Sir_NutS

OCR04109 - *YES* Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix & KH 2 "Weight of the Other Promise (Overdrive Battle Mix)"

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General Information
ReMixer Name: Key Jay
Real Name: Jamaal Ephriam
Email Address: 
Your website: http://keyjayonline.com
Your userid: 11547


Submission Information
Name of game(s) arranged: Kingdom Hearts II
Name of arrangement: Weight of the Other Promise [Overdrive Battle Mix]
Name of individual song(s) arranged: The Other Promise


The track takes a more up tempo approach to Roxas's theme blending elements of both his calm and battle theme together while also introducing original brass and wind section arrangements where traditionally, the song was mostly comprised of strings and piano. Rhythm also has more of a D&B feel to it as well. Structure wise, theme C doesn't play till much later in the song (2:22 and then again at 3:45) rather than directly after the iconic theme B (0:32 aka F,A,E ...etc.). I only vaguely touch on theme A in the beginning. Interestingly enough, the arrangement also takes some inspiration from PSO2 and FF13.

ENJOY!

 

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Wow, listening to this in a vacuum, I felt the orchestration sounded fantastic!  The instruments sound clear, the brass is well articulated, and there's some excellent care to dynamics and stereo placement for the other parts.  The crazy chord writing and moments where it changed to 6/8 time signature breakdowns gave me those Phantasy Star Online vibes brought up in the comments, and combined with the more melodic parts of the original sections, it felt like a fun ride from start to finish.

But there is a problem with this, unfortunately, and that is source use.  Here's what I picked out:

0:06-0:15, 0:18-0:24 - transformed version of the arpeggiated piano (section A of Other Promise)
0:32-0:59 - melody as heard in Roxas's theme
1:40-2:07 - melody as heard in Roxas's theme
3:20-3:55 - melody as heard in Roxas's theme, then goes straight into the C section of Other Promise.
4:14-4:25 - Intro of both sources

After crunching numbers, I sensed only 40% of the track with source present.  I'm afraid in its current state I can't accept it based on that alone.

I do have some ideas on how to remedy it.  You can go over the original sections and figure out ways to add elements from the theme(s) in the background.  You can cut the original parts short, allowing for more emphasis on the source.  Or you could look at adding different Kingdom Hearts BGM as references into the original writing in a similar way to my first suggestion.  You don't need to take all of these ideas all at once, but I'll be very grateful if you do decide to revise it.

Honestly, production-wise, I admire the lengths taken to create something mesmerizing and powerful.  I hope you'll be able to revise it with more source content - it's one I'd love to see on the front page if you make those changes.

[EDIT: 2020/07/24 - After seeing Larry's timestamps, I compared them with my own.  First of all, wow - I am a complete tosspot for not catching the theme C section at 2:21.  Secondly, the main reason why I didn't count notes trailing off during the Roxas melody sections is that the notes in the original were 1/4 notes and were treated as such in the arrangement.  Thirdly, I couldn't hear the first soundalike section, but caught on to the third.  It's brought my stopwatching to over the 45% mark, which is already clutch territory as it is.  Thankfully, the production values and overall framework have supported the ideas, and I now feel barely confident in seeing it on the page.  Jamaal, this will definitely be a noteworthy debut - but I hope for future submissions, you should watch out for how the source spread goes.]

YES (borderline)

Edited by Rexy

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arrangement wise, i loved what you had! i heard the FFXIII use of borrowed chords right away. there's a ton of power to this arrangement and it isn't just max-velocity orchestra soundfont on every note, which is appreciated. it just didn't have enough OST. there's some super-interesting new stuff that i enjoyed, and there's several sections that sounded like they were from the original but i couldn't place (like at 2:00 and a bit later at 3:07) which implies they're just borrowing concepts but not actual melodic content from the original.

ultimately, the solid production and energetic arrangement make for a great whole, but it's not enough original to pass muster here. add some source (even a different source!) and it's an insta-yes for me.

 

 

NO

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Very good production here, with tons of details in the performances, and some very interesting tempo switches.  Now, the other Js are on the side of too little source usage here, but I'm going to disagree.  At first glance, Rexy's count looks damning, but there's a lot of silence and tension release in those sections that aren't counted as "source" that shouldn't be counted, in my opinion.  One example is right off the start when the intro hits, the tally doesn't count the first 6 seconds but that's not really fair since this is just a setup and the song really only starts in full after the initial percussion hits.  I found that there are other cases where not counting some sections as source is kinda pointless so for me, this is good on source usage.  The only section where the track clearly veers off the original is around the second minute, but this was a welcome change in my opinion, and also it's not long enough or feels disconnected enough from the source,  and it also expanded the track in quite interesting ways as well.

