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OCRA-0013 - Tales: Summoning of Spirits


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I don't really have time to give my full impressions of the album, which I'd like to do at some point because it's one of my favorite album projects ever, but I've got one question about a particular track that's been eating at me.

On VGMDB, it says that injury contributed vocals to "Altar Perception" (which is, by far, my favorite track on the album and one of my favorite songs of all time) but honestly, I can't hear any vocals whatsoever. Can someone help me find them? This has been killing me for quite some time now :P

Ha, I mentioned this exact thing in my decision vote for the song. I'll have to go back and listen to it now that I have the answer. I oughta finish what I started in this thread too...

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I'm glad some people are liking my tracks, even though they were some of the oldest tracks in the album (I think I submitted the first completed track) and I could have retouched them before the release.

I listen to them now and I can hear a lot of things that could be improved (Piano in frozen heart is too loud, tone down some dissonance in deity, etc.) but as I said, they were really old and the source files got lost in hard drive crashes etc.

I think they are enjoyable nonetheless. Also, thanks for the comments :).

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Disc 3

Tales & Trials - This is a lot more optimistic and forward than the first two discs, though there is an undercurrent of their distanced moodiness. Something of a fanfare to herald disc 3, solid orchestral song.

This Fate - Brooding but oppressive, a song that would be right at home in a modern RPG. Hushed and cinematic, which makes the moments of bombast that smack you all the better.

Smile and Forgive - A tranquil song that I feel like I've heard before. The percussion is fun and spices it up a lot, keeps it from getting too ambient. I also love the moment where it sounds like it's going to break into a groove but stops.

Cafe Mantra - I love the intimate atmosphere and warmth, great bass. Very clean sound, almost lonely in how isolated the instruments are. The percussion ties it nicely to the preceding track, even though the styles are different.

Chaotic Heart - Leave it to Sixto to ruin the mood built up by the first half. :razz: To be fair, this is a little more laidback than his other cuts, relying more on a mellow, expressive playing than crunch. Good vibe.

Desert Nights - Back to something more peaceful... oops, j/k. Nice fakeout to disco bass and brass. Well-timed sax solo, though on paper it doesn't seem like it should work. Actually, the whole song is like that.

Strike of the Devil's Axes - Another mood-breaker, but I'll take it. Good energy, good playing, just good ol' solid rock. And a very unexpected jazzy section in the middle.

Pain Withstanding - Hard to classify, this skirts genre lines in a unique way. The organ is probably the most distinctive element, and it reminds me of 70's rock, but the piano, strings, and martial drums pull in the orchestral direction. Then there's jerky electronica drums too just to confuse the heck out of me. It does end up being a little disjointed, but there are moments where it really comes together.

Determination - Not too far from the last song stylistically, this pairs D&B percussion with softer, organic instruments. This combination almost always works for me and this is no exception, and the queasy detuning adds some uniqueness.

Ain't Yo' Fool - OK, wasn't expecting this one, though I guess it shares some similarity to Desert Nights. The groove is fun, though the tireless energy level of the brass gets a little wearing by the end.

Antegenesis - More 70's rock sound, this time a more obvious connection. Whatever the source sounded like, it's pretty well-suited to prog, because this sounds totally natural. I like the shift to blues in the middle for a more steady groove, then back to prog again for the lengthy ending.

The Fall of Iselia - Very emotional piece, starting with calm piano, eventually adding strings and power as it breaks into a minor key climax. Great composition, and a good ending for this disc. I'm curious to check out the original to see how much the remixer added to it!

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They're deep in the mix, hard to pick out from the other stuff going on. If you don't think of them as vocals, they can just as easily sound like another random instrument. But listen at, for example, 2:04, and you can hear Starla going "ooooooooh" behind the cello. It's not much, but it's there.

Yeah, I knew that Starla had contributed vocals, but it took at least a couple of listens before the project's release (yay archive leeching) to figure out that they aren't going to be overlayered choir vocals (a la Destiny's works) and more like something as a background accompaniment, as you'd stated.

So yeah... call me one of the more alert ones :P

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Pretty lukewarm review on Last.fm (originally posted in Spanish), but I thought it an interesting read: http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.last.fm%2Fuser%2FKadai%2Fjournal%2F2009%2F03%2F24%2F2lad8g_summoning_of..._here_my_two_cents&sl=es&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

I find it funny that the translation calls the piano-to-guitar transition in The Unholy Wars "scandalous". And sorry Dhsu, but this person apparently REALLY did not like Aviators. From what the translation seems to say, they couldn't even listen to the whole thing.

