ReMix:Chrono Trigger "The Dark Before the Dawn" 6:48

By Will Buck

Arranging the music of one song...

"Depths of the Night"

Primary Game: Chrono Trigger (Square , 1995, SNES), music by Nobuo Uematsu, Noriko Matsueda, Yasunori Mitsuda

Posted 2005-02-17, evaluated by the judges panel

Will Buck was last seen on the likes of OCR giving us an excellent arrangement of difficult-to-handle source material with his FF7 'Sweeter than Honey' ReMix, and many months later he's back with a sugary sweet arrangement from CT - popular games, sure, but some of the less-covered material from said titles, so it's all good. Mr. Buck also recently appeared on Xenogears Light, the latest album from OneUp Studios, which features some familiar names and is worth checking out. The judges hit this nail on the head: it's an excellent, moving arrangement, perhaps a bit melodramatic, but employing a good variety of instruments and using each intelligently. There's harp, ensemble strings, solo strings, piano (very hard right), flute, french horn, upper brass sections, glock, and oboe, to name a few of the players. However, the panel was pretty much in agreement that portions were a tad too quiet, and some of the samples, while consistently utilized well, didn't handle being exposed too gracefully. Specifically, one of the string patches used (the one that ends the piece) has a very short release, and sounds a little out of place/synthetic in context. However, we're not talking General MIDI by a longshot, and this is one of those arrangements that even if it were GM, qualities would still shine through. In some instances, I felt like it was the samples themselves, but as Gray pointed out, part of the issue is the "soundstage" as he puts it, which I'd agree with and roughly translate to positioning as achieved via panning for left/right and verb/ambience for toward/away; there's some very discrete stuff going on in the intro for example, when things begin pretty hard left, and without more DSP to spread that out across the stereo field, things may sound a little too isolated. So, dynamics, instrumentation, arrangement, and orchestration are all groovy, with mixing and production adequate enough not to get in the way. There's room for future improvement, but as it stands this is a well-developed mix that gives the original a sentimental, almost soap opera style makeover, that's fun to listen to, elaborate, and solidly constructed.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2015-12-02 00:58:56

Honestly, this is a pretty decent rendition of the classic tune, but the samples do hold it back the quality of the remix quite a bit. The arrangement is great but because of that one thing, it might deter a few people. Around 2:37 when the piano comes in, it helps to humanize the piece but when the strings appear a few moments later...I'd say they took a bit too much of center stage.

I like it though, it's enjoyable. :)

on 2009-08-04 10:20:54

I'm only a sample-quality nazi when I really feel something isn't right, and with this, I'm afraid I minded the samples. Not majorly, but they still drew me away somewhat. The mix interweaves between tolerable and just very plain and tasteless. In some spots, I feel like I'm listening to the soundset from Ocarina of Time.

But you know, in other patches of the tune things sound quite pleasant and ear-catching. The arrangement does the mix some tremendous and much-needed heavy lifting, and keeps up a standard sound of competence.

I feel like I do need to point out the really apparent lack of balance in this. The quality in later spots far exceeds the anemic, boring, bone-dry beginning. I enjoyed the work done in the later parts a lot, and so I found this a schizophrenic experience.

Overall, I'm convinced of the mixer's competence, but I think even in this track's richest sections, this is a little flatter than what we've become accustomed to at this stage of the site's life. A lot of promise and some nice ideas locked in a lackluster shell.

on 2009-03-19 11:15:45

The samples are super weak on this one, but there are some new harmonic additions, and the melody itself if a classic. It slowly develops, and the mood changes from a bit melancholy to something a bit more hopeful. The additional partwriting is great, but I can't help but wish this one was revisited with some better samples. It's still enjoyable to listen to for me, but I think a lot of people would be turned off by the high end GM sound.

Check it out and see which camp you fall into.

on 2008-07-08 22:11:09

This song is simply fantastic.

on 2007-03-01 01:44:17

Sorry for raising this thread from the dead, but I'm just curious, does anyone have a higher-bitrate version of this song? It's a pretty decent song, but the compression artifacts really aren't kind to it at all on a good sound system. Maybe what sounds like bad samples can be partly attributed to that.

on 2006-10-23 01:03:35

The samples have been thoroughly discussed, so I won't add anything about them. I found this theme to be one of the most intriguing in the game (maybe I'm a sap), so it's good to finally hear it get some attention. The arrangement is fairly good, though I felt like the slow sections were too static. It seems like Will Buck's talents are better suited to arranging for a live orchestra than for a computer.

on 2005-09-27 02:09:54

Only because of the fact that this isn´t a Schala nor Zeal, I´m gonna download it.

