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Metroid - Ridley themes orchestrated (2010 last update!)

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I saw this request and I remembered that I had an idea about an orchestral take about Ridley's battle theme from Metroid.

I'm planing to make something with strong orchestra and a drum track to "boost" the arrangement (since we can find some drum kits in orchestras)

The medley will contain :



- Lower Norfair/Magmoor Caverns (Super Metroid/Metroid Prime)


(Super Metroid and the whole series)







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Good stuff, I do so love the Metroid series.

I like the general ambiance at the beginning and the feel of 'building to something' Powerful accents in the low brass. It does seem that for an orchestral kind of sound though, that that bit could use some highs, flutes, clarinets, trumpets, etc. Sounds good now, but if you're going for an orchestral feel, I could see some highs in there to fill the picture.

The, high brass in the intro sort of comes off with more of a like an accordion sound to me.

The bit when the drum kit comes in is nice, very well done. The progression on the first idea is very fast though. I'd like to hear that little bit extended. Of course, part of that is that that is my favorite part of the Norfair theme :wink:

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Mmmm... I feel like the flute/wind samples you are using are dragging the arrangement a bit for some reason. It feels like they are too breathy for the power you want behind the norfair part. I also think that the parts could be a little elongated, but if this is for OCR I suppose you would need to be mindful of the time spent.

The drum kit seems a little sudden. I think that you could so some swells on the cymbals or maybe some hat work to show "Hey there's a drumkit with this orchestra"

Though the surprise is really cool.

Love the dynamics though, so accentuate that as much as you can. That's what makes this style so much better/different from techno and rock is the dynamics so abuse the HELL out of them. ;)

Can't wait for another update.

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I like the dynamics of the song. The intro sounds a little too plain; I would either shorten it a bit or add another instrument halfway through it. Also, the solo string patch at about 0:45 sounds mega fake. Maybe try a different patch and add a little 5K on the EQ to make it sound a little more silky and real. Other than that, great start. Love it when the song kicks in.

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V2 of the track!

Extended version, but not "Ridley Battle" atm, still working on this part. Added some instruments in the first part too.

For those that think that everything is going too fast, I am willing to submit the track to OCR when it will be finished so I watch carefully not to make a file bigger than 8Mo.


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:sleepdepriv:Joo got me crasy, late at nite, giving all my posts the kinda disclaimer that comes with a stereo to let you know it did not, in fact, come with a free pack of gum...I'm giving a disclaimer on this one too: I'm binging the reviews in the WIP thread, things with the work-in-progress tag in front of them, it's late, and my sanity is waning. All are opinions, sanity not guaranteed, or likely. Some things may be off. Some words may be dyslexically spelled backwards and there may be things in the post that are just plain off. The better the thing I'm listening to is, the more likely I'll come up with something off the wall to complain about. Worst case scenario if it's really good and I have nothing to say about it, I'll just start making stuff up. 'I want some more schmeere in your somoflange, then it'll be epic...' That being said, lets get going.

Last one of the night.

The beginning sounds more together than it was. Much better high samples. I can see some auxiliary percussion going a long way in the intro. Triangle, wind chimes, tambourine, suspended cymbal all come to mind. Especially a sus cym roll into and during the drum intro. Instead of 3 hits on the hi hats. (good orchestral reference from Nutritious's stuff, btw)

Eep! There's something hiding, that sounds off. The flutes play the descending pattern, then the main melody repeats once, but the end has transition notes that sound wrong (1:54) Woe is I to not really understand theory! Sounds off, may be a key change, may be intentional, but I'm not diggin it.

You have a similar sound at 2:23. Now, a while ago, I did a mix of this... Let me see if I can find it. http://ocremix.org/forums/showthread.php?t=20737 (HOLY CRAP MY OLD CRAP IS CRAP! THAT SOUNDS AWFUL Q.Q) Anyway, long story short. Sylgen gave me a crash course in theory relating to noirfair. I understood much more coming out of that than going in. If that's review for you, congrats! You know more than I do/did. :tomatoface: The clashing sounds happen in yours the same place I was having a hard time with. The key changes in the source.

You guys are getting music approved on this site and you don't even know simple keys? :? How do you know where your music is going to go? I rely on musical keys/modes as a guide.

Norfair begins in the Phrygian mode. You'll notice the motif then becomes higher in pitch. It's a "real" transposition. The key changes. It starts in C Phrygian. (Whoever said C was always white keys made me rage.) It then moves to Eb/D# Phrygian. Yeah, Phrygian sounds "minor-ish" because Phrygian is the same as minor, except the second note is diminished.

Phrygian.. .. well. It's certainly not ancient and lost. At the same time, it's not nearly as common as it should be. You want the key signature? It's the same as the minor-key signature of the same note, with that one added flat. There's an order to the sharps and flats, so just tack it on there and you'll have it. There's a system to this whole music biz.

