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OCR01968 - *YES* Final Fantasy 4 'The Skies Hold No Angels for Us'

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Song - The Skies Hold no Angels for Us

Remixer Names - Level 99 and AudioFidelity

Real Names - Stevo Bortz and Jay Yaskin

Email Address - level99remixteam@gmail.com ; bass10854@hotmail.com

Website - None

UserIDs - 13318 and 24748

Submission Information:

Name of Game Arranged - Final Fantasy IV

Name of Individual Song Arranged - Castle Damcyan

Additional song information and original soundtrack already on OCR


This is a song that was, from the get-go, envisioned to be an epic rock song. For those familiar with Final Fantasy IV's story, they know that what takes place at Castle Damcyan is a short, but pivotal and highly emotional, point in the game. I (Level 99) was already working on the Final Fantasy IV project and had finished my remix of Dancing Calcobrena, so I looked to see if any other songs were still available. Castle Damcyan was, so I started listening to the music and getting ideas in my head. Due to time and resources, I asked to have the song and asked for others to work on it with me. AudioFidelity offered to help a bit since even though he had a lot of tracks on his plate to finish but also felt that Damcyan warranted proper treatment in the project. I also asked Avaris to contribute some synth/soundscapes and make an intro to the song The result is an almost-six minute rock song containing elemental styles of classic rock, metal, acoustic, psychadelica (the intro), and a few others. It breaks down as follows:

The song is introduced by a dark and heavily atmospheric synth/pad/fx composition written by Avaris, and the fx present here are sprinkled throughout the rest of the song. The intro bleeds into an interpretive A section from the original Damcyan song with a basic chord lead. After the drums kick up the A sections melody gets a little more interpretive but still hovers around the original writing. A second guitar comes in and starts to compliment the first as it goes to the B section. Following this, the drums switch to prominently syncopating the rhythm guitar as the two lead guitars duel into the second B section. A new C section arises, which is an elaboration of the original chord progression from the song, with new writing on all the guitars. Wind sweeps in at the end of the section to take us to a memory of what Damcyan once was as a piano plays a major-scale progression of section A as children play in the background. And then bomb blasts at the end of this as the guitars all come back for one last bit of battling. The final section is supposed to convey a person walking through the ruins of Damcyan while a woman cries and two acoustic guitars usher an end to the dream that was Castle Damcyan.

Now, we really wanted to give feeling to the intensity of destruction at the Castle, and the broken dreams brought about by its demise. While Avaris did some FX and the intro, the majority of synths were played by AudioFidelity, along with the second lead guitar, the bass, the drums, the final mixing, the piano, and lastly adding in the ambient sounds. The song was led and arranged by me (Level 99) - providing the rhythm guitars, the first lead guitar, and the acoustic guitars later on.

I hope you enjoy our remix of Castle Damcyan, and I'd like to thank OA for pushing so hard for the highest quality of mixes in the FFIV project. Thanks for listening!



http://snesmusic.org/v2/download.php?spcNow=ff4 - "Castle Damcyan" (ff4-16.spc)

5:46-long = >173 seconds for more than 50% source usage.

:50-:55, :57-1:10, 1:12-1:17.75, 1:19-1:25, 1:26.75-1:39, 1:41-2:01, 2:03-2:06, 2:32-2:45.5, 3:15.75-3:21, 3:23-3:30, 3:31-3:35, 3:38-3:44, 3:45-3:46, 3:48.5-3:50, 4:38-4:39, 4:42-4:43.5, 4:44-4:47, 4:53-4:54, 4:56-5:04, 5:08-5:09, 5:10-5:17, 5:22-5:23, 5:25-5:32.5

Or about 134 seconds (38.73% source usage). I'm a stickler, that's my call. If you count all of the grace notes and all of the rests in tempo with the source, you have the simpler breakdown of

:50-2:06, 2:32-2:45.5, 3:15.75-3:50, 4:38-5:32.5

or about 178.25 seconds. Shows the difference that counting that stuff can make. Given how long the track is, I'd rather have heard more elements used that kept the arrangement more strongly tied to the source in some way, but I can see why it would be passed if you're more relaxed (not a backhanded compliment). There were some great original ideas incorporated here, and then some super liberal backing element ideas that Steve & Jay felt were tied to the source, but IMO were not enough like the source. So ultimately, I love the track, but I'm gonna go borderline NO. That said, I'mma look at the overall execution.

