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djpretzel

OCR01487 - *YES* Secret of Mana 'Dark Star Scherzo'

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*I'm a new remixer (to OCR):

mixer name: Jormungand

Game: Secret of Mana

Original track: The Dark Star

This was originally submitted over at vgmix with a different piano sample used. Since then I've recorded with a higher quality sample, and had to consequently change lots of individual dynamics. This was an attempt to blend the style of Masashi Hamauzu's rich piano voice with Hiroki Kikuta's imaginative composition. As both are among my favorite composers, I tried to retain the spirit of both.

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Reviewed the old version of this way back in June '05 for VG Frequency. Glad to see a revised version here. Unfair or not, Joe's one of those guys who doesn't get his due on account of not releasing his material more widely:

Liontamer]Jormungand - Secret of Mana "Dark Star Scherzo" [splendid Performance: On the Keys / VGMix2 #3292]

Joe Schwebke took 2nd place in RPGamer's latest remixing competition with this piano-based arrangement of "Star of Darkness", a favorite of GrayLightning's that translates surprsingly well to the eighty-eight keys. Joe does a good job of tickling dem synthetic ivories and really offering up some good rhythmical ideas while arranging this piece. I really loved the quick, sweeping runs around the 2 minute mark, and while the production was lacking in higher frequencies, all-in-all this was a solid piece with an upbeat tempo and some crystalline textures. This being the first arrangement of Jormungand's that I've actually heard I can say that he certainly has work that espouses a great deal of creativity. Get up on this guy's other work as well and see what he has to offer. Forgot to mention the word "splendid" in here, by the way. Splendid.

http://snesmusic.org/v2/download.php?spcNow=sd2 - "Star of Darkness" (sd2-28.spc)

Kind of surprised Gray didn't get to this first, given that he's arranged the theme twice, but I'll lead off. I already know the arrangement is solid, so this'll be more of a look into how Joe reworked the production.

I won't lie in that I didn't get the Hamauzu vibe, but I'm mainly familiar with SaGa Frontier 2, so any piano-centric stuff he may have done, I'm not familiar with.

Things sounds cleaner than the old version, and I do like the new piano sample even though I didn't have a problem with the old one. Great job taking a very militaristic original and giving it more finesse and energy.

Some of the little bits from 1:06-1:16 felt too sparse/minimal, but was merely a bump in the road. Nice stuff on the delicate side from 1:54-2:21 to provide some dynamics, before going into the source melody again at a slower tempo and gradually building the speed back up. Good stuff at 3:39 for the simple close.

Some of the fuller parts of the track still felt empty, as if the lower registers could have filled the space more and beefed things up, but it wasn't a major issue; could merely be a taste issue from me alone, but I would have preferred thicker-sounding production for the piece. Delay only fills out the track so much, and IMO it's barely (if even) getting the job done.

In any case, the arrangement was personalized well, and the performance was good enough for me, though it's admittedly not a VERY solid stamp of approval. The relatively thin texture wasn't my cup of tea, but ultimately wasn't a significant enough issue to me. We'll see how the others feel though. Either way, how about your Front Mission arrangement from Splendid Performance next?

YES

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Hmm, I'm very borderline on this. Probably borderline NO. Some great ideas here but I don't know about the execution. I'm really borderline on this.

The production is definitely nothing to write home about though. It sounds monoish, distant and over-reverbed by some cheap reverb. The sample itself is ok though.

I'd like to see what you guys think and perhaps can convice me otherwise.

Further vote later.

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As far as I'm concerned, the arrangement and performance here are passable without question. The production is the only thing holding this track back at all. I understand the tempation to vote NO because it clearly could be better. The track sounds monophonic which is a pain in the ass. And while it COULD be better, I don't really think it needs to be. With a fuller sound it could potentially be a very solid YES, but even as it is, it's still a borderline

YES

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WOW!!! Talk about piano technique. We've got some great pianists in this community, but this ReMixer shows a lot of proficiency, and a pretty unique playing style too. Bravo. The arrangement is most excellent as well, with lots of dynamics and emotion. I have no complaints in this category.

I will be completely honest. I thought this was a live recording. You had me fooled. I had a whole paragraph written up about how recording live piano is difficult and that it's not a big deal, until I saw that you said you used samples for it! That being the case, there's more you could do to make this sound closer, cleaner, and more full (in terms of stereo width). However, by no means does this hold back the GREAT arrangement and performance.

YES

PS. Can you provide the sheet music for this? I'd like to try it.

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Hmm, we have NO'd some mixers like Bladiator for problematic recordings or production. Granted the arrangement in this compensates.

I think Vig summed up my feelings on this perfectly as far as the content of what he said.

I don't think it's there yet personally and I will however vote NO due to my reservations and to be the dissenting vote, but as I was borderline I won't comment further or have an issue if it passes.

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Wow, it's so unfortunate that this is so quiet. It sounds like it's recorded in Mono, even though it says Stereo. This could be so much more powerful if it wasn't so limited.

Some creative stuff in this, it's not the most amazingly daring arrangement, but it is a very interesting one. As Gray pointed out, we've NO'd blad before over production alone, but I'd put this at the other end of that scale, being over-produced rather than under-produced. Either way I end up passing it if it's enjoyable and a good arrangement.

YES

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