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Liontamer

*NO* Final Fantasy 4 'Journey to Solace'

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Avaris

Shaun Wallace

Final Fantasy IV - SNES

Mr. Nobuo

Sources:

Cry in Sorrow (can be called Theme of Sorrow in some places)

Cecil Becomes a Paladin

Title: Bahamut's Tear

This is a song for the oh so wonderful FFIV project, if it gets accepted please put in the special posting que.

Linkage:

First of all thank you to everyone on the project for all of the great feedback and help. This was not an easy source to mix even though it sounds like it. This song was composed in one of the craziest keys known to man or woman. Just goes to prove that Mr. Nobuo knows how to write some beautiful tunage.

The title is a reference to a sword from Valkyrie Profile 2 called Bahamut's Tear. I felt that the title was befitting the emotional meaning behind the source tune in the game. The song was gonna be called Dragoon's Tear but since Bahamut hasn't gotten any love on the titles from the project thought I'd share the wealth. Also AeroZ has a bitchin song with Dragoon already in the title.

The synths are all Roland D50 samples and Sculpture except for one instance of Massive and one ES2 layered into a lead. There are lots of ethnic instrument samples butchered in the making of this song, and some chickens too. Some of the sub bass hits are bagpipe samples that made sweet love to a resonant filter etc etc...

I really wanted to create an ethereal yet emotionally powerful song through both the composition and sonic texture. Something that was reminiscent of everything the original source tune stood for in the game. This his def my favorite from my favorite game and it has been a joy and a trial to arrange it. Thank you Mr. Nobuo for composing such a compelling soundtrack and inspiring so many great arrangements. I salute you.

Thanks dudes,

~Shaun

---------------------------------------------------------------

Opening had 3-4 seconds of silence that should be trimmed off.

Not sure what the hell "Cecil Becomes a Paladin" is. I found some YouTube footage of that scene from the GBA version, and it played "The Lunarians", which wasn't in this. :lol:

http://snesmusic.org/v2/download.php?spcNow=ff4 - "Cry in Sorrow (part 2)" [ff4-17b.spc] & "Red Wings" (ff4-02.spc)

The string articulations sounded mechanical and unrealistic, and even slightly behind the beat at times. The sample quality was fine. Odd note at 1:40, though it resolved fine. I The timing of the piano for 3:31's section and the fast lead from 4:28-4:48 sounded slightly too mechanical, though not a huge deal.

Also, why was the volume so soft?

Nothing wrong with the arrangement. I was feeling it. Liked the brief "Red Wings" cameo at 2:35. The whole approach was a decidedly different take on the source material.

I know the pacing is very deliberate, so the timing on these instruments is supposed to be somewhat rigid, but some of it didn't quite click, so I'm looking forward to some tweaks. The strings might not be a quick fix, but I'll go ahead and lean toward YES (conditional) hinged on refining the strings.

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This started out very cool. However the rhythmic synth that enters at 1:06 really puts me off, and it just goes on! It could've sounded cool with some odd beat emphasis but these were like in an entirely different tempo. I agree about the odd note at 1:40, quite a startler. Really odd harmonies at 3:47 with the low strings...

You have a lot of cool sounds here but they're uneven. Some are beautiful and full and some (like the strings, piano and the lead at 3:31 onwards) are thin and sounds out of place. This might as well be a mixing issue since they sound muffled and "back" in the soundscape. Sadly this takes away the leads .. well, "leading" function and leaves a lot to the groovy but somewhat repetitive backing patterns and chords. Some transitions (2:36 for example) could've been handled a bit better but that's nitpicking.

I think overall some more time could've been spent working with the harmonic content since there are a lot of clashing notes even though the chords are quite simple (as in, not many sevens, nines or whatever). I also think some of the instruments sounds weak and could use some work.

Sorry if I come off harsh but I just see too many issues that keeps this from being a really good track. Take your time and really listen! What sounds odd? Is the mixing really clear? You'd do good there because this IS in fact a good arrangement idea but it's a little disjointed and unpolished. I hope you take your time and resub this!

NO(resubmit)

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Arrangement concept was pretty cool, really messing with the melodic and harmonic structure of the original song, and using a cool mix of samples to do it. Strings were very rigid and a little behind the beat, but it sounded like they were intended to be. Same with the weird off-the-beat synth. A lot of hip-hop songs play with this kind of rigidness and weird timing, and I thought it worked reasonably well here. One criticism I do have though, is that it never felt like the song totally took off. The bass section feels lacking in those chorus sections like 1:32 and 3:59. Felt like you were holding back. 4:28-4:48 was also a weak section that was rigid (in a bad way) and a little random writing-wise.

