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    Glass Joe (+10)
  1. Note: These are not my all-time favorite tracks, but they are standouts, and in many cases deserve to get more recognition. Crono Trigger: Lavos Core - Final Battle Minimalism FTW! Also, it's Mitsuda. And Crono Trigger. I can't explicate any more than that. Legend of Mana: Silence of Time http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r94RosEC4ts This piece is also minimalistic, but it's by Shimomura, which means it is both dark and beautiful. Great use of harmonies to create both tension and a sense of progression. I really love Shimomura's music; sometimes her work seems to me like a mixture of Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev... but I digress. Castlevania Curse of Darkness: Toccata into blood-soaked Darkness Mishiru Yamane + Baroque + Symphonic/prog rock = . I'm sure she would have felt right at home in 17th Europe. I never played Curse of Darkness, but I feel that great music (of any kind) is not dependent on context or nostalgia. Kingdom Hearts 2: The Darkness of the Unknown More toccata, more Shimomura! I love how the track starts out frantic, but ultimately takes on a somber tone, reflecting the nature of this final battle. And no, I never played Kingdom Hearts, either. Contra 3: The Final Gauntlet (in video form to illustrate the dynamic elements of the track(s)) Why doesn't anyone ever bring up the music of this game? It's frickin' awesome! The Final Gauntlet is one of the best examples of early horizontal re-sequencing (dynamic music) in video games, and the soundtrack itself is like blend of Dream Theater-esque prog metal and action film scoring. And, nope, I didn't play it.
  2. (Whoa, I read my post through and it sounds like I'm an analyst or something (I guess that means I'm probably wrong...), but bear with me, okay?) I'm sorry, I agree with the first part of your post, but this sounds an awful lot like a fan's wet dream and not a lot like something that could actually be expected to happen. Of course I can't know for certain, but why would Nintendo limit their target audience to a specific fanbase (however large)? "Casual" games are cheaper to produce, sell better and are more likely to draw new people into the fold than most "core" games. That won't change with the advent of the next generation. Of course Nintendo also wants their old franchises to sell, hence why they make "bridge" titles to make new gamers interested in more traditional gaming. However, titles like these will always be needed as there will always be new casual gamers (some of whom will never play anything more complicated than Wii Sports) On the plus side, as long as this strategy is in place, that means they will never "abandon the core gamers" as some have claimed they would (I'm personally quite happy with their games so far). As for hardware, I expect Nintendo to up the ante only by as much as they need to in order to produce the games they want. Improved graphics have been the main driving force in the industry for a long time, but that will soon change - Nintendo might well have accelerated that proccess. Still, X360/PS3-levels might not be out of the question. Something I do expect, hardware wise, is a vastly extended console-handheld cross-functionality. Nintendo has been going this way for some time (just look at the DSi), but I expect their next gen hardware to be the first pair specifically designed for that purpose. Speaking of which... I think some of you are going about the DSi the wrong way - "overestimating it" if you will. As I see it, the DSi is made for one purpose - to lengthen the life-span of the DS in Japan. The added non-gaming functionality is nothing new - Nintendo has been working on extending the DS's uses for quite some time there - in fact, Iwata has said he wants the DS to be an all-purpose tool (you can use it to order food at some events, for example), available for every household in the country. I have no doubt this will revitalize DS sales and strengthen Nintendo's hold of the home market. Worldwide, I don't think the DSi is intended to be anything but a new DS model. The decision to cut GBA BC was no doubt made because Nintendo deemed it insignificant to the ongoing success of the DS, and I personally agree with that assessment. By the time the DSi is released in the west, it will be a non-factor. Personally, I still have my DS Fat, so... Also, I never thought the DSi would be the DS 2, as some other apparently did. I doubt it's release will effect DS 2's launch, which I would expect to be released in 2010 or so. But then, I guess this is just my speculation...
