Rebecca E. Tripp had an amazing 2019 on OCR, and an equally amazing 2018 before that, so let's see how 2020 goes; we start with this mysterious classical/folk arrangement of "Mysidia" from FF4:
"In this piece, I attempted to capture the essence of Mysidia from Final Fantasy 4. The original track (composed by Nobuo Uematsu) gave me shivers the first time I heard it! I felt it perfectly matched the bewildering experience of keeping one's appointment with fate and stumbling through an enlightened, yet justifiably hostile magical city, rife with peril.
Because so many of the townsfolk assail the player with various spells and acts of deception (as long as he stubbornly chooses to remain a dark knight, anyway), I wanted to imbue this track with a kind of mirage-like essence. I took inspiration from various '60s psychedelic bands such as Fever Tree and It's a Beautiful Day (two of my favourite bands, FYI). I used a whole bunch of Indian percussive instruments as well as harmonium (that's the groovy organ sound) and sitar. In addition to the more mysterious elements of the town, I also attempted to represent the wrath and judgement of the Mysidian people. I wanted to give it an almost heavy-handed "religious" quality, as though the villagers are an externalization of Cecil's inner demons, chiding him to rise to the occasion and vanquish his inner darkness before it's too late."
Judges (including myself, for this one) did essentially agree on volume levels being a little low and, more significantly, the arrangement being a bit static, but everyone loved the atmosphere & layered, tangible environment that Rebecca creates. For my part, the main melodic motif has a specific, very particular conclusion which I think calls out for variation & extension, but is instead repeated verbatim. There's plenty of interpretation elsewhere, especially with the rather wonderful timbral palette & vivid instrumentation, but I kept wanting the tapering, sinister melodic phrase to surprise me. That never happened, but I was still transported to the world she describes above, and so were most of the judges; Liontamer writes:
"To me, the variations come in the textures, and the production's serviceable, so I don't want to make my personal preferences on the pacing affect my call. It's not my cup of tea, but I believe Rebecca's iterations have enough textural difference to them, and the soundscape evolves enough that I can go with this."
prophetik music had some very detailed analysis & recommendations, so the entire judge thread is worth checking out, if you're into that sort of thing :) Gario was probably the most positive approving vote:
"Honestly, the track overall is greater than the sum of its parts. While I can see issues with the mixing of the choral samples and the unused headroom, these don't detract from the overall experience for this track. It honestly sounds like something from an Aladdin movie soundtrack, and it sounds solid for what it is."
I think the panel made the right call & I certainly think *plenty* of folks will dig this, but I also think there were a couple missed opportunities to differentiate sections & justify the track duration by playing with notes themselves, in addition to instrumentation. Your mileage may vary, and either way, I think you'll enjoy the dark alleys & hidden secrets the piece conjures; good stuff.
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Choir,Chromatic Percussion,Hand Drums,Oboe,Orchestral,Strings,Woodwinds
- 9,035,660 bytes
- Size: 9,035,660 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: f31aa7937b061bd5c857e82c82ac48f1
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