Dark Orch - new battle piece

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Rain
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Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by Rain » August 1st, 2009, 12:35 am

New Battle piece.

http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/rai ... hFinal.ogg

This is a piece I've been working on for the past few weeks. There are a lot of moods going on and the piece is thematic in accordance with themes I've already written. Kind of a dramatic fanfare!

I'll mention, I've had a hell of a time with the production of the piece. My computer simply can't handle the work load efficiently, handling the number of instruments playing at one time poorly, despite the fact that West has let me in on the wonder that is DFD playback. It seems either my computer G5, dual 3 gig is not up to the task or Digital Performer isn't optimized for orchestra. I can't figure it out. It's really holding me back and keeping many of my pieces from sounding as realistic as they could.

I spent a few days automating each instrument, and instrument set. Pshew... and now IT DOESN'T F'ING WORK. WONDERFINGFUL. So I had to go back and try to improvise. I am dissatisfied with the current standing of the production, but it should do for now. Let me know what you guys think of the production and composition.

In other news, ranting, Digital Performer is being a complete [censored] right now. :augh: :augh: :augh: [censored]!

Anyways this piece COULD be about 20-30 minutes long if I were able to work more freely in my creative environment. I just don't think my computer could handle it atm.

Rain
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Re: Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by Rain » August 1st, 2009, 8:25 am

Some additional comments regarding the piece: I realize there needs to be more attention paid to working with individual instruments. The expression volume lever is jammed, it would seem. lol. So the piece sounds a little static, and lifeless to my ear. What do you guys think?

I also think the instruments in the piece sound kind of cloudy. Maybe too much reverb in the lower registers? They need to have a bit more presence, imo. I should probably warm up the upper eq's a bit... clarify and all that good stuff.

In the meantime, I need to try to figure out what's going with this damn automation not working in DP. Maybe my computer memory can't handle the workload and the operations... so more ram? My computer feels like it's being stretched to the limit... With automation WORKING the piece has a building momentum that isn't being carried over atm. I'll figure something out.

Hmmm. It feels like my computer is being stretched to the limit when I was trying to format the piece. Time for a new sequencer, or more ram?

... But the framework of the music is in place. :D Just thought I'd get some opinions on the shape of it thus far. Any commentary about composition, mixing, whatever... is appreciated. :eng:

Rain
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Re: Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by Rain » August 1st, 2009, 3:56 pm

Alright. I've spent some time clarifying eq's and trying to automate. It works for the time being. I'm much more satisfied with this version than the version I provided last night.

http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/rai ... hFinal.ogg

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doofus-01
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Re: Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by doofus-01 » August 2nd, 2009, 3:09 pm

Rain wrote:Any commentary about composition, mixing, whatever... is appreciated.
I'll take a stab at mixing commentary: It sounded nice, but I wonder if it would sound better if the string ensemble (I think that's what it is) were to take a back seat more often. There is a lot going on, but I think the string ensemble is obscuring it and making the piece more uniform that it should(?) be.

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Huston
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Re: Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by Huston » August 2nd, 2009, 8:59 pm

i like it. but it doesn't really have thatg battle feel to it. i got more of an adventure feel from it.

Rain
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Re: Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by Rain » August 3rd, 2009, 6:08 am

Huston wrote:i like it. but it doesn't really have thatg battle feel to it. i got more of an adventure feel from it.
Are the ideals of adventure and battle, mutually exclusive?

I kinda see where you might be coming from, but what exactly is "that" battle feel? Could you please be a bit more specific... what elements of the theme are unsuitable to the ideals of a battle theme? Is it the instrumentation? the narrative of the melody? The harmonic content...

So yea. In the event that the new theme is too drastic a departure from we've been exposed to thus far, stylistically, I have to ask; are the ideals of adventure and battle, elementally, mutually exclusive? That a battle theme NEEDS to consist of one and one stylistic expectation only, kind of confines the potential for developing new moods for the game and limits the emotional range of the battles, to a point. We have a lot of great battle music in a particular style, but I really was interested in creating a more adventurous upbeat battle piece for the game, as a counter to what we'll expect 9/10- to make a piece that works within the dramatic orchestral framework that is expected, while adding something new...elaborating upon previous wesnoth battle themes.

That'sis the whole point.

I do see that the theme might be a bit upbeat compared to what we have so far, but what about that idea causes concern or distaste? Is there no compromise?

