"Cthulhu Rising" Remaster

Hello once again wonderful people!
Looking for some more feedback on this track. This was the first (or second?) orchestral track I ever wrote and felt that it was time to go back to it and update it with some better mixing/mastering/composing.

To be honest, it was quite difficult to get a better mix out of it. I originally wrote it in Grageband and so, there weren’t a whole lot of tools at my disposal. Although, my original goal was to give it a slighted “older recording” sound, like it was used in some old B movie soundtrack and I think in that regard it worked.

My main focus was to adjust some of the compositional features and make it a bit more structured.
For this, I used motivic variation; most of the melody/counter melodies you hear are just variations of the same basic motif first introduced by the horns after the intro.

The style of this piece is straight, traditional orchestra with a dark epic feel. It was inspired by and is my musical description of a particular scene from H.P Lovecraft’s famous novelle “The Call of Cthulhu.” It is written in the key of B minor and modulates to C minor focusing on mostly the harmonic minor.

The libraries I used were Cinematic Studios Strings, Kirk Hunter Studios’s for wind, brass and percussion and Requiem Light for the choir parts.




Hey man, remember you posting this I think.

It’s a good composition, I’d probably point out just a few areas that could be improved.

  • has a very limited range of dynamics, this is the most pressing thing… it’s all loud, even the softer bits… I think you are either compressing it too much or your automation isn’t in check.

  • way too much reverb. It’s very muddy, especially in the first half of the track. Try automating the reverb amount for each section.

  • the top end is quite scratchy and agressive, especially the spic strings. Amazing for spic strings in trailers, but in this style you might want to do one of two things, lower your mid automation (or turn down velocity of notes depending on library) and add a high shelf and duck that a few db with a small cut at 5k. A few other instruments are a little like this too.

Overall a decent remix with just a few areas you could clean up. Love the choir too btw! :smiley:


Did I already?? Well then this is the remaster remaster :rofl: Yeah, the dynamics are always an issue with CSS because some of the articulations are set via the mod wheel ( the shorts) so then you have to go back and set them with velocity, but then they’re also set by the velocity of the key switch note–one thing I HATE about CSS, so some of the articulations my not be correct.

The reverb problems are with the Kirk Hunter libraries (in mono, I can’t even hear the timpani!). Just can’t get the right mix with them–really not bad libraries for as cheap as they are, but the woods are always too loud no matter what I did and the verbs don’t mix well with CSS. I actually left the CSS at 0% --just the natural verb and put the KHS at about 0-1% depending on the section. I’d really like to just rewrite the whole thing in Dorico to see how that sounds! :grin:

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To be honest I didn’t hear the timpani either :joy:I’ve never used Kirk hunter libraries but Is it that the reverb is baked into the sound? If so then duck around 200/400hz with a wide band for around 2/5db (a lot in this case). If it’s not baked in then I’d suggest not using the onboard reverb.

Haha have a go, that would be interesting for a side by side comparison.

Btw I tried mixing orchestral tool stuff with other libraries last night and I couldn’t see any issues, seemed to mix really well. What in particular do you think doesn’t work?

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Thanks, I will give those suggestions a try! The KHS libs, you can go completely dry, but CSS still has verb at 0% because of the natural occurring hall recoding and they didn’t take it out for the final instrument.

With the OT stuff, I think it was too wet and anything else I layered/mixed had to be pumped up with more reverb to try and match and I couldn’t use a reverb bus to put it all on the same level. Or, maybe this was Spitfire I’m thinking of…? I confuse the two sometimes—I don’t use them enough. I fallen in love with Audio Imperia I guess :grin: Didn’t really like Jaeger when it came out, but they’ve really stepped it up with Nucleus and Areia; I think they’re the next best thing to Spitfire or Orchestral Tools.

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Oooh if you think it’s too wet go into the envelope bit and turn down the sustain, it gets a LOT dryer. I also turn on the nineteen so it’s more expressive. That should help but tbh I’ve not had issues with it. And I’m always mixing libraries together :slight_smile:

Spitfire is easy to use too but it can be extremely wel in libraries like albion 1 or the big essential strings patch (which is using the albion 1 samples).

Heard a lot of good things about new keys. I’m not the biggest fan but that’s because I prefer more lush sounding strings where bricked have more of an edge. That’s simply preference though :smiley:

This is very cool. It’s dark and wild at the same time. It reminded me of some of my favorite action music tracks from the original Resident Evil 2 game, though with much better sample quality.

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Thanks for the compliments Mark! This was my first ever orchestral composition and I’m trying to improve it yet, so I’m humbled.

Interesting to compare it to Resident Evil as that’s the type of media I like to write for. Thanks for listening!