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djpretzel

*NO* Final Fantasy 6 'Espergirl 2A03'

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Hello Again. I realize in my previous submission e-mail, I promised to write more non-chiptune remixes again, but I decided to give one more shot at a pure NES chiptune before moving on. About four months ago for fun I started writing little songs that were meant to sound like NES music [not knowing much about the whole community of chiptune composers and all that]. I had written six of them when all of a sudden I noticed this in the judges decisions forum:

http://www.ocremix.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=70953

It felt like fate! This happened just as I had begun making my NES songs. Writing "Chiptune" remixes was acceptable and passable on OCR as long as they were interpretive enough. I immediately contacted "The Underclocked" to hear his song. When I did, I realized I could definitely meet the standards proposed by the judges in the vote on his song.... so "Figaro Chiptune" was born. Figaro Chiptune was rejected but with lots of nice things being said about the piece itself, just that Chiptunes couldn't meet the standards of OCR.

Graylightning had a bit more to say. One thing in particular stood out... I shall quote:

"there is an art to chiptunes beyond these basic applications. For me, this is a pedestrian chiptune mix, and one I don't see that should pass. Maybe if it were to the quality of Virt chiptunes. But this.... Again, I go back to the very substandard production (even within the context of a chiptune)."

This made me curious, what was I missing? I had been writing these just for kicks really without looking deeper. Later I also found out that Figaro Chiptune was breaking a law of the 2A03 chip, the Triangle channel had volume which was not allowed. After all that, I read up on the 2A03 chip's exact capabilities and downloaded a bunch of Virt's chiptunes to educate myself. As a result, and through writing several more NES chiptune originals/ just experimenting with the sounds, I think I've come to understand the "art to NES chiptunes" Gray was talking about. So, I wrote another NES chiptune Remix applying what I've learned. If this is also rejected, I'm totally cool with that of course, I'd just like the judges to get to evaluate an NES chiptune that better examplifies the power of the 2A03 and what it can do in order to keep from "Sounding like poo" as vig said. EEEENNNNNJJJJJOOOOOYYYY! {I purposely chose one of the most popular songs to remix...... for some reason that just feels like the way to go with these}

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As per usual, this is a marvelous arrangement. It's intricate, HIGHLY creative, and unique. Simply put, it's the Shnabubula style we all know - though I don't mean to demean it, as every mix I hear is interesting in a different way. The melodic and harmonic variations are just great, as is the technical work and the percussive stuff.

So, it's the same question as Shna's figaro mix, pretty much. It's a chiptune, it's got a really good arrangement, so do we let it on? Well.. I think since that decision, we generally came to the conclusion that simply being a chiptune didn't bar a mix from being on the site if it was REALLY well done. There are a FEW things I have a gripe with here (the B section stuff towards the end I think is a little too pitch-bendy) but I feel that's a subjective thing and not really something that should impact my decision.

Inevitably, people are not going to like this. But it's a hell of a ReMix. I think I would have liked to hear it as something other than a chiptune, but that's the artist's choice, and he made use of every tool at his disposal within those confines AND made them sound good. I liked the arrangement of Shna's Figaro chiptune just about as much, but the level of technical skill in this mix is higher, and I think a few more interesting things were done overall. Thus, my decision is;

YES

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Once again, by doing a purely NES-chiptune, you're limiting your creativity. I thought we covered with Figaro that OCR isn't going to lower it's standards to pander to the limitations of a genre. It's fine to make a chiptune arrangement, but if you're going to put the limitations of the style to use as an experiment, there's little chance of it getting on OCR.

The arrangement here is, as always, astounding. Shna would've had a lot of fans if he was born 10 years earlier and pioneered the whole NES-composition thing. The arrangement is almost enough to override the terrible sound quality. However I feel that there's too much of a limitation here that it's killing the potential of the piece. By breaking free of that boundary, this piece could really shine by modernising these chiptune sounds.

With that said, I'm going to reject this, and request a resubmut with some better mastering on the sounds.

NO

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NO

As per the Figaro precedent and it's subsequent clarification in the See Sixty Funk decision, we don't allow mixes that intentionally limit themselves to old the capabilities of old video game sound hardware.

