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Gario

OCR03571 - *YES* Chrono Cross "Another Marbule Homestead"

9 posts in this topic

Some lovely instrumentation going on here.  Such a peaceful atmosphere.  Nice graceful ending.

I have some balance concerns, though.  At 0:50-1:01, the reed (oboe?) is too dominant, drowning out most of the other instruments, especially the melody; this is most severe at 0:54 and 1:00.  At 1:30-1:44 it gets very busy, and the melody is buried by multiple instruments as well as sounding muddy.  2:08-2:20 is very busy and a little chaotic; I have a hard time keeping track of everything here.  2:45-2:57, the melody is again buried, this time by the flute and what sounds like a viola; in addition, this section is pretty muddy as well.

The strings at 1:26 are pretty artificial, but otherwise I think the realism is above the bar.  Work on balancing things out so the melody can be heard and all those complex accompaniments can be appreciated, and I think this'll be golden.

NO (resubmit)

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I agree with some of the crits that MW brought up here, there are definitely sections that feel a bit too busy, and it's hard to focus on what is going on with so many things trying to vie for attention. I think some volume changes or possibly some frequency drops (hopefully a judge with more knowledge there can help) would help clarify things.

At 1:01 there is a synth (maybe flute?) that has some strong swells coming in with the melody. The attack sounds pretty exaggerated and fakey, and I'd love to hear that toned down. The strings at 1:26 are a bit fake, as MW mentioned, as well.

I felt like the ending of the track runs a little long. The wind down starts at around 3:30ish and seems to continue for almost a minute. I think this can be shortened a little, but that might also be personal opinion.

I think this mostly needs some balance adjustments, and a little bit of production tweaks, but otherwise I would like to see it front page!

NO (resubmit)

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Having talked with Rebecca in the past about tweaks to previous files, many of her project files were lost in a hard drive crash, if I have it correct. I'm assuming that improvements can't be made, but noting that the inability to make a resubmission doesn't change my POV, it's just something worth noting.

I listened before reading the other votes just to see what I thought about it first. The criticisms on balance really didn't sound like dealbreaker issues, just nice-to-have tweaks. The only thing I could have gone for was toning down some of the woodwind highs, which got piercing/shrill, but it's not enough to NO this as is.

I've also noted sample realism as an issue for some of Rebecca's past pieces, but I didn't hear anything problematic enough to note here. With the oboe for example, the way it sits in the soundscape doesn't feel like the attacks -- while noticeable -- greatly exposed the sample. Her sound palette's generally well above the bar, and there aren't any parts that dramatically strain credibility or illustrate a quality disparity.

To me, the arrangement is another great folk adaptation, with genteel instrument choices that weave together a beautiful, delicate texture. The source melody is pretty apparent here, so there was no need to timestamp things to verify dominant usage. IMO, nothing about the balance of the parts made it difficult to focus on the melody or the individual part-writing at all, so I just don't think that criticism holds any water in comparison to the strength of the arrangement. While I have my own votes where I've NOed a strong arrangement on production grounds, this isn't one of them.

I don't like invoking djp a lot, and I know he argues that the panel has a higher and more discerning cutoff than he does (somewhat by design), but I just can't imagine he'd say this version couldn't be posted as is, despite acknowledging some meaningful points of improvement. Arrangement typically carries the day at OCR, and that's the guidance of my vote here, but there's not even a question for me of the production quality being reasonable here. I don't understand why this would NEED to be sent back.

YES

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The soundscape is quite full, but I never feel lost.  This is lovely.  As usual with Rebecca's mixes, I feel transported to the magical forest, and that is always a good thing.  I'm not having any problem with realism, the samples and the sequencing are well over the bar.  The percussion could be a tiny bit louder.  I would love to have a crack at mastering this track to bring out more of the detail, currently the master is on the quiet side and there is untapped potential there for extra shine/sparkle.  I dislike fadeouts, I think the outro could have been handled better, but no big deal.  Absolutely nothing dealbreaking here, let's go, front page stuff.

YES

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The source is clearly in this track, and the orchestration is pretty awesome - I'd argue that outside of some of the strings (like those at 1:26 that Mindwanderer brings up) the humanization is solid. There is something that's tough for me to ignore, though, and that's the balance of the instruments, and that aspect is making the track sound cluttered and confusing. Now that isn't to say much against the production otherwise, as it's well produced otherwise, but there's no sense of what's supposed to be at the front or back of the mix. This happens overwhelmingly in the first half of the track, and less so in the second. MindWanderer's timestamps seem to be on point, so I'll be lazy and refer to those for when this is most problematic.

On the one hand, I agree that if this is the only version we can get it'd be better to post it than not to. However, this is certainly something that I'd send back and request the fixes to be made, if we could; the beginning issues are not minor problems, as they really do make it difficult to follow the track for 2-3 minutes. Tentatively, I'm going to give it the vote that I'd normally give it, but I think we should ask Rebecca if she has the original file on hand if this doesn't pass, even keeping what LT said on the subject. I could flip if she really can't fix this, but I'd like to check with her on that point first.

NO

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Gonna keep it short.  I do hear the balance & foreground vs background points made above.  I think the woodwinds could be eq'd down a bit in the 2khz range and you'd have quite a bit more clarity with multiple parts playing together.

There are some notes and phrases that stick out too loudly on some of the leads, but those are relatively few and far between.

That said, the arrangement sounds on point.  Lots of creativity and interesting partwriting on display here.

Production could be tightened up, but I think this one gets by on the strengths it has on display.

YES

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On 3/9/2017 at 0:41 PM, Chimpazilla said:

The soundscape is quite full, but I never feel lost.  This is lovely.  As usual with Rebecca's mixes, I feel transported to the magical forest, and that is always a good thing.  I'm not having any problem with realism, the samples and the sequencing are well over the bar.  The percussion could be a tiny bit louder.  I would love to have a crack at mastering this track to bring out more of the detail, currently the master is on the quiet side and there is untapped potential there for extra shine/sparkle.  I dislike fadeouts, I think the outro could have been handled better, but no big deal.  Absolutely nothing dealbreaking here, let's go, front page stuff.

I started to write a vote but then realized I was just repeating Kris' comments for the most part, even to the "I dislike outros" bit.  Needless to say, I agree with all of the above.  I have to also touch on the comments about the track lacking direction on what should be at the front, because I disagree with that, I think the lead melodies are clearly defined, but the way this is arranged makes it so the harmonies share some of the melody lines.  I don't feel like the instruments are fighting for space, but more like they are trying to work together very closely, weaving in and out to convey the ideas and emotions to the listener.

Nitpicks aside I think this is solid enough to belong in the front page.

YES

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Another whimsical mix from 'ETripp. Instruments sound decent to my ears, they work together well to push the arrangement forward. The mix is busy in places but certainly not crowded. Production is solid, I personally felt the parts have a decent volume, nothing is overpowering or attention seeking. The arrangement does mostly stay in the same gear from beginning to end, which is probably my main crit with this - it would've been nice to hear some changes here and there. Overall though, I don't have any major concerns.

YES

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