Sign in to follow this  
DragonAvenger

OCR03519 - *YES* Final Fantasy 6 "Magitek Research Symphony"

Recommended Posts

I like that you really worked to make this arrangement move in a way that sounds like a factory at work. The lower strings and brass along with the off-beats for the percussion are what really give that impression, and it's a nice touch. The arrangement overall is pretty straightforward, but I found there to be plenty of personalization, and I have no issue on that end. I did find the ending to feel a bit abrupt, especially since the track doesn't end on the tonic. I think looking at that would be a good idea.

The samples overall aren't the best, and I wasn't really fooled by the realism here. The lower instruments have a pretty slow attack which sounds especially awkward on the faster runs. I think some overall humanization and velocity variances would do a lot of good here. Changing some of the samples might also be a good idea, but I think the ones you have can be finessed into shape with some work.

Good luck!

NO (resubmit)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This remix starts off really strong with a very interesting and dynamic intro, but I think it dips over time.  Regarding the production your levels are good but the instrument quality and performances are hit and miss.  The lower brasses and strings, as Deia mentioned, are the most evident here.  

I liked some of the ideas in your arrangement, like the variations at 02:18, but the arrangement overall felt like it needed a little push towards interpretation.  It lacks the subtleties and details that your posted forest medley mix has.  I think it repeats the source motifs too often and too close to the original arrangement.  The structure felt very straightforward, and although that's not a problem per se, it could've benefited from shaking things up a bit.

Overall this isn't too far from the bar for me, but I think more could be done to hide the sample quality, and more interpretation could benefit the mix more so it doesn't feel like its repeating itself too much.

EDIT: I could definitely switch my vote later if I hear enough reasons from the other Judges, as I think this is pretty borderline.  I think my observations are valid but I will keep an eye on this thread.


EDIT 6/14: I was pretty borderline on this one, after listening again and reading all the comments I think I can flip this one for a borderline pass.  

YES (borderline)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right at :04, the woodwind (clarinet? I'm not a musician :-D) timing felt blocky. The brass at :37 also had a rigid quality to the timing. At :56 with the brass lead, the texture got muddy due to the instrumentation behind the lead; it's doesn't sound bad, but there were some cramped moments there. Something about the cymbal shots starting at 1:37 sounded very tacked on, underwhelming, and not integrated with the rest of the instrumentation. However, the mallet percussion starting at 1:54 was an excellent accent idea, as well as the various industrial clangs at 2:26. The isolated decay of that last string at 3:42 didn't sound great either, but I'll live.

I agreed with the other Js about the arrangement repeating the melody a lot in a straightforward way and potentially having more places to go, but the instrumentation was personalized enough and varied enough, so there was enough different for me in each iteration. As far as the instrument quality, I wasn't as bothered by what the other Js heard, and didn't feel the overall realism in the execution was below the bar despite not being ideal. I did pick up on the mud starting at :56, but it didn't interfere with the sound much for me. It's not the strongest YES because I also would have liked more melodic interpretation, but I don't mind how an artist chooses to personalize their approach as long as there's enough modification and the overall production and execution is good. I'm not saying the NOs are invalid, but I don't feel the bar is quite that high.

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice arrangement. The opening was the strongest, with the blend of themes all weaving in and out - makes me wish there was more of that throughout, but as it stands it makes for a nice introduction. While the rest of the arrangement is conservative, it adds all sorts of variation with the orchestration to keep it interesting and fresh, so it's still passable.

The production quality is pretty good - I'm not noticing anything particularly glaring, on that front. The instrumentation was very well diversified, and the orchestration itself was great - all this makes for a rich arrangement. I will also note that the phrasing and accents are absolutely spot on (not an easy thing to do), with a few exceptions. The horns at 2:11 have the same attack swell throughout it's run, which doesn't sound deliberate, and the vibrato used on the higher strings at 0:16 - 0:28 sounds copy/pasted, which is fairly noticeable. The trumpets at 3:06 - 3:14 have a little too much swell in the attack to sound like a convincing legato, so it's something you should take note of. This is very nit-picky, but you should be aware of it. 

As for the low end, that sounds like a release issue you're having. I hear the attacks fairly distinctly, and they're as sharp as you can expect low end to be (that is, not too much), but on some of the faster runs the release overlaps the attacks. This makes it much harder to distinguish when you strike the same note multiple times. I'm going to have to be fair on this one, though, that's also an issue things like double bass and bassoon/contrabassoon have in real life, so I can't in good faith consider this a humanization issue, but rather an orchestration one. A good fix to something like that is to make the accents more staccato for the faster runs and repeated notes in the low end instruments, even in something you may intend to be more legato, just so people can hear the individual notes better. People don't write fast or repeating legato often for bass/sub-bass precisely because it too often just sounds like a muddy mess (as it does here).

It has a few issues (arrangement is a little straightforward after the beginning, the specifically mentioned humanization issues, bass orchestration), but I don't think it's nearly enough to take it below the bar. The sample quality could arguably be better, but it's certainly not general MIDI, and the effort that went into making them sound believable really shows.

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big fan (of course) of the FFVI OST.  Approaching the Magitek factory with an orchestral take seems like it would be extremely challenging, so kudos for taking this one.

My thoughts & issues on this are already really well covered above, so I'm not going to go into too much detail rehashing everything.  The biggest issue for me is the aforementioned unrealistic timings/overlapping notes like the brass.  Those could be tightened up with creative sequencing and tweaking the samples, but for me personally it's not a deal breaker.

Minor nitpick: the right-panned cymbal taps and harp sound too upfront to me in relation to other parts.

Arrangement-wise, this does stick to the general progression of the original, but with plenty of additional and derivative part-writing to get my nod on that front.  I do agree that there is room for more variation on the structure itself, but that's not necessarily the approach a mixer has to take to personalize a ReMix.

Overall, despite some flaws, this gets the job done for me on both sides of the coin.  I'm gonna

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm liking this one. This is a nice arrangement of the original song. While not overly ambitious in terms of changing things up, you have managed to bring the melody into a full orchestral style that for the most part feels natural to me. Yes there are some bits here and there that feel slightly blocky, but I'm not having any huge problems with what you've done. Your cycling of different instruments playing different parts was a "well played" moment for me and enhanced the orchestral illusion. Mixing is pretty good too - things feel a little crowded to me and could be separated more, but everything was audible, and parts that drew focus did so intentionally.

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of my thoughts are echoed above.  The instruments wouldn't fool anyone into thinking they're real, but it's sufficient to be enjoyable.  I had no issues with the arrangement--as other judges mentioned, the brief leitmotifs from other themes in the beginning were a high point that would have been great to see more of, but switching the instrumentation regularly kept the arrangement feeling fresh.  I thought the ending was fine--the leitmotifs at the beginning suggest that this is actually one movement of a larger work, and this ending would be perfectly appropriate in that context.  And even though lots of other artists have used various gimmicks to give this source an industrial feel, you've succeeded in doing it entirely using normal orchestra instruments, and that's a real coup.

There are a couple of minor things I'd add. First, this did seem mixed a little quiet to me, even for an orchestral mix--it can be raised by about 0.6dB without clipping, and I see no reason not to do that at least.  Second, it sounds like you've used some unusual reverb settings here.  The result is less "concert hall" and more "open-air auditorium."  That's not necessarily wrong, since that's a perfectly valid venue for a live orchestral performance, but studio-style recordings don't usually sound like that, so it struck me as odd.

So while there's room for improvement, I liked this a lot, and I have no problem giving it a

YES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this