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djpretzel

OCR01260 - *YES* Final Fantasy 7 'Philharmonic Suite: Finale'

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Probably a no-brainer, but thought I'd send it your way regardless. Quite good. - djp

Heya,

It's been just over a year since my last submission and since then I've received numerous e-mails from those wanting to hear the sequels.

Why I never submitted them isn't because ocremix has a limit on the file size, but because I like to write long, drawn-out pieces, and it just so happens that those sequels were too big to submit here. I'm not complaining since it was my decision to keep going with them.

This arrangement I'm linking to is not part 5 of the suite, but the Finale nevertheless. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to continue with the suite. It contains several themes from FF7, but what people will instantly recognize in the first half is the music from Weapon's attack on Junon.

Link:

Title: Philharmonic Suite Finale

Remixer Name: Jeremy Robson

Real Name: Jeremy Robson

e-mail Address: jeremy.robson@gmail.com *the e-mail address is new, thus would have to be changed in my profile

Webiste: http://jeremy.narphonax.com

*ditto

Game: Final Fantasy 7

Original Title: Weapon Raid

Composer: Nobuo Uematsu

That's all for today!

~Jeremy

New link to the new file:

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phew....another tough one.

I do not deny that Jeremy has ability to orchestrate. Nor do I deny he has nice samples. However, I think that orchestral arrangements should be held to a certain (not necessarily higher) standard. Specifically, they should not be mixed like rock tunes, they should be arranged with careful attention to dynamics, instrumentation and phrasing, and should expand upon the original in a creative manner.

Unfortunately, this submission suffers from many problems that I personally believe to be important to passing the bar as an orchestral arrangement. I know i'll get poops galore on my freshly cut lawn, but I really think this can be done better.

My first comment is to the samples. I'm assuming they're Gigasamples, as his last posted remix was. Regardless of whether or not they are, it just doesn't sound good. In comparison to the PSX sound chip, yes - it sounds pretty good. But i've easily created more convincing orchestral atmosphere on much cheaper software. I'm not trying to advance my ego here, I'm just mentioning this as a testament to the fact that samples, regardless of the quality, require effective usage to reach their full potential.

The blatty brass sound dominates the texture of a large portion of the track. Often in rapid succession; often forsaking the effective usage of a "blat" sound - to accent specific portions of brass harmony. I'd really like to hear an actual attempt at appropriate articulations rather than just setting it to "blat" and hoping it sounds intense.

This brings me to another point. The entire track is flat. I can't bring myself to say there is any dynamic range here. This is very important, as the length of the piece makes it very tiresome. By the end, I wanted it to end so badly, as it was just the same old same old - strings melody, brass blatting, snare drum roll, crash. Repeat. There's no real attempt here to do anything but reiterate the original in a style quite similar to the original. Oftentimes, the only arrangement i hear is a timpani playing fifths followed or preceded by a painfully cliched snare drum lick. Considering the original track (Weapon Raid) contained a highly similar motif, it's disappointing that more wasn't done here to make a compelling arrangement. The track also exhibits a "Wall of Sound" quality that is effective in other genres, but makes orchestral sound homogeneous and uninspired.

I am not in any way insinuating that a sizeable amount of work was not put into this song. It's obviously been thought out and executed to a certain successful degree. My biggest beef with this song, and my primary reason for rejection, is that the scope of the remix is very narrow. It's in a style very similar to the original, and little was done to liven up the arrangement outside of small changes to percussive accompaniment. Many facets of the orchestration are also quite subpar, flute trills/runs and string runs being so fast and devoid of dynamics sometimes that even the best samples in the world wouldn't sound good. This is a case in which the arrangement and the sound quality together bring it down enough to fall below the bar. These Gigasamples are not being used effectively.

I have to see more than a mediocre arrangement to badly-programmed Gigasamples to give the thumbs up. Sorry dude.

NO

-D

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This is a real tough one. The samples sound so good, and yet there are such problems.

So I'm ont sure how to word this without making it look like a gigasample-bias, or an envy thing, or one of the hundreds of other variations anyone who rejects this will surely be called.

The problems I have with this mix are some of the same ones I had with his first ocr submission.

Firstly, that low brass. So loud and obnoxious. On headphones its like listening to someone farting over the music for 6:30. Like 5:08.. man what is that?

Secondly, lots of rather abrupt, rough edged string strikes. Examples are sections like 0:43, 1:05, 2:20-2:32, 2:50, 4:10. Theres a lot of that. Just no merit in doing that all over the place.

