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OCR03159 - *YES* Final Fantasy 2 'Analog Freedom'


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lossy mastering is intentional, see artist's (lengthy) comments - palp

Your ReMixer name: BONKERS
Your real name: Nicholas Steven Perry
Your website:http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1310105117
Your userid: 31818
Submission Information
Name of game(s) arranged: Final Fantasy II
Name of arrangement: "Analog Freedom"
Name of individual song(s) arranged: Town Theme, Rebel Army Theme

Link to the original soundtrack: (PSX) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ8G707Y02g

Your own comments about the mix, for example the inspiration behind it, how it was made, etc:

Hey Joojs! It's that time again. And I honestly have to say it's been a journey working on the FF2 project. The last year and a half of my life has soley depended basically upon nothing else but working on these two songs.

It's been so long that I don't even remember when I decided to take on the beautiful Town Theme. It's just THAT blurred together. All I can remember from back then was thinking "What the hell am I going to do with this song ?" I had an intial idea to approach it ALA "Roaming...Please Wait" with the intro, but change the song into 3/4. This was back when my initial approach to FF2 was to have consistency with the sound set I crafted for Random Encounter so people would recognize that certain sound of my Random Encounter tracks.
You can here this intial 3/4 concept here: http://k005.kiwi6.com/hotlink/07l061ya6z/analog_freedom_original_concept.mp3
As you can see I had to get a little creative with the melody to make it feel right in 3/4.

So a little time goes by and I realize that the soundset I made for FF1 SUCKED. HARD.
The lead synth choice alone was enough to just say "You know what, screw this crap. My ears want to die. Why, WHY did I choose to use a Sync'd Prophet V type lead?!"

Further time passes and I ponder, and I ponder. "What can I do that will do the Town Theme justice? That doesn't destroy the feeling of the original too much?" Straight rock wouldn't work, it'd be too contrasting. Metal is entirely out of the question. 3/4 original concept is outlandish. Eventually I have an eye opener. Analog Warmth. This one phrase caused an explosion of ideas. I wanted to do this sounding analog, and warm with many retro elements from era's all across the last 50 years. Including almost a full NES channel set in there. (Pulse 1&2 , Triangle. Though Triangle is processed a lot for other reasons)

So I had my spark. I started creating new effects chains, researched synthesizers , effects(Gated plate verb kick/toms for example), tape saturation,noise and sounds of all kinds to try and recreate within my limited digital domain. I created new instrument combinations. New instruments. One effect in particular of the 80's that I just absolutely adore and had to find a way to recreate it ,was what I call "80's Shimmer Guitar". And it's exactly as it sounds. The best example of this effect that I can think of is the 2nd OP to Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4PBwXQLbLk
My creation isn't entirely faithful or the same (Is missing some parts to it) but it was good enough and it was the best I could do .

Song structure wise, around that time I recalled I had done some analysis on the 90's synth rock ballad version of "Requiem of a Nameless Soul" on the Dracula Battle Albums a few years prior. And I thought that, that was a brilliant place to start structually and almost exactly fit a lot of the ideas I had for town. And I thought that the intro would mesh well with my intentions. Instead of the song being silent for a measure before the melody kicks in, that measure is used as a pick up measure for Town's Melody. And so that's where I started, (Although the actual melodies for "Analog Freedom" would actually be the VERY last part of the music to be recorded. But i'm getting to that)

;Continuing on song structure, the last few years has been a real hard battle and lesson with repitition and perspective in relation to both the listener and creator. I spend so many countless hours both working on songs and even just thinking about them and brainstorming hoping for inspiration that I lose perspective on the overall song and it makes me want to make every section completely different. I lose perspective. Not only for me, but for the listener. The listener only hears the finished product. I hear the same single section a hundred times or more probably by the time i'm done arranging just that one section. So i'm already repetitive'd out. And i've never stopped to think about it. And song flow in relation.
This is the first step in reaching my middle ground between creativity and repitition. (Unlike "Rebel Dream" which is completely the opposite and my swan song to Progressive rock style'd song structure) From now on, I hope to make most of my songs this way. Though exceptions will be had depending on what the source calls for.;

Time went along and I had more and more ideas and I refined my instrumental pallete more and more. And music started flowing out and out. For the first half of the song I wrote 100% completely original accompanying lines and counter melodies of music and did not use any of the original from either Tsuyoshi Sekito's version or Uematsu's Famicom Original. But at the same time I created intentional similarities in rhythm and used similar harmonies in order to retain the feeling of the source. Though that's not to say I completely ignored them. By the time the solo comes around, both Uematsu's original NES Pulse wave counter melody and Sekito's Acoustic guitar lines are played at the same time (Even though IIRC some of the chord tones are not 100% the same). Uematsu's on a NES Pulse Wave+Honky Tonk heavy chorused Piano and Organ. And Sekito's on Pulse Wave+80's Shimmer Guitar+Heavily chorused and Tremelo'd warm electric guitar.

