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Master Mi

Final Fantasy 7 - Fighting Fantasies

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I'm steadily working on a remix of the Battle Theme ("Those Who Fight") from Final Fantasy 7.

It's my ambition to create a modern version of this theme - but without leaving those elements which make this track so interesting and memorable.

So, I decided to keep those orchestral elements from the original theme of the game Final Fantasy 7 and combine it with the punchier and more powerful electronic elements of this theme in the amazing spin-off Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 and add some driving rock elements.


Original game track:
>>>


-------------------------------------------------------
Newest version of my remix >>> 1.6 Preview
>>>



>>> https://clyp.it/fgslop4q

Edited by Master Mi

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So, the single largest thing I notice between your remix and the original is that the original is much faster moving. The time difference between each section is shorter.

Okay, now the intro is long but not unbearably so. But then that first swell happens and this is what you got right in the remix. Just so much fun there. Then at like ~2:15 comes in that sine pluck. Now, that in of itself is not a bad thing. But when that flute comes and that sine pluck is playing really high registers? Yeah, that is not only a little hard on the ears but also confusing as it slightly clouds the rest of the mix. ~3:25 I finally hear brass which is great, but really it took like 3 min for it to arrive? And then once it has you don't use in the swells? Come on use those trombones and tubas down low!

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There's a gaping problem here in the production, and that's this: the instruments don't fit their notes, and the notes don't fit their instruments. There's 0 expression on any of the orchestral elements, so they sound mechanical and fake. Yes, the original sounds like that too, but it's an OST, not a remix. With a remix, you have the resources to elevate the original. Additionally, somehow the synth bass sounds mechanical as well. Are you doing anything with your velocities? If so, it's too subtle to notice, or the bass is a sample that keeps using a similar phase (i.e. retrigger-like). Or the velocity response on it is set to nearly 0.

And the one major problem with arrangement: it gets very repetitive. The synth bass never changes rhythm or intensity, and when it "does", that's when it's not present. The drums don't really change between the copy+paste, nor does the collective rhythm of the orchestral elements. Here's what you copied and pasted:

  • The basis of the instrumentation at 0:39 - 1:43 is used three additional times (in a row... :whatevaa:), while you added a flute, and then a sine pluck, then some high brass, then some sort of slow-attack lead for a fast melody that pretty much matches the sine pluck melody at that point.
  • The drum patterns

It's just too little development for such a long, looped piece, so as far as I'm concerned, you only wrote 1:43 of remix. Not to mention it sounds suspiciously close to the original, so it's practically a MIDI rip, even if you didn't use a MIDI.

Lastly... abrupt ending, which is just another partial copy+paste.

So, sorry to say, but I'm not getting "modern" from this. It kinda sounds like the original plus two synths.

Edited by timaeus222

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Totally see the point with the lil bit too high, ear-cracking flute, lead and some other stuff I will change in this remix later on.

I've made a newer version of this remix where some problems are already solved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgBcsLpgY1E

https://soundcloud.com/master-mi/final-fantasy-7-battle-theme-master-mi-remix-working-title-version-11

In this version I have improved the sound of the piccolo flute around the intense parts of this track.

I changed the drum part after the beginning and removed the strange crackling noises between the endings and beginnings of the several parts in this remix (guess the reasons were some MIDI controller events in the midi file I had not deleted in the first version of my remix).

I also used a string ensemble instead of the very high dreamy lead part - but I'll use a special section of the dreamy lead later on.

Unfortunately I've already reached the maximum number of MIDI/VSTI layers (16 per track) of the actual version of my DAW - so I can't go on with this remix until I've bought the professional version of my DAW Samplitude where i can use 999 MIDI/VSTI Layers.

I guess this will take some time.

So, until that day have fun with this one here.

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Finally I could go on with my remix Fighting Fantasies, a remix of the famous battle theme from the awesome videogame Final Fantasy 7 after upgrading my DAW from Samplitude Music Studio 2015 to Samplitude Pro X2 Suite, a really professional music producing software with which I can work with up to 999 different VST/MIDI layers per track now - instead of only 16 different VST/MIDI layers like in the previous version of my DAW.

So, for the newest version of my remix I've made a lot of changes within this track.

As you can see the track is now almost 3 minutes longer than before.

