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*NO* Animal Crossing "Umbrella Season"

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Hi, I'm writing to submit my track to OverClocked ReMix.

Contact information:
ReMixer name:  DreaMeter
Real name:  Theo Swartz
Website:  soundcloud.com/dreameter
Submission Information:
Name of game arranged:  Animal Crossing (Nintendo GameCube)  (OCRemix page link)
Name of arrangement:  Umbrella Season
Name of individual song(s) arranged:  Rainy Day
Artist's comments:
In terms of inspiration, I always found the Animal Crossing OST to be delightful and would frequently listen to the songs on my iPod around the time the game was originally out.  I would also play "Rainy Day" sometimes on my portable speaker and to help me fall asleep.  Years later, I started making music, with a focus on electronic, synthesizer-based timbres.  One goal for my DreaMeter project is to make music that is beat-driven yet soothing, that you can zone out to.  I've made quite a it of original music but lately, I've been trying my hand at arranging existing songs as well.  I thought it would be fun to arrange one of my favorite songs from the original Animal Crossing right in time for the new installment in the series.  My arrangement is at a slower BPM than the original, aiming to pull out and highlight the melodies from the original that I so enjoy, while augmenting the chord voicings and progression slightly and soaking the whole track in the sound of rainfall without overpowering the instrumentation.  It's a short, synthed-out, atmospheric trip to an Animal Crossing bubble that the listener can float away in.
Thank you for your time!  I hope you find something that you enjoy in this track and I look forward to the critique as well; I know you guys have high standards.
Edited by Rexy
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Interesting adaptation to this style, but I felt it was underdeveloped. Mixing was cluttered as well, but I'll leave it to the musician Js to articulate what should be tweaked there. The bassline was good in terms of sounding like it had weight, but it's very indistinct. I liked the copious levels of rain SFX.

Small thing, and another judge may be better able to explain why, but something about the finger snap SFX hit me the wrong way; they're so dry compared to the effects on everything else, so they didn't seem like it fit with the rest of the soundscape here.

Not saying it's inherently wrong, but I wasn't sure what was up with the multiple uses of fadeouts and fadeins for sections while keeping the SFX going (e.g. :27-:37, 1:26-1:35). See what other dynamic contrast you can include alongside that idea.

Dynamically, I understand that this is meant to be low-key, but there needed to be more dynamic contrast somehow. Once the beats/textures get their fullest at :36, that's where the track basically stays until the end at 2:23 aside from really brief drops. Very flat structure and repetitive backing writing with the beats and bass. This doesn't need to get busier or denser, but you need more subtle dynamic contrast through changes in the instrumentation/sounds and/or textures, and I think that's the crux of what's holding this back from sounding fully developed. Good base here, Theo.

NO (resubmit)

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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2020/03/21 - (1N) Animal Crossing "Umbrella Season"

For what it's worth, there's some additional source usage that sounds like the 7AM chord progression and a reference to the 9AM melody (among other songs on the OST.) Larry didn't mention any qualms about source usage, but there's some additional elements that aren't explicitly present in the Rainy Day theme.


Anyway, onto my vote. As you can probably tell, I'm a huge Animal Crossing nut and am intimately familiar with the soundtrack, so I greatly appreciate the concept that you decided to run with here! I've always found the environment of Animal Crossing to be mesmerizing and tranquil, which your track captures very well, while still introducing some of your own personal flavor :)

Onto some of the issues, though. Larry did an exceptional job breaking down the issues with the arrangement. I found this to be underdeveloped because it's a rather short arrangement that also has long stretches of non-musical content (rain sfx.) When you cut those sections away, you're barely left with 2 minutes of material, much of which is built on the same beats and patterns. There's not enough evolution throughout the arrangement, which is a necessity to prevent your track from feeling stale. I also thought the fadeout entirely to rain that was utilized multiple times throughout your remix felt lazy from an arranging standpoint - I would love to hear some more deliberate musical transitions to link together your ideas, and some more changes to the sound pallet between each section as well.

The production is off to a good start, the sounds you've chosen all complement each other well, but the production leaves a bit to be desired. I did not find the piano sample to be particularly suited for this style of music - it has a tinny, mid-heavy quality without many low or high frequencies, so it sounds like a very low-quality sample. I can't tell if the sample itself actually is low quality or if it's just your EQ curve, but I think this would be much better suited with a piano that has a bit more low end presence.

I wonder if the rain sample that you're using is introducing too much mud into the mix. I can't tell for certain without seeing the project file, but one trick you can try is to add an EQ that cuts out some of the low end of the sample (a good starting point would be a low-cut around 200Hz) but automate the mix of that plugin so that it only kicks in when the bass/beat are active. It sounds like you sidechained your kick to the rain, which actually feels somewhat unnatural to me the way that it dramatically ducks the rain on every beat - I think a selective EQ (or a more subtle sidechain) might achieve the same effect of cleaning up your mix, but feel more organic. 

There's also a noticeable lack of high end content in the mix overall. Right around 1kHz, there's a steep drop off that can be seen below. My spectrometer looks like this throughout most of your track, so it's not just an anomaly - your writing itself is lacking anything significant going on in about half of the frequency spectrum. This is something you should really address in the songwriting part of your track first rather than trying to fix this with EQ and mastering. Some sort of melodic counterpoint that resides above 1kHz, or maybe double your arpeggio up an octave... anything to balance the frequencies out would help make this a much more compelling arrangement to listen to!


(If you're not familiar with this plugin, I'm using SPAN, which is a free VST plugin that shows the frequency balance at any given point in your mix. I highly recommend using it for situations like this, and also to check the loudness of your mastering! https://www.voxengo.com/product/span/)

I love the concept here and would love to see you expand further on this, but I'm afraid this feels more like an initial concept than a fully-realized arrangement. I hope you find some of this feedback helpful, whether it's applied to a resubmission of this arrangement or your future work. Happy to chat if you have any further questions! :)

NO (resubmit)

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  • Emunator changed the title to 2020/03/21 - (2N) Animal Crossing "Umbrella Season"

Soft ambient intro. There is a bit of a muffled sound to this mix overall. There are some good ideas in here, however I agree the arrangement feels a bit underdeveloped. Things are quite similar throughout, and with the slow pacing here, not a lot of content unfolds over the ~2min timeframe. Take a look at the arrangement and see what could be further expanded upon. I would also look at your EQ levels as mentioned by Emunator, you have a bit of muffle that should be easily fixable by re-introducing some highs.


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  • Rexy changed the title to *NO* Animal Crossing "Umbrella Season"
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