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Phantasy Star II - "Restoration" Mega Drive +/Arrangement Album


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Phantasy Star II - Restoration - An arrangement album
(Sorry if this is an inappropriate place for this thread. Move if need be.)
Introduction:
Hey OCR Folks, it's been a long time. This is the first project and music remixes i've actually worked on in 4 to 5 years. (Last complete thing I made was an audio restoration project for Grandia II https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=673761272 ) So i'm a little rusty.
The reason it's been so long is that in 2016 through a myriad of unknown circumstances I acquired Tinnitus in both my ears along with some major sinus issues and something wrong with the left side of my jaw that has caused a variety of symptoms in my left ear that i've had to learn to deal with. (The biggest issue being for whatever reason more low frequency sounds seem to travel through my left side of my head more than the right. And so listening to audio with bass it sounds more localized in my left ear and slightly off center and not entirely unidirectional.) Learning to live with this stuff took a long time to not only acclimate to, but to get over the extreme anxiety of never being able to hear really the same as I used to. One day I was fine, one day I randomly woke up and my whole world was changed.  And so I thought I had to give up audio and music forever.

I did try to start a few things here and there after 2016 but could never overcome my anxiety to finish. I uploaded a few on my soundcloud


Something you could do to be helpful as well. I've only ever played part of Phantasy Star II, never finished it and I watched my older brother play through parts of it a lot when I was younger. (I was born 2 years after release) and so while I am familiar with the music and love it. There is a lot of context to some of these I am missing. So if anyone could provide useful hints about where or how pieces of music are played (For songs I haven't already posted a WIP for) that would be very helpful for inspiration

  1. Restoration - Current WIP https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yzQDh5vofXpNKiHUEUjTcDoTZWZqv2V4/view?usp=sharing
    Basically finished and loopable. I'll come back much later to make adjustments with a clean head.
  2. Step up - Current WIP https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q9G4tk3cujM5CqJ7XHii6bZDOvhTsOkz/view?usp=sharing
    Song is almost finished, last sections don't have all parts in yet, but I wonder if the ending doesn't work?
  3. A Prologue - Current WIP https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IjI-ikQpJPlQPdKoyO8GfArAJg6dp7LT/view?usp=sharing
    This one is fairly far along. Polished sequencing/performances and a lot more developed mixing and arrangement changes. (Plus a reference to Phantasy Star 1!).  A prominent  feature of the first half of this "Nightmare" is a Heartbeat driving the song. The arrangement is a lot more fleshed out and additional sections of music have been added.
    Overall I feel like this song really wants to channel some Vanegllis and Blade Runner. Subconsciously, those are what my brain goes to with "Space!"
  4. Bracky news - Current WIP https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uGRSCYLzqHLIoFfZ46gqC33CU2APz9Qd/view?usp=sharing
    Another song that started out as a *very* short original piece of music. Like 16 seconds. The composition is extended to almost 1.5 minutes with variations of the core composition to make a longer loop. This one gave me the most trouble so far trying not to go too overboard and make something that won't be fitting to hear in game. There are more guitars because I can't help but think about Metal when I see this guy  http://u.cubeupload.com/MrBonk/ps2weaponshop2.png
    So I wouldn't be opposed to scrapping this arrangement and starting from scratch for something more "Blip Bloopy Spacey"
  5. Mystery - Current WIP https://drive.google.com/file/d/1957JaRXvnb21sCb0-YTqePaiJgMTYwWu/view?usp=sharing
    The song is blocked out and essentially done foundation wise.Basic mixing  and placeholder instruments until Arturia fixes one of their plugins.
  6. Phantasy
  7. Pressure
  8. Pleasure
  9. My Home -  Very rough first idea kind of draft. Chill and bubbly synth home theme. https://drive.google.com/file/d/135f1gaHpPAAqvjdef3gLTABQFZCUp24t/view?usp=sharing
     
  10. Rise or Fall
  11. Movement
  12. Advanced
  13. Secret Ways
  14. Over
  15. Silent Zone - https://drive.google.com/file/d/12ouKyGbqoOAVb_3hUypN2eeMvcpmntzt/view?usp=sharing
  16. Excite Town
  17. Violation
  18. Power
  19. Under
  20. Death Place
  21. Exclaim
  22. Never Dream



This will probably take a while to finish between working full time and trying to do other stuff. But i'm more motivated the more I go on,though I have to mind my ears. Some days with Tinnitus are worse than others and that can affect my sound perception. And worst come to worst if I can't finish i'll just release the few songs that are finished eventually.

