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Game: UN Squadron
Title: Project 4 Fortress
Composer: Manami Matsumae
well I like this much more than the other UN Squadron track that Super Nice Dog nominated, but I have similar reactions to it
reaction 1) LOve the first 18 seconds, and they're the main thing keeping this this high. I like things that evenly transpose entire groups of notes up and down AND I like things with large interval jumps, this has both of those and those things successfully make it feel enough like Tense Composer PROGramming(world boss rpg)computer((shmupTHERMOSPHERE[einhander])) for me to get into it~! It technically all still works out in a single d minor scale, doesn't use any notes not in that at all so it's not as emotionally [WHOA] to me as stuff like that often is, but it still gets a cool feeling across to m
Reaction2) :18 until the loop point (:55) melodically bothers me in a lot of ways, like it almost makes me feel sick...that makes me sound like I dislike it more than I do, I just don't like a lot of the places it goes, it reminds me of "the exact megaman 1 songs I don't like by Manami Matsumae who's name I just realized has the same initials as "Mega Man" what an insane coincidence it is for someone to have the same initials as their most famous soundtrack" and stuff. I especially hate the resolution right before the loop point. I guess this just feels like a stringing together of a bunch of random cliche dramatic things I've heard before elsewhere and the impact of every indivdual point of drama is lost on me because of that (not because "i've heard it before" or "i can predict what's going to happen next" because I actually CANT, but it's just a random feeling string of a bunch of things that I think are cheesy I guess. I like dramatic things but not This way of producing them). I DO LIKE SOME parts like :42-:50 especially with those chords
reaction 2 (2) ) all of my problems with this go away when it's the arcade version and not the SNES version and the arcade version would be blue (7) zone. even though the arcade is literally exactly the same composition
it's so weird that I have this reaction and I don't REALLY get why, but for both this and the other UN Squadron one, despite compositionally being almost exactly the same (and all my main problems with the track being composition, not instrumentation) I don't feel any negativity toward the things I say I dislike about this when it's the FM of the arcade version
Maybe it's just because my tastes in ~2009ish (when I'd actively look for stuff that sounded like this type of composition) were the same time I was most obsessed with FM synth (it was the "listen to every sega genesis ost in alphabetical order" period of my life). My musical aversions and attractions were fairly different then, and I can still get into the mental space for that (I still love most of the stuff I loved then), but a prerequisite (or at least one of the things that works) for getting into the "2009 taste mycro" mental space is FM synth instrumentation like the arcade version, it doesn't quite hit that mark when it's snes samples and I can't quite judge this through that lens unless it's the fm version
like in the arcade version I specifically LIKE all the parts I complained about from the snes version. the mood the instrumentation gets me into for "how to perceive the composition" impacts me that much I guess. it's something I don't think about that often, I used to think of instrumentation being less important to me than composition (and it IS less important to me THESE days) but because in 2009 instrumentation was so much more important to me, and since this fits with my compositional tastes from that period kinda, this only speaks to me when it's FM, the instrumentation I obsessed over like mad then
Game: War-Torn Versnag
Composer: Toyo Kusanagi, Ryu Umemoto
This reminds me of things ermine likes (though I do not think he would like this, think it is almost definitely too frantic for him despite having a lot of things i think of as "ermine melodies/chord changes") and if something "reminds me of things ermine likes" it means i either hate it or love it and it's a complete crapshoot which of the 2 polar opposite reactions I have...in this case I'm not as fond of those aspects. The chord changes/melody come across as really cheesy to me throughout a lot of it (also going down the pentatonic scale in the bass at :37 in a bluesy way is /really/ cheesy to me and kills the sinister vibe i kinda dig otherwise). BUT it's this high because FM (as I've said many times, FM synth stuff will make my interest jump almost always, and as I realized in my last post, can even change the way I judge composition, to be inclined toward things I'm normally not)
