Like any process guided by one or more humans, our evaluation system can sometimes make a questionable call & be a little too harsh or "inconsistently nitpicky" on a submission, requiring some calibration & oversight. In the case of this energetic rock arrangement of Mega Man 5 from Nightswim, the judges got hung up on the mixing of the live violin part. I think you'll hear why - it's a little thin and doesn't have enough of the mix carved out for it, given the leading role - but in all other regards, this is a bangin' arrangement that's performed with energy & vigor and absolutely deserves to be featured. It's the second OC ReMix from the Brave Wave album World 1-2: Encore, the first being the Metroid Prime mix by new PC Gamer music columnist Ben Prunty.
Fin Leavell of Nightswim writes:
"For all intents and purposes, the song is all live instruments except for the Game Boy parts, a synth, and some electronic percussive elements. I agree that the mix could be different - I totally agree. It was just a snapshot of our interpretation of the song that day. The violin used was an acoustic violin with a pickup going through a 1950s Gibson amp - the sound is very thin, but we didn't want to double up the violin and make it sound unnatural."
On this occasion, Nightswim was comprised of:
- Fin Leavell - synthesizers, programming, piano & guitars
- Felix Chang - violin
- Paul Lapinski - bass
- Tim Grisnik - drums
Mastered by Dan Suter
Mixed by Paul Lapinski
Engineered by Ryan Viti and Fin Leavell
You can clearly make out the detail & style of Felix's performance, so while it could have used some breathing room & a bump or two, it doesn't obstruct the part or prevent it from being enjoyed. Synth accompaniment is a little static & remains present for most of the mix, but it's good, and generally the vibe is that of a rock-solid ensemble providing a lively update of the "Dark Man" source. Larry agreed to revisit this judgment and explore whether the mixing issue was really substantive enough to prevent the mix from being featured:
"The violin placement should be more upfront, but it's still audible and isn't a dealbreaker, so I disagreed with the NOs. Melodically, the arrangement's pretty straightforward, but the expansive rock instrumentation fit like a glove, and I'm pleasantly surprised how well the e-violin worked with the rest of the instruments. Loved the e-violin soloing as well from 1:53-2:38. The final section afterward could have done something else to differentiate itself more from the first iteration of the chorus, but when the overall expansion and performance are this strong, it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things."
There's definitely a temptation, when there's a single standout issue that all judges agree on, for the decision to go like this; the general thinking is that it's usually preferable (especially when consensus provides clear direction) for such things to be addressed by artists. When artists are unwilling or unable to address the issue, there can & should be further deliberation, but this does make the entire process a bit more... complicated. Life's messy, art's messy, and the evaluation of art along any series of criteria, with the possibility of revision, is almost certainly guaranteed to be somewhat messy, too; we can only aspire to keep that mess within functional margins. We ask artists to respect the judges and the judging process when challenging a rejection.
...but enough about all that; there's a saying that laws are like sausages in that you don't want to see either being made, and that might hold true for our behind-the-scenes logistics, too ;) MM5 doesn't get all THAT much love, and this is our first featured ReMix of this particular theme, and it's good, clean fun, and that's 99% of what you need to know. Great to welcome Fin & Nightswim to OCR, and while the road may have been a little bumpy, we know our listeners will enjoy this jam!
on 2018-02-05 19:36:58
I don't see what's the big deal with the violin. It sounds great to me and was the highlight of the song. Great mix!
on 2018-01-30 02:01:35
Nicely done! I have to admit, for the first third of the song I was completely puzzling over who Dark Man was. Megaman 5 was the first one I played, but this had me doubting whether maybe 6 was my first. Either way, I did a web search and then it hit me when I realized this was the first part of Protoman's Castle, and not a "robot master" stage. Totally recognize it, and it brings me back to how I loved certain parts of this song (which I heard a lot, because I'd sit and watch those disappearing-reappearing blocks to learn the pattern). I really like the energy that this mix brings. Very nice!
on 2018-01-25 07:29:00
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Electric Guitar,Synth,Violin
- Arrangement > Extended Soloing
Production > Live Instruments
- 6,727,639 bytes
- Size: 6,727,639 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 067ed3f96802e05a1d02ad4c209b155f
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