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OCR04124 - *YES* Stardew Valley "Tomorrow's Starting"


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Name: Michael Hudak
Game arranged: Stardew Valley
Song arranged: "Fall (Ghost Synth)"
Original Composer: Eric Barone
Name of my arrangement: "Tomorrow's Starting"
 
Source track:
 
 
The Stardew Valley OST made me want to get into writing music again back in 2017 when a friend gifted me the PS4 version of the game while I was living in Japan. The soundtrack wasn't technically astounding, but each song was so incredibly appropriate to what was on screen in terms of art, story, and general aesthetic. I dug deeper into things and read that Eric Barone (ConcernedApe, the composer and also sole developer) used Reason for composition purposes, which was one of the less CPU-hungry DAWs, and one my darling old dual-core Asus SonicMaster could actually handle before I could afford to replace it (so long as it was fully charged AND plugged in!). So, I bought a copy of Reason 10, and started writing songs again after several years away. I started to revisit OCR too! 
 
My version of "Ghost Synth" started as another synthwave track, but after stumbling upon Mattias Holmgren's fantastic post rock tutorial video, I decided to keep the same tempo and general structure, but change the instrumentation. I'd been wanting to add more live guitar and bass to my songs anyhow, so I had to use some of his ideas. Addictive Drums has proven to complement the kind of slower playing I like really well. After finding the proper reverb settings for the pads and guitars, this track basically wrote itself! As usual for me, I went gentle on the mastering side of things. The title "Tomorrow's Starting" is a partial nod to Mark Hollis from Talk Talk - he co-created what is now known as the "post rock" genre with the Sprit of Eden and Laughing Stock albums - though an earlier Talk Talk track from the It's My Life album is called "Tomorrow Started".
 
So, thanks to Mark, Mattias, and especially Eric, of course. And to YOU! :)
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What a lovely track. I'm finding myself particularly torn here, because the content that exists is absolutely stunning, and easily the most accessible track I've heard from Michael to date. When all of the instrumentation comes together, it's truly sublime. 

However, the track doesn't really kick into full gear until 2:20, and less than a minute later, it's over. This is a strange case where one section of the track sounds so excellent that it makes the rest of the arrangement feel underwhelming by comparison, and I would love to hear the arrangement developed and pushed further in the remaining sections. 

I'm struggling to come to grips with the structure of this remix - I've come to expect more of a deliberate, climactic buildup from post rock arrangements, whereas this track seems to be broken out into more discrete sections where the energy level jumps more rigidly. I can't tell if there's anything objectively wrong with this, or if I just have certain expectations based on my experience with post rock. After multiple listens and several days to stew over this track, I still can't quite put into words how I feel about it. 

At the end of the day, I think this is worth passing in its current form. The textures are beautiful, the live performances give a lot of life to the track when they come in, and there's plenty of source throughout. I feel like this could have been a much stronger showing with a more developed, deliberate arrangement structure, I can't deny the quality of what you've already laid down :) Good luck with the rest of the vote!

YES

Edited by Emunator
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  • Emunator changed the title to 2020/01/13 - (1Y) Stardew Valley "Tomorrow's Starting"
  • 3 weeks later...

Somewhat flooded when the Fleet Foxes-esque chorused vox came in at 2:22, otherwise I dug this. Cool stuff, Michael! Not to undermine Emunator's vote, but I didn't see anything inherently wrong with the structure or subdued build. Arrangements come in all different forms, and everything was clicking here, no caveats necessary.

YES

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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2020/01/13 - (2Y) Stardew Valley "Tomorrow's Starting"

i agree that there's a bit of flooding later on in the track when the compressor finally kicks in, and that there's a lot of dynamic contrast (arguably too much width overall, the quieter parts need some expansion). that said, this is a great example of post-rock without actually having any rock in it. it's enjoyable to listen to, accessible, recognizable as the source, and features some really fun effecting and uber-sustained synth work. it probably needs the last five seconds of silence chopped.

this is an easy vote from me. i really enjoyed this.

 

 

YES

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I'm with Larry as I feel the structure's fine for post-rock.  The source first makes its appearance at 0:17 within the slow-burn intro, with a guitar referencing the slow synth lead in the original.  It's not until 0:53 with the Moog-like synth and its dipping in-and-out every 2 bars where the familiar Rhodes line from the source makes its presence, and even through another breakdown and climatic beat at 2:20, that riff stayed put.  What's even cooler is that you found ways to transform the simple melody throughout, making it appropriate to the timbres at the present moment and not echoing any similar modifications elsewhere.  I approve of this a lot.

The production also checks out - a clean mix, lovely attention to space, tight balance, and some fitting synth timbres.  I don't mind the dynamic spread - the quieter instruments are there to provide a sense of delicacy in the bookends, and are an excellent contrast to the climax at 2:20.  I also agree with the compression being tight in that section as well, but the parts still maintain their clarity so that irk doesn't matter in the long haul.

Nevertheless, I'm impressed with what you put together - sweet transformations on the theme and a thoughtful production alongside.  And as someone who's used to you writing more unconventional arrangements, the not-so-quirky nature of this one has left me floored with what you pulled off - striking research work, Michael!

YES

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  • Rexy changed the title to 2020/01/13 - *YES - TAG* Stardew Valley "Tomorrow's Starting"
  • Liontamer locked this topic

Huh, maybe it's just me that was overthinking things here! That definitely happens to me with genres I'm more personally familiar with, so I want to reiterate that I definitely enjoyed this in its current form despite my above ramblings, so I want to make sure that doesn't convey as unnecessarily negative to the artist when this is published :) In that spirit, I will remove the "borderline" qualification from my vote since I don't really think it applies anymore.

Edited by Emunator
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