Posted 2021-07-16, evaluated by Liontamer
Magnificent chip mastery from DDRKirby(ISQ) [Timmie Wong], who sends us an inspired, interpretive chiptune arrangement of the opening animation music from Breath of Fire IV:
"Decided to go for a more "straight chiptune"-styled arrangement for this one, in lieu of my normal "9-bit" style (with modern drum samples, heavy on the echo/reverb, etc.). I think it came out pretty well, so this is something I'm going to have to do more of in the future!
As with my last submission, this remix was a request from my Patreon campaign by Harry64. I have to admit that I was entirely unfamiliar with the source tune, but decided that a chiptune mix would contrast nicely against the original, which is pretty lush in its instrumentation. This is one of those tracks that just came together really naturally and quickly -- I plopped the entire arrangement down in one 4-5 hour session and then came back to it a few days later for a bunch of polish and tweaks.
While the mix here eschews my normal 9-bit production techniques and opts for a more dry sound, I chose to emulate the "spirit" of 8-bit chiptune without actually adhering to any particular strict soundchip restrictions. Hopefully, I won't offend any purists with the liberal use of stereo phase offsets, layered noise drums, and other such effects.
I have sort of a curious workflow for this style where I actually use a bunch of pre-sampled chip drums and custom waveforms that I plug into FL Studio's basic sampler/synth, as opposed to using actual plugins that are designed to emulate the source soundchips from the ground up. This is mainly because I prioritize workflow speed over almost everything else in my setup since it helps my creative flow so well. I've found that being able to load up the sounds in your toolkit quickly is vital when it comes to this sort of free-flowing "instinct-based" composition style.
Hope you enjoy the track!"
How could one not :) Of course, it is more or less impossible to avoid offending purists; it's part of their job description, almost by definition. For a couple (perhaps even a *few*) years, there was a sort of misconception among some that OCR "didn't accept chiptunes" - a result of our submission standards cautioning against a more simplistic implementation, where we might see a "demake" that converted a theme to straight chiptune without a ton of additional arrangement or interpretation. We've posted many, many mixes at this point that are essentially "straight chiptune" or damn near close, and the common thread has been that they all go way beyond simply swapping out sounds or adding a few chip-style arpeggios, so it's basically just the same standards that apply to... everything else that gets submitted.
But I digress; it's unclear to me whether Timmie is referring to just the drums & FX, regarding using sampled waveforms rather than synthesis, or whether the leads & bass & other elements are also handled in the same way. Either way, it sounds great to my ears, and the key characteristics that make chiptune parts (and parts in general) come alive - modulation, animation, pitch bend, dynamics - are getting the job done, and then some. I love the plucky, sweet pop turn at 1'36", and it's Miss Jackson if you're nasty at 2'24" - drum fills & FX are absolutely on-point. Liontamer evaluated:
"I'm still very patiently awaiting OC ReMix's first Breath of Fire V mixpost from someone in the community. Someone help a brother out! ;-) The answer may be voting with your dollars via patron platforms like Patreon and SubscribeStar, as Rebecca Tripp's latest Stardew Valley OC ReMix was also sponsored by patron support.
I've heard a lot of the BoF4 soundtrack, but I've actually never played it ("RPGs are for geeks!" ;-D), so, like Timmie, I actually wasn't familiar with this Taro Iwashiro original, which I already love. I always read artists' submission letters, but in the case of this one and just getting a peek behind Timmie's approach to workflow, I had a big smile on my face at the end of reading it, appreciating his dedication to speediness and knowing this one would be cool. Sufficed to say, it's Timmie, and it's his signature brand of chiptune excellence, so, YES, you'll also love it. There's a beauty to DDRKirby's chipsound palette that's present in all of his work, and I'm always down for more! :-)"
I'm far from an expert, but I think that sequencing/composition is more important to making chiptune work & live & breathe than hermetically-sealed, 110% accuracy to original hardware. I wouldn't have guessed Timmie's workflow from just listening to this mix, because the density & agility & detailed ornamentation of the interweaving parts delivered everything I was hoping for in a chip jam from him, wanting for nothing. I'd love to hear more in this style, which is more like "8.5-bit" than "9-bit," perhaps, but rockin' & rad just the same. Very cool to be posting back-to-back submissions that were requested by patrons & supporters (support your favorite artists!), to be featuring more music from the Breath of Fire franchise, and (always) to be sharing more of DDRKirby(ISQ)'s music with listeners!
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Breath of Fire IV (Capcom, 2000, PS1)
Music by Taro Iwashiro, Yoshino Aoki
- "Breath of Fire IV ~Opening Animation~"
- EDM, Pop
- Chiptune, Electronic, Sound FX, Synth
- Effects > Glitching
- 7,374,835 bytes
- Size: 7,374,835 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: bd73eb3d77da591dca1e8c4bc559d70b
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