Gario

*NO* Undertale 'For Good!'

10 posts in this topic

Hi OC ReMix staff,
 
I'm submitting the following remix. It will be commercially released on Sept. 15, 2016 on Materia Collective's "FALLEN" album, but I have permission to submit it here.
 
Artist byline: Sauraen (feat. Rugal)
ReMixer: Sauraen, , Community #27167, Artist #13854
ReMixer: Rugal, , Community #19463
 
Game: Undertale (2015, PC/Mac)
Remix Title: For Good!
Original Composer: Toby Fox
Songs Arranged: His Theme, Hopes and Dreams, SAVE the World, Last Goodbye, Final Power

Comments:
I've always had a thing for endings; in fact, back in my vgmusic days, I had a habit of doing a transcription or arrangement of the ending theme of any game I beat. Getting to experience the ending is the reward a player gets for finishing a game, and it's an opportunity for the developers and composers to show off their best work to people who are already emotionally invested in the experience. But Undertale's true (pacifist) ending went way beyond this: it turned a nice game about love and friendship into an incredibly powerful emotional experience that deserves to be called one of the best games ever made. And Toby Fox did not disappoint in the musical department either: the pacifist ending is accompanied by a series of outstanding tracks, bound together by a masterful use of the game's main themes, which take the player along for the ride.

I intended this arrangement to be a tribute to the incredible positivity the game, especially the true pacifist ending, gave me and every player who had the privilege to experience it. I also wanted to honor Asriel, who is my favorite Undertale character and one of my favorite characters in all of gaming. Finally, I wanted to create a fitting conclusion--a big ending--for this album, which I am so grateful and honored to be part of. I spent somewhere around a hundred hours on the arrangement, which I began in February; and I'm quite happy with how it has turned out.

Because of the motivic nature of the Undertale soundtrack, it is difficult to name or decide on the root sources of many of the themes present in the game, let alone in an arrangement of its music. Nevertheless, this arrangement directly incorporates material from His Theme, Hopes and Dreams, SAVE the World, Last Goodbye, and Final Power; and it also references the B theme from Once Upon a Time at the end.
 
The title "For Good!" is a reference to three different things. First, it's a reference to the final line in the game, when Asriel appears to introduce the backer credits and says "Ready? Let's end this all for good!" Here, "for good" means "permanently", telling the player that after all the plot twists they've been through, this really is the end of the game. Second, it references the fact that this is the music for the pacifist or "good" ending. And finally, it signifies the positive effect the game has had on the world--the game as a whole was "for good", even if Toby Fox had no idea of the scale of the impact it would have. I hope many more games are made "for good", and I hope my work could someday have this kind of positive impact.
 
The arrangement was created with REAPER, EastWest sound libraries, and a variety of software synth plugins. Rugal played and recorded the lead and rhythm guitar parts. The synth solo is an edited live improvisation by myself; I also did all virtual instrument performance programming, mixing, and other production. Special thanks to Fredrik Häthén for mixing feedback, and DrumUltimA for giving me the chance to have this track on the album.
The remix is attached. It's also available at  , and will be un-privated once the album releases.
 

Enjoy!

Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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Stellar arrangement.  Of course, the original soundtrack makes heavy usage of leitmotifs and lends itself well to this sort of treatment, but this is exceptionally well done regardless.  It's a little tricky to pick out all the sources, since they overlap so much, but unique sections from each are all there.

This does get very busy in places, and loses clarity in the highs.  0:44-0:47, 0:52-1:00, 1:09-1:12, 1:23-1:32, 2:36-2:54, 3:27-3:36, and 3:48-3:58 are the sections that stood out the most to me.  On the flip side, there's a lack of bass presence throughout most of the mix, basically from 1:01 on.

The switch to electric guitar at 1:01 has a dramatic drop in overall volume.  It's pretty jarring, since it's building up to that point, plus it's electric guitars, which are usually loud.  The effect is sort of unsatisfying.

Mostly, the fakeness of the instruments didn't bother me a whole lot (the chiptunes prime the listener to not expect the most realistic instruments).  However, the horns at 2:57-3:15, the strings at 3:17-3:27, and the strings and horns in the ending (4:08 on) are more exposed, and the mechanical articulations are very prominent.

I do feel like there's a lot of room for improvement in the production, but this arrangement is so strong that I feel it just makes up for it.  I wouldn't be disappointed if this got sent back for a touch-up, but I think it's good enough as it stands for a

YES (borderline)

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Ah, it's nice to vote second sometimes - gets someone to do the heavy lifting while I take the credit!

*ahem*

MindWanderer gets it pretty solid, in this case. The arrangement is absolutely stellar, and from experiencing the game it makes good sense (as that's sort of how those themes play out at the end of the game). I did like the blending of His theme and the Undertale opening music, though - that worked incredibly well.

The mechanical orchestral instruments are the biggest drawback to this arrangement, which really show in the exposed moments (like MW said). I do hear the efforts to humanize, though (the dynamics are there, and I do hear variety in the articulations); it's just for a few moments the articulations don't sound right (4:11 with the small swells for each hit, for example). It's passable, even if it's not perfect.

