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OCR04262 - *YES* Golden Sun "Back to the Fields" *PROJECT*


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ReMixer Name: Pavos
Name of game arranged: Golden Sun
Name of arrangement: Back to the Fields
Name of song ReMixed: The Angarian Journey
* Part of the Golden Sun Album *
Hi everyone!
It's been a while (a year I believe) since I submitted anything, since 2019 has been quite a challenging year for me. It started out pretty good, but since May I've been dealing with serious medical issues (including a high sensitivity to light which prevents me from working on music), health issues of my dad, being unjustly fired from a job which I got back with a lawyer (but that was pretty stressful), medication that was out of stock and quite some more. Let's just say it's been eventful, but somehow it seems that happens to a lot of musicians. It's not all back to normal yet, but at least things are a lot better and I've gotten somewhat of a grip on most of the issues. 
This track, as part of the Golden Sun album, was made in that... tumultuous time. I'd all but given up on finishing this on time for the album and I want give a huge thanks to the project director TSori for being so understanding. The "don't worry about it, health comes first; if you finish it that's great but if you don't that's understandable"-mentality really helped me in trying to work on it whenever possible, but not feeling guilty when I couldn't. The same goes for my BadAss co-director David L. Puga, but that's a different song and a different album ;) . It kept working on it fun for me. Contrary to TSori's and my own expectations I was able to finish it on time for the album. MindWanderer had some comments about production (a lack of mid-range), but that was something I wasn't able to change during that time (a huge thanks to the mastering engineer for making some final adjustments in the end).
That was months ago and I've finally found the time and state of being (after finishing directing and making a track for the new BadAss album) to put in that extra time in the production department and can finally call it done and (in my opinion) up to OCR standards. Sorry for the long intro, but I believe making music always comes from emotion and state of mind, so this will give you an extra background to this piece and why it's extra important to me.
As for the track itself, the album notes describe it well: 
TSori asked me to contribute to the Golden Sun album, and after some thought I was happy to do just that! Golden Sun has always been one of my favorite handheld games and RPG's in general, and that was in no small part due to the amazing soundtrack! I picked the first overworld theme as a source, because to me that's when the adventure truly began. A world of possibilities, wonders and adventure had just opened up to you, as a player. TSori said he liked the atmosphere in my tracks with as an example my Magus ReMix, which was influenced by Dexter's 'Blood Theme'. That made me want to make a ReMix based on something else again, because it's so much fun to do. And I've never had more sense of wonder and adventure than with the Back to the Future theme!
With the limitations of OCR concerning non-VGM-influences, I've taken what I think are the four magical notes from BttF and combined those with the first notes from the material from the Golden Sun source. I've changed some chords here and there to mimic the chord progression from the BttF theme throughout the track, and I wanted to keep the feeling magical and playful. I made some use of choirs and bells, but I never wanted this to feel too bombastic. Of course, the entry of the Golden Sun had to pack some punch, so I pumped up the energy in those few seconds. I couldn't resist at around the 2:13 mark and added some direct melody from the BttF theme, since they blended so well that I just had to do it. I hope that 6 seconds of non-VGM source is acceptable ;)
The most challenging part was the ending, because BttF has such an amazing ending with their chord progression, but it didn't really fit the source material from 'The Angarian Journey'. So I had to make quite some changes to both sources, but in the end, it really came together very well! After listening to this, I have both the original BttF theme in my head, as well as the original Golden Sun overworld theme, so I feel like I was successful in my goal! 
Now for the source breakdown:
0:00 - 0:30: I've taken the first 4 notes of the original (one time the first 8 notes) from the original and combined it with a Back to the Future-esque bell pattern
0:30 - 0:37: Sustaining the note, but I guess that doesn't really count as source 
0:37 - 0:44: The same as the first part (the bell plays the Golden Sun 8 notes here as well)
0:45 - 1:18: Original writing
1:19 - 2:13: Basically the source material from the start
2:14 - 2:21: Back to the Future :)
2:21 - 2:29: Mostly silence
2:30 - 2:38: The start of the source material with different chords
2:38 - 2:50: The Back to the Future-esque bells from the start of the mix
2:50 - 3:05: The first part of the source again, only now with some variations in the main melody
3:05 - 3:14: Also altered source, but probably altered beyond recognition (from the 0:06 mark in the YT-link). 
3:15 - 3:22: Slightly altered (and slowed down), but it's the part from 0:30 in the YT-link from the source
3:23 - 3:37: A Back to the Future-style ending, using the first 8 notes from the source material (this was a LOT of work to figure out)
3:38 - 3:43: The first 12 notes of the source material
3:44 - 3:47: Back to the Future ending notes
Even if you're not counting the 3:23 - 3:37 part as source I get a total of 126 seconds out of 227 (not counting the silence as the end of the track) of source material, which with 55% source usage should be in the clear. Counting the 3:23 - 3:37 part as source gives a 62% source usage.
Sorry for the long read, but hopefully you guys can enjoy this Back to the Future-style version of the Overworld theme from Golden Sun!
Pieter (Pavos)
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  • 4 weeks later...

