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OCR04622 - *YES* Xenogears "Back to the Sea, Black to the Fire" *RESUB*


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Original Decision

Link to the remix wav is below. Thanks for taking my one million recent subs!

Contact Information
Username: H36T
Website: https://www.youtube.com/@H36TRemasters

Submission Information
Arrangement Games: Xenogears
Name of Arrangement: Back to the Sea, Black to the Fire
Song Being Arranged: Bonds of Sea & Fire

Another year, another resub! I've been pretty good so far at taking a second look at things and trying to correct errors and be more creative. Let's see if I can accomplish the same here. Funny story, in my original submission, I misspelled my own track. However, I actually liked the typo better! Something about blackening over the fire sounds cool. Anyway, though I thought I lost this  track, it was sitting out in the open named something completely different. Unfortunately, that meant another track was lost LOL. Seeing as I  don't know what track that was....I'm not  too sad about it. As far as the update is concerned, I reworked the ending  to be more related  to the song at hand and added a bit more flavor in the middle. There are some technical mishaps here and there I'm sure  but I'm not sweating them. Here is hoping you like this updated version! Until next time.

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First 95 seconds is still too conservative of a treatment, IMO, even with the vocal accents, so we'll see where the rest goes. 1:36-3:11 remains tastefully and creatively arranged, so now it's up the ending section. More ties to the source in the last 40 seconds as well. A little dissonant, but alright. I wasn't looking for much here to tip it over the line. Since everything after 1:36 was more interpretive, I'm on board.


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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2023/10/06 - (1Y) Xenogears "Back to the Sea, Black to the Fire" *RESUB*
  • Liontamer pinned this topic

there is some really great scoring and beautiful soundscapes in this. the attention on the whistle leads is great (although it then calls out how bog-standard the flute is in comparison), and the variety of percussion used and especially the transition at 1:38 sound awesome and really felt like the piece was about to break out. but the track is essentially twice through the original with nearly no changes (most of the orchestration is even in line with what's in the original, and is primarily a sound upgrade), and then a sound demo tacked on the end for another minute. there's nowhere near enough transformative arrangement to say that this can pass.

from my original vote.

the opening is still a very conservative - almost exact - version of the original. the flute's got a lot of reverb on it, and still is pretty boring in approach - in fact it's hard to tell the difference from the original. the scoring around 0:54 is truly beautiful - however, it's still pretty much the original's scoring and is more a sound upgrade. the flute's sustains don't ever break (give the poor player a break!) and the longer sustains highlight how unrealistic the flute's vibrato is, so that's not a great sound.

1:36 brings in a shift, complete with shakuhachi and a more old-world/ethnic approach to the voices. english horn is still pretty but boring, and not particularly realistic in the realization, and still buried. the strings used here have a very long lead time and so they constantly feel like they're swelling into the chord rather than being there, again not very realistic. the elements around 2:10-2:21 are theatrical and exciting to listen. 2:31 is the B theme in this second orchestral group, and overall this section is also not particularly transformative once you get past the solo instrument on top.

3:11 is still the vocal ensemble, but this time what it's singing is much more related to the original, and there's some fun orchestral elements brought in. i really liked this exploratory section. the fade in the whistle is obviously post since the timbre doesn't change as it gets quieter, which was distracting.

i still think there isn't enough arrangement here overall despite that last section. the best elements to this track are still mitsuda, and just putting a whistle over the top of the second section doesn't somehow change that it's still strings, percussion and a wind lead doing the exact original notes in the same places, right down to the flips in the lead and the speed of the flam to end the not-harp's part. compare 1:04 in the original to 2:31 in this one and i'd still rather listen to the original despite the lesser sound quality. 1:50 is still the same plucks as the beginning with a wind lead - adding percussion doesn't make it arranged.

it sounds really nice pretty much across the board except for the flute vibrato and the constant swells in the sustained strings pad. i'm just finding it very difficult to point to elements of the track that are transformatively arranged from mitsuda's work. similar to my votes on your things in the past, i don't see putting a solo instrument line over the original to be an arrangement, and especially in the B section here, i feel that way here.




edit: i think i am probably making perfect the enemy of good. i believe pretty strongly that the actual instrumentation elements add a lot to the mix with how they're handled, but saying that they're a sound upgrade is probably too limiting and reductive. i thought about it after and realized that it would be difficult to articulate what truly needs to change to change my vote, which usually means i am overthinking it. gonna adjust my vote accordingly.



Edited by prophetik music
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  • prophetik music changed the title to 2023/10/06 - (1Y/1N) Xenogears "Back to the Sea, Black to the Fire" *RESUB*
  • MindWanderer changed the title to 2023/10/06 - (2Y/1N) Xenogears "Back to the Sea, Black to the Fire" *RESUB*

I was a YES before, although somewhat reserved, and I find that this resubmission clearly addresses all of my main concerns and adds some more flair to the back half to boot.

I did want to push back on the idea that the fact that it's too conservative. I do think @prophetik music correctly characterized the nature of the arrangement, but why would that not be a valid approach? H36T weaves a new set of melodies and improvisations into the melodies of the original in a complementary fashion. I think this, coupled with the dissonance introduced in the outro and at the 2 minute mark and all of the subtle flair introduced throughout the rest of the track, is enough to push this squarely into the realm of "interpretive enough for OCR." Especially since the original sections are now more closely tied to the source tune, I think it builds an even stronger case for passing. It's an unconventional approach and maybe not the most bold or ambitious, but I wouldn't identify this as simply a MIDI rip with nothing added to the equation just because the additions are largely original writing.

I do agree that the leads that cover the source material are still lacking in expressiveness compared to the whistle phrases, which is a bummer, but I feel like Brad's vote undersells the additions that are present here. I'm happy to maintain my YES from last time around, but now with 100% less (borderline!)


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  • Liontamer changed the title to OCR04622 - *YES* Xenogears "Back to the Sea, Black to the Fire" *RESUB*
  • prophetik music changed the title to 2023/10/06 - *YES - TAG* Xenogears "Back to the Sea, Black to the Fire" *RESUB*
  • Liontamer unpinned this topic
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