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Everything posted by Marmiduke

  1. Golly, this is just fucking exploding with legendariness. Legendaryiness is a word I just invented in order to adequately describe the merits of this mix, since no other words would do. This is a real chugger. Beautifully distorted and slick in a gravelly sort of way. The holy music of guitar-wielding archangels. So maybe I'm overdoing it. But the point is, this is of top quality and I liked it a whole bunch. Winnar.
  2. Hard-edged Sonic greatness. Definitely a winning idea, and it works pretty much every time its been attempted. This has an awesome take on the main source melody, which I think is pretty weak in its original form. The guitar work and the added gravel of the production give it a much needed kick in the ass, and the result sounds terrific. When things get hectic, the sounds do envelop themselves, which does give a less than desirable effect. But aside from the fact that I can't help but notice that the heavier sections don't pop as much as they should, it really doesn't get in my way of enjoying this. It may not be the best metal mix around, but it does enough right for it be in the same company as the best. Much more of a success than a failure.
  3. A little jarring to my expectations. From the title and the subtle, pleasantness of the piano, I would never have picked this as a Rainbow Six mix. At all. But I love a good surprise, even though I still don't understand the title. This is slightly airy and much more restrained than most other of Jared's mixes, which I enjoy. The lightness gives it room to be more intricate with the melody and I think that's this mix's strongest selling point. I felt like I'd heard all the samples elsewhere, and it's not exactly overflowing with variation. But this is an easy listen and an even easier piece of music to love. My hat is off to anyone making music from a Tom Clancy game especially classy and palatable.
  4. I haven't listened to this mix in about four years, and yet listening to it today, it's like it never left me. The neural pathways were still as fresh and sturdy as ever. That's a sign of good music (or maybe just a sign of how much I listened to it all those years ago). The acclaim of this mix is pretty notorious, so I guess I won't have anything new to say about it. This is a very signature piece of music; an extremely Hudsonian arrangement, if you will, and there is some noticeable overlap between this mix and his other mixes. Still, this comes through as an integral mix in the constant transition from the old ways to the new ways of OCR mixing. The emphasis on realism and the grandiose really put the remixing scene into its place and gave bland and lazy remixers a reason to be nervous. Most of all though, it gave everybody access to a whole new tier of great music. And that's something I'm sure we're all thankful for.
  5. Very Doom-ish atmosphere and brooding bass, with a heaped helping of mainstream ornaments to make it a bit easier to groove to. And that it does. For me, despite the variation in instruments/synths, the Halloween-style piano and all the cool juxtaposition that happens with the music box style portions, this doesn't rise out of the gloominess of it's source. I like the Doom soundtracks, but they need a lot of bolstering to become something more than creepy, atmospheric music to explore demon-infested hallways to. This never really escapes that. It's more faithful or restrained than most Doom mixes I've heard here, which is something that should be appreciated. But some small part of me wants to see this go further than it already does.
  6. Punchy, effective and melodic approach to the gritty techno that beatdrop has made a signatire. While I like clean and slick techno, there's something about the 'wall of sound' combined with grittiness that works wonders with the material. The beats (of course) and the varied synth work are fantastic in this, but to single out only a few things really doesn't give it the credit it deserves. It's the culmination of everything, moreso than other types of remix, that gives this so much life. It has a sound and a pace all its own, and it's great to see that sort of continued interest in musical diversity from such seasoned veterans. As fresh and as awesome as ever.
  7. Super nice Eastern-influenced funk. It's really rich in that 70s and 80s vibe, with a lot of unique touches to make its own identity out of it and bring it in line with the original source material. Definitely strays into djpretzel territory, which is always an awesome territory to occupy. The solos are off the hook and varied enough to keep everything increasingly fresh. I can't say I'm at all familiar with the source soundtrack, but it sounds interesting, to say the least. I might have to check it out. In the meantime, I'll just heart this mix as a placeholder.
  8. You'd never know this was a debut mix. zircon at his most embryonic. While this lacks some of the refinement that further years of expertise would award, it is still of extremely high calibre. I like that this is very much bound to the classical roots of the source, and despite having dance conventions and sounds, it never really lowers into actually danceable territory. This isn't club music; it's closer to IDM, though with heavy emphasis on melody. Samples are really great from the get-go. The pacing is superb and the arrangement is consistent with the quality of the mix. I think much better arrangements from zircon were still to come and I would say that is the area where he has made the biggest improvements. But debuts are rarely this strong or well-defined. I think this gains a lot of listening in retrospect.
  9. This is a hard one to give a solid opinion of because it's something that will mean a different thing everytime you hear it. It has that ambiguous sound that might suggest science fiction or it might just suggest relaxation. It definitely succeeds in being ambient, and has a solid array of samples to back it up. But I could very much tell that this was based on a short-and-simple, difficult to remix tune. Having said that, all the right decisions were made with it. The first half embraces the simplicity whilst the second half builds on it, giving us all the best of both worlds. It's a slow and patient mix, and I still can't figure out what I get from it. But hopefully more listening will help that.
