Posted 2014-03-31, evaluated by djpretzel
Well, HERE'S something different... not different in the sense that it's a Chrono Trigger arrangement, obviously, but different in that newcomer bryface made this whole jazzy/funky jam on the Korg M01 software for the DS! True story, there's even a video showing the playback, with artist commentary. Bryan writes:
"Hi, just thought i'd submit a tune! I normally don't do video game covers, but i ended up being really proud of the work i did on this serendipitous send-up of Chrono Trigger.
Yeah, i know, Chrono Trigger remixes are a dime a dozen right? You have every reason to dismiss this submission outright on that basis alone and i would totally understand why, and i have zero problems with that. Still, there are some aspects to this song that i think are noteworthy anyway:
1) This cover isn't simply a straight-up recreation - i really wanted to make this one a stylistic curve-ball. I started this cover a month ago because of a crazy idea that jumped into my head: what if Chrono Trigger was done in the style of a slummy 80's cop show or detective drama? Something with funky basslines, brass stabs and melancholy jazzy Rhodes, maybe? Although this song ended up taking on more of a smooth synthjazzpop kind of vibe as well, elements of my original concept remained, particularly in the second half of the cover where i ditch the original song's melodies and play over top of the chord progressions with some ideas of my own.
2) For this tune I used a copy of KORG M01 - a piece of music workstation software for the Nintendo DS geared towards writing compositions and arrangements piano-roll style using the DS's stylus. While the M01 is limited sonically by its selection of sound patches and simplistic note control (causing many songs created on this software to sound rather cheezy with no access to pitchbends or vibrato or any other form of modulation), i think i was able to overcome these limitations to come up with a song that managed to sound organic and intricate enough to appropriately honour Yasunori Mitsuda's nuanced masterwork. anyway, the whole song was done literally by hand - by drawing the notes and humanizing individual notes' velocity levels with the stylus. (it's grueling work but it's an unavoidable ethic ingrained in me ever since my days writing tracker tunes!)
3) a KORG M01 song has a hard memory limit whereby the program will not permit you to enter in any more notes until you've cleared some existing notes to make room. In creating this cover, i ended up using every last bit of available space given to me. Currently, if you so much as touch your stylus to the screen to jot down a single note, a dialog will pop up saying "Out Of Memory!" This memory limit actually determined the overall structure of the cover - i spent a whole week pushing and pulling at it, making difficult decisions to, say, sacrifice the whole drum section of one part of the song to allow me the memory space to write a melody that i needed for a later part. I think it ended up making the cover more interesting after all - one of the unexpected perks of software/hardware limitations.
4) Yasunori Mitsuda was involved in the creation and development of the KORG M01, so in an odd sort of way this cover brings it back full-circle. Also, i was notified just after i had finished this song that it was actually his birthday! how crazy is that?? i didn't even know!!"
It IS pretty cool that Mitsuda was involved in the creation of software that ended up being used to arrange his own music, AND pretty cool that bryface was able to put together something with polish and depth through perseverance and data entry that I imagine must have been somewhat monotonous, but ultimately rewarding. BUT, regardless of any contextual novelty, the ReMix still has to stand on its own, and I'd say that it does - you CAN certainly notice that some samples/instruments are of an obviously synthetic quality, but the drums and bass form a pretty funky backdrop, sequencing compensates, and the little brass stabs and fret noises and bubble pops all make this seem less dated and more stylized. Also dig the mix title. Larry sums it up well:
"The brass is super cheesy, but I'm always a fan of anything that reminds me of Tim Follin's sounds, and that's some Plok-ariffic brass. It's a bit lacking there, but the strength and creativity of the arrangement definitely made this a solid sell and easy call. As far as overt source usage, I had it right on the line at 50% as 2:13-3:47 features a super extended original section, though the padding has that clear CT sound & feel to it.
I definitely got that 80's vibe right from the opening notes, so props to Bryan for nailing that feel right off the bat. There's a lot more frantic energy in the second half, from 3:10-4:08 & 4:22 with the comping style accompaniment, but I enjoyed how it was all nested within that laid-back tempo.
bryface doesn't do much in the way of VGM arrangement, so when I talked to him at PAX a ways back about sending in more mixes, he wasn't down on the idea of sending anything as much as he was just mentioning that his ventures into VGM arrangement are few and far between. That said, be sure to check out his original music for a lot of awesome chiptune-style material. Even if it's not years until he gets bit by the ARRANGEMENT bug again, I'll be happy if it does happen. This is a smooth debut and an artist to watch and appreciate, wherever he may be. :-)"
Ditto all that; very cool to have a Korg M01-made mix on the site, and beyond that unique origin, it's a fun arrangement that takes a VERY familiar theme and puts an upbeat, 80's jazz fusion spin on it.
on 2014-04-04 11:57:24
Awesome writing! Really enjoyed the groove with this one. Would have like to have some elements a bit more 'wet' but the panning helped to create some depth mixing wise.
on 2014-04-03 09:05:20
I'm actually impressed that this was made on a DS program. With the software samples I've heard on similar products, that sounds pretty tough because of certain limits, but you were able to do it and create something great in the style of stylistic jazz that comes off like a cheesy cop show (totally a good thing) and neat to hear. Hats off to you for proving once again that it's all about what you do with your tools, not the tools themselves. Damn good work, man.
on 2014-04-02 16:45:37
The interpretation is strong with this one.
on 2014-03-31 16:43:24
The production is pretty good in many regards actually, nice stereo separation for instance. The bass and percussion sound good - mechanical, but not in a detracting way. There's a lot of nice synth touches as well. I'm reminded of earlier Shnabubula tracks, I'm a huge fan of those.
On the side of criticisms, I'd have liked a tiny bit of an intro. The main lead sound during the first half is pretty weak to me, it's limp and loose, I'm not much of a fan. There are also some strange harmonies on some of the synth washes that I'm not also completely sure sound 100% good. The e-piano solo is quite ace though. I also think I'll have to get me a M01 as well.
on 2014-03-31 16:13:58
This is darn awesome, especially that writing at the end. Goodness. I'm glad it got posted with the sound limitations as well. It does sound great and it's cool to see such, for lack of a better phrase, lo-fi sounds making it on OCR. There's hope for a chiptune mix yet. Any of my perceived "roughness" to this mix is part of its charm and does not detract from it for me.
on 2014-03-31 15:53:35
i like this a lot. and it just shows how crisp production and a good arrangement are really much more important than all the $1000 synthesizers and mics you have.
edit: i say that by the way cause it shows that if you really push to get the most out of what you already have, it can turn into something incredible. this song is a great example of that.
on 2014-03-31 15:21:12
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Chrono Trigger (Square, 1995, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu, Noriko Matsueda, Yasunori Mitsuda
- "Chrono Trigger"
- Funk, Jazz
- Funky, Jazzy
- Brass, Synth
- 7,632,552 bytes
- Size: 7,632,552 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 2da70519491a5db238ce1228c77e3b4c
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