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Gario

OCR03682 - *YES* Final Fantasy 4 "The Universe"

7 posts in this topic

RebeccaETripp
Rebecca Tripp

http://www.crystalechosound.com/
ID: 48262
Game(s): Final Fantasy 4
Song Title: The Universe
Songs Remixed: Another Moon, Lunarians
Comments: orchestra with a bit of throat singing at the beginning and some opera sample later on
 
Also, I was trying to sort of tell a story about all the characters concerning the moon, as well as the cyclical nature of desire, power and transformation and enlightenment
 

 

 

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This definitely has an otherworldly feel to it, which I've got to appreciate (considering it's the Moon, called the Universe, etc.). As far as theming goes, you nail this track. The orchestration is spacious, and the pointalism sounds... well, on point.

Most of your instruments are well orchestrated and sound properly humanized, but I can't ignore the strings that are often the focus of the piece - the articulations are poor. Each note swells into the next, which sounds strange considering it often carries the otherwise sweeping melody. It's especially noticeable at 0:58, but it's an issue rather consistently. The choice of vocal sample at 2:52 is also pretty fake sounding against the rest of your samples, but it's strangely fitting considering the theme of space and all.

Overall, it's still a pretty easy choice for me - the arrangement is brilliant, the two themes go very well together, the orchestration is out of this world (yes, I did have to do that), and the track takes care to keep things interesting at every turn. Easy vote for me, but do pay attention to your string articulations in the future.

EDIT (05/31): Just a quick note on the brass at 0:22 & 2:14, whether or not one agrees with them, I saw them as intentionally sounding that way considering how wonky the source sounds. The brass sounds much better handled later in the track when that texture isn't being played, so I'm leaning on that being intentional, if perhaps a bit too much in the wonky direction. I do hear them, but I didn't think they were an issue considering the context.

YES

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I agreed that the string articulations were weak (with 4:03-4:22 being a particular offender), but I'd argue we (really) need to get some TLC on more of the articulations here. Not sure how anyone can hear, for example, the brass/wind/string combinations from :22-:54, the brass alone from 2:14-2:48 (and later on), or winds alone from 3:29-3:42, and not want to send this back for polishing. The arrangement's solid, but the treatment of these samples needs refinement. It's not that I dislike this piece, but I'm a pretty solid NO. Let's get this touched up, THEN posted up.

NO (resubmit)

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Those strings are definitely a detractor, and the brass LT commented on is pretty grating as well.  I don't think the brass is especially inhuman, like most articulation issues are, but it does sound like it's being played badly; many of the velocity changes seem to be random or accidental rather than intentionally emotive.  The female vocal sample didn't bother me, it's very Star Trek: TOS, but the male ones did.  So did some of the flutes (4:43-4:53).

That said, the arrangement is delightful, great use of the two sources with some original writing that fits in perfectly.  Lots of arrangements of these sources get old fast, but this is engaging throughout.  The orchestration is brilliantly conceived and executed.

I wouldn't mind at all if this got sent back for some improvement in the performances of those instruments--Rebecca's definitely done better before--but I don't think it's quite enough to keep this from being posted.

YES (borderline)

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Definitely quite a few things to sort through here.  The initial brass performances seem intentionally bad, but at 2:14.. I'm not so sure.  The intonations are still pitchy and I think the intention was to convey a bit of dissonance and confusion there which is perfectly ok, but at the same time the (apparently) normal brass playing in the background is swelling with the same envelope on every note and is very problematic.  Is that intentional? not sure.   I will assume the wild variations in velocity are also intentional here, but I'm not so sure about the articulations.

The strings are another area of contention as they also suffer from some articulation issues that have been pointed out above, making them sound very amateur-ish specially around the  minute mark.  Some vocal notes on the soloist sound very fake as well.

The arrangement on the other hand is very well handled, and dynamics are very detailed which I enjoyed.  The track is constantly evolving, and ends in quite a softer, blissful tone compared to the fierce, madness-peppered start.  Both sources are represented well and weaved together expertly.

I'm in quite a bind here, some of the issues are pretty obvious and up-front, and not knowing what was intentional and what was not is not easy to tell.  I am leaning towards the fact that Rebecca has shown proficiency and know-how regarding this genre/style in the past and so the choices made are stylistically on purpose,  but others are very obviously not so.  I have to also consider the well-crafted arrangement, which is by itself over the bar.

I think I'm leaning towards a borderline pass here.  I will however make a note to revisit this later, not setting this one in stone yet.

YES (borderline)

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Hmm, this is indeed a tough one. I agree that the arrangement itself is fine, and the transition between the sources is nice. I'll also agree that the brass at 2:14 is pretty wonky, and while I do think it's intentional, I don't think it's a great choice for the track. That combined with the other articulations (I thought the brass at the beginning was fine, btw, and made to fit the quirky source articulations) of the strings and solo female vocals brings this pretty close. In the end I think that this does make it above the bar, though it might be worth reaching out to Rebecca and seeing if she'd be willing to alter the 2:14 section before we get to posting.

YES (borderline)

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This is a great arrangement, it is quite a moody piece.  The brass does sound fake and dry in the intro and also at 2:14, and the constant string swells take away from the legato feel.  I think this is still in pass territory but I can see why Larry wants it polished.  I'm going to pass it, but I am hoping Rebecca reads our notes and starts incorporating these crits into her submissions.

YES (borderline)

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