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OCR01645 - Final Fantasy VI "Cantata for Dancing: II. Fuga Kefka"


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The whole of the mix is fairly muddy. It's difficult to hear individual instruments because they're either drowning in reverb or are at the entirely wrong dynamics. In fact, the entire intro jumps from one dynamic to another much too often. The choir samples are grating to say the least. The prelude on Kefka's theme with the organ is the best part by far, including where the choir comes in (up until it becomes just the choir). The very end is also rather well done. The rest, though, just sounds very messy.

EDIT: I really could have been more constructive in how I provided my feedback - I'm sorry. The arrangement is really impressive and this is a fine piece of work.

Edited by oakthielbar
I was an asshole
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The whole of the mix is fairly muddy. It's difficult to hear individual instruments because they're either drowning in reverb or are at the entirely wrong dynamics.

Well I understand what you are saying but you have to understand that if you were to go hear something like this in an orchestral hall it would sound the same. I don't know what you mean about wrong dynamics and reverb. I hardly used any reverb on this piece.

In fact, the entire intro jumps from one dynamic to another much too often. The choir samples are grating to say the least.

The dynamic switch is part of the piece. This isn't supposed to be all beautiful and roses you know. Let's not forget who this Cantata is about. Kefka is an unpredictable madman basically. He's anything but stable and the music is trying to reflect that. I really don't understand what you are talking about when you say that mix is muddy and messy. There are a lot of notes in this piece and while the choir doesn't sound realistic to the T, I think it's pretty close. The instruments are supposed to be drowned out. The whole concept of the piece is a choir backed by orchestra. When you sing a solo with orchestra or piano would you want the instruments to drown the soloist out? So to close I understand and respect your opinion but don't forget also that all of this is an illusion and this isn't a real orchestra.

-Derek-

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I found this to be enjoyable, maybe a tad bit thicker than I prefer but that's just a personal preference. I think I like the middle bit the most, just because of the way the song is changed from the middle and has some nifty accidentals thrown in.

The whole of the mix is fairly muddy.

I'm not sure you understand what "muddy" means.

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just gave it a listen, looking foward to a higher quality bitrate mp3 so I can get some of the grainyness out of the audio.

Wow. just...wow.

I'm speechless.

Excellent job, looking foward to the next movement.

also, the bass drum at the end...although a single instrument at the very end of the piece, is a very awesome endcap. I <3 big low end

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just gave it a listen, looking foward to a higher quality bitrate mp3 so I can get some of the grainyness out of the audio.

Wow. just...wow.

I'm speechless.

Excellent job, looking foward to the next movement.

also, the bass drum at the end...although a single instrument at the very end of the piece, is a very awesome endcap. I <3 big low end

First of all thank you for your comments. I would have already posted a HQ link for the audio but for some weird reason with my encoder there is an audio glitch at the end every time I encode over 128kbs. So I'm going to re-record everything and put together a HQ version for everyone. It'll sound exactly the same but it's going to take a little time. Again thank you for your support.

-Derek-

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Well I understand what you are saying but you have to understand that if you were to go hear something like this in an orchestral hall it would sound the same.

Not at all. Listen to recordings of songs performed in orchestral halls.

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The dynamic switch is part of the piece. This isn't supposed to be all beautiful and roses you know. Let's not forget who this Cantata is about. Kefka is an unpredictable madman basically. He's anything but stable and the music is trying to reflect that. I really don't understand what you are talking about when you say that mix is muddy and messy. There are a lot of notes in this piece and while the choir doesn't sound realistic to the T, I think it's pretty close. The instruments are supposed to be drowned out. The whole concept of the piece is a choir backed by orchestra. When you sing a solo with orchestra or piano would you want the instruments to drown the soloist out? So to close I understand and respect your opinion but don't forget also that all of this is an illusion and this isn't a real orchestra.

Alright, that's all well and fine, but it doesn't sound good the way you did it. I'm not saying that you didn't make choices in the piece - and if one of them was to have chaotic dynamic switches to represent an unpredictable madman, so be it, but it still doesn't sound good. Numerous pieces have choirs backed by orchestra (listen to some of Vaughan Williams' symphonies) and you will find that they do not drown out the orchestra so much as work with it. That is actually why enjoyed the ending and the part where the choir and orchestra comes back in after the organ solo - because they work well together dynamically and the articulation is still clear. And when your choir samples sound mechanical, you should expect some comments. They may be better than average, but they're by no means perfect.

EDIT: I'm sorry for being such an ass about this. Really, I'm sorry.

Edited by oakthielbar
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Not so much a fan of unintelligible choir samples (perhaps the piece would have been better served by as an instrumental?), but I can definitely appreciate the complexity of the partwriting (gotta love that buzzword). After 4:36 = wow. Didn't really get the random key change at the end though. :?

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Numerous pieces have choirs backed by orchestra (listen to some of Vaughan Williams' symphonies) and you will find that they do not drown out the orchestra so much as work with it.

