Gario

OCR03701 - *YES* Legend of Zelda "The First Look at Gold"

10 posts in this topic

Ah, well this is a different approach - full-on Renaissance. The small chamber group for orchestration with winds and strings helps bring this to life, and that percussion is absolutely on point as far as Renaissance music goes.

Because of the bare nature of this track, though, a few common issues are coming through, and it's hurting this track quite a bit. The strings need some better humanization when it comes to their articulations - every attack seems to swell. Additionally, the vibrato is pretty stale, "vibrating" at the same rate for the entirety of the note. It sounds mechanical and strange, and it's quite poignant due to how exposed everything is.

The mixing in this, while not bad, does seem unfocused for some of the arrangement. Sections like 1:15 for those uninitiated with the source material could lose track of whether the strings carry the melody or the winds due to how close they are in register and mixing levels. It's a very recognizeable theme so it's not unbearable, but it's something to keep in mind.

It's a really fun track, and once again it's wonderfully orchestrated. However, this time around due to the particularly light orchestrating the humanization issues pop through quite a bit, dragging this down below the bar for me. Take a look at your string articulations, and tweak the vibrato so it isn't as mechanical. A quick pass on the mixing to make your themes pop out more would also be great, though it's not as large an issue as the humanization is.

NO

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Greg has some really good crits here. The issue that stuck out for me right away is that a lot of the instruments are sharing the same ranges, and as a result it can feel really crowded at times. Something that will help the balance is being really meticulous on the dynamic levels to let certain parts come through a little stronger and take the lead. I wasn't as bothered with the string articulations, but combined with the cluttered feeling of the track I think this is just below the bar. I can see this going either way, I'm curious what the others think here. Good luck, the arrangement is lovely!

NO (resubmit, please)

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I agree with Gario's criticism, and humanization is important, but the major issue for me was what Deia pointed out, overcrowding.  I didn't feel the instruments were harmonizing or playing off each other.  Rather felt like they were fighting each other for the listener's attention.  Of the humanization issues, the mechanical vibrato was the bigger offender for me, it popped out as very fake and distracting.  I think dynamics could be improved as well, as the instruments lacked the subtlety I've come to expect from Rebecca's songs.

I think it's a good adaptation with plenty of variations over the original, but I think this needs a second pass to get it over the bar for me.

NO (resubmit)

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The first 10 seconds of the opening definitely wasn't promising, as the plucked string "performance" sounded clunky, but the rest of the track was fine.

Samey vibrato and string humanization issues were definitely noteworthy to call out, and those criticized aspects should be improved, but it wasn't below the bar for me. I didn't have the issue the others were having about parts fighting to be heard in the same space, and the interplay between the parts from 1:50-3:08 was fine to me; there wasn't any point where I felt the song got directionless or that I didn't immediately or quickly latch onto what the dominant instrumental line was.

I would have liked to have heard more melodic interpretation, but the genre adaptation and additive part-writing were enough to carry the overall interpretation factor. It's solid to me, and while I wouldn't mind some touch-ups after the fact, the track's executed well enough to me.

YES

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The balance was, to me, more interesting than it was concerning.  I didn't feel like there was anything I couldn't hear.  Sometimes the sections that play the role of accompaniment in the source were louder than the melody, but I don't see that as bad, necessarily, just different, as long as the loudest instruments are dynamic and engaging, which they are here.

Humanization was a bit of a concern, but I didn't feel like it was under the bar.  A few sections stuck out--2:13-2:49 has some really mechanical vibrato in the flutes and the high violins--but not so much that it bothered me.

The orchestration and mood are right where they should be, and there was plenty of interpretive elements despite sticking close to the source's melody in most cases.  There's definitely a lot of room for improvement in those articulations, and I can see how many listeners would prefer a more traditional melody/accompaniment balance, but I think this is good enough to post as it stands.

YES (borderline)

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I think the balance is fine, considering the entire arrangement is played with higher-register instruments, my ears aren't expecting bass.  The articulations could be more natural but there's nothing here that's standing out terribly for me, nothing that puts this below the bar.  (I don't anticipate any listeners saying "that vibrato tho!")  The arrangement is beautifully detailed and I love the interplay between all the elements.  I love it!

YES

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I think the arrangement is beautiful but I have to agree with Gario. The smaller ensemble really exposes the samples and I'm feeling a lot of humanization issues particularly in the intro and outro. I think that this piece would really benefit from recorded performances as opposed to a sequenced approach. That is, I understand, a pretty drastic recommendation to make, but nowadays I feel like it's a bit easier to find collaborators online. Barring that, some better samples and more humanized sequencing would help.

NO, resub

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During the opening sequence there was a noticeable lack of humanisation on this one. This was masked somewhat by the other layers that come in over time, but for a track like this, it detracted from the realism. I didn't have an issue with the layers that some of the others had here, and while clarity could indeed be improved there wasn't any deal breaking moments mix wise that dragged the track down for me. The progression of the arrangement in my opinion was strong - sections did not go long without changing into something new, which made the track feel short and left the listener wanting more (in a good way). I think the lack of humanisation was the biggest issue here, but it wasn't as noticeable as the track went on.

YES

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Nice instrument choices here.  Off the bat, I'll say the spacing between the instruments (panning, wetness, etc) sounds like they're not necessarily playing together in the same space.  Once more elements came in, though, this didn't sound like as much of an issue.

Solo woodwind around :13 is a bit dull on the tone and is stretching the realism on the octave jump. Solo cello sounds pretty fakey as well being exposed and with how the vibrato is handled on the sample, it's a very short part though.  

Lots of mid range presence here in the mix, making it sound cluttered when the woodwinds are more prominent.  I'd cut some mids from them to balance it better.  The arrangement is somewhat busy, so that also lends to the clutter as it doesn't let up much at all for the majority of the piece with parts overlapping throughout.  I think there's more room to vary up dynamics in each of the parts so that supporting parts can get out of the way of the melodic parts and let them shine through. 

Arrangement ideas on display here were very nice and show a creative take on the classic theme.  No real complaints there.

OK, so that ALL said, when it comes to an arrangement like this, I don't it's necessary for an artist to pursue live performances necessarily given the obvious hurdles in getting various performers to do so for a free arrangement and the production "bar" doesn't preclude the use of samples as long as they're of sufficient quality and adequately produced.  I was feeling a bit torn here, so I let this one sit for a few hours since writing the above and coming back I feel despite humanization issues, this one just squeaks by for me.  

Honestly, I'd hate for the production bar to get so high that someone has to invest in super high quality samples or employ live performers for an arrangement like this to be viable.

YES (borderline)

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