Rexy

OCR04080 - *YES* Seiken Densetsu 3 "Hortus Conclusus"

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Meteo Xavier
Jeff Lawhead
 
 
Notes:
This is my collaboration with Jeremy Robson on the Seiken Densetsu 3 remix album which I think you are already familiar with, I wanted to submit it on its own for my personal vanity of having a spotlight on it and get my remixer count to go up.
 
Funny story on this track. Rozovian liked the idea of having even some of the short cues have remixes on their own and I was talking to him about the source track on this one on night 10 years ago (I think, ***damn how much of my life has been tied to this project???) and he told me he'd like to have it as a waltz. I later learned he was joking, but for some reason I actually went to go do it. For 5 days in my later-to-be-haunted-apartment-after-I-married-a-Japanese-Hawaiian-Exorcist inbetween work, I labored over trying to make an orchestral waltz with a .mid file in the hopes I'd get someone to help me do the proper orchestral production with the notes I did. I'd never done a waltz before, and I hadn't really done one since, but generating one I really liked in .mid remains one of my proudest moments in music. Primarily to study how I wanted to do this, my models were the waltz scene from the 1991 Addams Family Movie and the waltz scene before the Chardash in Mel Brooks' Dracula: Dead and Loving It (that movie is seriously underrated). In 5 days, I had my MIDI.
 
Next step was to find a collaborator and that man was Valse Aeris hero Jeremy Robson. I was pretty surprised a no-name lunatic troublemaker like me was able to work with someone of his arrangement pedigree and the collaboration went quite smoothly. I'm told he used Kontakt 4 Factory samples here, which while it loses a couple degrees in realism makes up for it by having a couple more degrees in "fun" and energy that you don't get in every library. About 80% of the track is my MIDI arrangement and 20% is Jeremy re-arranging that for the final quality, with more of his work towards the end as opposed to the beginning.
 
Thank you.

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From the eyes of a casual listener, I can understand how difficult it would be to listen and identify the source right away. But for me and in this kind of framework, I heard variations aplenty. It goes from one transformation to another, all while keeping to the brisk 3/4 nature of the genre adaptation - a great way to play around with the source while still keeping it dominant at the same time. It's a fantastic approach and a textbook demonstration on how Jeff tackles more challenging ideas head-on.

I did, however, feel mixed with the production values. The instruments are all mixed in well with no glaring overlaps, but the Kontakt Factory library samples are difficult to push for realism, as Jeff pointed out. The strings are the most significant example of this - even without the subtle envelope movements and velocity shaping, they have a sound expected to grace a fifth-generation videogame sound chip, sixth if we're lucky. One way I can think of to remedy this is to layer different string textures at once, giving more of a thicker feel and multiple characteristics getting blended into one. A similar thing can be done for other instrumentation like the brass as well.

While I did end up blowing open a hole into realism faults, the fact remains that it's still a balanced track with an equally creative arrangement. I honestly would like to hear it on the site as it is due to the strength of Jeff's ideas and its placement over the bar elsewhere. Good luck with the rest of the vote!

YES (borderline)

Edited by Rexy

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This adaptation is pretty great.  I think a lot of people will have a hard time linking it to the source but it's definitely there, it's just heavily transformed.  I liked the adaptation and arrangement a lot here, really nice work there.  The production is the big issue with this one IMO.  The kontakt factory library is pretty obviously fake sounding,  but not so as to become laughable, and it's obvious that a good amount of effort went into changing articulations and dynamics to make the most of it.  I still think it's not enough sadly, but contrasted against the beautiful adaptation, I'm not sure if it makes the bar.
Leaning towards a NO here but I'll come back to this at a later time with fresh ears.

EDIT 27/02/2020 Just to finish my vote, I listened once again and I believe this is still VERY borderline.  I won't stop this from getting posted as the other Js have already voted this in, and my only issue was the production.

Edited by Sir_NutS

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I LOVE the 3/4 adaptation of this!  That is something I would do myself.  I'm amazed the mix sounds this good given the constraints of the factory library, but I'm not hearing anything egregiously bad.  I think the track has been sequenced rather well considering the instruments used.  I'm impressed.

YES

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knowing that this is Factory makes me like it even more. the arrangement is superb. you do a great job of creating a swinging, lilting feel that constantly rolls towards the downbeat of the next measure - a critical aspect of waltzes that is surprisingly difficult to do in practice when you get into the weeds. i particularly liked the timbral changes at 2:00 - going from winds to sustains to a brass band was great.

the samples are nowhere near where we'd normally expect this kind of thing to be, but it's honestly not bad at all as a whole. yeah, we sorta expect robson to make everything sound like a real orchestra, but he did a bang-up job with what he used. the nuance in articulation and making the chromatic runs in the melody work on such a variety of instruments both are great examples of this.

i could get real nitpicky with your instrumentation in places and some of the choices of notation, but it doesn't really change my opinion on the piece. this definitely is good enough to be on the front page.

 

 

YES

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It does indeed sound like a PS1-era game, but that's not inherently a problem--it's consistent and it's applied well throughout.  It wouldn't fool anyone but it isn't unpleasant, either.  The arrangement is liberal but clearly identifiable; excellent work indeed for such a short source.  It's creative, interesting, and unique.  I have no qualms about this one.

YES

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