Spooktober Special! (MnP128)
APZX: You've accomplished exactly what you set out to do. I can't give this monster a play-by-play here, but it is everything you said it was. I applaud you.
General Grunt: This one made me smile, almost laugh. It's what I'd imagine the song would sound like if it were in a Super Mario Bros. RPG. Or maybe Banjo and Kazooie. I get distinct elements from the source, and it's incredibly lively for a song for a skeleton. Nice work!
Wassup T: Ah, the trauma this song brought back for me. Keeping the piano's persistent action as a focal point kept it true to the source, but I love what you've added. The pounding timpani, nicely distorted guitar, and everything else really fleshed out and supported the maddeningly delicate work of the piano lines. Nice job recreating the level-start jingle. And those zombie sfx...(shivers.) Good work indeed!
Kat: Nice warm piano. The sfx really nails a haunted, phantasmal mood, though I think it needed to be toned down a bit once the song got rolling. Excellent rocking, though, the lead guitar was genuinely soul-shaking.
Coloradoweeks: Spinal-chilling bells, I'm jealous of those samples. You put a horrifying energy into Ceremony with your mix of "Cute and unnerving." The second half, with it's sterling percussion, makes it sound like a twistedly jolly execution procession. Very haunting work!
Harlem Heat: Glad that your music making spark is alive, this piece is riveting and appropriately haunting. There's an oppressive weight in the piece that crushes down on the spirit. Vocals are incredible, and the dynamic sections gave me goosebumps. You punctuated this serene piece very well. Sure, there's some mixing that could be done, but the heart of this makes it through. Very nice work.
TheVodouQueen: Some bumpin' werewolf action! Good to have you back in things. Delightful progression through the piece, the sax gave me thrills. Gave me some old Sonic vibes in there too with the synth lead. Very fun, good work. Hope that ear-infection blows over for ya.
Austrian Spinal: This is just too fun. It is kooky, and yet so diabolical! I really donít know much about Polka, but this sure sounds like it! Also, the Grabbed by the Ghoulies bit at the end is utterly fantastic!
The Desolate Field (Ceremony): Mmmmm, clocks and big bells. This is quite a haunting bit of music. The softness of the instruments really adds to it, and those I suppose glass effects are really quite well placed. I think really the only thing Iíd think to add is more reverb to give it some more overall space. In general youíve got a pretty solid bed of sound, but some reverb would just make it all meld that much more!
Aeterni Inferni: Eh, close enough on the Latin. You know overall I gotta say this is quite solid. Not much for me to really suggest on the whole. I mean maybe the percussion is perhaps a bit too far back, but I get the feeling that if you brought it much further forward it would actually distract rather than add. Except maybe towards the end when things start to get fuller. Though if I am being fair the biggest issue really is the ending. It just sounds too small :(
What Lurks Below: I really liked this source a lot. It is just so much fun. Like almost comically fun. However, you took something that I actually consider comical and made it not only a bit spooky and scary, but also almost beautiful.
rites of autumn: All right, all that good stereo percussion. Plus bells. Just as a quick aside, what is it with bells and scary music? Is it that minor overtone that they have? Anyway, I do like the vocal chants as well. As cheesy as it sounds it adds an almost human element to it, that takes it away from being just another piece of music into being a something almost ethereal.
A Cry After Death: I really like the vocal bits youíve got in here. You also did a few things that I was not expecting. While the production probably isnít where you want it, this is a great little piece.
Waiting for the Pounce: The bass is perhaps a bit much. Like, maybe a bit overboard. But you have a very solid blend of the track with the additional bits. You know this source just screams 90s to me. I donít know why, but youíve captured that vibe with this. Sure youíve translated it to a more modern time signature, youíve kept the original feel quite well I think. I could type until my fingers blend on mix issues, but I will just say that I feel I think too many of the instruments are too dry compared to others. Stand out example would be the saxophone. Though Iíd be remiss if I didnít say I think this is a solid step forward :)
What a great Halloween bash we've all composed together! Voting such fun (and a challenge) when there's so many great works to listen too.