But it is good, it has length so that you get some time to really enjoy it, but this isn´t a never ending loop here folks, Buck always brings out something new into the light so that it never gets boring or bad done. Very nice strings and... an organ, if I presume right. There was a real beautiful flute at the end, that itself released the final part that had a little more power to make a good ending.

Buckdude, great job. :D

on 2005-02-27 19:14:57

While nothing jumps out and grabs you, it's still a stable piece. Nothing overly interesting, but background music, and I think that's what it was meant to provide.

It achieved what Will was trying to portray. While not one of my favorites, it's calm, cool, and slick.

It's one of those songs that start off "okay" for the first few listens, then gradually becomes better and better over time with each listen.

I think it's interesting that he worked on the Xenogears Light project. I just ordered my copy a few days ago. Can't wait for that.

SamuraiFoochs #Reload
on 2005-02-21 19:54:17

Ahh, brings back some memories...nice relaxing piece. Nothing OMG worthy, but definitely good at what it does.

on 2005-02-21 18:38:23

It's not common that a piece will keep repeating in my head like this one has. It is very well-crafted, kind of reminding me of an Asian horror/drama soundtrack combined with Uematsu quirks.

Many of the samples actually sound similar something that would be on the SNES. Overall, I *love* this arrangement and I wish there were more "remixes" like it here.

on 2005-02-21 03:57:33

Ok, so this mix is probably very far away from my tastes. I just did not like it that much; it was drawn out and didn't seem to change at all throughout the entire song. Peaceful, but that's all I can really say.

on 2005-02-19 23:21:40

I guess in this case its a matter of taste I found it a very well done piece granted not as good as compared to some of our elites but still a very well done piece here. It really picks up towards the end and this one just gets it right as far as i am concerned good job :)

Samurai Jin
on 2005-02-19 16:55:08

Good piece, liked the original piece, and the climax towards the end is pretty good. Just a nice smooth flowing peace. 8/10

on 2005-02-18 00:14:08

The arrangement starts out fairly bland, and almost identical to the original. At first, I was confused why this had even been accepted. But then the improvements and variations and additions started comming in, each better than the last. Very good arranging, I think. Wonderful, in fact.

However! I'm really feeling uninspired by the samples. Obviously, samples aren't the onlything that a peice has to offer, but they really do help, a lot. The biggest problem, unfortunately, is the strings... the lead instrument in most places. The horns aren't very good either. In general, the lead instrument should be the thing most focused on in terms of sound quality. The flute-like instrument around the five minute mark is pretty good, for instance. It doesn't sound real, but it adds a lot to the music as a whole.

The "quiet bits" are really the worst when it comes to sound quality, because you have to strain to hear it and as such, the imperfections are all the more noticed. Like when your professor lowers his voice to deliver an important point in class, you pay attention more. Additionally, the quiet bits had less movement, and more sustained notes... and sustained notes on a poor quality instrument just keeps getting worse. I didn't like that at all.

Where you have more movement and more arrangement, the mix is tolerable, even good. But the whole thing could have shined like polished silver if you had used better samples!

Decent work. Hope you find better samples in the future.

Corporal Eschebone
on 2005-02-17 21:24:13
Gray you thought the arrangement was great? I don't see how you can come to that conclusion. I didn't really find it particularly innovative, nor did I like the way that there was no real flow or progression within the music. Seriously, listen to it again!

You don't seem to have any appreciation for the musical style.

It's not supposed to progess at all, and if by "flow" you mean "composition", then yes, this song has plenty of flow.

I like the song, personally. The quiet atmosphere and low-quality samples make it sound a lot like a track from an old RPG, perhaps during dialogue or a cutscene.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Chrono Trigger (Square , 1995, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu,Noriko Matsueda,Yasunori Mitsuda
"Depths of the Night"

Tags (3)

Time > Duration: Long

File Information

5,806,739 bytes


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