I've also made some smoother transitions (especially when it comes to the slowly rising or falling loudness - so-called fade-ins and fade-outs - of some intruments and synthesizers at several points within the track).

Furthermore I've added a short intro with some nice synthesizers and created a lot of absolutely beautiful sounding variations around the powerful peaks of this soundtrack.

I'm sure you'll love these if you're a fan of the game and the original battle theme "Those Who Fight".

And for the final parts of this track I've used a very powerful thrombone ensemble and a very expressive playing saxophone (thanks for the guys from MAGIX Samplitude for creating Vita Saxophonia) that leads into a really epic finish.

I hope you'll enjoy this new version of my remix.

Although it's not the final version of this remix, yet - but the main parts are done.

I'm sure there won't be too much changes anymore until this remix is really finished (will do just some mastering stuff & fine tuning, maybe some small changes around the instruments, synthesizers and some single notes).

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

Check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8m8gI-wShw

https://soundcloud.com/master-mi/final-fantasy-7-fighting-fantasies-master-mi-remix-version-12

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You set me up for this... "epic", "absolutely beautiful", "professional" remix, and then I get... mechanical, sparse, and lifeless. There's again, 0 expression on anything here. Why? There's no semblance of any of the things you said in here. Literally everything's quantized completely to the grid, and just unrealistic (the original is more realistic at least due to the nice layering...). My suggestion to you last time was to refine it and make the arrangement less repetitive, and you go and make it longer and more repetitive. I don't get it. Sorry, but what you think you're pulling off is not even close to what you say. Any critiques I have are basically the ones I had last time:

- Too copy-pasted, too repetitive.

- Too MIDI-ripped.

- Everything's too rigid... even the synth bass, like before.

- Nothing has expression... flow... it's like every 'performer' is doing the robot while performing. And not doing much of the 'performing' as a result.

Edited by timaeus222

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Never said/wrote something of a professional remix in my new post - just mentioned that I'm the owner of a professional DAW - which is simply true.

I know that I have to improve and that I will improve my composing, arranging, mixing and mastering skills a lot more if I want to make it really into OCRemix.

But I see it like the Japanese way of thinking - Kaizen, to get better in little steps.

Maybe I will have a better chance of improving my skills by creating my first very own composition to get much more away from midis/original notes.

But I see this remix definititely as an improvement compared to the previous version - and in my opinion much less repetitive and more varied/interesting.

According to my ears/headphones the peaks/refrains have some parts with really nice instrumentations (like the guitar/pan flute part at 4:20).

"Epic" may be a little tough but I totally like the finishing parts with the saxophones - those were some of the few parts in the track where I had used my first own notes that fit in pretty well and sound really powerful towards the end.

Not sure why you don't like the synth bass - maybe I have to try another headphones.

But I also like the artficial/electronic bass when I listen to it with my MP3 player In-Ear headphones.

At the moment I'm pretty satisfied with the results of this remix - although I know there's a long way to rise from the state of a bloody beginner. ;))

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You set me up for this... "epic", "absolutely beautiful", "professional" remix, and then I get... mechanical, sparse, and lifeless. There's again, 0 expression on anything here. Why? There's no semblance of any of the things you said in here. Literally everything's quantized completely to the grid, and just unrealistic (the original is more realistic at least due to the nice layering...). My suggestion to you last time was to refine it and make the arrangement less repetitive, and you go and make it longer and more repetitive. I don't get it. Sorry, but what you think you're pulling off is not even close to what you say. Any critiques I have are basically the ones I had last time:

- Too copy-pasted, too repetitive.

- Too MIDI-ripped.

- Everything's too rigid... even the synth bass, like before.

- Nothing has expression... flow... it's like every 'performer' is doing the robot while performing. And not doing much of the 'performing' as a result.

Valid as your points may be, you may be going a little crazy here.

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Valid as your points may be, you may be going a little crazy here.

Nah, I'm just disappointed. When you claim things, you raise people's expectations. So you should know what it means when you claim certain things about your own work, like "this is epic", and "this is absolutely beautiful". I would rather he said "here's an update, and here's what I did to it: *cue list*"; leaving people to make their own impressions by themselves, IMO, is how it ought to be.

