Mr. Hu

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  1. I think the brush scrapes (I think that's what they are) during the first 33 seconds are far too loud, or take up far too much frequency space. They basically sound like white noise hiss, which doesn't establish a very relaxing mood, heh. There's also just too much bass frequency in the left ear, and the snare sample from 1:10 to 1:29 is too...."blatty"? Might need a different sample, or maybe the velocities should be dialed down. I like the very humanized rests. You have the potential for a ton of neat interplay/cycling though with your instruments here, so to complete your arrangement, maybe you could just get a complete drum and bass bed frame down, and add things on top, and take out sections of whatever as you go along in order to have more features for the individual tracks.
  2. Yo can I just say that while some of the production hasn't aged well (mainly the cymbal hard panned in the left) this arrangement, the second half especially, still holds up so well. The drums are perfectly repetitive and that the guitars DON'T solo has me still bumping this track as cleaning my kitchen music after all these years. Still my fave FFVII ReMix.
  3. Mr. Hu

    OCR03857 - Skies of Arcadia "The MFD"

    As someone who listened to the "Love Hurts" Sonic 1 remix two hundred times over the last 15 years, this almost sounds like a sequel to that song. Or a companion piece, at least. I'd agree that it's better than the source, for sure. And I actually quite like that I need to turn it up a little!
  4. I'm actually a huge fan of those low horns in the intro. You know, that late 80s "Wonderful World of Computer Music" cheese. When they're used in the right place, that is. The last minute of this was so ridiculous and different, and for that, I loved it. Can we get a Techno Viking version, anyone?
  5. Mr. Hu

    OCRA-0069 - Arcadia Legends

    Right! The valves. Together with the voices it becomes a very intimate track. Personal. A big, collective sigh.
  6. Mr. Hu

