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KyleJCrb

OCRA-0013 - Tales: Summoning of Spirits

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Quick question: what's the difference between the "No Better Time Than Now" in the album and the one alternate version for download? Thanks.

The alternate version is the original "final" track. The album version was created after some feedback from the judging panel regarding source usage. They're still similar tracks, but several parts were rearranged and mixed differently for the main album version.

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Hey Rexy, is that a coincidental or intentional reference to Brinstar Green from Super Metroid in "Summoning of Spirits"? (Mostly 1:31 to 1:47ish, since that piano progresses from that point on.) Just curious; it popped out at me the first time I listened through the album.

It's possible Rexy may have subconsciously slipped in some Super Metroid there, given that she loves that soundtrack and has done remixes of it previously. :-P

Our first review is out from View From Heaven! Doesn't go very in-depth, but still a good read.

COE Weekly Podcast also plugged us this week (at about 1:20:44): http://odeo.com/episodes/24274444-COE-Weekly-Podcast-March-8th-2009

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Altar Perception was criminally good.. just amazing. There are a lot of really good tracks on this, but this was just.. I had to post this right away. Ridiculously well done guys.

Somehow i have a feeling you'd potentially bring in "Middle-Aselia Biology" into the conversation with this. Let me stick up for it in advance and say that the crystal bell riff dissonating at times was present in the source material as well, so I thought it seemed natural to go with the flow.

Nah, no problems there I think.

--Eino

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Ah yes, I've been meaning to compliment the art. I haven't looked at it thoroughly, but what I've seen (the site, the banners & the image in the first post) it's good, consistent and helps to create an atmosphere for the whole project. The use of colours is very tasteful. I very much like the pic in the first post (although the girl seems a bit she's like contemplating having a bite of the pan flute..). Good work there!

Okay, I think I'll try to do a track-by-track reviewing tour of the project. Note that I have no familiarity with the originals at all. Anyway, here we go with the first two tracks.

Disc 1, track 1: The Unholy Wars

Hard rock/heavy isn't generally my genre. I can sure recognize this as a good track it is, but it doesn't appeal to me much. All these relentlessly wailing leads.. gah!

There's a few spots that I particularly do like production-wise: 02:12 has this sort of a "ghost guitar" filling up a pause without crowding it, very nice. Also I always notice the sound in the background around 02:23 - it's very cool. I like the breakbeatish snare roll stuff that begins around 03:20 too.

Disc 1, track 2: Crisis Healing Salve

The track begins with a strong wind lead with a harpsichord kittering around it. The rhythmical complexity, especially when the double bass comes in, took a bit of listening to sink in (felt crowded on the first listen), but it's really rather intriguing.

The double bass writing has some off notes 00:30 and 00:33-00:34 that really throw me off. Rest of the part is good.

Somewhere along the line strings have blended in, and next the strings dissolve, with a pleasant surprise, into beautiful guitar tones (esp. the clean guitar). On the first listen, this was where I really started appreciating the track. The strings in the background don't mesh perfectly with the guitar (it even sounds they're slightly differently tuned), but that's nothing serious. I love that chord at 01:27. The oboe figure sounds unnecessary - I think it would have made a better impact with just space in that spot.

The rumbling bass (synth?) that starts at 01:30 I really like. Especially when it drops off at 01:40 - goosebumb time! Here the string writing works fantastically with the guitars, it's really beautiful.

Like with the oboe bit before, the string figure that starts at 02:13 feels extraneous. Either the bass goes off the key (badly), or the bass going the way it does combined with the string figure is to blame - but that's another "brown moment".

I like the random sounding start of the guitar solo. When the strings come in again 02:42, it's really quite grand. Here it irks me somewhat (but not too much) that the strings and guitar seem to be playing in completely different rooms. They have quite a different ambience.

In the (beautiful!) quieter part that begins around 03:00, there is no such problem. The sound that begins at 03:09 is.. evocative, and again 03:29.. mourning. The accompanying wind lead is beautiful as well.

At it's best - and that's the most of the track - a fantastic track and a coop that combines respective strengths of the two ReMixers. I have to stress that the brown moments really, really bother me; I hate having to endure them to hear the greatness of the rest of the track.

--Eino

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Finally! I hope this was worth the wait.

