Jump to content

OCR04206 - *YES* Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening "Hacking the JANUS System"

Recommended Posts

Hello, I'm JulienMulard (waiting to be changed to Julien Mulard on the forum), userid 32622, and I would like to submit my track "Hacking the JANUS System" to be posted on OCRemix.
This mix is a rearrangement of the 6th dungeon theme (Face Shrine) from "The Legend of Zelda - Link's Awakening", going through different styles of music along the way, atmospheric, metal and trance.
I love hybrid styles of music, and wanted to achieve a good synthwave/electronic music/metal track for a long time now. At first, the track was not even supposed to have guitar sounds, just heavily distorted synths. I finally changed my mind thanks to Timaeus on the WIP forum, and it made the track even better :D I'm also very proud of the mixing/mastering, as it has always been what I struggled with the most.
I was primarly inspired by artists such as The Algorithm, MasterBootRecord, Igorrr, or even Infected Mushroom, but I think I managed to find my own sound. In some more obscure ways, there's also inspirations from Rush and Savant, but those are more Easter Eggs of sorts.
Regarding Easter Eggs, I hid 5 in the specter of the track. Now, I know judges are busy people so you'll find attached to this email a document detailling were they are, what they mean, and why there here. You can also look for them yourself, but no pressure at all ^^ You'll just need a adjustable spectrogram analyser, a binary/text converter, a Morse code alphabet, and some good eyes... Link to the Easter Eggs guide
Story wise, it's kind of a crossover between the story of the game and The Matrix. Link is a hacker trying to find answers by logging into the highly protected JANUS System (Janus is a two faced god from the Roman pantheon. From Wikipedia, he's " is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings", which I found higly fitting given the dungeon is the Face Shrine, the boss is a Face, and it's the turning point in the in game story, where you learn about what will really happen if you choose to wake up the Wind Fish). Link managed to enter the system, have to face different type of security, and finally manage to break free from the simulation he was in, but with untold consequences.
If it's possible, in case of publication, to have a spectrogram effect on the youtube video so that people can easily see all the stuff I hid, I'd love it. I imagine it's some extra work, so don't worry about it too much. I can always upload it on my own YT channel later (plus I'll be able to select the right setting to have everything clearly visible). Plus I imagine it could create a precedent about custom videos. But hey, it's free to ask ^^
I hope you'll like it as much as I enjoyed creating this track. In case of rejection, you can let all the links in the Judge Decision forum.
I wish you well in these troubled times!
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Eerie synth blips and rumbles start things off. A spacey sine-wave synth introduces the theme, accompanied by string-like pads. Things started to get bit-crushed, as guitars start to fade-in at 1:37. The soundscape here noticeably changes, feeling more thin. The guitars once making their way fully into the mix sound ok. The accompanying lead synth playing in the centre is hard to make out and felt without purpose. Ironically the early section felt more impactful with the larger soundscape than when the guitars entered. The transition at 2:10 felt out of place not built up to properly. The off-beat nature of the section does sound ok. At 2:45 the guitars return, to transition to a fast hamming section. This section does go for a while but doesn't change a whole lot over that time. At 3:35 we get some additional guitar layers. This adds an additional dimension to the previous section but doesn't really change things up a whole lot. The outro section is quite good, with synth movements between the stereo spectrum. Not sure what to make of this one. There are a lot of great ideas here, good use of SFX, and the theme is featured constantly. There is a clear level of talent at play here. That said, the cohesion between sections feels missing, like different songs stuck together, and the sections that are meant to feel harder feel weaker consequently due to mixing. A bit of a mismatch here. Will be good to hear the other judges take on this. Personally I think the arrangement cohesion issue ultimately pulls this one under.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Jivemaster changed the title to 2020/05/10 - (1N) Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening "Hacking the JANUS System"

I agree with Joel that, compared to the rich soundscape of the intro, the soundscape becomes almost jarringly thin when the first metal section arrives.  But wow, I really like the meshing of the various styles.  I disagree that this makes the mix non-cohesive; the theme continues seamlessly throughout the track and the style changes are welcome surprises.  While I wish the mixing was a little more consistent throughout, I don't find it to be a dealbreaker.  There is so much here to like and I'd like to see it on the front page.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Chimpazilla changed the title to 2020/05/10 - (1Y/1N) Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening "Hacking the JANUS System"
  • Rexy pinned this topic

love the backstory, really fun idea. very creative. i love this source since it's one of the first original tracks i ever remixed.