Maybe I'm applying these precendents incorrectly?

Either way, I'm keeping this and piping it into my ears every waking moment of the rest of my life, because it rox my sox.

Sorry Shnabubuluvulabalalshna. :(

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This has a lot more intricacies and complexities than figaro from an execution standpoint. But compositionally I don't think this is even in the same league, nor in the league of your SOM Dueling Consoles mix which even though I no'd, I did like.

While the chiptune aspect of this is definitely improved in some ways, I still feel this is unbalanced as far as the OCR standards go, as per my Figaro vote. Overall I don't think this is as complex, interesting or as spirited as your SOM mix from the actual core composition. If this had the same panache and execution, I'd be more inclined towards this despite the production issues.

If I had to pick which of the two was stronger, I think overall Figaro was the better of these two. Even though it's obvious you are learning more about the style/genre per your letter. Kudos for that, at the end of the day that is the most important thing.

Still, some nice ideas being expressed here. But the limitations, precedents, and imbalance between the two main categories - I don't see enough here to outweigh the other concerns so it's a NO from me I'm afraid.

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http://snesmusic.org/v2/download.php?spcNow=ff6 - "Tina" (ff6-201.spc)

http://www.tzone.org/~llin/psf/packs2/FFXI_psf2.rar - 102 "Vana'diel March"

Fighting a losing battle at this rate, but I played this on VGF83, so I'll bite.

The arrangement was simply great. Kind of funny how "Dueling Consoles", though a great track and arrangement IMO, really suffered from some excessively crowded sections, whereas the simpler construction of this allowed the typical Shna tricks to be in play without seeming too disjoining or cluttered.

I still don't reconcile a sophisticated 2A03 chiptune approach with being a guidelines violation. If production somehow leaves "much to be desired" (which I don't even remotely agree with here as it is), then a stellar arrangement should be able to get by regardless and that's what this is.

Nothing but wonderful variations on a theme that I don't even like. This stupid bitch actually makes me like Terra's theme, can you believe it? I almost refuse to, but as always, there's no bias.

Good dynamics like the softer sounds of 2:20 served well to provide a nice break from all the beatwork. I think the beatwork could have been more active in spots so that the track didn't feel a little empty at times, but it was a minor issue.

Might has missed a theme at 2:56, but I do believe that was some FF11 snuck in there from 3:16-4:07 for the people with good ears. 3:39-4:07, I felt the volume should have been pulled back a bit, as some of it was piercing, but otherwise good stuff.

Even going NO on "Dueling Consoles", I'm glad it passed in order to offer something different that the unwashed masses out there normally wouldn't have access to. It's a shame IMO that the mere base sound choices here somehow hold this back when the arrangement is nothing but interpretive, sophisticated, and accessible.

YES

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I still don't reconcile a sophisticated 2A03 chiptune approach with being a guidelines violation. If production somehow leaves "much to be desired" (which I don't even remotely agree with here as it is), then a stellar arrangement should be able to get by regardless and that's what this is.

Yes but how is this different than the precedent set by Figaro which was a no? And the law of the land as far as this genre is concerned, given what djp said?

Also your statement about mere sound choices is absolutely wrong. It's not mere sound choices that is the problem. It's the total lack of production.

To quote DJP in our Figaro vote:

Alright, here's the deal: arrangement and production both boil down to a number of decisions, good or bad, an individual ReMixer has to make when putting together a mix. When you choose genres like gabber, happy hardcore, and in this case chiptune, you place a limit on the number of decisions you can make. Period. No one's saying you can't like the sound of NSFs, but part of ReMixing as we've defined it is instrumentation, panning, mixing, DSP, etc., and regardless of whether it sounds pleasing or not, the control and decisions a mixer makes when working with chiptunes are greatly reduced.

So in this Espergirl mix, beyond it's many production , etc issues it's in MONO. And this is all fine with you?

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My understanding of the precedent we set is, in brief, chiptunes need to have a HELL of an arrangement to pass, because (by definition) their production is going to be very weak. Is this correct?

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That's one sub rule, but DJP's main rule on the topic is what I quoted above, secondarily djp just told me now when I brought this mix up "<djpretzel> I don't think people are getting the 50% production 50% arrangement thing." We've discussed this before. What's so hard to get?

