ReMix: DDRMAX Dance Dance Revolution "Insomniac Skies" 4:44

By Diodes

Artist Links
Arranging the music of one song...

"Look to the Sky"

Primary Game: DDRMAX Dance Dance Revolution (Konami, 2002, PS2), music by Sota Fujimori

Posted 2010-10-27, evaluated by the judges panel


DDR!! diotrans writes:

"I used to be a huge DDR freak, back when the DDR craze was at its height. Besides playing the game obsessively, I loved the soundtrack and frequently listened to many of the songs from it. Look to the Sky was always my favorite song from DDR, and even though I no longer play the game or listen to the soundtrack, I still think the true color extended mix is amazing.

I really have Level99 to thank for the existence of this remix, because it all started when he suggested participating in the PRC's annual free round (where every participant is free to remix any source, with bonus points if there are no OCRemixes of that source). I knew that the DDR soundtrack had not been remixed much on the site, so I instantly thought of my favorite DDR song, Look to the Sky!

I named this "Insomniac Skies" because I was having major insomnia at the time, and a lot of the work on the song was done in a very sleep-deprived state. Since the PRC version, I added a real violin and wrote original lyrics for the 2nd verse to make it less repetitive and to fit the insomnia theme of the title. Many thanks to Level99 because this remix wouldn't even exist if it weren't for him, to Level99 and Palpable for convincing me to polish it up and submit it because I really wouldn't have if they hadn't insisted it was good enough to sub, and to Palpable for all the production help again."

I just saw Vinnie & Amy perform together this last weekend at the Reston Farm Market, and they were great. I was especially glad they covered "Earn Enough for Us" by XTC, because 1. Not enough XTC love in the world! and 2. They did a really great job. Also, Vinnie can sing, too - someone needs to peer -pressure him into doing vocals for a ReMix. But in the meantime, for this mix, we're graced again with Amy's vocals - and live violin playing - for a light, delicate 80's synth-pop arrangement. This reminded me of Yazoo to a certain extent; judges unanimously thought the drums were a weak spot, but the repetition didn't actually bother me much, and is often a staple of the genre. I thought the acoustic guitar was a good add, but felt like the timing was a little spotty on the strumming, getting ahead of the beat at times. None of the judges noticed it so maybe my being under the weather is to blame. Regardless, the highlight is the vocal, which I especially like on the second iterations, where harmony is added; it sounds like the backing harmony has a lot more verb on it, which gives it a dreamlike quality that fits perfectly with the lyrics. Deia writes:

"The vocal performance is strong, and definitely is the center of the track. I like how the track was made a little more melancholy, and the second verse fits in very well with the rest of the lyrics."

Jill adds:

"With such heart pumping original source material, it's cool to here a more laid back take on things. This is definitely a pleasant arrangement with pleasant instrumentation - violin, acoustic guitar, gentle vocals... It gels well. Purdy vocal harmony!"

I do like the source melody & lyric, but definitely prefer Amy's arrangement; I think slowing it down, introducing acoustic elements, and adding the melancholy that Deia pointed out was a perfect way of breathing new life into the original. It's like a completely different song, but at the same time easily recogizable, and the vocal harmonies seal the deal. Great stuff from Amy, who feeds musical Ritalin to a hyperactive DDR track and ends up with a creation all her own; doing two live parts plus vocals for a track ain't easy, but it brings out the best aspects of a very intelligent, well-concieved arrangement.

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
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kitty
on 2013-10-23 18:39:57

I can't believe I haven't reviewed this song yet.

I downloaded it when it got posted to the front page back in 2010 (hey 4 days to the date!) and I loved the song immediately. Amy did an especially awesome job with the violin and vocals which are by far my favorite parts of the remix.

The violin creates a very mellow atmosphere that still gives me chills to this day. The lyrics, especially the new second verse, are very touching and fit perfectly with the longing sadness feeling that the instruments create.

Definitely recommend this to anyone!

