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djpretzel

*NO* Chrono Trigger 'Mid Night'

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Gets much more interpretive as it goes, as advertised. Cuts off kind of abruptly. In my mind, however, a good example of how one might going about doing a solo acoustic guitar ReMix... -djp

Contact Info:

Artist Name: Dash Period

Real name: Christopher Hui

Email address: huicj@usc.edu

ReMix Info:

Game Remixed: Chrono Trigger

Song Remixed: At the Bottom of the Night Comments on Mix:

Actually I didn’t really record this song with the intention of submitting it to OC Remix, however I’m a supporter and fan of video game music and remixing (ESPECIALLY with live instruments). I felt that this song was screaming to be covered a la classical guitar style. Thus I did.

This recording was done using a mic’d Ibanez acoustic steel string and mastered/edited using Logic. I tried to stay close to the original at the start because I felt that the feel of the original score adapted to a solo guitar was quite nice, however I tried to take more liberties as the song progressed – I have to say that recording the first portion was the HARDEST to get a clean take of. The technical aspect of trying to play a song with a piano-feel on the guitar was a bit difficult for me, but I think it came together pretty well in the end.

The last minute or so of the song, I wanted to switch drastically from classical to something in extreme contrast. So I went with a sort of acoustic-reggae jazz feel, the solo is improvised and actually a first-take (which may explain some of the mistakes that may be noticeable) however I felt that even with mistakes it worked well and ended up giving the overall sound a sort of raw quality. Anyhoo, I hope I did the song justice, yay for OC. Love, peace, and chicken grease.

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I've usually enjoyed remixes of "At the Bottom of the Night." Beej's "Sines" & Dale North's "Spacecat" are two favorites of mine.

This one starts off fairly slow, and I was wondering when it would pick up and get interesting. After going for some admittedly decent straight coverage, things worked up at 1:24. Nice freestyle section at 2:04 that stylistically fit well with the source tune stuff for the beginning; certainly a good atmosphere throughout. Any flubs on the guitar didn't particularly hurt this in my listening.

Not gonna be an overly enthusiastic YES, because the beginning is somewhat low on the energy/creativity scale (until 1:24), and the abrupt ending was a big negative for me, but I felt the good outweighed the bad, and I think that's what most votes on this are gonna come down to. Good job, Chris.

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The University of Southern California does not screen or control the content on this website and thus does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such content. All content on this website is provided by and is the sole responsibility of the person from which such content originated, and such content does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the University administration or the Board of Trustees

SCREW YOU SOCAL! HAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH.

Okay. The beginning starts off slow, but once we hit 2:20, it's pure gold. Now I'm not a guitar EXPERT, but I think this is pretty well played stuff.

Nice stuff. Not overwhelmingly amazing, but nice. YES

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Not seein whats so special about this. I know at least 2 people who could improv and record this song in one take and be done in 5 minutes. That is to say, I'm not seeing why this is anything more than a minimal guitar transcript + completely random improv.

Rather obvious NO.

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This definitely gets better and grows on you as you listen. Very vibey piece, something a little different.

YES

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I know i'm late and whatnot, but i want to note my dissent.

First off, it's not a "solo guitar" piece. there are two tracks. not that that is reason to reject it.

I think the recording quality is a little too poor for it to be the only instrument. the recording sounds flat. If that's the only instrument i'm listening to, i want it to be crystal clear and vibrant. i'm no recording expert, but my guess is that the mic was too far away. there's no low end at all.

it also would have been nice if he had played with the panning or tone or something to differentiate the two guitar tracks.

as for the arrangement...c'mon guys, is this really a passable arrangement? once through verbatim, then a solo thing? where's the ending? where's the dynamic build, or barring that, form. it just dies at the end. i think the remixer should put a little more thought into his song. it ain't done yet.

NO

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yea, this was quite the obvious NO. Gettin real tired of the whole 'this isn't godly amazing, but its nice, so yes.' What the hell kinda standard is that for judging.

That is to say; please do a better job in explaining why this song is acceptable when we've rejected plenty of songs with far more impressive rearrangement, actual composition, good improv, good sound recording, and all the other stuff this song simply lacks. Its not enough that a song so simple that lacks in all areas should pass due to it sounding 'ok'.

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I agree with the dissent. I hear a sloppily played acoustic guitar piece that follows the CT theme closely for the first half and becomes a whole new original song for the second. The improvisation suggests to me a single take, maybe two, with not much effort applied. The buzzing strings are very... distracting.

I do not agree that this is an example of a good, standalone acoustic guitar arrangement. The performance is marred by flubs and sloppiness and the arrangement is average to mediocre. Sure, guitars generally sound nice, but this is way sub-par.

NO

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I hear a poorly played rendition of the original with obvious flubs. Straight up bad notes, strings buzzing badly due to lack of pressure on frets, timing issues up the wazoo.

The second section really seems to have little or nothing to do with the original. Completely different feel, no real connection to the original chord progression.

