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Everything posted by Marmiduke

  1. I don't want to slander this mix anymore than it already has been, so I'll keep this pretty brief. The ancient samples are horrid, I won't lie. They suck and its a real shame. I actually think this mix does some really cool things (possibly even ahead of its time on OCR) with deconstructing the melody and creating expansive, atmospheric sections out of a short chiptune. There are really cool ideas that are actually nicely executed in this piece..... but of course, it's all bookended by some awfully dull electronica that could pass off as comedic homage these days. For the things it does right though, I wont classify this with the worst the site has to offer. It's not good, but it had what it took to be.
  2. There's some great, interpretive stuff happening in the background, but I was left wanting so much more from this piece. I agree that this is a theme that deserves respect, and to not start messing around with it is a way of being respectful to it, but I would have preferred some dignified alterations to the main melody, other than the decorative piano cheerleading going on behind it. It's all nice, but so is the original. The arrangement is terribly unexciting and a missed opportunity. Furthermore, the piano sample is tinny and fails to draw the emotional potential out of the notes. A piano rendition of this theme (while this is still a very pleasant piece of work) should be much more. I just think that when you have a big canvas and a big brush, you should paint with big strokes. And this seemed far too close to the original to be considered something truly great. I do like what's here, but I LOVE the SNES version... so I feel there's something lost with the decisions made in this remix.
  3. Mixes like this used to be my thing back when I was a new to the site. I ate this stuff up and ignored pretty much everything else that wasn't orchestrated (and well-orchestrated, at that). And while I'm happy that my taste and appreciation has broadened a great deal, it's easy to see why I gravitated to mixes like this one. It marries complexity with an almost visceral satisfaction, and even at a naive age I could understand that. You've really got to love the layered approach to the production and the great use of vocals, strings and brass. Fantastically cinematic, and restrained at the same time. The nice break from the escalating violins in the bridge is really cool and one of my favourite moments. This is full of remarkable little touches and comes out incredibly refined because of it. It's mixes like this one that made me such a mega-fanboy for this site and the music on it. Truly impeccable work. Now where the eff is GrayLightning? I feel like I'm praising to a brick wall here.
  4. Dripping with ambiance and a wonderful blend of peace and sadness. It's that perfect balance of mood and chillness that makes this such a pleasant listen. It's harmonious, dare I say immersive, music. I don't quite know how fitting this is as a dirge, but whatever. This mix is a little on the subtle side and it's easy to pass this one by, but it would be a shame to. The ingredients that have gone into this are seemingly ageless, and sound as tranquil as they ever did. I'm a huge fan of whistles in ambient pieces, so this was always going to suit me to a tee. Don't let the small reach of this mix allow you to pass over this one. It well deserves some more listens.
  5. Yeeeaaah. This is how you mix an OutRun song. You take everything Sega composers have ever done, mush it all up into a big snowball of 1990s Genesis homages, and throw it back even harder. This is all sorts of brilliance. And I mean that, it's all over the place but awesome throughout. Synchronicity is strangely inconsistent, I noticed... but other than that... I am wowed. Variety is this mix's major plus, but others include creativity, guitar work, arrangement that fittingly exceeds what I deem necessary for high marks, and of course, there's even a bitching organ rocking throughout. It tells a great, contained story as well, and I don't know if I was ever IMMERSED in it, but it definitely doesn't hurt the mix either. This is the definitive version of this song. I'm so glad it was posted.
  6. Really into this mix, and all others like it, at the moment. Layers of jazzy complexity smothered with golden, guitar-honey. Easy listening with as much depth as you desire. Just a great combination of styles. I can't really fault this. I;m reading conflicting reports that it does and does not sound like the source material. I'm not too familiar with the track in question, but I'm pretty sure its the foundation of the mix itself and that's enough to convince me. In that light, the level of writing and arranging is absolutely breathtaking and my hat is off to PoD for tackling an arrangement with such grandiose ambition. It well and truly delivers on that ambition, and I'm more than happy to regularly listen to this one in future.