on the contrary to what i dislike though I really like the scale used from :00-:20 (phrygian (possibly my fav scale/mode, either that or dorian or locrian)) and I've said before I tend to like things that use the note chromatically above the tonic by ONE half step which this does...though this is an execution of it i'm not so fond of. probably since it's so straightforward in how it handles it (and ironically, at the same time really crowded and frantic which i'm not sure i like in this specific case even if i typically would) BUT I STILL LIKE THE mysterious dark feeling it gives off
x68000 has a pretty cool soundchip but it's not my favorite...I probably prefer both genesis/pc98 and DEFINITELY prefer the whole opl line (vrc7 of lagrange point, opl2-3 ms-dos/early windows music, etc). like I guess I'd actually rank it last among the "major fm synth sound formats" huh I never thought about that (since I like literally every FM synth soundchip more than literally ever other type of chiptune/sequenced music format in a game system, so I still love x68000 just slightly less than all the other FM synth things). maybe it's partially because it's just so...standard, "8 fm channels and also pcm which is almost always going to be drums". 4op isn't as appealing a limitation to me as 2op, it inclines people toward a variety of sounds I think are cool but not AS cool as what composers were likely to do when they couldn't make things that sounded like slap bass lazer beam. so i'm not as into it as any of the opl line stuff. but saying x68000 is my least favorite major fm synth game music format is like saying "I don't like my 10th favorite candy as much as my FAVOrite candy" every single FM synth chip is a TREAT and this is that so I automatically like the sound of it
on a related note, I have doubts that this one's Ryu Umemoto, he's just always so much more clever and clean/pure sounding with how he handles FM that I kinda can't imagine him writing this but maybe he did!!! some parts that are actually pretty beautiful in a yu-no-like way, but they're few and far between the harshness (which I don't mind) (also there has to be a higher quality version of this)
For whatever reason this feels like aquatic ruin zone sonic 2 music in some alt reality, or like if each boss had its own music for each zone this would be the aquatic ruin zone BOSS music. I had this thought like 19 independent times, forgetting that I've had the same thought before...so it MUST be true...I like aquatic ruin a lot more than this though despite it reminding me so much of it and this being more "seems like mycro would like it" than that probably
this post sounds more negative than not but I definitely appreciate a lot about it, but it's easier to say "i like fm synth" in a few words than it is to explain the ways it rubs me the wrong way so then this looks more negative than not
What exactly is a Versnag?
For that matter, what is a Zenarg?
also wow I love that bass intro
(edited 4 weeks ago)
best ost contest
looks like i'll have to delay my own vgm ranking topic as well
Congrats to Advokaiser on pwning me in CBX!
best ost contest 5
(not home for a bit but will continue this when I get back probably)
Game: Need For Madness 2
Composer: Phase, Omar Waly
okay we're finally getting into the Need For Madness 2 tracks that I actually really like. 90s tracker dance music as I've said is a thing I actively like, but the earlier things to drop from this game were examples I had problems with, but I have no real problems here! Only reason it's as low as it is is it just doesn't do enough to make me excited about it like the stuff above, but it's a 100% solid example of a style I like~!
From the start I like these sequences of cool warpy sounds that change what they are almost every 16th note. That type of sequence is one of those things I love to hear in sample-based vgm (well, and in full production music, but it's more impressive when it's done in literal .mod files like this). For something with only 4 channels this feels pretty full. and I mean I know other 4 channel mod files that feel as full as this too but it never ceases to be impressive to me when something DOES feel like this because there are so many examples (the nfm2 tracks I ranked lower than this) where it doesn't and the music suffers in those cases as a result imo. This just feels like a cool song that happens to have been written in a limited format, but it doesn't feel like that limitation bleeds through in a way that forces musical simplicity or instrumentation simplicity.
I love the chords that come in at like :07, that sound feels ALIVE like these red laser beams that start wiggling in an uncannily fast way to imply they are going to eat you.
The melody isn't super interesting but it's also not in-your-face or too catchy which I usually hate, and I appreciate that it's just sort of in the background as an organic line to make the track feel just a little bit more alive.
