Newcomer Justin Medford, alias Nutritious, sends in another entry from SquareSound's Uematsu competition:
"Knowing there would be a lot of entries, I wanted to try a more unique approach with my arrangement. I arrived at the idea of an alto saxophone concerto as I play the saxophone and enjoy writing epic orchestral pieces. The main theme of FFV lends itself well to the big, sweeping style I like to try and emulate in my music. This was created with FL Studio 7, Soundforge, EWQLSO Silver Edition, and live saxophone recording. Thanks for listening."
Definitely an interesting spin on orchestral mixes, using sax so prominently and - better yet - playing it live. The downside is unfortunately that the sax doesn't always blend perfectly: getting live instruments to match with sampled instruments is hard enough, all the harder when it's a solo/ensemble orchestral setting, and harder still when it's sax (I'd imagine), so Justin had his work cut out for him. While production is nothing to sneeze at it in terms of sample quality and recording, ultimately the sometimes iffy blending means the arrangement had something to compensate for. Which, obviously, it did - Nutritious takes the concept and rolls with it, providing a unique arrangement that works in some creative ideas in a relatively short (for the genre) 3'22". Shariq writes:
"Sax feels out of place initially. Not sure about it, but it's not really detracting from the piece. Great part-writing; I'm glad you didn't ignore brass like a lot of people (i.e. me) tend to do when sequencing an orchestral arrangement. Nice development, I love the triplet feel at 1:28 and then the switch around 2:00 back to an eighth note feel. It's fairly seamless, which is always a plus."
Since Larry moonlighted (moonlit?) as a judge on this competition, we'll include his gratuitous remarks as well:
"At the end of the day... this gets the nod. The arrangement was definitely handled nicely, and this deserved its high placing in SquareSound's Uematsu compo in a pretty packed field of entries."
There you have it - a unique debut from Mr. Medford that blends live sax and sampled orchestral backing for something a bit different, exhibiting some production issues but firing on all cylinders arrangement-wise. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more!
on 2015-12-06 15:08:21
Sax is just a bit too loud, but that's nitpicking. I like the dark intro, gives the lighter nature of the source something to contrast with. 1:57 is an interesting move; however, the climax somehow doesn't feel connected with the buildup. Seems a bit short, but solid. Props for playing.
on 2010-11-27 23:15:26
I don't know what the critics are complaining about. The sax was just fine. It was great, in fact.
on 2010-01-14 13:47:44
I find this one of those songs that is hard for me to comment on. It has such a short life due to the orchestral nature.
One thing I can say though is that it accomplishes giving an image of a hero. The sax sounds a bit weird to me though, I'm not quite sure what exactly about it bothers me. It sort of clashes with the orchestra in that it gives a more sadder or somber feel to the song, whereas the orchestra is giving the impression of something rising.
on 2009-08-18 11:45:40
Actually, I thought the sax worked great with the piece. It was kinda like the sax was the "heroes emerge"-ing from the cave - "cave" being the orchestra, of course - and made sense with the title of the piece.
Plus, the sax was just great fun.
on 2009-02-09 10:34:34
The sax sound kind'a screws with my idea of the orchestra, it bleeds all over the other tracks' ranges. Once it shuts up, the remix sounds all the more grander. The remix sounds a bit quiet, but other than that, it's all good. The arrangement is great, the theme sure brings back memories. Memories now colored by the remix.
on 2008-11-04 11:07:30
Wow, can't believe I missed this. Great stuff, man. The sax sounded fine until it came back at 1:41, and then 2:45 when it sounded a little exposed/loud. Just a minor crit, though; you make the orchestra sound great.
on 2008-11-03 23:03:03
It starts with vibrato strings, so it's gotta be epic. First off this is a very well produced mix. Your orchestra is all panned and proper so it sounds like I'm in a concert hall. Which brings me to my only real complaint - the sax. It feels like it's sitting on top of the entire sound field, kind of separate from everything else, which I'm sure is because it's live. The playing itself is GREAT, it's just slightly loud and just a touch out of place, especially for an orchestral lead. I think the idea of a sax lead is inspired; I've tried it before with some of my mixes that the world will thankfully never hear. The problem is, it tends to always come out like some "Kenny G Does Epic Movie Moments" album you'd see after 1 am on an infomercial. So I know it's hard.
