FF6 - The Magic House (PRC120)
May 17, 2008 munchi
A. I listened to every piece over and over again for the about an hour and a half before writing my reviews, so if they're off the mark I'm apologize, I gave it my all.
B. I'm not a judge on OCR, I don't have a mix on OCR, I don't have a mix on ThaSauce, I've never won a PRC (I did come in third once!) and I've been on the forums trying to do these things since 2002. My advice is just that: MY advice, MY opinion. Take it with a grain of salt. If I even come close to making a good point, it was pure luck.
1st place: Siamey's TimeShock
Good Things: This song is very polished and very well tailored (meaning everything fits very well). It also has an overwhelm overall sense of cool. Two thumbs up!!
Minus points: I see (can you see errors when you're listening to it?) one glaring error that I would dock this song for. And you've already said this in the forums. The FF8 section, though in fits so well and sounds so good, is just that: a really well done FF8 section that just so happens to fit well into the middle of the remix. I did the math and from 1:07 to 1:45 (.64 minutes) is 28.5% of the song. And if you factor in the modulation and transitions need to get us there and back it would be even more. One third of the song is a pretty substantial amount to have absolutely nothing to do with the song. Now, I'm not saying change it or eliminate it. I'm just saying it would have hurt to hear a small melodic reference of somesort within those 38 seconds. With your talent, I confident you could have fused the songs together versus injecting a song into the middle of the other.
Final word: Having said all that, I think that it should be said that, if I could vote for myself, you're current position in my vote would not change. Your mix is cleaner, better put together, and is the all around best remix of the source tune out of all five mixes.
2nd place: Chickenwarlord's Totally Ordinary Cottage (yes chickenwarlord)
Good Things: I know I just said Siamey did the best job of remixing the source tune, but I think you did the best job of taking the source tune and turning it into a true melody (like one you'd find in a russian composer piano book somewhere). My heart actually wishes that your song was the source tune that we had to remix because your take on it makes it much easier to conceptualize this piece in different genres. I'm already hearing your exact song just fully orchestrated. And also the piano melodically does sound like a human playing. Having said that...
Minus points: I think you already mentioned what was wrong on the forums so I won't elaborate but I will reiterate. The sound quality and sample quality were kinda midi-ish and all of it had a robotic quality (ironically, I thought the piano was the most human sounding of all the instruments). A simple reverb effect and a subtle flanger on the piano would have fixed most of that, so you get a double slap on the wrist!
Final word: I'm a firm believer that concept is king and a simple midi can best a studio produced cdda IF the music within is conceptually better to the ear. What it felt like you were going for and the way the notes executed in conjuction to each other is why I voted 2nd place for you. It sounds better than the others even though the samples sound horrible.
3rd place: Setokaibarocket's Call of the Arcane
Good Things: "This is a hard trance remix of the theme which was also inspired by hardstyle/jumpstyle." You hit the nail right on the head. This is a lot better than trance remixed from some "professional" DJ's. Way to go!
Minus points: But this isn't the PDRC (profession discjockey remix competition), and length for lengths sake is something I don't like about alot of trance songs. Trance has a tendency to be overly repetitive because people are dancing to it and just want to keep moving, not really LISTENING to the music. The PRC is different. I'm a fat guy who plays lots of video games and is sitting on his butt for two hours listening to 6 different versions of the same song. Repetition for lengths sake is not appreciated. Not really modifying the drums (adding or taking away one sample here and there does not count), or lakabreakdownobeatdropitis as I like to call it, earned you the biggest minus points. If you looped cut out a few of the repetitive loops in there you'd still have a 2 minute long piece that would musically make the same point. Really, if you gave my ears a music break, switch up the drums or instrumentation or something somewhere in the middle, you could have kept everything pretty much the same and I might be voting for you as first or second place. 1:50 or 1:56 or 2:30 would be really good places to switch it up the audience.
Final word: I do like trance, and have quite a rather large number of trance OCR mixes on my computer. I simply feel your spot on depiction of Trance music hurt you more than it helped in this case. But I did like the evil laugh! Kudos!
