ReMix: Secret of Mana 'NightTime Evolution'
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Newcomer Harmony (in real life, mild-mannered Brandon Bush) sends in a Secret of Mana ReMix with plenty of it. The ReMixer writes:
"Piano and guitar always do it for me and this mix has plenty to spare (with a piano sample that I love). I like knowing what equipment people are using so…this song was recorded with:
- a Casio CTK-551 (the kind with the keys that light up…my Motif is still at the store)
- Cakewalk Sonar 2, Fruity Loops 3, Cool Edit 2000 Pro
- My trusty acoustic guitar"
Even sans Motif, Brandon's put together a slick mix, with lots of interesting processing decisions and hybrid breakbeat/orchestral/acoustic style that well suits Kikuta's undulating patterns. Right out of the gate, spacious, high-quality bells are set against a warm acoustic on the underlying, trademark Kikuta triplet pattern; with repeating patterns, especially, it's important that the instrumentation be dynamic, otherwise something reiterated so often, even as an accompaniment, can lose its lustre post-haste. Brandon avoids that pitfall here with the aforementioned "trusty" acoustic guitar, which amply proves said trust is not misplaced. Rolling, syncopated break snares and hats dance over a kick that very selectively adds low-end to the percussion line. The award for coolest single effect in the mix goes to the uber-slick filtered choo-choo-choo-choo-chooooooo at 1'35" - 's wonderful, 's marvelous, etc. Piano, flute, a solo cello, and a warm bassline that keeps things moving round out the arrangement. The cello is the one element that does get a bit exposed, cutting early at the very conclusion with audible looping and pitch-bending beforehand in a cool arrangement decision that nevertheless made the sample a bit more vulnerable. That's a nitpick, and the world is certainly populated with far lesser cello samples, but when things are sonically solid overall I'm left with only smaller line items to point out. Larry echoed these smaller and larger sentiments:
"The ending tapered off fairly well, although that last low string hanging until 3:09 didn't sound good. Even going for a delicate approach where things slow down and various instruments drop out as the piece winds down, the ending should have possessed a more satisfying resolution. Overall though, very nice work and a pleasure to listen to, Brandon. Good work creating some dry yet purposeful and satisfying percussion work, a relaxing atmosphere, and some well-executed arrangement ideas."
Last impressions are important, but moreso I think in novels and films than in songs; regardless, a slightly underwhelming ending can't nix three plus minutes of good mixin', which Harmony provides with his Darwinian take on the moonlit hours. Slick stuff, mellow but with motion, and some individual details that are memorable and which while brief add vital expression make this mix an excellent first sub from a promising mixer who'll hopefully get his Motif from the store in one piece and submit more like it.
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