Vig said this in... another way.

http://ocremix.org/forums/showpost.php?p=27583&postcount=7

Edited by timaeus222

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Nah, I'm just disappointed. When you claim things, you raise people's expectations. So you should know what it means when you claim certain things about your own work, like "this is epic", and "this is absolutely beautiful". I would rather he said "here's an update, and here's what I did to it: *cue list*"; leaving people to make their own impressions by themselves, IMO, is how it ought to be.

Vig said this in... another way.

http://ocremix.org/forums/showpost.php?p=27583&postcount=7

LMAO

Well, my personal safeguard is I just let people know beforehand that their expectations should be lower than the 9th ring of hell so as not to disappoint anyone.

Anyway, I can't really add anything that hasn't already been said, so best of luck with continuing to improve the mix!

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Finally I've mastered this version at EBU R 128 loudness standards, too.
I also removed every compressor in the remix and pushed the dynamic values to the maximum - makes a far better sound quality.

But at the top of that I've created some really interesting stuff that makes the soundtrack over 3 minutes longer.
I've added a few new intruments like strings or flutes at different parts of the track and I've created some really new parts.

I really like the one with the Native American flute which calms down the atmosphere of my remix a little bit.
I guess this part could totally represent the character Red XIII, his connection to Cosmo Canyon, the connection to his father, the great warrior Seto and his tribe as well as his deep connection to the planet as a spiritual, living being that fights on the side of life.

I also created some really nice rocking parts with a heavy power guitar and a decent piano as a reminiscence to the powerful and orchestral battle theme "On The Verge Of The Assault" from Crisis Core.
Hope you like it at least as much as I do.

For the next updates of this track I think I will create a short outro for this song.
I also want to create a few more variations of the drums and basses - maybe a silent part as well.

Man, this track is really made for squats and training - and of course for fighting! ))


You can listen to version 1.4 of my track here:
---------------------------------------------------------------
>>>


>>> https://clyp.it/shlstgxb
---------------------------------------------------------------

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I did enjoy some of the sounds going on in the most recent version, but I do have a few issues with the arrangement:
 
First off, the tambourine(?) that starts at about 0:37 came across as way too loud compared to the rest of the mix. It made it hard for me to focus on the rest of the mix. I feel like it should be toned down quite a bit, or even removed - I don't think it would be missed.
 
Secondly, the arrangement from start up until the 3:00 mark felt very cut/paste, with only a few elements being added in over time but no real change to the mix itself. Even after 3:00 it felt more like a few simple instrument changes/dropouts. I did enjoy the flute at 4:21 though, but afterwards I was treated to more of the same. The guitar at 5:25 was, once again, a nice break from the repetition, along with the electric guitar segment and the short flute segment following it. It all went back to more of the same, though.
 
Overall I'd have to agree with Timaeus on a lot of his previous points:
 

- Too copy-pasted, too repetitive.
- Too MIDI-ripped.
- Everything's too rigid... even the synth bass, like before.
- Nothing has expression... flow... it's like every 'performer' is doing the robot while performing. And not doing much of the 'performing' as a result.


I think you have a nice potential soundscape set up - very chill and relaxing up until the electric guitar comes in - but it's just the same thing over and over with different instruments. At 9:55 you had a nice(despite simple) counter-melody come in, and I think you should expand on those throughout the song. Change it up a bit. Maybe use some of the better instruments at your disposal and add in some original material to it. At 11:00 you actually set up a very nice and rich soundscape and what could of led to a wonderful ending...except it went back to more of the same before abruptly cutting out.

 

I think a major problem is that although you removed all compresses and remastered it to EBU R 128 standards in order to "push the dynamic values to the maximum", your arrangement doesn't have a lot of dynamic variation to begin with. If I may be so bold, I would suggest you shorten it by quite a bit and try to make every segment meaningful in some way. Like I said, it had an enjoyable opening and what could have been a great ending - it's all that stuff in between that just feels tedious and a bit lazy.

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I was under the impression that you were trying to emulate the mood of the original song. Except, compared to the original, this lacks energy. The soundscape feels empty, thin, and boring, even when more instruments came in later.

 

The FF7 battle theme always got me really excited. It made every random would-be-boring battle exciting. The orchestra, however fake, seemed excited to be playing it. Every single note is filled with energy, nothing is wasted. Those orchestra "hits" that play throughout the song are loud for a reason. They're loud because they're exciting. They drive the song forward. The new electronic elements are not "punchier and more powerful," they're just there. Everything is just there, playing, but not really mattering.