I know exactly what you mean, but what Vaughan Williams does in the Sea Symphony is not really yet possible with samples because he wrote it to have intelligible English that can actually be heard and understood. What we were going for here was more the unintelligible fugal style that just creates a wall of sound, which you really don't need to understand because the lyrics are just "Kyrie Eleison", but you make a good point about how when they come together everything is more coherent. Four separate parts at double forte is going to sound muddy no matter how you present it.

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I know exactly what you mean, but what Vaughan Williams does in the Sea Symphony is not really yet possible with samples because he wrote it to have intelligible English that can actually be heard and understood. What we were going for here was more the unintelligible fugal style that just creates a wall of sound, which you really don't need to understand because the lyrics are just "Kyrie Eleison", but you make a good point about how when they come together everything is more coherent. Four separate parts at double forte is going to sound muddy no matter how you present it.

Very true on all accounts. I still would have liked to have seen the choir come down a bit at some points, though.

I hope that I don't sound like I disliked this piece, because that's not so.

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Hope this isn't disected, because I certainly am not an expert by any measure... But I'll put in my two cents:

I have been waiting for this since I heard the first part of the series, and it does not disappoint my high hopes from the last one for the most part, but I couldn't really bring myself to say it is an equal of the first. With all the things I am about to say, don't forget that I still very much like this song, but even a fan can have a thing or two to say about things they may dislike about that which they adore.

From the start, it worked very well for me, but with each second, without directly noticing it, I felt something was gradually shifting in a negative direction, not ot say bad, but at the start, I thought the song was awesome, but was degrading into being merely great. In fact I'm listening to this song whilst typing (5th listen), and was typing descriptions every 10 seconds... This was the basic idea of it:

Voices seem a bit choppy, I can tell where the pre-created sylables/portions start and end, it still sounds quite good, but the general silence at the start makes this very evident, so the orchestra and other such sounds are understandable when thinking about how loud they are in relation to the voices, since most choral songs I've listened to try to keep the choir in the foreground, yes, keeping the orchestal noticed, but not the primary focus... Here, it is made pretty much an equal to the choir. I have to agree, though, this song does sound quite 'muddy', at points, especially in the latter half, there is simply too much going on (So many different voices saying so many different things while so many instruments do the same), so much, in fact, that it can be described as an unintelligable mess... The artist tried to add too many concepts and ideas at one time, and in the end, there was so much piled on that the original message was lost. It is nice to say 'It is a reflection of the twisted and malevolent mind of Kefka', but it didn't come out that way... Honestly, and please don't take it wrong, because the analogy is far worse than that which I describe (Seriously, it sounds horrible the way I describe it, but the analogy seems to fit the basic idea the best, but just to a much higher degree), it comes across to me as something an 'abstract artist' would say, about their piece, which is just a tin garbage can overfilled with trash, saying "This piece is a reflection of the horrid state of our society". Not to say this is an overflowing grabage pile, far from it, but it is still flawed in the same sense that while the analogy is solid, it just isn't expressed in a way that fits (But hey, I'm not at all a fan of abstract art, so take it for what you will).

Of course, I have listened to this song about 7 times over already, and it still hasn't lost its initial shine. As a whole, the song was designed very well, is an incredibly good listen, was certainly worth the wait and didn't disappoint! While what I said doesn't sound too logical given how critical I was before, it is the honest truth... I love it! (Don't think I'm just trying to cover my ass, either, if I didn't love the song, and had only negative things to say with an analogy like the one I used, I would never think to post a review... I can't say this enough, but I love this song, please don't be too offended!)

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This is an amazing effort. I'm glad somebody else than me realized how much inpsiration Uematsu got from J.S. Bach, the king of fuga, especially during FFVI.

Now I actually have some minor criticism I felt I wanted to share.

The triangle is extremely loud compared to every other instrument. This is just a bit strange to me and doesn't make sense, but as I said it's a minor thing. While I also agree it's a bit cluttered production-wise it gives the piece more of a live feel which helps the choir to seem less fake.

Also, the final chord dissolves in to something that does not feel like it's finished. Although that might be my personal opinion I could bet my right arm that many would agree. I felt that the first half of the song was very close to the original but I think it's a good thing when doing an arrangement of this size.

Now that I got that out of my system, this is one incredible track. You give OCR new life with your amazing collaborations and if anyone needs proof that the VGM arrangement scene is serious business this will make them drop their jaw.

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I really don't know what to say guys, because I can't really find the words to do your work justice. I think Nobou Uematsu would be very proud and perhaps even humbled.

That said, I'm not really sure what the critics are lamenting about. I figured after the first time I heard the Fuga (way back when Derek released it on his site) that the vocals were not meant to be overly intelligible. Frankly, I don't care because they sound phenominal regardless of whether I can make out a 'wall of sound' or a language I don't understand. It almost sounds like people are looking for fault in places it doesn't necessarily exist because it is difficult to come by at all as far as I am concerned.

