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*NO* Sonic the Hedgehog 2 "Infinity"

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Hi dear Judges! I hope you are all doing well.

Contact Information

        Your ReMixer name: Chernabogue
        Your real name: Alexandre MOUREY
        Your website: chernabogue.bandcamp.com

Submission Information

        Name of game(s) arranged: Sonic the Hedgehog 2
        Name of arrangement: Infinity
        Name of individual song(s) arranged: Boss/Robotnik's Theme
        Additional information about game including composer, system, etc. (if it has not yet been added to the site): Masato Nakamura/Genesis
        Your own comments about the mix, for example the inspiration behind it, how it was made, etc.:

This track is one of my all-time favorites as Sonic 2 was one of the first games I ever owned. This arrangement is part of my Sonic trilogy EP, THE ROBOTNIK REVOLUTION, which covers the music themes of Sonic's nemesis. Sonic 2's Boss Theme has always sounded very goofy to me, that's why I tried to make it as menacing and eerie sounding as I could. I'm very proud of it and hope people enjoyed/will enjoy it!

Hope this is all good and this one goes to the front page ;)



Edited by prophetik music
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  • 1 month later...

some real beauty-and-the-beast feel there at the very beginning. some fun orchestration right off the bat. the initial presentation of the theme is fairly straightforward, more of a transcription or cover than an arrangement. i wasn't a huge fan of the overly-articulated melody at 0:37 as it didn't sound very realistic at all - less a staccato or marcato than a clear articulation deficiency in the sample set. if your samples can't do what you want them to do, you probably shouldn't be featuring them as the lead instrument without at least some support in the form of other instruments. in this case, a xylophone, glockenspiel, or some upper reeds would have provided punch so you didn't need to focus on a hard articulation as much.

i liked the step back at 1:00. additionally, the voices at 1:14 were surprisingly functional, but there's what sounds like a mistake at 1:16 where one note is a sixteenth late, and the note overlaps as a result. 1:23 has another note spacing issue that sounds a bit funky. those combine to make the vox section go from "hey, that's pretty cool!" to "this sounds messy". at the end of the vox section, i started noticing that the brass 3-3-2 pattern had been playing for a while, so it dropping out at 1:43 was welcome. the transition section through 2:17 was good, and the surprise jump in dynamics at 2:17 was just in time. i did notice the dissonance at 2:11, which sounded intentional but a bit clumsy in execution. usually if you're going to use a third inversion chord (major 7th on the bottom, major chord over top), there's a bit more precedent for it than just tossing it in. here it's a perfectly serviceable dominant chord, but it sounds awkward due to not being used a few times and instead just the once.

at 2:17, we're back to the theme being restated once through and half of it with some harmony, and then we're done. so a pretty short and very safe arrangement, clocking in at just under three minutes. i think the arrangement's enough, and while i wasn't a huge fan of the use of the brass, i don't think it's enough to hold it back. production was fine overall - there's a few sections where one ear is favored over the other, but an orchestral track requires panning, and it's not like instruments would move mid-song to balance that out.

if that one goofy note at 1:16 is fixed, this is a pass from me. this is simple enough that a conditional can cover it.



YES (conditional on fixing the vox mistake at 1:16)

edit: since the project files are gone, this is unfortunately now a NO

Edited by prophetik music
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  • 1 month later...

It's gorgeous overall, even if it's clearly not a real orchestra it's well over the bar.

The one thing that's driving me nuts is the men's choir.  It's just all over the place.  It's far too quiet in 0:37-0:59 and 2:20-2:34.  Proph is right about that timing bobble at 1:16, but what I'm hearing more (and again at 1:24) is that the note is pitched too low and the voices turn into reverse chipmunks as they try to sing outside their range.  There are also other minor timing issues at 1:19 and 1:27--at first I thought the voices sounded like they were stumbling over the lines and going out of sync, which wouldn't make sense with a synthetic choir, but Proph nails it, they're just polyphony where polyphony should be impossible.  The same thing happens when the section repeats at the end, though it's really hard to hear then.