The production is solid, arrangement is great, and the issues are minor. I'm all for getting this through the door - great work!

YES

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This arrangement is pretty cool, but isn't this mixed very very quiet?  I loaded this on my analyzer and I'm reading around -15 rms on busy sections, which could be brought up a bit.  Weird thing is, even if it's mixed very quiet like this I can hear it's got a fair amount of compression, as I noticed it lacked some punch when going from the empty sections to more busy ones (i.e.1:03). 

Outside of this issue, I think some of the instruments' performances could've been improved with some more detailing and humanization, and maybe outright choosing a better set of samples (string hits come to mind)  but I think the arrangement is great and counters some of the lack of quality in the instrumentation.  That buildup towards the end felt awe-inspiring! ! I however would like to see at least the loudness issue getting a second pass.

YES - Conditional

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I think this is going to come straight down to quality of arrangement VS. weaker production, namely in the humanization of the instruments. I'm surprised the others didn't mention the drums among the other instruments, which come across a bit flimsy overall. I agree with the others that adding some work there would do a ton of good for the track overall, though I do feel like this gets by on the super strong arrangement as-is. The energy is way on point, and the arrangement is strong and uplifting. I enjoyed the triple-entendre to the title, and the mix arrangement backs it up well.

This vote could end up being close, but good luck!

YES

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Opening synth at :10 was super scrawny, and the string sequencing at :23 was really mechanical sounding, but at least was less exposed as the brass and chip elements gradually entered in to flesh out the soundscape. Really disliked the rigidness of the string accents first used at 1:03, and the drums also sounded tepid as well. At 1:33, the attacks for everything sounded slightly behind the beat and rigidly timed again. Arrangement-wise, it's a seamless medley, and I love the energy in the writing. Even when the strings and brass don't sound great on their own, the swells for the finish from 4:16-4:45 were some powerful writing.

That said, I'm really underwhelmed by the lack of humanization in nearly all of the orchestration; all of the string work in particular sounds robotic, and it says something when all of the "synthetic" sounding instrumentation seems fine, and none of the "organic" instruments sound realistic. To me, the way the orchestral instrumentation is so exposed undermines the arrangement enough to where I can't pass it, despite the great arranging and super-strong finish with these samples.

The levels/mixing could have used some adjustments, but if this passes as is, I'd argue it doesn't need to be conditionally held on that level. But to me, the sound quality of the instruments was markedly below the bar. I'd love some improvements to the orchestral samples, and that's all I'd need to see improved here.

NO (resubmit)

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The humanization is not very good, and I have to agree the sounds are below the bar, sorry to say.  The levels feel off to me, most noticeable when the first drop at 1:01 is so much more quiet than the buildup.  Drops should always be louder than any buildup that precedes it.  The DnB drums are so quiet as to be apologetic, and there is no kick sound to speak of, and no sidechaining to make the drums melt into the arrangement, and so this leaves me feeling like the drums don't fit the arrangement at all.

I adore this arrangement, it's clever as can be, part writing is tight.  The ideas are dynamite and I'm sure people will enjoy it tons.  I just can't in good conscience approve a track that relies this heavily on orchestral samples with these sounds and humanization.  It just sounds like a mockup or advanced wip with these sounds.  

NO

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Chimp really nailed what I'm hearing on this one.  The execution on the orchestra sequencing is hurting this.  Also, the mixing on the "louder" sections with guitars and drums actually feel like there's a volume drop and loss in clarity.  Then, louder orchestral backing parts join in and are louder than the rock parts.

Arrangement is excellent.  I don't have any complaints here.

I'd say this needs some work to humanize the orchestra, then a redo on the mixing front to get things better balanced and parts not feeling relegated to the background in what are supposed to be the more energetic sections.

NO resubmit, please

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Enjoy your mix of chiptune, orchestral elements, breakbeats and guitars. You've certainly added your own personality to the original tunes. The instruments surprisingly fit together well despite being quite different. I didn't have as big of an issue that some of the others had with your orchestral stuff - I thought the sounds were serviceable, but due to their attack they did at times lag behind the rest of your arrangement in your sequencing, and were a little stiff. They were also too loud compared to the other parts they were playing with. This highlights one of the more major issues for me here in your mix, which is the mixing. Drums get drowned out regularly, strings take away too much attention from parts that are meant to be leading, and during the busier sections things feel squished. This is a shame as you have a solid arrangement here with some nice original additions. Would like to see this go through another pass to fix up the mixing and orchestral issues.

NO

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I'm on board with the NOs. Love the arrangement, but there's a thinness to the drums but a loud squashiness with the strings. They also get SUPER mechanical around 3:20; very heavily exposed.

Strings and mastering need a serious look. Everything else is that jpeg of Pacha from Emperor's New Groove doing that "When the Sun Hits the Ridge Just Right" face.

NO

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