Example. C minor has three flats. E, A, and B. C Phrygian flats the two, which is D. Well the order goes BEADGCF. We already had BEA, and holy shit, D came next!

So the motifs are all in Phrygian, and they progress like this: C, Eb, Gb, A. Then your descent happens in E Phrygian (all white keys, make note of that please.)

This is all based on a midi I have, and this theme is one of my favorites. I'm pretty sure the midi is accurate. If, by chance, the midi varies, then you have a prime idea of a new direction to take the song. I don't think it does, though.

Now that you know (some) of the keys that it's in, it'll be easy for you to add new material. Just crawl up and down that phrygian scale, throw a few leaps in there maybe. See if it sounds good. If not, rinse and repeat. There was one instance in your piece that I think I heard the Spanish-Phrygian scale used. Ah, yes, here at 1:10. The bass plays Bb, C, Db, C correct? But the Bb sounds like an augmented A, and then the C, and then the C# which would be in A Spanish-Phrygian. You want a new route to go with this piece? Throw that extra exotic flair in there. Wherever your third interval is, try augmenting that. It'll sound like you're in Arabia or Egypt. Cool shit.

So, to put you both at ease. Like I said, starts in C Phrygian. The scale is as follows: C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C. Yes, it has flats. Yes, it's in C (Phrygian). When the song moves to E, like I said, that is when it'll be on all white keys. That's why everyone associates E with Phrygian, C with Major, etc. Those are the tonics that utilize white keys only. (B! B! :-) )

Also, Circle of Fifths/Fourths. If you want to move to a new key, you can usually move a fifth or a fourth away without disrupting the listener. Sometimes I like to move everything up a half-step to create suspense and tension.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This whole thing is mixed waaaaaaaaay too quiet.

And this isn't Ridley's theme. This is Magmoor Caverns.


NVM I didn't read. But still, the levels in this thing are very weird. The drums are fine, but then the rest of it sounds like it's 80 miles away. Then what's weirder is when you get to Ridley's theme, the orchestral bits are good levels but then your drums are 80 miles away...

The track's nice and everyone's commenting on the music but no one seems to be taking issue with the mixing/mastering of this thing, which is blasphemy because you really need to fix the volumes.

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This is sounding more and more awesome with each update. And, yes, neblix has a point. The volumes do need to be worked on. The drums at the end especially were a bit too quiet, it didn't carry the power with it. But You're doing a great job so far Chernabogue! Keep it up! :)!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

On lunch, so can't comment on arrangement right now. Production-wise:

-Starting off, things are pretty clear so far, sound-wise. It gets a little bit dull with for the first :50 or so, since it's almost exclusively low strings playing unison. This makes it soundlike it's just background soundtrack stuff, rather than the action itself :). See if you can make it a bit more interesting.

-Still a lot of unison stuff at :50 with the addition of woodwinds. They feel a bit loud and exposed in context here, but not too bad. Still, I think the main problem is several unison elements all playing their parts.

-1:08 needs percussion underpinnings for sure IMO

-1:19 felt extremely awkward. The woodwinds are suddenly VERY loud and the drum transition is really weak.

-Really loud blatty trumpets at 1:25 with loud strings. I guess it was intentional (?), but you start the second half of the melody line a beat early (1:30 specifically), which you had to compensate for with the drum hat fill.

-1:36 egregiously loud woodwinds :). They'd never carry over the rest of the orchestra like this. Push the flutes back and let the piccolo's naturally higher register carry over the rest of the sounds. You can support it with oboes if you need to bring out the melody further than flutes/picc can - plus it'll add a different timbre to it.

-The underpinning low string stabs are a bit robotic with same velocity quarter notes over and over. You've done a good job overall varying up velocities, it just needs to be carried over to this element as well.

-The drumkit in general isn't meshing completely with the orchestral elements, space-wise. Believe me, I totally understand how hard this is to do. Try and get a bit more spacious feel to the drums so they blend with the other elements better.

-2:04 much better drum fill

-Interesting idea with the harpsicord section. It's slightly on the rigid side as well, try to humanize if you can.

-Again, kind've uninteresting run with brass at 2:29 with just constant half-notes for a while in unison. Really could do a lot more to keep this stuff more exciting. Sounded like a couple wrong notes in there too between the instruments playing, can't tell for sure though.

-2:50, these hits desperately need some timpani rolls or cymbal rolls or something building to them :). Just something I'd do (actually, I think I DID do that...)

-3:06 less unison, more harmony/counterpoint/something again, please :D

-3:26, the drumkit hits are really pumping or clipping the audio here. I think the levels overall are just too high to handles this. Happens again around 3:47 and beyond. Ending section from 3:59 on was a bit weak, honestly.

