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OCR03158 - *YES* Final Fantasy 2 'Imperial Rapture'

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Remixer Name: IanFitC
Real Name: Ian Fraser
Website: http://soundcloud.com/ian-fraser-1
UserID: 49933

Name of game arranged: Final Fantasy II
Name of arrangement: Imperial Rapture
Name of original song arranged: Last Battle
Source Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZwYb5MP5Kc
Additional Info: Arranged for the Final Fantasy II Project, c/o Brandon Strader. If all goes to plan, it should be appearing as the last track on the album. Brandon suggested I type up a source log, so I've attached that and a screen grab here:

Source Log: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/45443182/Imperial%20Rapture%20Source%20Log.odt
Screen Grab: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/45443182/Imperial%20Rapture%20Annotated%20Screen%20Grab.png

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

'Imperial Rapture' Source Log (22/8/12) – IanFitC

Arrangement of 'Last Battle' from Final Fantasy II, for the Final Fantasy II Project.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZwYb5MP5Kc

0:00 - 0:17 - Intro
Drum intro, pattern from section A.

0:17 - 0:47 - Section A:
Main theme on Lead Guitar (Bell+Bowl accompaniment) - Variation on source theme A (0:13-0:35)

Rhythm guitars - Reduction on main theme, focussing on the D/Eb relationship in the first notes of the theme.

0:47 - 1:33 - Section A2
Secondary variation on Source Theme A (0:13-0:35)

1:33 -140 – Interlude A
Chords and structure taken from the second half of the Intro in the source (0:07-0:13)

1:40 - 2:06 - Section A3
-More faithful rendition of source theme A (0:13-0:35)

2:06 – 2:21 – Section B
Chords and melody from Source Theme B (0:35- 0:48)

2:21 -2:36 - Interlude B
Variation on Interlude B from source (0:49-1:01)- The chromatic melodies are split between warped strings(descending), xylophone (descending) and harpsichord (ascending).

2:36 - 2:44 - Section C
Relatively faithful representation of Source Theme C (1:01 - 1:08)

2:44-2:59 - Interlude B2
-Second variation on Interlude B from source (0:49-1:01). Now reduced to strings only.

2:59-3:34 - Section D
This section is a heavily altered variation of the intro of the source (0:00-0:13)

Rhythm Guitars - Playing a reduced version of the chromatically ascending chords from 0:00 to 0:07 in the source

Horns and strings- Variation of the ascending (0:00-0:07) and descending (0:07-0:13) chromatic themes, rhythmically altered to suit the 9/4 time signature.

Piano (1st Half), Choir/Celesta (2nd Half) - Focussing solely on the descending melody (0:07-0:13), including the rhythmic augmentation from the original.

Synth Arpeggios - Using the same chords from the original string arpeggios, but tailored for the arrangements time signature.

3:34 - 4:08 - Section A4
As the other sections A's in the arrangement, this focusses on Source Theme A (0:13-0:35), again, emphasising the D/Eb relationship in the chords.

4:08 - 5:08 - Section A
Reprise of section A, now with the inclusion of more melody lines. These melody lines are taken from Source Theme A's chromatic ascending/descending section, notably 0:16-0:17, however extended to allow it to become a melody. These are heard in the mellotron strings.

5:08 - 6:08 - Section A5
Essentially a musical reprise of Section A, however the rhythms have been changed to raise the tension towards the anti-climax at the end of this arrangement.

The secondary melody has now been joined by a lead guitar.

A further guitar is playing a variation on the descending motif from the end of the intro of the source (0:07-0:13), however it is extended to fall further down the scale.

Annotated screen grab attached.

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

This track is a culmination of a huge melting pot of influences. Because it's due to appear on a predominantly metal album, I wanted a sludgy and powerful vibe akin to Alice In Chains and Gojira, but with the production sensibilities of someone like Dimmu Borgir or Devin Townsend and a little of Finntroll/Moonsorrow's arranging flair.

I also wanted to explore and develop the source to see if I could take it to some weird places, initially notating themes and chord patterns to look at the relationships and arcs within melodies. This is almost a response to the verbatim metal mixes that crop up all over the place. As such, I've treated the themes in a similar context as to which a classical arranger might, but fitting it into a heavy metal context. To this extent, I have focussed on a theme in the source moreso than others, purely because of the relationship between the first few notes really opened up loads of possibilities for me in this mix, with regards to brewing a stormy disposition and creating almost a mantric tension. I also wanted to explore using some different time signatures in this piece to see if I could create a constant flow that didn't present itself as disjointed or fractured.

I realise that I might have taken too many liberties with my developments of the source material, and I made a point to add some more recognisable parts to combat this, allowing each theme and section in the source to make an appearance in the piece. I often doubled important themes and gestures with synths and orchestral instruments in an attempt to bring them to prominence.

I really enjoyed working on this mix. It allowed me to work in some areas I don't normally get the chance to in my band, and to try out some things I would normally discount. With help from Brandon and Bonkers, I managed to clear up a lot of gloop that was really holding this mix back initially, and ultimately learned a lot about EQ balances between instruments.

At the very least, I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks,
Ian Fraser (IanFitC)

Edited by djpretzel

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I'm a big FF fan, and I wasn't able to identify which song this was supposed to be until the 1:43 mark which is a fairly big chunk of the song. I really can't decide if that's a deal breaker or not... This is pushing the limits of acceptable source use. There are a lot of sections that seem to be original, or riffing on a really insignificant part of the source.

