ReMix: Gradius Gaiden "The Heavens Are Calling"

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Gradius Gaiden

Start the week off right with a healthy dose of futuristic rock from Ivan Hakštok, featuring the guitar stylings of Sixto Sounds, as they provide OCR with its first Gradius series mix in six years and our FIRST EVAR arrangement of Gradius Gaiden; Ivan writes:

"A cover of the song "Beyond the White Storm" from Gradius Gaiden. I consider the source tune for this song to be one of the best pieces of VGM ever, and the Gradius Gaiden soundtrack itself is a masterpiece and probably one of the most underrated video game soundtracks. I originally made this remix for the July 2014 DoD Free Month and recruited Sixto to play the awesome guitar solo you can hear halfway through the song. It placed 4th out of 24 songs.

This version has the same arrangement as the DoD one, but with lots of changes to the mixing and samples. This is probably my best song of 2014, so I wanted to make it sound as good as possible before submitting, which is probably why it took me a few months. :) Hope you enjoy it!"

As Ivan mentions, this was revised from the DoD submission, and was later revised again in 2016 due to panel feedback, so hopefully you're getting the best of the best incarnation of this homage to one of the ReMixer's favorite pieces of VGM, and one I was actually unfamilar with. Emunator nailed things with his decision:

"Loving the intro on this one. The use of sound effects is ace, I admire how you actually integrated them rhythmically with the track instead of dumping a few one-shots over the track and calling it a day. It makes me feel truly immersed in the track. Moving onto the meat of the arrangement, this is a classic Hakstok formula that really ticks all the boxes in a very satisfying fashion. In general, I felt like the guitar work outshines the synths (but that’s pretty much what you sign up for when you bring Sixto on board – that solo was mean!) and in my opinion, it took a little too long to bring a lead instrument into the mix (it wasn’t until around 1:25 that a dominant lead entered the arena and I was definitely itching for things to progress by that point.) All in all, those are minor quibbles, and the mixing sounds much improved. I dig it!"

Me too; sometimes I quote judges when they make observations that wouldn't have occurred to me, and sometimes I'm just being lazy/economical because they've already kinda said what I myself think. This falls into that second category, especially w/ regard to the usage of sound FX; dat intro really got me into the jacked-for-interstellar-travel-and-splosions mood. I also dug the textural blend of acoustic & electric guitar; sounds gud. If I had to pick nits, the nits that I would pick would actually be with the drums. Not the sequencing (at all), but the beefiness & clarity & impact of the sounds employed; I feel like kick & snare alike get overpowered a bit and don't have the presence/oomph of all the other wonderful elements. Other than that, this was a fun & futuristic space jam (come on... and slam) that weds searing guits & up-tempo rock sensibilities with some appropriately intergalactic context!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 5 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Nathan Allen Pinard
on 2016-06-23 10:19:29

This was definitely a fun track. Had a lot of great guitar performance. I feel the drums could've been engineered a bit better to be a bit more punchy. Possibly through some EQ/Compression or just the actual volume seems low. They get a bit muddy in the mix as a result. The song tends to drag a bit after the full flavor of the piece is released, but that's fairly subjective.

WesternZypher
on 2016-06-22 11:17:56

Reminds of WillRock - energetic, uplifting, slightly nostalgia-tinged of yesteryear (80's). Fun and boppy.

Songako
on 2016-06-20 21:28:31

Hakxto/Sixštok? Yes please! Glad to finally see this posted. I was hooked from the "first" DoD submission, but this version is clearer. It pays to persevere.

It also introduced me to Gradius music. I was never a fan of "Shoot 'em up" games. I'm sure I've missed out on many musical gems like this, but at least I can cross this one off the hypothetical list. Thanks!

Ivan Hakštok
on 2016-06-20 18:36:20

Woohooo, it's finally posted!

Huge thanks to Sixto who did the amazing guitar solo. This is how I got him to do it:

[17:16:50] Hakstock sixto
[17:16:59] sixto sixto
[17:17:10] Hakstock serious question now, I made my best song ever and I don't wanna ruin it with a crappy solo
[17:17:34] Hakstock wanna do the solo?
[17:17:41] Hakstock disclaimer: it's for DoD
[17:19:30] sixto well ok

I agree with most of the judges' remarks, but you have to know: this song probably went through 20+ revisions and started from scratch at least 3 times before it got to its current state, and I realized that with my current mixing and guitar playing skills and equipment, I can't make it better. :( But even with its few flaws, it sounds pretty good, I guess. :)

Also, I encourage everyone to listen to the source track to this song (and the rest of the Gradius Gaiden soundtrack), it's one of the most awesomest pieces of vgm:

Liontamer
on 2016-06-20 14:35:58

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