Quite an interesting idea here. The intro carrying Back to the future vibes works and sets the scene for what you’re going for throughout. The arrangement contains fairly consistent pacing, and a good amount of changes. As we get closer to the outro, I felt some notes sounded out of place at 3:23, 3:33, 3:36. I can certainly appreciate what you were going for here, but I felt it didn’t flow that greatly. Would like to see the other judges’ takes on this. Production wise, the mixing is ok. The piano sounds a bit tinny. The backing instruments — and in particular the choir — are a bit low in quality, I’m unsure if this is intentional or just a limitation you’re having to work with. Overall I think this piece is not bad, certainly a creative take on the original, but the outro felt a bit weird. Let’s see what the others say.

YES (borderline)

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  • Jivemaster changed the title to 2020/05/26 - (1Y) Golden Sun "Back to the Fields"
  • 3 months later...

great background on the track, thanks for that.

this has some real fun ideas in the intro. leaning into the phrygian mode with that b2 is really interesting from an auditory standpoint and helps keep it from feeling really settled into a key right off the bat. the odd-sounding chords are actually in the key (phrygian has some really wild chord uses), and are also real cinematic and add a ton of tension to an otherwise fairly straightforward melodic snippet.

rising tension in the orchestration and keys come together into a big chorus at 1:26 that sounds great. there's some timing things in here, notably between the triplets and the background in duple meter. there aren't two sets of triplets that are the same in terms of timing which is an issue. there's a nice shift in timbres at 2:13 and then a big dropdown in energy at 2:25. there's some fun playing with the four-note motif featuring that flat 2 again, and then a big swell to a big very cinematic finish. i don't hear anything wrong about the borrowed chords at the end. you see this kind of thing where someone pins a motif and then plays with keys around it often in this kind of writing, especially for credits music. i never felt like i lost the key or that anything that was used didn't make sense.

i agree that the instruments used across the board feel pretty low-poly. the keyboard's obviously a keyboard and not a piano, and the strings, choir, and percs all are well-used but don't sound particularly realistic. i also do think that by the end the rising thematic content (C F A G) gets a little tired, but there's such variance in how it's being supported in the background that it really does help make up for it.

overall this is a great arrangement with some not-as-good samples holding it a bit back. it's definitely over the bar though and is a great representation of a classic track. great work.




Edited by prophetik music
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  • prophetik music changed the title to 2020/05/26 - (2Y) Golden Sun "Back to the Fields"
  • 5 months later...

Brad did a great job covering this from a theory/writing standpoint, so I won't try to retread that same ground. I will say that the arrangement felt properly dynamic and expressive and I had no qualms from that angle! 3:25 was a jarring transition but the section that followed was properly dramatic. I wished that the ending had a little more time to tail off, the fade felt quite abrupt.

This definitely had a "keyboard sampler" quality to the instrumentation, but I have to commend the work you did with what you had. The piano tone, while it wasn't the most realistic, was very responsive to the dynamics of your performance and felt very dramatic. The rest of the instrumentation took on a supporting role and as such, the lack of realism didn't hurt things as much.

I feel like if @Liontamer were to vote on this track, he might say something about "not making perfect the enemy of the good" and I would wholeheartedly agree with him!:P This arrangement is ambitious and grandiose, and it's clear that you put a lot of thought and effort into executing it as best as possible within the limits of your sample libraries. 


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  • Emunator changed the title to 2020/05/26 - (3Y) Golden Sun "Back to the Fields"
  • 1 month later...
  • Chimpazilla changed the title to 2020/05/26 - (4Y) Golden Sun "Back to the Fields"
  • Liontamer changed the title to OCR04262 - *YES* Golden Sun "Back to the Fields" *PROJECT*
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