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*NO* Dragon Warrior 2 "Epic FootSteps"


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Original decision
2nd decision
 

  • Your ReMixer name-Audiomancer
  • Your real name-Eric
  • Your userid (number, not name) on our forums, found by viewing your forum profile-29237
 
  • Name of game(s) arranged-Dragon Warrior 2
  • Name of arrangement-Epic FootSteps
  • Name of individual song(s) arranged-Dragon Warrior 2 second overworld theme, I was unable to find an official name.
  • This music came from the NES game Dragon Warrior 2, and it was originally written by Koichi Sugiyama
  • Link to the original soundtrack (if it is not one of the sound archives already available on the site)
  • This is my latest attempt at this track, and it is significantly different than the last takes. First, I went with the second theme instead of the first. Second, this was done using CakeWalk instead of LMMS...I just couldn't get things to happen in LMMS that I felt needed to happen. Lastly, I tried to incorporate as much feedback as possible into this track, while maintaining my admittedly novice vision for it:)
      Thanks again for the time and consideration of all of you!

 

Edited by Emunator
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  • 3 weeks later...

The good news is that this continues to be an improvement over your last submission.  It's still not quite there yet, though.

Even though you switched to CakeWalk, the sounds are still largely primitive, except for that one meaty organ.  The soundscape is still very bright, with not much in the mids and little if anything in the lows.  It's too quiet overall; the intro especially is far too quiet, but the rest needs some compression.  There are a couple of places where you echo the lead a beat behind, and it's causing a lack of clarity and occasional conflicting notes; at 2:12-2:27 it just sounds like a mess.  There's also some strange timing in the "B" part--I can't tell if you're trying some swing timing there or if it's just wrong, but it doesn't sound good.

The arrangement isn't bad, so don't give up!

NO

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  • MindWanderer changed the title to 2020/02/03 - (1N) Dragon Warrior 2 "Epic FootSteps"
  • 2 months later...

First of all, I was not involved with the previous two versions covering the other overworld theme - so I heard this track with fresh ears.

Arrangement-wise, the source is dominant, no doubt about it.  You played around with the B section's melody at 0:20 and 0:54; then, at 2:12, the A section also had changed notation before the uplifting key change at 2:28.  Sneaking in the source's first bar at 1:44 and 1:48 as part of comping also showed how well you know the melody in incorporation - and with no repeated ideas and the 12/8 section at 1:10 further cementing it, I believe you've got a solid grasp on how to put an arrangement together.  Good stuff.

However, there are several issues with the production values that drag it down for me:

* First of all, as MW said, there are several places where timings got loose.  I understand your liking for swing rhythms from the 12/8 section, as mentioned earlier.  But the swung fills at 0:52 and 2:07 fell out of place and sound like they'd be better as 4/4 for synergy.  You also attempted a syncopated melody at 0:56, 1:04 and 1:08, but the pauses and delayed attacks didn't get them to synergize with the rest of the instruments.  Holding on to the notes is one way to fix the unsettling gaps, but I also would recommend setting the synth's voice mode to mono and adding a small glide to make the legato phrases go by smoothly.  That is, providing the synth VST has a voice mode, as it can take a lot more work to remedy without it.
* Similarly, most of the samples sound thin.  You do have some subtle effects with the gated pads and some good variation with the synth instruments, but other parts like your percussion and pads sound cheap and empty.  Frankly, I'm not a fan of the MIDI-esque electronic kit as the timbre is too vanilla and doesn't fit the synth timbres well.  Nevertheless, thickening up samples can be done in two different ways - keep looking for some nicer free VSTs to replace some obvious offenders, or layer multiple timbres for the same instrument.  See if you can experiment with this and see what happens.
- The mixdown not only feels excessively bright but also has too much sub-bass for what its worth.  Frequencies below 50hz ideally should be sensed more than heard, so I'd recommend putting a high pass EQ at that frequency on your master chain to cut back on this boom.  Meanwhile, to tame the mid-high and high dominance, you could either experiment with a multiband compressor, or make cuts on that range across your higher-pitched synths.  Adding more body into the mid frequencies themselves won't go amiss, but be careful not to let too many parts blend into each other.

Regardless, I'm all for seeing you adapt to a smoother workflow with Cakewalk - and even with the switch, you've got potential as a writer.  My production critiques stick out as dealbreakers, though - the mixdown, the thinness of the soundscape, and some unintended sloppy timing.  It'll be nice to hear another version with those issues addressed.  Keep going, Eric!

NO (resubmit)

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  • Rexy changed the title to 2020/02/03 - (2N) Dragon Warrior 2 "Epic FootSteps"
  • 2 weeks later...

First off, major props to you for sticking with this and continuing to improve! Music production is such a daunting process, with so much to learn and digest especially in the early phases, but the only way out is to keep pushing through. Each new track that you complete will yield new breakthroughs and you will get better at your craft :)

I am not going to spend too much time rehashing the critique from my fellow judges, because they did an excellent job covering the range of issues that are currently present with this, but to summarize my thoughts... This is a fun, bouncy arrangement that really evokes some classic OCRemix energy. You transition well through different moods and energy levels in your arrangement, which keeps this engaging throughout.

However, the synth design and drum production are both very basic and sound very much like stock plugin sounds. This is the biggest issue by far, and could be remedied by automating parameters on your synths to give them more character and movement, or simply using higher-quality plugins. There are a number of freeware synths and samplers available if you look for them. There are also a frequent occurrence where your lead writing falls out-of-sync with the beat and sounds unintentionally sloppy. From a production standpoint too, the track is not mixed very well and is in need of some master compression. You can tell by looking at the waveform for your track and noticing how much the volume spikes as soon as your drums hit - it's desirable to have dynamics in your arrangement, but there needs to be a better balance so everything is at least audible at a normal volume level.

I'm going to go against the grain here and suggest that you don't revisit this track right away. Although I absolutely see the potential in this arrangement and don't consider it a lost cause by any means, I feel like your effort would be better served simply producing and practicing as much as you can, instead of lingering on a singular idea. You'll see more substantial results as a producer if you hone your skills on a number of new ideas and try to absorb the widest range of knowledge and skill that you can. From my experience, by trying a number of different styles and arrangements and moving quickly from idea to idea, you'll inadvertently stumble on new skills that can be applied universally. Conversely, if you spend all of your creative energy on one idea, you're limiting the scope of what you can learn and might possibly be frustrated by diminishing returns. Within a year of focused effort and a commitment to learning, you'll look back and be blown away by how far you've come, and then you can revisit this concept with a whole new set of skills under your belt if you feel compelled to.

Just some food for thought - either way, you have great potential and I hope that you find this feedback helpful and not discouraging. My direct messages are open if there's anything I can do to clarify my words here or help you along in your musical journey :) 

NO

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  • Emunator changed the title to *NO* Dragon Warrior 2 "Epic FootSteps"
  • Emunator locked this topic
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