ReMix: The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages "Past, Present, and Future Perfect"
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More Essence of Lime mixage, this time from ProtoDome; Mr. Troise writes:
"So, this is a long shot I guess. Chiptunes aren’t exactly within the submission guidelines, but here’s hoping that this isn’t so chippy that it gets rejected... I thought, “oh screw it, I’ll submit it. After all that halc/cthonic chippy number got passed recently.” And so here we are.
It’s a pretty straightforward mix. Imagine Oracle of Ages duelling Megaman in a battlefield of 8-bit percussion and Zelda SFX, whilst a piano, a couple of pads and various drum kits try to form some kind of support to aid the bloodshed of the two great soundtracks colliding- that is what this song is. There’s all kinds of instruments in it actually- there’s an organ from Chrono Trigger, the MMX drum kit, a choir from some SNES game and the different leads span from NES, SNES and GB along with the percussion. Not to mention the analogue stuff, modern synths and drum kits. I’m really trying hard to justify why this isn’t straight forward chiptune- is it working? ^o^"
Great, now I'm having traumatizing flashbacks to extended conversations w/ Brendan (aka Mr. MAGFest) regarding our chiptune policy... or lack thereof. We don't really have a "no chiptune policy," and we never did. We spent a LOT of time working on the revised submission standards - with the help & feedback of the community - and what they say is this:
- 5.2 Synthesized and sampled elements must be reasonably sophisticated.
- General MIDI sounds from low-budget soundcards are not sufficient when superior samples are available online for free.
- Overusing common presets, relying heavily on prerecorded loops, or employing nothing but basic tones or "chiptunes" is discouraged.
We chose our words very carefully, and you kinda have to, for something like this. We're not saying "no chiptunes" per se, but if you're gonna use them heavily, we want to ensure there is a certain level of sophistication to how they are employed. What we specifically did not want is people ignoring tried-and-true audio production concepts like attention to panning (i.e. stereo), reverb, delay, EQ, dynamics, and a whole bunch of other good stuff by simply using "oh, it's chiptunes!" as an excuse to hide behind. Yeah, we're bastards like that, but there it is. Just as we don't want artists recording the vanilla General MIDI defaults from an arrangement they sequenced - in which case the MP3 file might as well have been a MIDI file - we don't want submissions that use nothing but unprocessed sine waves. Production is half of our evaluation criteria, and part of production is a certain level of complexity and nuance, and that CAN be harder to achieve when heavily employing chiptunes or simpler synthesized textures in general. That's a CAN, not a must, however, and ultimately each mix is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
That's me speaking for OCR. Speaking only for myself, I'll just say that I'd warn all artists against boxing themselves in to a certain sound or set of expectations. People get caught up in purity, how something that incorporates even ONE non-authentic element isn't a "TRUE" chiptune, for instance, and is thus inferior in some way. For my own two cents, when it comes to music, I don't like zealotry, and I don't like purism, and I think composers & arrangers should always do what's right for each song, keeping all of their options open, at all times. I'll get down off my soapbox, but hopefully this reiteration of the standards - as they are written - and insight into the thought process behind them has been beneficial on some level.
Now back to the mix - I actually think Blake covered it best in his own description, with the visceral gaming imagery and what not, but yeah - in case you somehow missed it, this has a strong chiptune backbone, one of the most emphasized of any posted mix, but also employs a variety of other elements & processing for a sound that does conjure a multi-console audio orgy of sorts. Vinnie says:
"Not a straightforward call, but I'm typically in favor of expanding the scope of what we take when it doesn't scream out "reject me!" This doesn't scream out to me. It's chippy but the piano and drums give it a distinctive, updated sound. Pitch bends help too. I would have preferred to have more non-chip elements in the first half, but wasn't a dealbreaker. There's so much pep and detail packed into this little nugget, as if you're pushing the limit of the old classic soundcards. One could call it a true overclocked remix."
Nice. AnSo adds:
"Like Palpable said, I would've LIKED to hear some other non-chiptune stuff thrown in for good measure. There's not a doubt in my mind it would widen the scope of the ReMix a bit and that you could pull it off. As it stands though, this is a terrific arrangement and the chiptunage is mixed with other stuff. Enough other stuff? After taking the arrangement into consideration I must say, yes, enough other stuff."
Well said, judges. A jumping, elaborate mix from ProtoDome - check out Essence of Lime for more!
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