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Everything posted by Marmiduke

  1. This is just a fantastic mixer playing with his medium, and I find it pretty disappointing that so many people reacted against it back in the day, or just didn't seem to have a good time listening to it. Maybe it's that binster was a bit ahead of his time. While some see a choppy, messy configuration of synth and distortion, I see a sophisticated ballet of rhythm. And while it's technically not the most bewitching mix ever, it deserves a lot of credit. And furthermore, I think it's just plain enjoyable to listen to... never boring, never stagnant, short but crammed full of technique. Yes, it lack a certain catchiness, but by no means should that allow it to fly over your head.
  2. I like the philosophy behind this mix. It's not JUST a drumloop added to a resequenced midi, even though it so easily could have been. The added touches begin piling up, and it becomes a subtle, though rather repetitive, expansion of the tune. Yeah, more original material could have been written to flesh it out and easily made to fit in well, but I think enough was done to make this not sound like a total drag or send you loopy. It sounds old and certainly won't be something you'll find yourself listening to on repeat, but I liked the 'less is more' nature of this. So simple, nothing special, but it works.
  3. Despite the fact that this mix taps into Mario's Latin, tropical influences, I can't help but feel the gimmick doesn't pay off. There are definitely moments throughout the admittedly massive arrangement that actually put the flavour of the genre to good use, but moments like those are few and far between unfortunately. What is left is just a well-written medley in a Caribbean sound-font, and thus I feel the push was unnecessary. Transitions are mostly fine, things never get boring and it utilises a pretty eclectic array of songs from the Mario franchise, which are all pluses. I actually felt a bit embarassed that I didn't recognise a lot of the melodies in here... I guess I'm not as big a Mario fan as I thought... gotta play more of them. Some melodies are shortlived, undeveloped and are just there for the sake of being there, but with a mix of this substantial length, that's not the crime of the century. It's a hefty and unique take on the traditional medley, that's for sure. I'm not convinced that heavy doses of tropicana were crucial to the direction of the mix, but a well worked out medley of lesser covered Mario tunes deserves to be commended regardless.
  4. I was beginning to worry for this one by the two minute mark that this was going to be another trip down Prelude lane, albeit with a much harder edge. Thankfully, things become a lot more dynamic towards the centre and the lead synth starts to blazon a much less familiar trail. At over 6 minutes long, the result is much less a retread of Prelude, but a definitive study of it. It is bent, hammered and shredded into all sorts of new forms, but never loses that iconic arpeggiated accent that's integral to the theme. Guitar work is pretty stellar as the main thrust and power of the mix, and the solo is fantastic. Glad it didn't get too overboard and overtake the main theme. Drums sound pretty awesome as well. It's not my favourite choice for a lead synth of all time, but its serviceable and doesn't clash with the guitar. All up, it's quite a substantial interpretation on Prelude. It stops itself from becoming repetitive and warrants its running time by being creative, well played and well mixed. Love it.
  5. Once we break free from that looping flute melody, things actually get decent. I'm not looking for realism in these old tracks, but I am looking for cool ways to expand the melodies and I think this does that, or at least starts to do that. The arrangement is very off balance. Way too much conservative delivery, and as soon as the inventive segment comes along, it's a rush to the finish. Poor structuring, but some promising remixing really. I didn't mind the flute lead, the beats were a highlight, and while on the whole everything was a little washed out and distant, this at least gets a passing grade based on its age. It's kinda grating to start with, but I can't lie... I enjoyed what came after more than I was expecting.
  6. I've been noticing a trend with these really early mixes where, more than anything, they sound more like learning projects and experiments to see what sounds good and what doesn't. And as you would expect, some sound good and some don't. This doesn't. It's clear the mixer was playing with the tempo of the original melody and constructed a pretty bland imitation of a jazz arrangement to sell the changes, but the biggest problem is that nothing interesting or even new comes out of it. It's just more nails in the coffin when you hear that the samples used are chillingly bad. There are much nicer ways to hear the Zelda overworld theme.
  7. I'm amazed we don't hear as much of this genre here on the site outside of the hybrid-styles and the novelty mixes. Maybe because its really, really hard to pull off. And for the most part, that feat has been pulled off here. This is a nicely made, substantial metal mix that gets into the details of the melody line and has a good time infusing it with the power of those guitars. I wasn't as enthusiastic about the actual sound though, but it may be my own personal taste. Fullness in sound wasn't kicking in for me, and as has been repeated a few times, balance was a margin off the sweetspot for the perfect metal sound. Overall, its a positive effort and a nice, aggressive sounding trip through familiar territory. Obvious room for improvement, but an encouraging debut all the same.
  8. What a short burst of exuberant energy. It's length is definitely an issue for me, even though I do believe it says a lot in its running time. I just wish this had a bit more substantial weight to it. As the writeup says, this is more 'sitcom intro' than jazz club stuff, which actually works in its favour. It's silly, sunny and most of all, its an undeniably fun listen while it lasts. It's also important to note that the running time clearly does not indicate laziness on the mixers behalf. There's actually more happening here than a lot of 4:30+ remixes out there, and the mix feels longer than it is. The sax performance is particularly droolworthy. But alas, the track as a whole is still a lightweight in terms of its ambitions.
