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JBWest

Chrono Trigger, Schala's Theme, "When Days Were Better"

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I haven't heard a rock variation of Schala's Theme in a while. The transition from orchestral to rock was well-done. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm not a big fan of the lead guitars right after the transition. Overall, an enjoyable listen.

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I'm really digging this mix! Really got my head bopping.

 

For the strings in the beginning, the longer notes seem fine, but I would tweak the attack on the shorter notes of the main melody, you can hear the automation in the small notes.

 

For the lead guitars after the transition, I'm thinking the problem Light_of_Aether had with them is in the panning. After the transition you have that nice wide soundscape going with the ostinato palm muted guitars but then the lead guitars come in very center-panned, and in context they sound very separate. On the other hand, when the same guitars come in during the heavy distortion section, they sound good because the soundscape is already very filled with other guitar chords and there isn't much room to work with anyway. It might also be in that first note, it seems strange to me.

 

In the transition leading up to the heavily distorted section, I would tweak the velocities on the drums. Right now each kick/hihat hit sounds like it has the same strength, making it sound very mechanic. Also, right after that transition check the volume on that left-panned crash, it seems a bit loud.

 

Anyway, great work, I would love to hear more! :-)

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I'm just getting this feeling of lifelessness from the strings in the intro here. They're just sustaining. Try to inject some emotion into them with some volume swells, because real orchestral strings instrumentalists (violinists, violists, etc) change their note intensity within the same note.

 

Honestly, the part where you start bringing in the acoustic drums and muted rhythm guitar is better than the orchestral intro before it. It's more texturally developed and more realistic. The leading guitars, though, are rather narrow, and feel like they're in a different room. They can use some slight room reverb to make them fit into the mix a bit better. Also, arrangement-wise, this section, while more developed texturally and more realistic, is lacking in that the drums are fairly autopilot and the muted rhythm guitar arpeggio just drones on throughout most of the passage. What that does to the mix is make it sound repetitive; the drums don't do anything particularly exciting, and essentially are "beat-keeping", while the rhythm guitarist sounds bored, in the sense of "going through the motions".

 

I do like the subtle tibetan bell in the lower-energy "bridge". The transition into the rock section afterwards was a bit... cheesy. Like pop-dance-music-cheesy. Maybe incorporate some syncopation and rapid rolls/fills, in the way a more enthusiastic drummer would do it, to make it more exciting. The actual rock section kind of sounds like an "upgrade" to the previous "clean rock" section, but only in tone IMO. I'm just hearing not as much emotion as I thought I would hear at what I thought was supposed to be the climax. Where's the vibrato in the lead guitar? What about doing a solo?

 

Overall, you do have some development in the dynamics, and a good start in the arrangement, but I think there needs to be more TLC in the orchestral intro using volume swells, the amount of emotion you give in the guitar performances, drum variations to reduce repetition and make things more exciting, and less copy+paste of the muted rhythm guitars, and a solo near the end would really help this.

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