Thirdly, the majority of this song is a remix of 'Final Fantasy 7 - 4-02 - Weapon Raid.mp3'. Theres some minor rearrangement, but its mainly just a recomposition of this song. This theme is covered in different orders, different keys, here and there. Then 3/4ths of the way in, the song starts covering the air ship theme. Point is, I'm not feeling any innovation here. Its mostly another orchestra version of an already-orchestra song. Higher quality samples I suppose, but like I said, not very well used.

Forthly, percussion. So common. ta-ta-ta-ta. FF7 had some pretty damned cool percussion, but this song simplifies it into very simple, common progressions.

I'm pretty borderline on this song. Frankly my biggest problem is that damned brass. Its just so annoying. I don't feel there's much innovation as far as rearrangement goes.

On the other hand, the sound quality is good, the skill is there, somewhat, and there are no major issues.

I'll have to come back to this one.

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I'd hate to think that Jeremy nigguhgigasampled his way to a YES, but frankly, this sounds reasonably well put together to me, and I'm not hearing enough to swing to a NO at this point.

I need to hear a copy of "Weapon Raid" in order to compare it to the arrangement though, since I'm not overly familiar with the original.

I'll also take into account Dan & Prot's comments; maybe I just have a lower bar, but the execution sounds fine overall, even though it certainly could be improved.

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Gigasamples are so 2003. I don't know why the panel continually makes a big deal about it. It's behind the technology curve. ;)

Ok, I agree the Trombone blat is really odd and out of place. It also sounds way upfront in the soundstage. Why is this? It would have sounded much better if the brass placement was more properly placed.

Using high quality samples is not easy. Understanding of articulations and proper attack/decay parts for certain notes is required. Jeremy does a fine job in this respect.

The mix itself, everything else (outside the trombone section) is incredible in my opinion. Fantastic arrangement, blending of themes, production. Jeremy knows his orchestration. Despite the main issue cited, this is way beyond the bar in my opinion. Direct post material.

YES.

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I dont recall anyone making a big deal about gigasamples, especially in this thread. Mostly the reference was to how well this guy uses his samples. Thats about it.

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This is not good orchestration. If I might be totally biased for a second, Jared Hudson's "The Frontier" is an example of a good arrangement. It involves taking the original melody somewhere other than putting basic string runs and timpani over a near-verbatim arrangement of the original. Please listen to the original.

But what do I know? It's just my major.

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I'm not going to spend time for tit for tat exchanges beyond this. I respect your opinion as a judge and have relistened to the mix for a second round.

As with the first rounds of listening, I can definitely see and agree with what you're saying in some aspects - but ultimately my vote stands.

Yes, orchestral is one of the highest standards we place on the site, but our standards aren't that of holst, sugiyama, horner, or zimmer.

Wall of Sound issue is indeed there and I share your feelings. However this is again our personal view. If it's good enough for professional orchestral composers like Bill Brown - it's not good enough for OCR?

We have passed stuff with less arrangement value for my taste even recently, and I look to that as where the watermark is. I personally, like you prefer a more substantiative and subtly ornamented orchestra. But I'm not voting on my personal views alone.

A lot of work has been put into this mix, far more than the average mix even posted. I also think there is arrangement work here. This doesn't follow the originals note for note. I think the blending of several themes and integrated so well is also a bonus.

I'm not saying the mix is perfect, but what mix is? Also for me too much positives outweigh the bad. I would have mixed it personally more liberally, but comparing to even mixes we've passed even recently where it has been close arrangement - I personally can't deny this.

Educational background is important, you aren't alone in that and I respect yours. But education is not the final say.

You/others don't have to agree with me, but that's my vote.

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I'm not attacking your judging ability, I just simply don't think this is a sufficient arrangement to warrant being posted among much better songs. This song would lack any merit whatsoever without Gigasamples; a mediocre arrangement of a song in the same genre, with the theme from the Highwind thrown in arbitrarily and innapropriately. I've never passed a mix that I can think of that was this close to the original both in harmonic/melodic structure and style.

I would label this a submissions violation, but I guess there's barely enough arrangement to escape the N.O.

As for the orchestrators comments, I have issues with a lot of Russell's technique, and Israfel I haven't heard enough to make that call. But Jared is an undoubted talent when it comes to orchestration, especially in the ReMixing field because he attempts to make it somewhat his own.