In summary, the playing is decent all around, but there ARE definite mistakes. The recording is passable, but just barely. The THUMP at the end is inexcusable. The "Arrangement" consists of one very close iteration of the original followed by an unrelated section in an entirely different feel.

This would be auto-reject material to me.

NO

-D

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ugh, fine. just stop editing my damn posts.

i've been to several acoustic guitar recitals for world class guitarists. i learned how to record acoustic guitar in my recording classes.

i know how this stuff is supposed to sound and it's not news to me that the recording here isn't the greatest and the performance ain't perfect.

but for an entirely instrumental piece, i feel it's of passable quality for ocr.

as for the arrangement, i realize that the first part is fairly conservative while the improv section borrows few motifs from the original.

however, i feel the improv section provides a good contrast to the original material whilst not being awkward -- making it a stronger piece as a whole. this was the same reasoning i used when i passed the Sonic 2 'Hilltop Heaven' remix.

i would've liked to see a more liberal rearrangement of the first half but as it stands i feel it works well enough as a whole to be passable.

oh and the THUMP at the end was intentional as far as i can tell. at least it didn't seem like a mistake.

as always, i respect the votes of my fellow panelists and i'll be fine with whatever the fate of this mix will be.

cheers.

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I don't think anyone is suggesting that the recording quality alone is killing this mix. There are obvious flaws in the performance, mostly in the first half. I can pinpoint their times exactly, but I think they're easily located. They're simply too blatant to be excusable. If someone is going to take the time to record a song to be posted on the site, they should make every effort to make it sound presentable. I guarantee that even if my personal favorite piano piece on the site, MC's "Scriabin's Long Library", had performance flubs I would reject it.

That, along with the fact that the second half of the mix is an original tune completely unrelated to Chrono Trigger. Other than MAYBE a semblance of similar chord structure on a VERY basic level, there simply is nothing to connect the ideas, nothing to insinuate more than that the guitarist learned to play the original, and then tacked on an improv ditty. It's not a terrible song, but I really believe this borders on submission violation.

-D

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Yeah, recording quality was about as much an issue as the empty and undeveloped arrangement. performance didn't bother me so much. I think the performance was passable.

I think some of you are being a little too lenient with the song because it is guitar-only...just my perception, but i highly doubt this mix would pass if the instrumentation were different.

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I can certainly see why this has divided the panel. There are a myriad of good and bad things in this mix. The performance problems in the beginning of the mix to me are the most obvious and unpleasant. As the mix progresses the quality and performance improves. I really enjoyed the second half of the mix. Performance and production could have been better, considering the recording, better EQ work would have been welcomed - but it sounds good enough and certainly doesn't prohibit it from OCR. The ending is sudden, a surprise, and I don't like it.

First section is conservative, but not without minor expansion, and as mentioned by others gets more interpretive as it moves towards the end. I had no problem with the structure or how ultimately the arrangement was put together and executed well overall.

There's a number of issues here, but there's a lot of charm to this mix. I found it, the pacing and the atmosphere quite enjoyable, especially after the rocky beginning. Passable in relation to the standards and in comparison to others passed recently.

YES

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A critique of "Mid Night"

Post-structuralism versus Post-modernism in Overclocked Remixes

By John Allen Burnett, Ph.D.

Since time in memoriam, mankind has always gazed at the stars, and in that vast cosmic expanse, the stars have always peered back. The challenge, then, lies in identifying who is the watcher, and who is being watched. For was it not the Bard who said, "The fault, dear Horatio, lies not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings".

Indeed, the overarching theme of the "gaze" is widely prevalent in the song "Mid Night". Though certainly not a sterling example of solo, or even duo-track guitar work, the underlying emotion, or vibe if you will, is pleasant enough. Yet the amicable undertones of the piece belies its rather irksome shortcomings.

For one, the overall structure of the piece is a bit uninspired. Upon closer examination, one finds a verbatim recording of the original theme, followed by a largely unrelated solo. Perhaps if these two dichotimus elements were somehow integrated better...

Secondly, the ending is abrupt to the point of disbelief, given the smooth and deliberate progression of the introduction. This work is reminescent of early Lacan or Kant, though that is really niether here nor there.

It is the opinion of this Doctor that the song "Mid Night" be NO'd, until the followind conditions are met: A.) The author improves the overall structure, integration, and creativity of the piece and B.) the author greatly improves the ending.

In closing, no man is an island unto himself. Why, even the dread Protricity was often heard on IRC as to say, "Sometimes, Wingless... I just need a fucking hug, you know? But don't fucking tell anyone or I'll fucking karate rape your mailbox." Indeed... truer words were never spoke.

A-

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Frankly, I'm not saying this was a superlative remix. But taking into account all of the areas of contention people had, as well as myself being called out for not voting along the guidelines/standards here, I felt I had to respond to them in the attempt to flesh out my vote for everyone.

