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Ugh, stop twitching
the sinking old sanctuary
music Posted 2006-01-25 20:47:47 by Jim Crawford
Mixing is hard.

I think I've decided to stop working on my cover of The Sinking Old Sanctuary, which I heard on the Castlevania: Circle of the Moon soundtrack but which originated on the Castlevania: Bloodlines soundtrack.

One feature of the CotM version that was difficult to reproduce was the prominent bassline. See, CotM played the bass an octave higher than it would really be played, and got away with it because the built-in speaker for the Game Boy Advance probably wouldn't be able to reproduce the frequency range that it would normally take up anyways. As a result, it's a lot more noticeable, almost overpowering the melody, and lends the song a lot of energy. In my version, in which the bassline actually has to function as bass in addition to being brilliant, I had to try to make up the energy in other ways, and I'm not sure I really succeeded.

The song was a lot more complex, structurally and rhythmically, than I'd realized. For instance, it's in 3/4 time. When I first started transcribing notes, it took me a minute to realize why these phrases weren't fitting in my little boxes. Also, while I had intended to make this a faithful reproduction, there were a lot of nuances that made a difference but were difficult to individually pick out, my source being mixed in 8 bits and at about 11khz. I think I captured all the important parts, but I did end up making a lot of the stuff up.

I also fixed the bass. In the original, for some inexplicable reason, there were parts where the bass clashed badly with the chord the rest of the song was playing. It's hard to imagine that this was anything but deliberate given the masterful construction of the song as a whole, but I can't fathom the intention, and since this is my version I get to pick my own intentions, one of which is not making myself wince.
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Sinking old thing
Posted by Anonymous (Napsikas) on 2007-10-13 13:05:19
I think your cover is quite nice! Gets better with each listen. I really like the feel of it, and well, with that melody, a good presentation makes a great track. You haven't quite reached the pressing tension of the original (the CotM one - it's been in earlier games as well... Bloodlines, I think) but I suppose that wasn't what you were after. The filter envelope thing going in the background is an important part of the atmosphere, it's good! The lead synth sounds great, but during some of the "build-up" sections could be more... hmmm... edited. It sounds a bit plain at some points, and maybe a hint too - how to say it - pointed? Dominant? Well, it is the LEAD, but somehow it stands a little too much out of the ambient cosmic porridge that is the rest of the track. It could be the release of the synth that is too short! I'm not sure, maybe some of this makes sense to you, maybe not. Oh yeah, the drums are really great, couldn't make them any better if I tried my best (hmm... that doesn't make them very good yet). After this I have to check out some of your other stuff. Keep it up!
re: Sinking old thing
Posted by Jim Crawford on 2007-11-07 15:53:50
Thanks! I was really pleased with the drums as well. I think a lot of the issues with my cover is, as I mentioned at the top of my post, mixing. I put a fair amount of work into buildup and release, but it doesn't really come through and I'm not sure why.
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