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OCR01011 - Final Fantasy VII "Philharmonic Suite: Part I"


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Oh man, this mix is amazing. Im a violist and have played in many big works, but never have i heard of game music being turned into such a powerful arrangement :)

The Tranquil start, held strings and different instruments holding the tune, starting with a flute, building with the rest of the orchestra - much like Mahler's 1st.

Amazing finish, and above all the mix of the different themes in the game (i.e, Cid's to start) is amazing.

I cant wait for the 2nd part of this work!!! :D:D

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:o OMG this is the best mix ever. Jeremy Robinson I am your number one fan post, more stuff! This is great! I just registered to say that. Ive been using this site for over a year ever since vgmix went down & when I heard this I just had to say how great it was. I dont care what the critics say no one ever erected a statue to a critic. keep up the good work Jeremy :)
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The opening... wow... so clever and inventive... then the main melody kicks in and... what happened?! It starts to dissapear into a mess of dodgy echoes and mistimed wind instruments... great ideas, but could definately do with some polishing. I'm not sure if it's the samples, or the recording and mixing method, or maybe the hardware itself, Case for a remastering if ever there was one...

But then it gets back into clear inventiveness at the end, and it's damned impressive. C'mon, tidy it up and it'll be a masterpiece!

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When I first listened to this song, my memory floated back to when I first started playing FF 7, the tone of it just reminded me so much of the shock I went through when I first started up that game. It's got a good sound, I do kinda agree on the drums, I feel like they could go longer or just change the timing a bit. Still, great remix. I found out surprisingly this lead into the song I just kinda slapped it on top of, "On That Day ..." by Russel Cox (just a little tip for those of you making those playlist, might be something you'd like). Still, I look forward to part II. I hope to hear more from ya.


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I am going to have to step in and say a few things. I don't consider this to be as good as the Reunion arrangements like some are saying (What, are you out of your mind?) nor am I going to harp on it for being "chaotic" and such. I am really curious how many of these there will be. Given the scope of this thing (this suite only includes only the material of the 1st track on the ost) I'd say that there wouold at least have to be a dozen before the game is fully represented.

That said...

This is one remix that takes all the conventions of videogame musi and throws them out the windows. The lack of reiteratrion (vgm is composed so that it loops, while "real" music is not) and the surprising inclusion of non-thematic, stylistically coherent original material amidst undeveloped inklings of NU's themes (Remember, in a video game, every track is practically it's own theme, while a film score will only have a few themes scattered about in barious forms). The result is that this is without a doubt the most successful remix in acheiving it's own narration. Other remixes try to link images or story to the music but only this remix knows how to do that. Even most VGM orchestral albums don't do this (not that it's a bad thing) with the exception of FF6 grand finale (although the orchestrated version of Aeris' theme managed to be narrative, despite a complete lack of the aforementioned "original" melody that frees a piece of music out of it's videogame asthetics)

The end of Robon's piece, at least to me, clearly narrates the meeting of Coud and Aeris after the bombing mission (or at least the aftermath among the rubble prior to their meeting) in which the lifestream theme (heard among the opening ambience that is associated with Aeris' face) is hinted at in a subtle minor-key reprise beneath a shroud of mesmerizing original composition, which blends seamlessly with the source material. I have meditated on such a style of ff7 remix but hadn't the talent to pull it off. Russell says that the music after 4:15 seems to die, but I think that it is the music after 4:15 that makes the piece such a revolutionary remix. I hope that it continues in this direction, and as a narrative remix, continues through the various themes at this pace, telling a significant chunk of ff7's story (Which like I said before, would need at least a dozen parts) not like this will happen, but I can dream.

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I'm going to try to be very short with this.

This arrangement, as a whole is very good. I must say that I enjoyed it very much and I must send my compliments to him, as I don't think much of anyone could have done this.

Now, with that aside, there were some issues that really bugged me. At the section around 2'00", it started getting kind of odd. To me, the piano really didn't seem to fit until 2'34". And even then, the idea of 2'34" didn't last too long - and I wouldn't have minded that it didn't last so long if what it went into really lost a lot of its motion. Russell was right about the horns, too - there's too much delay on them, so they end up sounding out of time. The sound of the timpani seemed to be a little bit too soft. If it were a real performance, I would have probably called for harder mallets, but that's something that probably couldn't have been fixed and wasn't that big of a problem - just a little thing to note. If I were at a real performance, I might actually get somewhat bored... it seemed to get a little repetetive at that section.

