DragonAvenger

*NO* Skies of Arcadia 'A Sailor's Respite'

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Remixer name: Bluelighter
ID forum: 21840;

Real name: Guillaume SAUMANDE;
Game & Songs: Skies of Arcadia & Sailor Town
Composer: Yutaka Minobe, Tatsuyuki Maeda
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YegyGi2YdfY
Album Project: Skies of Arcadia

Hi OCR,

Here is my contribution for album project "Skies of Arcadia", a remix of Sailor Town in a marching band style. I thank DarkFlameWolf for his invitation! I didn't know the OST, but the track was really interesting to work on and the project was teaching for me.

The track was difficult to arrange because of its complexity, a lot of melodic lines (ML) with complex harmony to assemble in sthg cohesive enough. To simplify the structure, I put an accent on ML1 (0'26 -> 1'13) and ML3 (1'43 -> 2'43); the other melodic lines are more used as transition between these two main parts.

From feedbacks I received on forum project or from judges, I retained notably a problem at pt.5 and pt.6, where it was difficult to feel melodic line. In this last version, I've added a brief melody at pt.5 by trombone solo that gives a nostalgic feeling on this part. This one introduces the next part in higher harmony, where brass play ML2 at the same time that orchestra continue ML3. I find the result interesting.

In pt9, we retrieve briefly ML2 in the variation presented in pt6, but with soft instrumentation. The mix concludes by ML2a, march band style softer than other pa

Enjoy!

Breakdown:
Original
Start: ML1 (Melodic Line)
0'14  ML2a
0'28 ML1 BIS
0'42 ML2a BIS
0'56 ML3
1'10 ML4
1'24 ML1
1'38 ML2b
1'53 ML5

Mix
Pt. 1.    INTRO based on ML1 (soft & march band)
Pt. 2.    0'26'' ML1 soft
Pt. 3.    0'50'' ML1 march band
Pt. 4.    1'13 ML2b march band
Pt. 5.    1'43 ML3 soft (with progression in instrumentation) – time signature in 11/8
Pt. 6.    2'19 ML3 march band – ML2a with brass adapted to this specific harmony – time signature in 11/8
Pt. 7.    2'43 ML4 march band & soft
Pt. 8.    2'58 ML1 soft
Pt. 9.    3'11 ML2a soft – marching band – time signature in 15/8

 

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I don't necessarily know if I'd call this a marching band arrangement, per se, but I do think it's a lovely style adaption from the original, and the parts are all natural for the instrumentation you picked. The arrangement is overall pretty strong, and the time-signature adaption in the middle works pretty well in Pt5. Pt 6 sounds pretty cluttered to me, however, and I felt overall that the combination of the themes along with the odd time signature wasn't really working very well. There's too much going on in that section, overall and it feels too busy.

I'm still not feeling a lot of your samples. The brass samples feel a bit hollow, and are missing the bite that I'd expect. Part of that stems from the attacks feeling sluggish, whereas most brass instruments have a pretty sharp attack. The harpsichord has a similar problem, I'm used to hearing a harsh attack and in here it's just not as strong as I'd expect. Hopefully another judge can help clarify a bit here for me, whether it's working on some velocities in the attacks or something to get a more realistic feel from the samples.

For me this comes down to Pt. 6 and the realism of the samples. I'd say this is borderline, but I'd like to hear some fixes. Good luck on the rest of the vote!

NO (resubmit, please)

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Very nice orchestration, and nice attention to the detail on tempo and time signatures (that 11/16 shift in the middle is great!) - there's a lot going on in this track, which really helps this rise above the source its based on. The orchestration is on point, and the arrangement is solid.

The mix has a few issues of clarity that make it easy to get lost. There are some great ideas that tie the whole piece together, but it can be easy to miss them the first time around. For example, the mixing of the horns at 0:26 makes them sound like background elements, but at 0:50 it becomes clear that they were the antecedent of the antecedent/consequence you have set up. If they're not prominent, the section doesn't make sense, which can lose the listener. The main elements of the mix are easy to lose against the background elements, unless one is listening carefully for them, so be careful to mix your defining elements more to the front of the mix.

The samples aren't the best, but you get a lot of mileage out of them using volume envelops and the like. One more thing that could help push your samples even further would be to incorporate the appropriate amount of vibrato on your lead instruments, as they sound dry and mechanical when the notes are held for long periods of time without it. Other than that, I appreciate the level of detail that went into humanizing the instruments, even if the samples are merely serviceable.

Overall, I think it's solid. Some elements could've been done better (mixing important elements to the front, use of vibrato), but nothing stands out as a really crushing issue, especially considering the cool aspects you introduce into the arrangement, such as the meter changes. I certainly think this is well within the bar at OCR - great work!

YES

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Why is the harpsichord lead so quiet? That needs to be fixed. The brass in particular has some rigid timing that undermines the intended energy of the composition, sounding very mechanical from 1:55-2:30 in particular (though it was a problem throughout the entire piece). DragonAvenger had more in-depth criticisms on the other instrumentation that you should listen to.

