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OCR03550 - *YES* Final Fantasy 9 "The Fallen Savior" *PROJECT*

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Remixer Name: Darangen
Real Name: Michael Boyd
Email: 
Website: www.darangen.com
UserID: 8948

URL to Remix: 

Game: Final Fantasy 9
Songs: Pandemonium – The Castle Frozen in time
Original Soundtracks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFciY_WRae4
Comments: This submission is part of Fishy’s Final Fantasy IX project.

I’ve enjoyed this theme since it’s original incarnation in Final Fantasy 2. I was glad to see it come back in Final Fantasy 9 and I enjoyed how Nobuo made it from a somewhat militant marchy sounding theme to an ominous feel. Final Fantasy 9 one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, and when I saw Fishy had a project going for it AND the Pandemonium theme was still unclaimed, I had to jump on it.

I always felt that Garland had an interesting role, in that he wasn’t necessarily a villian but an anti-hero. He was the savior of his people and while his methods were destroying Gaia, he was only doing what it took to make sure his people survived. When he died, so did the hope of his people living on, even if Kuja hadn’t of destroyed Terra, there would be no one to finish the work Garland had started. Thus the name for this submission, The Fallen Savior.

As always, I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed making it!

Michael Boyd

 

 

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The intro guitar tone didn't really inspire high hopes for the mix, as it was tinny, dry, and incredibly brittle, but once the rhythm guitar came in, it felt a lot better. The melody seemed buried at a lot of points in the mix, but I liked the soundscape, and the arrangement was pretty personalized. I really liked the driving rock with synth and oboe, and though the oboe wasn't super humanized, it worked pretty well.

Overall, the balance wasn't perfect, but the arrangement was creative and good enough. I'm good passing this. :-)

Yes

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I'm on the fence with this one. To me, I am hearing all of the issues that Andrew brought up and agreeing with them for the most part, but the balance especially isn't working for me. A lot of times I feel like I'm not sure what to focus on, because there isn't an instrument taking the lead. I think you need to look at this one again and tweak the levels a bit, and it will be good to go.

NO (please resubmit)

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That lead guitar sounds really trashy. Maybe that's what you were going for. Is it my imagination or is the snare leaning to the left?

Given the garbage-rock sound you seem to be going for here, the lead oboe is a little inappropriate. an overall comment i'd make is that your sweeter and more pure sounds like the oboe and some of the synths could work layered, but they really shouldn't be up front. Add some grunge over them. That said, I'm fine with the mixing, and the arrangement is cool, though the end was a little bit drawn out.

Cool stuff.

YES

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Maybe I'm hearing it different than Jessie, but I think there are some significant balance/mixing issues here. The whole track has really excessive levels in the mid-high range, which makes the whole thing sound harsh. You might want to check your mastering effects here, maybe it's some sort of maximizer or exciter or something that's making it come out this way.

Mixing-wise, the non-guitar leads felt pushed back behind the supporting elements. Also, there are parts later where it gets really loud. I had to turn my volume down several notches once 2:52 hit and things are sounded cluttered to the point of distorting the instruments. I just judged a heavy dnb track which, while having the opposite EQ presence (heavy lows as opposed to the higher freqs here), was a step down in perceived volume level.

That said, the arrangement is very cool and creative. Clear use of the original while bringing your own arrangement ideas to the mix. The guitars were well performed(as expected). Drum writing was very well thought-out.

Overall, you've established the feel I think you were going for, just the execution needs some tightening. I really don't think this is far from a pass and, actually, could well pass as-is. Good luck with the rest of the vote.

No, resubmit please

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The intro was weak (what was with the guitar going in and out?), but once the main song kicked in, it got a lot better. Oboe lead was actually pretty sweet, I was surprised how much I was digging the weirdness of the contrast. I do feel like the mastering made this a little harsh to listen to, but the mixing felt pretty good to me overall. Instruments are well-separated and clear. A little more mid-low in the drums would have been nice to avoid the hollowed-out effect you get when the overdriven guitars are not in play, but the bass region is covered well. The 1:52 section is also a little messy, and you can hear the compressor clamp down on the volume.

Close call, but I'm leaning YES. It might make sense to e-mail Mike and see if he wants to touch this up.

YES

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so many good comments in here already, I'm not sure what to add. overall, I feel like the song clicks, enough to warrant a YES. definitely liking the arrangement. I didn't think the leads were too buried, the oboe was actually a pretty nice touch. I agree that there is some general mixing/balance weirdness that would be worth looking at if Darangen is willing, but overall I was rockin' to this.

YES

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This definitely channels Michael's old-school OCR vibes that were present in most of his mixes, but definitely kicks it up a notch for the most part. This is definitely a rock arrangement at heart but there's a lot of personalized touches that make this very memorable. My initial impression here was that there were some balancing issues that need to be addressed, but on subsequent listens this track definitely seemed to click better. The oboe/orchestral leads feel just a touch too quiet, but it's not sounding nearly as noticeable to me as some of the judges who went NO on this track.

