Posted 2022-04-20, evaluated by Liontamer
It's 4/20, and while it's true that we just posted some Michael Hudak yesterday, he's back today with a fittingly chill & moderately trippy experimental/dnb take on Paper Mario, so let's get our blottos on:
"The TTYD OST is full of weird, short songs that often start with modern-sounding melodic content, but then suddenly drift (or pitch-bend) into passages with retro-sounding waveforms that harken back to Mario's 8-bit days. It's an interesting recipe, and "Pirate's Grotto" is one of the tastiest to my ears. With my mix, I wanted to amp up both the natural and digital elements of the original, going full-on realism with the former and 100% mechanical malfunction with the latter. I also really wanted to use "blotto" in a title.
I also wanted to have everything take place in the same area (a grotto, as it was) so having almost all the melodic instruments assigned to the same (Valhalla Room) reverb send was key. To prevent things from getting smeared with so much verb, the main drum & mulched perc line are on a closer reverb send, and are mono as well. I spent more time than usual on the velocities of MIDI here to make the wood instruments even more human. I toyed with the warm pad towards the end for a while, trying to find the right filter and stereo width settings. I eventually settled on something that was briefly enveloping but didn't linger. All melodic instruments are routed to different LFOs via control voltage (CV) that are subtly changing their pitches to make it more organic. I've been experimenting with CV in Reason a lot recently; it's incredibly powerful, and also time-saving, as now I'm using LFOs to modulate parameters that I would've drawn up a ton of automation lanes for a year ago. Reason's rack can essentially be used as one huge modular rack with CV.
As for the water creeping in at the end; the constant water sound (a field recording of a stream I also used in my "Great Bay Temple" mix) and the kick drum are on the same mix bus with a noise gate inserted. The water sound isn't muted, but rather is constantly playing, but being held down by the noise gate at a specific threshold. The noise gate is only forced open briefly by the kick drum when it plays, allowing the water to rush in as well.
The crazy grinding section in the middle has an extreme amount of CV manipulation applied to the reverb volume, reverb pitch, and various EQ & filter settings. It took a lot of compression experimentation to tame this part while keeping the intensity I had in my demo. It's still pretty out there.
- 0:03-0:50 melody in source = 0:04-0:49 & 1:57-2:50 in ReMix
- 0:38 synths in source appear at 0:42 in ReMix and continue on
- 0:47-1:04 in source = 1:02-1:27 in ReMix
Thanks again for all your hard work."
A kick drum + noise gate acting as a... sluice gate? You see something new every day! This has a bit more structure/sonic continuity than Michael's preceding Resident Evil mix, but don't worry, it's still odd. The syncopated intro beat sorta hints at the more dnb-direction the piece eventually takes at 1'30" after a monster, modular-synthy descent. I need to dig into Reason's CV capabilities because yeah, it's a beast, in ways that other DAWs like Bitwig are only recently catching up with, and Hudak's detailed background info on his inspiration + process are always fascinating to me, and appreciated. Paper Mario's a pretty quirky series, with music to match, so it was also just neat seeing that quirkiness amplified by an equally unique artist. Liontamer evaluated:
"It's not weed-inspired, but being "blotto" with this mix is the closest I could get to repping being under the influence in celebration of 4/20 today! Very creative arrangement and sound design on display once again from a very established & accomplished contributor in Mike, who always takes listeners on a ride, whether they're ready or not. :-) Have no fear though, you'll feel like you've won the lotto, because Mike's motto is "use lots of vibrato." Enjoy "Blotto Grotto"! ;-P"
It's... hotto? I got nothing, Larry used 'em all, good on him. And good on Michael for following his creative process to such varied, stimulating ends; especially on the heels of yesterday's mix, it's quite the juxtaposition, and another peculiar sonic landscape to lose yourself in. Blotto!
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Nintendo
Music by Saki Kasuga,Yoshito Sekigawa,Yuka Tsujiyoko
- "Pirate's Grotto"
- Drum and bass
- Chromatic Percussion,Electronic,Sound FX,Synth
- 5,522,708 bytes
- Size: 5,522,708 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: cea1a454f4e8104c3faebc263f3bf31a
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