  9. WHAT ABOUT SPENCAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! lol, this mix is so damned gimmicky and generic... it sounds really old and dull... and it's over-reliant on sound clips... So then WHY do I LOVE this so MUCH!? It being a guilty pleasure is surely part of it, but I think Rayza's ear and mind for melody and colour play a larger part. With such ordinary, beige sounds and production, there is still that classic Rayza brilliance and flair shining through. This has far more character, charm and catchy personality than it probably was ever intended to, and quite honestly, this is one that has no right being as memorable as it is, based on the sum of its parts. Only it is. And I love that about it.
  10. Quite an unpredictable mix. The double-sided aspect of the track should complement itself at every opportunity, and this just doesn't. On the one hand, I really love the Crouching Tiger, acoustic style section and when I heard the mix sharply veering from that direction, I felt some remorse. It didn't help that the transition into the new direction was unsupportive of the new elements being introduced. However, the second part is ALSO quite good. The guitar wasn't as rich as I like, but it's still a wonderfully chuggy treatment. I like both sides of this coin, but its such a shame they seem so incompatible with each other. There's a real 'oil on water' effect here that probably should have been addressed long before it got to be judged, but if it's being judged on technical merits alone, there is far less things to find fault with. If nothing else, it's proof that smooshing together genres is a risk.
  11. This clearly rocks. It's a brilliant expansion on the original track, not only in arrangement but also in tone. It takes the sparseness of the original and gives it fuller, classic rock production that, while it could have been fuller, brings out strengths in the composition that I never knew were there. Finally, the theme's true potency has been activated, and it only took some awesome Neko guitar work to do it. I enjoyed the hell out of this; it's got a professional sound, it's technically stellar, it's fast and it's loud. Definitely not just another Chrono Trigger mix.
  12. Nice classical elaboration on a what was originally a handful of notes. It's a sweet, brisk thing that obviously expands the material into a sustainable form. Definitely didn't sense that it was a very challenging mix to make; I'm a fan of Dhsu and believe that this arrangement would be achievable for him while comatose, but not every piano rendition needs to be Shnababula levels of intricacy, particularly of a source of this simplicity. The little touches like the spacing between notes make it worth it. This is fairly non-descript territory to be sure, but its always good to hear the ivory played well.
  13. I'd be very surprised if this mix wasn't modeled off of Maxwell's Silver Hammer. The likeness is uncanny, and as a tribute to that great Beatles song and a great Koji Kondo song, I can't think of how it could be done any better. Very much a conceptual piece, but not necessarily without extra merits. It's got great variety, it packs a lot of material and instrumental diversity into its swift running time, and its showcases the jazzy side of SMB2. It's a nicely crafted, well wrapped package that doesn't seem capable of offending anyone's ears. I wouldn't class it as super special, but its fun sound gives it staying power.
  14. Some things gel and some things sort of miss the mark, but it's the moon theme! It practically fills in any flaws for you. The standout thing in this mix for me is the interesting, slight spin on the arrangement that almost reinvents the entire melody. It's a terrific little surprise every time. I love the loungey, artificial nature of the whole affair but the strings, while a beautiful touch, overpower the mix with a tendency to get quite tinny. I also had some minor problems with the way certain tracks were sequenced together. More attention to transitions and harmonies would have quelled all my issues. But rest assured, they didn't get in the way of me really enjoying this one. Nothing super here, but it goes down smooth nonetheless.
  15. Golly, this is an excellent slab of prime electronica. Superbly light, clean, reflective sounds here that sit on the border between chiptune and high quality synth. It makes for some ultra, ULTRA catchy melodies that have been really well arranged into something that sounds both instantly familiar and refreshingly new. It may be my favourite arrangement of the themes I've heard to date, and that's saying a lot considering how popular they are. Not too much to say about the mix, to be honest. It's yet another slickly manufactured, effortless electro-opus from WillRock, whose track record just gets better and better.
  16. The Donkey Kong Country soundtrack has a dark, atmospheric vibe that I don't think anyone has nailed nearly as well as Vigilante with this mix. Simply put, this is a stunning rendition of an incredible melody. It's pretty hard to mess up such rich material, but its even harder to surpass it. The intro makes me sway, the body makes me a kid again and the outro makes my heart ache. A beautiful piece of music that isn't betrayed by its ambition or its performances. Everything comes together effortlessly and in its own time, resulting in a sexy, soulful masterpiece. Much love for this one.