  7. Awesome progressive metal representation! And a terrific mix concept too. I've never considered what the inside of Bowser's head would sound like, but I'm pretty sure this would come close to it. After spending so much time outfitting your lair with booby traps, lava pits and minions, I'd be pissed off watching someone traverse it all without breaking a sweat too. This mix is littered with ingenuity and complexity, and operates on dual levels of the stylistic spectrum. It goes from technical metal wizardry to an undeniably brilliant traditional heavy guitar climax. It conveys its narrative about as well as any mix I've heard on the site, and does it with style and substance. On top of that, and most importantly, it's just a great listen. You'd be mistreating yourself to not give this at least a once-through. The genre may not be for every pair of ears, but its hard to deny the amount of skill present in it.
  8. On a first listen, my initial thoughts were that this was perhaps a little safe, especially considering Salzman's cred. However, repeat listens revealed a whole lot more than just the happy-techno cover I thought I'd stumbled upon. I really like the shifts in tone, and the great alterations made to the pace, structure and melody itself of the source. It has to be hard to find a way to manipulate and expand such strong source material, and Salzman has done it with restraint, creativity and clarity. This is not something that blows me out of the water, production-wise... arrangement-wise or anything-wise. But removed from my expectations, there is a crazy amount of joy to be had with this one. It's cheerfulness cranked up to full and a more interesting take on the original than the genre might lead you to believe.
  9. Among the most memorable mixes that have graced the site. I haven't heard this in many years, and there wasn't a single day of those years that I wouldn't have been able to recall this tune, thanks to the infectious, upbeat catchiness of its melody and production. And as good as the music is, I think the writing is just as stellar. Everything about this mix seems customised to the utmost of its Celtic potential, and it just oozes personality and fun because of it. I don't think it's a stretch to say that EVERYONE has fun listening to this, and that very few people will immediately forget it. Fierce contender for my favourite vocal mix on the entire site, despite its length and novel approach. It makes it work, and makes it work scarily well.
  10. Completely forgot that SMB3 World 3 was the forefather of the Fairy Fountain theme from Zelda. Epic as hell. Mustin does a tremendous job with the material here, and on a technical level, its a powerhouse. Effective as synthetic instruments are, I think a mix like this proves just how beneficial and special live instruments are, particularly when it's 100% live acoustic. Though it does show signs of being pieced together and not recorded in the one session, it hardly makes a difference. The live vibe is there, and it sounds great. I liked the sax and the harmonica lead, whereas other elements veered on the edge of being lost in the back. A close and focused listen really brings those elements out though. Overall, this brings a lot to a very simple melody. It's catchy, elegant and overall, it has an awesome personality thanks to its intimate approach and live emphasis. Feel good stuff.
  11. Gosh, this one is a real stretch to even be deemed to be associable with Final Fantasy 8. I had to listen to the source about 5 times before I even pieced together a plausable way in which this could pass off as being even loosely inspired by the same melodies. Really, REALLY pushing the limits of interpretation here. Not even copyright lawyers could nail the mixer on infringement for this one. Anyway, despite being 90% original, its actually kinda boring on top of it all. A very prosaic approach to mixing, constant repetition and a dated sound leave me questioning how this song is even still around. I don't know, maybe this was at the forefront of energetic mixing back in the day, but today its a retrospective I just wish I wasn't listening to.
  12. This was the mix that got me into Final Fantasy music, despite having never played a Final Fantasy game (and I still haven't). It's almost like a best-of collection that highlights just how great the compositions are. If this mix does one thing amazingly well, it is that it represents. Anyone looking for arrangements are very much out of luck, but with such an early piece (as well there being about a bajillion other Final Fantasy mixes that emphasise arrangement), I can turn a blind eye. This did a lot for me back in the day, and while I'm sure I would have discovered how brilliant the FF scores were at some point, I'm glad I found it through such cool means. Samples and arrangement aside, 11 years on and you could still do much worse than to be listening to this medley.