Please keep up the great work guys

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Javaxcx said:
That said, I'm not really sure what the critics are lamenting about. I figured after the first time I heard the Fuga (way back when Derek released it on his site) that the vocals were not meant to be overly intelligible.

I'm not sure if you're referring to me or not, but I am not complaining about how easy it is to understand the lyrics as much as I am complaining about how human the choir sounds. It is a matter of believability. The choir samples used sound mechanical in most places (though wonderful in some others). I think it's enough so that since they are in a very featured position in this song, it is hard to fully get past it and does decrease the enjoyability of the piece as a whole. That doesn't mean that the piece is bad, though!

EDIT: Seriously, I apologize. I made this about myself over and over and just behaved poorly. This piece is excellent, and I was an ass.

Edited by oakthielbar
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I'm still not sure what your criticism means man. If by mechanical you mean they are sampled and cannot be completely elucidate the emotion (or connotation?) of a real voice then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree because I don't think the chorals need to carry that quality to be enjoyable in this piece. That said, if Derek could hire a choir and put them through the bootcamp of his 20-odd revamps I'm sure he'd do it.

Could you PM me possibly a remix that would have the kind of choir you're talking about because I'm actually curious about what you mean

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There isn't a remix here that has choirs of the quality that I'd prefer. Just because a remixer cannot afford to hire a real choir doesn't mean that it won't sound bad if he doesn't. Certainly it's not the composer's fault and I don't begrudge him - I mean, honestly, it's not like he can help it - but the fact is that the choir sounds mechanical (inhuman shifts in volume, attacks sounding a little off, etc.) and that counts against the piece. Honestly, though, with what they had they did a pretty good job. A good composer makes the best of what they have at their disposal, and they did just that. Does that mean that things are perfect? No. There's always room for improvement, and in this case I would say it's mostly issues with the choir. Maybe they'll figure out something else to do next time, or perhaps it will be the same (because who the heck has the money to spend on super freaky good choir samples?).

EDIT: Sorry still for being such an ass about this. :(

Edited by oakthielbar
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Okay, I'm really trying to figure out what artemisjaeger's deal is, but I'm coming up short. I don't get what he hated about this piece so much. Maybe, when a piece is this close to being professional work, people's standards are upjumped?

Honestly, I own FFVI: Grand Finale, and this is far and away better than anything on that album. If you guys acquired the proper licenses and released a tribute album (Including Robson's 5-part FFVII Philharmonic Suite), I would be the first in line to buy it.

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Okay, I'm really trying to figure out what artemisjaeger's deal is, but I'm coming up short. I don't get what he hated about this piece so much. Maybe, when a piece is this close to being professional work, people's standards are upjumped?

Honestly, I own FFVI: Grand Finale, and this is far and away better than anything on that album. If you guys acquired the proper licenses and released a tribute album (Including Robson's 5-part FFVII Philharmonic Suite), I would be the first in line to buy it.

I think you missed the point completely. He said, several times, what he disliked about the piece. I can agree on some of his criticism but I would probably have tried to sound nicer about it. He might be doing it in a way that makes him look like he thinks he's better than everyone, which I REALLY dislike. But I don't believe that's what he means, as he explained in his last post. At least I hope so.

now let's go back to reviewing the remix instead.

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My only complaint is that, like in the previous piece, the higher pitched effeminate choir voices remain dominant, not just throughout the piece, but at all times. Hmm lemme think of a song that demonstrates the kind of variation I'm thinking of... aha! http://www.ryzom.com/data/music/death.mp3 Not nearly so complex as your composition, but the high voices will on occasion fall out and be contrasted by a deeper, masculine voice. This feels much richer to me than fuguing.

Of course I generally don't like fugues and the wall of sound effect they come with - I like to hear periods of (relative) silence. I guess that's a preference rather than a critique.

What we need... is a male Pixietricks..!

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Ok, I'm a fan of Uematsu, who thinks that Kefka's best villain ever, and FF VI (3) has best music ever. From the 3 pieces of the final fight theme, this one (the second) is the worst, and the hardest. Even in the original, it sounded forced, due to the reasons you explained. Kefka is MAD. not only mad... he's become a MAD god. This is HIS theme. This isn't the theme of the monument of no existance, or the sane-ish kefka's one... This one ALWAYS was intended to be a cacophony, a total mixture of noise and rythm noone could make any logic of.

And you, guys.... had got it RIGHT. It's just awesome. I could feel Kefka looking at me behind those notes.. This doesn't mean I like the theme... I never liked the original, and I won't like this one either... but it's perfect. Just... not of my liking ;P

Seriously... THIS is what Kefka's theme SHOULD have been.... Are you working already on Dancing Mad?

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  • Liontamer changed the title to OCR01645 - Final Fantasy VI "Cantata for Dancing: II. Fuga Kefka"

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