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Project: Sailor M

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#SailorMoonRedraw? How about #SailorMoonRemix? I wanted to partake in the challenge of remaking Usagi in my own style, but from previous attempts at art I am a poor tool with a pen.

However, I did have a plugin that could make sounds from images, called Harsh Digital Nose, a freeware that has controls to manipulate both the image and the audio. So I plucked the picture used in the Sailor Moon redraw challenge and got to work!

After messing with the controls for a bit, I stumbled upon something that could be used as a kick. So I bounced that to audio, did some additional distortion and processing, and the rest came from there. A total of 12 individual kicks came from that one sound, not including pitch-shifts, and all were used in this track.

I also wanted to pay homage to the source of the kick, Sailor Moon, so I added some motifs from one of the anime’s signature melodies. For the rest of the instrumentals, I used emulations for synths and effects that were available around the era of the anime (the mid-to-late ‘90s). There are quite a couple other references to the franchise and the time period that would be too long to list here, so I’ll let you find them out for yourself!

It’s been a month since I made that initial sound for the kick (which was also used in this track), so I hope you can enjoy what I contributed to the Sailor Moon challenge! Mind the genre though; it’s not quite for softened ears.

- Dtr. Guo

P.S. there’s another sound created from the #SailorMoonRedraw image that is also present in the track! Can you figure out what it is?

Key: g

BPM: 160

Genre: Rawstyle/Industrial

All kicks (and one more sound) generated through Harsh Digital Nose with heavy processing and manipulation

Synth sounds from a variety of classic emulators, including Synth1 (Nord Lead 2), Dexed (the legendary Yamaha DX-7), OB-Xd (Oberheim OB-X), PG-8X (Juno JX-8P), and the K3-V (Kawaii K3)

Vocals from the Bones singer, generated by Alter/Ego

Other sounds from the Bigcat orchestra collection, Sitala 808 bank, Sean Pandy Multi, Alan ViSTa, and Cymatics

Mixed and mastered in FL Studio.

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I could imagine this in a scene of the Anime, taking place in a dance club while the scouts are searching for the monster of the week. This playing both as background music and the music in the club, as though the monster is taunting them through music. Only for them to turn the music against the monster and kick their ass. This is way better than the DiCk dub version of the theme.

NGADM audition review

Remixes were allowed in the contest, but yours initially put you in some hot water with the judges because when you referenced the music in you song, it sounded too similar to the original, which gave the impression that it was more of you copying the other music instead of making it your own there. We let you continue on, but the song got close to being DQ'd because of that section, and where you did deviate like at 2:20, what I hear is just an descending 3 note arp that makes the simple chord progression. In other sections that I can hear what's going on that's still the only thing I can point out is the arp with the chord progression and a couple of other drums maybe. The only thing in terms of melody is the Sailor Moon thing you got at the 1:42 and it's not even your original idea.

That's not what I had a problem with though. Outside of 1:42 - 4:18 which felt like the same thing on repeat, I can't really hear the music. All I hear are laser sounds. At first I thought this was a joke because the beginning started off with what I thought was you making a laser gun sound effect and mixing it way more than what was necessary for it to fit, and it's very piercing and uncomfortable. I had a very difficult time listening to the whole thing because of it. I didn't realize it was supposed to be a kick until I read your description which brings me to two things. Firstly, yes a kick needs a high end attack which helps the attack of it and helps make it pop through the mix, but it's not only high frequencies, and it needs to fall a lot faster. However, it needs to feel more like a click if you want it to sound like a kick and less like some sound effect being warped and shaped into something that it doesn't want to be. Yes "hardstyle kicks" use a lot of distortion and such, but if you don’t have a good sample of something going into that kick, adding a ton of distortion and effects to something just makes it sound like an overly compressed bundle of noise. Secondly, yes a kick can be loud, but it shouldn't be literally the only thing I hear in the mix. Hardstyle actually doesn't have their kicks take up the whole mix to an ear piecing degree.

Which leads me to my final point, which made the judges and especially myself rather cross and aggravated. Clearly you had an idea that this was hardstyle, and I can see what you're getting at, but you may want to tone back on what you think makes good or bad hardstyle. Saying "it has to be like this because hardstyle" just shuns everyone away from you and closes you off from opportunities to improve your craft and learn at a deeper level what makes great music the way it is. You've slipped into a gatekeeping mindset that I personally don't have patience to tolerate and makes you closed off to what you might not realize is good advice. Am I asking you to make your songs something that everyone needs to like? Absolutely not. In fact it's impossible to do so, but you'd be surprised how many of us judges appreciate and enjoy some hardstyle / gabber pieces that are not tailored to be mainstream and popular. But I'm not going to hop onto my soapbox and explain to you our knowledge base and expertise because that's not a respectful thing to do.

I'm not sure if something went wrong in the exporting of the track or if your speakers/headphones are broken in some way, but that laser/kick drum makes this entire thing REALLY hard to listen to. The only pleasant parts were from 1:41 to 4:17, but that kick being that distorted for that long will make many listeners quickly turn away from it. Every time it shows up, it drowns out everything else in the background with its harsh frequencies and crazy loud volume. I've listened to your other tracks and it's clear that you know that it shouldn't be sounding this way so I'm confused as to how you thought that kick sounded okay.

offi-DtrGuo-cial responds:

As I've said in the tags, this is a hardstyle/hardcore track, specifically rawstyle. This is a genre in which the kick is supposed to sound heavily distorted and overdriven and it's not uncommon to take up a good portion of the mix for the drop, sometimes being the sole element of a drop. And if you're into the harder styles, including rawstyle, most people WANT to listen to a distorted kick for hours on end, because that's the point of those genres. Please mind the tags and the genre before you listen.

really cool! the kick sounds you made work really well in the genres of hardstyle and industrial. the synths are very good too, although they do lack some high end. the arrangement and mixing are very good too! great experiment!

So you are like really good. What genre of music do you like working with?

offi-DtrGuo-cial responds:

I work with just about everything in the harder styles. My peak genre is actually something a bit faster, Frenchcore, but I used a slower tempo for this track because of the dynamics of the kicks.

Credits & Info

2.13 / 5.00

Jul 12, 2020
12:02 PM EDT
File Info
8.2 MB
5 min 58 sec
  • FL Studio
  • Synth1
  • Dexed
Misc. Kit
  • Bass Murda

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.

* Contains third-party samples.
Excercise caution when using it, refer to author comments / contact the author for details.