Sometimes the song feels emptier than it should, as I mentioned, but otherwise I like the production. It's an improvement over previous subs of yours. While not perfect, I think this is solid enough for a pass, on both sides of it. It has some idiosyncrasies like your FFXII mix did, but whereas the ones in that song rubbed me the wrong way, in this mix they appealed to me. Let's hope the rest of the panel sees it that way.

YES

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Yeah I can dig what you're trying to do here. I like the slightly off-kilter synths in the beginning, but I think you really tend to overuse those detache strings; they end up making things sound uneven, in a bad way. Everything ends up sounding really PUNCHY; hardly anything sustains. You have the soft notes soft, and the loud notes loud and there's a very close juxtaposition there. I listen to this and I feel like someone is just smacking my head with a hollow stick; it's not painful, but it's just this constant "bonk bonk bonk bonk bonk bonk bonk bonk..." kind of feeling that eventually wears me out.

Interesting arrangement, but ultimately I feel that it meanders too much. :\

NO

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well, I had a good long 2 paragraphs typed out before I accidently navigated off the page and lost it.

Recap:

I think the (seemingly) awkward off-beat notework was deliberate, but I'm not entirely sure it was the most effective choice. I'm kind of in the middle on this one. There's certain listens where I feel ok with it, but more often than not I (regrettably) keep feeling like there's a little too much sloppiness for me to be ok with a PASS. I think the glitch-ness is fine, for the most part (I like glitchy stuff) but there's so many notes that clash, that even if it was written that way, it just doesn't seem like it really benefits the track...

I hate voting NO on Shawn's work because he's a super-great dude and very persistent, and he has definitely come a long way from his first mixes, but unfortunately, there's still some cleaning up to do on this one.

:(

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Not sure what the hell "Cecil Becomes a Paladin" is. I found some YouTube footage of that scene from the GBA version, and it played "The Lunarians", which wasn't in this. :lol:

Just for reference, he's talking about the short fanfare that plays after the Dark Cecil/Light Cecil battle. It's ff4-s-04.spc in the SNESmusic set: "The Paladin." It's a reprise of the Red Wings melody, so it's what you're hearing at 2:35.

Off-tempo stuff works for me. Strings and piano could definitely use some work, because they really stand out from everything else. The rest is pretty solid.

I agree with the meandering criticism; there are some really cool arrangement ideas in this, but it does seem a bit random and unfocused, especially by the end. Everything after 4:31 seems kind of unnecessary.

I'd like to see both the instruments fixed and the arrangement tightened up, and taking both of those into consideration, there's too much for me to give a YES. Very promising stuff, I want this back if it doesn't pass.

NO (resubmit)

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Well, the off-beat synth is really jarring to me. Makes it quite hard to enjoy the whole section from 1:06 to 1:57. Had a convo with palp about it and I really do think as a whole, because its only there for 40 seconds, and there's nothing else like it in the rest of the track, that it would be a lot less confusing without it, or at the very least it would have to be on beat. Sooo, this is gonna be conditional at least.

The quiter middle section and the bits without the synth are all fine. The bit at 3:35 sounds great, and some interesting arpeggiated parts in the last minute or so. Piano was generally a nice touch, though perhaps a bit mechanical at first, lightens up towards the end. I know there's little bits of odd harmony around, but I think its a nice enough arrangement, and the production is generally capable throughout, but like I said, imma have to insist something happens with that synth before I'm sure on it.

YES - CONDITIONAL - fix the timing on or remove bloopy synth.

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Just a heads up- i'm not going to vote on this one until Shaun sends an updated file; i sent him the votes and he is going to fix the issues and remove the bloopy synth.

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So here is the update from shaun:

New Linkage:

A little note on some of the slightly dissonant string parts of the mix. In the source the passing tone is a little dissonant, but it resolves well. Instead of changing these parts of the source I decided to keep the slightly dissonant voicings in order to stick with the feel of the original.

What's been changed:

Added sustained strings in the the first main section and the first Paladin breakdown.

Added a lil more FX in the first Paladin breakdown.