The opening guitar riffs at :19 were a great example of original writing that wasn't directly from the source, but was a stylistic fit with it. Just listening to it, it sounded like it was from the source, but it's actually too liberal IMO when trying to make an A-to-B connection. Source melody kicked in at :50.

The mixing was on the muddy side from 1:18-2:03 once things got fuller with the backing guitars, but things were capably produced overall.

2:03 went into some extended soloing over a foundation inspired by the source, though too liberal to count as a direct connection IMO. Another chorus from 2:32-2:46 before going into more original writing.

Then a pretty solid dropoff focusing on the piano at 3:16 before \m/'ing some more until the excellent acoustic guitar section at 4:38. Really strong, fluid dynamics throughout the track in this one, along with some great original part-writing that weaved together very cohesively with the source usage.

Once I went into the details, I thought the overall composition could have integrated some more source elements during the soloing & original sections to keep it more grounded in the source. That's not to say that I don't like the arrangement or that I think it wouldn't pass. Solid, energetic contribution to the FF4 project that'll go over well, and shows how both artists, especially Stevo, have shown a good amount of growth. Even if they bitch about how long the judgments take. :lol:

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Haha Jay's gonna be pissed about Larry's vote when he sees this... eight months from now.

I agree with Larry's second breakdown, which puts this just over the line. The original parts of this were really well-integrated, and the soloing over the two chords of the original was pretty great. Great contemplative break at 3:17 with piano and kids (one of you guys is a kid virtuoso). Overall, there's a lot to like, and some slightly muddy mixing in the sections Larry mentioned doesn't stop this one.


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kid virtuoso

Now, with that out of the way... I, much like Vinnie, enjoys counting the rests. We've argued about this before so I ain't going to waste time telling you WHY I do this but yeah, this definitely sounds like an arrangement of the source. The fact that you use the first two chords for huge parts of the track help glue it together. Even though I thought 2:46 was a bit out of place the rest of the track was put together nicely. Playing was good too.

Production was decent enough. I, yet again like Vinnie, thought it was a bit muddy and muffled. Also the piano, especially when solo like that, was thin and a bit fake. Otherwise though it sounds good.

Overall this is a good arrangement on the liberal side. I thought that it sounded cohesive and by my count the source is dominant too. Production could've been upped another notch but.. yeah, I think it's overall in good shape. I'm gonna go ahead and drop the big 'ol


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Just a friendly reminder that a rest is not a tacet. By Larry's reckoning, several seconds of the source itself don't count as source because the note is held for awhile. Seems a bit silly to me.

While the arrangement does get a bit into the solos, The verse segment is played 4 times dominantly, and the chorus three times, and the rest of the song follows that chord progression of the verse. Now granted, the progression is 2 chords alternating, but I think it's pretty obvious they chose those 2 specific chords because those were the ones in the source. Otherwise why not pick a chord progression that was more interesting?

Production-wise, there's a little bit of mud, and I think the snare could stand to come out a bit more, but the guitar panning was cool, the acoustic guitar and bass sounded great. Piano was slightly thin, but overall i'd say production cleared the bar.

I agree that there were a lot of solos, but there was tons of source in this, and it was clearly a (very good) Damcyan remix.


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  • 1 month later...
Just a friendly reminder that a rest is not a tacet. By Larry's reckoning, several seconds of the source itself don't count as source because the note is held for awhile. Seems a bit silly to me.

Nah, that's the exact opposite of my rationale. I count held notes. I just don't count silence.

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  • 1 month later...

See, my beef with the stop-watch technique is that it's not fair to stuff like, the build up to the melody drop. That stuff is kind of a necessity for setting up the remix, and besides, it's basically just the underlying chords, which I think are fair to count as remixed source. Maybe Larry feels the way he does because he's a listener judge, I'm not sure.

Unlike that other FF4 mix where I really tried and tried to recognize enough of the remix, this one manages to sound much more identifiable and recognizable to me, and I think that's enough. Cool transitions and fx, too.

Nice work, fellas.


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