One issue I do have that nobody else has mentioned is the outro, which seems to drag on for way too long without very much going on. It's a great way to end the track that totally fits with the mood, but I would personally cut it off at about half of the length it's currently at.

I'm really torn on this track, because on the whole I do feel like this is a passable track as-is. However, it seems like almost everyone who's voted has a different set of issues that they would like addressed, so maybe this would be better to send back and get some blanket fixes that would address all of our issues. I'll flop my vote if, for whatever reason, this ends up as an as-is track that can't be updated, but let's get in touch with the remixer and see if this can be brought up to the next level.

[edited below]

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I'll flop my vote if, for whatever reason, this ends up as an as-is track that can't be updated

IMO, that's not a NO (resubmit), that sounds more like a YES (conditional) that you could live with as a YES if forced. Whether or not an improved version can be made shouldn't factor into the core YES vs. NO vote at all, otherwise one could also factor in what reason the artist has for not revising it. Should you stay NO if someone just decides OCR blows and they don't want to revise it but go YES if their project file simply got corrupted? Let's not go there. :lol:

Besides, distilling your vote, it comes off as...

  • the arrangement was personalized
  • there were some mixing issues but the mixing of the most important parts didn't bother me as much as the other NOs
  • the mixing didn't sound as problematic with repeated listens
  • the ending was a great way to end the track but was too long

NO (resub)

That didn't really scream NO to me as your conclusion, so you either want to flip your vote to YES or further articulate the sum total of what's holding this back as a NO.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The oboe lead at :47 was definitely too quiet, but if it were louder, the sequencing/timing flaws would have been more exposed. It was audible enough, but it needs to be louder to really work as the lead, IMO. Same with the organ at 1:51, that's too quiet as well. By better mixing the leads upfront, there could have been some nice lead tradeoffs, like the oboe & organ being the lead at :47 and 1:51 and the guitars really emoting loudly at 2:50. Everything's mixed in a compressed way where's nothing's truly dominant. I could live with it as is, but would love to hear this all tweaked and fixed.

I could see how 3:32's section dragged out, but the length didn't bother me. The muddiness of it was a little annoying, but that was on purpose along with the lo-fi noises, so no beef here. The final section being so long really makes you pay attention to the way the gears changed. I thought it was a deliberate, risky move that worked nonetheless.

The arrangement was creative, and although the dynamics were harmed by the awkward mixing, the execution was strong enough to get by. I'd prefer this was tweaked, if we can get this looked at further, but a "no mas" from Mike would mean I go YES.

YES (conditional)

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Fair enough. This was one of my earliest votes and after talking with you tonight I completely understand why my reasoning wasn't kosher with what's expected of the panel, and the distinction between a YES (conditional) and a NO (resub) in the first place. My apologies.

Changing my vote to YES but if we can get a few of these issues addressed, that'd be cool too. I suppose at the end of the day, none of the issues are really bothering me enough to try and force a fix on any of them, so I'm not even going to go conditional here now that I've had some time to think about it.

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Sorry for the PM spam, but I've reworked the song and have a re-polished version for you:

http://www.darangen.com/music/38%20The%20New%20Fallen%20Savior.mp3

(the name is still "The Fallen Savior", just wanted a way to distinguish from the old and new version)

I do have a few notes about some of the comments though, mainly regarding the intro guitar/lead. This is a loop, not something played by me, and it's just the way it sounds. I think it's pretty cool, but I also agree it's thin and tinny in parts. I like it.

Nutritious was spot on, I somehow put and left an exciter on the master bus which was wrecking havoc on the eq balancing. Really have no idea how I missed that the first time through.

I did shorten the ending a bit, by about 20-25 seconds. You were right about my reasoning there, but I'm fine with having it cut in half or so - it still gets the contrasting effect. Funny side note though, it used to be longer - I had the tempo gradually slow down to give it a "the music box is dying" kind of feel, but the track ended up being like 5:30 long with that, so I decided to go with a fade-out.

Anyway, thanks again for taking care of this for me :)

-Mike

Other than that,

Hey Larry,

I just noticed my submission The Fallen Savior is listed as to be posted, but on the conditional list. As I understand it I'm supposed to contact a judge if I haven't been contacted by one, so that's what I'm doin :)

A bit of potential bad news about the track though, I'm having problems getting my software to load the project file. I think I know what the problem is, but if I'm wrong it could mean that I wouldn't be able to update the track without doing mostly everything from the beginning.

Anyway, hope you had a blast at MAGfest! I plan on going next year.

-Mike

Hey Mike, thanks for hitting me up. I emailed you the votes to look at, so when you read those and look more into the viability of the project file, let me know what you want to do. :-)

New version is definitely improved. Thanks to all the judges for the feedback that helped Mike tweak this!

And it is... GO!

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