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djpretzel

*NO* Final Fantasy 8 'Shattered Hopes Across Time'

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Pretty strong debut, production-wise... need some extra ears on the arrangement.

-djp

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Game: Final Fantasy VIII
Remix Name: Shattered Hopes Across Time
Original Songs: Compression of Time
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
Platform: Playstation
 
 
 
Out of all of Nobuo's songs, Compression of Time has always held a place in my heart as I could relate my life to the melody. I really wanted to do the song justice, and amplify the spectrum of emotions the original piece projects.
Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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The synth used is immediately better than the Darkesax™ that is used in the source song, which is a relief. The overall structure is pretty similar, however, and there isn't a lot that really makes it sound expanded upon or different than the original. I think there is a lot of room to do so, however, so adding some additional harmonies, rhythms, or countermelodies would make this really interesting. The original sax/synth melody is really basic, so there is a ton of room to accent and ornament it with another instrument, or even have the melody deviate from the source by a few notes once in awhile. 

 

The production is up to par, but the arrangement will need more work before it can pass. I look forward to a resubmission!

 

No, please resubmit

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There is some great stuff that's being done here to the track, which I agree is pretty great and one of Uematsu's great (though lesser known) tracks. Andrew has it right though that overall the track is just too much of a cover to the original to me to fit our standards. I'd love to hear some more work done to the arrangement to really give this a bit more of your own personalization. 

Really on the right track, just needs some more!

 

NO (resubmit, please)

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Have you sidechained your first lead instrument to its reverb?  Cool, that's something I have been wanting to try, it's a nice effect.  I like the combination of electronic and organic instruments in this mix, they work well together.

Production is generally fine, but the other two judges have identified how conservative this arrangement is.  The addition of the full strings in the middle section sounds amazing however.  The harp arpeggio in the background sounds very unhumanized however, and that's a bummer, but it's the same as in the source.  Some humanization on that arp would have been nice, and if this track doesn't make it, I recommend strongly that you vary the velocities on the harp, make it more realistic.

For me, the section from 0:55-1:45 saves the arrangement from being too coverish, because of the added string writing, bell countermelody, and flute flourishes.  I really wish you had varied the sections containing the plain melody from the source, so again if this track doesn't make it, I recommend varying that melody somewhere, just a bit, for a break from the repetitive source melody.  That said, I like this.

YES (borderline)

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Good source choice. The upfront dryness of the cymbal swell at :31 along with the swelling synth waves into percussion hits are spatially weird - just don't quite convince me. The hits are muddy. Bass and lo mids could be fatter in general. feeling an absence. Mix gets competitive in the hi mids ‘round 1:30 when things are taking off. Instrument articulation is often vanilla. But these are subtle criticisms. Ultimately, your production is solid. Source use is straight, but the soundscape is very different and the ethereal changeup Kris mentioned is a nice exploration.

 

YES (borderline)

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I have to side with OA/DA on this one… you’ve made some very good strides with this track already but I don’t feel like it’s been sufficiently developed compared to the original source. The string writing that you’ve added is gorgeous and emotive, and a great starting point, but for an arrangement that’s only 2:30 long that basically retreads the same melodies from the source without much variation, this feels undercooked. There’s a lot of potential to build on your arrangement and inject a little more of yourself into the writing, but between the short length and the general conservativeness of it, I don’t believe it's quite ready.

If this submission does end up being rejected, PLEASE resubmit – you’ve got some incredible building blocks in place, and the strings/choir writing is particularly exquisite. Good luck either way!

NO (please resubmit!)

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Opened up pretty similar to the source, though with different instrumentation. The vox being so similar (though better) in tone was a negative, as far as a lack of interpretation, but let's see where it goes. Shifts to adding some original bell writing underneath at :55, but the overall structure is the same, and the plucked string part sound very similar to the original. Meanwhile, the mixing of the bells and string orchestration from 1:19-1:41 was VERY cluttered and indistinct; the parts are mudding together, so this needs to be cleaned up.

This is a beautiful cover with good though scant original writing additions. It's definitely underdeveloped compared to where the bar has been on arrangement, so I strongly disagree with the YESs and also don't feel they've made any compelling case vs. the Standards. The structure of the theme has mimimal differences with the source tune, and there's just not enough in terms of personalizing the theme in other ways (instrumentation, tone, tempo, rhythm, original writing additions, etc.) to make up for that vis-a-vis the standards. The vox and plucked strings are essentially the same as the source tune, just stronger samples, so the overall tone and structure just isn't much different than the original.

I agree with the NOs that this arrangement needs more development and variation to meet the arrangement Standards with an adequate level of interpretation. It's a sweet cover, Shawn, so if you're not interested in revising this to pass for OCR, no worries; you clearly have talent, and we certainly hope you submit something else that meets our arrangement/interpretation criteria.

NO

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Yeah, I'm leaning more towards the "A" team on this call. :D

The arrangement didn't sound expansive/personalized enough beyond the original melody and structure.  Would really like to hear more development in that regard.

It's been mentioned a couple times, but I thought the mixing was actually a significant issue here.  This track is mastered pretty loud and things are definitely fighting for space.  1:30 is the most obvious example where the track is overly loud and cluttered.  I had to turn down my volume for that section.

Great start, nonetheless.  Keep at it :)

NO resubmit, please

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