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Chrono Trigger - Black Omen


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I'll say straight up that I was the judge Kanthos consulted with in PM about this. I will also admit that I did not thoroughly listen to the entire mix as I would if I were actually judging it. I was somewhat busy at the time and gave it more of a cursory listen to get the general feel. The parts that I listened to did not seem to be very connected. Having been a judge for over two years I don't usually find it hard to make source tune connections, and if they need to be written out for me that is usually a negative in my book. However if the arrangement is all there and I'm just not seeing it I can't ignore that either.

So, take that for what it's worth. I eagerly await a new version of this w/ tighter production.

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I see where you're coming from too, Zircon. I take comments from non-established remixers saying that my mix would be OCR-worthy with a grain of salt, but apart from that, I guess I was just surprised when I was told yesterday that my mix would likely be rejected largely on account of the genre (since I still believe that while the connection to the source material is strongest when the melody is playing, it never is fully absent except for the 12-bar break I have).

That said, I don't think your comments were necessarily wrong either. I've done jazz arrangements of other pieces, whether jazz or not, and have so far approached Black Omen with the same mentality. Before I'd sequenced a note, I had the whole "arrangement" worked out in my head. If this had been a typical jazz setting, I would've written a quick chord chart and lead sheet, where only the melody, chord symbols, and 12-bar break would have been written out explicitly. In a live performance setting, I'd expect, after running the tune a couple times, that a competent jazz quartet would know what to do with it. There wouldn't necessarily be a limit on solos either; while the piano solo was pretty fixed in terms of form, the flute solo could've gone on for more than one chorus. A guitar player decided to sit in? Give him a solo too, no big deal. Not to mention the fact that all instruments would vary their parts a bit each time they played it.

OCR, on the other hand, doesn't cater to jazz fans, nor should it. The average unmusical listener probably wants to hear more of the melody than I put in and might get bored with 3.5 minutes of soloing. While I wouldn't say my music is particularly abstract or liberal, I did push the jazz envelope more with the variance in the chords than any jazz currently on the site, with Neskvartetten's Ganon's Temple being the only exception I can think of. While I still think that pushing the envelope isn't a bad thing, and that the connection to the source material shouldn't come out and slap the listener in the face in every song, OCR may not be the best place to do that, at least not now.

I really can't see any additional instruments fitting in at the moment except guitar (and I don't trust my sequencing skills enough to make that sound competent or realistic, given that I can't play guitar chords at all), but I have a number of small ways in mind that will emphasize the source material a bit stronger without really changing my vision of the piece.

So other than the fact that I spent most of yesterday wondering what I'd done wrong and being freaked out about it (call it first-time remixer jitters, I guess), I'd say a lot of good came out of this. Kudos to Zircon and Larry for classy and helpful responses.

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I'd say the problem is not that there's too much original material per se, but that it's all in one place. Is it really necessary to have the piano solo for *two* whole choruses? And that's not even counting the break. Which means from 3:09 to 5:09 there's essentially two full minutes of original material back to back.

I'd suggest stating the head at least one more time at some point in there...chord progressions and a couple riffs aren't enough to let the listener know that you're referencing the original material again.

I also think you should replace the piano's second chorus with a bass solo, but that's just me. ;) Excellent work overall.

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Thanks for the feedback! While I certainly appreciate all the people telling me they like the song, it's also nice to have specific suggestions to consider.

The way I have the piece at the moment, I haven't been as happy with the flute solo and with the break. The flute solo isn't as well executed as I'd like, and the break sounded much better in my head than it did in FL Studio. I'd thought about a bass solo originally, but went with flute instead, but I'm rethinking that choice now, if only because the bass patch I have is really realistic (listen for the occasional buzz that you'd get out of a real upright bass, in particular when I do an E minor scale ascending on the third repetition of the piano riff in the break. I would, however, want the bass solo first because I don't want the bass soloing over the modulating section like the piano does. Without the bass anchoring that section, the modulations won't make nearly as much sense to the listener.

Here's what I'm thinking I'll do to restructure.

1) Cut the flute solo entirely.

2) In the second iteration of the melody at the start and the melody at the end, add a piano line harmonizing a third or sixth under the flute to make that part a bit thicker.

3) Look into adding a bit more piano comping, particularly in the left hand (can you tell I'm right-handed?) There are a few places I can think of that need it. Between 2 and 3, that should probably alleviate Larry and Zircon's sparsity comments.

4) Turn the first chorus of the piano solo into a bass solo. I could still keep the first 3-4 bars and the last two bars of the first chorus of the piano solo, which are basically just comping and are my favourite parts of that chorus.

5) Remove the double-stop section on the bass from the second piano chorus. It leaves a bit of a hole in the solo, which is fine given two choruses of piano solo but not as good with one. Besides, I can do double-stops in the bass solo.

6) Have flute play the melody quietly at the modulating section at the end of the piano solo.

7) Remove the 12-bar break. Replace it with a break quoting World Revolution over a drum solo.

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Thanks for the feedback! While I certainly appreciate all the people telling me they like the song, it's also nice to have specific suggestions to consider.

The way I have the piece at the moment, I haven't been as happy with the flute solo and with the break. The flute solo isn't as well executed as I'd like, and the break sounded much better in my head than it did in FL Studio. I'd thought about a bass solo originally, but went with flute instead, but I'm rethinking that choice now, if only because the bass patch I have is really realistic (listen for the occasional buzz that you'd get out of a real upright bass, in particular when I do an E minor scale ascending on the third repetition of the piano riff in the break. I would, however, want the bass solo first because I don't want the bass soloing over the modulating section like the piano does. Without the bass anchoring that section, the modulations won't make nearly as much sense to the listener.

Here's what I'm thinking I'll do to restructure.

1) Cut the flute solo entirely.

2) In the second iteration of the melody at the start and the melody at the end, add a piano line harmonizing a third or sixth under the flute to make that part a bit thicker.

3) Look into adding a bit more piano comping, particularly in the left hand (can you tell I'm right-handed?) There are a few places I can think of that need it. Between 2 and 3, that should probably alleviate Larry and Zircon's sparsity comments.

4) Turn the first chorus of the piano solo into a bass solo. I could still keep the first 3-4 bars and the last two bars of the first chorus of the piano solo, which are basically just comping and are my favourite parts of that chorus.

5) Remove the double-stop section on the bass from the second piano chorus. It leaves a bit of a hole in the solo, which is fine given two choruses of piano solo but not as good with one. Besides, I can do double-stops in the bass solo.

6) Have flute play the melody quietly at the modulating section at the end of the piano solo.

7) Remove the 12-bar break. Replace it with a break quoting World Revolution over a drum solo.

Have you ever tried the asain sting under the Sytrus tab?? (I think its either in the wind, or string synth section) You can get some pretty damn dramatic sounds out of it at certain octaves. Just a suggestion :P

Oh and I think that a base solo would be cool too, cuz in some ways, a really good base (like in Tyranno Lair, or some of Daniel Boronksy's work) has the ability to enchant the listenner...

Good luck :D

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