 

6:46 got a bit better, but it sounds like it should be the more laid back bit in the middle where the guitars and piano can finally shine, not the part where the song only just starts to get interesting.

 

Add more instruments, add more chords, put accents on your notes. Don't waste a single second building the song up, being boring. Let the song excite me from start to finish.

 

Doesn't this orchestra sound like they're having fun? Every time that chord builds up it's like they can't even contain themselves.

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Finally I've mastered this version at EBU R 128 loudness standards, too.

I also removed every compressor in the remix and pushed the dynamic values to the maximum - makes a far better sound quality.

...

 

Not to troll or anything but ....what?

 

Compressors can be used to subtly increase the intensity of a performance. If it's intensity you are going for then you may want to rethink your use of compression. When used correctly, they can bring out the more subtle sounds of a recording, things that indicate that the player is playing with more energy. Bow scrapes, Puffs of air etc.  Compression also keeps the dynamics controlled so you can keep the volume right where it needs to be without fear of it suddenly dropping below the sweet spot and getting buried.  

 

But as it is right now compression is the least of your worries with this mix.  That guitar around 7:50 sounds like a synth which really clashes with the realism of the piano sample you are using.  Which sounds decent but has too much reverb... The "guitar's" entrance is also unexpected. in a bad way. Something like that should have been used waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay before the 7 minute mark.   Another issue is that the acoustic guitar is also a clearly fake synth guitar.  in order to make obviously fake sounds like that work the playing of them has to be perfectly in line with how they sound when played by a professional player.  Someone who has studied that one instrument their entire lives. Things like this take loads of listening and research.  

 

There is almost no creative use of stereo in the entire 11:00 minutes of the mix which is a significant problem if you want to keep listeners engaged for such a long time.  A mix should be dynamic in it's own way (seperate from the "dynamics" of the individual recordings) Mix dynamics involve elements getting louder/quiet, wider/narrower, Disjointed/Focused  etc. and it all plays off of the emotion present in the playing and the structure of the music.  This can also be defined as "subtle manipulation of the listener" which takes YEARS of mixing practice and training your ear to perceive slight changes in volume in order to pull off correctly. 

 

The biggest sin however is that this is a midi rip that has been repeated for 11 minutes until it ends.  suddenly.  Sorry to say, but something like this will not have a chance on OCR because their is no creative reinterpretation of the source. Which is a shame because outside of a few instruments, it sounds like you are working with some pretty decent sounding samples. It's good to be ambitious but this is over the line for your current abilities.  

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@ Kat: The tambourine makes a lot of the rhythm in this track. Can't leave this. Butt I'll try a few variations with a this in the next versions. I don't think it's too loud according to my headphones - what do the others think - is it too loud/dominant in the mix?

Yeah, the end of the track will be improved soon - like the rest of the remix.

EBU R 128 is just a loudness standard - it doesn't mean, compression is "forbidden". But it means that compression and limiting for gaining loudness is not necessary anymore.
----------------------

@ Slimy: What do you mean with a "thin soundscape"? Instrument sounds are not solid (dry) enough or does it rather mean that there are not enough instruments playing/not enough variations?

The orchestra version at the link is pretty lively and has a great loudness range - not sure how to bring this into a half-electronic, half-orchestral mix (don't want to make the track too orchestrally). But I'll try out a few things.
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@ Garpocalypse: Compression at acoustic instruments makes them sound artificial - those instruments (like flutes, horns, strings, guitars, trumpets, saxophones, even drums) have to breathe to sound natural.
Instead of going for compression I can put much more effort in mixing, playing with the velocity and creating a lot of automations - yeah, that's what I'll do next I guess.

What do you mean with "That guitar around 7:50 sounds like a synth..."? You mean the sample itself sounds fake or rather the way of playing the instrument sound fake?
It's a power guitar with distortion and I'm sure the sample was recorded with a real guitar.
It's this one here >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZdphDZk3_o
What do you think here - sounds still like a fake synth?

And yeah - I will keep on working at this track. Guess it will take a few years to push my skills this far that I can make an outstanding remix out of this.