Even though I had a lot of things to say that I thought could have been improved upon, I don't think at all that it was bad. Please don't think that I mean to offend in any way, it's just that those things I commented upon were things I found to my personal distaste. I can't imagine actually putting that together, myself. The whole piece was a great listen and I absoluetely cannot wait for the next piece he brings to OCR.

Edit: I used to really love the sound of my own criticism. Sorry for going overboard on this - it's a great piece of work and it's clear how much talent and skill it took to make this.

Edited by oakthielbar
I was an asshole
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I guess now is as good a time as ever to register and address some points brought up. But first I’d like to thank everyone for their feedback as it has been very helpful and has also inspired me to take the time to revise the arrangement a bit because I agree that there are parts that could use some fine tuning.

Noodle: It would be of great help to me if you could point out the spots where it sounds MIDI-ish because I’d like to fix these and be aware of them in any future projects.

Ff3setzer: I’m not too sure what kind of bass would be appropriate for the arrangement so any ideas would be helpful. I often had my subwoofer turned all the way up so it was difficult to hear where some parts could have used bass drum or whatever. Except for my changing the soundcard-based piano for the bass line (my processor couldn’t handle any more realistic samples playing at a time) I’d really be interested in hearing some suggestions. Quick contrabass and cello rhythms are also out of the question because at such a low register they wouldn’t sound too nice.

Ace!: My update of the Locke arrangement will have to wait until I can get some brass samples with a wide-range of capabilities. For now, my puny trumpet and trombone sections can’t handle faster passages thus what I have done already is unlistenable.

UltimaAvatar: You won’t be disappointed because Part II is my favorite for several reasons. 1) it sounds a lot more like what a real orchestra would play than Part I. 2) I put a lot more originality into it thus it will certainly satisfy those who hate anything that remotely resembles a MIDI-rip. 3) it’s based around a pentatonic scale which we all know did wonders for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ violin piece The Lark Ascending. 4) it’s soft and flowing like the calm after a storm, but still epic in scope. 5) it’s based on Red XIII’s theme along with the themes for Seto and Cosmo Canyon, what more could you ask?

SystemManiac: Although I had to study various MIDIs of the theme closely, it is by no means a MIDI-rip and any "additions" are in no way minor. I made the conscious decision the follow the original more closely than I ever have before because that’s the only way it could have been done. I considered other options in my several attempts to arrange this piece, but they failed miserably. I decided that this isn’t a piece that is theme driven. It is popularly denoted by it’s sound, it’s intensiveness, and its chaotic nature, so I had to take into account the piano, the strings, the trumpet/horn motifs, the basic features that constitute the original so that people would associate it with the original. This is no reason to question my arranging integrity. I’ve never relied on the quality of the samples to "make" the piece, and I agree that they should be used only to enhance arrangements. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I’d be interested to find out how much more creativity could be applied orchestrally to this piece.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m open to criticism, but I hate baseless assumptions about my work especially when they are derogatory. I’m actually fond of all the criticism I’ve received lately; all except for those that say this is nothing but a midi rip with high-quality instruments. Well, I’m sorry I fooled you into thinking this was going to be a true masterpiece just because the samples were of such high-quality, but they only are because I made an investment into upgrading my synthesizers for reasons other than arranging game music. This is just something I like to do once in a while because it is fun. If you want to see some real originality, you should check out my soon-to-be concert works.

Russell Cox (a name I remember): You bring up several valid points and I thank you for that. Often the brass is late, but I blame that on the samples themselves. I’m no genius when it comes to editing the instruments themselves, so I only have what came on the SAM Horns CDs, or the Xsample Brass CD. One way around this is to actually place the notes a bit early so the maximum amount of sound from the note matches the pulse, but that takes a lot of time and patience to get right, so I settled for what was already satisfactory. And, as I’m sure you’re aware of, the close-sampled horns sample is no better than the far-sampled one. I did try it, but it blended with the rest of the sound in such a way where it lost its distinctiveness. And besides, I love the far-sampled horn section, as it is very reminiscent of the kind of orchestra Jerry Goldsmith uses.

As for the panning, well, some samples have it naturally; others do not. I’d prefer it if none of them did because again, I like the concert hall sound and hardly ever move an instrument to the extreme right or left. I’m using two different trombone samples, and even when layered they just don’t have any power. One is panned naturally, the other is not, thus it is very difficult to use for realistic sound. Hopefully my next purchase is going straight towards SAM Trombones, and then SAM Trumpets immediately after that.