  13. Bahahahahaha. It's got everything working against it, and yet... I gotta admit, I don't hate it. I give it some credit. It made an attempt at working out an arrangement. And that would been a decent succes, if it wasn't so goddamned hilariously out of tune. The lack of harmony in this is beyond what I thought was possible in the OCR database. The SNES-era samples are far, far too shrill, and to go up a key was a disasterous move. The playing with pitch was a nice small addition, but it doesn't do much to save the mix. I can't deny, however, that I did bop along to this. It's a celebration of trashiness, of which I stand by diligently. Just don't let standards ever drop to these levels ever again. EVAR!
  14. Hahaha. I just love it when a mix like this comes on. SO HARSHLY juxtaposed to the amount of quality production available on the site, and yet... I find myself enjoying this 5 times as much as almost everything else. I mean, let's face it. This is borderline brutal listening by today's standards. But the bizarre combination of Genesis-era samples, insane unhinged synths and that undeniably sinister yet joyous melody creates something unforgettable. It can't be healthy to enjoy it as much as I do. /plays it again.
  15. The pared-down sounds are a great idea in concept, but I don't know about whether a mix like this succeeds in establishing itself beyond an homage to its musical roots. I like chiptunes, especially the original Castlevania NES tracks, but there's something lost in the transition for this one. The soundscape is dry and barren. The samples are quite fargone, and othertimes sound exactly like oldschool hardware. Which is nice for nostalgia-nuts, but that nostagia only gives a piece of music so much mileage. Production and arrangement are also methodical. I don't know whether it's the age of this mix, or the confused simplification of the melody, but this hasn't stayed competitive at all. It's one of the first straight chip mixes, to be sure. But save for a few glimmers of creativity, it's a pretty empty version of a great piece of music.
  16. At first, I was very wary of this mix and where it was going. It starts off very note-faithful and, for my tastes, doesn't show enough interpretation soon enough. Thankfully, it does blossom into some extremely funky jazz renditions on the theme, and introduces new instruments in a steady pace. But for such a short mix, I really think this spends too much time establishing the main melody, of which most people are pretty familiar with anyway. Save for that, things are sublime in all aspects. Production is sharp, samples are punchy, and when the arrangement guns are firing on all cylinders, things are golden. This is just what the Marble Zone theme needed.
  17. Contemplative and very light-natured stuff from Ziwtra, and a remix of a remix at that. There's quite a lot of contradiction between some of the more chill aspects of this piece and the hip-hop-esque vibe it has going, but I'm surprised to find it works really well. The only thing I was left wanting was more of a clear hook amongst the admittedly endearing body of the mix. That melody is there in defined portions, but it does tend to rest atop the other ingredients. If anything, this mix is just a severe dose of well-made, rich-sounding pleasantness. It's my kind of listening and save for a few personal quibbles about consistency, it was absolutely worth the re-remix.
  18. Good lord. Uber quality. This is perfect summer listening. The guitar work is pretty masterful; the moods and vibes and feelings that it stirs really encapsulates the listener. I love it. So much emotive playing comes out of nowhere without warning. Subtle in some ways, sexy in others... but always superb. A more laid back affair than the usual technical powerhouses. But this is no less impressive, both technically and in overall enjoyment factor. I'm suprised at how big a fan I am of this one.
  19. Excellent orchestral writing, but its for a source I am completely unfamiliar with. I have no idea what is original writing and what is adapted writing, so I'll just say this: Whoever did whatever rocks. Admittedly, I'm not a fan of the sound of this mix. The samples don't pull the weight of the talent that lies elsewhere, which is often the case with orchestral pieces. Though as far as they go, they still probably come out sounding above average. I also thought things felt a little sparse, like a whole background track had been removed. There is definitely something cohesive that seems to be missing from the flow of the mix. Having said that, this is still one I come back to. The arrangement, though a little all over the place, is still of utmost quality and that's all you need to win me over.