The arrangement was solid otherwise, with some creative rhythmic and time-sig changes, but those two main issues need to be addressed, IMO. The lead instrument, whether harpsichord or woodwind, can't sound buried, and the brass needs to sound more humanized. Gario mentioned how he thought the placement ultimately made sense given the structure of the writing and how it was used to build, but it still doesn't really work having the melody so quiet for your opening section in this current form, regardless of what was coming later. Good base so far though, Guillaume.

NO (resubmit)

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Nice job retaining the feel of the original while definitely creating something new and creative out of it.  It's fun, different, and interesting throughout.  The divisions between the sections were a little abrupt, but each section was clearly related to the rest of the piece.

Mixing definitely could be improved, but I didn't find the progression of it confusing as others did.  The lead being less prominent was unusual but I felt like it was an intentional and effective stylistic choice the way it was used in the earlier sections--Part 2 hints at the upcoming lead, quietly but clearly, then Part 3 puts it more up front while holding on to the other elements.  I did feel like the lead instruments were too quiet in Part 8, but as a throwback to parts 1-3, I felt this was acceptable.  Part 6 was indeed very cluttered, and is the one section I feel is really problematic enough to maybe hold this back.

Samples, especially the brass, are definitely mechanical, but no more so than Bluelighter's last mixpost.  I'd love to see it improved but I don't think it's enough to hold this back.

YES

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Some very light clipping around 2:39 in the low brass.

I really enjoyed your 11/8 section, that was quite nice.

I think there are some balance issues especially around the middle when the full ensemble is playing. The brass samples are VERY exposed here, and the mechanical sequencing doesn't help in that regard. I think you need to pay more attention to articulation in the brass. Something very weird happening with your strings at 2:51; sounds like it's suppose to be tremolo but it comes off sounding like an audio deformation instead.

Part-writing and arrangement is fantastic but the production needs work.

NO (resub)

 

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Enjoyable instrumentation, great choice of instruments and style. A difficult thing to pull off. I thought the balance of instruments was mostly well done, I appreciate Larry's concern of the harpsichord being low in volume, however it feels this was intended to add backing accompaniment and in that role it does well, as being louder may actually make things sound cluttered. The brass is a bit louder than the other parts and could do with being toned down a tad. Sample quality was ok, I felt it was passable - not the most realistic around but I thought they worked for you.

I don't have much to say until we hit the 2:19 things feel off - this part everyone seemed to enjoy, but for me it definitely didn't feel right. I'm completely aware of the time sig change, and at the start a few bars earlier things felt fine ... but the "conversation" between those parts felt out in that section, with parts tripping over each other as more layers are added - perhaps they were too mechanical? I don't know. Otherwise your shift of overall pace throughout the track is good.

I appear to be completely out on my own with this but truly for me the middle section felt like it had the most problems, it didn't fell cohesive, and personally I'd like to see that section strengthened. Apart from some minor balancing issues, I don't have any other problems worth mentioning, production was mostly ok and source usage was clear.

NO

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The arrangement is good.  The harpsichord is way too quiet to carry a lead by itself, but it doesn't do so very often, and I agree that making the harpsichord louder might not be helpful.  I agree that the brass is lacking bite; better samples would improve this.  I also agree that part 6 is the most cluttered, melodically.  I feel that these are all areas to work on for next time, and that this arrangement is over the bar as is.

YES

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Good start to the piece.  Liking the level of arrangement here - nice attention to detail and lots of various part-writing.  Need to be careful at times as due to some part-writing complexity, it's hard to figure out what to focus on at times as the listener, like at 1:36 & 2:33.  Sometimes the lead melody gets lost behind the rest.

As mentioned, samples may not be the best, but they work.  I think the brass in particular has some issues carrying lead part writing effectively due to slow attacks on samples and articulations not quite matching up.  In general, some parts feel exposed in the mix, which doesn't help the realism.  Personally, I'm a bit liberal on the reverb to gloss over my weak sample set.  I'm not necessarily suggesting that here, but it's really difficult to achieve realism with loud instruments sticking out at times.  

Rubato at 1:14 & 1:28 felt a bit forced.  I know it's hard to sequence that effectively, so I'm not faulting you - just pointing it out.

Not a big deal, but I also wasn't 100% sure what spacing the orchestra is occupying.  For example, the solo flute manages to rise prominently at times over the whole orchestra (which, as a former flute player, would be pretty difficult as only a small percentage of your air actually goes through the instrument.  Higher, more piercing notes may make it though).  

2:19 definitely feels problematic.  The lead trombone(?) sounds like it's stepping on top of it's own notes and sounds off when juxtaposed with the backing parts.  The sequencing on this section sounds like it needs another pass to get the part writing to gel better and have cleaner note runs if possible (again, due to legato samples on fast note runs).  A similar issue happens in the 2:00 ish section with writing preceding it with the messy sounding solo horn, but it's not as prominent.

Overall, I'm liking what you've done here.  There's really nice arrangement.  Some production tightening up would do the job for me.

NO resubmit, please

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