  10. I love the amount of creativity that is bursting out of this. It's a big, tight bundle of ideas and odd-ends, and the real talent of the whole thing is that they were all brought together so consistently and convincingly. It's like a collage of fun and coolness, and my favourite thing is it isn't pretentious. It is so freaking easy to love this mix, because there is so much to love. Had the vocals not been somewhat buried, I would have nothing to nitpick. Every quirk and concept attempted was a success, as far as I'm concerned, And by the end of it you don't get the sense you've just listened to a medley, but something much more inventive and seamless. This is top work.
  11. There's an instant beauty to this mix that almost takes you back a bit. The intro is so elegantly constructed, it really doesn't sound like a remix at all. The piano is a thing of magic, and the GrayLightning touch is undeniably brilliant. Musically rich but never overdone or heavy. I felt portions where the piano wasn't leading were a little soft, which transported me out of the song a little. But aside from that, there's not much that I would consider changing about this. Very much a case of the right remixers plumbing the right melody. Big thumbs up on this one.
  12. The cavernous water droplets do some rhythmic wonders here. They offer some serious serenity and purity where any other form of percussion would have failed. Rhythm is definitely this mix's strong suit, but that's not to say that all other areas weren't great. Production is super clean, and the piano is well above adequate for the minimalist/chill hybrid going on here. The arrangement doesn't get very adventurous, but I really appreciate the sparseness in the intro and how the melody slowly begins to form out of seemingly random piano tangents. Choir backing was also a really nice addition and is used with the utmost restraint. A wonderfully restrained working of a classic Zelda theme. Though anyone after a bold reinvention of the theme wont find it here. This is more of a gentle deconstruction of the melody, with some killer rhythmic ideas that are as technically triumphant as they are thematic fitting.
  13. A quick stroll down Terra lane. There's no big statement here that hasn't been stated plenty of times before, but I still find this to be a strong version of the source. The chiptune approach sounds great to my ears; it's reminiscent of the flurry of retro chip-infused mainstream music these days, though not quite AS professional sounding. But in this mix's defense, it does have those Arkanoid samples. This lacks really standout ideas, and I also wouldn't have minded a repeat of the main melody just to give it some staying power, but in all it serves me well enough. Nice job.
  14. I'm not a big critic of bad samples because I think it deviates too much from the point of remixing, but in this case I find it justified to make an exception. With the way this mix is arranged, it is crucial that the samples are there to support it. And sadly, they arent. To go at the source material with full bombasity was unwarranted, in my opinion. If the mixer didn't have the sample library at his disposal, it would have benefited the piece to scale down the creative vision and work with what he had. To be honest, I actually really enjoy the sparseness and the dissonance from the prelude. It has a lot of really nice, understated moments and it's not marred by the synthetic orchestra so much as the main portion. My main problem with this mix is that the ambition and the execution do not match up, to the point where things sound wrong. The arrangement is clearly there, but it has nothing but the dullest of sounds to prove itself. I don't get much of a kick out of listening to this one.
  15. When this started up, I was like "Oh here we go. Jenova done in metal. Already not the most inpsired of choices." But it actually really surprised me in what it brings to the table. In a lot of ways, this goes against the grain of my expectations and totally blasts the cliched rock/metal style implementation. I really love the support of orchestral and electronic in with the main backbone of metal. It adds a lot, and makes it stand out among a growing crowd of mixes with only heavy guitar. Obviously, the arrangement reflects the strengths of the guitar work, and yet the exemplary support from the minor details and variation in sound are what make this mix. Final Fantasy 7 is a game soundtrack that doesn't respond too well to overexposure, so I was surprised and more than delighted to hear the infused energy in this one. A really stellar heavy guitar showpiece with a fantastic arrangement to boot.
  16. Got a strong intro-track-to-a-rock-album vibe from this. Which I guess is an artform in itself, but when it intros into nothing... it's pretty crushing. I think it's a great track while it lasts. Samples are old, but stable. It sounds very Diablo but also incorporates a modern streak. It's a well-rounded, solid idea. But it never really becomes more than just an idea. It's a shame this can't shake that feeling that it is more like a producttion pitch for a larger mix that never came to be. Enjoyable, albeit not entirely satisfying.
  17. Another very early McVaffe mix that raises the standards of what we consider to sound aged. This has withstood the decade since it was released with a lot of dignity, largely thanks to the amount of talent and prowess McVaffe had even back then. I'm a big fan of the flute in this. It adds everything the mix needed, and sounds great to boot. It's not that the samples are time-resistant; they are as archaic as you'd expect of a mix this old. But the way they are used and the strength of the combined product is pretty profound. The fact that everything that worked 10 years ago still works as it did today is almost unheard of. Only a select few mixers have managed to pull it off. It's a really smooth blend of sounds with a nice pulse to it. It ain't salsa, but I prefer it this way anyhow. The only thing I'd change is the senseless fadeout.