Production is pretty safely over the bar. The mix is pretty good (very different from what I've heard from you on FF9).

Sorry, but I think I have to NO this on source use. It's very enjoyable, and its the sort of thing that's cool on an album as it does a little more exploring, but not quite under the OCR definition of 'identifiable and dominant' to me.

NO, but sweet

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Sick production, powerful and clean, a good flow, and a ton of very good original ideas added to.. um, a little bit of the source? I am pretty familiar with the source track, and there are several parts where it really clicks, but there is so much non-source in here, or it's so obscured, that I think this is more like a super cool original track with some FF2 cameos in it.

I really like it, but it's going to need a lot more dominant and recognizable source for me to pass.

No

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I'm on board with OA in that the production is really good. Really tight sound.

I'm going to disagree with the other judges and just say that, going by the source breakdown, this is an incredibly ambitious arrangement and I think it's really paid off very well. It really does push the limits on what we consider arrangement, but at the same time, after checking out the source breakdown, I really get what you're doing here. The original track has a very distinct harmonic sound to it and I think that that's also captured here, even when your melodic ideas get really out there.

I'm going to go ahead and YES this. I think it's fascinating to see someone really digging deep into the guts of a source tune and putting something like this out.

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Lots of silence on the end, will need to fix that.

Loved the overall arrangement. Some really heavy, haunting sections played in a proggy time-signature - I dug it. It really just comes down to whether source usage is ok. The usage isn't obvious, but there's a cleverness to taking just the first bit of the melody and making it the basis for a lot of the song. YMMV on whether that counts as dominant source usage, given how different the structure is from the original, but it sat ok with me. Section A2 I wouldn't count, as only the first two notes are the same, but there are some more obvious ties to the original scattered throughout. To be fair, this probably still skirts the 50% mark, but I felt source was used enough. Thumbs up from Palp.

YES

Edited by Palpable

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I'm not terribly familiar with the source but I was able to recognize it peppered throughout.

Look. This track is really freaking good. This is what metal is supposed to sound like. It's crisp and full and dynamic and it never gets boring. This is an easy call.

YES

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Man, this caught me by surprise. It's rare that we hear from a newcomer with this solid production/arrangement chops, but you've definitely got them.

This mix features a very unique flavor of metal that I haven't really heard before... the clean guitar breakdowns, the unique drum tone, and scattered orchestral elements demonstrate a lot of creativity in pushing your arrangement beyond the typical metal template that gets used so much. This track was extremely refreshing to me as a listener.

Source usage is tricky here, but the liberal approach seems to be very deliberate, and not simply the result of negligent arranging. It toes the line, but after many side-by-side comparisons I feel comfortable signing off on this. Great track!!

YES

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Nicely produced track here. Great performances throughout as well.

I can hear the concerns about source usage. The breakdown was helpful, though some of it definitely pushes beyond what I would consider arranging the source. Still, there's enough here for me that I can hear throughout to be comfortable passing this.

YES

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I'll definitely have a vote on this eventually, so please keep this vote open. I'd certainly like to compare this to the breakdown as many of you have done.

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Larry may 'someday' vote on this, but I'll also make it not particularly needed since he is a busy man doing a lot of good work for the site. I'm on the YES side of this, though I agree with what Vinnie said; this does skirt the 50% line of source, but it comes back to points that are easily recognizable often, which I think gives it that push it needs to get overboard when combined with the more 'out there' sections.

Nice work.

YES

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The track was 6:11.5-long, so this needed 185.75 seconds worth of overt source tune usage to pass on the arrangement level.

I'll never have DarkeSword's theory ear, but I've been familiar with this source ever since The Black Mages arranged it, I listened through to both versions of the source (NES and PS1), and I listened through to this with the breakdown provided by Ian.

That said, I like liberal arrangements, and I don't mind an arrangement focusing on the minutia of a source tune, but this arrangement definitely crossed that line towards being too liberal while coasting off of oversimplified stylistic similarities.

I caught whiffs here and there, but what's there ultimately felt too liberal and overly simplified to the point of not enough overt recognizability compared to the source. Palpable mentioned something I also heard, which were a lot of instances of using, say, the first two notes of a pattern, then drastically altering what came after it. Just a lot of liberal, seemingly original writing that had vague similarities to the source, but that was it.

Here's what I walked away agreeing with:

* :17-:52 (A)

* 1:02-1:32 (A2, just the first 2 notes in the pattern repeated 12 times = 12 seconds)

* 1:36.5-1:49, 1:53-2:01.5 (IA/A3)

* 2:06.25-2:21.5 (B)

* 2:36.5-2:44.5

* 2:59.5-3:16

* 4:08-6:08 (just the first 2 notes in the pattern repeated 16 times = 32 seconds)

139.75 seconds or 37.6% source usage

Some stuff I didn't count:

* 2:21.5-2:36.5 & 2:44.5-2:58.5 (stylistically/rhytmically similar, but notes are too different from 8 note patterns of source; doesn't count for me)

* 2:59-3:34 - Too overly simplified. The synth arpeggios possibly would have counted if they weren't so buried in the soundscape.

If anyone can point out A-to-B comparisons that involve shared melodies or transformations that go beyond rhythmic and time-signature based oversimplifications of certain parts, I'm all ears.

I appreciate the breakdown, but I didn't identify much strength and directness with these stated connections.

NO (resubmit)

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