ReMix: Xenogears "Dreamscape"
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Nutritious must actually eat foods like his nom de plume, because he's somehow got the stamina & energy to keep putting together fantastic arrangements. This mix off of Humans + Gears: Xenogears ReMixed is extra special, though, as it's Justin's first shot at a primarily electronic track. How'd that happen? The artist writes:
"I joined the Xenogears project relatively late in the process, so the open track selection was very limited. This specific track stood out to me the most out of what was left, so I signed up to arrange it for the Humans disc (more natural or realistic instruments) as my forte is/was in orchestral music. However, nearly at the same time, someone else started the same song for the Humans disc (I think it was eventually dropped), so Avaris requested that I do the track for the Gears disc (more electronic oriented). Since I hadn't started on the song yet, I figured I'd give it a shot. This is pretty much my first full-length attempt at a electronic-styled mix. It was a real stretch for me to try and produce a good song in this style, but I've received a lot of great feedback from people on the album, which really helped me get this song to what it is now. Thanks to Avaris, Ziwtra, and eBison for their help."
So how'd it end up? Pretty darn good - we're posting it, aren't we? I was trying to listen to this to see if I could tell, offhand, if it betrayed any particularly "orchestral" approaches that may or may not be misplaced in this context, but I think Justin did a good job of working in a very different style. As he often does, Vinnie summed up my personal take:
"Cool arrangement. It trades the grandeur of the original for high energy, and the synth guitar lead lends the piece some mysticism that the original didn't have. The soundscape was suitably frantic and the quieter sections built up anticipation for the beat again. I think this one really came together well, especially for a first-time full-out electronic mix.
Great processing on those drums and synths, though I was feeling a little more balancing and EQ could have helped the overall picture. But it's hard with a song like this, especially when you're going for a frantic effect. Personally, I wanted those chopped drums to come out of the background and really set more of a groove, but they never did. I ain't holding that against you; it's a personal preference. By and large, this was fine work."
I was particularly worried about the beats - especially in the intro, I think they needed a bit more oomph to cut through and make an impact. That's one of the harder things to manage in a good electronica track, so it's not surprising it wasn't 100% spot-on; the EQ is also definitely a little top-heavy. That being said, the drum sequencing itself is rather fun, and as Palpable points out the pacing is energetic and has good momentum. The key thing is that this stands on its two feet as a solid electronica track, regardless of Justin's established reputation and track record doing great orchestral work - he really stepped up to the challenge and met it head on, with great results. zircon had some similar criticisms he pointed out, but he also said this:
"I'm pretty impressed at your range of styles, Nutritious - this is definitely quite different than your orchestral mixes, but you pull it off well."
Hopefully that feedback alone will be sufficient to inspire more electronica work from Justin, who has more than a few tricks up his sleeves.
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