I've listened to discs 1-3 so far, once through. I'd need to reserve my comments until I've had a little time longer to listen to it. But so far, I really like it. There are a couple of tracks here and there that aren't so memorable, and some that are outstanding. And, like with any album, I like seeing both new and old names on this one. The occasional vocal tracks are a nice bonus.

I'll probably be more biased towards the first two discs, since I've only played Tales of Phantasia (and I don't even have Tales of Symphonia). KF

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The alternate version is the original "final" track. The album version was created after some feedback from the judging panel regarding source usage. They're still similar tracks, but several parts were rearranged and mixed differently for the main album version.

First of all, thanks.

Second of all, I'm probably going backwards than everyone else, but I've been listening to the bonus, both released and unreleased, and alt tracks first; they're glimpses into a world of probability, are possibly fairly wacky/zany, and provide intriguing context for the rest of the album. I know these aren't exactly the meat and potatoes of the SoS, but there's still some gems in here that I don't want people to overlook.

CD 5

Track 1 [No Better Time Than Now]

I have to admit this is a incredibly freaking awesome song.

Very cool. I really like how it breaks in at 0:47 without loosing that piano and that techno-effect such as 2:30.

Don't miss out on this one.

Track 2 [standing Up]

The slow pace to this song is nice and allows for the melody to come through.

Very relaxing with an undercurrent of quiet urgency.

It might just be me, but at the end as the drums become more prominent, they seem more out of place.

Track 3 [Go The Distance]

I don't really care for how the intro plays back and forth with my stereo, jumping between left and right.

Still, there is an impressive amount of high quality shreddage going on here. A tad too techno, but very Guitar Hero worthy.

Bonus Tracks (most of here on out is WIPs, so there's only so much I can say....)

Track 1 [Mint (Test Demo)]

I really like the guitar/jazz fusion direction this was going.

Since it's not technically finished, it isn't to flashy, but what is here is very good and worth checking out.

Track 2 [Drifting Into Dreaming]

Now this is nice, I really love the rippling effects in the intro.

It makes this piece feel fluid and organic, and it vaguely reminds me of something from Twilight Princess.

Track 3 [Raine (WIP)]

The jazzed up piano is really cool here. It's like dire techno-jazz.

It's an amalgam of many things, but it works out so well.

Still, the lead synth is probably a little overused and around 2:50 it gets a little rough for the ears, but it is just a WIP and, as such, is already pretty fantastic.

Track 4 [Hollowed Battleground (WIP)]

The intro sound like one of those plastic tubes with the noise makers that slide up and down as one flips it over and over.

Definitely march/military like, it unfortunately doesn't really expand on its theme until almost halfway through. Currently it's too percussion reliant, imho.

Track 5 [battle Royale (WIP)]

This is definitely quirky and feels very deliberate.

It's obvious this was the groundwork for something greater, but when I heard the "Let's get ready to rumbaaaaalllll...." at 3:09

I

laughed

out

loud. :lol:

I wish this could have been developed further and made the cut.

Track 6 [Adventure Is All About Gold & Chicks (Instrumental)]

I could see this being played at some jazz lounge that Indiana Jones frequents. Very smooth, slick, and jet-setting.

It's a shame the xylophone wasn't introduced earlier though.

There isn't a whole lot going on here, but it works very well as a minimalist.

Track 7 [Fighting of the Spirit (Mario Paint Mix)]

Just listen to it. :lol:

Track 8 [Autumn Spirits Whisper (WIP)]

Nicely classical and ever so slightly melodramatic and contemplative. Its drawn out, yet absorbing. Though the sudden break at 2:04 tends to snap the listener back.

Track 9 [silence the Memories (WIP)]

This track tries to be too many things at once, most prominently classical/jazz fusion.

It also doesn't help that the saxophone here sounds off/artificial.

As a WIP , a lot of this can be understood though.

Track 10 [Love Song (Test Demo)]

Yup, it's definitely a love song, or at least highly reminiscent of every stereotypical love song I've heard. Nothing much else going on here.

Track 11 [Old Familiar Scent of Iselia (Mario Paint Mix)]

This is you just need to listen to. :razz:

Track 12 [Old Familiar Scent of Iselia (Reggae Mix)]

Pleasepleaseplease, just turn this in to a full blown mix. :-D

This is most likely, singlehandedly, the best bonus track released.