What an odyssy you've created! I thoroughly enjoyed this audio story, the whole creepypasta mingled with the remixes is a work of art. The lofi style of the recitation was an excellent effect, and the progression of remixes made memorable chapters in the story telling. What a MONSTER you've created, amazing work!
I simultanesouly laughed and wowed to listen to this. The polka style is masterfully done to comedic effect, its delightfully goofy and artistic. Fantastic work!
You got unearthly and haunted down pat for this. The atmosphere positively crawls down your spine. The gameelon, ribetan singing bowls, rattling percussion... everything just violates the natural order. And that haiku chant is TERRIFYING. Amazing work!
Great atmosphere on the intro, the sound clips mingle to horrifying effect. And the reverberating band kit and guitar just NAILED , I'm a sucker for this style. Spooky, intense, and fun!
Firstly, GREAT cross referencing here on the inspiration (The Lottery, Rite of spring, inspired!) This perfectly captures an air of twisted ritual, the vocal effects make a wonderfully unnerving effect of corruption. The drums are SAVAGE. You perfectly nailed your inspiration down!
Congrats overcoming the obstacles and getting this completed! The vocal parts capture a feeling of pain and loss, the orchestral arrangements drive an intensity into the piece while the gentle arpeggios continue like the cycle of life/death, the only consistent in this tumultous (in a great way) and emotional piece. I loved it!
This is so funky, I love it! Parts of the instrumentation give me nostalgia for 80's music and sega saturn tracks. The synth strings, saxaphone, bopping rhythm, it's so delightfully fun and dancey. And I find the EQ and balance is pretty good, you mix pretty good for hald-death, Beethoven would be proud XD
Waiting for the Pounce
That Desolate Field (Ceremony)
8 entries, dam this is going to be a huge one. After thinking long and hard, and believe me with this many entries i did, i think Wassup Thunder should get the win. From the top.
APZX - Woah, ok...erm, this is way too excessive. I might have to vote for this separately, because i don't have the patience right now to sit through 30 minutes of music. Like i said, you could remix more than one source, but i wasn't expecting for you to remixing just about every source haha. I'm sure it sounds great, but this is too long right now. Sorry.
General Grunt - Welcome back dude, always love your T.V like polkas. Great accordion, the whole thing is a ton of fun. I don't have much to say on this, because it's hard to tell what you've remixed, and it sounds very left-wing than what MnP should sound like. It's also quite manic and spooky, so it's fitting to Halloween, but i don't think it fits MnP, sorry. Lovely idea though, well done!
Souperion - Alright this is the Secret of Mana remix. Very nice soundscapes, i love what you've done with the Tibetan bowls, it's very atmospheric, and haunting, a perfect remix for Halloween. Really nice background melody, it fits the source, without sticking out. The original is quite a soundscape in itself, so this is easy to really go all out for the atmosphere. The only thing that i would suggest for this, is personally for me, there is a hit that happens before each loop of the melody. It's not frequent, but it does happen a lot, and it's that hit that i feel takes me out of the experience. I love what you've done, but i like it a lot more, when you go down the ambience/soundscape route, so i feel less rhythmical accents would support it better, hence why i feel the clang of the bowls after 2 bars gets a bit much, at parts. Other than that though, the ambience is spot on, i love the idea it's super creative. The whole thing was fun, well done!
Wassup Thunder - Here comes Dammned from COD. The beauty of this piece, is that it's pretty much Solo piano, and a few minor sound FX, so it's pretty much a blank canvas for anything. In this sense, i see your trying to orchestrate it, into a full blow symphonic piece, topped with a lot of creepy FX, making it more of a Symphonic Horror Play or something. It's such a lovely idea, especially since a solo piano piece, can be a bit simple without any direction on how to expand it, and this is done nicely. The only thing i could say, in terms of critique, is that the "spooky" SFX could work better as more of a background element, than a main element, which is what i sense this is. I say this, is because it overtakes some of the more important elements, like the piano and the strings, which is obviously my favourite part. It's essentially a fuller version of the piano, and i'm all for it, sounds awesome, you've done some great work on the arrangement. Despite the changes i would suggest, you eventually would be my number one pick to win, Well done!
