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*NO* Castlevania: Bloodlines "Christmasvania"

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Hi judges, it's me again! I did a lot of music in 2019 and forgot to submit most of it, so be prepared!


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Submission Information

  • Game: Castlevania Bloodlines (Genesis)
  • Name of arrangement: Christmasvania
  • Name of individual song(s) arranged: Requiem for the Nameless Victims
  • Comments: Another arrangement I wrote for a Pixel Mixers contest, this time for Christmas 2019. I enjoy doing something unexpected or original with my arrangements and turning a piece of Castlevania music into a Christmas song was an interesting challenge. Requiem for the Nameless Victims is one of my favorite video game tracks and a beautiful piece of music itself (especially for Genesis standards!): I had to cover it at some point and the end of the year was the perfect moment to arrange the credits theme from the game. Some instruments from the arrangement, such as the woodwinds, are from several Roland JV VSTs which were also used on Castlevania: Symphony of the Night; just some little trivia. Hopefully people will enjoy this arrangement on Christmas day and on any other day of the year.
Have a great weekend!
Edited by Rexy
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  • 3 months later...

We’re prepared! Interesting concept you have here. Things are definitely christmas-a-fied for sure. The slower pacing fits well, The choir and bells are very thematic. The first minute covers a number of transitions. The section at 1:24 has some weird notes in it (piano) that hit dissonantly during the breaks. Are those off notes in there? Would be interesting to get the other judges opinions. The breaks also feel a bit odd. Otherwise I think the mix progresses ok, certainly doesn’t have too much original content but I think the thematic changes contribute most of what we need here. Production isn’t too bad, although the parts do feel a bit mechanical, and more dynamics could be introduced throughout the mix to make things feel a bit more real. Overall not a bad effort — I’m a bit concerned with notes/breaks in the mid-section — I’d like them looked at. Let’s see what the others say.


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  • Jivemaster changed the title to 2020/02/15 - (1N) Castlevania: Bloodlines "Christmasvania"
  • 1 month later...

what a fun original track! right away there's an interesting approach taken in your arrangement, lots of lush orchestra and bells. the heavy swell on the string sustains is real off-putting, but the rest of the scoring is pretty if simple. the transition at 1:00 is nice since it gives the mix a bit of a different feel to let it breathe. the choice of using some leading tones in the piano at 1:24 is likely what jive's talking about, and i agree it sounds kinda funky because of how sustains work, but it's not the worst. i'd want it to have been prepped in other instruments ahead of time to avoid that. speaking of funky notes, there's some weird notes in the low brass at 2:01, and then more noticeably at 2:07 and at 2:10 (those are straight-up wrong notes). the ending is a good recap and ends with some more delicate piano work.

overall i agree with jive that production is ok, and that there isn't much arrangement aside from realizing the work in an orchestral ensemble (not to take away from that). it's quite mechanical and the instruments aren't great, notably the leads sound pretty low-quality, but the concept is nicely handled. i don't think this is on the level of passing but it's a great start. adding in more dynamics (that aren't just more or less instruments), some more humanization on the leads especially, and then giving it a little personalization in terms of chord progressions, melodic variance, more harmonies - this would all benefit the final version. even some of that would probably be enough to get this to pass.




Edited by prophetik music
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  • prophetik music changed the title to 2020/02/15 - (2N) Castlevania: Bloodlines "Christmasvania"

I've been going back and forth on this one for some time. The main reason behind it is indeed the major elephant in the room - the sound design.  The higher-end orchestration sounds as lush and lovely as I expect from you, with each of them having their delicate balance and stereo space in the mix.  However, you said that many of your woodwinds are from old Roland VSTs that call back to the PS1 era.  I can't fault the tone and decision for utilizing them at all.  But there could've been a less uncanny use for them other than using them as leads for most of the track, especially considering their lack of articulations and expression.  I would've preferred them to get designated to a cameo role and let more of your high-end parts take the more significant roles, but if you feel you can get more out of them by adding more layers or varying the volume/velocities, then see how that pans out.

The arrangement is a cute concept - with the melodies staying as they are but more work in the background to orchestrate and bring out the different variations.  I offer credit where credit is due for the part at 1:24 where you went to the second half of the A section for a bridge before going back to the section repeat at 1:48.  Yet, it's a straight run-through that doesn't deviate from the chord structure or rhythms.  Brad already brought up the funky dissonance, so it doesn't need to get echoed here.  And with the A sections only deviating in lead instrument changes, muting the glockenspiel, and swapping the choir pad for a brass ensemble, there isn't enough personalization done to go over the bar either.

It's a cute concept at surface level, but it's also got a fair number of edges to smooth out.  If you still have the project file, it'll be nice to hear further development on the arrangement, revised humanization on your leads, fixes on the dissonance, and (potentially) a more suitable way to use those old Roland patches.  You reminded me of how beautiful the source was, and it'll be lovely if it can get some more rep here sometime soon.

NO (resubmit)

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  • Rexy changed the title to *NO* Castlevania: Bloodlines "Christmasvania"
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