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Gario

*NO* Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation 'A Journey's End'

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CONTACT INFORMATIONS


Remixers: classic_gamer_76, That Headband Guy, mattmatrice, IplaiGames
Real Names: Kevin Blondel, Mike, Matt Matriciano, Andres Gomez
Email Addresses: 
Websites: https://soundcloud.com/k-vin-blondel-480441550https://soundcloud.com/thatheadbandguy https://soundcloud.com/mmatrikshttps://soundcloud.com/masseve
Forum User IDs: 33015, 33437, 32637, 33964
 
SUBMISSION INFORMATIONS:

Game: Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Sony PlayStation, SEGA Dreamcast, Mac OS
Release Date: 1999
Arrangement: ‘A Journey's End’
Song Arranged: Theme
Composer: Peter Connelly
Original Music: https://soundcloud.com/peter-conz-connelly/sets/tomb-raider-iv-the-last
 
COMMENTS:

I don't think this mix is gonna pass, but I want to give it a try and get additional feedback on this one.
Plus, it's the series' 20th Birthday this year -- so hopefully it will inspire other, more talented, remixers to come up with a ReMix worthy of the name ^^
Chose to arrange the 'TR4 Theme' for it is my favorite Main Theme in the franchise... and also because EmptyMy already did a perfect arrangement of the classic 'TR1 Theme' back in 2002.

Guitars/Bass: That Headband Guy
Rhythm Guitars: Matt Matriciano
Programming: Kevin Blondel
Mixing/Mastering: Andres Gomez

After very helpful feedbacks from AngelCityOutlaw, T- Ape and some of my friends, I eventually got in contact with That (talented) Headband Guy to record the chorus and lead guitars as well as the bass I wrote for the track.
Not being able to find a drummer or a flute player, I searched for some decent quality VSTs and tried to make them sound as realistic as possible via humanization -- I hope I did well enough.
My good friend Matt then joined the party to provide additional rhythm guitars.
I finally asked Andres Gomez to take care of the mixing/mastering process for us, for I feared I might screw everything up if I had to do it myself.

Seeing all those great remixes being rejected because they're either too conservative or too different from the original source material, I still can't figure out how to correctly balance a mix for it to be accepted.
In order to help the judges making a decision, here are a few notes about the track:

Chorus Guitar:
0:00-0:38/2:42-2:48/3:03-3:10 -- Start with a few notes originally played by the harp, then arranged into an alternative melody.

Drums:
Almost all original, except for the ending cymbals.

Synth Strings:
Always playing 'chords' or melodies from the source theme, sometimes slightly arranged.

Bass/Flute/Rhythm Guitars:
All original.

Sine Lead:
0:32-1:25/2:32-3:05/3:47-4:01 -- Recurrent background melody of the original theme, played by a pitched percussion instrument.
2:08-2:24 -- Original.
3:14-3:20 -- Played by strings in the original theme, in a similar section.

Distortion Guitar:
0:42-1:30: Messing around with the classic Tomb Raider melody, often played by an oboe throughout the series.
1:56-2:30: Original.
2:47-3:10: Basically, the Tomb Raider melody as it can be heard in the TR4 theme, at a similar section.
3:15-3:20: This free note is played by a horn or brass intrument, in one of the beginning sections of the source.
3:20-3:36: Cameo of 'ステージ1、ファイナルステージ' [Stage 1, Final Stage] from 'Raf World' [Journey to Silius] by Naoki Kodaka, which Mike and I played around with (love the game' soundtrack so much :3).


Special thanks to Eilaire who allowed us to use one of her many amazing cosplay pictures for visual support purposes when this remix was posted on social medias. Be sure to check her amazing work when you're done listening to this mix:
http://eilaire.deviantart.com/

Cheers

classic_gamer_76
 

(First track)

Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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You might say that you've had trouble striking the balance between too conservative and too different when it comes to VGM arrangements, but this time you absolutely nailed it.  The melody is clearly there, but the change from mellow cinematic to symphonic rock is substantial, and a fantastic decision.

I would have liked to have heard more from the chorus guitar, which added a lot of character and couldn't really be heard at all the third time it comes around.  That makes me wonder if there are other details I'm missing, since I wouldn't have even known that was there without the breakdown, but I like what I can hear.  Otherwise, I don't really have much to add--this is really solid.  The accompanying cosplay is really great, too.

YES

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Man, I really enjoy the direction that was take, here - making the soothing opening into an epic rock song works wonders, here. I hear the source pretty clearly, but it's definitely interpretive enough for OCR.

One major factor sticks out to me as an issue, though, and unfortunately it's not negligible for me. First, the strings that are playing throughout the entire track do not sound realistic. There's quite a bit of dynamic work done on them in order to make them sound more human, but the sample itself sound stifled and hollow, like it's a set of synth strings. I hate to knock a track down because it's using something that's not as realistic as it should, but considering how realistic and well done the lions share of the mix is (guitar, drums), those strings sit in an uncanny valley that's impossible to ignore, like they're trying to be realistic, but just don't quite make it. Of course, better samples would solve this issue, but I hate telling an artist that; an alternative would be to get something that is more definitively a synth sample or pad. The issue is how realistic it sounds against the rest of the track, so if you get something that sounds more like a synth rather than an imitation set of strings there should be little issue.