Track 13/14 [Old Familiar Scent of Iselia (Symphonic Mix/ Trance Mix)

Both are delicious ~40 second snipits, which I wish were developed a little further.

The Symphonic Mix reminds me of LoZ: Wind Waker and I can't place the trance mix.

Track 15 [My Way with You (WIP)]

Imho, this track is a little o.0;

Having some techno voice repeat "having my with you" is not the most undisterbing thing.

Other than that, this is some nice lighthearted techno reminiscent of Breaking Benjamin.

Track 16 [Royal Treatment (Triumph)]

Very nice ivory manipulation here.

Just plain and simple, which can be very satisfying sometimes, like vanilla.

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Track 5 [battle Royale (WIP)]

This is definitely quirky and feels very deliberate.

It's obvious this was the groundwork for something greater, but when I heard the "Let's get ready to rumbaaaaalllll...." at 3:09

I

laughed

out

loud. :lol:

I wish this could have been developed further and made the cut.

Track 6 [Adventure Is All About Gold & Chicks (Instrumental)]

I could see this being played at some jazz lounge that Indiana Jones frequents. Very smooth, slick, and jet-setting.

It's a shame the xylophone wasn't introduced earlier though.

There isn't a whole lot going on here, but it works very well as a minimalist.

Both of these might seem repetitive and minimalistic since they were originally intended to have rap lyrics. I really wish they could've both been developed, especially Battle Royale, which intended to be an epic rap battle AND guitar solo battle in one song.

Anyway, glad to see the bonus tracks getting some review love! Thanks, 42.

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Yes, imo Altar Perception is the best track of the whole album.
Altar Perception was criminally good.. just amazing. There are a lot of really good tracks on this, but this was just.. I had to post this right away. Ridiculously well done guys.

--Eino

Wow thanks a lot. IMO it's not the best but I'm really glad you guys liked it. I worked very hard on it and I got some amazing people to help me out (Prot with the percussion, AeroZ with the amazing cello, and injury's great and really quick on the fly vocal work)

I really appreciate the kind words dudes :J

Btw, I really really love Tepid and Prizm's Horizon song, holy shit that stuff is tight, goddamn.

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I'm glad you guys appreciate the feedback.

Here's the next four tracks. This is going to take forever.. :P

Disc 1, track 3: The Koan of Drums

I find this track pretty cheesy; it reminds me of the Eurovision Song Contest.. Not really a favourite, the combination of the big drums, octave-pumping bassline, violin and flutes feels a bit gimmicky. As it is though, it's a very solid, melodic, driving track.

I do genuinely like the sound of those drums. Also the more minimal section after the first chorus, from 01:57 to 03:17 (and especially up to 2:10, plus the big drum break later) I can enjoy. I also appreciate how in the prechorus that follows (after 03:17) the bass doesn't yet do the octave thing, but reserves it for the last chorus - well done restraint/build-up thing. *makes notes for future use in own tracks*

Disc 1, track 4: Airborne

Happy little (maybe medium-sized) solo piano tune. Very relaxed feeling, slightly mischieveous even. The a-part reminds me of Super Mario World and the b-part reminds me of Ghibli films.. good stuff. And that's just the first half.. I like how 01:38-02:16 sounds contemplative, searching, from 02:16 on a resolution starts to form and the finale sounds decided and courageous. (I get Megaman and Shining Force vibes.) Sleeper hit potential in general and personally one of the definite highlights of the first disc.

Disc 1, track 5: Arche Angel

Segues nicely from the previous track as this starts with a solo piano. Very soon strings and orchestral percussion join in. I like the bittersweet feel of this brief track. I have gripes,

however - the sound of the strings and orchestra start way too big, they're already up to 10 when it would serve the track much better if it started with less velocity and grew towards the climax. (This might be difficult to achieve if the sample set only has the full throttle option but it doesn't make the crit less viable.) Or, keeping the strong start, it should be a lot more dynamic in the middle and end.

