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*NO* Final Fantasy 9 "Trick and/or Treat"

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ReMixer name: Reuben Spiers
Real Name: Reuben Spiers
Submission Information
Game: Final Fantasy IX
Name of Arrangement: Trick and/or Treat
Name of Original Song: Jesters of the Moon
Edited by Liontamer
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Reuben, you are a brave soul - trying to see if you can put the kazoo onto the OCR instrument map! :lol:

The arrangement is simple - one straight run-through of the theme, another run-through with different melodies, and a return to the A section at the end.  The call-and-response between the kazoo and banjo from 0:38 was great not only to add more use of the source, but to add a more natural lead to counter the kazoo's intentionally polarizing tone.  For that second source run-through, the accompaniment had copy-paste with all melodies brought over at 2:40, leaving you with 80 seconds of further development to consider.

I have more to say about the production, though.  First of all, let's address the main attraction of the soundscape - the kazoo.  Due to its nature as a harsh sounding wind instrument, using autotune to correct impurities would make it sound unnatural.  So I respect your decision to layer two of them down to mask each other's mistakes.  However, at parts where one of them plays a higher octave than the other (1:01-1:30,  2:31-3:01), the contrasting tones make it harder to correct each other's mistakes.  A simple chorus effect or overlaying more takes could help nullify that effect.

To your credit on the presentation, your performance chops across all parts are getting increasingly tighter, and I've enjoyed hearing that from you.  Though two big irks caught my attention.  First of all, the balance feels off - muddy and lacking power in the mid-range.  The choice of instruments is satisfying, but with your only mid-range parts present are the banjo and accordion, the idea I have in mind is to revise the EQ for both instruments so that they stand out more.  Meanwhile, your kick and snare drum still feel muffled - so see if you can make some cuts elsewhere to give some presence to both parts.  And then there's the second thing - a quiet mixdown that hardly ever goes above -3dB.  See if you can find a way to mitigate the volume spikes as well.

I see good intentions with getting something insanely quirky on the front page, Reuben, and I respect that idea.  But before it can get there, I feel the kazoo melodies themselves need to be thicker, and it needs another mixdown to address problems with track volume and balance.  Fixing repetition, particularly in the second half, is desirable.  I hope you get a chance to keep working on it.

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  • Rexy changed the title to 2019/11/30 - (1N) Final Fantasy 9 "Trick and/or Treat"
  • 2 months later...

lmao wtf, reuben :lmassoff: i don't know what i expected.

this is, against all odds, enjoyable to listen to! it's not good yet but it's fun. starting with the eight-hundred pound elephant in the room, yes, your performances on the kazoos are solid! the pitchiness inherent to the instrument is honestly fine most of the time. there's a few times (0:57, 1:01, 1:09 for example) where it gets pretty bad, and needs to be better, but overall it's solid and close enough. one thing i would do however is normalize the differences in volume that occur when you've got one low and one high in opposite ears. you will probably need to do that via automation vs. trying to use a tool to do it for you automatically.

the arrangement itself is fairly simple, and i wasn't a fan of the second half being essentially the same as the first part. i'd love to hear some more noodles here, or at least some more creative interpretation of the melodic content. i also noticed that by roughly halfway through, the repetitious background was becoming more and more noticeable.

from a mastering perspective, the drums sound flat, the bass sounds very flat and lacking in treble, and the kazoos are honestly too loud overall (if you turn the master volume way down until you can barely hear it, if you don't hear a reasonable mix and just hear the lead, then it's too loud). the drums are blah enough that it's hard to even notice them in the mix. they need a a volume boost, some compression, and probably some more attention paid to EQing them so they notch into such a spare mix better. along those lines, the accordion and bass are hard to hear when the rest of the instruments are playing. some EQing can help there too.

this is a clever and fun idea, and the execution is holding it back, along with some overly repetitious backgrounds. i'd love to hear more creative backing material to compliment such a fun idea, and then some real attention paid to mastering it so it's not so all over the place from instrument to instrument in terms of volume.




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Not meant to be discouraging, but in all of your tracks with accordion, your accordion always sounds way too flat and stiff with the timing; you need to find a way to bring more energy and realism to that part.

I thought the harping on the kazoos having some brief off-notes -- which I didn't really think stood out -- was silly. It's a silly instrument and it's meant to sound goofy, which it does well. Don't even listen to those crits about the kazoo performances. You do you. :-D

That said, definitely keep the mixing and drum-writing critiques of the other Js in mind. I agreed with them overall, but I also felt that the mixing wasn't a dealbreaker, and a more developed arrangement with more dynamic contrast would easily be over the bar even in the mixing wasn't ideal, since I could reasonable make out all of the part-writing and wasn't thrown off by the balance among the various parts.

Cool concept and one that I hope you'd be willing to tweak and send back. Improved accordion and increased dynamics would be the main things to address. Really awesome, fun base here, Reuben!

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  • Liontamer changed the title to *NO* Final Fantasy 9 "Trick and/or Treat"
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