I'm not trying to attack your opinion or anything, but I don't think I was suggesting we hold submitters to the standard of the masters. What I do think we should hold submissions to is the basic tenets of orchestration, instrumentation and especially arrangement. This track lacks dynamic range of any kind, any substantial rearrangement, and effective use of the great things Giga brass is capable of. I think those are pretty major violations.

-D

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Thanks for clarifying that up Dan. :)

Like I said I agree with some of your criticisms of the piece. Like the brass usage - the trombone is definitely a major offender - however I still think it's not a big enough issue to decline. Secondarily a lot of mixes on this site suffer from string suction problems. Can we decline those too? A lot of problems that come with the use of samples come with the territory. My personal view is I'm willing to overlook some of those minor issues.

The dynamics issue, I agree with you fully in spirit. I too believe orchestral should be dynamic, especially helpful for tutti sections. However, I think our opinions here are personal beliefs. My trouble is, how can we criticize the lack of dynamics here so much so when a lot of cinematic composers, like say Bill Brown do the same?

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Beyond "Weapon Raid", could anyone please highlight which other FF7 tracks (if any) are being used for this remix? Sorry that I'm not in a position to do it myself. Once I get that info, I'll be glad to write my decision.

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I requested the information from Jeremy on the exact themes he used.

0:16 is the first instance of theme, when weapon attacks junon

0:47 is the continuation after some john adams-like interlude

1:09 is cid's theme

1:15 is a variation + expansion of the theme first heard at 0:16 - i bring back this variation one more time later on

1:27 to 2:17 is straight from the weapon attacking theme - this included sephiroth's theme at the end already, uematsu also likes to play with themes

2:50 is the recapitulation of the beginning, but what is neat here is that a flute foreshadows an upcoming theme at the exact same moment

2:50 is two ff7 themes at once, the main theme of this part (weapon theme) and the main theme of ff7 (the title screen theme)

3:04 is the weapon theme again, but with a neat chromatic/rhythmic accompaniment

3:35 is the ff7 main theme

3:41 is cloud's theme (or the overworld theme)

3:55 is a variation on this overworld theme in a minor key

4:15 is that variation from 1:15

4:27 is a theme everyone should know: the airship music

5:35 is the ff7 main theme again, and build up to what i thought was something fairly special

5:52 should be familiar to those who heard the flute play it in part 1, it's the planet's theme, i think

6:00 is the overworld theme

6:09 is my own john williams-like ending, because the thematic placement was mostly imitating his action music

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That's a very extensive number of themes.

My concern with anyone saying that there's not enough arrangement, given that very long laundry list, is whether a comparison was done with each one of those themes. That seems like it would take a lot of time, granted, but by the same token, without having done that, I would think it would be difficult to conclusively say that the arrangement is near "verbatim"...

However, Dan B. (given Cabrera's absence these days, perhaps we should just start calling HIM 'Dan C.', eh?) seems pretty confident in this analysis. If the decision is close, I'm more than willing to do a one-for-one comparison against the PSF and chime in myself, I just have one hell of a midterm coming up on Thurs. that I have to actually (for the first time in several years of undergrad) STUDY for.

One note - we often hear submissions that use gigasamples but do not take full advantage of dynamics and are not programmed believably/expressively. Obviously, this IS an issue and SHOULD be taken into consideration. However, it is no more, or less, of an issue than if the samples sucked. Dynamics and articulations can be incorporated with almost any set of multisamples, my point being that while this is definitely an issue, it shouldn't be considered a BIGGER issue just because better samples were used.

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Something to note>

1:27 to 2:17 is straight from the weapon attacking theme - this included sephiroth's theme at the end already, uematsu also likes to play with themes

2:50 is the recapitulation of the beginning, but what is neat here is that a flute foreshadows an upcoming theme at the exact same moment

2:50 is two ff7 themes at once, the main theme of this part (weapon theme) and the main theme of ff7 (the title screen theme)

3:04 is the weapon theme again, but with a neat chromatic/rhythmic accompaniment

3:35 is the ff7 main theme

This whole block here is still just weapon raid. That song encorporates many themes in ff7. The fact that jeremey is simply using it does not award him credit for rearrangement. Beyond that, he used the airship and overworld. However those two are also used in conjunction throughout the game. At best case, he used 3 songs from ff7 with the socalled variation

6:09 is my own john williams-like ending, because the thematic placement was mostly imitating his action music

0:47 is the continuation after some john adams-like interlude

that I am very not impressed with.