I see something about the tags being wrong in the files. Not sure what that's about, considering Larry and I spent a long time pouring over the tags making sure they were correct... But whatev.

Also, Letters Vs. Numbers podcast (the offical podcast of Game Music 4 All) played Sixto Sounds - Go The Distance and talked a little about the album (FOUR discs, guys. FOUR discs!): http://hotdogstorm.com/genoboost/lvn/LVNnoncast%20%2302_Bears_.mp3

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I got some time today so why not:

Disc 4

Disillusioned Fate - Fun to hear songs that blend the orchestral, dark rock, and synth styles present on these discs. Pretty much covers everything! Drums could be stronger, but overall a well-made track that sustains mood across genres.

Continental Divide - Starts off like a dirge, but picks up a minute in with staccato strings. I like the transition a lot and though it remains quiet, there's a tugging along that keeps it lively. Very nice production.

Like a Glint - It's funny how I get a sense of the original soundtrack just from listening to the arrangements. There's several heavy rock songs, so presumably a number of the original songs sound rock-ish to begin with. This stands with the best of the rock cuts. Great runs, and I like the switching between half-speed and regular speed.

Cartesian Warfare - This sounds like it needs more to fill it out (maybe just playing with the mixing), but good guitaring, good variety in playing across all instruments.

Sacred Ashes - A switch to piano orchestral, yet the same mood and key as the last song. Oh those transitions. A good interlude built of long, thoughtful notes that doesn't drag.

Altar Perception - Lots to like here, especially the cello and the song's beautiful rises and falls. A mildly unusual set of instruments (the drums particularly), but a singular, cohesive sound. Great track.

Dream Traveler - There's something very classically dramatic about this one, I like it. The strings execution is weak in comparison to the piano, but it's a background instrument and the song is still enjoyable.

My Secret Forest - Hard to hear Reuben's stuff without feeling sad, but this one especially. Beautiful expression and writing in all instruments, great stuff he left us with.

On the Edge - Like the guitar tone a lot, it gives the track a great edge and unique sound. Synths are integrated well. The mixing could be more balanced though.

Apogee - High energy song that is a great mix of talents. A little gothic definitely. The intro and outro are cool bookends to the piece.

Dark Corner - Covered this one here. Lots of stuff to recommend even though it was a liberal take. Great guitar sounds, cool use of uneven meters.

Holy Judgement - Pretty much the definition of epic. Over 12 minutes, but barely repeats any ideas. Everything is well-executed and flows very naturally, from heavenly choir to light rock to slow grind.

Summoning of Spirits - I think this was my favorite of Rexy's tracks. Good build and movement, through a variety of sections. Those high frequency instruments need to be toned down though. Nice way to end it!


Oh right, the bonus tracks. Do I have to? :?

No Better Time Than Now - Very catchy track, I've found myself humming it from time to time. Love the harmonies. Quite exploratory with the source, both in melody and instrumentation.

Standing Up - Pretty much sums up the album, orchestral elements paired with rock drums and touches of electronic elements. Very downbeat and delicate. Love the subtle grinding guitar coming in near the end.

Go the Distance - How can you not love this guy? Such great energy and riffs, and awesome to see him branching out into different leads beyond guitar and synth on this track.

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Like a Glint - It's funny how I get a sense of the original soundtrack just from listening to the arrangements. There's several heavy rock songs, so presumably a number of the original songs sound rock-ish to begin with.

Well, you know how those RPG battle themes are. Especially ones by Motoi Sakuraba.

Thanks for the track-by-track, Vinnie. You is de kewlest judj!

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Monthly update.. :tomatoface:

Disc 2, track 8: New Technology

I love this track. I love it's harsh, abrasive sound. That ring-modulated line is ace. It's very tense. Good beats and percussion loops. It's a little rough, sounds kind of unmastered. Now that OverCoat has grown ears, if he made this one now it would probably sound quite beastly. Already a fine, thumping beastling as it is.

Disc 2, track 9: Horizon's Walk

Overall, this is a great guitar pop instrumental. The piano riff/melody of the song proper after the intro is so damned catchy, so good. It sounds fantastic with the acoustic guitar. I like the choppy drums too. And the sound the track begins with. So much to like here.

That first bass flourish in the intro isn't to my liking - it just sticks out, it's like a potentially great fretless bass line but it's obviously a synth. Maybe it's just too loud in the mix. Otherwise the bass is pretty good, the octave oscillation works throughout the piece, the lines in the bridge, around 02:30 are very nice. I also like how the sound changes 02:50 (I only just noticed).

