ReMix: Chrono Trigger "Behind the Sealed Door" 4:26

By Lifeformed

Artist Links
Arranging the music of 2 songs from 2 games (view all)...

"Sealed Door", "The Prelude"

Primary Game: Chrono Trigger (Square, 1995, SNES), music by Nobuo Uematsu, Noriko Matsueda, Yasunori Mitsuda

Posted 2008-08-14, evaluated by the judges panel


I'm writing this from a hotel room in Pennsylvania, and - for now - it looks like my father's surgery earlier this morning was successful and that there are no issues, which is fantastic. Those of you who've had a loved one in the hospital undergoing a procedure of any signifcance can probably relate to the stress & apprehension; it'll be good when he's back to 100%. Context out of the way, I'd like to thank all of you who had the chance to attend our panel at Otakon 2008 - we feel like it was our best yet, had a blast (and hope you did, too), and welcome the newcomers who were learning about OCR for the first time. Speaking of newcomers, Terence Lee (aka swarmer) interrupts the DQD action with some debut Chrono Trigger. The ReMixer writes:

"An older version of this song was submitted for the Nobou Uematsu Arrangement Competition at SquareSound. It placed 9th. I was not completely satisfied with it when I submitted it; I was under a big time constraint: I finished the song and sent the email out at exactly 12:00am, the time it was due. I knew there were production problems, but I admittedly do not have much experience so I was happy to learn that judging reports with comments would be available. Larry, one of the judges, had some very helpful advice, which was that the drums were largely under par and the vox could have been better quality.

So upon reading all that today, I hurriedly went to go fix it, and here it is. I'm really bad at mastering so my 10-minute-mastering done at 11:45pm for the competition didn't work so well, so I spent most of today redoing that. The drums are the same instrument but I tried to fix the sound quality of it, and tried a bit riskier approach to making it not sound too out of place. I hope it worked!

As for the inspiration, I reallllllly like Chrono Trigger and its music, and was happy to learn that one of my favorite songs, Sealed Door, was a Uematsu song, and therefore I could use it for the competition. I began to notice that it had a lot of structural similarities with the Prelude from Final Fantasy. Specifically, the melody was almost the same (if you looked at it correctly), and the harmony had a lot of similarities. The big difference, however, is that one is minor and one is major. I tried to explore different ways to transit from one to another, and I hope you find them effective."

Actually, I think more than a few people reallllllly like Chrono Trigger and its music - what else could warrant a near-verbatim DS release, right?? The drums still aren't working 100% for me; the sequencing is fine but they feel a little muffled. It might just be the lack of a dominant bass making me feel that way, which is always an unorthodox decision but mostly works here. Vinnie - who performed 'Still Alive' from Portal at Otakon with his gf Amy as well as Andy & Jill - sums up the pros and cons:

"Definitely an underrated song from the Chrono Trigger soundtrack... This was a tough one to make a decision on. I think the piano parts are quite expressive, and at its best, the mood created here is stunning. The acoustic guitar, vocals, and reversed effects add a lot. The switch to Prelude is a revelation in the midst of such darkness; a fantastic addition. The problem is that the flaws with the song really stick out. I don't think the drums are strong enough for the song, and 0:31 really doesn't have nearly the impact it should. A bass section may have added some depth there. I think if there was more reliance on the drums I'd want this redone, but they aren't used that much, so I'll say YES. There's a lot merit in the rest of this song and I think it outweighs the minor though obvious problems it has."

That about sums it up for me as well; the balance between light and dark and the conceptual strength of the arrangement pull the mix up, in spite of a couple flaws. I think Terence should specifically focus on drums and bass, as everything else here is really pretty smooth, production-wise, and he seems to have a good general grasp on EQ, DSP, etc. Sure, it's yet more Chrono Trigger, but it's a more obscure selection from the score, and it'd melded artistically with the FF prelude for some hot Uematsu-on-Uematsu action.

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 14 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
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Mockingbird
on 2010-06-03 07:36:17

I like the piano and the guitar. The drums are a little weird, but for the most part OK. The choir is not my cup of tea here. Good effort!

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JadeAuto
on 2009-12-08 23:24:17

I've been a fan of this mix ever since it was posted. I have to agree with some of the constructive criticism so-far, in that the transition from Sealed Door into Prelude seemed kinda tacked on and less than it could have been.