These are the site's mission statements.

Anyway, I've asked DJP to weigh in on this topic finally, as once again the panel seems to be in disarray.

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That's one sub rule, but DJP's main rule on the topic is what I quoted above, secondarily djp just told me now when I brought this mix up "<djpretzel> I don't think people are getting the 50% production 50% arrangement thing." We've discussed this before. What's so hard to get?

These are the site's mission statements.

Anyway, I've asked DJP to weigh in on this topic finally, as once again the panel seems to be in disarray.

Not disarray; disagreement.

Diction ftw.

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That's one sub rule, but DJP's main rule on the topic is what I quoted above, secondarily djp just told me now when I brought this mix up "<djpretzel> I don't think people are getting the 50% production 50% arrangement thing." We've discussed this before. What's so hard to get?

These are the site's mission statements.

Anyway, I've asked DJP to weigh in on this topic finally, as once again the panel seems to be in disarray.

Not disarray; disagreement.

Diction ftw.

From my perspective people are confused as how to interpret djp's guideline - especially larry. :lol:

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So this is a great arrangement, but still, the chiptuniness detracts, rather than adds to the song. sam is a talented guy, but OCRemix is about the boobs. i mean, instrument quality.

NO

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That's one sub rule, but DJP's main rule on the topic is what I quoted above, secondarily djp just told me now when I brought this mix up "<djpretzel> I don't think people are getting the 50% production 50% arrangement thing." We've discussed this before. What's so hard to get?

These are the site's mission statements.

Anyway, I've asked DJP to weigh in on this topic finally, as once again the panel seems to be in disarray.

Not disarray; disagreement.

Diction ftw.

From my perspective people are confused as how to interpret djp's guideline - especially larry. :lol:

djpretzel re: Figaro Chiptune]Alright, here's the deal: arrangement and production both boil down to a number of decisions, good or bad, an individual ReMixer has to make when putting together a mix. When you choose genres like gabber, happy hardcore, and in this case chiptune, you place a limit on the number of decisions you can make. Period. No one's saying you can't like the sound of NSFs, but part of ReMixing as we've defined it is instrumentation, panning, mixing, DSP, etc., and regardless of whether it sounds pleasing or not, the control and decisions a mixer makes when working with chiptunes are greatly reduced. There's simply far less room for making the types of creative decisions that we take into account when evaluating mixes. That's what this particular judges' decision boils down to: respecting the work that ReMixers put into their submissions when it comes to instrumentation, DSP, and mixing, and realizing that any piece that chose a genre which intentionally limited the ability to make such decisions would have to compensate. HARDCORE.

Please take that into account - this isn't about whether Sam's mix has high enough production values to pass, it's about whether almost any chiptune mix could really meet our requirements. And yes, I stand by my comment that if the arrangement was simply fucking brilliant, even a chiptune could pass, but with all due respect to Sam, I think even HE would agree that this isn't his magnum opus in that arena.

Caught a lot of flak for holding to YES, because I'm purportedly disregarding the standards and guidelines. I'm aware of what the standards & guidelines say and am here to enforce them fairly.

But at the same time, djp's own statement that there ARE cases where a chiptune (or other limited formats) could pass by compensating "HARDCORE" for production with arrangement clouds the issue of how we should deal with these specific cases. Him saying that specifically indicates that, while giving proper regard to the standards & guidelines, a chiptune can still fall within the realm of acceptability, i.e. not be an exception to the rules.

Even with djp himself in disagreement about Figaro or Espergirl's potential approval (it would have to be because he didn't feel the arrangement was good enough, based on his quote), his past caveat clearly left the door open for judges YESing tracks such as this one; another case where 3 of the judges felt the arrangement was so unique, interpretive, and strong that it could trump the production limitation issues. I think it's both a mistake and unfair to chastise the judges who made their decisions based on the fact that, "subrule" or not, djp both DIDN'T close the door to accepting chiptunes and subsequently provided a guideline-level scenario where approving a chiptune WOULD be acceptable.