Kat - Nice approach, taking chimes and turning it into a piano. You have also followed in similar footsteps to Wassup Thunder, and made a piece using a lot of spooky sound FX, and honestly the results are not much different in that regard. I do like the use of it, because it really emphasises the Halloween aspect. The only reason i believe it works better in the background, is that i kind of want to hear the music shine through, and have the screams as a spooky undercurrent. Love the rock arrangement in this, especially from the orchestral original. The whole vibe is spine chilling, you've really made something magic out of that. Couple of things i personally don't feel. The voices as i've said before, are too much into the mix, which takes away some of the music. Second it's a bit too short, which i know you've said you didn't have time, (We all could do with more time lol), but if it was longer, the track wouldn't end so abruptly, and there could be more interplay with the guitar and drums. Also i would do a bit more to the mixing, it sounds very clustered, and squished together, i didn't get a chance to hear all the instruments as a result. All in all though, i love your idea, and it was spooky, which if anyone can do that, that's already a big plus. Well done!
Coloradoweeks - Tubular Bells, both a Christmas staple, and a Halloween Nightmare lol. You also went for Ceremony, and went a completely different direction in contrast to Souperion's. You emphasized a more rhythmical Tribal aspect, while still retaining a sense of scary mysticism. The drums are insanely good, i don't think i've ever heard Hans Zimmer styled intense beats as good as i'm hearing now. It's very spooky, and fits a kind of ritual dance theme, which is quite chilling i must say. The ending is quite loud for me, especially when the overall main motif is drowned out with SFX and drums. That to me, is what makes this composition stand out, is that motif. I love the rest, the arrangement is super good, but without that riff, a lot of the arrangement just kind of falls...flat is probably the word. I still stand by my comment on the drums, they would absolutely kill any film score, amazing programming on that. Well done!
HarlemHeat360 - That description is very deep. I hope your doing ok man. I know making music can be hard, and i understand the frustrations. I'm also sorry for your Hard Drive conundrum, that sucks big time. The arrangement is amazing though, you nailed the horror vibe perfectly. Lovely string and choir work, the vocals are just sooo good. The cinematic feel, the way it flows, i love everything about it. On first listen, i didn't really find anything to critique, but then i re-listened i found 2 things that i personally don't gel with. First off the dynamic changes are a little too extreme for me. This is only a 2 minute piece, so when i hear the drums, it's a sudden change, that made me jump. I think what would really make the dynamics smoother, is maybe make the intro a lot less intense than it already is. The minute i open the piece, it already sounds like an action scene already, and then the drums come in, it's adding intensity to something already intense. The only other thing i could say, is that this kind of work, could be better suited to a long piece, as i don't think 2 minutes gives us the room to explore everything in this composition. However i do take into account what happened, so i am very sympathetic, and everything you've made here does sound awesome, so all is not lost. Well done!
TheVodouQueen - I see you wanted a piece of music, where you could explore a bit of that dance music vibe, so in a way you've succeeded. The vocal samples are super appropriate, and extremely fitting to the track in hand, it's like a mood setter in place. The track in itself is very good, i love how you've managed to transform the jazz parts of the source, into the EDM feel. It doesn't stick out as much as i thought it was going to, and the end result made me groove quite a bit. Drum work is awesome as usual, and i love the strings in the back. Now the one thing i will say, is that Jazztronica is a thing, but it usually works when the source is locked to a 4/4 bar groove. A lot of jazz is about feeling, so they don't always rely on the 4 on the floor pulse. This is why i often think that Jazz music is not structured. It's just some chords play the accompanist, while the soloist just does his best to follow along, and play with feeling. Now i say this in relation to your track, is that your attempt at making the chords/composition follow the 4/4 pulse is a little too mechanical (I don't know how to accurately describe it). I think to remedy the problem, i would re-arrange the rhythm slightly to make it more closer to 4 on the floor. Anyways, i feel like i'm warbling on about that, some people might not agree with my point on that, taste is personal. The only other thing to say, is more variations in the instrumentation is something i'd recommend. The Saxophone is the only real melodic line that stands out. The other parts do, but this was a big highlight, for me. The drum work still remains awesome and groovy, and the vocals samples were also fitting and appropriate, i feel they made the track for me. The idea is super good, lovely arrangement, well done!