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@ Kat: The tambourine makes a lot of the rhythm in this track. Can't leave this. Butt I'll try a few variations with a this in the next versions. I don't think it's too loud according to my headphones - what do the others think - is it too loud/dominant in the mix?

Yes, it absolutely is too loud, regardless of whatever headphones I use. It's not "way too loud", but it's a bit loud. I see "way too loud" as over 10 dB, btw. Reducing it by about 1~3 dB is all you need in terms of volume. Some very slight reverb to make it fit better in the soundscape would go a long way.

 

EBU R 128 is just a loudness standard - it doesn't mean, compression is "forbidden". But it means that compression and limiting for gaining loudness is not necessary anymore.

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

No one said that the "standard" you cite says compressors or limiters are "forbidden". Forgive me for saying this, but you just don't seem to want to do any compression at all, avoiding it as if the EBU R 128 is some holy grail of music production. Wherever it is that you got the idea, however you got to thinking that, compression is not intrinsically bad. Not learning how to use compression properly doesn't make compression bad in and of itself. It means you haven't learned how to do it properly. That's all.

 

@ Slimy: What do you mean with a "thin soundscape"? Instrument sounds are not solid (dry) enough or does it rather mean that there are not enough instruments playing/not enough variations?

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Thin, as in lacking low end presence (20~300 Hz), and I strongly believe that is the case. There are multiple factors. It's partly due to your adherence to these so-called standards and subsequently making the track quiet relative to similar music (not EDM), partly due to the use of instruments that are about on the level of General MIDI (which need to have expression "injected" into them via creative processing), and partly due to not filling the soundscape in the sub-500Hz frequencies sufficiently with said instruments.

 

@ Garpocalypse: [Any] [c]ompression at acoustic instruments makes them sound artificial - those instruments (like flutes, horns, strings, guitars, trumpets, saxophones, even drums) have to breathe to sound natural.

Instead of going for compression I can put much more effort in mixing, playing with the velocity and creating a lot of automations - yeah, that's what I'll do next I guess.

No, that is not always true, and yet, your language seems to suggest that that is always the case. I don't know if it is your intention to say it like that, but saying "compression...makes..." without qualifiers is the same as saying "Any compression...makes...". If you had said "Some compression...makes", then that would have been much better. What IS the case is that bad compression makes acoustic instruments sound bad. That's all. You can most certainly use compression to control loud peaks in an instrument's performance to even out the instrument's loudness and help it to fit better in the mix.

 

What do you mean with "That guitar around 7:50 sounds like a synth..."? You mean the sample itself sounds fake or rather the way of playing the instrument sound fake?

It's a power guitar with distortion and I'm sure the sample was recorded with a real guitar.

It's this one here >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZdphDZk3_o

What do you think here - sounds still like a fake synth?

Your usage of that guitar at 7:50 does sound fake, in both the sample quality and the playing style. In the objective sense, the video demo you found showed a simplistic, limited demo of the guitar VST. It was realistically playing what it was playing, but I doubt that it is comprehensively realistic. If it truly was, the demo would have been more comprehensive in playing techniques showcased, no? All I heard was rhythmic strumming. I did not hear any indication that it functions well as a lead guitar.

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@ Slimy: What do you mean with a "thin soundscape"? Instrument sounds are not solid (dry) enough or does it rather mean that there are not enough instruments playing/not enough variations?

The orchestra version at the link is pretty lively and has a great loudness range - not sure how to bring this into a half-electronic, half-orchestral mix (don't want to make the track too orchestrally). But I'll try out a few things.

 

I mostly mean that it sounds empty, like there aren't that many instrument playing. I think the biggest reason for this is that there aren't many chords, the different sections mostly only play 1 note at a time. And most of the time many sections just aren't playing at all. This contributes greatly to it sounding empty and boring. In the original, the melody layered over itself, building a chord and getting more intense, the orchestra in the link does this too.

 

None of the instruments accent, or really have any expression at all. Nothing stands out, (possibly having the effect of making it sound thin?) Accent is especially important here, not only would it make the orchestra sound more real, I think accenting instruments would automatically scream "this is exciting!" It's what real musicians do when something's exciting. (Disclaimer: I've only ever played solo and in a not-very-good high school orchestra, so this is speculation...)

 

Not making the song "too orchestrally" is not an issue - it's an orchestra! Make it orchestrally! Right now it's not doing the song any favors by sounding lifeless.

