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*NO* Skies of Arcadia "Antarctica and the Moon (Dec/Jan)"

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ReMixer name: Michael Hudak

Real name: Michael Hudak 
Name of game: Skies of Arcadia
Name of arrangement: Antarctica and the Moon (Dec/Jan)
Additional Info:

Sending a WAV. Thrilling!

Hi there! The idea of using this particular track from Skies of Arcadia came from the terrific “Arcadia Legends” album released at the end of 2018. I'm a big fan of that game's music, but missed out on contributing a track to the album because I was too slow. “Dungeon of Ice” was one of the few tunes from the OST that wasn't remixed from that album, and it happens to be one of my favorites from the, so this was an easy choice. 

The original uses your typical frosty “ice level” sounds, but in a lilting jazz arrangement. Lots of melodic and harmonic richness. Now, I've been watching a lot of Scott Walker interviews recently, and he talks about his music-making process as being a “reductive exercise”, stripping down the grand musical ideas in his head, and then dressing songs with only what really matters. I find this quite interesting, so, my idea for this one was to consider the “Dungeon of Ice” source as an already-produced remix, and think of what the true original could sound like, without ever hearing it. The end result is somewhat of a spiral – looping but also linear, cold and warm at once.

Additionally, I've been very interested in the work of Carsten Nicolai, who experiments with repetition and extreme frequencies in music. According to him, if the brain is exposed to a large frequency spectrum, it sort of diverts attention from the ones more difficult to perceive. But, what if we are ONLY exposed to frequencies that our brains like to divert attention from? The first section of this song presents that question, and is an experiment in how we become accustomed to high frequencies, and perhaps don't even notice some of them until they're gone. Nothing too harsh; not trying to be completely subversive and not have a chance at passing the judges. (I had to carve a huge notch at around 4.5 khz because it was painful). The second part o the song is similar, just on the lower end of things, with most of everything being under 1,000 hz. How does this butting up of high and low frequencies make you feel? In the context of this “reductive exercise”, I personally think the final result is more interesting than if the two parts were playing at once. They could be layered on top of each other to make one fuller-sounding piece, but side-by-side, they're two different versions of the same feeling. I think the toughest part of making this was finding the right amount of repetition to hook our reptile brains, while also keeping the song engaging for those unfamiliar with the source. (I have my own 8-minute version that I use to sip tea with.) I know this might be a tough one to evaluate, but I hope you at least get something real out of it! Thank you!



Edited by Rexy
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  • 1 month later...

what a great original track. never heard it before. the background you gave as well is real nice.

as for source:

0:00-1:08 or so: arpeggiated form of the chords in the opening, say around 0:16 or so of the youtube
1:08 synth stabs: EP at about 0:23
EP at 1:14: sounds like the original arpeggio reversed
1:34: the changes to the arpeggio appear to follow the actual chord progression slowly represented from 1:26-2:35ish (this isn't a formal analysis of it)

i'd also note that you don't really have content until 0:05 (before that's too quiet for normal speakers), and it's essentially done at 2:52. so, out of 2:47 worth of content, roughly 1:08 is a clear depiction of harmonic content, and another 1:39 is a much less clear depiction of similar harmonic content. it's arguable if the last 60% can be considered actual melodic material, so i'd say that from a source perspective, there's not enough here. this is a unique case though in that you mentioned that this is a reduction of a much longer work. personally - i'd love to hear the entire 8m thing, along with a breakdown of what's where to make sure i'm not missing anything! i think that'd be a much better listening experience. this is frankly too short for what you're trying to accomplish.

now, from a musical perspective, this is a fascinating evocation of the harshness of a winter landscape, represented by what i feel is the first part as an allegory for the blinding light that permeates such snowscapes and the second part as a reference to the shifting deepness of glaciers and ice floes (which resound with low, arresting cracks and grinding sounds constantly). recital notes aside, i think this is a fascinating work that'd be real fun to have in full in the community. i think it'd be divisive and generate a lot of discussion, and i think anyone that's heard anything by reich would find it fascinating as well. there's a ton of recognized examples of like music out there by really big-name composers and i feel that this absolutely has enough material to classify as similar.

for our purposes, though, there's just not enough here of the source to make it fit. give me my 50% and i'll happily bang the drum for this having a place on this site.




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  • 3 weeks later...

Source-wise, I'm inclined to give this a pass.  The source's arp runs through pretty much the entire arrangement, twisted sometimes but recognizable.

Arrangement-wise... wow, this is weird.  I listen to music in Clementine, and I've attached what the moodbar in it looks like.  A "normal" piece will have a pattern that has some black (quiet), some white (full spectrum), and the rest some dull colors where one part or another of the spectrum dominates.  A poorly-mixed one will be mostly gray.  I've never seen a piece with such a vibrant, clear pattern, which reflects exactly the avant-garde approach taken here.  To me it goes beyond "experimental" and into "unpleasant."  The transition at 1:10-1:13 was actually painful.  1:35-2:32 or so--generously--was too static for my tastes.

That said, I generally cut arrangements a lot of slack if what they're trying to do is a legitimate, if unconventional, approach.  Which this is, and does.  I'd like to see what other judges have to say, for sure.  I'm going to give it a vote I've never used before, because it's for sure not a YES to me.

???/Conditional (on removal of harsh frequencies in 1:10-1:13)



Edit 10/1: Since it's for sure not a YES to me and no one else YES'ed it either, let's just call it a


Edited by MindWanderer
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Michael tends to remix somewhat nebulous sources which makes it difficult when the remix is very experimental and also nebulous (and even more so when the judge isn't familiar with the source!) but his approach is one that I happen to enjoy very much and find interesting and cerebral.  I do hear that source arp throughout the remix.  Some of the timbres in this remix are stylistically crushed and grating, as the bell sound (music box?) that morphs leading up to 1:13, this won't be everyone's cup of tea and I can see why MindWanderer said what he did about that transition.  The bell lead starting at 1:13 has that wonderful clicky attack from stylistic compression, I love it but again not everyone's thing.  That bell sound is quite low-mid heavy, almost enough to be painful but not quite.  All that said, I have no requests for anything to be fixed, I think it's great just as it is.  

edit:  I'm going ? for now because I'm not sure there's enough source.

edit 10/9/20:  I am revisiting this.  I still really like this track.  The intro does take too long to ramp up, with pure silence for almost eight seconds.  Ultimately, the only connection I can hear to the source is in the source's backing arp, which is heavily interpreted throughout the remix.  I don't think this one quite meets our standards.  I would love it though if you would revisit the mix and make the source connections stronger, because I really like this track very much.

NO (please resubmit)

Edited by Chimpazilla
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  • Chimpazilla changed the title to 2019/01/14 - (2?/1N) Skies of Arcadia "Antarctica and the Moon (Dec/Jan)"
  • 4 weeks later...

Build-up takes a while to get going. There’s some harsh frequencies in the opening, would be good to get that fixed. The intro build-up takes a bit too long, however the throw to a different tune post build-up was an interesting creative choice. Arrangement wise, I felt things started and ended pretty quickly here, and consequently didn’t really have the time to take us anywhere. There was some decent melodic content in this one, and although it was quite basic, it did an ok job at tying things to the source. The harsh frequencies particularly at the beginning of the mix definitely need to be fixed, but I also feel like the arrangement here is lacking somewhat, and could do with some more development.


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  • Rexy changed the title to *NO* Skies of Arcadia "Antarctica and the Moon (Dec/Jan)"
  • Chimpazilla changed the title to 2019/01/14 - (4N) Skies of Arcadia "Antarctica and the Moon (Dec/Jan)"
  • Rexy locked this topic
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