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Nya??

Edited by BONKERS
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Fuggin' love me some Phantasy Star and the amount of work you're undertaking is wild, but commendable. It's sounding great so far - really enjoyed "Bracky News". I'm always happy to give feedback or constructive criticism, but I kind of want to walk away from this and come back when it's all done so I can just sit and enjoy the whole album.

One piece of advice I can offer, though, is that the original soundtrack is perfectly suitable, contextually, whether it's supposed to be conveying emotion, or just there to amble along as dungeon BGM (something "Secret Ways" does brilliantly). Just trust your ears and your feels and go for it - or better yet, finish the game :-P, though as both an adult and a Dad, I can appreciate how that might not be possible.

Either way, good luck and keep up the good work!

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@BONKERS Well, this is a surprise! Sounding promising so far. I love this OST too, but I've always found it challenging to interpret - staying close to the original might be the best option, as you've done w/ "Step-Up" (though I think changing the time signature on that source might be interesting...)

It's been almost 3 decades since I played the game, but I might be able to help w/ context. In order to do so more effectively, if you could add links to the source tunes on YouTube to your post, would aid in jogging my (and perhaps others') memory.

Also, any interest in this being an OCRI release when finished, as we recently did with @Cyril the Wolf's Mega Man X album?

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Hey DJP, great idea about a time signature change. I'll try to play around with ideas with that. I hadn't considered doing so for that song.

Bracky News for example, in the original 2nd section as far as I can tell it switches around between 3/4 and 4/4. But only once.  The pattern seemed to be 3/4(1 measure), 4/4(1 measure), 3/4 (2 measures) then back to section A. In my 3rd variation of section B I basically switched it up to a full 7/4 for 4 measures, 2 for some prog'ish wankery and 2 for a return to part closer to original B before switching back to the 3/4/3 pattern.  So time signature changes definitely don't feel entirely out of place in the soundtrack. I'ld like to build more on each song as it goes on without going too crazy. (Which I think just reflects my own preferences for remixes anyway)

Here's a link to a playlist of the OST


An OCR release would be cool, whether through submission or as an album. Just getting more ears to hear it (Especially Phantasy Star fans now that Sega is releasing PSO2 so late) would be a wonderful motivator. :)
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Getting closer to what I want. But not having done this for so many years, I forgot how easy it is to let yourself get sucked into a rut.

There is a stuck note near the beginning. I made the mistake of starting most of these in 64-Bit Reaper. Which for whatever reason, even with 64-Bit VSts constantly has issues with MIDI notes getting stuck on. I have to hit F3 to send all note off constantly. And getting it to render without sticking is a crap shoot lol.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tjo1z9mr-GAbShWLteXu8n8Aupy92MX0/view?usp=sharing

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Posted (edited)

Basically finished and loopable (Seamless in Foobar. Which is a good sign). I'll move on to another track and come back later to make any changes later. You start to get to a point when listening to something so many times that you can't really make good choices. Any have any thoughts on the modal changes I added in the 3rd section? Tried to experiment without it sounding too out of place. After the 2nd loop it moves to 7/4 and returns to the original BMaj key but shifts to a different mode, mostly around C# Dorian. The original song shifts keys as well so it didn't feel too out of place to try that.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yzQDh5vofXpNKiHUEUjTcDoTZWZqv2V4/view?usp=sharing

Edited by BONKERS
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  • 4 weeks later...

Here's the current blocked out version of Step with basic mixing (A lot of the backing in the later half isn't in yet), tried to mix in some time signature changes (But tried to make it a subtle change) to play around with as suggested by @djpretzel
Kind of going for a synth pop'y vibe overall.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C6KDzyGAx8P3hQGQrBwVUbO-iMf-Q6p8/view?usp=sharing

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  • 2 weeks later...

This massive undertaking is made all the more impressive considering what you had to go through to lay the groundwork for this project.