  3. Honestly, I think there is a valid discussion to be had here, although by it's nature it must eventually boil down to personal preferences. You both make valid points - in fact I agree with you - yet I can relate to the OPs sentiments. To be perfectly honest, I have always been a particular fan of mixes that stuck relatively closely to the original material, and it takes something special for me to appreciate a track that deviates too far from the source. Why is this? There's a lot of reasons, nostalgia admittedly being the most prominent; however I also consider one of the finest qualities of (good) video game music to be the way it sets/enhances the mood of the game, but also works as an independent and (usually) melodically interesting piece of music in its own right. When you take that connection to the game away however, the music often loses some of its meaning to me. As a general rule, I like it when the music still works within the original context of the game. Anyway, as I see it, there are two ways of going about creating a remix - either you set out to make a song into something completely new, changing the genre and/or atmosphere completely (this is the freedom of a out-of-context mix, and I think it should be valued and exploited (at the digression of the remixer). However it is not the only way to express oneself creatively and/or pay your respects to the original song/composer (which is what you want, after all, otherwise you would compose original music)) or, in the other case, your goal is simply to 'enhance' the original. This, I believe is what it means to "preserve the feeling of the original." To make it 'grander', more 'emotional', or whatever. It doesn't have to be a simple cover (in fact, I hate covers that do nothing but ad new drums - drums are so overrated anyway) - it can change anything from instrumentation to chords to entire sections - but it will remain an 'extension' or 'enhancement' of the original and the feelings imparted by it. In other words, it pays its respects to the source by adding a new dimension. Many mixes (and remixers) on this site do this - take Zircon's Dirt Devil for example: I do not mean to speak for him, but I remember he commented that "I was envisioning, throughout the song, what the devil's lab area would have been like in an FF6 remake." and his music, in my opinion, reflects this. So, what, does this mean Zircon should just have "listened to the original"? Was his effort wasted, trying to pursue a futile and ultimately uncreative goal? Obviously not. Both approaches have their merits, and this is where personal opinion comes into play. Some like originality and a change of pace, others like an arrangement that 'lets out the inherent spirit of the original' and paints it in new way. I, personally, enjoy a little bit of both. Of course, this also where our differing definitions and personal judgments come into play. Does Dirt Devil keep the feeling of the original? Some people probably think it is too liberal, while others think it is too conservative. I thinks it's just right, but that's just me. As others have said, as long as the remixer himself is pleased with his work, not much else matters. Perhaps this is what others have been saying all along - that the remixers should be left to decide in what direction he will take his work - but comments like "it is a missed opportunity" (paraphrased) makes it seem like some people think of one of the methods as objectively inferior to other, which is something I simply don't agree with.
  4. I think it was a good idea to cover the basic outline of the mix before going in depth with the individual tracks. I have had trouble getting started with any actual arrangement of my mixes, but this might just alevate that. Otherwise, I'll eccho what the others and say about production techniques and common mixing issues. "How and why" you did it, basically.
  5. Excellent. I would appreciate a walkthrough of sorts on how one of your mixes was formed - it gives you a perspective over the creation process vs the final result - and I'm sure other newbs would find it useful as well. I would also like general tutorials on using effects and whatnot - what instruments benefit from what, and how to achieve certain sounds, et cetera.
  6. Ah... This sounds like something I wanted to do when I was starting out (and I still haven't started; I wouldn't be able to make something like this, so don't think I'm coming down on you!) You wondered where this piece was headed... Well, only you could say that, but as it is, it is very, very close the original. Arrangement wise, it is little more than Catastrophe/Dancing Mad/Lavos' theme strung together with a few tempo changes. You even have a 'demon breath' effect, which was awesome when Uematsu did it, but here it only makes your song sound like a cover. Still, this is definitely workable. As others have said, it would be wise to cut the intro, and also change the arrangement up a bit. You could, for instance, use the fanfare at the end of Catasrophe to lead into Lavos' theme, though you should probably work on some original writing as well. As for the production, I really like your use of sounds/effects. The bell is cool. The organ, however, is not very good given its lead role. It sounds unnatural, and I'd definitelly look for a better sample... but maybe it's not supposed to be overly realistic. Still, I know I would have the organ play the bass note to mask how abruptly the chords sound during the intro. Of course, it's your song, so you decide. Anyway, keep going. Organ-centric arrangements are cool, as long as they're done right. Don't forget that you need at least some original writing to get your song accepted at OCR. Good luck!
