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OCR04641 - *YES* Final Fantasy 8 "We Are the Winners"


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Submission information:

Name of Game(s) Remixed: Final Fantasy 8
Name of Arrangement: We are the Winners
Names of songs arranged: The Winner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o-LDWCYAg4)

Link to the remix: 
Remixer name: Jorito
Real name: Jorrith Schaap
Numoon (Jamey Roberti, ,  https://linktr.ee/numoontalk)
Jorito: arrangement, lyrics, guitar, production, mixing
Numoon: lyrics, rap (Raijin)
Sirenstar: lyrics, vocals (Fujin)
Cyril the Wolf: vocals (Seifer)
Dewey Newt: trombone
TSori: trumpet
(Based on album eval one evaluator found it difficult to relate it to the source. To help alleviate that I provide a link to an instrumental () so you can hear how much of the source track is used through the remix, particularly the staccato strings, the marimba and the (interpreted) chord progression)
Comments about the mix:
This track kinda started out as a joke, with Darkflamewolf, Natalie (Sirenstar) and me brainstorming a bit about a potential rap track. We were asking ourselves what it'd be like if the Balamb Garden disciplinary committee (consisting out of Raijin, Fujin and Seifer) would corner Squall and his party somewhere and do a bit of a taunting rap battle, in the vein of those Epic Rap Battles of History some people might remember from earlier Youtube days. Sounded like an interesting and a bit silly, crazy idea, and of course that's exactly what's needed to get me on board.
After evaluating the available tracks, we selected the Victory Fanfare as something that could potentially work as a 90s inspired hip-hop rap track. I quickly laid down some foundation by resampling the original Fanfare and chopping it up with some oldskool production techniques (a lot of fun to relearn that) and turned the pretty repetitive remainder of the source track into the backdrop for rap and other vocals.
I already managed to cast Natalie as Fujin, who, apart from uttering angry single syllables in the game, seems to have a hidden talent for some epic Fergie-style vocals. Finding somebody who could write appropriate rap lyrics and perform them was a bit more difficult, but with some help I managed to find Jamey (Numoon), who also did an epic job on performing as Raijin, with just the right amount of taunt and philosophical meandering, ya know? Lastly, Cyril completes the Disciplinary Committee as Seifer, and while his appearance is brief, it does make quite the impact ;)
Originally the track featured a resampled and chopped up version of the original game's music, but of course that's not acceptable for an OCReMix album. I recreated the entire fanfare part and managed to recruit TSori on trumpet and Dewey Newt on trombone to perform the parts and fill out the team. Managed to sneak in a quick guitar recording in I did myself as well to round out the last parts.
All in all this was a very interesting track to tackle and I'm really proud of what we've managed to create. Big thanks again to all my collaborators, this track wouldn't exist without you!
UPDATED COMMENTS (2/11/24): Updated wav for We are the Winners because it seems stuck in evaluation. Emunator gave me the feedback from the judges panel so far, and I tried to address it. Mostly did some volume rebalancing, some side chaining and removing the vinyl plugin from the master that made it lose all the highs. Hope this fares better!
As a retro gamer and rapper, I actually never played FF8. I did extensive research and let the feel guide my lyrics.
Inspired by 90s hip-hop and the Natalie Portman rap :D
Cyril the Wolf:
Jorito has asked me for voice overs before so when he needed someone to be an irritated Seifer I was more than happy to join in. I never thought of myself as a VO person but it seems to be something I can do :)
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what a crazy idea for a track.

the victory theme is immediately apparent, so that's not an issue. i like how you work in the fanfare in various ways into the backing parts. numoon sounds great, if a bit quieter than i'm used to for rap in some sections like at 1:28. similarly, sirenstar's chorus is really quiet and i can't understand a word that she's saying as a result. that's more of an issue than 1:28's volumization. an example is at 2:35 when she starts singing, the trombone in the background is notably louder than her. even her big moment at 3:00, i can hardly hear it. and then, of course, cyril is the cherry on top, i love it.

i think overall this is probably over the bar. the volumization issues are a big deal to me, but the arrangement concept is so good and the performances are really solid overall. i'ma mark this as conditional with an ask to just bump up those few sections (1:28, 3:00) up a bit in the vox department. a few db shouldn't throw the rest of the track off and should be quick.




edit 2/28: MW is right in that it's mostly pronunciation, specifically sirenstar's approximants like w. any consonant with more than one articulation point can be hard to relate in sung english. w's hard because the labiar element of the sound is unvoiced (that is, it doesn't have a tone) and so it often gets lost. that said, my issue is fixed so this is good by me.


Edited by prophetik music
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  • prophetik music changed the title to 2023/08/28 - (1C) Final Fantasy 8 "We Are the Winners" *PROJECT*
  • 4 weeks later...

This is easily the most creative, expansive take on Fanfare I've ever heard. The arrangement is a masterpiece.

Brad's right about the vocals being hard to understand, but I don't think it's because they're too quiet. The soundscape is overall pretty mid-heavy, and there's always at least one, sometimes two or even three instruments competing with the vocals. Sirenstar doesn't enunciate really well, either; I hear all her vowels and almost none of her consonants.

There's certainly room for improvement in the EQ department, but I don't think the lyrics being hard to understand is a dealbreaker; this is true of a ton of professional music. But it's something to keep in mind.  Otherwise this is great.


