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Rexy

*NO* Xenoblade Chronicles "Camping in the Winter Nights"

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ReMixer name: Reuben Spiers
Real Name: Reuben Spiers
 
Submission Information
Game: Xenoblade Chronicles
Name of Arrangement: Camping in the Winter Nights
Name of Original Song: Valak Mountain (Night)
 
Ft. GameroftheWinds on Piccolo and Flute. What a lad.
 
Edited by Emunator

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This track is a peculiar case - arrangement-wise, it's one of the most conservative ones you've done yet, going through only one loop of the source before a sudden ending.  Thankfully, Greg's woodwind performances added a lot of involving harmonies and countermelodies into the mix.  The live instruments as a whole are tight as ever, and the variations in textures both suit your style and the track's framework.

However, there's something about the mixdown that feels weird.  First of all, why does the piano have a soft attack?  I can understand if this track was more experimental rather than your regular folk, but it feels really out of place.  If this is a real piano, try opening the lid before recording it so you can get the more natural attack; if it's a VST, there'll be a knob somewhere to adjust that parameter.

Secondly, the mixdown feels bass-heavy and empty in the mid-section.  I believe the biggest culprit of this is the reverb on your kick drum, resonating the entire audio spectrum rather than a set region.  Ideally, you can try to high-pass the effect while keeping the dry signal as it is.  As for the scooped out mids, you have indeed allowed Greg to take up some of that room, but you can still add some further body to your guitars and accordion to fill in that space.  Make sure they don't blend into one another as well.

It's not the most exciting arrangement I've heard; considered barely passable thanks to the choice of textures and Greg's additional melody work.  But the key issues on the production side - the bass-heavy mixdown and weird piano attacks - are both dealbreakers here, I'm afraid.  It'll be nice to hear another version with a revised mixdown and some more natural attacks on the piano.  Keep going, mate.

NO

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Really astute observation from Rexy on the piano tone - I don't know if I would have been able to articulate it as well as her but it really does function oddly here. It feels too subtle to truly be experimental, but also too unusual to register as a normal piano. My impression as a listener is that you were trying to go for something with a more experimental tone. If that's the case, I would recommend letting the formant of the piano sound more natural and really let the notes breathe and express themselves through reversed effects, delays, reverbs, other layered instruments with more of a natural attack/tail, or any number of other creative effects. There's a lot of ways to get the effect you may have been aiming for, but whether it was a stylistic choice or an error, it just doesn't sit right with me. 

I also agree that the mixdown is not where it needs to be. The accordion and winds sound great, but as a whole the track is undercompressed and you have certain instruments (i.e. bass drum) muddying up the soundscape and clashing with some of the mid-frequency winds.  There's a lot of headroom left in the mastering, so I would strongly recommend normalizing your track levels and adding more compression to your master chain.

As with many of your other arrangements, the arrangement is solid but the production quality is holding it back from achieving its true potential. I hope you can take this feedback to heart and continue improving on the technical side of things, because you're a really talented instrumentalist and you clearly have a strong artistic vision with your body of work as a whole. I'm confident you can get to the point where your submissions are hitting the mark every time :)

NO

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The intro with the strange piano is odd.  The tambourine/hat loop feels very stiff, repetitive, plodding and out of place, and the pace is too fast while the piano and accordion play whole notes.  That loop never stops, it is relentless.  The flute is quite nice, best part of the mix so far.  I like this arrangement, but that tambourine/hat loop must cease at some point during the track.  I think that bothers me even more than the production problems because the arrangement never gets a chance to breathe, it needs a breakdown without that loop. Perhaps some variation with another loop, one with a different energy level, at some point would also be good.  Great ideas here, but there's a bit more work to do on this one.

NO

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