  20. Good grief. What a flurry-kick of colour and spice... unmistakable Indian-influence, if not a somewhat cartoony version of Indian music. But hey, that's how I like my videogame mixes. There's really not a lot to say, other than there is a lot to love here. The sound is loud and has some real weight to it, which is always a good way to win my undivided attention. Despite so much going on at any given moment, it never feels overly chaotic or strenuous to listen to. It's been masterfully produced, and is almost unrivalled in sheer thunderous rhythm. If you just happen to be after a stampede of sound coming in from somewhere in central Asia, look no further. It's got hooky melody lines, neat sounding vocals and an assload of ethnicity working at once to form a must-hear mix. Love it.
  21. Samples are whatever, but the arrangement is bold, fresh and sharp. Lots of variation, lots of nice classical nods and some really impressive control over how those samples (as vintage as they are) are utilised. While more liberty is taken with the source material than an average mix, I really can't hear a problem in discerning the Morrowind theme from within this. It hardly makes mere cameos; it's interwoven in a way that informs every section of the arrangement. It's constantly there, even when you're not hearing it. And on top of that, the melody is played in full several times. It's a Morrowind mix through and through. If you're able to rise above the bogus orchestra vibe, this is one of the better renditions of the Morrowind theme. If you're like me and listened to the theme hundreds of times over and over while playing the game while never growing tired of it, it will be extremely easy to appreciate the new variations put into this mix. Very solid.
  22. One of a handful of mixes that got me to not just listen to mixes of music that I knew and actually explore new and unchartered waters. All these years later and I still haven't played or heard anything from Ogre Battle, but I nevertheless love this mix. The samples are nowhere near the level of quality I remember, but it would be crazy to expect anything different. Regardless, they still sound decent enough, with the strings and choir faring a little better than the brass. Overall, the sound package is pleasant to listen to. The one thing that surprised me was how safe the arrangement was; something I'd never picked up on before. It does veer into a routine later in the mix and whereas the bridge is quite excellent, it didn't satisfy my want for this to be a little more expansive. So it's not as groundshaking and adrenalised as I seem to remember, but much has changed with myself and the mixing scene since then, so I'm okay with the contrast. This is still a very fine orchestral mix and will always have a positive place in my musical memory. It will also be a constant reminder to getting around to playing Ogre Battle one of these years!
  23. Most, if not all of pretzel's early works have a lot in common with eachother, whether it be samples or structure. And amazingly, I think they have aged remarkably well compared to some other examples in the seminal stages of OCR. There's nothing too crazy going on here, and it is a stretch to call this dub music. But you can definitely hear where it is heading in terms of sound. It's light and slighty chippy and does a great job at expanding such a repetitive melody line. Things stay quite diverse throughout thanks to that infamous noodling solo motif pretzel has going on. In all, its a pretty solid package considering its age. It's a good mix to see what has and hasn't changed musically between now and then.
  24. This is a little less straightforward than the other DKC2 Protricity mixes. Arrangement, while showcasing enormous amount of both talent and love for the material, seems a little more scattershot and chaotic with so much else surrounding it. This mix is anything but contemplative; that beat is so consistent and is always carrying you to the next movement of the song at an extremely hurried pace. That's awesome when you want to get your funk on, but not so much when you want to admire the amount of work that went into rearranging these melodies. Many repeat listenings are recommended to fully appreciate this. I still consider this the black sheep of the Protricity's DKC2 series, but only because it has a totally different flavour and emphasis. This one seems to be less about doing a great original source the most amount of justice, and more about just making a slick, hard-edged electo-dance track backed up by the strength of Dave Wise's legendary compositions and some awesome percussion. Again, Prot pours a generous amount of his production talent over it all, so let there be no suggestion that this is in anyway a drop in quality. It's merely a different direction and experience.
  25. Loving the holy hell out of this one. Rayza did it again with this perfect exercise on 90s dance indulgence. In my opinion, this homage actually eclipses any dance track produced in the 90s (which admittedly, I've never been a fan of). I really love how this track develops, and continues to evolve in interesting ways. Rather than just sticking with pure rhythm, there's a lot of melody that begins to be incorporated and the combination is just awesome. The work done with the vocal samples was especially impressive and that solo is truly a classic, showstopper. This is the bees knees, as far as I'm concerned. One of Rayza's best, which is saying quite a lot.
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