Gario

*NO* Lufia 2 'The Heat of the Battle'

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ReMixer name: elenaiwilliams

Real name: Elena Íviel Williams
E-mail address:
UserID: 34324
 
Game Arranged: LufiaII: Rise of the Sinistrals
Name of Arrangement: The Heat of the Battle
Name of song arranged: Battle #1
 
Well, the first thing you'll probably notice about this is that I am completely unoriginal when it comes to titles. I almost went with just "Battle Theme", so go figure. Anyway, ever since I first listened to this battle theme I wanted to arrange it, something about that slap bass captured me (ironically, that's the part that I haven't managed to get as close to the original vibe as I wanted). And of course, even though the limited sounds of the SNES were very minimalistic, I was always sure that this was a power prog song, because, well, all RPG battle themes are, in a way (and I love it).
So a few years ago I did, just for my listening pleasure, a fairly straightforward rock arrangement of this theme, and it was fine, but definitely not something good enough to share. Lately I'd been listening to it again and came across the arrangement for the DS version, I was blown away, especially by the string interlude. Definitely I had to up my arrangement, this is what was missing.
So I set on to making an arrangement I could be proud of. It's still fairly short, fairly straight forward, and quite on the conservative side: I didn't want to wander off too far from the original song because it was already so good. I did have a good time adding layers of synths, though (and a hard time getting the solo violin just right). Because a guitar based cover is nice, but when you add Hammond, strings, and nice keyboard solo... well that's just swell.
Anyway, yeah, here it is. Hope it's good enough to be part of the OCRemix repertoire.
 

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Aha, very low hanging fruit for me - gotta love some Lufia music.

It's a pretty conservative mix in the beginning, but those guitar and synth solos are pretty kickass. For such a short song, I give it full credit for going through a range of intensity levels, from power stance metal to thrash solos to even more sensitive moments with the cello (or is it a viola?). I'm all for this arrangement. 

The production is a little less spot on, though it isn't terrible. The higher end EQ balance is pretty low, which makes the whole track sound a bit muffled. The backing strings sound pretty mechanical and stiff, though since they're in the background behind the guitar it's not too big an issue, and when the cello takes the lead toward the end it sounds pretty great.

I think it could be better produced, but I don't think there's enough here for me to reject this on. Let's do it.

EDIT (04/26): Oh yikes, I totally biffed on pointing out that sourness at 1:38 - 1:40. Shoot, I'm normally pretty good at catching those things, I wonder how that flew under the radar. I 100% agree on that being a necessary fix for this, as that's pretty poignant at an important transition. Adding that point as a conditional, please fix er' up!

EDIT (05/23): And I think Deia has a point as well - if it's a live performance that needs to be fixed, that's not quite a conditional fix there. The weird clashing does need to be fixed before I can pass this, so fix it and send it back this way right away!

NO

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Lufia 2 is a big weakness for me as well, and this certainly delivers.  Plenty of original work and twists on the source, so I don't think it's particularly conservative at all.  There are a few odd note combinations (1:39-1:41 especially stuck out to me), and Gario's crits about the production are on point, but the arrangement is golden and the performance is tight.

YES

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Levels were pretty quiet, and there's definitely high-end sharpness/clarity missing here. Agreed with the others on this a pretty straightforward rock cover to start; good energy, but was looking for more personalization, which thankfully arrived via some original writing/soloing from :43. The synth lead at 1:03 was pretty basic/out-of-the-box, but the writing was sprited. Good layering and countermelodic writing underneath the melody at 1:24.

Whoa, what happened at 1:38-1:40? Sounded like the notes dropped down too low and didn't work with the backing parts at all. That's GOT to be fixed; how did that stay in like that? :-)

Something in the background from 2:04-2:19 (guitar?) was quietly clashing with the rest of the writing; it didn't stand out too much and I'm not saying the notes were wrong, but there's something not quite right there. If another music J could corroborate that and make a tweak suggestion, that would be good.

Agreed with Gario on the piece having good energy and dynamics, as well as the minor crit on the string realism not being a huge ding against this due to being brief and not hugely exposed. The fade at the very end also went to 0 too quickly, but that's not a huge deal.

I hate to be anal retentive, Elena, but I'll have to go conditional and request a fit for the sour writing around 1:38-1:40; let's get a fix for that, and perhaps it affords the chance for some EQing/clarity improvements as well, though that's not necessary. Good energy here!

YES (conditional)

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Pretty much everything mentioned above is what I'm hearing, but I don't think fixing it is going to be as quick as the conditional guys think it will be. Might be some rerecording going on, and fooling with the levels to make a less muffled sound might take a bit. Going to go 

NO (resubmit)

just because I think it's more than a 5 minute fix. Hope you get this one back to us though, there's some really nice arranging going on here!

 

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This is really solid, the guitar performances are excellent, and man do I love me some sync lead soloing.  The general structure and feel is pretty close to the original but there are additions that serve as a bit of an upgrade arrangement-wise, and there's plenty of soloing to go around.  I would've liked a bit more interpretation though.  On the production side of things everything is solid for the most part with a few exceptions on the busy sections getting a bit messy frequency-wise, but overall definitely over the bar.

As others have pointed out, the off-key section sticks out and really irked me right away.  This needs to be fixed, and since I don't have any other qualms with this I'll set it as a conditional post on this section being changed.

YES (Conditional on fixing the off section)

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You'd don't muck around and just get straight into it, I like that. First thing that comes to mind - I think you have too much compression across the mix here, which I feel might be a master bus issue. It's preventing the track from breathing properly and causing a little bit of pump. The mixing is also a bit cloudy as well, with parts blending into each other a bit much. In sections where the guitar and strings play on their own they are quite clear, so I gather from this that your bass or other accompanying guitars have untamed low end. The part at 1:39 is off and the notes need fixing.

I thought the arrangement here was ok, but it didn't take many chances and it felt more cover like than I would've liked to hear. Having a section completely break away from the core progression would've been interesting to hear you explore.

Reviewing my comments, I think the mixing issues here need fixing. If the compression is eased off a bit, and the low-end dialled back on some parts that don't need it, it would make a big difference IMO. You also need to revisit those off notes.

NO

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Honestly don't have much to add to what's already been said.  The most obvious issue to me is mixing/compression as the track sounds generally bottom-heavy.  Not sure if it's caused by EQ or what Jive mentioned with low-end instruments pushing the compression too hard.  On the other hand, though, as Larry mentioned the levels are a bit low (esp for the genre), so I'd definitely take a look at your compression settings to get a handle on the above.

Agreed also on the 1:38 notes remark, though to me it sounded like it didn't get back on track until the chord at 1:43.  I hate asking for note fixes on live recordings, but there is definite clashing between the leads and backing notes.

This OST is awesome and I love your arrangement ideas and the direction you've taken it.  Some production tweaks and note fixes will really make this one shine.

NO resubmit, please

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This is a great cover, wonderful performances.  I agree with the production crits though, the track is bottom heavy, and hopefully this is a fairly easy mixing fix.  The sour notes at 1:38 really need to be fixed also, I hope that is an easy fix too.  Otherwise this is good to go.  Hope to hear this back quickly.

NO (resubmit)

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Fix those notes. Everything else is great. Love the solos, performance is killer. NO, resub

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