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Chrono Trigger / Twilight Princess "At the Bottom of Twilight"


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I've been working on a new remix, let me know what you think:

EDIT: Updated version as of 3/26/15: https://soundcloud.com/sauraen/at-the-bottom-of-twilight-6


Chrono Trigger -

(Yasunori Mitsuda)

Zelda: Twilight Princess -

, Main Theme B Section [credits version] (Koji Kondo, Toru Minegishi, Asuka Ota)

I am planning to include some sound design at the beginning and end--"night" ambience at the beginning, and "morning" ambience at the end. But I don't really know how to do this (and of course it's secondary to the actual arrangement).

Edited by XPRTNovice
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  • 2 weeks later...

Posting here just to remind myself to comment on this when I get a chance. Your past work has showed a ton of promise and I'm eager to hear what you've cooked up :-) Feel free to fire a PM my way if you don't hear from me in a couple of days.


OK, listened to this one :-) First off, I've got to commend on you on something... one of my primary critiques of your previous work has been your drum kit, which I've never felt fit the styles you were going for. The more unique, ethnic percussion you have going on here fit MUCH better, tonally. The only downside to this that you have such a unique percussion sound that it becomes a lot more noticeable how repetitive your drum writing is... The actual drum variation is sticking out like a sore thumb, but the samples themselves are so much better of a fit :-D

I like your piano tone that you've built this around. That element seems solid and helps this feel unique as an orchestral arrangement. Some of the orchestral elements still don't sound realistic to me... the cello and flute particularly could use a good dose of humanization. I think the cello line works great as a lead but the sample you're using or the octave you're playing in just doesn't feel realistic. Tremelo strings sound nice, and the plucked instrument (koto? can't tell for sure...) also holds things together nicely. Harp runs are well-utilized here.

Arrangement-wise, it does start to all blend together on repeat listens. I really like what you do after 3:10, as you shift to a more uplifting vibe. The ending is great, too. Some of the earlier sections of the track begin to feel repetitive, but I haven't really given this TOO much time to really appreciate some of the nuances of the arrangement, so take that feedback with a grain of salt.

I also think that some additional ambiance/sound design would make the ending more memorable. Looking forward to that!

I really like this approach, I think it's a significant improvement over some elements from your older remixes that weren't working for me. I'm going to keep an eye on this :-)

Edited by Emunator
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Thanks for your comments! Everything you mentioned should be helpful.

Boy, those drum parts... The judges really nailed me on my last submission (Xenogears "Final Convergence") for the drum parts being too repetitive. On this piece here, what you're hearing is the drum parts AFTER I added variety to them--you should have heard it before! I suppose I just have to retrain my ears on that. I guess I tend to treat drums as an ostinato that holds together the various sections; but I just went back and listened to a few of my favorite OC ReMixes, specifically listening for changes in the drum parts, and they all have a lot more variety than my arrangements.

Just for fun, I'll try putting in what seems to me as TOO much variety, and see what others think!

Also, do you have any suggestions for how to do sound design? I've never tried it. I was going to rip some environment/ambience samples from Ocarina of Time and use them, just because that's the only place I know to get them from. My fancy sample library has hundreds of instruments, but they forgot the crickets! But there must be places online; I've looked at freesound.org but the quality tends to be pretty poor.

Edited by Sauraen
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I've got to say, I love this mix. But what Emunator said about the fake cello is pretty noticeable, even on my first listen. Around 1:10 something feels off, either the velocity or attack or both. Perhaps it's the sample.

At the end around 4:10 the soundscape goes from that warm, dreamy xylophone sound to a very piercing piano descendo. I thought it was a bit jarring, maybe lower the velocity on that first piano note there.

I love the mixing of the source tunes here, the arrangement is pretty good. Please finish this! I want to hear the finished version :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Updated version: https://soundcloud.com/sauraen/at-the-bottom-of-twilight-remix-draft-4

Thanks Emunator and Elder Kirby for the criticism and suggestions! I was also fortunate enough to receive some feedback and encouragement from Josh Whelchel, which was very nice!

Do you think I addressed your suggestions adequately? The changes I made to the percussion were not drastic, but each of the sections now has a unique rhythm behind it, and the first couple have more dynamic variety as well.

I am pretty happy with the sound design at the beginning, but not so much with the end. There's too many birds! I couldn't find a sample that wasn't a giant chattering chorus. I wanted something more like the dawn sounds in Zelda games. Do you have any suggestions?

piano tone
the plucked instrument (koto? can't tell for sure...)
that warm, dreamy xylophone sound
very piercing piano descendo

I don't blame you for not knowing a Spanish Cimbalon by ear (I wouldn't have either, it's just a nice patch I found when rifling through an ethnic collection)--but you don't know a Fender Rhodes when you hear one? :P (Good catch on that note, though, thanks.)

Edited by Sauraen
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I think the chord at 1:31 sounds a little weird; you should check that again. Also, 1:53 has an early/rushed note on the chorused rhodes (still sounds like a piano to me on the chords; the higher notes are more obviously rhodes), by a few ms.

