Rexy

*NO* Shovel Knight "Beaker vs Shovel"

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Submission Information
  • Name of game(s) arranged: Shovel Knight
  • Name of arrangement: Beaker vs Shovel
  • Name of individual song(s) arranged: The Vital Vitriol
  • Link to the original soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc6iIij7FgA
     
Source Usage
 
The source tune is all there, but I broke it up between segments of original riffs & solos.  The first one starts at 1:04 and lasts until 1:26.  The next is from 2:20 until 2:44.  At 2:44 you've got a restatement of the main theme but in half time with some sparse instrumentation, and at 3:04 it transitions into a guitar solo.  At 3:47 the guitar solo transitions into a tremolo picking version of the main theme, and at 4:00 the full ensemble comes back one more time to hammer it home.
 
This tune is fairly chromatic in a lot of spots and I probably hit some bum notes, but I think for the most part it's still recognizable.

 

 

Edited by prophetik music

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This mix is unrelenting! This is absolutely the definition of a waveform sausage, and I can tell before I even pressed play that this is going to be loud and lacking in dynamics. 

image.thumb.png.29f39ac448154590b4c293a8df57dd25.png

That said, there are actually a lot of really cool things going for this remix. The energy level is off-the-charts and suits the source tune well, and for the most part, this is pretty well produced, even if the mastering is very heavy-handed. The guitar solos add some excellent texture and interest to break up the source usage.

My biggest complaint right now is in the structure, length, and static nature of the arrangement. This goes on for nearly 4 and a half minutes at max volume with nothing even remotely resembling a breather - this is not sustainable as a listener and I found myself fatigued within the first minute or so. I am also picking up on the fact that the drums ride autopilot on the same groove for nearly all of the song - I skipped around in my DAW to random places in the song and the drums almost always sound identical no matter where I am. 

My suggestion to you would be to trim down the length of this arrangement by about a minute or more, and rework the structure so that there are some points in the song where the energy level drops down below 11. Right now, there's simply no dynamics present and it's hurting an otherwise-strong concept for a remix.

I would be interested to see this sent back to us with more attention paid to the pacing of your arrangement, and a slightly less compressed mix. These issues are definitely dealbreakers in my eyes, but there's a lot of things that you got right here that deserve to be heard so I do hope you revisit this!

NO (resubmit!)

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The mix clarity is excellent - one of the sharpest I have heard from you, and I can identify all parts in the track.  I agree with Wes in that the dynamics are loud and constant - however, I also found the mixdown to be so loud it clipped very often, ultimately capping at exactly 2dB.  So it's one thing to bring down the volume levels for your instruments, and another to weaken any compressors or limiters in the master chain so that the pumping gets cut back too.  Ensure the volume drop is universal across all instruments - as I said, the balance checks out otherwise.

For the arrangement, that first run-through isn't so much played straight, but got changed up nicely - the A section got duplicated, the B section cut the third and fourth bars out, and the C section copied the first half and discarded the second.  The drums did mostly follow the same pattern, but I liked how the first half of C (0:41) had a different half-time beat going on.  The C section's reprise at 3:49 had a fresh, rising bass effect, as well as some different bass writing - though, the B flat note at 4:09 clashes against the G major harmonies so you should consider changing the former.  I also co-sign on the arrangement being very constant in terms of energy, so a break or two would be nice.

What is a more significant issue with the arrangement, however, is that both theme run-throughs at 0:08-1:03 and 1:25-2:20 are entirely identical.  If you want to keep the melodies, see if you can experiment with changing the pacing in the accompaniment.  If you're going to keep the accompaniment as it is, either play around with the theme or put some unique synth comping over the top.  Or you could experiment with different chords altogether while keeping the source's rhythms.  There are multiple ways to experiment with making a second variation sound unique to the first, so see if you can find a way to make it stand out.

You got some good ideas in there - but as it is, the arrangement still needs more development in regards to both dynamic pacing and changing up the second variation, and the mastering needs another pass so that it's not quite as loud.  Sebastian, you're knocking so hard on that door - so I hope you get the chance to keep revising your work while birthing new ideas. Good luck!

NO (resubmit)

Edited by Rexy

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i laughed out loud at the waveform wes posted - i had exactly the same initial thought, which was "i need some onions for this sausage". this track is traumatically overcompressed and really relies a lot on copypasta at least in the melody and most of the drums to keep it moving. that said, it's got a lot going on that's actually all pretty clear, and it has some nice sound design that's fun to listen to. the ending is pretty nonexistent, but the main groove you have is nice to listen to, just to repetitive.

the thing that's interesting is you do have 'breaks' worked into your track, but it doesn't feel like it. 2:43 was a perfect chance to tone down the volume slightly and let the mix breathe going into the guitar solo, but it's just as crushingly loud as the rest. give it some room to stretch out! lowering the overall volume in areas like that will reduce the pressure and make it feel like a more cohesive whole.

this is a rubber stamp from me agreeing with the other judges - this needs some dynamic breaks, a compressor with a lower ratio and the gain turned down a bit, and some more arrangement to mix up the sameyness of the track. once that's done, though, this'd be an easy vote for me.

 

 

NO

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