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Liontamer

OCR01742 - *YES* Chrono Trigger 'Behind the Sealed Door'

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Contact Information:

ReMixer Name: swarmer

Real Name: Terence Lee

email Address: ncswarmer@gmail.com

userid: 15693

Submission Information:

Name of Games Arranged: Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 7

Name of Songs Arranged: Sealed Door and Prelude

Comments:

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.

Side note: I'm really unsure about the mastering; it sounds fine on my desktop but not so great on my laptop, and I can't seem to find a happy medium. I hope my desktop happens to sound exactly like the rest of the world!

Thanks.

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Let's see what I wrote before:

Oooh, source tune bias, I loved this one from Chrono Trigger. The sequencing was generally good. Ah man, the drums brought in at :31 were such a big mistake; they sounded cheap and totally out of place. Those drums needed to be a lot thicker. Good transition into the Prelude though, very smooth. The vox at 2:03 sounded a bit robotic, but was a decent concept, and would sound awesome live. ROFL, those stupid drums were back again at 2:27. They're literally the only thing out of place with this one. Sad. With a better percussion choice, I would have thrown the personal tilt way up. The source tune was good, but the sounds generally had a great ethereal quality to them that gave the arrangement a lot of sonic depth.

While the submitted version for SquareSound's Nobuo Uematsu arrangement competition was promising, it still had those issues that held it back from being in the highest places.

http://snesmusic.org/v2/download.php?spcNow=ct - "Sealed Door" (ct-307.spc)

http://tzone.org/~llin/psf/packs2/FF7_psf.rar - 101 "The Prelude"

Aight, so as a listener and wallowing in the source tune love, I was certainly feeling the old version of the track. Comparing it to the sources as a judge, I was put off a little by how the instrumentation and rhythms for "Sealed Door" were kept intact, but the addition of the piano and guitar gave followed by the beats at :23 and Prelude piano backing at :31 gave the theme a different enough feel compared to the original. The drums I criticized were definitely improved nicely.

Good dropoff at :53 going back to the style of the intro and going even more minimalist with a dropoff of the dropoff around 1:09. Ha! Pretty creative, and a solid transition into "The Prelude" at 1:31. The syntheticness of the guitars and bowed strings was a lot more exposed there, but the sequencing and production was still pretty strong, so I wasn't bothered by it.

Though still somewhat fake-sounding, the vox at 2:02 was also improved compared to the competition version, also very good to hear. I thought the beats joining back in at 2:26 sounded really awkward and made for a weird texture, but it left as quickly as it arrived, so that was good. I would have gone for a different drum tone there for a better fit.

Beautiful stuff with the piano once it demanded most of the attention at 2:56. The beats returning at 3:19 felt awkward again, but better couched in the soundscape. Good close with "Sealed Door" on its own at 3:48 for the finish. I thought the dynamics throughout the piece were pulled off nicely, and the mastering definitely sounded good to me.

My only major crit was how effectively the new drums clicked with the other instrumentation, but it was still solid enough on that level. The two themes were combined pretty expertly, adding a nice new dimension to both. I'm definitely glad, Terence, that my criticisms helped you improve the piece and feel more satisfied with it from a creative standpoint. Even for the harshest criticism (saved for people who got more wrong than right), it's all about pushing people to realize the potential of their ideas. Good luck with the rest of the vote, and hopefully we'll be hearing more from you!

YES

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Definitely an underrated song from the Chrono Trigger soundtrack (which means we only have a couple mixes of it on the site already as opposed to 10 :< ). 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. The guitar part at 1:31 is jarringly unrealistic too, and the fade-in and out of the drums at 2:28 is strange.

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.

YES

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That transition is a great example of how transitions should be done. It's very solid. I think you have an interesting texture here; it's a bit cavernous in terms of reverb but it's not overdone. The drums do tend to stick out a bit, especially when they come in and begin defiltering. The bass hits a little too strongly.

In any case I like the melding of the themes. Very cool.

YES

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I actually though the transition was a little clumsy, not bad though. The choir could have used a bit more reverb, its pretty dry. I'm with palpable on the drums, too tame, and they just fade in, instead of having any entrance. The piano parts are very well put together though, and the overall arrangement works well. It's hard to have the prelude in a mix and not have it take over everything, so in that respect its well merged.

Whilst the whole thing is well thought out, and the two themes work well together, I couldn't help but feel that the execution could have more energy. It seemed quiet and subdued at times. The arrangement itself is sweet, and while there are little problems here and there, I don't really think they're that significant overall.

YES

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