I am for seeing this on the front page, it think it evokes the originals throughout even in sections that are mostly new.

YES

 

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I'm with Sir_NutS on this one.  Sure, timestamping comes a little short, but where it's not using the source material directly, it's either non-melodic padding and pacing, or riffing on the source's textures and style.  This could appear in an actual Kingdom Hearts game and would be instantly recognizable remix of Roxas's themes, no question.  I think that counting the seconds in this case obscures what we're trying to do here.

I do think it has some production issues--it's very busy, overcompressed, and even clipping a bit (I see it peaking at a bit over +0.2dB), and actually I was waffling on passing this one for that reason.  If this does get sent back, I strongly recommend giving it a bit more breathing room when you resubmit.  But I'm coming down on calling it passable.

YES

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First off there is some great part writing and fantastic energy here.

I generally never fully timestamp a piece but rather go by the overall feel and whether there are enough call backs to the source. That being said I do think this one is on the edge due to some wide sections that stay a little too far away from the source. Rexy has some good ideas on ways to put more source in, so I hope you take them to heart and send this back to us!

NO (resubmit)

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Strong start. Fairly tightly compressed, but there isn’t a pump that I could make out. Good orchestral soundscape mixed with some piano and off-genre percussion, which created a nice blend. There is a lot of original material in here, and a lot of changes between sections. It does bring us back to the main theme periodically to remind us that it’s based on the original, and that’s kind of the vibe I felt from this… it feels like the original, but a lot of parts aren’t from the original. It’s a tough one here because while it sounds good, I felt overt source usage was lacking, which could quite easily be restored with some note tweaks. I think a revisit this would be the best course for this to more firmly connect this to the original.

NO

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Source usage seems to be the main point of contention with this vote, and I'm on the side of NutS here. While I don't disagree with Rexy's timestamp, I think it's important to view that in context of the arrangement and not just look at the percentage in a bubble. The usage of source is spread out throughout the entire track (rather than simply bookending long stretches of completely original music) and thus keeps Roxas theme at the forefront. Despite the ample original writing (which is incredibly well executed) it always comes back around. Ultimately, when taken as a whole, this feels like a remix of Roxas theme. 

It takes a lot of skill to successfully execute a concept like this on a technical level. If any element here - the realism of the orchestral sequencing, the integration of the electronic percussion, or the overall mixdown - wasn't up to par, this remix would fall flat on its face. Instead, the end result is dynamic, beautiful, and full of memorable one-off moments that demand attention (some of my personal highlights were the initial breakbeat fill at :31, and the piano riff at 2:50 that sounds reminiscent of Clash on the Bridge from FFV.)  

Best of luck here - I'm not sure which way this vote will swing, but regardless, I hope we hear a lot more from you! 

YES

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I WHAP the judges voting YES on "feel" despite believing the source material wasn't dominant in the arrangement. DO THE WORK! Timestamping is your friend!

The track was 4:41 long, so I needed to make out source usage for at least 140.5 seconds for the VGM to dominate the arrangement. I pretty much echoed Rexy's timestamps, but counted a few extra seconds where audible notes trailed off. She overlooked the two "theme C" references mentioned in the sub letter, and I heard some brief soundalike pieces that I count as overt references to the sources.

:06-:15, :18-:24, :32-1:01, 1:09-1:15 (soundalike from rhythm of :43-:51 of "The Other Promise"), 1:27-1:29 (soundalike from rhythm of :40-:43 of "Roxas"), 1:40.5-2:09.75, 2:21.75-2:33 (arranges 1:27-1:40 of "The Other Promise"), 3:18.75-3:55, 4:14-4:26 = 140.75 seconds or 50.08% source usage.

Good stuff in a vacuum that tiptoes over the line for me vis-a-vis the arrangement standards due to just barely referencing the source material enough.

YES

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I don't care much for that kick drum sound.

Otherwise the arrangement is very good. I think source usage is overt enough. Orchestra is well sequenced, big energy but also good dynamics.

YES

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