XZero: I have to agree with "ffmusic dj" that it doesn’t come close to the arranged pieces on the albums. Perhaps someday it will, but for every one thing about it that the listener hears as unrealistic or obviously synthesized, I can hear ten things that are just as bad (and unfortunately unalterable for the time being).

GrayLightning: Part II is definitely more personal than Part I, so be ready. The Bombing Mission, on the other hand, doesn’t leave too much room for originality, and in some respects, isn’t that how many would prefer it? Believe me, if I wanted to, I could distort a track to a point where it would be barely recognizable, but then all that would be is a distortion, not an arrangement. But that’s just my opinion.

ffmusic dj: I’m currently editing it to add more interesting snare parts, if that’s what you mean. Sound effects? I don’t think so.

skyliner75: Mahler’s first is one of my favorites of his. I also love Resurrection, which some say has the power to raise the dead. Hmm, I wonder if that would carry some significance in future FF7 arrangements…

Joshua Morse: Well, in defense of those who have already posted some suggestions, I wouldn’t mind hearing what everyone would have to say about making the piece better. I didn’t post this at OC ReMix for my own enjoyment.

Frollo: There will be as many as I have time and effort for. Whether or not the game will be fully represented does not really matter. I’m glad you found some depth and meaning in the arrangement beyond the themes, as a narrative structure is something I’m trying to achieve here.

Artemisjaeger: The problems with the piano and brass are somewhat beyond my control for now, but I will keep trying to fix them. The timpani is where I really got lazy and that was the first thing I began editing a few days ago. Right now I’m layering it with something that has a more definite sound and perhaps I will even make the part more interesting.

Thank you for your comments everyone. Hopefully you can see how much I appreciate them by responding like this. Also, if anyone has any questions about arranging for (MIDI) orchestra or has a suggestion for a piece that would sound awesome orchestrated, let me know.

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The quality of the arrangement is probably better than I could do, but what's with this harping on about 'high quality samples?' A few of the strings and the brass sound pretty good, but overall the song sounds extremely fake. I am actually quite surprised at how impressed djp is with this.

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Alright, overall I liked it alot. But I have some criticizms.

--I absolutely love the beginning

--The horns aren't the greatest

--Piano is great around 2:00

--make that 2:35

--Strings are great overall

--Still horns x.x

--percussion sounds great

--4:10 horns a bit sloppy

--love the harp at 5:10, flute at 5:15

Overall, the pads weren't all that real sounding (especially the brass), though the strings were quite fine. For strings and percussion, I have no complaints. Brass definately needed some work. Theoretically, in strict terms of the arrangement and not the sound, it couldn't get better. Serious hats off to you. Find some better horn (trumpet, bone, french horns, low brass etc) samples, or even better, get a live band to perform it. See if your local high school band is good enough. Other than that, great job =D

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I enjoyed this remix absolutely. The song was never a favourite of mine, but it always had a unique atmosphere to it, and you orchestrated and dramatized it very well. The opening was absolutely fantastic, and for the remainder of the piece your usage of dynamics and all of the typical arranging conventions was very well done. A very impressive mix and indeed far beyond my current abilities.

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this is the best final fantasy 7 mix ever .... FF7 is my favorite game , and i used to think that the music on the game could never improve....WRONG I WAS , YEEEEEEESSSS.....I applaud your greatness from this song , and i hope to hear many more songs by you ! oh this brings back great memories (except for the aries dying and all ) of a great game ! ~ Mythix

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Yay! Glad to see orchestral getting more and more popular. :D

I love the quality of this work, but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by some things. For one, the verb is a bit heavy, it makes the strings and winds sound great but it makes the brass sound mushy, and really robs its articulation. Also, compositionally, when I'm hearing original material, all I hear is a bit of showing off of the samples, nothing great. But most of this song sounds like a direct rip of the game, which isn't the worst thing in the world but if I wanted to hear FF7 done orchestral exactly like the game music I've got plenty of recordings. And lastly, something is funky from about 2:20 to 2:30. I don't know what it is but it sounds like skipping in the end. It could just be a cool instrumental effect in there, if so I think it's out of place.

Overall though, I liked this one. :)

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  • Liontamer changed the title to OCR01011 - Final Fantasy VII "Philharmonic Suite: Part I"

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