  7. I went to one of their performances in Stockholm last year. Certainly was worth it. Most arrangements were delightfully performed, no instruments were synthesized, and Akira Yamaoka performed live on stage. Something I personally appreciated; They didn't play One Winged Angel (overdone as hell). Even better; They played Dancing Mad instead! Unfortunately, the performance sucked. Bummer... Apparently Uematsu was there as well, but I never saw him.
  8. Well, I'm actually at the (roughly) same point as you - I've made a few cover-ish midis, but I have not come much further than that. What this means is I shouldn’t be talking a lot of shit about stuff I don’t know anything about, but since we're on about the same level, I could tell you what I'm doing. Maybe you'll find it useful. Personally, I do what Harmony said; I listen to a song and enter the notes, one by one, as I go along. Start with either the bassline or melody, depending on the song, because they're easiest to make out. I would advice you to mute the other tracks when starting a new one - you want to hear what you're doing. Of course, you should also listen to them together to make out any flawed harmonies. Typically, when a sequence is correct, it 'clicks' with the other tracks. As for chords and harmonies; you should be able to make out the root note, and then... maybe study theory and extrapolate from there? That's what I'm trying to do, anyway. For anything more advanced than that, such as automation, I’m not your man.
  9. Excellent work on this, guys. As a huge fan of the original Dancing Mad, I truly appreciate your efforts. This part was, in my opinion, way better than the first one, particularly in terms of 'feeling' and the dynamics of the arrangement. In general, though, I agree with the criticism of others. The song somewhat lacks the energy of an authentic orchestra; all the instruments are 'floaty' and the percussion is barely audible. The choir sounded good enough, but the repetitive lyrics really got to me - the "Kyrie, eleison!" articulation in particular cut through the soundscape like an ear-piercing knife. It wouldn't have been a problem if it wasn’t repeated ad nauseam in the latter parts of the song. In terms of arrangement, it's a mixed bag. I loved the intro with Terra's theme, and that has to be the best Tier 2 ending I have ever heard. Darker themes = good. Tier 3 was interpreted wonderfully as well. Unlike the first part, this struck a good balance between dreading menace and beautiful symphonic qualities. The original parts were not quite as good, though. So far, it has only been the very first part of Kefka's theme that is arranged. I'm not saying it's not symbolic of the character, but there is more to the song than that. It’s all good, of course! This is constructive criticism! Also, I take it from your comments that you're going to do the final part next? I'm looking forward to it - it will be interesting to see how you tackle such an originally liberal arrangement of Kefka's theme. I hope for some clever ‘references’ (Like Terra in this one).
  10. Well, uh, I actually never said that. I assumed learning the basics of music theory would tell me how a song is structured, and then build of off that would work just as well as any first hand experience with that kind of music. Anyway, in other news, I bought a keyboard. An Edriol PCR-800 to be precise. I haven't played around with enough it to know all the quirks yet, but at least it works. I say it's quite a feeling to know that you've got every instrument in the world at your fingertips. I also got new 'studio' headphones. The difference? I can actually hear what the bass and percussion is playing now. Heh, I'm quite happy with my purchases for now. So, thanks again guys. I'll probably hang around for a while.
  11. Interesting. I'll look into those. I don't live in America so I can't order from zZounds, but I should be able to find something to that extent. Thanks. That's pretty much exactly what I want to do. I need to be able to interpret and play sheet music. And chords are kind of important, but they just don't work for me. So I could benefit from learning the standard ones, I think. But yes, listening is probably the best way to learn. It feels a bit like mimicing, but then again most composers draw inspiration from one another. As for earphones, I'll buy a decent pair. I really need something that doesn't buzz all the time.
