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OCR03415 - *YES* Secret of Mana 'Thick Jams'

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Hi OCRemix submission-listeners,

Long-time listener, first-time submitter here. I've been a fan of Hiroki Kikuta's work on Secret of Mana for a long time, and I finally decided to give this "Into the Thick of It" remix a shot. I thought it might be fun to turn this quick/airy/light overworld theme into a slower groove with a bunch of acoustic instruments, and I ended up with a pretty weird combo: guitars, ukuleles, saxes, vocals, trombones, drumset/shaker/claps, and an alto flute solo to mirror the lead in "Did You See the Ocean?"

Thanks for listening!

-Kyle

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Submitted Track:



Contact Information:

Your ReMixer name    Kylok
Your real name        Kyle Okaly
Your email address    
Your website        http://www.kyleokaly.com/
Your userid        32955

Submission Information:

Name of game(s) arranged        Secret of Mana
Name of arrangement            Thick Jams
Name of individual song(s) arranged    Into the Thick of It / Did You See the Ocean?

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Onto the negatives first, I wish the recording quality/mixing was sharper and cleaner. The performances are also (arguably) too loose in places.

That said, I thought this was a good example of a structurally/melodically close cover that personalized the performance well through the live instrumentation and different textures, additions of doubling and original writing and the slower tempo. Once the beats came in at :58, the arrangement only moved further towards having a different-enough sound from the source thanks to the addition of the beats.

Again, the feel here was loose and the mixing isn't pristine, but there's a good deal of charm in the presentation, and I felt everything pieced together very capably with the arrangement. Nice work, Kyle, and good luck with the rest of the vote!

YES

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Production isn't the cleanest, but the rest of the mix overcomes this fact.  Although the performances felt really sloppy at some points, it recovers in time before the whole mix collapses.  I think the instruments used mesh in a very odd way that works really well in favor of the arrangement.  I really like the usage of voice to complement the instruments in some sections.

The arrangement threads the same path as the original for the most part, but this is no cover, there's interpretation everywhere in the supporting elements, and some added sections where you go deeper with the different dynamics between the instruments, such as around 2:10.  I really liked at 1:48 where the syncopated elements played off each other leading into the subdued section at 2:06.

I would've liked to hear your take on variations on the main melodies but what we get is fine.  Nice work on this very unique submission.

YES

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Oh, this is some ensemble. Is this a piece for wind orchestra + guitar? Very interesting idea, and I think it's incredibly fitting for the source.

Mmm, this is a very conservative piece. It's quite good, but I'd argue the first half of the track is just a little bit too conservative. The second half is very well interpreted, and because it really opens up into something cool and unique in that second half, the arrangement is still a pass, but it'd be a stronger pass if there were a bit more that was done to make the first portion sound a little less cover-ish.

The performance is very loose. Honestly, that's not a bad thing - I like the natural feel of a loose performance. However, there are sections where the loose-ness creates terrible dissonance - sections like the winds at 0:46 & 1:32 sound like a trainwreck. I'm pretty okay with the rest of the track, but those sections need to be tightened up considerably, as the winds sound completely off.

I'd probably give this one a borderline NO, as it stands - it's very close to a YES - but there's one more important point that must be addressed before OCR could consider accepting this track - the SFX at the end of the track are from Secret of Mana, and as per site policy we cannot post any music that incorporates Square Enix sampled sounds. To quote submission rules:

  • Quote

    Submissions must not include any sampled audio, including sound effects, from material owned by Square Enix or its subsidiaries.

     

As I don't believe there are any exceptions to this rule anymore, you will need to change the samples at the end of this piece, before this can be accepted.

I really hope you do, as this is a pretty cool piece of music. I personally recommend doing a little bit more to make the first half of this piece interesting and original, but more importantly tighten up the performances at the two sections that I mentioned above. Change the samples at the end as well and you'll have my vote easily.

NO/RESUB

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@Gario Do you mean at 2:56, the wind/howling and bubbling noises? I'm not familiar with the game's SFX. Please verify.

Also, if removing the SFX would make it a YES, then IMO you should go conditional YES. But either way, I'll contact the artist about the SFX.

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Sorry for the lack of timestamp - yeah, those sounds at 2:59 are ripped directly from the opening of the SNES Secret of Mana game. Here's a link  to the SFX: that's precisely how it's presented in the game.
 


If my vote were a YES I would've made it a conditional one, but I actually would've given the track a NO/RESUB or borderline even if that sound wasn't in there. I found the previously time stamped portions of my judgment to be too much a mistake to pass on it, for me. The other YES votes should probably make it conditional, though.

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crisp, open production style. could be fuller/more saturated, but I think it’s effective. the instruments sound cool and come together well despite the unusual combination. live recorded feel gives the track a nice organic vibe and the dynamic switches are tight. I disagree with Gario on the wind @ :46 and 1:32. those sections work well to my ear.

 

YES

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Crisp mixing and lovely open high end comes to mind when I heard the first few seconds of this mix. Because of the highs, there is lots of perceived clarity here (dare I say almost too much). The odd thing that struck me was the distinct lack of low end in this mix - almost like the bass player didn't show up to the recording session. I thought perhaps some bass would show up later to fill things out after the intro but it never showed. The mix of acoustic and what sounds like sampled drums works well for me and overall, the instrument choices complement each other in a weird way that somehow works.

I'm a bit borderline here because the lack of a grounding bass element sounds real weird to me, and the crisp highs further exacerbate this absence. No-one else appears worried about this in the vote though which is making me initially question my vote. Agree samples at the end sound like they come from the original game and should be removed if posted as per the rules. I guess it's a

YES (borderline - and conditional on game samples removed)

 

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Very cool mix here.  I don't think I've heard anything quite like it.  In general, the mixing isn't super clear, so some instruments (some horns, choir) sound obscured while instruments with a lot of high end presence (plucked instruments) come forward much more clearly.  Personally, I wouldn't have panned things like the plucking guitar so wide, but it's not a big deal.

While the arrangement follows pretty closely to the OST in terms of structure and melody, there are loads of supporting parts and additive personalization throughout.  

Jive makes a good point about lack of low end instruments, but honestly this doesn't bother me.  To me, that, combined with the somewhat murky mixing quality and loose performances give this whole thing a 60's/70's-live-recorded vibe to me and I love it.

I really liked how you integrated the percussion here.  It kept the energy in the back without being overpowering.  The two parts referenced by Gario really didn't bother me (they actually follow the part-writing in the OST as far as I can hear, but maybe I'm just not hearing what he's hearing).

Those samples are definitely the groan from the OST, so they'd need to be taken out prior to posting.

YES (conditional on removal of SFX)

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This is pretty much begging for a bassline to flesh out that low end. In spite of that, the personality and overall unique approach is undeniable here. You seem to have taken a super-loose tavern jam approach and, in that regard, I think this works really well. Just a good old-fashioned, unpolished romp!

Let's get those samples outta there and post this one.

YES

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