  18. Well, I can say it really nails the Age of Empires vibe perfectly, from its ethnicity to its conceptual arrangement. What I think is remarkable about this mix, besides the usual soaringly high level of production quality from Protricity, is that it has a great narrative approach to its design. It's full of space and distance, which is probably not the most musically enticing thing to hear, but from a conceptual perspective, it really helps let the mix sink deeper into you. It starts with a drawn out intro and the establishment of melody, but then crosses into a transitory bridge that stretches across the entire centre of the mix, like a massive African grassland. This section is slow, drawn back and full of stopping and starting, until finally we reach the last section; a nice driving reflection of the journey. While not technically or superficially superior to Protricity's more celebrated tracks, I think this one is one of the more interesting. It's designed very nicely, and while not the most listenable style of arrangement out there, that hasn't stopped me from giving it many dozens of listens over the years.
  19. Quite a soft mix based on a really beautiful melody. You can't really go wrong with a gentle track like this. As far as I can tell, it's primary objective seems to have been enriching the sound of the original and focusing a little, which I'm cool with. Though the arrangement takes no bold steps, I actually think it does enough behind the scenes to satisfy me. Of course, more fleshing out of the theme would have been welcome, but to be honest I didn't see the lack thereof to be a squandered opportunity. It definitely struggles to be remarkable and there's nothing drastically impressive here, but its still very pretty with some attentive production, which has to stand for something.
  20. Another one of those highly energetic dance mixes that pad out the OCR library. Nothing glaringly wrong with it, and not all that much exceptional about it either. Very fun and bubblegummy, but anyone after a fulfulling or exhilirating track probably wont find it with this. The source seems like a perfect choice for remixing and the style its done in, and I thought the game samples were used sparingly enough that they added a nice charm. It's well-made, it's ear-pleasing, but it's also familiar territory. Not all mixes need to be historic, and this proves that. It's good despite not being great.
  21. Interesting treatment on a pretty heavy theme. I do like how it makes what is a pretty complex piece of music quite simple and effortless to follow. That's worthy of commendation in itself. While the arrangement succeeds in that area, the downside is that the diversity is somewhat off-balance. I wouldn't describe this mix as repetitive, as it's much too short for that. But it's perhaps a little disappointing that the cycles of the melody fail to evolve at all. I'm not a fan of the overly manufactured sound of the mix, and I thought the hits of percussion and the brass could have had some more punch to them, but in all, this mix does its job and still has a lasting impression. More flawed than I would have wanted, but there's some enjoyable material here regardless.
  22. This is an extremely hard tune to remix, and I can hear Jivemaster wrangling with it, trying to salvage some of the good ideas out of this techno scribble. I don't think the lead melody meshes that well with the sound, and for me there was enough reason here to think this could have been an abandoned experiment. It doesn't really do anything with the tune and it disappointingly turns it's focus onto the breakneck side of things. Technically, it sounds pretty good for its age. But I don't think the ideas were executed too well and maybe it was a bit too ambitious for the time. Can't say it worked for me.
  23. Hard to believe that even this far back, bLiNd was making tracks of this quality. It's also hard to belive bLiNd was ever a noob at mixing. The more you know. I see this as a clear stepping stone to the successes of bLiNd's later work. Everything done here plays out extremely well; there's a heavy focus on pacing and arrangement over just plain driving beats, there's also some nice variation and a distinct improvement over his first mix. These points would all be magnified and used better in the future, of course. But I think this mix deserves the recognition for laying a lot of the groundwork. It's the first of many top-tier mixes.
  24. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of this one. As others have said, it's mechanical and hardly incorporates any new ideas to the arrangement. I do like the flourishes of piano, and if the mix weren't a little over a minute, I'd say that would have been a perfect angle to flesh the music out with. Nothing really took spark here, I'm afraid. If it weren't for that piano, the lead xylophone would have led me to believe the Chocobo theme was ripped from Banjo Kazooie.
  25. One of the best things a piece of music can do is surprise you by pulling the wool from over your eyes and revealing its true direction. This is a textbook example of that. At first listen, I just assumed this was another Elfman-esque exercise for Zircon. Impeccably made, but still, no surprises. And then it began to metamorphosise in ways that made a lot of musical sense; off the wall percussion began to move the orchestra rhythm along, synths began to be introduced and soon powered the entire piece, until eventually it had broken free into something much different. It's quite poetic, if you really want to overanalyse it. Everything sounds pitch perfect sound-wise, and I'm actually a big supporter of how the mix transitions into its second source tune. The whole mix within a mix concept is the biggest selling point, and to try and betray that whole notion that they are somehow connected in a medley-type relationship would ruin everything it could have been. How it is now is a fantastic surprise. In my humble opinion, you could probably peg this one near the top of the bunch when it comes to orchestral-electro hybrids. And that's even more impressive when you consider that the other contenders for the top spot are also zircon mixes. Truly a sign of a master of his genre.
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