APZX - Ok i thought about it for quite some time....and i er....still don't have the patience to listen to 30 minutes of music. Maybe another time i might listen and provide feedback, but as of now, all i can say is well done.
great entries everybody! this was a very stacked (with a capital s!) round and i found it extremely difficult to narrow it down to just three.
- "Waiting for the Pounce" by TheVodouQueen. your pieces never fail to get me to shake what my parents gave me. the source is extremely funky to begin with, and your dance-y additions play so well with this. i definitely picked up the undercurrent of "sleazy, supernatural creature of the night trying to take you home" you tried to convey in this. i definitely get a "thriller" vibe from this, and it's an absolute thriller listening (and flailing along) to this.
- "What Lurks Below" by Kat. really loved the rock edge you gave to this song, and it totally fits the concept of what i'd picture an "Undercity" level to be: very gritty and very haunted (i've never actually played "vagrant story," and now i'm adding it to my winter break shortlist!) i definitely enjoyed how the sfx suggest some sort of narrative without beating you over the head with exposition!
- "That Desolate Field" by Souperion. a heads up: i ended up doing your source (Ceremony) after my ghosts n' goblins tango was going nowhere. the instrumentation you chose plays so well with the "ceremonial" vibe you wanted to give off. the addition of the Bashu haiku read by your sister really sells it!
and while these entries didn't grab the top spots, here's where i gush about why i loved them:
- APZX, it amazes me how you can crank out such great tunes so quickly, and this was no exception. i had this one on while working, and it was fun to hear how you moved through the sources! the "candle cove" creepypasta was a very welcome addition!
- General Grunt: this is such a clever remix, and i never would've guessed "spinal's theme" could go the polka way. i definitely would love to hear more polka remixes on here :) the cartoon sfx were perfect for this!
- Wassup Thunder: i've never played anything in the call of duty franchise, and my initial guess as to what the music would be like was somewhat close to your remix. i was initially shocked when i first heard the source (definitely more tender than i had imagined!) not sure if this is fully coherent, but i definitely enjoy how your remixes get to the emotions you feel when playing that particular game.
- HarlemHeat: burnout is a very real thing, especially among musicians and i'm so glad you were able to get your entry in, after your computer mishap. absolutely loved the orchestral feel of this, and the vocals were a very welcome addition!
rites of autumn
A Cry After Death
That Desolate Field (Ceremony)
1) 'Rites of Autumn' - ColoradoWeeks
* Damn, this excerpt from "The Lottery" is dark, and the song equally reflects that daunting sense of dread and eerieness from the villagers and, especially, the children. It gives me Children of the Corn / The Omen vibes, and that's extra brownie points, for me. And I am pretty sure I've read "The Lottery" before, as part of some old English class, probably in high school. :D
* I love those echoey bell rings and the choirs used. You encapsulate this set-up of the town gathering together their stones for the sacrifice nigh-perfectly with 'Ceremony' from Secret of Mana. Never knew that song could be taken to such lengths in being as soul-tingingly, blood-curdlingly creepy as you remixed it. D:
* Despite its brevity, the song suits it. Hits hard and to the point quickly. Love it. All the instruments came out nicely, were pretty well mixed (there's obvious highs and lows and midtones going on), and the musical soup made it just pure awesome to me. 10/10, would listen to it again! :3
2) 'A Cry After Death' - HarlemHeat360
* Alright, I'm just going to come out and admit I'm a damn sucker for anything Chrono Cross-related. :( Doesn't help that Dead Sea / Tower of Destruction were so hauntingly good already from the PS1 days. These sorts of songs of longing and sorrow, full of strings and vocals, certainly suit you and seems to befit your personality and passions, and it shows every time you do a remix for a song like this, and it's brilliant.
