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OCRA-0015 - Xenogears: Humans + Gears


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Loving "When the Smoke Clears"! I could tell that was a Taucer before I even noticed the artist data.

Can't say I care at all for "Shit on Citan," though. The whole death metal thing just doesn't work for me.

Great album, though! Certainly one of the best, to date.

I like Metal but Shit on Citan was just absolutely terrible. Not a way I would have loved to end the album.

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Ok... whilst I sit here and try to figure out exactly -how- to respond to CHIPP's guitar axe to the face track...

I'd just like to thanks to Nathan Rich for finally giving me a remix of my favorite Xenogears track. I always thought Grahf's theme deserved some love. And this one delivers... albeit in a way i didn't expect.

And lastly... gotta comment on 'Welcome to the Human Race'. I was a big fan of '31 seconds.' And, honestly, I think this one deserves a spot up there right next to it.

Awesome work all around guys.

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Continuing with the first disc mini-reviews. (the exam went well by the way, hehe)

When the Smoke Clears has a great story behind it, and it's no wonder the track sounds so heartfelt emotional. The guitar sound is very beautiful, and I love that slap(?) percussive effect adding a little sting to the whole, poignancy even. I like the dressed-down solo guitar more than the more arranged section, but I've nothing to complain.

Sequencing a full orchestral track on an album like this can't be easy. It's not entirely smooth here either, but damn Ship of Emotion and Song is a good piece. Hands-down my favourite from Vampire Hunter Dan yet. The piece covers a lot of territory, but stays both interesting and together. The final two minutes are my favourite.

Take Flight sounds good, and is very fitting for the flight theme. The structure is a bit weird, aborting into something else that ends quite suddenly.

The Last Fatima is easily my favourite piece from Avaris. Gorgeous sounds on top of restrained percussion.

I've liked pretty much all things Fishy I've heard yet, plus this is one of my favourite themes from the game. The deliberately paced prog-rock treatment in Echoes goes down well with me, for the most part. There's a section with some conflicting notage at 03:06-03:46. The lead sounds jarring at 3:11, 3:14 and 3:20-3:22, but I think the main thing is that the descending background guitar figure doesn't quite gel with itself.

My Child has probably the best DragonAvenger vocals yet, and the piece is quite gorgeous as a result. The lyrics are hard to hear for me too, but I don't mind that with this sound and melody. To nitpick, I hear some slight weak points with some beginnings of phrases and some intervals, but overall it's a powerful performance. The rest of the arrangement is good, but when the vocal is so strong, I wish the arrangement would have concentrated more on supporting it. Towards the end, it even seems to compete with it for attention. I believe a stronger overall piece could have resulted, although what is here is very good and enjoyable.

The Treasure That Must Be Seduced is a pleasant combination of guitar and orchestral elements. I think there was a chords on the guitar that make me go a bit ???, but overall, it's good.

In Joy and Sorrow is a romp with good, fun vocals. I find the rough sound fits the piece, although the drums (snare, hats and ride at least) sound sort of flimsy - a rougher, darker sound for these I think would've fitted in better. This one surprised me in a good way.

New Day combos a fun bass line and chopped up drums with more orchestra elements effectively and interestingly.

Welcome to the Human Race is a strange one. The orchestra and rock elements feel fairly separate in both mixing and arrangement. The 00:34-00:46 section and it's later variations sound quite dissonant and I can't quite grok them. But it seems to tie together somehow. When I stop listening for certain kind of cohesiveness, it starts to make sense in an "audio sculpture" kind of way.

First Meeting has style and sound I enjoy, but it feels like it's constantly introing up to something for the whole duration. (It's also a bit quiet after the previous track.)

I love the concept/story behind Akkadia Rising (Solo Sax Edit) and it's pulled off successfully. The floaty production, the sound and playing all work.

The chill-out zone ending of the first disc closes with A Trace of Tears. Acid jazz! This is obviously a fruitful collab, good performances all around.