The track is otherwise quite good, but those strings are pervasive and distract me from the rest of the arrangement. Hopefully my suggestions help, because I would like to see this pass in one form or another sometime soon. Best of luck!

NO

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I am, unfortunately, going to have to agree with Gario here. The strings sounds are really not cutting it here. I think the rest of the track is really nice, and wondefully emotive, which makes it more of a shame that the strings just kinda kill the mood. I do think switching either to a different sample or, as Gario suggested, going with something like a synth that can get away with being more fakey sounding would be a great way to get around this. Either way, I hope you do one more pass here!

NO (resubmit)

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Man is that chorus guitar sweet.  Definitely one of the highlights of the song.  The lead performance may be another, the final short cameo of JTS, one of my favorite soundtracks, was also sweet and hit me right in my bias bone.  Now the strings, that's something my fellow judges are taking issue with, and I would agree that they are indeed fake sounding, but the artists refers to them as synth strings, so I don't believe they're meant to sound realistic.  Even if they are though, in the context of this track, they didn't bother me as much as to think they bring the whole thing down.

I wouldn't be against changing the synth string sound to something else, but they sound more like a string machine to me than a string library trying to be realistic.

Overall this track has a lot of heart and the arrangement is handled well.  The artists knew how to pace this mix well, as we see things like prolonged pauses to accentuate an ending or upcoming section.  Pretty solid overall.

YES

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Guitar performances are really great.  The flute is noticeably fake but it has a minor role.  The drums sound fine.  The string pad is not the loveliest pad sound I ever heard, but I don't have the feeling that it means to be real strings, and it gets the job done just fine.  Nice arrangement.

YES

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The source tune was all over this. I had it at least from :10-1:25, 1:42.5-1:50.75 & 2:33.25-4:03.5, and I'm sure there were other sections I didn't immediately recognize, so there were no concerns on that level. The arrangement aspect was a pass, and the collaborators all stepped up and delivered. Also gotta co-sign that the drumwork was definitely solid, and a strong foundation here.

However, I'm definitely on the NO side of this with the current execution. I wouldn't be angry if this passed, BUT I also strongly don't believe there's a legitimate case that this should pass as is. As others pointed out, those sequenced bowed strings were definitely pretty lacking, with some of the longest sustained notes really exposed (e.g. :32-37). I don't think saying "they're stated as string synths" makes them sound serviceable; I've heard better usage of synth strings before, these are too exposed, and for all intents and purposes they're serving the function of real orchestral strings.

The background synth brought in at :31 was arguably too quiet, but it at least registered; no issue there, I just thought it could have been more prominent, including at 2:07's section as well.

Onto some other production issues: The timing of the flute at :47 was also extremely blocky and mechanical-sounding. 

I'm not sure if it was just the 160kbps encoding here, but the mixing wasn't strong either. For example, I felt like the rhythm guitar work introduced at 1:03 did a decent job filling in the soundscape, but the performance of it tended to mud into the background and not sound clear; that said, the backing guitar at 1:25 did noticeably sound clearer and did a better job filling in the textures. 

It was only at 2:47 that I even noticed a bassline even existed in this piece; it barely registered for me, so let's not make sure THG's work there isn't lost in the shuffle so badly. The overall mixing wasn't awful, and it's decent enough to get by with some Js, but do what you can to clear the overall piece up so that some of your team's part-writing isn't getting buried.

Very good base here, Kevin, and if this doesn't make it as is, the potential is there. The arrangement doesn't need to be touched, so it would then be about fine-tuning the production, i.e. the sample realism issues and the mixing. Good luck, and definitely keep at it with this one.

NO (resubmit)

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Yeah, echoing crits on the strings being too exposed/in your face with a pretty fakey tone.  The flute that briefly enters in has the same problems, though it isn't nearly featured as much as the strings.

Mixing bothered me as well.  It doesn't feel like everything is occupying the same space and the mix in general has a distant/lossy sound to it.  It's hard to articulate exact causes with something like this without being hands on with the mix, but in general it feels like elements should be coming through with more clarity but still balanced and gelling together sonically.

I like the arrangement a lot.  Really liking the drum work featured here as well.

With some tightening up on the production side I could definitely be on board.

NO resubmit, please

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Really enjoy the guitar opening, smooth chorus, and good performances throughout as the arrangement progresses. The strings felt a bit strange here, like they are separate to the rest of the mix, floating above it almost. This may be due to the lack of reverb. Their quality also sounds a bit too basic, which in contrast to your other parts really makes them stick out in a negative way. During the sections of your arrangement where they're included, I felt they didn't really add much to what was already happening. Otherwise the progression of the arrangement feels relatively decent. The outro I thought was a little strange as the track felt like it closed off nicely only to briefly start up again before ending for real. That nitpick aside, I think this is pretty solid, but the strings do bother me somewhat, and I feel the track would be better off with some revision there first. They don't fit in with the live feel you have happening with your other parts.

NO

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