BloomingLate

3. completed Swamped With Nostalgia ("Bayou Boogie" + "Stickerbrush Symphony" Remix)

Recommended Posts

This remix has been a work in progress for a long time. I wanted to mash together a number of favorite tracks from the Donkey Kong Country and Land series of games. I had a lot of trouble getting things to work well together and ended up pretty much abandoning the project (very disappointed). I decided to swap out a few instruments for the new FLEX synth in FL Studio and managed to at least finish the thing.
It is definitely not at the quality level where I would have liked it but I don't want to really continue working on it either. I'm posting it anyway. I still find it personally enjoyable :)

 

PS: ever since I started sharing tracks on OCR I've been having this nagging voice in my head that keeps saying "They're sure to point out the lack of humanization". This is one of the toughest things to get right for me and I don't need the added pressure from voices inside or outside my head :P Now, no one is actually putting that pressure on me; its just my insecurity. I'm trying to let it go, as well as weird ideas of supposed expectations people have of me.

 

Edited by BloomingLate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, I like this. Especially that percussion thing. Really good sound.

Humanization is tricky. Too stiff and it's mechanical. Too loose and it's just poorly "performed". This sounds human enough to me. Except the stickerbrush ostinato. Its timbre and the mix makes it stand out, and the timbre is difficult to humanize anyway. I tend to cheat by recording (poorly) and then quantizing to 70% or so. But I make more electronic sound stuff anyway.

I'd spend some time working out which instruments you want as foreground and which ones you don't, and mix accordingly. The percussion (which sounds pretty nice), sounds very foreground-y, and the guitar which sometimes functions as a lead, doesn't. You adjust foreground-y-ness with track level, eq and reverb. EQ down the tracks that aren't supposed to be foreground, muffle them slightly, make them softer than the foreground tracks. If your foreground tracks come out of their synths/samplers/recordings already muffled, there are tools for adding higher frequencies (energizers/exciters, sure, but you can also make your own with a bus with distortion and a filter).

You can also consider adding some higher-range percussion to the earlier parts of the arrangement. I've been using various shakers since GSlicers recommended that. There are many tools for that too. It might smoothen those parts a bit. If you find a nice shaker loop, that's good. If it's for a background part, you can probably record a box of rice on your phone, too, just filter out any room/fan/clock/other noises. Touches like that add a lot of human feel to a track.

This is all advice applicable to this, if you change your mind about it being completed, and to future mixes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Rozovian said:

Humanization is tricky. Too stiff and it's mechanical. Too loose and it's just poorly "performed". This sounds human enough to me. Except the stickerbrush ostinato. Its timbre and the mix makes it stand out, and the timbre is difficult to humanize anyway. I tend to cheat by recording (poorly) and then quantizing to 70% or so. But I make more electronic sound stuff anyway.

That's basically how I tend to see it. I also sometimes record parts and do some quantization if necessary. In general I don't even mind mechanical sounding stuff too much, but ever since Timaeus shared some examples of robotic versus humanized (piano) pieces I do see the superiority of the latter. So I try to make things sound more realistic, but often it is mostly out of fear for what other people might say.

13 hours ago, Rozovian said:

This is all advice applicable to this, if you change your mind about it being completed, and to future mixes.

Yes, thank you very much for the tips and positive comments :) Maybe I will change my mind about it being completed. Perhaps I'm giving up too soon, just to rid myself of the anxiety that a project produces.

13 hours ago, Rozovian said:

I'd spend some time working out which instruments you want as foreground and which ones you don't, and mix accordingly. The percussion (which sounds pretty nice), sounds very foreground-y, and the guitar which sometimes functions as a lead, doesn't. You adjust foreground-y-ness with track level, eq and reverb. EQ down the tracks that aren't supposed to be foreground, muffle them slightly, make them softer than the foreground tracks. If your foreground tracks come out of their synths/samplers/recordings already muffled, there are tools for adding higher frequencies (energizers/exciters, sure, but you can also make your own with a bus with distortion and a filter).

This is an area I definitely need some direction in. With reverb, what would I need to do to make an instrument sound farther away without creating a ton of unnecessary "echoing". When applied to the drumkit it tends to really boost the kick and snare sound beyond what is desirable. Maybe I'm using too big a "room"? And as for panning, is it advisable to pan a drumkit or bass guitar or should they stay centered (and thus keeping that foreground feel)? Would it help to draw up a "plan" for a "stage" as it were, to determine where each instrument should go and pan accordingly?

Its funny that you mentioned the percussion (which I also like a lot :) ), because one of the last things I did was boost its volume so it wouldn't disappear into the background :) Its so easy to overdo things.

13 hours ago, Rozovian said:

You can also consider adding some higher-range percussion to the earlier parts of the arrangement. I've been using various shakers since GSlicers recommended that. There are many tools for that too. It might smoothen those parts a bit. If you find a nice shaker loop, that's good. If it's for a background part, you can probably record a box of rice on your phone, too, just filter out any room/fan/clock/other noises. Touches like that add a lot of human feel to a track.

Love the shaker, sure. I'll keep that in mind. I recently created one out of a toilet paper roll and rice :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2019 at 1:21 PM, BloomingLate said:

This is an area I definitely need some direction in. With reverb, what would I need to do to make an instrument sound farther away without creating a ton of unnecessary "echoing". When applied to the drumkit it tends to really boost the kick and snare sound beyond what is desirable. Maybe I'm using too big a "room"? And as for panning, is it advisable to pan a drumkit or bass guitar or should they stay centered (and thus keeping that foreground feel)? Would it help to draw up a "plan" for a "stage" as it were, to determine where each instrument should go and pan accordingly?

Reverb - Big halls don't work for all tracks, so yeah, you might want to use a smaller size. The parameter might claim it's 40m, but don't believe it. Use your ears, adjust to taste. And you don't have to have a long reverb. Length can be fairly short. The dry/wet ratio lets you adjust how clear a track is, so less wet means more foreground-y. You can filter and eq the reverb too, and the reverb plugin might have some options for that, like low ratio or something. At least filter out the lows. If you can set early reflections separate from reverb, you can give the reflections of your leads a longer pre-delay, so their attacks are clear, while the attacks of background instruments blends into the wet signal.

Of course, you can do a single reverb bus for the whole thing, or multiple (e.g. foreground, background, distant), or give each track its own reverb. Or some combination. Different methods give you different options, like full control over a reverb bus with eq and side-chaining, for example. Reverb levels per track matters, more reverb means more background-y sound. But track level is ultimately determines foreground-y-ness, reverb is an addition/enhancement to that. As is panning and eq.

Panning - Our ears easily tell where high frequencies come from, not so for low frequencies. Center is usually best. Usually. A stage-like plan can work, depending on the music, but I find the better way of thinking is to spread out frequencies, to spread instruments depending on their roles. Kick, bass and snare middle. The rest of the drumkit mimics what a drummer hears (so stage, but mirrored) with the amount of panning adjusted to taste. With the hihat panned left, other high-frequency percussion can go right, eg shaker. If a guitar goes left, another guitar (or any instrument occupying roughly the same frequency range at the same time) can go right. For this track, I wouldn't hardpan anything, I'd go for a kind of jazz club thing, with some instruments panned a bit, others not at all.

There are different schools of thought when it comes to panning. I can think of a few:

-No panning (stereo is just for stereo-recorded tracks and for effects)
-Listener-like panning, with variations:
  -Drums from drummer or listener POV
  -Drumkit and bass centered, or placed according to band
-Center and hardpan only
-Frequency balancing (works well for my tracks)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.