;When those are all going on, this is one of the few times the two NES pulse Waves and the Triangle are all playing together at the same time.
You can hear just these three here if you wish https://www.box.com/s/eztj9gcf1vxprz8b33ok (Triangle is still processed);
The song builds and builds and then it takes a small break (And this is where the original counter melodies/accompanying lines end) to a soft Mellotron both referencing and inspired by "Strawberry Fields" to gain a moment's rest before blasting into the ending.
Happily and solemnly connecting to that moment to remind you that you are in the Town of The Rebel Army. And that these two songs are forever linked in your experiences in the game. As you first hear the two together at the start of the game. You end up at the Rebel Army Headquarters and then venture out into the solemn yet upbeat town.

I did not do any analysis or research on the "Rebel Army" theme's original counter melody or chord structure/progression. Instead I took the melody and I created my own counter melody and progression to it to give the feeling I desired. I am SUPER happy with the result. Infact this small clip is my favorite part of the song! XD

Ok so it's mid last year. And i'm exactly up to the point arrangement wise thus told. But there is still no melody. This is where things come to a stand still. I was at a loss. Nothing I did seemed to fit or would work well with my intentions. So I stopped and went back to working on "Rebel Dream(World Map)" for a while. Months go by and every moment of every day I am constantly thinking of both of these songs and what is missing and what I need to do to keep on refining them and perfecting them as much as I can. And then it takes a turn for the worse. Depression. I was jobless and was feeling immense pressure (from myself)to do these songs as perfect as I could. To try and reach my vision in my minds eye that would do the source justice. I lost all motivation, all desire. Yet perish the thought my mind could not. For about 4 months from Sept to the end of January my day consisted of getting up, doing my Dailies (Daily household tasks), eating breakfast, watching The Young And The Restless/other daily shows and then spending ~12 hours sitting in front of my computer doing basically nothing but trying to come up with ideas and the motivation to complete these songs right. I did not even play games. ;At this point(May 22nd,2013) I haven't played a single player game since August of last year.; No, I didn't deserve fun (Depression talking). I didn't deserve anything until I could finish these songs. This was nothing but months of pure mental anguish and torture. And until recently (As many of my friends and acquaintences will tell you) I still haven't been in a good place mentally.

But somehow, in February I managed to find that last spark of inspiration for "Analog Freedom" that I needed (While still depressed basically). I thought it'd be a GREAT idea to use the 80's Shimmer guitar again for the 1st section of Town's Melody. And it turned out to be just BEAUTIFUL. Amazingly beautiful. From there I figured that I might as well experiment with some distorted leads for the rest of the song after the drums kick in. And amazingly enough I crafted something that fit in with the other warm instruments and guitars in those sections. A few weeks later and 100% of the music was officially in.

I stopped to give my ears a rest and worked on "Rebel Dream" some more.
Then I came back and spent more weeks refining the mix more and more. Trying to perfect it as much as I could.

The Bass is a bit rounded and not super heavy in the low end(But is in the sub range). This is intentional to try and be somewhat in line with a lot of music prior to the 90's. I had to concede and open up the high end a bit more than I originally intended to in order to create definition and not muddy up the imaging/instrumentation of the song.

For Mastering I decided to learn Mid/Side Mixing ,decoding and recording information.
And this is where I probably made the most concessions. .
I had no idea whether M/S mastering was prevelant in the 90's and prior. And I made the song somewhat loud, so it wouldn't be an inconsistency within the album and not a discrepency within modern music. (My copy of Don't stop believin' by Journey is quite quiet by modern standards). But I did use analog modeled effects processors on the Mid and Side channels in trying to maintain my vision.

I think the song turned out really well for what limitations I had to work in. And for once I am truly proud of what I accomplished. Being able to accomplish 90% of what my vision was. Brandon and everyone on the team as well as my friends and family have been very supportive the whole time. And i'm incredibly thankful for that. It feels so good to finally feel like this weight is lifted off my figurative shoulders.

I sincerely hope from the bottom of my heart that many people (Jooj's included) can hopefully enjoy this song and perhaps feel the intention of my vision when listening.

I probably missed some stuff here and there, it's been a long year and a half. But If I go on any longer, you guys will probably roll your eyes and think "When will he shut up?!"

Until next time Joojs.
~Nicholas -BONKERS- Perry~ Age 21(For 2 more days)

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THis is really nice; I think the lead guitars should have come up about 1.5db, there was a bit of loss in clarity once the drums went triple-time, but things were still audible enough, and I think the reverb tail on the end could have been half a second longer, but as you can tell, i'm picking nits here. ;-)

Overall a very nice treatment of the source with a classic sound and some really nice ideas that enhance but don't interfere with the source. Very nicely done!


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Wow, that was fantastic. I could nitpick but this song honestly really blew me away when I heard it. It's laden with source, so no worries there. I really love the guitar work in here--worthy of any '80s rock ballad "Best-Of" compilation. The chippy synths in the mix just add some fantastic character. Love the tempo changes and all that.

I have no problems with the mastering--a bit loud, but fits with the album, as stated. The drums, too, aren't the strongest samples ever, yet they still work really well with the song.

Yeah, let's get this one posted!


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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks to Palp for leaving that note about the intentional lossy sound. It didn't affect my vote in that I could still have NOed it on sounding TOO lossy, and I still felt it was a negative here, but I felt the mixing was serviceable and that purposeful lossiness was more than compensated for by the amazing arrangement. I wish it did have more clarity so the instrumental textures could be better appreciated, but on balance, it's an obvious keeper. Keeping it short, but Nick does it again!


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