* You really do, from the start, develop that feeling of being surrounded by chaos, but mixed with dreaded awe and a sense of familiarity (seeing as where the temporal anomaly in the Dead Sea takes you should be familiar to Chrono Trigger fans.) Definitely fits the word "macabre" in the aspects, philosophy and interest of death, dying, mortality and immortality.
* As you said, some more mixing needed to be done, and the bass and some of the deeper strings and synths used overpower the softer harp and violin and singing, but it's not a big deal. The drums and cymbals I thought were appropriate with their big bombastic flare before the end of the song, (in volume and such). But yeah, stop beating yourself down and out about your ability to make good compositions. :) Glad you recovered this song and your drive, BTW. Never give up on your dreams, and never surrender.
3) 'That Desolate Field' - Souperion
* I honestly would've never thought I'd hear Tibetan singing bowls ever again (been a real long time since I have), and used in this way. The Japanese haiku (I am guessing it's a Jisei - "death poem") is excellent, but again this is one of those poems in the myriad seemingly this round that is perfectly reflected in the way the song is remixed, and I'm loving it. A big part of Halloween tradition is storytelling and reciting spooky tales and urban legends, so the fact almost everyone in the round put either internal feelings of haunting or sorrow into their mix or centered it around a piece of creepy literature is inspiring and different (in a good way).
* This isn't the first time you attempted a way more spacial, atmospheric tone to your remixes (you did it with the 'Saturn' Stage source from Godzilla: Monster of Monsters round in PRC), and well, it suits your general style. And shit, I just realized both songs I voted for were from the same source! HAHA! You and Colorado gave 'Ceremony' such vibrant and differing effects and feelings, however, it almost doesn't feel like the same song at all.
* This remix definitely gives the vibe of old Japanese folklore about yurei and yokai haunting the realm of the living, and thriving in old shrines and barren towns. Does feel like I'm being cursed listening to the song itself. Your sister's chanting in the language gives it that extra spice, too, and I think we need an exorcist, ASAP! I don't have much in the way of criticism to give this other than I am half torn with the length of the song. I appreciate and do like the end, as the instruments creep up to get louder and louder and more menancing, like the ghosts and spirits of whatever this chanting witch or shrine maiden are stirring, and are angry, but at the same time felt that it could've just as easily ended either at the first set of chanting (2:19) or the second (3:24), but the whole song hits home quite thoroughly, so that's a tough call. Wonderful work, nonetheless!
4) 'The Mandela Effect' - APZX
* Wow, this was a MONSTER of a track, in theme, depth, and length! Very ambitious to do, whilst still trying to commit and adhere to the ideal of MnP. I actually really, really commend the attempt, and a good portion of the songs within this beast of a track go really well with the Creepypasta story of the haunting kids show, Candle Cove. It made me feel like I was a kid again in one of those automated, on-rail track Haunted Houses, where you've got a beheaded narrator speaking to you all Vincent Price-like, telling this spooky tale of weird and unnatural things while you get jolted about this (probably corny and crappily made) ride! Halloween encapsulated in its truest sense. Nice work!