    OCRA-0069 - Arcadia Legends

    Coding Angel stands out for sure, as it's the only one with a lead vocal. It's a funny one, too. After having these marinate for about a week, I think Undervalued is the one that gets me the most (reasons somewhat intangible really), and the first 4 songs of Disc 3 back-to-back-to-back-to-back is such quality, quality run. I wrote a little something about every track because this was the first OCR album I was this pumped for in ages, and it was nice to feel like a kid again, waiting for it to drop. Disc 1 The Voyage Begins Such a great opening theme, and you get right into it! This is one of a couple on this album that could fit seamlessly into the actual game. I can never mix solo piano with other instruments in my own music too well, so nice job on that. From 2:52 onward was really all I needed, deep down, from this entire album. I mean, everything else is also super nice!! Legend in the Making As much as I appreciate face melting virtuosity, I EQUALLY appreciate 8th note / 16th note chugging guitars and bass. It just scratches the itch that the mathy or proggy stuff can't, you know? This strikes a nice balance between serious and playful, which suits the character of Vyse well. The extra couple notes after the origial motif plays is a good touch. Blue Skies, Pirate Surprise This one changes and/or escalates fast and often in just three minutes, and I try to do similar stuff in my own music. I dig it! There's some great interplay between the synths and guitars, each falling back and jumping forward again to be the lead. Delicious bubbly bass towards the end. One of the shortest tracks on the album but it covers a lot of ground, and very re-listenable because of that. Rogue Sanctuary Getting a little Carl W. Stalling vibe from the percussion, but then it swells to something wider. Great adventurous, open sky (or open sea) vibe from this. Mischievous and also sweeping, capturing the spirit of the game (climbing that huge ladder into the air...), and I can't help but compare it to the original with how close it sounds. I prefer this new version, I gotta say Secret Bass Gritty but smooth, and I'm always into bass puns. Largemouth bass, second bassman, etc. Reading the artist notes, I never would have thought that this ReMix went through so many different iterations, because it just seems like this was meant to always be exactly like this. I guess that's the beauty of a “finished” piece of music. It is what it is, and it'll be like that forever! I like the vocal and seagulls here, especially. Into the Deep Dark Oh man, I would listen to the OCR version of this one over a decade ago all the time (can't remember off hand who did it, but check it out), and always had it as, like, the secondary version of Dungeon of the Cave when I got tired of listening to the OG version. THIS version is quite different, and just has so much richness to it, movement to movement, and is very evocative. If ever a SoA film were to be made, I can easily see the section Delphinus flying under Valua to fight the yellow Gigas with this ReMix playing. Getting a lot of drama out of the source, for sure. Arcadian Assault Love this battle theme, and keeping the same tempo as the original and just adding a beat and some flair would have been passable, but I'm really into the slowed down, de-tuned vibe here! Love your instrument choice all-around, I must say. The second half is more than a little 80s, and is one of my favorite 90 seconds of music I've heard in several months, really. There's an album called “Something” from a band called Chairlift that has a really similar sound. Victory! Glory! Profit? Takes the melody you hear more times than any in the entire game and adds a LOT of extra little riffs to it. Those shiny kick drums and that lead...out of everything off this entire album, this ReMix sounds the most “SEGA” to me - like something from an options menu from one of those Sonic collection GCN discs - so bonus points for that, even if it wasn't intentional! Really well-arranged for such a tiny source tune, tasteful wubs useage, and perfectly upbeat (“I wish they were all that easy!"). A Sailor's Respite I like how this one kind of sways back and forth, like a boat in the ocean. Or a drunken sailor. A drunken sailor who thinks very highly of himself, with that harpsichord! This is another one with a lot of melodic richness to it (as mentioned in the artist notes), and does justice to the spirit of the source material. The Silver Crystal Really like those pads at 0:55 that are only around for a tiny bit. Nice little fake-out, and there are several little moments like that. Great one-off fills, and a few sections that kind of lilt more than groove. Keeps things less predictable and more interesting. I like that I expected a note-y piano solo to start in the second minute, but it never does. I mean, that would have been good too, but nice restraint. Lets the source melody stand out the most. Better Days I love him as a character, and have played through this game half a dozen times, but I can't even recall what Drachma's theme is off the top of my head....and listening to this, I couldn't pick it out! I guess that's on me, haha. But I like the clopping at 1:30, and LOVE the toy pianos. Can literally never go wrong with toy pianos. Nice horn interplay in the second half, too. “Better Days” would fit this one well, even if it was a totally original tune. Sepia tone for sure. On Wings of Feathers As much as I adore the SoA main theme AND the Little Jack theme, I NEVER noticed that they're melodically linked until listening to this ReMix. Since like, 2003. Until 2018. Wow. Anyhow, great sax, does it's job perfectly. This reminds me of how the newer Mario Kart games have re-vamped some of the classic MK tunes. Left the original bassline intact at the end, which I'm a fan of. Disc 2 Blasting the Sand Demon This fuggin' rips. The blast beats tread the line between realism and programmed so well; I'm really impressed by them. And even more impressed by the mixing of all these guitar layers. Crunchy and busy but no mud at all. If I was mixing this I'd be so frustrated with my snare sound and would give up totally, but you made it all work. And the riffage, duh. I actually laughed when 3:20 started because it's