Completely re-mastered the entire song. (*brought up the softer bits and overall volume)

Took out the bloopy synth and added a LP'ed bass synth to round out the soundscape in the first main section.

Humanized piano in 2nd main section.

Tweaked strings so they sit in the mix easier. (reverb, performance, & layering)

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Will take a look at it tomorrow or monday.

EDIT (7/6): It is now tomorrow or monday and I still think this remix has issues. The piano sounds mechanical and slightly metallic (4:50->), the strings still feel stiff and out of place in the soundscape. I still found some really odd harmonic choices that I just can't seem to find the same as the source. For example: 1:35-38, 3:39, 3:49-3:53, 4:19 that ain't right. Regardless of how it resolves it sounds really odd. I also finds it kinda lacks bass in much of the track. Coupled with the glitchy drums and percussion it makes the track unfocused.

This is close because the arrangement still has some great qualities to it much like the production and quirky modulated instruments. However I ultimately feel this remix is lacking a bit in both areas resulting in bringing it down a lot overall. Maybe cut back a bit on the sound mangling (even though I know you love it) and focus on ironing out the oddities for a more musical arrangement. Sorry Shaun, I'll have to stick with my old vote.

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Agreed with AnSo's crits, but at the same time, I can live with it. My vote stays with YES, no conditional, though I can understand NOs.

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The new mastering sound a lot better on this, and though the arrangement itself certainly takes it's time to develop, it conveys the themes clearly and has a certain melancholy about it. There really is a lot of crazy mangling stuff in here, and I think that part at least works well, as do some of the plinky synths that get pretty rhythmic. Structure is a little weird, but as an ambient track, I think all bets are off.

Not my favorite track by Shaun, (that'd go to Too Hot for Clothes) but production and arrangement are over that beloved bar.

yes

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Not my favorite track by Shaun, (that'd go to Too Hot for Clothes) but production and arrangement are over that beloved bar.

That's because I made most of that track :tomatoface:

Still a NO for me but I can see where the YES's are coming from.

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Whoops, didn't spot the revote until now. Debloopification = deconditionalized. The other changes were a welcomed bonus.

YES

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there's some sloppiness here that could be excusable in one or two places, but cumulatively gets really grating. I'm mainly speaking harmonically and rhythmically, there are places where the piano will play a note that seems to be ignoring the harmony, for instance :31. Once the synthesizer comes in, I'm jarred by the rhythmic spasticity of that part. This is one case where quantization is your friend.

aside from that, I agree with Shariq that the tune meanders. Say what you want to say more efficiently (I should talk)

NO

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I'm not a fan of the percussion's clickiness. Also, I think the melodic variation prior to 1:01 took away from the mood of the original rather than enhancing it. The variations just seem meandering. Transition at 1:00 was kind of weak and boring in my opinion. When the beats come in with the marcato strings, I have to agree with Vig that I'm just hearing a lot of sloppiness in the writing.. notes and harmonies that don't work together (ie. 1:23.) Then there are more egregious clashes like 1:35. The changes to the original chord progression simply don't work IMO.

The section at 1:54 also has a lot of weirdness in it. I don't like the sound choices at all, but more importantly there are a lot of out-of-place notes and harmonies, such as 2:00, 2:02-2:04 and 2:15. I'm not sure why so many of you YESed this when there are so many instances of clashing harmonies. 3:37 is another example, as is 3:46-3:51, 4:05 and 4:15. I'm very lenient with jazzy chords and dissonance, but these notes strike me as simply "wrong".

This remix doesn't feel cohesive, overall. There isn't any sort of unifying mood, theme or motif. The rhythmic variations on the various melodies seem completely arbitrary - no continuity. In terms of the sonic texture, we have lots of soft, subtle elements like the strings, pads and piano, but then these random rezzy synths, nu-skool beats and BT-style stutters. It doesn't gel at all. It sounds like a bunch of random WIP remixes of the same theme. The original stuff also didn't work at all, such as 4:25. What does this section add? It's just random piano arpeggios over low string chords. Why does the piano at 4:47 become almost mono? The interpretation of the sources was certainly there, but none of the variations really added anything - again, they just felt disconnected and lacking any sort of unified idea.

I know this sounds harsh, but I'll be pretty dismayed if this passes. There are so many issues with the writing and arrangement, inconsistent production, weak original material, and lack of cohesion that I can't really find any good reason to pass it.

NO

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