  12. Hmm... It looks like I had roughly the right idea. Thanks guys. Just so you know, I'm mostly planning ahead here - like about:blank said I should. Other than a keyboard and headphones, these are all future expenses. I feel I need to get familiar with the process of mixing before I invest in more professional software/better hardware. It's good to know I intend to record my music much in the same way as djpretzel himself does. Like him, I can't really play with both of my hands simultaneously. Anyway, I'll probably buy a 66 key midi controller now. A good one goes for, what, $250-400? Also, I would like some specific advice on what headphones I should get. The ones I have are kinda broken, so I need a new pair anyway. As for music theory, I'm basically looking for some way to write consistent music. I'm not that well versed with the workings of most genres. When I listen to a song, I can think of things I would add/change, but I'm bad at writing original stuff that works with source. If there are any specific methods you guys use, I would be interested to hear it. Anyway, thanks again. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll have something to show off here for my efforts. Edit: And I guess the fact that I copy-paste these from Word really shows...
  13. So, I’ve finally gotten around to actually posting after a few months of silent lurking. Video game music has always been a passion of mine (second only to videogames themselves) but it was only a year or so ago that I became interested in making my own versions of my favourite songs. Still, it wasn’t until recently that I realized just how much time/effort (and likely money) one needs to put into this in order to get any sort of decent results. I’m not discouraged by this, but it was more complicated than I had originally envisioned. I’m likely to chime in here about technicalities in the future, but for now my question is rather simple. I’m wondering, basically, what I require to make ‘good’ quality music. I know there are guides for some of these questions, but I figured this might help me more specifically. Here’s what I’m thinking right now: I want to keep my ‘studio’ mostly software based. It’s simpler that way, and since I’m looking to do mostly orchestral stuff I was going to end up with something of that nature that anyway. Now, for the specifics... In terms of Hardware: Computer: Well, obviously I already have one of those. It’s decent enough, but not really built for music production. No dual/quad core, only one gig of RAM, and not really optimized in any way, shape or form. Still, it’ll suffice for now (while I’m still learning this stuff). I plan to upgrade eventually. Anything I should look for when that time comes? Keyboard: I’m not actually a piano player, but I know a keyboard is still an important piece of music equipment. It’ll speed up the recording process I’m sure, as well as provide an easy way to test out new melodies, chords and whatnot. I do have a toy keyboard, but it doesn’t have midi, so it is only good for practise purposes. Now, I’m looking for a ‘good/great’ midi keyboard. I’m willing to spend some cash on this so that I don’t need to upgrade later. So, basically, Roland or Yamaha? What model? Do I need 88 keys? Etc. Headphones: I’m looking for a good pair of headphones rather than a set of monitors. I do this for a number of reasons, thin walls in my house being one of them, and as I said, I want to keep things simple. I’ll probably buy a pair of monitors later on (to replace the shitty speakers I currently have) but that’s for another day. Again, any advice on this? It’s probably what I know the least about, so any advice would be appreciated. Instruments: Well, I don’t play anything, so it would be a bit of a waste. Not really interested in the guitar either. Anything else besides this I might need? I figure a mixer would be kind of useless since I’ll only have one keyboard, but I’m not the professional one here. In terms of Software: Sequencer: Well, I’ll be needing a DAW obviously. I’m currently ‘demoing’ Cubase SX3 while I get the hang of things. I like it so far, but new version is kind of expensive. Still, I don’t really have much of a choice unless I want to use the more ‘unprofessional’ (?) programs like FL and Reason. I know a lot of people on this site use them, but I’m kind of pedantic about these things. Still, I’m open to ideas. Basically, I’m wondering what program does what things best. And yes, I will try out the demos someday. Sampler/Library: Kontakt + whatever sample libraries I might need, I assume? If I want professional recorded sounds I’ll probably spend quite a bit of money on this. Ah well, that’s the price of quality I guess. There is no point in spending a lot of cash until I learn how to mix properly, though. Effects/sounds/plugins: So, any standard ones I should know about? Anything else in general? Obviously I need to know music theory and get a general grip for composing different genres. Musictheory.net is a good place to start, and there are tutorials all over the net, so I’ll probably get by. Still, this is something I’m likely to ask about latter. Especially regarding some of the finer points of orchestral arrangements. And that’s about it. Oh yeah, also, this is a great site. I really appreciate your work.