Sign in to follow this  
DragonAvenger

*NO* Final Fantasy 4 'Devotion to the Motif'

6 posts in this topic

Remixer Name: APZX

Real Name: Austin Simons
e-mail address: 
UserID: 21436
 
Game Arragned: Final Fantasy IV (SNES)
Name of Arrangement: Devotion to the Motif
Song/s Arranged: Theme of Love
Remix: 
 
Comments:
 
So, actually this started off with the idea of listening to the original not in the context of how wonderful it was, but what could I do to it. For some reason the one thing that immediately popped into my head was Supersaws. I have no idea why nor did I question it, but it did give me the chance to explore the notion of taking this beautiful theme which for the SNES wonderfully conveys the idea behind it. So, at first I really dabbled with trying to come up with some basic lines with the Supersaw to compliment the melody. No real idea behind where it was going to go. Shortly, after playing with these Supersaw riffs, I found that they really complimented the main lead so wonderfully, and by I guess luck the main melody line worked so well in at this point basic context that I just started to run with it. Now, I ultimately decided that I'd try structuring the song in such a way that there was purpose behind it besides just moving from beginning to end, but it does that too. 
 
The core idea here was to try and put structure to the idea of finding someone and finding that it starts to work out. This is where the intro lies. There is uncertainty in the idea of the relationship. The entire selection of sounds here echo that. They're more distant, subdued, and sort of ethereal as there is nothing concrete. However, as time progress and things start to gel together the whole thing just bursts into reality. No worries of what could go wrong or the like. Enjoying everything to fullest. The entire next section is that. The transition from uncertainty to certainty to fulfillment. Nothing can go wrong. However, in the original melody line it can be heard that there is an almost darkness to it. Something lurking in the depths, something ominous. From this I tried to imbue the notion that regardless nothing lasts forever. It will come to end eventually. Though before that moment there is that last push of all will forever be well. But as many say, "What goes up, must come down." The track had to come to end in some fashion. The entire outro is meant to be of mourning and remembrance, and not caring that it ended. It references the beginning as to show that what once was is now just a memory. Simply, accepting that fact and moving on, but never forgetting. So, in a nutshell that was kind of the inherent conceptual thoughts behind the remix. 
 
With all that said the primary focus was to create something that stood on its own, draws tons of inspiration from the source, and really makes you want to listen and turn it up, yet wanting another listen.
 
Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has a pretty interesting method of expanding and varying the source that I think you're either going to love or hate: it syncopates the timing so that the main theme is about a half measure off the beat. As far as I can tell this is definitely intentional, and I'll admit that it works better than I thought it would. It's hard to dissociate how the song is SUPPOSED to go and how it's presented here, but when you do it works well for most of the track that it's utilized. It does take some getting used to, though.

The use of the theme at 0:54 - 1:08 is an exception to this, though - the harmonization clashes hard against the theme, making it sound dissonant, unresolved and ugly. A clean fix would be to remove the source in the background and let the music build into the meat of the material without it, but if the artist would rather keep the source there he'll have to more carefully alter either the source material or the harmonies so that they harmonize together better.

The production on this is solid, and the mixing is just where it should be, so kudos for the high production values on this. Some of the instruments sound rather low quality, though (primarily the slow strings used to carry the theme in the opening and closing section). They're just not suited to carrying a faster moving melody - the slow attack makes it sound like the instrument is just missing and (unintentionally) off the beat most of the time. The idea is generally fine, but it's not the right type of instrument for that kind of job. Either altering the attack envelop on the existing instrument or using a different instrument with a tighter attack would fix this issue entirely - you can still have an ethereal instrument without having such a swelling attack on the instrument.

One final criticism I have is the extreme nature of the lead pitch bending. While for the meat of the track it causes no issue, at 3:06 - 3:10 the bending clashes hard against the rest of the track when the delay carries it past where it should've been. Decreasing the size of the bends, decreasing the delay or a combination of both of these things would alleviate this issue considerably.

To be honest, this is a lot closer to passing than not, in my book. The weak string instrument that carries the theme does hold this back considerably in my book, though, as well as the highly dissonant section at 0:54. Fixing these issues as laid out above (as well as the pitch bending) would pretty much secure a vote from me upon resubmission, but right now I do have to send this back. I think the idea is great, though, and the production is really good, so here's hoping you fix this up and send it back this way.

--

EDIT (2/16): Listening again, two of my three concerns, while they're still concerns that I would appreciate a fix on really don't affect the track so badly that I'd reject it on those grounds. The pitch bending is the most significant issue, and just lowering the pitch bend range would probably give it my stamp of approval. That's a really easy fix, so I'll be changing this to a conditional vote, here.

YES (Conditional)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No kidding about that syncopation being hard to get used to.  I found myself enjoying the on-beat sections way, way more than the off-beat ones, although those also featured the pitch bending, which was distracting at best.  But yeah, because it starts off with strings as the lead, it sounds more like the attack is just ridiculously slow rather than being deliberately off-beat (although the intent is clear when the saws kick in).  It's not a good combination with the driving percussion.