The oohs and ahhs as Prelude slowly segues back into Sealed Door though, heh, that sends shivers down my spine. It's a sound scape of mystery, flowing into hope, and being reminded that there's always a sequel and another challenge to overcome, another mystery to solve.

I just love the sound scape of this song, and the instrument selection is top notch.

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Bahamut
on 2009-11-09 01:04:40

Somehow, this source really spawns some nice mixes. One of the charming things about this particular one, like all others of this source it seems, is that it maintains the mystique found in the original even with this interpretation. When it segues into the FF Prelude music, then you are greeted with some nice uplifting music. I don't know if I'm a fan of the song going back to the Sealed Door source though after, as I get the imagery of the door already having been opened and basking in the glory of what was behind it.

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Martin Penwald
on 2008-09-02 15:09:03

Can't say that I'm really fond of the piano playing in the first and last, i.e. the CT parts. The sound of it rubs me the wrong way.

However, the piano in the Prelude section is really nice, as is the guitar. Vox works well, too.

I don't think I need to comment on percussion; the posters above me already said anything there is to say.

Overall, nice work. There's room for improvement, but there some really nice things about this remix.

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OA
on 2008-08-29 12:28:43

Some nice production details like the reverse reverb on the piano hits and the samples were decent overall, but the transitions were really weak, as was the percussion.

Overall this has some very competent bits but I don't think it came together completely.

Still a good listen, it just didn't feel like a full song to me.

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JC123
on 2008-08-28 15:30:18

Yes, I lurk a lot and usually don't give many comments.

This is one of the newer ones and as a drummer myself, I would have loved to see more of the drums being used. Drums usually act as a baseline which holds the rest of a song together.

While this song does have merit, it seems out of place on my laptop speakers not to hear something go *thump, thump, thump*

I still feel this is a great addition to the OC family. The harmony is there and you can feel that synergy of everything coming together similar to a final boss battle.

7.5/10

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MojoHamster
on 2008-08-22 04:28:04
Thanks everyone, I'm glad you guys liked it. :)

So from what it seems like I need to work quite a bit on my percussion. I really don't know where to start though. I haven't ever played drums before, I haven't listened to many percussion-heavy songs, and I don't know of any drum sequencing techniques. Does anybody have any resources that I could look at?

From what I understand, the drums need to be a bit fuller, synchronized better, clearer in composition, and maybe just completely removed from certain parts. Anything else to add to the list?

I think it depends what you want to do with the drums, what effect you're after.

Initially when I was listening to this track, I thought it sounded like something that might well be twinned with a more orchestral sort of percussion.

Towards the end though, I realized that actually the tempo is constant throughout so perhaps the more dance based rhythm reflects that.

If you were aiming for your drums to sounds like random bubbles of sound bleeding through a sort of, sonic abyss for a brief moment, before bleeding out, if you get me...

Then it's likely you achieved what you set out to do. Your arrangement definitely seems to go through modes that focus on different instruments.

Personally, I still have trouble getting percussion to do exactly what I want it to. My best advice would be to listen to some of your favourite songs, but in particular, that one bit of the song that really hooks you in. At which point, note what it is about the percussion that adds to that part and that feeling.

You kinda basically, just have to rip people off...to a point. That's what all writers are doing. Derivation is key. To quote J Robbins, "Kill all the copyrights and loosen my tongue!".

Also failing that, and being slightly pretentious, you can also paint with your percussion. Try to reflect the emotion the rest of the instruments are aiming for at that point in the music. Beyond that percussion is very effective in signaling transitional elements too.

I apologize if that sounded like verbal diarrhea. Good luck!

PS. Your Ride Cymbal sound was really nice once released from the phase effect.

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Mirby
on 2008-08-16 19:58:55

Great job! It works great for ambience in the background of a conversation, if you ask me. It has that mellow feel to it and I like it a lot. Great job!

Can I use it in my game?

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Lifeformed
on 2008-08-16 00:54:31

Thanks everyone, I'm glad you guys liked it. :)

So from what it seems like I need to work quite a bit on my percussion. I really don't know where to start though. I haven't ever played drums before, I haven't listened to many percussion-heavy songs, and I don't know of any drum sequencing techniques. Does anybody have any resources that I could look at?