  17. Woah, very out-of-left-field approach to this one. Always a good thing. I liked the Eastern instrumentation a lot more than the grander, symphonic stuff just because the Eastern stuff sounded a little more authentic, or at least more distinct from similar, better samples out there today. Horns and strings didn't really sell me on the mix, whereas the woodwinds and percussion really did. So it's definitely not a consistently impressive mix, and yet its perfectly competent and easy to listen to. I appreciate what's been done with tempo and arrangement, but this is ultimately a debut mix that fails to break through the ceiling of 'not-badness'.
  18. Ohhh yeah. It's good to hear that people 'get' Animal Crossing music. There's some really catchy, melodic jingles crammed into it, and that fact alone led me to jump through a lot of hoops just to collect all those KK songs. Pain in the ass, but worth it. The best thing about this mix, besides the fact that it's got smoking production, is that it captures the Animal Crossing vibe whilst also ramping up the listenability. The use of the signature game assets make sure you don't forget the mix's humble origins, which I love. The whistling is a super, super nice touch that was handled in all the right ways and is eerily complementary to the excellent guitar work. As far as emphasising the strength of melody, this mix pulls out all the stops and ensures everyone can enjoy what Animal Crossing has to offer. I've gotta admit, I prefer this version to the KK version now; its the best of both worlds. Although when KK's unique vocals burrow into your psyche, you're a fan for life.
  19. This is rough stuff, but I actually quite liked it. It's got a skewed angle on the melody, and the beat isn't as prosaic as what could have been. It's got some identity to its own and sets itself above something some dude could have shat out in under 2 hours during the early 2000s. Synths are iffy and the strings are a bit of a cliche, despite helping harmonise some of the strangeness that the odd pacing provides. Overall, this is far from a disaster debut for JAXX, but yeah, sounds very early.
  20. A no-brainer 5 star mix. It's a wonderfully slowed down, textural take on a a track that naturally suits being played fast. Giving the melody room to breathe and explore uncharted territory unlocks so much more than I ever dreamed existed within Mega Man music. As far as I'm concerned, the faux orchestra elements (especially those in the intro) are very much an acquired taste, but I actually wouldn't trade them for anything. The mix has a nice Harry Gregson Williams-esque sound that I really dig. Sounds like a lot of people had an issue with the goofy, homoerotic title, as well. While it may not match the tone of the music, it is memorable. And sometimes, that's an invaluable thing to be, especially when the music deserves to be remembered. I frigging love this mix and consider it one of the more listenable and inventive from the Mega Man mix catalog.
  21. This sounds like something you'd hear playing over the main menu of a licensed Sega Genesis game. I consider this a good thing. Not good technically. Far from it. I think this mix sounds godawful. But it captures a nice personality that I actually connected with, strangely enough. I think this is a weirdly hilarious mix. The last section is actually not too bad, and it proves this mix could have gone to some interesting places. But apart from my guilty attraction to the absurdity of this one, it is VERY far past its use-by date and is pretty laughable in comparison to most of its peers, even from the same time period.
  22. It's a pretty simple approach to the source arrangement-wise, but this mix is largely all about technique, unique sounds bouncing off one another, layered textures and a driving beat. The entire equation results in a very interesting sonic whirlwind that feels longer than it is, but doesn't overstay its welcome. I do think that despite the large amount of gradual variation in sound and idea, the mix teeters close to the 'repetitious loop' effect due to the lack of expansion in arrangement. But once you grasp that this is a conservative interpretation of a theme that is effectively used to showcase some intricate glitchy wizardry goodness... my ears are at peace once more. As it stands, its one of the more enlightened remakes around.
  23. Deep stuff. I love the blend of light and rich sounds to create that really fragile mood. Melody is downplayed to a very faint proportions, which I think works well and allows the strengths of depth and mood take center stage. Love the prominence of the percussive elements in this one; really sells the vibe in spades. Listening to this, and the consistency in the instrumentation, instantly calls up imagery of ice, caverns, water and COLD. Perfectly atmospheric and a terrific mood piece.
  24. Uh yeah... I'm not going to list the many positive things about this because I actually think I'd fall short of doing it justice. Vampire Hunter Dan is just a special dude. The caliber of this mix is ridiculous. Damn him for being so good. Pure talent and a sublime ear for classical arrangement. Standing ovation. One of my all time favourites. That is all. I hope I properly conveyed that I thought this mix was decent.
  25. This is the music Jesus works out to. As far as blatant homages go, this is just golden. While it's given the advantage of having marinated for 20 years in eighties nostalgia, it also has a tone that makes fun of itself. It is the joke, and that joke is so good it doesn't need a punchline. I really love the driving synths in this one. Things don't get WillRocky (now an official adjective thanks to this mix) until the second half, which I quite like. The 80s guitar work is a natural progression from the synth routine, saving the mix from being consumed by its own self-referencing. Underneath the loving mockery is a well crafted, well interpreted melody. Very nicely handled. It's a shame that such a great track sprung from a game I'll likely never play, but given its a zircon original, I feel the need to give the OST a listen at least. Now if you excuse me, I must go and be unstoppable fist-smashy machine. Yours sincerely, Mr. Dolph Lundgren
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