I think there's a similar problem with the writing - overall I get the feeling less would be more. It doesn't sound 100% deliberate, often the overall feel is like a bunch of notes thrown together, even if there was nothing obviously wrong in the parts themselves. I have a feeling the loudness of the instruments may have misinformed the writing to fill up the space more than it needed. When you have a full string section blaring and snare and cymbals splashing in the background, it's hard to get a few notes sound right. This is just speculation on my part but I hope it's helpful. It's what I think would happen to me. =)

I'll first tell what I like: the bittersweet feel is indeed tangible. I like the general progression and flow of the track, it has a discernible beginning, middle and end with their own feel (and the middle has it's own beginning, middle and end). I like the chord progression (no idea about what is in the source and what is original) - 00:28, chill-inducing. The cello/double bass figures that play up to 00:46 on the left are quite nice (slightly mechanical, but easily adequate).

I have most issues with the melodic/supporting melodic writing (Staccato strings and piano). There's good stuff too, no worries. Let's look at the staccato strings first, from start to 00:43. The first problem is that the sound itself is quite a loud, pronounced stab at the strings, and you use the hits rather sparsely. This gives it a mechanical and scattered feel and increases the sense of randomness. More velocities again, and having the same instrument play different sorts of notes (some longer) in their part might be good. 00:14-00:18 for instance - a good figure, but if the notes 2-6 (or say 2-4) were more continuous, it would sound far more natural.

00:23-00:28 these strings sort of disappear.. they should strongly sound a recognizable figure like ten seconds ago, rather than pluck at separate notes off somewhere. Then there's three notes of gold: 00:27-00:29 along with the chord change sounds SO GOOD! But alas, it doesn't evolve into a yearning little melody - more separate notes. 00:33-00:38 you have a good melody going, but the loud staccatto (combined with syncopation hurts), and the drums are pounding way too loud on top of them. How this part finishes 00:40-00:45 is very good although the drums distract me a bit. The again the cymbal wash sound at 00:46 is sounds extremely good.

00:46 begins a beautiful, calmer section. The piano writing is tricky to criticize - if I listen to the track just 00:46 on, I don't necessarily hear anything wrong with it (esp. the first four bars are beatiful), but when the track is taken as a whole, the constant eight notes without pauses up to 01:24 feel quite excessive. At times they sound great: 01:22-01:23 sounds great (there I'm actually expecting for it to go on longer, staying on the same note), and 01:07-01:11 does too. Rest sound frankly just weak and clutter up the track. The piano ends with calm chords, which works well otherwise, but I feel some of the chord choices for the piano complicate the serene/sad ending needlessly - at 01:34-01:38 specifically the piano should let the high strings work their part.

I enjoy the track despite my gripes, even if I feel I like listening to the idea rather than the execution. Even while I've written five paragraphs of crits, I feel the good outweighs the bad.

Disc 1, track 6: Chronometrical

Energetic electro, crystallic arpeggios and gorgeous strings. Good combo and it does sound great. The arrangement is pretty full all the time, nothing wrong with it but I'd love a sparser section somewhere, it could generally afford to take a bit more time to develop. For instance, the fadeout feels premature, I feel it could actually take the material to another go after that part - the first go could be less full and take it's time, and the second go could be the full-blown one that it is now. But the structure does work as it is as well.

There are some unfortunate brown moments in the string writing. Some of it might well be inteded dissonance, but it doesn't support the track. 01:46-01:47 is the first such moment. 01:51-01:55 sounds it might be dissonant as well, but that one totally works.

02:11 sounds very subtly (but still clearly) off. 02:27 sounds awful to me. The piano also grates my ears at that spot, around 02:25-02:27. There's another note on the piano around 02:38 that sounds like it's in the same vein, but doesn't bother me as much.

Strings are also perhaps a touch or two too prominent in the mix in my opinion. They do sounds gorgeous, but they would sounds so a little quieter, and repeated listening to them tires the ears. Otherwise, I love how this track sounds. The clock ticking is a very nice touch. It took me a several listens to notice it elsewhere than in the beginning.

Like with Crisis Healing Salve, I feel I have to endure a couple of bad spots (which do bother me) to be able to appreciate what is a very much a fine track.

Cheers!

--Eino

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Kudos to Kureejii on the killer trackname art, very impressive. :nicework:

Oh, thanks! Obviously it's gonna take a backseat to the music, but I'm glad it was noticed.

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Gonna go ahead and say (in a good way) the album put me to sleep....after the fourth time listening through it. Worth the wait unlike Too Human...

Great Job guys

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Took a closer look at the cover art folder. It's very beautiful. CD labels are neat too. I'd love to have this printed (the DVD case would be my choice).