I also like how artificial it feels! this feels simultaneously alive and artificial, but it's not the boring stupid feeling artificial that stuff like this gets close to a lot, it's the cool dark cyberpunk artificial. Environment is a bunch of metallic rectangular prisms with occasional blinking lights and you're trying to run from an oppressive force that is named "Select Your Car" and if you do not escape the little you've ever had to lose will become lost and your life will be even worse than it already was and also I like this song
I like how janky some of the loop points on some of these samples are, like the held out chord from 2:03 - 2:08, it's an example of the seams, the limitations of the track bleeding through, but not in a way that impedes how musically or sound-design-wise interesting it is, just "oh you can tell it is FAKE music" but really it just makes it sound cooler and more distinct. A type of music that could only come to exist in this format and wouldn't have deliberately aesthetically formed itself without the influence of this type of sound first
oh also I don't remember if I said this before on the earlier need for madness 2 tracks to drop but I checked this game out because of the soundtrack, and I have to say this style of music absolutely fits with the way it looks. The bluntly wireframe outlines of everything, ultra-polygonal look to all the 3d elements. Clearly artificial sounding music fits perfect with that look and all of this music fits perfect with it, whether it's the examples I like or the examples I don't like. The rotating models in the Select Your Car part is just 100% the SOUND of these songs to me, and it certainly fits with the polygonal environments of the gameplay too. Going to modarchive and taking old tracks from the site and only slightly modifying them as the soundtrack for this game, it was a wise decision for what to make the soundtrack be imo, it absolutely makes the game feel how it feels, which is a pretty distinct feeling
Game: Trails of Cold Steel 3
Title: Spiral of Erebos
Composer: Takahiro Unisuga
Recent dives a bit more seriously into falcom music have made me realize I love a greater chunk of it than I once thought (Wataru Ishibashi in particular is on track for being one of my favorite composers PERiod), but this is not really an example of that at all, it was one of the examples I always mentally pointed to as a showcase of what I DONT like about falcom music. I don't /dislike/ it as a whole though, i actually appreciate the overall sound of it a lot, I just hate a lot of tiny things that eventually add up to preventing from getting into blue tier.
I LOVE the first :50 seconds consistently, the instrumentation between the strings/synth pads and the PIAno and the dulcimer-like sound and everything is just beautiful. It's a soundscape that draws me in and makes me immersed and I love every bit of that. it's dramatic and maybe somewhat hopeful, but still dark and with a tiny bit of tension and implied impending danger. If the track was more filled with stuff that sounds like this it'd be way up in blue tier
but then we get dominant majV chord in the minor song at :57-1:00 and that is the thing I HATE. and that chord comes back way too often and is given way to much significance in the way it's presented for me to not find it irritating and patronizing. it feels like a school teacher telling me "remember to look Both Ways BEfore You CROSS the STREE"t a thing I already know and do every time I cross the street, I don't need to be REMINDEd and guided to the idea that that chord is the dramatic final chord it can just be there without calling attention to itself please...f*** 2:32 - 2:36 I Hate that part
something I've thought about recently, I actually do not hate that "dominant majV chords in a minor song" as much as I did when I started this topic, because at least they're still DARK and I like things that feel dark by default. I don't know if I'd rate any song nominated for my topic below a 3, because of this. 278th place would be exactly a 3 (since the primary reason I disliked it was chord progression focusing on that chord too much) but I think 0-2.x are reserved for things that I dislike musically where the emotion they evoke is more goofiness or happiness, or just boring neutrality, rather than darkness, because I like darkness, and I'd rather listen to something that evokes that that I musically hate than something that evokes emotions i feel like are more boring
Anyway....I think between those patronizing chords and the sometimes unappealing to me droning guitar that lists all the things I actually dislike here mostly. I like most of the things that are not those things here! the FAKE TRUMPEt is cool and I like the EMOTION of when it changes to that part at 2:00
In general I like the key changes in this song, I tend to like key changes because they explore more possible Pitch CLasses on the piano notes you can play and something about frequent alternation between large chunks of "which pitch classes are the notes that you can play on a piano and have it still sound like the right notes", and only some works working sometimes, is the KEY to making me emotionally moved by a piece of music. Key changes are the most simple way to DO that, but they still do that so they tend to make me float in the air. the less notes from the previous chord that work in the next chord the better (this is probably why i often don't like smooth classical music functional harmony type transitions and things that only alter one single note like dom majVs in obvious locations, it's the antithesis of the emotion I want. but why of "stereotypical things to do in a song" I pretty consistently love abrupt plain key changes even if they're at really predictable moments. and probably also why i like transposey sample-based 90s dance music and jazz fusion)
You need to focus on Best OST. You are supposed to rank all 3247823489234 songs in that contest.
Congrats to Advokaiser on pwning me in CBX!