More Phantasy Star coverage is always a good thing and I wish you mad luck in completing this daunting beast of a tribute. Cheers! :)

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Posted (edited)

Almost getting finished with Step Up.
Getting some more polished mixing put in and the final sections of the song. (This file might be louder than the others. So turn it down at first for now) The drum programming is still very much WIP. Though the snare is near final I think. (Which comes from the Korg M1)
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ze4Ocgj_ZB37w4ils7tVKS4_z_bWbrEW

Edited by BONKERS
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Digging the slow buildup and wonderfully chill direction on your 'My Home' wip. You've created a dreamy yet uncertain atmosphere with those lush pads coupled to the (albeit a little too upfront) detuned stabs. I'd suggest boosting the overall dynamics slightly, and progressively adding more complexity to elements like the percussions, playing with layers and effects for added depth, just to make the intro slightly less meandering before you transition into the meat of the source. I imagine you're aiming for the kind of soundscapes heard in PSO and above, to truly modernize the source, and imho you're headed in the right direction. Can't wait to hear how this one develops. :)

Edited by Dj Mokram
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Thanks for the feedback! What i've done on My Home is really just a small amount of work one night after I had some ideas for it. So your thoughts will be really helpful as I dive deeper into it.
PSO is a big inspiration of course especially when it comes to spacey synth music. I do want to take ideas from that to incorporate a bit :P

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  • 1 month later...

No progress lately. I was taking a break to play a game and work on another hobby and started having some horrible health issues. I have felt like garbage the last few weeks, which sucks because I just spent a bunch of money on a new Audio Interface, a new MIDI Controller and other stuff. I hope to get more done sometime soon if my body will heal itself :/

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  • 3 weeks later...
7 hours ago, BONKERS said:

It's so inspiring to see you've still got the resolve to go forward with this project despite multiple setbacks. Hopefully you've recovered and are feeling better. 

Great sound upgrade that preserves the late 80s, early 90s rock aesthetic, complemented by a well rounded mixing/prod. Looking forward to hearing more.

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Things have gotten better recently thankfully with some small setbacks, but some parts vary day to day.  But I feel good enough to get back to as close to normal as I can get while being mindful.
Ugh man, human body sucks.

I'm trying to come up with some ways I can help streamline my process to get things done a bit quicker by writing notes and ideas down here and there. I'd like to get a lot more songs done.
Although the new Interface I bought is basically unusable due to some weird latency/buffering issues that no matter what I do, I can't solve. Trying to get a return for a different one is proving difficult though. As I didn't get a chance to install it until a week or two ago. And i've only had one response from my Sweetwater Sales Engineer, and no responses from their support line on the website either yet since last week.
Pretty frustrating for a 300$ piece of equipment that is essentially almost unusable. I'll keep my hopes up and be patient however.

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Posted (edited)

Got more blocked out. I had an issue with Arturia's plugins that would cause a massive memory leak and eventually crash my DAW, so the 2 main lead synths are entirely place holder for the time being until Arturia releases a new verison of the plugin in question sometime soon.(After contacting them. It's been reproduced and marked to be fixed).

I'm liking the structure so far although I had some apprehension about adding a power metal like variation into it (Which needs the increase in tempo). It seems like it's going to work so far but maybe i'll retool that part of the song. There are also some funky time signature changes that might sound weird in the later sections too. I might change that as well.
The solo line is very WIP as well.
I almost want to make a second Pantera like metal version with a faster tempo on it's own.
Also there are a few stuck notes here and there, because Synth1 is just a butthead.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cxvlwNRU7s7C1-P1aAgTQ_UJHxdVM07H/view?usp=sharing

Edited by BONKERS
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  • 3 weeks later...

Blocking more of Silent Zone out. Have to say this wasn't a direction I expected, but I really like it none the less.
It will be a lot more difficult to balance this one though. The mix isn't really there and there's a lot of placeholder stuff. (Like you'll notice I switched the real bass out for a synth one a few sections in. Just writing the parts. Also missing guitar rhythm lines) Plus I think i'll finally pick up a new bass. The first sections are recorded on a cheapo 200$ starter Ibanez that has a bunch of broken knobs and stuff i've had for 15+ years that sounds like shit and have never bothered to buy a better one. I'd like to ideally do all the bass with a real one for this to give that really funky late 70's/80s vibe.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/12ouKyGbqoOAVb_3hUypN2eeMvcpmntzt/view?usp=sharing

Edited by BONKERS
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