Chimpazilla

OCR03528 - *YES* Final Fantasy 7 "Vincent's Longing"

10 posts in this topic

I'm going to get risky here, and propose that this is good enough for a pass.

The production is lacking in the humanization department, that's evident in a lot of places.  The piano and harp are mechanical more often than not, the strings performances can feel stiff at times, with very static envelopes and I would agree to all of that and a couple more issues.  But the mix is clear, effects are applied in a natural way, and the instruments don't sound dry or overcompressed.

The reason for me to pass this is obviously not the sketchy execution on the production side but on the arrangement, and the mood.  This remix is very moody yet sweet, implements the source in a way that's recognizable and not too far from the original sound but it's elevated another level by the addition of different supporting elements and actual melodies and structure which the original didn't really have much of.  There's a range of emotions to be found in this piece, which feels nostalgic and even sad at times, and those are expressed in a compelling way.  I think the arrangement is very solid; simple yet not lacking complexity.

Overall I'm more on the side of accepting this because the arrangement worked really well with what was a pretty emotionless and very simple source, non-ideal production aside.  Though I would understand if other judges feel otherwise, for me though, this is more of a:

 

YES (borderline)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gonna have to disagree here. I feel like the lack of realism really pulls this down. All the parts sound really mechanical and the samples are all lacking. The piano sounds thin as well as the strings. If this had some more humanization, better velocity variance, and some good use of vibrato the track could be so much more. 

I do thing the arrangement itself is pretty, and there are some nice uses of dynamics, but it's just not doing it with the samples and production. I'd love to hear this again after some fixes, though!

No (resubmit)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I had a full vote, but unfortunately lost it, so I'll just have to summarize it by agreeing with Deia. This is 85% of the way there, but the instrumentation needs to sound more realistic, particularly IMO the piano. You rock, Rebecca; definitely spend the time to tweak this and fully realize the potential of this otherwise-solid arrangement.

NO (resubmit)

EDIT (5/27): I realize that the overall instrumentation's purposefully delicate in many ways, but it comes off not sounding ideal. Some extra humanization and richness would have set this off even more. I've listened again several times, and -- though I'm still put off some by the piano feeling flimsy and fake, and other judges articulated more legitimate issues -- the issues all don't bother me as much when weighing it against the strength of the arrangement.

YES (borderline)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not much to add here.  Cool atmosphere here and really liking the interplay between various instruments you've got going.  Liking the arrangement work as well.

I do agree there's room for improvement on the sequencing work and realism.  I can hear the work you've put into velocity variation, but many of the parts are pretty upfront and exposed, so any artificial note changes or timings become pretty obvious to the listener.  It might help to add a bit more reverb to help smooth out the articulations a bit.  Beyond that, more cared & attention to sequencing humanization will go a long way here.  DA makes a good point on the piano tone sounding thin as well.

I don't think this is far off at all and don't blame Nuts for the nod, but I'd like to hear another go-around.

NO resubmit, please

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Despite dry production, this arrangement is compelling. I agree that the production is bare-bones, but I think everything comes across. I can tell you listened closely to the samples. You used layers plus varied instrumentation to smooth the stiffness, and it works. Fluttering lines interposed with pained stabs, all very chill, well capturing the vampire vibe.

 

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, I thought you guys overstated the production issues, especially considering how mechanical some orchestral subs we get can be. There was a lot of velocity variance here, as well as different instrument articulations, so I thought the dynamics were quite good. There are certainly sections where it could be touched up, and I feel like what this track could REALLY use for realism is more rubato, but I thought this was not even close to a NO. The sounds themselves are very high-quality and well-balanced; the arrangement is excellent. I also thought the level of 'verb was ok. Rebecca is fast becoming someone I keep my eye on.

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this piece, it invokes and brings out a lot of emotion from the original source. I enjoyed the progression of the arrangement here and felt it went for a new length overall. I agree with regards to some problems with the sounds here, such as the (thin) piano. These are exacerbated by the mechanical nature of the playing. I don't feel as strongly about this piece being overly mechanical though. It didn't feel like everything was completely to the grid, but there is room for improvement here for sure. However I don't feel this is enough for me to NO the mix outright.

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This really is a subtle arrangement of this theme, and it's quite impressive. It's not in-your-face, but it has a great atmosphere that really takes hold of you throughout. It's sparse, and that works well for this kind of piece.

However, I will echo the opinion that the instruments are sometimes not sequenced well enough to be convincing. It's not a problem throughout the entire piece, but it comes up again and again at important points, especially in instruments that carry the theme. The oboe, for example, doesn't have any sort of phrasing when it carries the melody (0:29 - 0:46, 1:40 - 1:55, 2:15 - 2:37) - it sounds like it uses the default attack for the sample, which adds a little swell to each and every note. Realistically, an oboist may have that for the first note that they play, but to phrase properly they will play the rest of the notes legato. For sequencing, that means the attacks should have no swelling from note to note, until the phrase is finished. This applies also to the clarinet, strings and flute, when they carry the melody, play alongside the melody or are in the foreground. There's a lot of stacatto in this piece, too, where the effect is much less pronounced (there isn't enough time for the sample to play out fully, so it diminishes the effect).

There IS a lot of velocity adjustment, as far as the volumes go, and that certainly helps the piece a lot. I think the reverb is just about right on this - too much and you'll lose the open sound that this track is trying to convey (I'd argue that even the piano and strings, as thin as they are, have the proper reverb in comparison to the rest of the instruments - it's just that kind of piece). Honestly, the only thing that this track needs is some tweaking on the attack values of the samples, for the sake of portraying the phrasing like a real musician would.

Even though that's my only comment on the arrangement, because of how sparse & dry the piece is sequenced, and because of how often this issue is noticeable, I'm going to send it back, this time. Improve the phrasing so it sounds more human and you'll have an amazing arrangement.

NO/RESUB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like the arranging and part-writing certainly makes up for the production issues. Oboe feels a little exposed, but that's a nitpick for me.

I think this is lovely. Very mysterious. I'm on board.

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.