ReMix: Panzer Dragoon Orta 'More Than a Weapon'

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Panzer Dragoon Orta

This ReMix may not be immaculate, but it succeeds on probably the most important level - creating a tangible, believable musical atmosphere and keeping it interesting for the listener throughout. SuperGreenX teamed up with pianist-ReMixer Michael Contraveos for this, our first arrangement from the latest in the Panzer series. While not developed by the same programmers as previous installments, Orta did manage to retain the services of Saori Kobayashi, who worked on Saga (aka Azel), and matched them with the talents of Skies of Arcadia composer Yutaka Minobe. So, one good collaboration deserves another, and SGX & MC answer the call. MC apparently helped with chord work and sent SGX some piano excerpts, which were then fit into the context of a sweeping techno mix that begins peacefully, with solo ivory, flapping of wings, strings, solo oboe, and just a very delicate, melancholy tone. Then, with a dragon cry, the beat & bass come in, assisted by some more in-game samples of the lead female speaking. Love the bassline here - it's just a perfect rhythm for sitting underneath the main melody, which is covered by the oboe from the intro, backed by strings, and has some GREAT, very tricky intervals. Reminded me of Yoko Kanno's opening theme to the Record of Lodoss War TV series in this respect. I think kudos are deserved on some level simply for taking a more challenging piece like this and turning it into techno with success. There are some issues approaching the third minute, where Michael's piano playing is inserted into the mix and the timing doesn't quite match up. When I mentioned the mix not being immaculate in my intro, this is specifically what I'm referring to, as it's sort of jarring to hear things out of sync. Both his piano and SGX backing are quality, they just don't line up quite right here. Things segue out after a bit - this isn't a large part of the mix - but that's the one area that I wasn't diggin. Everything else works beautifully - the oboe is replaced by a more synthetic, distorted tone that actually sounds similar, almost like a distorted oboe itself - but again, it works. There's some cool panned stereo percussion around 3'25" that's mixed with in-game speech that's very transporting and well-done. The string hits alone are worth mentioning, as they sound great and are used very effectively throughout, and really increase the sense of urgency and energy. And the mellow ending, which concludes with the fading flapping of wings initially used in the intro, brings it all together. With the very tasteful usage of in-game samples, variety in tone and changes of direction, and round-robin ending, the mix really succeeds on the level of communicating a narrative via music - at the end, you don't just feel like a song is over, but a story - in particular, a battle - which is important. Despite some timing issues, this adventurous, narrative, and very well-constructed ReMix can be recommended for all audiences.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Crulex
on 2013-10-30 10:18:52
OA;618438 wrote: The voices lend a bit of arrange-album authenticity to it


Want to go ahead and quote that because I get the same feeling from it, especially from listening to MMZ arrangement albums that have had similar stuff in more dramatic pieces. The piano is gorgeous and it has a nice beat that goes against what I normally expect (skips a bit faster ahead of the melody, making it a tad grander and tense, like a battle where the hero just got a second wind). All in all, this ReMix holds up extremely well for being over ten years old and I definitely would recommend this one.
TillyFun
on 2013-03-12 00:35:42
Gentle yet tense. Beautiful -_- Each 'lull' feels less like relaxing and more like brief respites in the middle of a battle. I keep listening again and again. I definitely get a flying vibe here, especially around 3:00. c:
Melbu Frahma
on 2011-12-14 02:15:48
A very beautiful, delicate piece of music, with extremely good interplay between the instruments. The timing issues mentioned in the write-up are definitely there, and definitely distracting, but not to the point where the piece is rendered unenjoyable. I'm also not entirely sure I like the percussive element that comes in right after the dragon cry; it works, I suppose, and it does fill up some of the space, but I feel like the mix might have actually been better without it. I would definitely be interested to hear what it sounded like without it, at least.
Regardless, these are minor things that don't come anywhere near ruining it; definitely worth giving a listen or two to.
Otaku_Symphonia
on 2010-10-15 03:12:44
Such a breathtaking piece of harmonious music!
The melody that plays throughout is both relaxing, exciting and enticing.
Especially when the tone became more darker.
I agree, Panzer Dragoon ORTA was a worthy sucessor and that person who composed Skies of Arcadia is definately on my, "must listen list".
avaris
on 2009-12-01 15:49:50
Had this track burned on a couple of CD's. It's very basic but very effective in everything it attempts and succeeds in doing. I really enjoy the concentration on melody and then using the other elements to drive the forward to give it some ebb n flow.
OA
on 2009-12-01 15:38:07
I definitely recognize this track as being a long-time inhabitant of my playlist, but I don't think if it came up on shuffle, I could name it. The voices lend a bit of arrange-album authenticity to it, and everything about this mix says "intensity". Great frantic percussion, string stabs, and woodwinds. Very classy stuff indeed.
metalsnakejuice
on 2009-09-26 10:48:16
Seriously this is a pleasure to listen to, the piano is fantastic.
Great job.
Saurian
on 2007-12-17 06:00:42
Sorry I'm not a regular member of the boards but I had to just sign up and post my appreciation of this remix. I have no idea how long I've had it on my MP3 player and my PC at work, it's the most incredible remix of a game's soundtrack I have ever heard and it captures the emotion and atmosphere of the game perfectly.
Panzer Dragoon always blows me away with it's dreamlike atmosphere, this remix perfectly captures the feeling of flying off to an epic battle while still maintaining the vibe of the beautiful and tragic relationship between Orta and the Dragon.

Can't thank you enough for this work - maximum respect!
IcePak
on 2006-06-17 09:09:43
This remix still sends shivers down my spine, which for me is an indication of how brilliantly done this remix is. In some ways I prefer it over the original tune. It expresses a lot of emotion and atmosphere from the game that are already incredible, and this mix ups it some more. Awesome work guys.
FinalGamer
on 2005-02-09 06:39:00
Being a dragon lover, this is such a touching song. Everything works so beautifully together. The soft intro, the pacing climax of the middle which rises and lowers in a synthetic battle-like aura, and the saddening ending with the dragon screeching. . .10/10. The game was good, but this piece is Purely Brilliant!
Paranoyia
on 2005-02-06 16:09:57
Not bad in mine opinion. I remember the original song very clearly, and can't say it's identical as some may say, not at all - it's a very decent mix.
Zenth Relin
on 2005-01-02 13:45:01
Wow. Maybe it's because I have zero musical knowledge, but I can't believe you people are finding something to pick at in this.
This is is instant-transfer to MP3 player quality! Excuse me while I do just that!
arborninja
on 2004-07-09 04:24:38
Oh my dear, sweet, heavenly God... this is one of my favorite remixes to date... Fantastic job on this entire piece. In my opinion, it's better than the original. You could easily substitute their remix into the game and it would be exponentially better because of it. Anyway, to the review. One of my favorite aspects of this remix is the use of sound bits from the game. Wing flapping, dragon cries, even speech from different characters in the game. Fantastic use of gating with the dragon calls. Headphones are must when listening to it because you get the best stereo effect. It's slightly long for my taste and it takes its time building to the good stuff in the middle of the track. All in all an excellent job of taking the original, making it into something completely unique, but still keeping the same overall feel. Congrats!
CinderpawX
on 2004-05-29 00:09:23
Awesome work ya two, amazing song.. great on all levels. Have to go check out the panzer dragoon series now.. *grins*
PrinnyMan
on 2004-05-21 22:32:19
Wow, this is amazing. I love the original version a lot and this is just as good. Good choice of instruments I have to say. Good job, keep it up.