This situation isn't any different than others where we've run into a new/infrequent type of situation and needed to craft a policy to address it. Streets of Rage 2 "Infectious Oldskool" (redoing a previous arrangement hoping to replace the old one) and Xenogears "A Star Freezes Over" (heavily integrating arrangement of a non-VGM source tune) both come to mind. Both mixes that were approved by the panel before we added a new policy and thereby overturned their YES decisions. Once those policies were made, it provided the panel an unambiguous course of action in terms of enforcing the standards & guidelines.

So what I'm asking for from Pretz is something enumerated and definitive regarding chiptunes vis-a-vis the standards. Say what you will, but last time around we didn't get that, thus leading to a complete rehash of the issue. I'd rather have something that says "no authentic chiptunes - you'd have to enhance them somehow" in order to have an unambigious policy. If that means taking BACK the statement that there are some scenarios where authentic, limited chiptunes could still pass in light of the standards & guidelines, then so be it. I don't have a problem enforcing that stated policy. Just don't needlessly criticize me or the others for looking at the acceptance scenario djp presented and feeling that this mix fit that scenario.

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So what I'm asking for from Pretz is something enumerated and definitive regarding chiptunes vis-a-vis the standards. Say what you will, but last time around we didn't get that, thus leading to a complete rehash of the issue. I'd rather have something that says "no authentic chiptunes - you'd have to enhance them somehow" in order to have an unambigious policy. If that means taking BACK the statement that there are some scenarios where authentic, limited chiptunes could still pass in light of the standards & guidelines, then so be it. I don't have a problem enforcing that stated policy. Just don't needlessly criticize me or the others for looking at the acceptance scenario djp presented and feeling that this mix fit that scenario.

I don't see why this is being rehashed again as we discussed all these issues already. :roll: But fair enough, djp should see this and read why there are apparently some who need more direction on what we are to do, not to mention why this singular issue has been much debated as of late.

There are huge production issues here outside of being a chiptune by its nature. There are limitations placed for reasons that don't conform to OCR standards. Like it being in mono, intentionally (at least I hope this is intentional). In this case this is even limited more than Figaro.

There has been a signaling from up top that some judges are purely missing out on the site's mission statements of 50-50 rule, regardless of whatever sub rule djp gave previously prior. This isn't a midi site. If you want superlative compositions with subgrade production I recommend you or the readers of this thread go to: http://www.classicalarchives.com/ or to a much lesser extent vgmusic.com (if you want to be relevant to this sphere). I personally do not see how the fundamental core mission statement/rules (whatever you want to call it) aren't so clear.

So while we didn't get a formal and finalized recap from DJP that has led us down this circular path again, we did get a panel decision that represented a form of stare decisis (from the panel perspective anyway).

But I do agree with Liontamer overall on what the endgame here needs to be... we collectively apparently need more defined/clarified rules from DJP.

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Gray is correct.

And I don't mean "subjectively" correct, I mean *objectively* correct - the site places more of an emphasis on production than mixes like these could realistically hope to compensate for with arrangement.

Please judge accordingly - if you think the standards are unclear on this point and are uncomfortable following them as written, feel free to suggest modifications.

What I've said in the past is that, if an arrangement was absolutely mind-blowingly genius (hyper mega rainbow, etc.), then it could potentially outweigh somewhat lackluster production. Now, when Sam uses chiptunes, we know it's not because he can't produce something more polished, but because he's shooting for a specific sound. That's fine. But if the specific sound he's shooting for doesn't have enough room for the types of production aspects we look for - too bad. I could submit a mix of me blowing on a kazoo and claim "OMFG KAZOOBIAS!" if you all rejected it; maybe I'd be right. Maybe it'd mean you were biased against kazoo mixes. But you'd be biased for the right reasons.

There's enough gray area to post mixes like 'See Sixty Funk', which still wanders considerably outside what a straight C64 would be capable of, but it's dangerous territory, and SHOULD be, the way I interpret the standards.

I don't like putting my foot down on things like this; I'd rather the panel sort it out without my intervention. But this seems like a fundamental misunderstanding of site policy. Again, if the standards need modification, let me know, but I think they clearly emphasize that production is 50% of the ballgame, and enumerate some of what we consider to be production qualities, and inherently certain genres or styles (straight chiptunes, kazoo mixes) are going to be ruled out by virtue of those requirements.

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