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Crulex
on 2012-05-01 15:24:38

Oooh that violin, so good. Amy's vocals here are absolutely beautiful and the harmony of this track is just way too cool. I gotta say, I'm so glad the acoustic guitar was used for this, it adds so much to the tempo and feel of the ReMix. Hell, when the composer says it's awesome, you can't really dispute it, and I wouldn't dare try. Love it.

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Rexy
on 2011-12-09 11:05:31

I kinda feel sad about the PRC in a way since retiring it; I thought the purpose of the aniversaries were to simply gather more people together with more popular-to-remix games, not to just open the scope with the anniversaries under Bundeslang's direction.

But it must've been a good thing to bring in Vinnie's significant other into participation with one of them, so no complaining :)

The original DDR source had been taken into something considerably more downtempo; the live violin placed throughout was sublime, the setting feels really fitting towards the artist's expression, and even though the quality isn't necessarily the best in terms of recording, the vocals are similarly well performed and have shown some strong expression with the higher parts of Amy's range. I really dig this a lot.

The only things I can suggest to be looked into are thus: a) your rhythm guitar timing; they to me feel a little bit behind the beat sometimes and can be slightly distracting, but the playing still managed to fit very appropriately into the mix, and B) the drums feel rather auto-pilot for me. Drum writing is actually tricky for many artists around here, but it can be really satisfying for poppy mixes if there's enough done to give them more interest, like any fills or hand percussion that could potentially give it a lift.

Otherwise, if Fujimori-san loves it then that's pretty much all you needed to know :) I'm glad to see you contributed to the PRC somewhat, and let's hope you submit stuff again in the future - keep representing us females!

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Liontamer
on 2010-11-18 10:22:23

And the original composer...is...FEELIN' it!

http://twitter.com/SotaFujimori/status/5255469568360448

Fujimori-san wanted more info, so I gave him some quick help. Really glad he liked Amy's mix enough to ask the masses to help him find out more!

Nice work!

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Liontamer
on 2010-11-11 15:45:07
an otherwise uninspired opening

Eww. Couldn't disagree more. The intro was relaxed and chill. This song is low-key, I don't know what the hell you were expecting from the intro. Sounds to me like you just don't get it. [/shakes fist]

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Martin Penwald
on 2010-11-11 15:38:34

Just like djp, I prefer this remix over the original, but in my case, that's not surprising, considering that I don't really like the original song to begin with. Never did, neither in DDR, nor in Rumble Roses.

Live violin and guitar (the latter particularly during the breakdown around 1:55) are awesome and a welcome addition to the soundscape.

Also, I like your voice.

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Master_Yoshi
on 2010-11-04 17:13:32

Me listening to this track.

"Hmm, this is kind of groovy, rather generic..."

"Ooh, getting a bit more complex! Don't over exert yourself! Who made this...."

*scrolling up just as vocals are about to hit*

"D'awwwww! I know that voice! *smacking of forehead!* D'awww, I can't stay mad at you!"

Seriously, the way your voice opens into an otherwise uninspired opening was like a cute little puppy standing over the shredded paper towel and toilet paper that you were dumb enough to leave out. You just... you forget the little gripes and are lost in the whole reason you got a dog: To enrich your life a little more.

I will say, the mix works best when you have the vocals over top, or with the string lead. Nice work on the outtro, singling out the acoustic guitar, too.

Yup, aside from the intro, I love this. Carry on, carry on.

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Arcana
on 2010-10-28 23:24:09

This is light years ahead of your KH remix, I love the laid back sound and the quality of the vocals and the lyrics. They're catchy and yet this song is so sad.

I've had the early draft version you sent me on my playlist for a while. I'm glad I'll get to replace it with one that has OC ReMix officially grafted onto it.

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Level 99
on 2010-10-28 13:23:56

Wow. Amy, reading the writeup, I definitely don't deserve that kind of credit. I'm just glad the OHC-invasion of PRC afforded you the opportunity to do something like this, and then I just nudged you a bit to finish it. I couldn't have been happier with the result, as this mix seems so personalized and emotive.