* The two best bits about this song are hands-down, to me, the narration between the two guys about the wack kids show, and the heart that was put into this. To use an idiom I suppose, you let your hair down for this round and just had fun with it, and I find that really cool. I also liked how some of the songs had almost mirrored the intersparsed parts of the story in its tone, where certain songs were more lighthearted or "edgy" at the beginning, but as it progressed and got darker and more sinister, so did the songs themselves. My only gripe on that front is that some (like 'Concrete Cave') came out a bit...weird and left-fieldy in its leitmotif?? As in, the faux 90s synthwave style was good, but its tempo was odd and dragging, and I don't think it reflected that part of the story itself very well. But you did say you had some issues meshing some songs together, which leads me to--
* --Yeah, and in those sections, sadly I got pulled out of the story. I'd say 85% of what you composed here really got me sank in and invested, but some of the more oddly placed or sounding songs, and some of the jarring starts and stops between them didn't help. If you want more concrete examples I'll point them out, but I just wish the flow between songs was tighter, (also sometimes it was hard to hear what the dudes were saying without cranking the volume up to max--then it made some of the songs too loud. It's that classic issue like with some older movies that get re-released, where the dialogue is too soft, and all the booms and action too loud, no matter how you slice your volume up or down.) It might've been better to just take select songs that fit your narrative to a T and kept them in, for the betterment of even length of / between songs and storytelling staying power, but I digress. I realize you wanted to just have fun with this and mostly play around for the fun of the round, and in that case, I wouldn't have changed a thing. :) Probably would've done the same to try and mesh it all together the best way I could, and TBH, you did a pretty bang-up job, all things considered. Great work! :D
5) 'Austrian Spinal' - General Grunt
* Hahaha, this gave me a good laugh, actually. Sounds like a haunted funhouse I just stepped into! I do like the cartoon sounds, (especially whatever is making it sound like Spinal's bones are rattling), and for some wacky reason...this reminds me of ClayFighter (that weird claymation fighting game by Interplay way back in the day, if you ever played it!) The burp at the end totally made me think of Boogerman (who also appeared in ClayFighter as a playable character--which is equally as hilarious because it also reminds me of Homer Simpson, both of whom are voiced by Dan Castelleneta...)
* This is just such an oddly uplifting song for a character and game that's pretty spooky and gory, and it makes me like it even more! Really short, but I think it fits just right and the song doesn't overstay its funtime welcome!
* I actually don't have any serious criticism about it. It was a joy to listen to. :) Defo can get that Weird Al inspiration too, BTW! Much props for this one. <3
6) 'Aeterni Inferni' - Wassup Thunder
* Hmm, although I was never a big fan of Black Ops or COD with the exception of the old Modern Warfares (the only ones of the titular franchise I've played TBH), I have watched my close friend play a lot of the current CODs and some of the zombie mode stuff in them--which is always a fun time to be had. :) That being said, I really like what you've done with this source, and really fits the idea of the zombies rising up from the graves and piles of bodies, to come for your blood!
* The only problems I had with this is that the drums (or is that a thumping bass? I can't tell...) and the main piano synth is a bit too loud, and overpowers the nice midground and background atmosphere you were building up from the beginning and maintaining throughout, sadly. I was digging the hell out of the new guitar amp you got tho, it's a huge improvement from previous guitars I've heard from your other remixes, and blended really well with the rest of the composition (I super liked the wailing whammy riffs...real good shit right there.) I liked the zombie screams and cries that were ripped samples from the game as well. :) Wasn't a huge fan of the ending (again, loudness and a bit of a swamped-feeling in the mix, but part of that seems like the intent), but the choir and drumming were damn on-point.
* Loving it! Was great stuff to listen to. :3
7) 'What Lurks Below' - Kat
* Jesus...how long has it been since I've heard this song or played Vagrant Story? Another one of those long-forgotten, underrated gems from the SquareEnix library that just disappeared into the aether, never to be seen or heard from again...which is sad, really. Love the piano and the spooky SFX of the laughter and moaning. The electric guitar is also very good, (albeit a bit too loud).
* This is oddly very ambient in sound, even with the wailing guitar and plucks on the keys. Really does give that feel of being in a misty Undercity, or almost like one is stuck in Purgatory, itself.
* Wish there was more to hear of the song, because the first 2:11 is really cool. Even if it's just another minute or two, would definitely listen to more of it or all of it if you decide to complete it one day. :) Good stuff!