Since the choir is such a prominent part of the mix, even though it's only for short sections, I think it's enough to sink the piece as a whole.  Clean it up and this will be golden.

NO (resubmit)

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  • 4 months later...

This was a solid orchestration approach. It's a melodically conservative approach, but totally works with what we're looking for with interpretation. 2:13-onward being a cut-and-paste was lame, but the arrangement was interpretive enough, so it's not enough for me to NO this in combination with the other issues.

There's a lack of clarity here that meaningfully dings this, but the muddiness does somewhat mitigate the realism issues with the choir vox, so you're left with a mixed bag on the production. Yeah, the vox would need to be fixed at 1:16 for that flubbed syllable, at the very least.

I see where MW's coming from on needing the vox to be fixed up; it's kind of like how some people hear noticeable AutoTune and it kills things for them. All I really need to be fixed before posting would be the vox at 1:16. Tweaking things after 2:13 with some additional subtle differences in the writing would be nice as well, and another EQ pass would be nice to have.

YES (conditional)

EDIT (5/6): Since the source files are gone and none of the issues can be addressed, the one vox issue along with the smaller issues unfortunately has me tipped to NO.

Edited by Liontamer
updated vote from YES (conditional) to NO
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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2018/11/30 - (2C/1N) Sonic the Hedgehog 2 "Infinity"

Though you wanted your orchestration to sound menacing, I honestly felt a lot of bounce with the rhythms, and you might've unintentionally retained the goofiness behind that source - which is not a bad thing at all!  The interpretation's great - melodically straight-forward, but the theme adapted well to the style, and you have some manipulations with the opening on the strings at 0:15 (hard to hear thanks to the flute focus) and at 1:58.  I also appreciate the attention change to the male choir at 1:14 as a middle point between similar renditions at 0:29 and 2:13.  However, like everyone else, the problematic delayed syllables (1:16, 1:23) stuck out like a sore thumb.  That's something a five-minute fix can resolve.

The production values got me thinking hard about this one over the past few months since I first heard it in the queue.  The balance is on point - all volume levels are appropriate to the instruments' roles, and with how the male choir got presented at 1:14, I appreciate it being a background part for the other two theme run-throughs.   Truthfully, I would've preferred it getting cut from them both entirely to save some breathing room, but it's your call.  There's also a part at 1:43 where the strings and female choir play, but the similar frequencies caused them to bleed together.  It's something that'll be nice to hear get addressed, but no big problem if it gets left alone.

I also thought carefully about the articulation throughout.  Usage of these is an excellent example to demonstrate realism in an orchestrated backdrop, but the amount of staccato on display is very peculiar.  Can a live woodwind or brass player make so many short stabbed notes consecutively?  Possibly, provided there is room to breathe.  It's a non-issue in the theme variations as there are some half-second gaps for a virtual player to draw air, but the intro at 0:15 feels so constant a live flute player would struggle under those conditions.  It's still not a dealbreaker, but more of an observation and something that I hope you can look out for with future orchestrations - which at this point the overall quality has significantly improved over time.

Having said all this, I feel it's good to go - but provided the delayed syllables get fixed.  Regardless of what happens, I hope you've learned a lot from this experience, Alex - and I'm game to see where your orchestrations go next!

[EDIT: 2020/05/06 - I spoke with Alex this morning and learned that he lost the project file in a hard drive crash not long after he released the EP.  With there being a year long gap between release and addition to the queue, it feels rough to go through judgment without seeing it coming.  These things can't be helped, unfortunately, and as I can't see it on the front page as is, I'm going to have to flip my vote.  I still stand by what I said though - these orchestrations have really improved in quality, and I hope I get to hear more examples in the near future.]


Edited by Rexy
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  • Rexy changed the title to 2018/11/30 - (1C/3N) Sonic the Hedgehog 2 "Infinity"
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