Rexy

*NO* Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess "Voices of the Ancient Ones"

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2.5db headroom. realistically more like 4 or 5 outside of a spike or two.

this is another original track with minimal melody. it's essentially a noodle on a sustained pad bass. the primary motifs are the initial movement on the following tones [0-2----0-2-5-----], where 0 is the root and each subsequent number is a half step. i'll be looking for those, as well as the consistent movement to the flat 7 (tone 11), and utilization of tone 1 for contrast.

this starts out with some attention paid to the consonants that the synth choir is singing, which is a welcome change from past submissions. it's real loud though, drowning out the other more interesting parts, so it's nice that it moves more to the background around 1:15 before coming back more set back in the mix. the echoing melodic content here is pretty clear and cribbed almost directly from the original, but it's recognizable despite the instrumentation changes, and the significant variation in the background from the original's simple one-note pad is nice.

at 2:18 we see the sitar take the lead more. the vox pad is still real loud in the background but it's nice to see some other instruments taking the lead. here rebecca shifts away from the original echoing concept and focuses more on the unique timbre of the instrument, which is a welcome change. 

as the song went on i started to notice that the echoing, panning background woodblock hadn't really changed throughout, and the other sounds (the sleighbell, the string pad, and a few others) really weren't changing much at all. this highlighted to me that for a track that is over five minutes long there's very little different between the beginning, middle, and end. it's essentially the same instrumentation doing the same thing at 0:30, 2:30, and 4:30.

the static nature of the scoring and arrangement, combined with the heavy reliance on an average-at-best choir synth, the lack of compression, significant headroom, and an overall lack of personalization on the melodic side of the house make this barely below the bar for me. i would need to see more arrangement in the melody and some more varied background before i'd consider this one 'enough'.

 

 

NO

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Working with a minimal source is always going to be challenging, so I respect your decision to do the "two separate variations" route on this one.  I can see what you aimed for - keeping the notation while making some minor tweaks, changing lead for the second run-through, and putting in an assortment of mainly middle-east inspired instrumentation for the accompaniment.  While this is pleasant-sounding, it fell in the same pitfall as a previous submission of yours - the melody interpretation is identical on both sides, and the backing's static nature didn't contribute much to it either.  The suggestions that I had there to interpret your melody further apply here, too.  See if you can find ways to change things up.

The mixdown is also a mixed bag.  As prophetik pointed out, there's more attention up the front with the choir and pads - and the former is understandable as it provides the lead for the first half.  Said choir also held notes at the same sustained level and then suddenly dropped out, so I'd appreciate you using envelopes to express them more realistically.  Your instrumentation was also mainly hitting notes in the low to low-mid range, leaving very little going on in the mid to mid-highs, so it would've been nicer to have heard some of those layers transposed up an octave to get that area covered.  And of course, there's the issue of headroom - a recurring issue that I'm sure you know how to handle by now.  (But do feel free to talk with me on Facebook if you don't.)

It's a nice and peaceful track, but the combination of an underdeveloped/static arrangement, a choir in the uncanny valley, and the quiet mixdown all add up to sending it back to the drawing board, unfortunately.  Rebecca, I know you're capable of getting some pretty new age onto OCR - and I do hope you keep going with that idea.

NO (resubmit)

Edited by Rexy

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I think Rexy/prophetik hit the nail on the head with all of the issues present here, but I really want to stress that there's great potential here, whether it's this arrangement or another one in a similar style. I admire the bravery to tackle a source like this, and I found it to be an enjoyable listen overall! The choir was really the only part that sonically stood out as weak, the main issue is just the lack of development. The arrangement doesn't need to kick into a higher gear, energy-wise, but more variation and one-shot sounds to keep the listener engaged would go a long way here. 

Would love to hear something like this from you again, you've got a great sense for ambient new age, there's just a few things holding it back currently.

NO (resubmit!)

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