Overall, good samples (sounds like ewqlso and AD, am I right?), and good writing ideas. Beyond volume and balance issues, I think you have a lot of room to make this more intricate and interesting. There's an over reliance on unison sections and repetative phrasing has room for more style and interpretation.

Good luck and keep at it.

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Nutri covered production, I'll talk arrangement. or at least source usage. I should know them well enough, I think I've tried to remix all the sources you're using. Starts off with the Ridley area music. A quarter into the track, it all feels familiar, so you can't be far off from the source. Then you kick into a Lower Norfair on some wimpy woodwinds - some ethno stuff could give it a sound that's more in line with the drums. Once the harpsichord comes in, I can't help but think a sitar would work as a transition from the woodwinds section. Still in LN source when the harpsi stops. And then... the battle music, slowly. :D And then not slow anymore. Interesting beat for a 5/4 melody.

Okay, I'm pretty sure I heard all the source (may have misattributed one or so), and it's well interpreted and flows well enough. I was constantly hearing stuff that sounds like metroid sources, so you should be in the green as far as source is concerned. I'd be a little worried about the medleyitis, but if I was judging this on the panel I'd give it a yes. Arrangement and source at least.

Felt a bit weak at times, but Nutri probably covered that. I'm lazy and am not gonna check. Nice work, dude. :D

edit: my version on Boss Themes is soooo gonna pwn yours :P

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Thoughts: The intro is really nice with some very aptly used percussive elements. The strange LFO on the flute doesn't sound right to me once it stops syncing up with the flute notes after the first bar or two. It was a neat idea but I'd prefer to hear the flutes playing at a more consistent volume.

Neblix is right, the kit drums just feel really weak compared to the rest of the mix. Have you considered using a more traditional, powerful-sounding orchestral kit? If not, bump up the compression and maybe the volume on your drums, maybe add a little distortion on them... something to give them a bit more punch and body.

I'm still feeling that some of your leads aren't quite cutting through... whatever you were using (flute maybe?) felt really quiet and drowned out half the time so I could barely make out the melody. I think you might have went a little overboard with Nut's criticisms about toning down the volume :-)

It's not a bad start, but I'll agree that overall this feels a little bit empty. Some of the sounds are rather weak and the writing is a bit on the simplistic side. I'm generally impressed with your work but I feel like with the arrangement you've got, you could do more to it :-)

I liked the marimba section, though it starts to carry a happy vibe that clashes with the rest of the song... some more dramatic background stabs from the strings or brass might keep the mood more consistent with the rest of the song.

Weird cutoff on the shaker-sounding percussion at 2:58, that definitely needs some looking at. Very minor, but distracting issue IMO.

When you bring in Ridley's theme at the end of the song, it feels pretty uninspired, to be honest. You do a better job with it after you get into the theme a bit more, but I feel like that section is meant to be the climax of the song and for the first several seconds, the arrangement of the theme just isn't grabbing me.

Sorry for the disjointed critiques but I hope this gives you something to think about :-) Nutritious is definitely the expert in this genre but I did the best I could to provide you with specific feedback that'll hopefully help you get this where it needs to be. I've got no doubt that this could be panel-worthy with some serious effort put into it!

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I like the sound of it so far, but there are some changes I feel may make the song better. I don't know musical terms like the good people here, I'm just a guy. I'll try to explain it as best I can. I don't mean to sound bitter or condescending, it's just some constructive criticism from a listener meant to help you ;-) :

0:40 - I'm not a fan of the strings sounds. It's kinda jarring, throws it off a little.

1:25-1:35 - I like how it comes into the Lower Norfair part. But that 10 second part feels a little wrong. After the first set of trumpets, the strings should give it a little break until the next set of trumpets, like the original song has it. It would sound more natural. The way it is right now it seems kinda off.

2:05 - The xylophone part seems out of place. Not the kind of thing I think of from a song called Cyberdragon. Maybe a different instrument?

3:35 - I LOVE the Big Boss part, but at 3:35 I don't like how the strings go off on their own. I don't know, am I the only one?

3:48 - I love the Meta-Ridley strings in the background, but it should have the other half of that like the original, so it doesn't end at 4:00. Kinda the same issue I have with the Norfair part at 1:25.

4:08 - This ending seems a bit tagged on. I just find it uninspiring when a song just ends like that.

The Big Boss section is the best part of the song. I love how the instruments sound. Problem is it's too short. You gotta let it sizzle for the listener to taste, sorta speak. You don't even have the latter part of the song there, part 0:20 of the original song. I think that would make for a better ending to the song, if it ended wildly, maybe with a gong, or an orchestra hit. Maybe get a sound bite of Ridleys roar echoing in the distance. I dunno, just throwing that part out there.

I meant all this in the politest way possible. I just want to help make this song great. Hope I was able to give some helpful points. If you don't understand what I was talking about some parts, let me know! 8)

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