Looking forward to disc two. The album has so far surpassed my expectations. I've played the game quite recently, and the moments where I recognize a theme and it's taken to a new place are really fun.


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Well if you want to get technical, a compact disc can't hold 1gig worth of information, so FLAC is much more than lossless -- they actually hold a butt-ton of useless file size. Even the 16bit wav files for a CD usually don't go over 600mb with all tracks included...

Uhmm ... It's called two discs. it's 900MB (Almost 1Gb) because there's two discs. Two 450Mb discs. Weren't you in this project? Shouldn't you know this better than anyone else?

Anyways, props to all involved. Just finished listening to most of it, and, as usual, the OCRemix community DOES NOT disappoint :D

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Prepare for part one of three/four posts. This is what I have done for now on my full album review of Xenogears, the later parts coming later in the week. Enjoy!

Quickening: Since this is my own track, I’ll just give a little bit of backstory behind it. While talking with Avaris one day, the conversation was turned towards the project and, in a very ridiculous way, I asked if there was a song left to do that hadn’t been done. He jokingly told me that Faraway Promise had not yet been arranged and that if I could have the ReMix for him by the next evening, it’d be on the project. 2 hours later, Avaris had my preliminary guitar tracks for editing and mastering. I asked to collab, and Shaun really pulled out the environmental sound and solid guitar backing for this one. The result was a very “humans” approach to Faraway Promise, and what I hope was a nice last-minute addition to the project. I’m glad I could take part!

Of Sea and Fire: I’m still floored by this track. The attention to detail and accuracy of conveying the garage-bandy style. It never feels too long to me, and the source tune shines through in ways I could have only imagined. It isn’t surprising that there’s already been some usage of this as a floor routine, and I’m sure some AMVs on youtube will be sporting this track in the very near future. The instrumentation is amazing, with the piano, accordion (?), and fiddle really carrying the song to new heights. One can see, in their mind, the “members of the band” just playing off of each other, musically energized, and enjoying every second of the performance. Ziwtra…I am in awe.

Shattering Dreams: A very haunting piano slowly brings in further organic instruments in this arrangement. While I feel like everything is played very very well, it is a little on the plain side in my perspective. It doesn’t make the song any less of an achievement, as I could easily fall right to sleep to this. Definitely feeling a “Titanic” vibe here besides the Japanese instruments, and I the strings are extremely solid underneath the leading instruments.

Cybernetic Love: I did not expect this, though looking at the title, I probably should have. This is what I imagine a dance night on the main ship in Phantasy Star Online would have playing on the PA. This combines a multitude of retro styles, from classic rock backwards guitars to 80’s synthplay and almost-too-cheese drum samples. The robotic voice-synth is a perfect fit. I honestly would have liked to have heard some more variation in the guitars, but what’s there is well-played and perfectly mastered. Solid execution and a catchy nostalgic charm from the cornucopia of style-blending. Piano at the end is a somber lead for the narrative sample, which makes the ending quite moving.

When the Smoke Clears: I have the great pleasure of being friends with Mr. Taucer in real life, and he’s always been a caring person, right down to the core of his being. He doesn’t take things for granted and values the people in his life to the nth degree, and his heart-wrenching story about his concern for his kids as a coach makes this abundantly clear. He didn’t even need to write the story verbally except to clarify exactly what happened, because the song itself tells the story beyond words. The guitar is the best I’ve heard him ever perform or write, and his Irish Flute work left me near tears while listening the first few times. This song is so completely moving that there’s no way I can do it justice with a writeup, as you can literally feel the “relief after tragedy” pouring out of every note.