The only other thing I'd pick at is that there isn't a lot of development here beyond tempo changes and inspiring swells back into a restatement of the same theme. It'd be cool to see a little more theme development and original work thrown in next time.
Other than that, great first mix!
on 2008-10-12 16:16:54
The beginning of the song, to be more specific 0:36 to 1:07, really succeeds in establishing that this, in fact, is a FF remix.
While the sax is a little too exposed and doesn't gel with the rest of the orchestra that well, I really don't mind that, since sax is awesome, and so is your playing.
on 2008-09-21 16:50:31
Sax is a little too on top, as everyone's stated. Aside from that, an impressive first mix, Nutritious. My favorite part is the darker theme that comes in somewhere near the middle. Like that transition to the rest of the mix.Congrats, and I can't wait to hear you improve (awesome to more awesome).
on 2008-09-17 15:46:05
I'm going to go against what a lot of people said and note how much i LOVED hearing the saxophone. Your playing sounds GREAT. I love hearing saxophone in an orchestral context (aka bolero, pictures at an exhibition, john adams pieces in general), so I was super psyched to hear it in this. In no way at all did this instrument choice strike me as being inappropriate. Perhaps one way to come in easier on those listeners who aren't so keen on the sound is to make sure you don't mix the sound of the sax too much with the double reed instruments and horns, because (at least according to my composer roommate), the saxophone's sound is sort of a mixture of all those sounds--layering a sax on top of horns and oboes can create too much of that one sound set. But you played very well, I was very happy to hear this remix. Bravo!
on 2008-09-17 12:22:39
I really enjoyed this mix a lot. The sax did come on a bit heavy at times, but that was still okay because it ended up sounding great anyway.
Keep up the great work man, and thanks for an awesome remix from an awesome game.
on 2008-09-17 10:54:59
Thanks for the comments, guys! I'm pretty excited to finally get my first mix posted. I've got something like 6 mixes currently waiting to be posted (yes, Avaris, mostly project mixes ), so there's a lot more to come.
As for the concerns on the saxophone, listening now I can definitely hear where that's coming from. I suppose it's an inherent risk in trying to mix a full orchestra with a live lead instrument, though I'm sure I could've executed it better. New stuff is on it's way
on 2008-09-17 08:57:25
Wat a non-project piece from Nutritious!?
Per usual the orchestra and sound quality are great. Very film score-esque in a good way. The saxaphone was a nice creative choice and def added something unique to the piece. Well done chap!
on 2008-09-17 08:33:38
this is a very deserving piece for a first mix on ocr.
I am most impressed with how you captured a realistic and moving performance of your arrangement with a synthetic orchestra and your live playing.
I really like the sax as the lead voice for this and I don't think how it sits in the orchestra is that jarring at all. Some of the contrast between the sax and the brass that comes is maybe a little a weird, one after the other, because of the disparities of live and synthetic instruments, but it is what is it is and you can't hide that.
I can also hear how your were trying to get the sax to sit in with the orchestra in the mixing and its done rather well but is still maybe a bit too direct. Maybe if you mic'd the sax from a bit further away - but then you deal with the sound of the room - so its never easy. but anyways i digress...
on 2008-09-16 22:57:39
Congrats on your first mix dude, I know it's all improvement from here.
I think that the sax needs a bit of massaging to fit, and i'm not sure about it's the best choice with how strong that orchestra goes, but you gotta work with what you got.
Great sequencing, pretty good playing, nice source selection.
Keep rocking, dude.
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Final Fantasy V (Square, 1992, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
- "Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY V"
- Origin > Competition
- 4,114,407 bytes
- Size: 4,114,407 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: d8c40dc26c400456c46079921b273a6c
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