I think the 01:14 lead guitar note is slightly off. Initially it bothered me so much it turned me off completely from the piece, and it kept bothering me. This time around it's was hard to hear anything wrong with it, so it's very subtle, but it's indeed there. It's the only brown moment in the whole piece, but it really did have a huge effect on how I felt about the piece. (This is a good time to let me know if you think I'm just hearing things..)

It's a great part otherwise. Very evocative guitar sound! Sounds kind of ghostly to me.

Nice work on the time signatures too. The move from 3/4 in the bridge to the 4/4 in the final solo is very effective. You took out 5/4 though. Not sure if that's a forgivable act. ;)


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Congrats to Showroom Dummy for getting a ToS song NOT from this project accepted by OCR. Nice work, d00d!

Greetings all!

Thank you very much, I wanted the song to be in your project but when I contact you it seemed it was too late, but I am happy I am getting this song in posted up at OCR.

After reading the feedback from PRC and specially Rexy I think about it and decided to try and send up the song for judgement. I am happy its accepted!

Also I had the chance to listen to this project, great work everybody did for this!

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This update finally hits the halfway mark.

Disc 2, track 10: Riddles in the Dark

Such a weird track. And rather wonderful.

Begins with a sparse, heavy, omnious piano in a large space. I really like the sound and the writing here. 00:38 the right-hand piano changes to high arpeggios and some strings are introduced. I like the rythmic shift, and also the shift back when it refrains the original feel with strings louder. *And* the next shift when the drums come in.. this track is always on the move.

By 01:30 the feel is dizzying, like a picture bending out of it's frames. I like how sudden the chord change at 01:28 feels - I'm fully expexting it to continue in a dark, serious mood but it does unexpected changes, it's humorous, sort of tipsy. The title of the track is quite perfect. After 02:24 my first impression was of two pieces of music playing at the same time. The drunken feel definitely continues.

3:30 it pretty obviously shifts from one ReMixer's work to the next's. Rather than a seamless singular work, this is a segue of two related works. The style shifts, but the mood doesn't, which is great. I have to admit I don't find the later half evocative, like the first one. I like the sound though. And the segue in itself is aptly wierd.

Disc 2, track 11: as time goes on

Tricky track.. the combination of the source and the style of the execution is unique and has an unexpected appeal for me. On the other hand, there are a handful of clashing notes around the track which are quite unpleasant.

The production is pretty good, the combination of sounds and instruments works well. The saxes sounds wonderful. The vocals sound fairly good. They're mixed back in the soundscape, which works well, but the tradeoff is that the lyrics are hard to hear. I'm not sure I like how you can hear the processing on the vocals, especially while they are exposed the most, but on the other hand I think it contributes to the sound positively too. Perhpas it could've been toned down for the middle.

The source sounds challenging, and unfortunately there are awkward moments. The sax figures at 01:24 and 03:52 are definitely off the mark, and I feel there are other problematic spots as well. The end result is that the track is not quite there, which is quite sad as this is rather close to being really awesome.

Disc 2, track 12: Deity

Hard-hitting, cold sounding, powerful track. As little as I normally listen to pieces in this style, I enjoy this one. Some writing problems (which SirNuts already referred to).

That harsh pad-thing instrument that sounds on the background at 00:30 for the first time is often dissonant, but that adds to the piece. The eerie background pad at 02:23 should definitely resolve into non-dissonant chord by 02:26 in my opinion. The dissonant chord we're left with at 02:36 is absolutely cool.

The bass, or the arpeggios, not sure what to blame.. well, they go wrong after 03:08. (Possibly before, just can't hear it properly). The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th bars of the eight bar chord sequence don't work - 03:12 starts sounding bad, 03:20 good again. 04:46-05:00 which doesn't have the arpeggios going sounds fine to me. With the arpeggios again, 05:43 onwards, it sounds better, only the 5th and 6th bars sound strange to me.

I checked the source, it's a very effective and interesting take on the theme. Well interpreted.

Disc 2, track 13: Sweet Dreams

Hehe, this one is so not my thing at all, but I still get to hear it in this context.. I can tell it's really quite good. Some commenters in the review thread said the piano was a little too quiet/sax a little too loud, I agree (others don't), it is slightly overbearing. I have to actually turn the volume down to enjoy it.


