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 SOUNDTEST
Sephiroth Absolute February 18, 2005

Rexy ?Judge? RedBeastMage Total Score
Remix
30
26
29
85/105
Creativity
45
31
40
116/150
Production
12
13
15
40/45
Total
87
70
84
241

Rexy

Remix

The mix basically holds a twisted variation placed upon all three sources, which has aided in creating a haunting atmosphere all around; I can't say there was much noting of Those Chosen by the Planet, although that's felt to be expected. The execution is solid all around, which has helped in generating a good set of awareness towards the listener; if they did seem to run into any few dissonant notes in the song they seem to be there for generating on the atmosphere if anything. It's difficult to find other interpretations of any of the sources to help see how this measures up, but from what I've heard it has made for one of the closer themes that have emphasized on the bitter and evil nature of the target characters. One light flaw I've noticed with this piece is that the structure has made it show more of a medley based structure, which seems to have taken a light downfall with the target audience in recent times, but the key changes provided for the source tracks have provided a good aid in generating some further deviation alongside with some accompaniment reshaping. Generally the structure is very good all around, although I personally feel the ending could have been given some further notation attention to help add to the realism of the performance, but this is still very clever stuff all around from Reuben. Interesting.

Creativity

Given the strong emphasis on the source pieces there didn't seem to be much improvisation down the line, but the twisted variations on the theme structures - especially what he provided for J-E-N-O-V-A - has helped in creating a strong sense of mood throughout. The segments generally link together well, although I felt the end of the Jenova section was a little bit on the sudden side dynamic wise. One of the strengths behind the creative nature was that everything has managed to keep a fresh pace around it; tempo shifts have been placed everywhere to emphasize on the live performance, thus generating a solid notion all around which has in turn also emphasized in making every part show something new compositionally. For that purpose repetition is very minimal aside from the source references, and bearing everything in mind the listener is sure to be in for a highly enjoyable arrangement regardless of their tastes. Excellent.

Production

The whole mix consists of four recorded piano parts, and for that purpose there are no sampled elements so we can't state much for that aspect. Usually piano arrangements don't really need much thought on EQ and sound processing, but I have seen the EQ attention to be very clever in providing a lot of energy upon the sound quality; even if the sound did tend to get a bit dry near the end, it's still just fine as it is. The recording quality behind the instruments is very strong all around and has helped in emphasizing on the realism of the performance all around, even though it would have helped if there was something out there to be able to distinguish the four pianos in general. Mind, the sound levels are very strong all around and have provided a good amount of equal emphasis upon the deeper bass textures, the rhythmic progressions and the melody all at once while allowing some of the more atmospheric notations to help add to the haunting nature behind the theme. While some of the panning fragments seemed to be a bit extreme near the start, most notably towards the right hand side of the stereo field, the setting has worked well enough to be able to show a well rounded setting all around. Generally this setting is very clever for a piano piece, so I see this as a job well done.

?Judge?

Remix

Almost literal transcriptions of the originals, but still intriguing--commendations for arranging for four pianos.

Creativity

Surprisingly disappointing, I was expecting more experimentation with independence of piano parts rather than homo- and heterophony throughout most of the piece.

Production

Excellent quality, but perhaps more distinction between piano parts could produce a clearer recording.

Redbeastmage

Remix

Excellent job with remixing, as the song sticks to its roots most of the time in the melody, yet the additional pianos allow for some creative harmonies, giving this song legs of its own to walk on, independent of the original. Occasionally, it feels just a bit too much like to originals, but thats just a minor issue.

Creativity

Well, a lot of the creativity I felt here was in the actual performance of the music. I don't know if every little dynamic and articulation was ever written down, but they all sang out beautifully. The use of multiple pianos, something you do quite often, is very nice and creates a beautiful sound. I just wish there was a bit more use of harmony between the pianos, and maybe some more original material.

Production

Yep, you win the production award for today. Fantastic job recording live acoustic pianos, something that is NOT easy to do, and I say that from experience. Excellent job placing the pianos separate from one another in the stereo field. And mixing? Well, the performance on the pianos sounds like it made mixing very easy.



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