exactly what I wanted to happen at that moment in my life. From the Perilous Skies to Your Heart This reminds of all those OC ReMixes I had burned to CD from like 2003-2005. I don't know if you were going for the “new millennium” club mix sound, but this ReMix has such a nostalgic vibe to it. Having the main melody soar over everything is a great touch. Driving and heroic, this one. The climb starting at 4:30, and then going all the way to the end...sublime. Valse pour un Prince Rebelle Man, Enrique's theme is one I would have never agreed to, not gonna lie. He's such a wet blanket character, and his theme is one of my least favorite pieces of music from the game. You made it so much more colorful with a waltz. And the stings you used are actually pretty close to the ones used in the OST (a bit more modern, of course), which makes me feel like this could almost be an SoA lost track! Valhorteka “Horetka Stomp” is a classic for me, too. The rainstick/tambourine thing at the start is great. What I really appreciate in this is how the flute(s) are mixed lower than the guitars and drums. I am by no means a pro mixer but I think that adds an extra touch of realism. That change-up around 2:50 is wonderful. Flute stabs now. Everything is percussive. Michael Flatley is here. Then the melody returns. A really fantastic little breakdown. Inner Reflections Always impressed when a simple source tune is fleshed out so thoroughly. The hollow waves and vocoder stuff butted up against that very tangible and warm acoustic guitar make a beautiful juxtaposition. One of the loveliest moments on the album, I'd say. A lot of extra touches here but also very digestible, which I always appreciate in electronic music. Rusted Hopes Very faithful Anglo-Saxon update of the original, and a little more hopeful, yes. Like it could symbolize a new beginning rather than the end of the line. Several melodic lines are quite wonderful, all interweaving and then falling away. I'm thinking of each new instrument as a character visiting a person who's lost hope, to convince them to stand back up. Especially into all the metallic instruments here. Nice and jangly/plucky. The Darkness is Already Here There's an incredible moment in the source when the main loop stops and these synth keys come in with a really beautiful little riff, and I was so pleased that it appears here, softly, under those shrieks of...whatever that is, hah. I was startled, and then like “there it is!” ...I'm sure some of this is because I'm not too familiar with much of the utilized instruments, but I can't pick out what's real and what's sampled here, which is a good thing. Something interesting: After listening to this album, I looked through some Remixer Profiles, and saw that ZykO also did “Of Transformants and Brevity”. Dude, I think I must've downloaded that one right as it was posted like a decade and a half ago, and to this day it's one of my absolute favorites. Really cinematic, tense, and brooding, and I can trace elements of it all the way up to this Dark Rift mix. Pretty sweet. You definitely have your own sound that's been evolving. Il buono, il brutto, il pirata dell'aria. As a Morricone acolyte (he is arguably the most versatile living classical composer), this is all I could ask for in a ReMix. Presenting the source material in an original and creative way while still keeping it easily recognizable, with authentic sounds and performances to boot. This shows a lot of love to both the original and the genre it's reinterpreted in. Formidabile! Shrouded Void I love the choice of lead. Cuts through the void, you could say! Nice and resonant. Love the little square waves that come in after 2 minutes. Really digging that you just let it groove and swell for a while, before the solo, which itself is great. Sometimes I hear synth solos that fly too far off the handle with the pitch bending and length, but this was short and very sweet. Undervalued This is one of my faves from the game, and boy, this is MIGHT be my favorite on this album. Jeez. I listened three times in a row on my first run-through. Like you said in the notes, you really brought the percussion out, and combined with your choice of instruments and overall flavor of sound design, this is so refreshing. It's actually not too far off what I would have *tried* to do with the Valua theme (I wouldn't have done it this well). The vocals (a couple near-off voices sometimes have so much more emotion than an entire far-off choir), the glass breaking, the bass (I used to play this on bass all the time, haha)...this one is going into my OCR HoF. Love love love. Coding Angel Turning Gilder's Theme into a pop song about struggling with learning how to program (or perhaps crushing on someone in your PC lab :3 ) is such a fun twist (and I absolutely feel the writer's pain). It's such a simple source tune, and that you thought of a way to squeeze such a creative idea out of it makes me smile. Just the fact that there are actual singing/lyrics makes it one of the most catchy (and singable) songs on the album. To the Horizon In my head, the Delphinus theme would be a really tough one on its own, so having it weave in and out of other themes as part of a larger medley (and also keeping with the meta-narrative of the game's overworld) was a smart choice, and this track really has guts. I would never be able to glue all these themes together and have it hold a listener's interest for 13 miutes. The brass on the Armada theme is HEAVY. I love it. Town of Ice right before it is also super pretty. Those are probably my two favorite sections. Or movements? I always enjoyed the Little Jack theme more than the Delphinus's in the game, but if I had this tune playing instead, things would be different. Disc 3 The MFD Really good percussion in the arrangement and panning departments... this track has so many great dynamic subtleties; the ongoing level/velocity adjustments in the instrumentation make the whole song breathe. Tracks like this make me strain to try and figure out what's live and what isn't, and I actually had to read the artist notes to be sure! Such great texture and timbre in those keys. Literally everything here is tasty and tasteful. The original song was also remade for Sega All-Star Racing or whatever that game was called, but