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*NO* Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time "Saria's Lullaby"

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  • 2 weeks later...

I certainly wasn't expecting vocals.  I've never quite heard a vocal take like this, where the lead sometimes has lyrics and then--in the middle of a phrase--switches to an instrument.  And sometimes it's just "la la la," seemingly at random.  The impression that it gives is that you just ran out of ideas for lyrics and filled in the rest with instruments or "la la la"'s.  I don't think it works at all.  It sounds confusing at best, if not lazy.

Then let's talk about that ending.  Nearly the entire second half--about two minutes--just trails off.  There's occasional melody, and some other instruments, but it's mostly forest noises.  It's not even what I call "music" at that point.  It's not necessarily wrong, and there's identifiable source material in it, but it's an exceedingly odd decision.

There's over 7 dB of headroom, but in this case I don't think that's necessarily a dealbreaker.  It's quiet but not hard to make out.

This isn't horrible.  The ambient noise ending is annoying but I can respect it as aesthetic decision.  The vocals, though... it just feels unfinished.  It's frustrating to listen to because each line is only half-written.  I don't like to send arrangement back based on artistic decisions that I just personally don't care for, but this bugs the heck out of me.

I'm going to mull this one over and see how other judges feel.

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  • MindWanderer changed the title to 2019/08/07 - (1?) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time "Saria's Lullaby"
  • 5 weeks later...

what an interesting idea for a remix.

the vocals sound like you're worried someone's going to wake up if you give them more air. they sound really unsupported. more air wouldn't dramatically change the volume or quiet timbre you're looking for, but it would make it so it doesn't sound like you're whispering. that would also allow you to turn down your overall gain, so that it fits into the track a little more comfortably. right now they're much louder than what's around them and so it's hard to hear the background around you or the ocarina playing (the ocarina really cuts through a lot). all that said i love the duet between you and the ocarina, with you two trading off back and forth. it's a very thematic concept, allowing the game to inform the music, and i thought it was really clever. i didn't have any issues with the lyrical content (or lack thereof).

speaking of the background, it's notably minimalistic. there's some very light harp, some aleatoric bamboo chimes, some glock, and the harmonizing instruments. i found it to be really well-realized apart from a few of the violin runs, and i enjoyed the interplay between the parts. i also found the ending to be long (albeit interesting). the song essentially ends at about 3:47, and then noodles for over two minutes after that. the ambiance that you create here is really pretty interesting, and i liked to listen to it, but it didn't make much sense to be in the track for more than maybe 30 seconds at most since past that you're really losing what it was that you were listening to. i think i get what you're going for - "have you lost your way?" as it fades to nothing implying that we're lost in the forest - but it's a little tedious. maybe if you put some of this in the beginning to help frame the track more?

as a whole this one's a tough vote. i think the vocal parts aren't well-supported or particularly well-recorded, and the lower-quality recording grates against a really very accurate background. there's no compression or limiting applied that i can hear so the whole thing is super quiet except a few specific parts. however the total package is pretty nice to listen to. i wasn't a huge fan of the ending but i also didn't think it was wrong from an arrangement perspective, i just wasn't into such a long tail on the mix.

i think as a whole i have more negatives than positives about this one. if the ending hadn't been so long, or the voice and ocarina so much louder than the background, maybe this is good enough. As it is right now I think that there's more on the negative side of the scale, but it's a very creative and original take on a really, really commonly remixed track, and i love that. if you were to condense the ending a bit and clean up the volume issues i would love to vote yes on this.




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  • 1 month later...

With the extended intro & outro and occasional gaps in the source usage, I timestamped this just to be sure the OoT sources dominated the arrangement, but it was more than half a minute over what I'd need for a minimum, so fair play there.

I didn't mind the arrangement approach at all, and the interplay between the vocals and ocarina was a perfectly fine concept; no problems at all there, and I didn't feel at all like the lyrics were half-hearted or half-finished. The breathy, whispering style is an interesting approach, although the vocals should have been sharper and not as lossy-sounding.

As far as the extended intro/outro, especially everything from 3:50-on essentially being a low-key winddown, I didn't mind any of that. Quiet or not, there were source references from 3:48.5-3:57, 4:41.75-4:47, 4:53.25-5:01 & 5:05.5-5:35 during the final two minutes, so the track's still serving as an arrangement even when it's underplayed. Criticizing the final section is just needless nitpicking in terms of what's permissible here.

As a judge, as long as the source material is adequately referenced, the production is reasonable, the arrangement is interpretive, and the writing and structure are cohesive, I don't care what else you do and I welcome the unorthodox. This concept and structure of this track, whether in a vacuum or as a Zelda arrangement, are completely fine & allowable, and don't need to be meddled with.

The real dealbreaker is that I heard all sorts of issues (e.g. light pops/crackles/deformations/air blowing) with Rebecca's vocals (or David's ocarina) and have no earthly idea how they survived into this render. I mean, even in the buildup, you hear air disturbing the mic at :from :15-:17 and again from :38-:40. There are unwanted sounds all over the place. There's just not enough care and attention put into handling this at all. Unfortunately, it may mean that Rebecca's vocals would need to be re-recorded, if all of these problems can't be eliminated. Too bad though, because I would vote YES if the constant artifact issues weren't littered all over.

Great concept, Rebecca; see how many of the smaller audio issues interfering with the live recordings can be eliminated (or re-record the vocals) and holler back.

NO (refine/resubmit)

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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2019/08/07 - (1?/2N) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time "Saria's Lullaby"
  • 3 months later...

The overall texture of this arrangement is absolutely stunning, it really captures the feeling I got from the Lost Woods/Kokiri Forest story arc (especially the scene with Saria on the bridge as you're leaving Kokiri Forest for the first time) in a way that the actual source tune never felt like it did. Really beautiful, minimalistic approach that works surprisingly well! The live ocarina is so expressive and adds a really tangible component that sits nicely with the more ethereal soundscape around it. I also didn't have any issue with the lyrical content or the extended outro for that matter. 

I have to cosign with Brad's assessment of the vocals - your voice works just fine here, but the amount of gain you had to introduce to crank the vocals up to an audible level makes the vocal take sound lossy. This is much more noticeable because of the call-and-response with the ocarina, which is recorded at a much cleaner fidelity. I'm not sure how this could be addressed aside from re-recording the vocals, unfortunately.

I'm also bothered by the constant pops and clicks, that would need to be cleaned up for sure, as well as a proper pass at mastering to bring the volume levels up to normal.

That said, I genuinely believe this is one of your best concepts Rebecca and I really, really hope you're willing to take the time to revisit this and polish it up. Thematically, there's so much that works about this that I think it would be worth a second pass to fix the parts that aren't working. It would be a shame for this to not realize its full potential.

NO (resubmit!)

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  • Emunator changed the title to *NO* Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time "Saria's Lullaby"
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