 

P.S. - Typically, you make a half-electronic, half-orchestral song by using one to flavor the other.

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I think watching this video could help you improve your perception of electric guitar and have a clearer idea of what makes samples realistic. It really goes into detail on EQing and writing both rhythm and lead electric guitar parts, and covers other miscellaneous details that I also find helpful.

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Since the big update of my remix will take much more time than expected and cause I haven't updated the track for about 2 years (but I have composed lots of new stuff since then) I want to share a little preview of the current state of my music project with ya.

I haven't even done the ingame video for this one - but at least I've created a little slideshow with some fitting pics of the FF7 series.

I know it's still a lot to do in things like variety in a track with this length - but I think there's already some really nice stuff in there and I kinda like to hear the track over and over again.
Maybe give me a little feedback how you like the new stuff and the improved sound design in general.
You can find some additional information for this new version in the upload description of the Youtube link.

So, here's version 1.5 of my remix:

>>>

>>> https://clyp.it/0wbdm03p
(Because of the extreme length of the track I could "only" upload a 256 kbit/s file at my free Clyp account instead of my usual 320 kbit/s audio material there.)

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Before I even say anything else, didn't @Kat suggest that you shorten the track to focus it more? @Garpocalypse also hinted at it. It looks either the same length or a bit longer. So, you should read back through the feedback more carefully, and note patterns in what people are saying. 

Consider the issues previously at hand:

  • mechanical sequencing, or lacking expression, or both
  • too long for the amount of arrangement development it has
  • too repetitive (similar partwriting with a lot of copy/paste, with swapped instruments)

You should really ask yourself, "did I actually take these feedback into account, or do I just think I did?" Be honest with yourself and really think about it. Some newer composers lead themselves to believe that they took certain feedback into account, when they only believe they did and actually objectively did not. That, and it's been 2 years.

Again, I haven't listened to this newer version yet, but I want you to focus your attention on this concern and to think about this.

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Having not heard the original version since you originally posted it it's hard to draw direct comparisons, but many of the prior issues still remain. I still believe it's far too long. Right now you're still recycling the same segments over and over with very little variation, outside of instrument swaps. The brief flute solo at 4:42 was a nice change, and following it up with those piano variations was great, but you quickly went back into the same cut-and-paste segments, just with different instruments. I don't have a ton of time to go over everything, but I'll outline a few specific points:

The good:
- A lot of the solo/variation/etc writing is pretty solid, even if it's not particularly complex.
-While there aren't a lot of dynamic variances, the mixing itself isn't bad.
-The intro is still really nice. It had a fair amount of build-up and left me wondering where you would go.

The bad:
-The length of the song does not match the amount of content. I'd again suggest severely cutting the length of the song and focusing on the arrangement.

-A lot of the instrumentation is still very robotic. Some of it could be attributed to lower quality samples, or perhaps not using the samples correctly. For example, staccatos at 3:28. As they're taking over the lead, it feels kind of odd writing it like that. A more flowing sustained section might work better, especially if you happened to have a well-timed brass section swell up alongside it rather than simply chugging along with the backbeat.

-The song still ends abruptly. Even a fade out would be preferable to that.

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Wow,

it's been a fast two years... 

@Kat and @timaeus222 have said what needs to be said so i'll keep this short.  

All previous comments that were made in my post still stand.  Maybe some things were changed as you say but unless someone is intimately familiar with each of your versions the changes that were made are not going to be noticed.  

Honestly I think you worked yourself into a corner with what is probably a massive, cumbersome project.  If it takes hours of work to make what ends up being barely noticeable changes then your best bet would be either start over or keep what's working and cut the rest.  In this case I would recommend you keep the intro and give yourself one entire stating of the source to work with. 

That means cutting roughly 9-10 minutes of what's here.

BUT with that entire chunk of source you have left try to reinterpret it in various different ways.  Change some things, play with it and see if anything sparks your own creativity. You can use other areas of the timeline in your DAW as scrap work to use later on if that helps.  Once you have some ideas down then you'll have a remix that is much more engaging and not just something that sounds like it's on endless repeat.  

