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Liontamer

*NO* Final Fantasy 7 'FF7 Rock Medley'

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Dear madam / sir,

I attached a .mp3 music track to this email as a submission to OCRemix. The details:
 
My ReMixer name:     The_Music_Channel
My real name:            Fabian van Houwelingen
my email address:     
my website:                https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeFchHie5MideLEy7PXD8Sw
my userid:                  35492
 
Name of the game arranged:                      Final Fantasy 7
Name of arrangement:                               FF7 Rock Medley
Name of individual songs arranged (list of six):
1. Birth Of A God (focus of the track)
2. J-E-N-O-V-A
3. Hurry!
4. Main Theme
5. The Prelude
6. Opening Theme
 
Original game is on 1st generation Playstation, original composer is Nobuo Uematsu
Links to the original soundtracks (list of six, same order as above):
 
I had this idea in my mind for a long time, trying to merge several different musical motifs from different FF7 tracks in to one coherent rock song, with a clear beginning and ending. Emphasis is placed on the first two original tracks (Birth of a God and J-E-N-O-V-A). I hope you like it. 
 
Thank you for your consideration,
 
Yours sincerely,
Fabian van Houwelingen
Edited by Rexy

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For a medley, the transitions were good and the song had a cohesive structure.

Though the presentation was stylized nicely, the sequenced guitar sounded very thin, and the attacks sounded extremely unrealistic. The drumwork wasn't uncreative, but that also sounded thin, so despite the good effects on everything, the overall texture felt empty behind the foreground.

This is a clear case where the arrangement was an easy pass, but the production's a solid NO. It may involved obtaining more realistic-sounding guitar samples, but you may be able to flesh out and improve the sounds you're already using. I'd love to hear the musician judges' feedback on how this could be pulled up.

Good base here, Fabian, and you've got half of the equation satisfied. Again, on the production side, you've got good effects to mostly fill out the soundscape, but the lack of realism with the tone and timing/attacks hurts the guitar, while the drums are too thin.

NO (resubmit)

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Larry's comments about the sequencing surprised me.  It didn't sound like a real guitar, but it didn't sound excessively precise either.  So I availed myself of the YouTube video, which explained my confusion: it's being played on the keyboard.  So the timing is tight but not perfect, but it also lacks the level of humanization that strumming real strings would give you.

The main thing making this sound "thin" to my ears is a lack of bass throughout.  The bass guitar is extremely quiet, as are the kicks.  The high end is also lacking slightly, not as severely as the low end, but adding a bit of "shimmer" to the cymbals especially would be a big help.

I was somewhat on the fence about this--the arrangement is great, and there's really just that one issue--but after thinking about it for a while, and also listening to some other music to recalibrate my ears, I have to agree with LT's conclusion, if not his reasoning.  Take another look at the levels and construct a fuller soundscape, bring up the bass and the kicks and a little more of the high end, and I think this will be fine.

NO (borderline, please resubmit)

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2 hours ago, MindWanderer said:

Larry's comments about the sequencing surprised me.  It didn't sound like a real guitar, but it didn't sound excessively precise either.  So I availed myself of the YouTube video, which explained my confusion: it's being played on the keyboard.  So the timing is tight but not perfect, but it also lacks the level of humanization that strumming real strings would give you.

Back in her earlier days, @Rexy played in piano stuff via keyboard, but it would sound mechanical, so she could better speak to why something played in live would still sound super-unrealistic; I'm looping her in here, and hopefully we can get her thoughts. It's a spirited presentation, but the obviously lack of humanization of the sound needs to be mitigated somehow.

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2 hours ago, Liontamer said:

Back in her earlier days, @Rexy played in piano stuff via keyboard, but it would sound mechanical, so she could better speak to why something played in live would still sound super-unrealistic; I'm looping her in here, and hopefully we can get her thoughts. It's a spirited presentation, but the obviously lack of humanization of the sound needs to be mitigated somehow.


Did somebody ring for my attention? :)

I agree with Larry in that the arrangement is solid stuff - and thank you so much for putting the source breakdown in your video performance!  It's a cohesive framework that focuses way more on "Birth of a God" and uses occasional motifs from the others.  The presentation does have that sweet jazz fusion stylization to it, with the appropriate sound palette, drum writing, and backing keys.  It's a pleasant listen.

Regarding the production values, I'm also in Larry's frame of mind in that the soundscape is thin.  Your performance is tight, so I can't fault that at all.  But if you're working with organic instruments like jazz guitars, it can take some further post-production to make them sound more realistic.  I appreciate that you showed off the Evolution Strawberry guitar VST as your primary sound in this case, so it made me analysis so much easier.

You've already demonstrated the use of keyswitches to get different articulations for your guitar sound, so you've made good progress already.  But it is still possible to take it further.

  • Look at the effect keys at the far right of the keyboard.  Pressing them at appropriate times can add a muted or sliding effect into the performance, varying on velocity or how high up the virtual frets they are.  It won't do anything about the flat attacks, but they can show off more of what Strawberry is all about.
  • Take a closer look at the Tone and Setup tabs.  Odds are you've done the former already with the number of guitar tones currently present.  But the setup tab has a lot of custom options for the pick position, the static attack/release, the number of guitars multitracked, and other variables.  See if playing around with them can add more life to the tone.
  • And while I'm on it, consider setting up envelopes.  All Kontakt sounds can have their settings mapped to one of these.  By programming one in, you can change more of the tone/timbre on the fly.


A more realistic guitar sound is one thing, but let's say for some reason your present tones are quadruple tracked and still sound flat.  If so, consider layering a warmer guitar/synth underneath to add more fullness to the leads.  If you would instead stick with the one sample, try getting more mid-range warmth from an external EQ effect or by altering the tone.

Similarly, boosting the appropriate frequencies on your drum kit can add more fullness, as can delay and compression when necessary.  But don't do too much on the overhead, as it'll make them sound less organic and I doubt they'd work well in a stylized setup like this.

Nevertheless, that's a lot of production crits from me.  Keep the arrangement as it is - it's already fantastic as it stands.  But do experiment further with Strawberry's settings and consider further processing the sound for added realism and thickness.  I believe it's possible to get posted with the sounds you have, so I do hope you get the opportunity to revisit this.

NO (resubmit)

Edited by Rexy

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