One of your best vocal performances to date, and great use of guitar and violin! You make those lyrics fit the mood perfectly, and while I can see how some would think the drums are a bit too basic, it's true that this mix was not drum-focused. They're functional and do their job, no more and no less. It's rock-solid and allows all the other instruments to explore their reaches without trampling on any rhythmic complexities (if that makes sense, it's hard for me to word this the way it sounds in my head).

All in all, another mix to add to a great debut year you've had so far on OCR. Don't stop these gems coming. (and keep Vinnie busy giving you feedback!)

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Jhawk
on 2010-10-28 10:34:08

i use to dance to this joint back in the day(7 years ago)nothing but nostalgic for me 8)

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halc
on 2010-10-28 02:53:16

great job! i enjoyed this quite a bit :)

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linkspast
on 2010-10-28 01:19:31

Man I miss DDR.

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Emunator
on 2010-10-28 01:04:35

I really like just about everything about this remix; the live performances are absolutely beautiful and the simple bass groove coupled with the synths creates a deliciously smooth soundscape, but those drums... gah, they're just not jiving with me. I totally agree with Jill on this point: "I could totally imagine Brandon "Harmony" Bush or Doug "DrumUltimA" Perry on bongos!"

THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN! :-) I love this arrangement so much but the drums aren't doing it for me. I know it's rude to ask for fixes to a song after it's been posted and finished, but Jill's judge post got my mind racing about how awesome it would sound to hear this song with a more organic set of drums. Feel free to disregard this; I'll be keeping the song on my iPod regardless because it's absolutely beautiful... However, I'd just like to echo that wish to hear some tribal percussion on here.

Great work Amy :-D

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Gario
on 2010-10-28 00:58:44

Ooooo, another Amy track, woot :-). Not to mention your first solo debut - I was waitin' for it, since from what I've heard from you there's certainly arranging talent that people have been missing out on 'til now.

I don't know the source, so... well, can't comment on that, can I?

Nice drum machine :razz:. It works, though, so it's no complaint.

The synths and acoustics blend real well, here, so that makes me a happy listener. Neat textures, and they allow for room for your voice (as they should).

The vocal work is great in it. Personally, I'm for less American 'R', but meh, to each their own. In a solo track they're not necessarily bad, they just color the vocal track differently.

The 'duets' are awesome. I WILL note that some of the harmonizations sound slightly funny, to me, but that's because I'm a counterpoint freak, and I hear some combinations that break the flow a bit . I'm going to get it out, because I can't really help it - in duets, using fifths in sequence is bad for the flow of music. Most people pay little attention to it, but you'll find if you replace them with other intervals the duets tend to sound more interesting, and interesting generally means better, in this case. Now I wait for Rozo or Willrock to come in here and bash me for mentioning this...

The violin playing was an excellent touch - I didn't know you played the violin. Very nice.

Overall, neat mix. The combination of live and synth and vocals work well, here. Here's to another mix from you soon!

*raises a glass of wine towards you, wherever you are*

:-D

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djpretzel
on 2010-10-27 22:54:17

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
DDRMAX Dance Dance Revolution (Konami, 2002, PS2)
Music by Sota Fujimori
Songs:
"Look to the Sky"

Tags (10)


Genre:
Pop
Mood:
Mellow
Instrumentation:
Acoustic Guitar, Singing, Synth, Violin, Vocals: Female
Additional:
Lyrics > Lyrics: Existing
Lyrics > Lyrics: Original
Production > Live Recording

File Information


Name:
DDRMAX_Dance_Dance_Revolution_Insomniac_Skies_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
6,902,015 bytes
MD5:
6ed921305de7c9cb9619a90e64aff5a8
Bitrate:
192Kbps
Duration:
4:44

Feeling sad and lonely 'cause I can't find you
Call your telephone and there's never an answer
Said you love me, kissed me, we were in heaven
Said I'm sorry, love you, want you forever

Chorus:
Every night I look at the sky
Call your name
And wonder where you are
Every night I look at the sky
Baby, miss you
Won't you come back

Stars are out and I'm not lying in bed
Tossed and turned, got up and walked out instead
Minutes pass I wait here wondering why
We were happy, now it looks like goodbye

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