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OCR01873 - *YES* Marathon 'The Forerunner Mix (Gamma)'


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Good luck breaking it down! - LT

Hi, hope you're well.

I finally got round to finishing a third of the marathon mixes I sent you last year. Like the others, it's a bit unstructured; after the transition in the middle it becomes mostly a wash of harmonies without a clear lead, which probably renders it more suitable for background/in-game music than as a standalone piece.

It uses the themes Flowers in Heaven from Marathon, and A Walk in the Woods and The Maw from Halo.

The main tune is from Flowers from heaven, with a more Halo-style instrumentation and emphasis on the three note rhythmical motif- this then surges into a section based on the chords from A Walk in the Woods, which may not be so easy to recognize because of the slower tempo. The harmony from The Maw then takes us through a bridge and back to an understated version of the Flowers melody.Sorry to be brief but I'm off to LA.. spending a few days with Harry Gregson-Williams.. then popping into the GDC in Austin. So got a lot on my plate!

The Halo themes can be found on itunes and the marathon theme is linked below:

http://www.eigenhat.com/midi/flowersinheaven.mov

all the best,

Nick

(Nicholas SInger)

http://www.nicholassinger.com

EDIT (6/10):

Fair point on the source usage; i guess it's a bit tenuous.

The dum-dum-dum 3 note rhythmic motif from Flowers in Heaven underpins the first half of the track- the main melody is also pretty much the same. The bridge section at 1:30 isn't really related to anything but uses elements of Halo orchestration/instrumentation. The key change at 1min50 takes us into the harmonic progression from A Walk in the Woods (Halo), albeit slightly drawn out. Could probably do with some melody about here...

Then at 2mins40 we have the chordal progression from The Maw (Halo) pretty much note for note, followed by a drawn out re-iteration of Flowers from Heaven.

When I listen to it now it seems a bit drawn-out and over worked, so i'd be interested to hear any comments.

thanks again

Nick

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Being a HUGE fan of the Alpha and Beta mixes, I jumped on this as soon as I saw it. I think it fits in nicely with those. It's got the same swirly filmic quality yet it's more adventurous, and I like the expansion of your palette of sounds and effects. Unfortunately, it's more loosely connected to the originals than the first two parts. Here's how it breaks down for me:

0:00-0:49 - original

0:50-1:29 - melody from Flowers

1:30-1:48 - original

1:49-2:35ish - chords from A Walk

2:36-3:43 - original

I can maybe hear some of The Maw around 2:42, but that's very loose and only lasts about ten seconds even if it's there. Didn't hear Flowers come back at all. I could maybe see another judge give you some chord credit for the connecting sections, but that felt too loose to me. I would have liked more direct usage like 0:50-1:29 or 1:49-2:35, some sort of persistent connection like the first two mixes had. To me, what you've got is too liberal. :(

On the production side, the overall song was quiet and also maybe could have had less dynamic contrast. I really had to crank my speakers to hear it before the lead came in. Otherwise, fine work. This still shows off your attention to detail.

I don't know if you're up to retooling this for us, but I'd obviously love it if you did. (Or if a judge could point out some clear connection I'm missing, that would be even better.) I'm certainly keeping the song in any case.

NO

Edit (6/25): Psych! See next page.

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  • 2 months later...

Vinnie, I can hear Flowers in the end, and the Maw is there, it's just kind of faint and buried harmonically.

I'd have to say, this is a very pretty piece of work; very relaxing. Great textures. I feel like it's very liberal in its interpretation though; kind of a rhapsody on the themes.

I'm really borderline on this piece, but I think I'm leaning towards YES. I want to wait and see what other joojes say, but put me down as Y for now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The reprise of the Flowers melody is in the crystalline synth starting at about 3:03, it gets a bit buried but it lasts until around 3:25-3:30, right up to the wind-down. Corresponds to the start of the source, first fifteen seconds or so. I think I hear a touch of The Maw in the transition between A Walk in the Woods and that, roughly 2:44 to like, what, 2:56 at most. Really buried, I doubt I would have noticed it all if I weren't told it was there.

The two Flowers in Heaven sections are great, and I'm fine with the A Walk in the Woods chord section, since that's probably the most distinctive part of the source and it's pretty recognizable in the mix. There's also a lot of original stuff, including the long intro, and I'm not entirely convinced that The Maw is in there; if so, it's so subtle/unrecognizable that I'd be tentative about counting it anyway.

Great expansive take on the sources, and wonderful textures throughout. I'm really borderline on the arrangement, and I've been flipping back and forth on this for a while, but I'm going to go with no. If you don't want to change it, I love it as is, but as far as site standards are concerned, I think it needs a bit more overt source usage for it to be dominant.

NO (resubmit)

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I think the arrangement here is great. My problem with this track is purely on the mixing end. The track is both quiet and dark. The beat is way back, and the whole tune is not quite muddy, but distinctly muted. More shimmer! The problem may be that those pads eat up a lot of space in the 250Hz range. Use a reference mix tocompare frequency content. Maybe something by bliss or Delirium.

NO

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  • 4 weeks later...