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Disc 3, track 1: Tales & Trials

Solid, pleasant orchestral track. Sounds fun and laid-back, with a few "serious" and more contemplative moments. I really like the 00:38-00:57 section and the french horn line around 01:00, as well. I tend to drift off a bit towards the end after about 02:30 mark, the ending is not perhaps quite as captivating as it could be. Great disc opener anyhow, and segues well to the next track.

Disc 3, track 2: This Fate

Perfectly complimentary to the more relaxed previous track. The mood flows really well between these pieces. I really like the material here, and the orchestration is spot on in my opinion. I like how isolated the wind leads sound in for example 00:38-01:02 and 01:35-01:40. The final minute is lovely.

Disc 3, track 3: Smile and Forgive

Charming track. I like the initial sound very much, when there's just the simple synth thing going on. Not that the glockenspiel, piano and percussion et al sounded bad - all fits together well. I also really like when the strings come in at 03:02, that's a good moment. The middle "drop-out" section is lacking, especially when the strings are bare for a moment, it's not an interesting sound by itself. This also is not a track that I'll return to on it's own, but in the context on the album the piece works alright.

Disc 3, track 4: Café Mantra

A favourite from the album. Great instrumentation. The bass is deep and warm, the percussion is very central to the track (often hand percussion sounds kind of auxilary), the mallets & electric piano are a great combination.. mellotron is always good. It just sounds great, and melodically and structurally it's also very satisfying. The piano solo is tasty. Great job!

Disc 3, track 5: Chaotic Heart

A change of pace from other Sixto tracks on the album. Poweful intro until 00:19. From there the clean guitar on the right sounds sort of out of place until the bluesy lead comes in at 00:41. The soundfield feels very left-oriented on headphones until that moment. The overdriven guitar is so much more full and the keyboards also feel like they lean left (which they might not do, it might just be the "vacuum" on the right side which makes it sound like that). After the lead comes it it's better. It's a great lead too, varied playing with a strong hook.

Drums and bass are boring but I suppose it comes with the genre.. it's like stadium blues. Not a big fan, I'll admit. I like the break with the electric piano. The fadeout feels perhaps a little premature.


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Chaotic Heart was one that in retrospect, I feel I should've said "Hey Sixto, can you plug a real ending into that one?" Still though, it is one of my personal top favorites on the album, simply because it takes the original and runs with it in a direction that I didn't expect, and also goes a different way from what we usually hear from Sixto. It reminds me of some of the more deliberately paced tracks from guys like Vai or Satriani, where the point is to show off the chops of the guitarist. Probably helps that Raine is my favorite character in Symphonia too, and this remix is quite fitting for her.

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Disc 2, track 13: Sweet Dreams

Hehe, this one is so not my thing at all, but I still get to hear it in this context.. I can tell it's really quite good. Some commenters in the review thread said the piano was a little too quiet/sax a little too loud, I agree (others don't), it is slightly overbearing. I have to actually turn the volume down to enjoy it.

Hehe, it seems to be a love/hate thing with this track. From my understanding, it would've been hard to get the piano any louder without clipping because of the range in dynamics, but I do agree the sax probably should've been brought down a little.

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Yeah, I knew that Starla had contributed vocals, but it took at least a couple of listens before the project's release (yay archive leeching) to figure out that they aren't going to be overlayered choir vocals (a la Destiny's works) and more like something as a background accompaniment, as you'd stated.

So yeah... call me one of the more alert ones :P

Yup, the vocals are at 2:04 - 3:00. You can hardly hear them after 2:30, but they are there if you listen closely. I gave starla a more prominent starting "ooooh" at the beginning of this part, but she fades into the mix, especially because of the cello and strings. Honestly I wanted them that way, to be more subdued, because it's really not a vocal-ish part, just a more ethereal sound that I was going for, as part of the mix of other instruments (there are a TON of things going on there lol)... But anyway, I think her vocals (as opposed to fake ones I could have used) really added the touch that I wanted there, and I'm really glad for them.

I give credit where credit is due, and starla sang all those parts for me (there were three that I wrote) in a real timely manner too. So she gets remix credit. I mean, I almost was willing to put Posibolt into remix credits of this song even though he contributed a like 10 second midi of the source for me (that crazy harpsichord in the original) because I was too lazy to sit down figuring it out that day. I ended up not using it and you'd never be able to hear it at the part I wanted it to be (where starla sings with all the other stuff lol)

Anyway glad people like the song, but sorry for the confusion!

Oh yeah and dhsu is ubar bass though it got changed up a bit lol... Also I mentioned this all in my goddamn submission mail I think, or maybe not because Palpable was confused. ANYWAY, yeah thanks dude for the reviews of all the songs, kickass.

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