In terms of the production, I felt it was lacking and could have been improved, but was passable. Vigilante complained that the track was missing sounds from the low end and that the guitars didn't sound clear enough, and by extension emotive enough, due to the mic-ing and mastering. After listening several more times with Vig's encouragement, I nonetheless continue to feel that the recording/production was passable, if only barely, like Danny B also said despite his NO. I felt that the delivery here was not too flat and that the rhythms here were fairly emotive and spirited, especially once things particularly picked up at 2:04 with the segue into the second half. I did agree with Vig thought that more panning or separation of sounds would have helped distinguish the two guitar tracks more during the second-half improv section, but didn't feel that the weakness of the recording was poor enough to push this down into the NO category.

In terms of the ending with the THUMP at the end, I don't have a problem with it in principle, as others have used it as an ending, but for this track specifically, the ending comes off as poor, abrupt, and unresolved. There was a last note that should have faded down at 3:18 instead of the thump. I agreed with most of the panel who docked the mix some points for that.

In terms of the performance, I am not a meticulous guitar expert and admittedly have lower/not as strict standards on performance, as any mistakes will inherently be more glaring and aggravating to the guitarists of the group. At the same time though, I definitely did not disregard any mistakes I heard. Danny B was particularly put off by the performance, with things being heard from him such as off-notes, timing issues, and badly buzzing strings due to poor fret pressure (I believe 1:15 is an example of that). I heard the flub at 1:15, but, other than the end (THUMP), I didn't notice that there were many other issues/gaffes that jarringly (rather than minorly) impacted the performance. Whether or not OCR currently has a "good enough" bar set for these types of pieces is a bigger issue, but ultimately I go by what I hear and how well I feel that was executed. So when you ask me if the delivery on the guitar was satisfactory based on the standards we've had for live guitar pieces, I say yes. Like Vigilante also said despite his NO, I felt the performance was passable.

In terms of the arrangement, I felt this was extremely conservative when dealing with the source material, but was still serviceable as simply the first half of a larger idea for the track. As I said in conversation on this, if this was simply a 3:30 track with this cover motif as the whole thing, it would not pass; however it has the second half to expand upon the tone of the first half, which does its part to save the track. As I also said in conversation on this, if this was simply a 3:30 track with this original motif as the whole thing, it would not pass; however it has the first half to provide the arranged content, which does its part to save the track. Both halves needed to be there in order for this mix attempt to actually click with me. Despite the style overhaul of the second half, I felt the use of the same instruments and similar chords throughout the mix did well to preserve the tone established in the first half, making the thematic connection of the two halves very natural-sounding to me, unlike how many of the others felt.

In terms of the guidelines...

Submissions Standards]Changing a piece's genre, adding original passages, solos, harmonies, and counter-melodies, as well as altering instrumentation, dynamics, and tempo are all ways of making a ReMix your own unique creation, and are techniques best used in conjunction.
...I felt this did an adequate job (and I stress merely adequate because my vote was borderline) changing the source tune's genre through altering aspects such as the instrumentation, dynamics and tempo through this straightforward yet nuanced guitar arrangement as well as the addition of the all-original second half that substantially expanded upon the motifs of the first half’s source material. For me, these were all alterations and additions that worked in conjunction in a satisfactory way. Along with my belief that the production was reasonably serviceable enough and that the delivery on the guitar work was flawed yet ultimately strong enough, all of those factors are what led me to YES this submission for its relative quality as well as on the basis of adhering to OCR’s guidelines.

I think the important point with a piece like this that was borderline or at least genuinely arguable on several levels is that no one should judge this in too declarative a manner, which I honestly felt Protricity was doing in our various panel discussions (and to a lesser extent Danny B before he & I calmed down and tried to break things down referring to the actual guidelines). As a group, we should generally respect the votes of other panelists in regards to whether or not they voted in deference to OCR’s submission guidelines and our general standards. Despite the common desire for rigid, uniform standards that would somehow be "easier" to enforce, they are an impossibility in a reality where music can be executed in so many different ways and the judges themselves do not necessarily have uniform beliefs when interpreting a common set of standards. I feel that the best we can do as judges when we run into debates on these issues is to remain receptive and amicable to debate, discussion, and the opinions of those whom you disagree with, even those you markedly disagree with.

When I make nearly any vote, I cast my vote only for the mix in front of me, as I think that’s to OCR’s primary benefit, and not on the potential impact of the decision for OCR as a whole, as that could bias a vote just as much as YESing a mix by a friend without the track being good enough, or being afraid to NO a submission due to potential artist or community backlash. All in all though, I wholeheartedly approve this NO from the panel, because while I don't believe this submission was a violation, passing it also would have set a bad precedent for OCR by potentially encouraging other hopefuls to copy this unorthodox (and frankly iffy) formula, yet not be nearly as successful with it.

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But in all seriousness, my issues with this song have already been brought up:

tuning, precision, lack of dynamics, incoherence of the middle section, sudden cliff-drop ending.

These, I feel, outweigh the pros, and push it over the line for me. The recording quality is not bad enough that it's an issue for me. It's the other issues that put it in this category. So I reiterate my earlier vote of NO. Not awful, but not great.

D

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