Man, I really like the texture and soundscape here. I agree with Vig that everything sounds a bit "muted" but I think it has a really excellent dreamy feel. The blend of orchestral instruments, processed beats, and synths is really nice. My only complaint on the production level is one that Vig levied about the drums being too far back. You could bring them forward to be sure (Delirium is indeed a good point of reference). More shimmer wouldn't hurt either but I don't think it's absolutely necessary.

I love the flow of the arrangement, and while the level of source usage is definitely in a gray area, I feel comfortable enough to say that it's within our standards. Though I won't get into an exact analysis, I felt like the remix masterfully blended the source tunes with original writing. This might be my favorite of the Forerunner series, Nick.

YES

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Use a reference mix tocompare frequency content. Maybe something by bliss or Delirium.

FL's Parametric EQ2 ftw :)

My gut impulse is that this is fine. I realize the level of source-to-remix is the issue that's going to bear all the weight, and ultimately, I don't think it was the *strongest* arrangement I've heard by Nick or anyone else--I didn't feel like the melodies themselves progressed to any fantastic degree. But what's here is still solid. The instrumentation is good. The production is a bit on the quiet end, but there's still a decent amount of dynamic contrast, and I think the darkness fits the sources respectably well. And I did like the textures, and all the airy, sweeping pads.

Not going to change our universe or anything, but welcome aboard, I say.

YES

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  • 2 months later...

I checked this out one more time keeping Nick's breakdown in mind, though it's pretty much what other people have already said. I'm sticking with my NO vote. Like I said, I can hear the Maw in there maybe? It's a tenuous connection in my mind. The Flowers reprise at the end is the same way - still can't for the life of me even hear the crystalline synth that CHz is talking about, so any connection there is too subtle for me to count.

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Larry's breakdown (see below) made me think a lot about this.. It's always hard to judge a remix that arranges a source that's extremely simple or lacks a clear hook to rely on. The Halo sources are mostly about the chords and Flowers in Heaven is very barren. I'm still on the edge about counting the three note pattern used from 0:07 forward but the more I think of it I realize it's the second most distinct part of Flowers in Heaven since the goddamn track only has two elements! I also thought you could've used the melodic movement the top note does in A Walk in the Woods. Now you're using only the chords and not the melodic motif. Reduction is ok but in this case there's not much to reduce really... However, the more I listen to the source the more I accept this as ok source usage.

The production is good enough. I think it's a little distant and you probably could've mixed so that the distinct source connections would be more upfront. That way it'd cover the arrangement issues too. However the textures are strong and the piece is very dynamic, very moving.

So, I actually voted NO here before but I'm gonna change it. It takes a few listens to get this arrangement but that shouldn't keep it from the front page. Next time though, throw us a bone or something will ya? :)

YES(borderline)

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Marathon - "Flowers in Heaven"

HALO Original Soundtrack - (06)

& (17)

First things first, my source usage breakdown. The track was 3:41-long, so I needed 110.5 seconds of source usage for the arrangement pass:

  • (:07, :09, :12, :15, :17, :20, :23, :25, :28, :31, :33, :36, :39, :41, :44, :47 - "Flowers in Heaven" dum-dum-dum string pattern adapted to drums) x ~.75 seconds for duration = ~12 seconds
  • :49.75-1:32 ("Flowers in Heaven" melody)
  • 1:49-2:33 (:00-:15 of "A Walk in the Woods" - e.g. 1:49-2:00 simplifies :00-:08 of the source, then 2:00-2:11 uses :08-:15)
  • 2:44-3:00 (:42-1:03 of "The Maw")

By my count, that's about 114.25 seconds of source usage. I'm not counting the "Flowers in Heaven" reference after 3:00, because it's way too liberal and just not overt enough in the slightest.

That said, the arrangement is still an easy pass for me once I (finally) made the A-to-B connections. Thanks to Nick for providing his breakdown. He didn't give me ALL the information I needed, especially for isolating usage of "The Maw", but once I did my own checking, it was fine. Really intelligent interpretation with a great mood and a solid weaving of the themes.

The thing to keep in mind, NONE of these source themes are super memorable or possessing big hooks and Nick's style is subtle, so it's easy to not make the connections. I certainly didn't and that's part of why this track languished on the panel. But the connections are there and are actually very direct. I really don't think this merits a NO on lack of source usage or lack of overt source usage.

On the production side, I'm sure there could be some tweaks as suggested, but this was definitely fine as is. The textures were excellent, and I'm loving it. I definitely encourage NOs based on arrangement to do another check against the sources and reconsider their votes.

YES

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Well, I feel like a right fool. No offense to the rest of you, but once I saw that Larry didn't think this was too liberal, I knew I was going to change my vote. And here I go. Somehow I missed the dum-dum-dum connection in the first 0:50 of the track, which seems plainly obvious now. Honestly, that was just laziness on my part since Nick pointed it out in his breakdown, and I apologize for making a hasty check a few days ago. I assumed someone else would have brought it up, so when nobody did, I didn't look more carefully into it. Larry was also able to pinpoint a specific part of the Maw that matches Nick's track and I feel a lot better about that connection now too. The timestamps help if you want to be persuasive. :mrgreen:

Big props to Larry for the due diligence in soliciting a breakdown from Nick and pointing out the specific connections. I'm very glad to say YES to this one now, as it is an awesome track.

YES

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