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Time of Wonder (Chrono Trigger - Corridors of Time)


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Hi, everyone! This is actually my first post in the OCR forums, though I've been visiting the site for a very long time.

I relatively recently decided to try my hand at music and arrangements. I have very little experience, but I've been trying to learn and have picked up a KORG nanoKEY and Axiom 49 MIDI controllers. It's a lot of fun, which I guess is the whole point, right?

Here's a short sample of an arrangement of Corridors of Time from Chrono Trigger. The source has always been one of my favorite video game tracks and I've really enjoyed the mixes posted here at OCR. This is one of my first arrangements and the first track I've done using mostly classical instruments (as opposed to a lot of synths, kicks, and snares). It's also the first to use SoundFonts, which I only just discovered.

Downloads (Newest to Oldest):

Time of Wonder (Corridors of Time) [WIP5] - SoundCloud

Time of Wonder (Corridors of Time) [WIP3] - SoundCloud

Time of Wonder (Corridors of Time) [WIP2] - Tindeck

It's short, and needs a lot of work. At the moment, I feel I really need to introduce some variation. To keep moving forward, I've copied and pasted a whole lot of bongos and congas! Boring.

I plan to conclude the track by transitioning into Day of Lavos. In fact, I already have some of that done, but obviously there's a lot more to put in place before I make that jarring transition.

Well, I'm curious to see what you think. Please go easy on me! I'm a complete n00b.

Thanks, everyone! Oh, and... first post! OCR rocks!

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I have always loved and cherished this song from Chrono Trigger, and as such I am excited to hear and review this remix. Down to business:

The Bad:

The choir samples are lackluster, but I do understand how difficult it can be to acquire good samples that aren't obnoxiously expensive or proprietary. You might see if you can use the ADSR envelops to manipulate the base, organic sound a bit. After that, you are going to have to find a clever way to process them. EQs, compressors, reverb; it's gonna be a tad difficult, but definitely within reach. The lack of quality is only really apparent on the higher registers.

The running piano arpeggio in the song, while quite indicative of the original source, tends to get a little old over time (though this complaint may end up rather small, seeing as the mix is only a short 1:19 ATM). As you lengthen this mix, you may want to consider passing it to another instrument, fading it for a bit, or adding some variation if you linger on the source much longer. I do notice that at 1:01 you do switch up the mix entirely, which is definitely welcome.

I think this is a too conservative in its current form, but I see that you mentioned that in your original post. Here's what I think anyway: I think the tempo is pretty close to the original (not necessarily bad). In addition, You have done a great job creating the atmosphere and capturing the heart of the original source, but I think you need to take more creative license in morphing this into your own mix. I think you have already begun to do this, however, because at 1:01 you begin to deviate from the original a bit, which is a welcome change. I think this will be the biggest issue for this mix, as there are very few production issues.

The Good:

I think the arrangement overall is quite good, albeit short. While the original theme is obviously present, there are plenty of original parts you have written in to give it your own flavor. It just needs much more of this to showcase your own unique take on the source.

The production of many of the instruments and samples is already quite good and pleasing to the ears. I particularly like the piano and cello/contrabass samples. The oboe is pretty decent as well. The tubular bells may need a tad bit of tweaking to sound more realistic and organic (a tad more reverb and a little EQing?). As I mentioned earlier, the choir samples do need attention, but as for sound creation/quality, the choir sounds are my only big complaint. Kudos for quality of your other instruments, though.

The choir sounds might be lacking, but the manner in which you use them and the sequencing/arrangement is quite good, in my opinion. It's not a direct copy from the source, and they support the melodic motif of the song.

Other Suggestions:

The percussion is somewhat minimalistic and calm, which I think is good for the character of this mix. The sound quality is believable, but could benefit from a bit more production. It's a tad too similar to the source, in my opinion (again, this is also something you mentioned, so I'm sure you already have an idea of how you want to change it up). I think you can add a tremendous amount of bravado and thunder to this mix with some quality timpani rolls and hits. There's also a lot of cymbal work you can do as well that would only intensify the mood and do even more to grab the listener and bring them close.

I know you have more writing/composing to do, so I'm not really holding that against you. This mix has great potential, and it's obvious that you are already quite talented and knowledgeable about writing and producing music. Some more variation and original writing, in addition to lengthening the song will do wonders for this mix. You have a solid start and good material/production, and I look forward to your next update!

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Thanks for the insightful and encouraging feedback! I'm glad to hear that you think this track has some potential.

I agree that I've started with a very conservative mix, and the first minute or so is pretty faithful to the original. I plan to keep the first minute or so like this, perhaps with a little more variation, and then transition into some more original takes on the source. I've been playing around with some violins and violas that I think may add to the piece.

I also agree that the piano arpeggio gets old. I actually tried to pass it to another instrument before posting this version, but it didn't work out too well. I plan to try it again and hopefully I'll be able to change it up a bit.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to get better choir samples for this (these are really the best I have). I'll need to try dropping some more DSPs on them. Right now, they're actually pretty raw. I think they're the most "synthy" sounding part of the mix right now. I have virtually no experience processing voices, so I'll need to do a lot of experimentation.

I do plan to add some more percussion, including cymbals (crash!). I also need to change up the bongos and congas, since I did a lot of copying and pasting with them.

I don't get too much time to work on mixes, but I hope to have an update sooner than later! Thanks again for taking the time to listen and write up the great feedback. I really appreciate it.

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Haha, those arpeggios make it sound more like a Kikuta track than a Mitsuda track. Too conservative, yep.

The choir isn't that bad, and it fits with the sounds you already have there. Not believable but still enjoyable. Improved production, especially more foreground-background distinction and some EQ carving to give each track some space and clarity, would take this track far.

Not onto ocr tho. It's basically the original with new sounds and veering off in a slightly different direction some time after over half its current length. Needs more you. :P

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  • 2 months later...

So I haven't found much time to update this until recently. I have a bunch of ideas now and hopefully I'll be able to try them out. Anyway, I have a small update:

Time of Wonder (Corridors of Time) [WIP5] - SoundCloud

I want to continue the track with some more original melodies. I still need to go back and introduce variation, but I probably won't do that until I've added more length (I'm hoping to get around four minutes out of this one).


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Dig the intro, but then it gets really safe and conservative, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as its pretty decently put together from what I can tell on my laptop speakers. Problem is, there's a large number of CT remixes, yet alone "corridor of time" ones so its getting harder and harder to make one that stands out.

From 1:02 on though I like what's going on. The transition in between the Zeal theme and main theme is pretty solid and breaking the song down really makes certain elements shine. Maybe try to incorporate this sort of feel more in the song.

I like the feel of this at parts though, and if you focus less on obvious elements of the track (arp and melody) and more on some of the overlooked ones (chord progression and atmosphere) you could have a very strong mix on your hands.

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Yeah, intro is nice, tho you should use the sustain function on the piano for more realism and a thicker sound. And then it goes into midi rip territory until after 1:00 somewhere. Around 1:08 or so you go into this cool play on the rhythm rather than the melodic parts of source. Some parts expose weak samples tho, like 1:38 with the strings, or 1:06 with the choir sample. Layering them with other string/choir samples should give you a more complex sound, and as long as you have a foreground layer you can use obscenely wet reverb settings on the other layers (just don't mix those tracks too loud).

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