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Okay, now that I've had a listen to this, here are my major thoughts:

  • The amount of arrangement development that actually occurs is not enough compared to the actual length of the ReMix. In other words, you need to be more concise with your arrangement. I still hear a lot of copy/paste with some instrument swapping, and that means not much interpretation going on, particularly according to OCR standards.
  • The textures are fairly sparse, or the mix is fairly quiet, or both. You can focus on addressing this after managing to make the arrangement more concise.
  • The sequencing is fairly rigid still.

So I think I can safely say that all of my previous concerns still hold. There might have been an improvement in mixing but for the most part the arrangement sounds unchanged (having been 2 years, I'm just listening fresh).

I would certainly echo @Garpocalypse on his advice. I usually try not to suggest simply starting from scratch, but... this time I almost would. 

My advice is to pick one of the iterations of your arrangement with textures that you would think is easiest to expand on for partwriting (I would consider the segment containing the lead guitar since that's what you gravitate towards), and start fresh from there.

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Yo, thanks for the feedback, dudes. ))

For a comparison to the previous version, I've reuploaded this one into Clyp (I'll leave it there for a few weeks or so) - so you can directly listen to the changes I've made.
>>> old Version 1.4 >>> https://clyp.it/sanzigqc

And - of course - I didn't work 2 years on this version xD (about 2 weeks at all - maybe 20 hours in total) - was busy with other tracks and other stuff.
But since I really like the new changes I wanted to share it with you.

I didn't like the really outdated old version anymore and I wanted to create a much greater update with much more changes - but I need more time than I've planned.
So, after 2 years I simply just wanted to replace the old version I don't want to listen to anymore with the much newer version that really sends me some chillz through ma bones - no shit. ))

But yeah, you're right. There's a lot to do - especially in things like variation (primarily drums, basses, transitions) and much more new melodies that go on some very own pathes, changing rhythms, more alternations in speed maybe and a really completed, fading away ending.
When I began with the track some years ago I really started with creating the whole track with a slightly alternated loop sequence (yeah, I was a big fan of the original theme and I had not the composing skills & knowhow I have today) - and now It's my mission to break free from this fixed structure more and more.

But I don't want to cut the length of the track because I really want to have this one as a rare long Battle theme remix.
It's not impossible to create a lively and varied track at this length and I'll make it someday as I progress with my composition skills (It's my 4th year now since I started with making music out of completely nothing - and it takes still a long time for me to write new stuff).

Besides - there's already a FF7 battle theme remix on Youtube with a pretty great length (8 mins) and it seems to be possible to keep the listeners interested over such a long time >>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl3DZfPR9oM

Although it's pretty much loop-based as well - but the alternative transitions and the lively, dynamic orchestration makes it really interesting over this long time.
I'm not a too big fan of this "orchestrated-elements-only style" for a battle theme with such a great potencial for various music genres - so, I have to create a version in my own style.
But it gives me an idea of what is possible there.

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After a very long time of not working on this remix, I've finally created a little preview for the coming update of my remix for the battle theme "Those who fight" from the game Final Fantasy 7.

Here's the preview of the coming version 1.6:
>>> 


>>> https://clyp.it/fgslop4q

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

I guess, the pretty nice trailer stuff for the highly anticipated Remake of Final Fantasy 7 fired me radically up and inspired me to work much more on this remix.
I know... a remix of this size with around 12 minutes in length will need a lot of time (to work at) and lots of variation (to keep the attention of the listeners).

But step by step, I will bring it on a higher level of composition skills and mixing/mastering quality.

So, with the help of my Beyerdynamic 880 DT studio headphones, connected to my Lake People G109-P headphone amp, I was able to set up a much better mixing with a really wide stereo panorama and to create a much more dynamic remix part which you can listen to at the point when the typical peak of the battle theme kicks in.

At this point, I've composed much more vivid orchestral drum elements, used a kinda powerful VSTi-based electric guitar for the legato bass line, put much more variation in the playing of the trumpets, changed some instruments against better samples and worked much more with the colour/tone as well as with the MIDI velocity dynamics of the VST-based instruments, for example.

I also used some really fitting and well synchronized gameplay scenes as muted video material for this little preview to additionally support the unleashing of slumbering fighter emotions and to give an idea of the direction in which the remix (which will contain lots of different memorable gameplay/battle video scenes - instead of only a slideshow - in the next version) will go in the future.


So, feel radically free to tell me how you like the new stuff within this little preview. ))

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