Remixer name: 744 
Real name: Ben Brownlee
e-mail: 
site: sevenfortyfour.bandcamp.com
forum userid: 34405

 

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I love this track - the arrangement really is just to die for, and the style chosen for this really helps everything come together. It really is quite brilliant.

The production values aren't perfect (sounds like the entire track has too much low pass on it), but in general they're quite good (at least, good enough for OCR). The levels of this track, though, are concerning - it's just a very quiet track overall. It's close to hitting the limiters, though, due to how much the snare punches through. I put a picture of the waveform to show this issue in particular:

 

aud.jpg.a09257f3a8fc445a16e9e394e87cf6d7.jpg

 

This is a great example of a track that would benefit significantly from some soft limiting or compression over the track, just to bring those spikes down and squeeze 4-5dBs out of the track. It sounds nitpicky, but I think this needs to be put in Audacity (or whatever program you prefer) and have these spikes in the levels cleaned up and have the levels overall raised to better match a typical OCR track.

Love the track, and I do hope this gets posted onto the front page, particularly after the levels are fixed on this.

EDIT (07/26): It seems the items that I had concern with were addressed (even the somewhat excessive low EQs used throughout), so now I have no issues with this being posted. Excellent work from 744 - will be glad once this great arrangement is posted!

EDIT (08/20): It still sounds solid, with some minor instrument tweaks and slightly better EQ balance. My vote's still solid.

YES

Edited by Gario

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Co-signed with Gario. Cool stuff; a little static for my tastes, but gets it done with a nice interweaving of the sources. Compress it and send it on back. :-)

YES (conditional)

 

EDIT (7/30): Alright, now we're set. Thanks for the volume bump!

YES

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I've updated the thread with a new link.  The artist contacted me with the following:
 

Quote

Well, this is embarrassing. I was going to ask if it was all right to update the production on the "Drowning in Brambles" mix again, then accidentally overwrote the previous iteration. This also messed up the old Dropbox link, so I was wondering if this is salvageable, or if I need to start the submission process over again. Here's the link to the production update version anyway.

@Liontamer and @Gario feel free to do a quick check to see if the last version has the fixes and it's not messed up.

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I generally don't use their old links for the submissions (always upload onto the OCR server, just in case something like this happens), so it wouldn't have affected the link I had on here. It sounds like this is a new version, so my vote will reflect the changes between the two. Thanks for the heads up.

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As for my vote, I like this one.  It's sorta synthwave-influenced, and keeps things conservative for the most part.  The sound design is alright, albeit feeling like an upgrade over the original instruments instead of a completely new adaptation.  I think this track shining point is the merging of the two themes seamlessly and in a non-medley way, really really well done in that front.  Overall solid track which managed to fuse these two extremely popular songs into a coherent and enjoyable arrangement.

YES

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I'm assessing with the new link that was sent over yesterday.

First of all, I love your concept of blending two well-loved sources!  The structure itself is by the numbers with one run-through of Aquatic Ambiance, one interpretation of Stickerbrush Symphony and back the other way for the ending.  But the way both themes integrate backing elements from the other is sublime and have locked together in one cohesive arrangement.

Even the sound design is cohesive and appropriate for the synthwave direction.  The retro-sounding drums, the synths and even the lo-fi-sounding EQ molding contributed to a track that sounds like it's tailor-made for a 1980s boombox.  This EQ choice - which has more emphasis on the mid-range -  means it's uncanny to listen to on headphones, though.  I don't see it as a dealbreaker, but it is something to keep in mind for the future if the mixdown ended up as a happy little accident.

Either way, I'm behind the arrangement idea for sure.  The production may spark debates on social media, but I see it as a well-crafted replica of that authentic 1980s sound.  The concept still worked, and I'll be delighted to see it on the front page.  Good going!

YES

Edited by Rexy

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