I'd agree with Emunator that the arrangement gets to sound a little similar throughout. I think it's in part to do with the way the rhodes plays three notes, then a chord, then pauses, and plays very similarly a great deal of the way through. Changing that up later on can really help make the listener understand how far along in the track he or she is without looking at the timestamp.

Whatever criticisms on the humanization feels fine now for the most part. I think the hand-bell-like sound (with the delayed note) at 2:02 - 2:27 sounds odd playing those faster notes, and arguably they feel mechanical.

I'll say something on the actual production later.

Edited by timaeus222
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New version: https://soundcloud.com/sauraen/at-the-bottom-of-twilight-draft-5

1:53 has an early/rushed note

Good catch, thanks!

I think the chord at 1:31 sounds a little weird; you should check that again.

It was what I was intending at the time (not an error), but after you pointed it out I played with it and eventually settled on something a little less dissonant. I'm not entirely satisfied with it, but I can see why the way it was might be problematic.

I think the hand-bell-like sound (with the delayed note) at 2:02 - 2:27 sounds odd playing those faster notes, and arguably they feel mechanical.

Fixed, thanks! I had just copied one line and pasted it an octave up with a delay... :oops: I changed it to match the timings I would play if I was actually playing it in octaves on a piano.

the arrangement gets to sound a little similar throughout. I think it's in part to do with the way the rhodes plays three notes, then a chord, then pauses, and plays very similarly a great deal of the way through.

I see what you mean. I changed it more significantly in one section, and adjusted the levels so those chords are more in the background later, with other accompaniment parts (e.g. harp) forward. However, removing or changing the pattern entirely made it sound disconnected from the whole. I think this is a better balance than what I had before.

Thank you for the comments! Any major things still standing out? Still too repetitive? Is it mixed okay? It now sounds pretty good on both headphones and monitors, but I can't always tell on my setup if the low end is good.

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Okay, now that I'm listening on my normal mixing headphones:

I'm hearing that the rhodes has frequency buildup near 280 Hz; it plays notes that land at that frequency pretty often, so it stacks up to be resonant, and while it doesn't really hurt, it would help to scoop a bit at that frequency (maybe about 2 dB) to leave room for the chorused keys and occasional low harp notes.

This isn't as big a deal, but at 1:59, the descending bass ends up clashing at pretty much 200 Hz when it re-enters, so right before that point, I think it would help with the frequency clash to automate a high pass on the rhodes up to 200 Hz by the time the bass comes in. I wouldn't do it too steeply, though, so the rhodes still retains some body to its low end. If the rhodes moves towards playing higher notes than the lowest note it plays at 1:59, you should move that high pass back down so it occupies the original frequency range again while it doesn't clash.

Other than that, I don't notice anything off in the low end mixing. Nothing much reaches below 70 Hz, but that isn't a big deal. If nothing much reached below 40 Hz, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Many speakers only reach down to about 60 Hz without subwoofers anyhow. :)

However, it does seem like you have a lot of instruments playing low notes pretty often; for example, at 1:36, no instruments playing reach above 2800 Hz aside from the percussion and occasionally the harp (this happens elsewhere too, of course), but the harp is playing pretty quiet notes there. So, maybe you can consider shifting some note octaves or rewriting some parts to incorporate higher notes. Without much above ~3000 Hz, the mix feels low-end heavy (or top-end light), even though the mixing itself isn't a major issue there.

Edited by timaeus222
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Updated version: https://soundcloud.com/sauraen/at-the-bottom-of-twilight-6

[various helpful things]

Took care of the Rhodes frequency buildup, the bass clashing, and came up with an arrangement for that section 1:37 to 2:02 that I'm satisfied with. I think I'm getting better at this; the last few things you've mentioned, I feel like I sort of half noticed them beforehand, or noticed but didn't really know what the problem was or what to do. Thanks!

I'm pretty confident with how it sounds now; setting it to Finished. Anything else sticking out? Any new voices want to chime in? (Your help has been greatly appreciated, timaeus222, especially with the mixing/mastering, but variety in feedback is helpful too!)

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make the transition more seamless

Thanks, I'll play with it a little. I don't plan to change it too much, as that's a sort of "breath" point halfway through. It also marks the return to the first source tune, which now has additional development in the form of the Zelda themes on top.

Also, bumping due to Mod Review not having happened yet.

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- Really interesting choice of instruments (in a good way). Good vibe going on throughout.

- The cello is damaging the rest of the mix, in my opinion. I think you can do better to humanize that sample and make it sound smoother, particularly when it's up in front of the mix.

- I think the flute melody could stand to be a touch out more in front (but I find I give that critique a lot since I'm a melody snob, or something)

- I dig the harp run at 3:25 ish

- At 3:45, I do kind of lose sense of what I'm supposed to be listening to; it transitions into something that resembles ambient music and I can't find a melody in there. That's not necessarily a strike against you or anything, just a comment.

- Nice ending.

Overall, I really like this. That cello sample is what's hurting the most. If you could get someone to play that LIVE?! oooh, that would make this really sing.


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