this version of course offers so much more. Brain Sound Tilt YUP. These are some Alva Noto-esque high frequencies skittering around in here, hitting my ears in all the right spots. I don't know if they're synths or samples or what, but they're so physiologically satisfying. This is like an evil club dirge. Love the dissonant riff at 3:16. Glitchy but very followable. Perfect for that SoA remake or sequel that won't ever happen. And flows nicely into... ...Black Moon Whooooo boy, all this bass...it's like Gigas energy leaking out. Or something. REALLY made the most out of this source, holy cow. 2:09 – 2:32 is the boss's sauce. Belongs on a Kanye record. This whole thing is a jam and half. The power-down at the very end is the kind of ear candy that helped me justify buying nice speakers. Nervousness in Just Bravery Disguised It's a quote from the game, right? This is yet ANOTHER piece from the game that I wouldn't have any earthly idea how to reinterpret, and you killed it. 3:10 to the end is an album standout moment for me. The kick throughout the song and and filthy bass tone around 1:45 reminds me a lot of a band called Big Black, the “Atomizer” record in particular. This is and the previous two tracks really fit together seamlessly, and really hold you and don't let go. Nice job on the ordering! Life in a Vyse Like the plate on everything here. Contrasts well with the other rock/metal tracks thus far that have the more compressed, clean-your-chrome thing going on. This one is a little more 70s with that sick ELP “Tarkus” organ + bass riffage. Closing with the “we're winning this” version playing in soaring guitar hero fashion, and then the last two death blows on those low notes. <3 Shining Silver For sure a stand-out on the original OST, and a stand-out on AL as well. Out of all the orchestral jams on this album, this one sounds the most expansive {and also perhaps the most expensive...is that the Vienna Symphonic }, like I'm in space. Taken up to the Silver Shrine itself. Every instrument section here is drenched in just the right amount of reverb and panned very, very well, and the female choir, when it appears, is a beautiful touch. God's Ambition Mallets and woodwinds add some great color. This one is similar to “Into the Deep Dark” at first, more cinematic and then BREAKS LOSE with the Wobbly Reese x John Williams combo that I don't think I've ever heard before. Doing the analog meets electronic thing works so well with the aesthetic of the Armada. The battle against Galcian is my favorite in the game, and I think this is my favorite of all of the great stuff Deedubs did on their own for this album. In Solitude, I Scream The original always made me think of “A Warm Place”, by NIN. This ReMix does what I can never do, which is make a more ambient source and reinvigorate it without simply adding a 4-on-the-floor beat. The resonant bass harmonics at 2:40 are so gross, in the best way. Swirling arpeggios are very dungeon-like, for sure. Unknown Menace I love how sinister the source riff is, and I love whatever instrument/synth that is you used to play it here (4:35 especially, with the hissing/breathing sounds also there). So spooky. Also like how stabby this. Get a bit of mid-90s "Next Step Electronica" keys going on here. Tempo-stretched Fina dipping low into a buzzing, baroque breakdown to end the first half was a super cool moment. Silver Nightmare I guess to do a song like this, the guitar needs to be super on-point, while the orchestral element has to be less rigid to the tempo, keeping things sounding nice a human. Nice work with that, because it totally works. All the soft sections here are GORGEOUS, whoa. 2:57 onward is my favorite bit of guitar playing on the album. Nice tone, hitting all the right notes, and the perfect amounts of them. The End of a Dream There are more orchestral pieces on this album than any other style (I think....), and they have so many different motifs and changes, and so much motion in them...to have this final one be on the shorter side, and focusing mainly on the source, and the slow, dramatic sinking on the continent...it's really a perfect final movement. Does exactly what it needs to do within the context of an album that's following the course of the game. Wonderful. Hearth and Home The coda. Can't even tell if that cello's “real” or not. So much meticulous string-craft (that's not a word) in here, and at this slow tempo with all those sustained notes, that kind of thing can be risky. But it's sounds so good. And yo, It's the staff roll! You could've just done a solo piano jawn! But instead you things three steps further. The ¾ section with the guitar is my favorite part. But the whole thing is super pretty. --------------- So, yes, as someone who used to be obsessed with Skies of Arcadia Legends and is still obsessed with it's music (or the Dreamcast version's....the GCN version had sampled-down soundtrack, and you can really tell if you do a YouTube comparison), this Arcadia Legends album now sits next to Worlds Apart as one of my two favorites from OCR. Reading the artist notes, I was surprised to discover that so many people that worked on these remixes had never played the game! But their stuff sounded fantastic anyhow. It goes to show you how music from games doesn't have to have a nostalgic connection to mean something to people. Or any music, really. It also goes to show you how tenacious Darkflamewolf was in getting this thing done, just straight-up recruiting people. The plan was in motion for 3 years, and that's along time to direct anything. I'm impressed! I wish I had bothered to look at the OCR forums before 2018 or I would have volunteered. BUT, “Dungeon of Ice” was never claimed! It's one of the OST's best, and I'm halfway done my own version already, inspired by listening to all these great tunes. Anyhow, beautiful work, everyone. Happy New Year, and congrats!
  7. This is KUH-RISSPEEE. Not very often do I hear glitch-flavored stuff at this tempo, and this so much more digestible than the stuff I have to listen to three times to grasp. All your sound design is more exposed because of it, but I don't hear any cracks at all. Really milking the chilled-out side of those echo-ey sine waves. Delicious, very cold milk. I love this one.
  8. Mr. Hu

