ReMix: Phantasy Star II "Take Turns"
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8,174,634 bytes, 5:38, 192kbps
We end our month of floods, having hit you upside the head with five-parted blasts of SM64, Square-Enix, and Sega Genesis ReMixes, with a quintet of arrangements all from artists who are NEW to OCR. That's right, woodchuck chuckers, it's NOOBFLOOD 2014!! Of course, it bears mentioning that most artists making their debut here have already published music elsewhere, and we invite - nay, we strongly encourage - ALL listeners to visit individual artist homepages, SoundClouds, YouTube channels, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts to see what everyone's up to! We updated our main artist listing awhile back to make it easier to access these links, and will be making future changes elsewhere on the site to make them more prominent. Up first is Byproduct (Juhana Honkanen) with a mix of Phantasy Star II!! Our last mix of this game was posted almost ten years ago, so I'm stoked to see more - Wild Arms: ARMed & DANGerous director Jade recently played through the entire quadrilogy and was posting screenshots on Facebook, and it really brought back some memories. Juhana writes:
"A friend of mine turned 30, and I asked him which old game tune he'd like to hear remixed. When pondering his options, he said "'Rise or Fall' has great potential, but is unfortunately too short for remixing." (It's a 54-second loop.) Sounded like a fun challenge to me, so here is a 5 1/2-minute version! Many thanks go to the people who helped me out by giving valuable feedback at the Workshop forums - extra big 1up to timaeus222 and Elrinth especially.
This is a resub. As per the judges' comments, it has much less compression, it's slightly less bright, and has more sections with less leads and drums - most notably after 1:25 and 3:35, but there are some other changes and tweaks and increased variation here and there as well."
Cool birthday present; glad we could all indirectly benefit from the request/challenge! This is definitely a tougher source and not one that stands out to me when I think of this game in particular or the overall Phantasy Star series, but it's definitely got that upbeat, FM-AND-PROUD sound to it, and the artist has done a good job extending the original into something with more direction & development. Nutritious writes:
"The rhythm guitars underneath really bring the energy to this track. One could argue this is a conservative take on the original melody lines and sound choices, but there is a lot of care given in the writing details and dynamic contrasts, which sets this apart. Things continue to branch out after the halfway mark, which I like. The pseudo fake-out fade ending at 3:35-3:58 was a nice touch."
Agreed on those guitars; this could have ended up feeling a bit too static, but the integration of some rock overtones prevented that from happening & kept things moving forward. Our new triumvirate of judges weighed in on this track, and while Brent & Dain both felt like production was still problematic even after the resub, Joel carried the consensus while offering some valuable mastering advice:
"Production wise, I felt the track was a little thin. The individual elements also feel a little too compressed, blending into each other. This combination of problems is making it difficult for me to hear all the stuff in the background you have there, so my ear is drawn to the lead synth and left there for most of the song. You've done a lot of hard work on those background elements, it would be great to hear them more clearly. Playing with some panning, EQ, easing off the high pass filters or a combination of those would help bring out these elements. All the frequencies are having a party in the mid range, don't be afraid to send some downstairs or onto the roof."
I'd agree that a little more dynamic contrast & re-balancing could have better illuminated the very solid foundation of the arrangement Byproduct has put together, but it also didn't prevent me from enjoying the piece. Good stuff, great debut, SUPERAWESOME game choice - hope to hear more in the future!