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DragonAvenger

OCR03651 - *YES* Secret of Mana "Reminiscence Beneath a Great Tree" *PROJECT*

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MP3 link:

CONTACT INFORMATION

Remixer Name:
HeavyViper
Real Name: Hal Binderman
Email Address:
Website: https://www.soundcloud.com/heavyviper
User ID: 32639


SUBMISSION INFORMATION

NOTE:
Composed as a part of the ongoing "Resonance of the Pure Land" Secret of Mana arrange project, headed by Jorito and The Nikanoru. Advised by Jorito to submit it separately for judging "regardless of the album mix flood." Should not be posted before album release.

Name of game(s) arranged: Secret of Mana
Name of arrangement: Reminiscence Beneath A Great Tree
Name of individual song(s) arranged: Spirit of the Night

Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_of_Mana
Link To Original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TyI2-3vcpk

Comments: Secret of Mana! One of the only SNES games to make an instant impression on me from the moment I flipped the power switch. I can still hear the eerie cries leading into that beautiful panning shot of the Mana Tree. I had originally hoped to claim the title screen BGM, 'Fear of the Heavens,' for that very reason, but by no means was I disappointed to claim this one instead. It's a solemn, yet hopeful piece that really fits the scene it first plays over. The hero is cast out of his home, but at the same time he has a wonderful journey ahead of him...

I had to think a little about how to approach the track at first, however the answer came to me fast enough. I have long been a big fan of the outstanding 'Konami Battle' series of rock arrange albums released in the '90s, and always wanted to try and compose something in a similar style. Soaring guitar solos and reverb-soaked drum machines, gently backed by warm synth pads -- nothing like it. :>

The bulk of my prep was spent transcribing the lead melody for guitar, and then adding my own flavour to it. Once I had that melody down, everything else just seemed to fall into place. It was a good opportunity to experiment with layering sounds, in retrospect - the pads in particular are comprised of three separate instruments, and the drums are crafted from an interesting grab-bag of samples! My experimentation did cause some issues during mixing, I must say. This piece was definitely a good way to learn that sometimes, less is more.

The hardest part was getting the guitar tone right, especially when it came to the high gain section. While I've been a guitarist for quite a while, I've actually spent most of my time playing clean, so it was a challenge to craft an interesting tone yet keep the wild characteristics of high-gain signal under control! It took quite a bit of doing, but I'm satisfied with the end result, and happy to have some extra tools in my belt for future projects.

In the end, I'm glad I tackled this track the way I did. It may not have come out exactly the way I planned it, but I think the end result captures the same mixture of sadness and hope that the original did. If anything, it was a great excuse to try and capture a sound that I've always loved. I hope everyone enjoys my take on this lovely piece!

 

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Nice job doing a lot with a little.  It's a beautifully rich soundscape, even if the reverb is a little over the top (sometimes the long tails do cause a little bit of muddiness and conflict).

More importantly, it gets pretty repetitive.  Melodically, I found that the amount of added accompaniment and variation with each iteration was enough to hold my interest.  The percussion is very much on autopilot, though, and if this gets sent back, I recommend mixing it up a little.  Also, that pad is present during the entire arrangement, and it gets pretty old--I know you're proud of its design, and it's very nice, but it's too much of a good thing.

One other, minor complaint would be that the intro fades in very slowly, to the point that I thought it was going to stabilize at a very quiet level and turned my volume up, only to find that I then had it way too high.  Might be OK as the first track on an album, but I don't think the effect is great in the middle of a tracklist or as a standalone piece.  And then the ending fades out too slowly as well.

For me this is just under the bar for the front page, though I think it's acceptable as part of an album.  Mix up the percussion and the pads, clean up some of the conflict caused by the long reverb decay, and tighten up the fade-in and fade-out and I think this will be a winner.

NO (resubmit)

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Mmm, I really enjoyed this on the album - a power ballade is a great way to send off the SoM album. Let's see how well it stands on it's own, too.

The arrangement is really cool, opening with a clean acoustic guitar over some new-age pads before getting to the distorted guitar. The opening section does feel like it drags, though; while I appreciate the atmosphere being set up, it could've easily been half as long.

The pads, while great, could've been dropped from time to time. They're great, but when they're there for nearly 100% of the track they end up sounding stale and uninteresting. Dropping them when, say, the distorted guitar comes in and bringing them in later would've had them sounding fresh and interesting rather than stale and overused.

I'm really enjoying the flourishes and changes made to the source in this, though; the arrangement does a great job keeping the short source interesting over the 5+ minute span. The harmony changes were effective, and the guitar improv was great.

I think this is certainly good enough for the front page, despite my criticisms; it's not only a good send-off for the album, it also works well as a stand-alone track. Nice work.

YES

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I'm with Gario here; there's a ton of personalization to the original done here, and I think the track stands quite well on it's own. I can see how the others felt this was repetitious, but I honestly wasn't bothered by it, and I think nothing stays around too long in regards to particular sections. Those pads do start to get a little old, though I didn't find that to be as bothersome either since the distorted section they are put much further into the background. I think dropping them would have been a better call in that area, but I don't mind that they stuck around.

Overall I think the soundscape you created here works really well with the melody and how you treated everything is fantastic. Nice work.

YES

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Slow paced rendition of the original. We start off with a short introduction of sound effects and organ chords, followed by a clean guitar lead that plays for most of the reminding play time. The guitar fits the lead part well, with some good levels of originality featured in the riffs played. At 2:38 we break into some distortion lead playing mostly the same notes from before, until 3:16 where we get some lead doubling followed by a solo. This made the section feel more original and less like what had come before it, but should’ve come sooner. The arrangement progression while safe, did include enough original material amongst the main melody to keep things fresh.  

At 4:20 things felt like they were winding down well but kept going - not that the material here was bad, but it felt like it drew out the distortion lead section for too long. The clean guitar comes back in to close us out, which featured some nice layering of foreground and background elements. Not a bad mix. Quite an original take on the track, although I feel with the ideas presented here and the slow pacing of the track, if we had just transitioned sooner between each part, we’d have a better mix overall.

YES

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I remember first hearing the original, and while it's meant as the sad/emotional piece, I always felt it was subpar compared to the main theme in this regard.  The mood you've brought here

Regarding this mix, I like the approach here a lot.  Guitar sounds fantastic.  Performance is solid and I like the tone a lot.  One crit from me would be I'd like to hear more textural contrast between sections, instead of the constant "ooh" pads that play throughout.  Drums help in this regard when they arrive.  If you'd let the backing drop or change to something more subdued, it'll allow sections like the dueling guitars be even more effective and pronounced when the supporting parts come back in to join it.  While it's my biggest issue with the piece, it's not a big issue overall to me, per-se.

For arrangement, the source usage is never in doubt for most of the mix.  It starts getting into more original territory around 4:40, but it's already established the connections prior, while still bringing plenty of creativity.  Ending was quite nicely handled as well - complete with SoM-style groans.  Love it.

YES

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