    OCRA-0069 - Arcadia Legends

    ^It was worth it! The WEIGHT of the Armada motif alone made it worth it. Sounds great. Was wondering about the tracklisting, but I got used to it quickly. There's a lot of really creative stuff in here. On my 3rd listen through, haha.
  9. Mr. Hu

    OC ReMix presents Arcadia Legends!

    Downloading now, just as excited for listening to this as I am for actual Christmas........
  10. Mr. Hu

    Arcadia Legends - History

    Haven't been this pumped for an OCR album in....a decade maybe?? Let's gooooo!
  11. Yeah, I think you have pieces of 2 different versions of a remix kind of butted up against each other. I've seen Blade Runner (and played through FFVII...) probably a dozen times, and Vangelis's music is mostly ambient, and while the synths are easy enough to replicate (get it?), using those big pad swells and bright twinkles to flesh out a full track (not just something that sounds like BGM), even one like Aeris's theme, can be tough. I quite like the arpeggios in the second part, maybe you can reuse that idea for something in the future! 2019 is just in a few weeks......
  12. Mr. Hu

    Inspirational OC ReMixers. Ego food donations.

    Was SUPER into OCR from maybe early 2000 until around 2006 (I think traced from McVaffe's "Liquid Mario" I downloaded on Napster...a couple years later I had a small collection of burned OCR CDs with tracklist stickers I spent more time than on my homework making), then didn't really check up on things (or even considered making my own music) until 2011, so there is a huge gap in my timeline. Honestly though, I'd have to say that very few arrangement influences came from here, in the sense of, you know, you listen to a song/album a zillion times and it becomes part of your songwriting DNA. The true inspiration for me was knowing there was a community of people that were making good-to-great-to-amazing sounding music on their own, for free, out of love for their craft and for games. That kind of collective mindset was, and is now, very inspirational and motivational to me, and it has also helped elevate game music to a place well-deserved. If I had to pick 3 people who impressed me the most during my early years, and had me keep coming back to this site, they'd be Scott Peeples (lost to time, perhaps, but boy, still bumping C&C "Mud Mix" to this day), McVaffe (glad he's back-ish) and DJ Pretzel (duh!).
  13. Terrific! Like vinyl that would be spinning in a record store at 7 pm on a Sunday as they’re getting ready to close.
  14. Mr. Hu

    Arcadia Legends - History

    Awesome!!!! Really excited to hear this one! One of my fave games ever and an overlooked gem of an OST for sure (the Dreamcast version especially). Very interested on how the Dark Rift theme turned out above all. One day I'll get around to a version of Ice Dungeon. Probably my favorite track from the whole game (but only played during that weird quiz/slide section...).
  15. Mr. Hu

    Tall Drinks...Taller Tales

    The bagpipe reminds me of an organ used in a couple songs by The Doors, and so I keep half-expecting some self-aggrandizing psychedelic lyrics whenever it comes in. Really nice riffs though! Catchy and pretty straightforward but plenty little touches added to keep it spicy. (As spicy as Celtic food gets, anyway...) Good levels of reverb on the whole thing, too.