Update 2/12: Without doing a direct A/B comparison, my opinions stand. The rap does sound more distinct to me, but it's still hard to understand. I think it's more an an enunciation issue than production. I can make out most of it. I still can't understand anything Sirenstar is singing, but it's no worse than before.

Edited by MindWanderer
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  • Emunator changed the title to 2023/08/28 - (1Y/1C) Final Fantasy 8 "We Are the Winners"
  • Liontamer pinned this topic
  • 2 weeks later...
  • Liontamer changed the title to 2023/08/28 - (2Y/1C) Final Fantasy 8 "We Are the Winners"

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat the shit is this?! Post this immediately. I was so annoyed when I saw that someone remixed fanfare and I was like "what the hell are you going to do with this" and I've never been happier to be wrong in my whole life.

My one critique is with the mixing of the lyrics; it could come out a touch, and there's a little bit of...room?...in there. It sounds like you added in some EQ at 1khz which is endemic of rooms where you're recording speech very close to hard surfaces, but since it's mixed in nicely, it's hard for me to really touch. But the lyrics are good and the performance is spot on, I'd love to hear them come out in the mix so I could understand them a bit more. I feel the same way about those KILLER FEMALY LYRICS AT 3:00


Edited by XPRTNovice
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  • XPRTNovice changed the title to 2023/08/28 - (3Y/1C) Final Fantasy 8 "We Are the Winners"
  • 2 weeks later...

This is a really creative expansion on the Winner theme, using tons of the source beyond the 'fanfare' part that everyone knows. I definitely got the 'Epic Rap Battles of History' feel from it simply from the fact it's a nerdy rap. Nothing wrong with that! I enjoy Chris Turner's freestyles on YouTube, and I'm pretty sure he wrote a few of those rap battles.

Perhaps what lets this one down is the fact it's trying to do too much and the mix gets very busy. Whether it's a nerdy rap or not, you want the vocalist to be clear in the mix, and this isn't the case. In addition to that, the whole thing feels like there's some odd reverb on it, lending an unnecessarily muffled quality to it. I can hear some 'lofi' style crackle in there that you could probably lose during the vocals.

At 0:26 there's an instrument that sounds exactly like the main plucked one from Still D.R.E., and with the way it's played I'd bet that's your inspiration. Listening to the two tracks side by side though, you can tell the clarity difference is in stark contrast. Yes, Dre's track is professionally produced, but I don't think it's an unfair comparison when emulating the same style. Still D.R.E. is nearly 25 years old, and bedroom producers today can easily achieve a level of production quality approaching a 90s rap track. While the vocals and plucked keys might be forgiven, then you add in a string layer, marimba countermelody, and a guitar riff, which I think is one too many. I love the synth line at 0:54 (again similar to Still D.R.E.), but don't think the instrument at 0:58 that plays it again (bassoon-like synth?) is in the right frequency space. The higher line at 1:11 sounds much better. There's something in the left ear from 1:39-1:49 that I can't make out. Sounds like a synth with a lot of noise on it. Again the lofi crackle is heard in the chorus and I'm not digging its usage.

Love the female vocals though! Especially the backing hits, they put me in mind of another Dre track, Fallin Up. What can I say; it's Dre Day on West Coast Classics here in Los Santos...

I'm torn on this. On the one hand, it's so creative and fun, and I do love the treatment of the source, but on the other, it's too busy and needs another mixing pass to do the genre and the vocalists justice. If that means losing some of the backing components, then so be it. Even semi-parody nerd rap needs clean production. Would love to hear this one again after some cleaning up!

NO (resubmit)

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  • DarkSim changed the title to 2023/08/28 - (3Y/1N/1C) Final Fantasy 8 "We Are the Winners"
  • 3 weeks later...
  • Liontamer changed the title to 2023/08/28 - Final Fantasy 8 "We Are the Winners"

Ahh, I'm really glad you've given this one another pass, but unfortunately I think it's going in the wrong direction. The vocals are now really buried in the mix, and the bass and backing is overpowering them. There's also some kind of filtering on the vocals that's giving them a subtle walkie-talkie effect. I don't know if that's intentional but they're missing a lot of body, which doesn't help them be the most prominent thing in the mix (which they should be).

The guitar riff in the left ear from around 0:47 is now almost completely inaudible, and although the crackle has been removed, it's still far too busy and the vocals are suffering because of it.

Don't try and do too much - you could strip away one or two backing elements and it would sound a lot more focussed, and it would also help the vocals fit in better because they're not competing with as much.

I still really like this, but it's not there yet.

NO (resubmit)

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From Jorito:


"I’m gonna leave it as-is, this track has been plagued with mix translation issues for a long time (on my end the vocals are more prominent on different systems), and I can’t do much more with the vocals either - they were cobbled together from 3 recordings with not the best recording quality and there’s not much more I can do about that either. So yeah, either it gets posted, or it doesn’t, but I’m done with this track and moving on to the next thing. Can’t please ‘em all :)"

Alright, I guess listen to both versions, the link and the updated link, see what you like better. If needed, we can roll with the initial version if there's a consensus that the updated version isn't an improvement.

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  • Liontamer changed the title to OCR04641 - *YES* Final Fantasy 8 "We Are the Winners"
  • prophetik music locked this topic
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