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Perhaps it's because my standards aren't nearly as high as the rest of the panels, or perhaps it is because I am more ready to enjoy song X Y or Z, but I like this.

Now, let's get some much needed disclaimers out of the way so people don't crowd around my windmill with pitchforks and torches. The samples are irksome. There are some issues with the composition (which really should be debated, as it keys us in on issues of arrangement versus jigsaw-editing). There are some really valid and honest points being raised with this song, and yes, I've taken them all into account.

But when all is said and done, I have to focus in on the big picture of this piece. High, arcing thematic ideas like energy, emotion, passion, etc. And on these terms, I think this song is successful. I also think that the bad (and valid) points brought up by Port and Oh Danny Boy in no way outweigh or overshadow the goodpoints of this piece.

I tend to work on the binary scale, and having said that: YES

And so begins the Age of Rifts

When the god-kings of Overclocked

Squabble amoungst themselves

for the mantle of Lord Shttyjujjfagt

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http://www.tzone.org/~llin/psf/packs2/FF7_psf.rar - 402 Weapon Raid

Like I said earlier, I apologize for having a lower bar than Danny and Jared Hudson, but I believe this is capable-enough orchestration work for our site standards. The source theme was rearranged and handled quite well (along with references to other themes), despite this remix being in a somewhat similar musical style to the original.

Lots of good support instrument ideas made for creative additions I heard compared with the original, and I felt the "Weapon Raid" theme itself was altered pretty well. I'm not sure why anyone would potentially cry foul on the rearrangement. The source theme is 1:16 long and this mix doesn't seem to use the verbatim source structure as a crutch at all. Unless I somehow have the wrong theme, it's a fine medley piece. If I have the wrong theme from the PSF pack, let me know.

Some of the brass sampling was handled very poorly, and, dynamically speaking, I thought this was relatively flat and needed a lot more contrast in instrument intensities and so forth.

But again, this was at least capable orchestration and rearrangement work to me, and I had no big problems with it on that level. The arrangement made up for a relatively weaker use of quality samples.

YES

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Just got the response.

Yes, I'll give it a try. I'm going to see what I can do about recording it in sections in order to make things easier on myself.

If I get frustrated and give up, you don't have to post it. I hate to dwell on a piece for too long, since in a year's time I'd probably consider it outdated anyway. Hopefully, that won't be the case.

~Jeremy

On Sun, 17 Oct 2004 20:07:33 -0700, protricity@cox.net <protricity@cox.net> wrote:

> That would be appreciated as the tie up on the panel is more or less

> over that problem.

>

> So is that a maybe? Or you plan to do it and we should hold off voting

> for a week?

>

> -Ari

>

>

>

> -----Original Message-----

> From: Jeremy Robson [mailto:jeremy.robson@gmail.com]

> Sent: Sunday, October 17, 2004 6:31 PM

> To: protricity@cox.net

> Subject: Re: Final_Fantasy_7_Philharmonic_Suite_Finale_OC_ReMix.mp3

>

> I guess I could. It might take a while, though, since the odds of

> getting a perfect recording are against me. The polyphony at times is

> just so high and I get these little snaps in the sound (not clipping),

> and recording in sections is not an option here. With some luck, I

> could probably manage to finish it this week.

>

> ~Jeremy

>

> On Sun, 17 Oct 2004 12:34:25 -0700, protricity@cox.net

> <protricity@cox.net> wrote:

> >

> >

> >

> > Hey Jeremy. We're reviewing your current submission right now. A few

> > of

> the

> > judges have a problem with that low brass sample. It plays all the

> > time, sounds really annoying, especially on headphones. Easily

> > ruined the song

> for

> > me. It almost sounds like a propeller plane flying around the whole time.

> >

> >

> >

> > Anyway, would it be possible to lower the volume on the brass, or

> > change

> it

> > to something with less 'blat'? I wouldn't imagine it would be too

> > hard to fix, but yea it's a problem to me.

> > Thanks for understanding

> > -Prot

>

>

At this time I'd like to ask everyone to hold off on their votes until one week when this song is revised. I don't think we should simply 'not pass it' if we don't recieve a revision. Once we do get a revision, I would like to ask everyone who voted again to reconsider the song. No need to rewrite anything if your opinions don't change; just reconsider.

LOQ'd

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I'm still not very happy about the arrangement's proximity to the original style-wise, but the brass IS much better. I guess that puts it just over the bar.

YES

-D

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