Basically, I agree with Gario 100%, except that I don't think I'll every grow to appreciate that syncopation (though I won't ding you for it as a subjective, creative decision, except where there are technical reasons it doesn't work).  The strings and the pitch bending are what sinks this.  There was a lot I enjoyed, though--the solidly EDM chorus sections and the ending in particular--so I do hope to see you take another stab at it and send it back our way.

NO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The arrangement progresses steadily, changing things up not long after parts are established. The choice of opposing rhythms I feel worked for the most part, creating a more upbeat version of the original. What I feel didn’t work here as much were the points where some notes met, causing occasional clashes or odd combinations which were rarely a once off but repeated fairly routinely throughout the patterns that played.

The combination of sounds fit together ok. The strings and synths occupy a large section of the spectrum, which causes a bit of crowding to occur between each other in the mids and low end. Some tweaks to EQ and a HPF on the parts that don’t need as much bass would alleviate these problems.

The pitch bends throughout the mix I felt were overused, this in combination with some already dissonant notes, became jarring on the listener over time as a result.

At the halfway point things pick up a bit, when the main groove brings things together and fills out. This is where the mix shines the most, although we still have the various issues outlined above that continue on and bring the track down for the remaining duration.

My thoughts are that the track here has promise with some unique ideas but overused techniques that need polish and refinement, as well as a rethink required of the overall arrangement to in some way, avoid harmonic clashes.

NO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/28/2017 at 5:28 PM, Gario said:

To be honest, this is a lot closer to passing than not, in my book. The weak string instrument that carries the theme does hold this back considerably in my book, though, as well as the highly dissonant section at 0:54. Fixing these issues as laid out above (as well as the pitch bending) would pretty much secure a vote from me upon resubmission,

NO

Agreed; arguably that makes it a YES conditional; I do hope APZX revises the mix.

On 12/12/2017 at 5:22 PM, MindWanderer said:

The strings and the pitch bending are what sinks this.  There was a lot I enjoyed, though--the solidly EDM chorus sections and the ending in particular--so I do hope to see you take another stab at it and send it back our way.

More the pitch bends than the strings. The dynamic panning helps the strings, and it's a unique lead sound you don't hear much... by the same token, it kinda sits in uncanny valley for me, sounding more realistic than most classic string synths (Solina, etc.) but not as realistic as actual strings... something more committed to either a classic analog string synth or realistic strings would probably work better, and an entirely different approach to the lead might also be more effective.

On 12/15/2017 at 4:48 PM, Jivemaster said:

My thoughts are that the track here has promise with some unique ideas but overused techniques that need polish and refinement, as well as a rethink required of the overall arrangement to in some way, avoid harmonic clashes.

The pitch bends are not only overused, but weirdly implemented... they warble a bit, and the increment is subtle, and it almost sounds like someone trying to learn the theremin. The pitch bend down on final note of phrase has such a connection with Blade Runner for me, too... not 100% it survives this implementation without channeling that in a weird way.

I had no major problems with harmony/dissonance except as relevant to the pitch bending. We'll see what @Liontamer thinks.

I think is creative, fun, engaging, and would love to see it on the site, but I also agree with the apparent consensus of the panel that the pitch bending (first & foremost) and the lead string patch (secondary but non-trivial) being addressed & refined would let this shine.

NO (but please resubmit with fixes!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sound design was pretty plain, but the combinations were unorthdox and interesting, so we'll see where it goes. I completely agreed with djp on the strings being in uncanny valley territory.

I actually didn't have a problem with the pitch bends, but I can understand how they could appear unintentional rather than purposeful; they didn't bother me in any meaningful way and you get used to them over repeated listens.

The boom-tss beats at :44 were very generic along with the synth fading in around :52. Not really getting much synnergy with these parts as far as the buildup.

1:10 moved onto the main melody, then brought the plain beats back at 1:22, only couched much better in the soundscape; the writing underneath the lead was pretty plain and could have used more creativity, but did fill out the background space well. There was crowding, like Jivemaster pointed out, but I didn't feel it was bad enough to meaningfully detract from the listen.

2:09 dropped out the beats only to bring them back at 2:12. The lead was already feeling samey by this time, so the drop at 2:27 was very welcome. The strings and pads for the close were a decent change of pace for the final section, although (and it's strange to say it), but the padding felt too dry/exposed from 2:42-2:57.

To me, this arrangement felt underdeveloped and didn't evolve quite enough, BUT it was very well in the right direction. Dynamically, there's obviously a build between :44 and the beats returning at 1:22, but once you hear the beat at :44, you've basically coasted on that beat until 2:28 and it's too basic to carry this track, IMO; it needs to do something different or varied over time. That was my main issue, the beats making this track feel plain and dynamically flat.

All in all, the arrangement was creative, so I don't think it would take much to tweak some things to put this over the top. The criticisms seem like a mixed bag, and I'm sure I'm not helping in that regard, but just take stock of everything, see what seems valid for you to work on, ignore the rest, and send this one back. Good stuff so far, Austin, and I'm confident you could get this one improved further just like your great Lawnmower Man mix.

NO (resubmit)

Share this post


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