the intro is really atmospheric, and i like the feel of how latent the energy is. i think the synth stacks lend a lot of power to that section. the addition of distortion over time is a fun idea too. the transition to metal was handled fine and the melody is still apparent. the mastering in this section is clear and sounds good.

next a shift to 12/8 and electronica. you continue to play with the melody here, which is fun, and i like the detuning to keep it weird. i found the three-step feel to be a nice shift as well to make it more yours. and then a vintage The Algorithm funky stylistic transition, utilizing both distorted kick and a time change to clearly delineate between the sections without making it take too long. i love this transition, it's really well handled and does a good job getting back to the balls of the arrangement without dawdling in transitional territory.

2:56 onward is just a rip-roaring power-metal tribute to what's honestly a really intense and driving theme despite the quiet dynamic of the original. bringing in some sustains in the guitar at 3:26 is a great idea (that i used in Facies Templum fifteen years ago!) to add interest to a source that doesn't have much of a melody. 4:13's gating (obviously post) is another big Algorithm shoutout, and i like that you didn't gate the drums too, but let them ring.

the ending is kind of sudden but i like the fadeout into glitches again. it kinda just ends, but the nature of the original doesn't naturally lend itself to anything other than a fadeout so i don't think it's as egregious as it could be.

this is a great track in a technical, asymmetrical style that i think really fits VGM as a whole. there's little in terms of melodic content that this original track brings on its own, so the work that's done here really demonstrates and emphasizes the underlying movement and force that makes this original so interesting. 




Link to post
Share on other sites
  • prophetik music changed the title to 2020/05/10 - (2Y/1N) Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening "Hacking the JANUS System"

Wow, what an arrangement!  I don't know whether to go introspective on life, shred an air guitar or pull off an indoor rave - it's a mishmash of styles that so fittingly work cohesively around a sparse arpeggio of a source.    There are great techniques involved in all of them - the first one during the intro is handled straight and gets more warped from the bit crushing at the end of the loop, then it returns during the Basshunter-style hardcore section at 2:10 and adapts to the sudden time signature change.  And for the final two runs at 2:56, you changed the key and doubled up the arp's notation.  The chords remained uniform across all four showings, though, but it's required to demonstrate the rhythms' creativity.

Oddly enough, I can't see any significant mixdown problems in the first metal section at 1:47.  Yes, it's a textural shift from the intro that swaps out warmth for crunchier tones, but the soundscape didn't feel empty for it.  The second metal section at 2:56 improved on that front due to the rhythm guitars providing support from the low mids to compliment the synth lead.  If anything, I was more concerned about the lack of any other percussion at 2:10, with only a four-on-the-floor kick drum present - but the occasional sharp attacks on your synths and gated pads provide a suitable hi-hat replacement.  The mixdown otherwise feels clean and smart, and while I can't be able to hear your non-Morse nuggets, I can feel your intent from the sound design and expression work - and it made me wonder how you put in this imagery.

Even with its flaws, it has treated the source well and has a cohesive enough production to get onto the front page.  But in a vacuum, the choice of source material and arrangement direction was what I needed to unleash buckets of built-up energy all at once - so I thank you for submitting this.  Consider it an impactful debut!


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Rexy changed the title to 2020/05/10 - (3Y/1N) Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening "Hacking the JANUS System"

I have such a deep appreciation for what you did here Julien. Our community is, of course, full of artists who are passionate about their craft, it's rare that we see a submission where the concept behind the arrangement is so deliberate. I mean, I can't think of any other submission in my time as an evaluator that has come with multiple pages of PDF documentation! Everything else aside, I commend you for your effort and creative vision. 

I initially had a hard time wrapping my mind around this, but I think Brad used the perfect word to describe what's going on here and it helped me understand what you were going for: asymmetrical. There's a level of beauty that can be evoked by mashing together such disparate styles that couldn't have been conveyed if any of these individual musical ideas were fleshed out into their own track. It's imbalanced at times, but by design. The ambient synth sound design, skull-crushing metal riffs, and old-school dark techno synths all contribute to something that feels much greater than the sum of its parts! 

Very happy to welcome you aboard to OCRemix! Congratulations. 


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Liontamer changed the title to OCR04206 - *YES* Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening "Hacking the JANUS System"
  • Liontamer unpinned this topic
  • Liontamer locked this topic
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...