I agree the piece does contain many adventure elements, but I don't see viewing the piece as just this one thing, when that may become too simplistic a definition, to be the required argument which invalidates its capabilities as a battle theme. In my mind, I think there is enough intensity to appeal to the ups and downs of battle and add enjoyment... but I'd like to hear more about what you guys believe.

There are many emotions to explore. I am interested in spreading it out.

What about the mix, fellas?

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Jetrel
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Re: Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by Jetrel » August 4th, 2009, 2:28 am

doofus-01 wrote:
Rain wrote:Any commentary about composition, mixing, whatever... is appreciated.
I'll take a stab at mixing commentary: It sounded nice, but I wonder if it would sound better if the string ensemble (I think that's what it is) were to take a back seat more often. There is a lot going on, but I think the string ensemble is obscuring it and making the piece more uniform that it should(?) be.
Yeah, "that string ensemble" is a recurring issue in your songs. This is a great song, actually kinda reminds me of some of the music from FFT, but that string ensemble is just muddy.

It's not the music; all the notes you're telling it to play are fine, it's just strictly how that instrument section is synthesized. It doesn't sound like real violins/etc having their bows drawn across the strings - it sounds like a looped recording of the middle part of the 'draw' (most of the time, except for a section about 1/3 of the way in where you've actually got articulated draws in there). The other thing is that instead of sounding like a group of human performers with all their myriad subtle differences, it sounds like a group of cyborg clones all playing their violins in inhumanely perfect sync.

:hmm: You've actually had this same problem with all the string ensembles in all your allacrost pieces. It's a shame because this kind of orchestrated stuff hits a weird middle-ground where it's clearly not "oldschool 8-bit" music, and some instruments (flutes, harp) are so well synthesized by comparison, it really sticks out like a sore thumb when the string section isn't. (At least, the flutes and harp are pretty convincing to my ears; others might have different opinions.) This is a recurring issue that kinda brings down a lot of your music, and it seems particularly bad in this song, but I swear, if you manage to fix this (now and in the future), your 'orchestral' music is going to just instantly level up. This one thing would probably make nearly all of your music (at least any with string sections) dramatically better. :)

:augh: Unfortunately, because I am not versed in the tech surrounding digital music production, I really can't suggest how to fix this.


I must say, I do really like the more lilting/uplifting bits in the song, with the flutes - you're doing something really cool there. Also, the quiet harp bit at about 2/3 in is great! This song really has a sort of triumphant feel towards the end. In short, musically, I think this song is great; the most important improvement you should make to it is to figure out is how to improve the synthesization and expression on that string section.
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Kenpachi
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Re: Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by Kenpachi » August 4th, 2009, 2:43 am

As synth audio sample quality is dictated by the program, you may need to use a different program to record the final mix in.
Only other thing I could think of trying, is a chorus affect on the strings.

Rain
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Re: Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by Rain » August 4th, 2009, 9:23 pm

Thanks for the replies. Nice thoughts.

I think the problem I am having in regards to sound clarity and mud is related to the sound of the string patch itself... it's typically supposed to be used as a backdrop for other instruments to shine and I am attempting to use it for soloing and it's just not working.

and the fact I've been adding too much reverb and accentuating the brightness in all the wrong ranges probably doesn't help anything. DAH, frustrating.

b/c I can't play a lot of instruments at the same time w. out my system going haywire, I feel I have to compensate.... and I think I overdo it with that string section.

I like the convincing sound of that patch, but I can't automate the effects right now in my current sequencer, which affects the credibility of the instrumentation to sound legit and compromises anything I do musically. This is such a pain in the ass!

I think it's time for me to start looking at other sequenc3rs.

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Jetrel
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Re: Dark Orch - new battle piece

Post by Jetrel » August 9th, 2009, 5:56 am

Rain wrote:I think the problem I am having in regards to sound clarity and mud is related to the sound of the string patch itself... it's typically supposed to be used as a backdrop for other instruments to shine and I am attempting to use it for soloing and it's just not working.

I like the convincing sound of that patch, but I can't automate the effects right now in my current sequencer, which affects the credibility of the instrumentation to sound legit and compromises anything I do musically. This is such a pain in the ass!

I think it's time for me to start looking at other sequenc3rs.
I think it's definitely just that one patch.


:D Damn, though - if you're able to fix this ... wow.
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