OneUp: Your mix was good. It was beat by setokaibarocket mainly because I personally didn't care for the style. In terms of technicals, I kinda feel they were equal, but this is my personal vote so I did factor in my personal feelings. Nothing personal. It just doesn't flow for me. The tempo feels random, the instrumentation feels random, the drums a little out of place (and overly loud!) These are things that I'm sure match exactly the style that you were going for...I just don't like that style.
munchi: I know for a fact that you are primarily a low brass player and I think that you tend to hear all bass sounds with your ears vs trying to hear them from the audience's. Your song has a lot of low frequecies in it and feels a little unbalanced considering the only link to the source tune is in the piano melody (and later the guitar). Also the source tune is hardly recognizable throughout the entire piece and then you have something that's dangerously close to a midi rip at the end. And it's a rip of a melodic section you don't use ANYWHERE ELSE in the song. I think this hurt more than it helps and you would have been better off keeping that melodic portion in the same style as the rest of the melodic portions.
May 17, 2008 Siamey
Munchi's was really fun too but i couldnt recognize the source tune from it...
setokaibarocket's is my prefered genre, but some of the synths are a bit grating. I do like the little organ riffs later on though.
May 18, 2008 OneUp
Very smooth and relaxing. The producing sounds pro, especially the drums and paino is nice, but over all too mellow. Also, I can barely hear the source in this, actually, the only of it I hear is in the very end. Because of that, this makes it my #3 vote.
* Call of the Arcane by setokaibarocket
Sounds promising in the beginning, I'm a big fan of Hard Trance and Hardstyle. Solid beat, and not too shabby synth ;). The organ is really nice and blends very nice. At 1:10 I was expecting a buildup to the chorus. That's the problem with this song; no breaks or build-ups, which is crucial for this kind of music. Now it gets very boring. More variation of everything is needed.
* Totally Ordinary Cottage by Chickenwarlord
Oh, piano... I have a hard time with these kind of songs, and as you say, lacks velocities and such. Actually I still like it, you can see that when my hands imitates the piano playing, and for that, you are my #2.
* TimeShock by Siamey
Until about 0:50, this was fucking great! The samples used was really perfect, so was the beats. After that, it becomes kinda boring, a sort of anti climax haven't heard that FF8 song. At 01:50 it kicks in again and my head nods in a very cool way. Definitely my #1 vote.
May 18, 2008 bundeslang
OneUp - Good start, very funny and different. I like the section around 0:37, the balance in the song is good. I don't like the way the guitar comes in at 1:17 and at 1:29 the 'switch' is also to fast.
Setokaibarocket - Again, good start, the built-up is very nice. The drums are very good, I don't like the main lead much. The section around 1:20 is excellent. There isn't much variation in the song.
Chickenwarlord - I like the flute (or whatever) which plays during the song. The piano is a bit boring in the beginning, but I like it later in the song. Adding more instruments could make the song better.
DJ Siamey - I like the samples you used, some parts in the begin are a bit 'weird', but I like it. I like the middle section and the end is good as well.
May 18, 2008 Zephyr_Tread
I put OneUp just above setokaibarocket because Call of the Arcane, while beautifully crafted was just a tad repetitive.
Nice job guys!
May 19, 2008 Dark_T_Zeratul
I personally didn't care much for the other two; determining the top three is easy when you've only got three good choices.
May 19, 2008 Chickenwarlord
Seto's feels like he had fun making it. I've noticed that you really like those noisy and somewhat abrasive leads. You might want to do just a little more tweaking those before putting things on the board.
Siamey's felt the most clear mastering wise, but I wasn't overly enthusiastic about the arrangement.
OneUp: Your drums are awesome as usual. Your orchestral sounds are fine, but the lower guitar parts distort things on my speakers :X.
May 20, 2008 Hardbeat_Acolyte
munchi ~~ A very interesting interpretation of the source; you managed to completely change the feel of the song. Good vocals. Also I like the bells, drums, and other instruments as well. Can't really think of any downsides really.
OneUp ~~ Not a great fan of the fake electric guitars (one of them -the power chordsish one- is from a soundfont I have that makes me cringe a bit when I hear it, eheh), but the orchestral elements and acoustic guitar are pretty good. The drums are very nice.