All the ornament stuff is good too. I think the weakest link - while not too bad - is the pastel-like picture on the front page of the site. It's kind of unfortunate, as it sort of the first impression one gets when you go to the site, and the actual front cover art is much much better.

edit:

I had time for a few more.

Disc 1, track 7: Setting Sail

I love the sound of this. I in no way feel that I'm listening to a set of orchestral samples, it's just music. I get a very floaty feel, like it was a huge ball of mist. Err, cloud-like, yes. Perfectly evocative with the title. Every section is well defined and each one brings something new. I like the voices, for instance. Top-notch job.

Disc 1, track 8: Mirror Image

Another track that's both flawed and lovely. Let's focus on the lovely first, since this surely is one sweet track for me.

I love the instrumentation and sound choices. It's very pleasant to listen to, without lacking edge. The bass guitar sounds excellent, kind of.. dreamy. Ehh. What a way to describe a bass guitar sound, but there it is. I love how it has a lot of room, and it uses it. It's like it's the lead here before the (very good) guitar lead, and the (thin, but still adorable) organ in the middle.

There's a number of production issues. I don't really mind, but I'll point them out anyway. First off, the whole track begins like it cuts in from nowhere. There might even be a pop. The acoustic guitar is obviously sampled and the same sections are re-used. This is fine in itself, it's just very noticeable. It might be the room atmosphere/miking/EQ is not entirely consistent between the separate takes. Also, there's a very prominent glitch in the first chord of the section that plays e.g. at 00:08. Hearing it repeat is kind of funny.

I feel the rhythm electric guitar on the rocking part isn't the tightest. Instead of ringing out the full chords completely all the time, an approach that incorporated e.g. palm muting to it would have improved it a lot - some rhythmic and sound variation, stuff like that. It doesn't change at all according to the rest of the arrangement. It is also clearly sampled and reused again, which hilights the flaws. The stereo effect the little gaps have sound uncomfortable with headphones. The sound is perhaps too full, as it stands out of the mix a bit too prominently. I probably make it sound worse than it is, on the whole the part doesn't really bother me that much, just pointing out where there's room for improvement.

Again, there's a certain chord choice that I don't quite agree with; the one that first sounds at 00:24 (I think). But repeated listenings seem to have worn the resistance off.. it doesn't sound so bad anymore. Well, on 00:56 it does a bit. And at 03:03. Maybe it's something that doesn't quite suck, but could still have been handled a bit better, though I can't say how right now. Perhaps it's in the other instruments, as 03:36 doesn't sound as bad again. I kinda like it. Yeah.

Disc 1, track 9: Frozen Heart

Another well done track that doesn't really have a lot of appeal to me. I'm picky when it comes to trance although I have started to enjoy it recently-ish (partially thanks to OCR - bLiNd's Jenova track on VotL was sort of a turning point). The piano doesn't work for me here, and it generally doesn't in trance tracks (again I stress - for me). The title fits, the soundscape is quite cold.

--Eino

edit #3: I seem unable to count the track numbers properly..

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Hey, just thought I would drop by having finished listening to Summoning of Spirits. Mad props to everyone involved. I really loved listening to it.

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Thanks for all the encouraging replies. It was nice reading some of the play-by-plays of the individual tracks.

Looks like now it should be fine for me to release the only-heard-by-Kyle extra remix that I was working on during the times Sheena's theme was stuck in my head, but only did it for fun since my real WIP was farther up ahead at this point.

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You know, what we really need is a timeline showing when each track was finished, along with all the deadlines we had. Mustin actually forgot ever working on my track, haha.

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You know, what we really need is a timeline showing when each track was finished, along with all the deadlines we had. Mustin actually forgot ever working on my track, haha.

That would be kind of fun, yeah. I thought Fishy's comments (along the lines of "WHAT?! I was on this project?!") were pretty funny in the announcement thread.

--Eino

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You know, what we really need is a timeline showing when each track was finished, along with all the deadlines we had. Mustin actually forgot ever working on my track, haha.

This could be doable...

Or maybe not. A lot of the earlier PMs are gone, and file dates are unreliable. Hmmm...

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Also kudos to The Joker for practically doing a disc's worth of tracks himself. :lol:

Awesome! I blame the years long wait, & dementia.

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