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*NO* Banjo-Kazooie "Chill in Winter"


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Absolutely LOVE Click Clock Woods :D

There's some pretty whimsical flourishes that expand on the original here, and I really love some of your additions to the the backing instrumentation in general! This conjures some excellent vibes and has some interesting ear-catching moments throughout. However, I found that the rhodes was not a suitable lead for most of this track - the sample itself felt sterile and lacking any bite, but more significantly, the performance felt lethargic and not humanized. It doesn't seem to be sequenced in the way that a human would actually perform the instrument. There was kind of an awkward swing to it that didn't seem to line up with the rest of the track's groove. When the bells came in at 1:06, it sounded a little better, but in general, the lack of expressiveness and general production quality on your lead instruments, especially when everything is so exposed and minimalist, sinks this submission I'm afraid. 

I'm not going to dwell on the overall mastering because it's been covered on many other tracks, but I'll mention it for posterity's sake - it's very quiet and lacking in master compression.

Would love to see you revisit this soundtrack, but I don't think this submission is the one that will get onto the site. 

NO

Edited by Emunator
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  • Emunator changed the title to 2020/01/24 - (1N) Banjo-Kazooie "Chill in Winter"
  • 3 weeks later...

Cute take on the original. Interesting choices were made for panning, making good use of the the sound space given the fairly minimal parts. The rhodes could do with being more centred given it’s effectively playing the bass, which would help with overall balance. Instruments are of mixed quality. Emunator has some good points there with regards to expressiveness of each part, I also think there was a lack of cohesion between parts, in that they sometimes felt like they were doing their own thing rather than working together. Minimal pieces are challenging as each part stands out more. I think things could be louder for sure. Arrangement was quite basic, I would’ve like to have seen this expanded upon further. Overall I think there is a good mix of ideas here, and I can see where the approach is going, but it feels like it’s still in draft form. I would like to see this after some refinement.

NO

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Arrangement-wise, it's a simple run where the textures are very close to the original - though it's nice to hear your unique additions with some other woodwinds and strings lightening up the palette.  The swing rhythm on the source is a bouncy triplet rhythm; meanwhile, you decided to opt for a hard swing - i.e., bringing the swung note closer to a 16th.  This modification works well with the slow nature of the backing instruments against the melody, but not including a couple of phrases in the B sections keeping the original triplet feel and not getting adapted.  As neither swing pattern overlap, I'm afraid I have to disagree with Wes on it sounding "awkward."

However, this pacing has also exposed some very rigid sequencing on the e-piano.  That instrument has no random overlaps, no variations in note length imperfections, and all timings are dead on the beat.  If you have a MIDI keyboard, that problem can quickly get resolved with a live performance.  Otherwise, it would need a lot more work to humanize, as articulations on keys rely on velocity and timings alone.

The mastering is also a quiet one.  Yes, it peaks at -1.8dB, but only on the left speaker and during the third textural variation.  The main reasoning for this one is simply because of the e-piano's placement in the stereo field.  Because it assumes its role as a melody and bass instrument, it should get moved closer to the center.  Otherwise, -8.5 for the rest of the track is still light, so a volume boost overall would be good.  While I also appreciate the sparse instrument writing, that does leave a lot more room for some of your instruments to take more prominence in empty frequencies.  Hence, Wes's criticism for the e-piano needing more bite makes sense, as the parts occupying the mid-highs aren't powerful enough to carry that frequency by themselves.

It's a cute take overall, and one where the arrangement is barely passable - but the e-piano has issues with both sequencing and its sound design, and the usual low volume problem persists.  If you can do another pass on the mixdown, I'm all for checking it out again.

NO (resubmit)

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  • Rexy changed the title to *NO* Banjo-Kazooie "Chill in Winter"
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