From what I understand, the drums need to be a bit fuller, synchronized better, clearer in composition, and maybe just completely removed from certain parts. Anything else to add to the list?

avatar
DragonAvenger
on 2008-08-15 13:58:25

This is an interesting mix, combining two themes that I wouldn't think to put together. There are a lot of good things going on in the mix, but I personally am not a fan of it. There are too many small things that I don't like that add up. A lot of it is probably personal preferance.

The tempo feels a little rushed in the beginning, which makes it feel a little unnatural. The pianos are doing good work, but the speed just pushes it a little to far for me.

The choir sample used in the Prelude is nice, and there was a nice set of harmonies in it, but when the drums come in they it feels like it's slightly out of time. I also generally feel like the jump from the Sealed Door theme to the Prelude is a big jump; the two parts feel like two different songs.

I don't think there's a point in the mix where I like the drums, I'm sorry to say. They feel too pasted on, and to me seem like they just don't match what's going on.

The transition from the Prelude back into Sealed Door is excellent, however. Great movement in the piano that leads right into the sealed door. Easily my favorite part of the mix. Also the most original stuff in the mix. More of that would be good.

Overall, it's not my cup of tea, but there is a lot of good work going on in the mix that I can appreciate even if I don't like it. Congratulations on your first mix, though, and I'll look forward to hearing more work from you.

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John Revoredo
on 2008-08-15 13:52:28

Chrono trigger best rpg ever!!!!! ^_^

Good remix.. overally, has a pretty good feeling to it.

Here goes my crit.

Drums are weak. Sometimes you can feel they're looped, and they lack of "sound presence". I'd use a compressor on that (plus... writing more drum variations and humanizing the velocity would really help).

Some parts of the mix feel a bit empty... There are many piano + vox sections that might have been filled with something more: the track goes from a place to another always using the same "piano + vox" bridge. Even the prelude part seems to miss something. Good choirs, though. I really liked them

Oh yeah! ... This NEEDs a bass!!!

On the other side, piano and guitar are really well done, I like the way they're used to deliver such an atmosphere!

So... despite all the badass criticism I'd score this one 8 out of 10 ^_^

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evktalo
on 2008-08-15 04:53:57

Fantastic atmosphere. Really nice background atmospheric details (backward pianos and so on). That and the piano in general are the strong things in this ReMix. The drums sound a little muffled. They're ok though, mostly - there's some stuttering (in a bad way) with hihat/ride cymbal. Also I don't think the lowpass filtered beat around 02:40'ish really added to the piece. On the whole I have a hard time figuring out the flow of this piece, especially after that spot. In that context the drums feel slightly "glued on". They seem fine in the beginning, but towards the end they feel unfocused.

The acoustic guitar sounds really good in my opinion, except at the beginning of the Prelude section, where they stutter really jarringly at a couple of spots. I wouldn't mind the sampled feel, but it's kind of underquantized. Good (quite minimal) selection of sounds - I liked the vox also.

Regardless of all the criticism I have, this was a really refreshing piece to listen to. I enjoy it!

--Eino

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Tuned Logic
on 2008-08-15 01:41:16

Absolutely awesome! The original was quite eerie, but at the same time, it was kind of harsh sounding due to some of the instruments used. Your take on the source is much more relaxing, but still retains the good eerie feel, and the instrument choices were excellent. I especially loved the piano playing. The drums were iffy in a couple of spots, but they don't take away from the mix much at all; I was so engrossed! :

Sweet ReMix.

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djpretzel
on 2008-08-14 23:32:05

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (2 Songs, 2 Games)


Primary Game:
Chrono Trigger (Square, 1995, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu, Noriko Matsueda, Yasunori Mitsuda
Songs:
"Sealed Door"
Additional Game:
Final Fantasy VII (Sony, 1997, PS1)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
Songs:
"The Prelude"

Tags (2)


Genre:
Mood:
Instrumentation:
Acoustic Guitar, Piano
Additional:

File Information


Name:
Chrono_Trigger_Behind_the_Sealed_Door_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
4,353,488 bytes
MD5:
a5db99e08f51f944ec7d79695f6516cc
Bitrate:
128Kbps
Duration:
4:26

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