Ship of Emotion and Song: Oh, Vampire Hunter Dan, when will you ever stop writing these incredible orchestrations? I don’t have much to say here, simply because if you know VHD, you already know to expect top-quality material. If you’re new to VHD, expect some jaw-dropping classical composition with great variation and smooth transitions. He seems to use every instrument to its fullest potential. I would say that this even surpasses some of the compositions used on the orchestral tours, like Distant Worlds. The only drawback is that this piece is particularly long, but if you like the style it shouldn’t be a problem. For people who only like electronic or rock and don’t have a lot of patience to sit through orchestral exposition for almost 8 minutes, this might not be your cup of tea. If you are willing to give it a shot, you’re more-than-likely going to immerse yourself in this song for its entire length.

Take Flight: It’s pretty hard to follow up VHD with another orchestral arrangement, but this one holds up quite well. There are some issues I had with certain parts of the production, but this song was still written with care for the source. Very floaty feel, but also very short for an orchestral piece. I’ll be interested in hearing what POCKETMAN does next just to see where he goes from here.

The Last Fatima: Despite being one of the oldest mixes on the project, this is one of the standouts. The style, imitating the same techniques as the score of “Last of the Mohicans”, is top-notch. Has a half-riverdance feel to a lot of it. Though there are some small things I could say might have been done better, I don’t think I should because it may have ruined what’s already there. Despite any issues, this song, as a result of its style and composition, can now claim the source inspiration to be considered fully realized. Cinematic and inspiring.

Echoes: FISHYFISHYFISHY! Here, Fishy Fishy…This also has a cinematic feel to it, and for some reason reminds me of a Pink Floyd/Fleetwood Mac intermingling. Guitar is great, but the drums are a little on the plain side, though it was done before Fishy was really established and can be a perfect reminder of just how far Mr. Fishy-guy has progressed. The bottom line: it spins the source in an unexpected way, and though some of the supporting instruments may be a little weak, the guitars more than make up for it and pretty much steal the show. Putting this on my make-out disc right now…

My Child: What is with all this awesome orchestration?! Powerful opening chords lead into the lullaby portion, and everything is gorgeous and soothing. Xenogears movie? This would be in it, for sure. Another song where I can’t do justice to it with words, this is something that needs to be listened to in order to be understood.

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Uhmm ... It's called two discs. it's 900MB (Almost 1Gb) because there's two discs. Two 450Mb discs.

If you're going to correct someone the facts should be right... a CD holds 650 MB of data (about 74 minutes) though most have a capacity of 700 MB (80 minutes).


Listening to the Gears disc now. One thing I really liked about the albums so far was the thematic idea of using more soft, organic instruments for the first disc, and gritty, distorted sounds for the second disc. So far it's held together extremely well and gives the album a nice cohesive feel.

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Uhmm ... It's called two discs. it's 900MB (Almost 1Gb) because there's two discs. Two 450Mb discs. Weren't you in this project? Shouldn't you know this better than anyone else?

Anyways, props to all involved. Just finished listening to most of it, and, as usual, the OCRemix community DOES NOT disappoint :D

Hey. I forgot! I've been up until almost 6am every night so my brain isn't always in the right place. But still, I think 320kbps MP3s are just as good for listening purposes as huge, almost wav-quality flacs. You can't even put flacs on an mp3 player. I guess I just really don't like flac or see the point in it too much. They could have just put the WAV files in the torrent instead so people could burn CDs with the source files.

Well... Anyway, thanks to the people who liked my song! And I really think the whole thing turned out great. I was really impressed by everyone's work. It seems like there's so much more to grasp onto with this album than some of the previous albums... more active material, less passive. It's good. ^_^

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I agree wholeheartedly with the Oinkness on the 320kbps MP3 vs. FLAC. But then again, thanks to the wonders of bittorrent I don't have to choose to d/l them, so yay choice!

Just listened to VHD's piece. Wow at the last two minutes. EMOTION. I love it.

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On the album: awesome music, I really enjoyed ALL tracks. Level 99, Prophet of Mephisto, Avaris, CHIPP , Vampire Hunter Dan,... everything was awesome. My personal favorite is Smooth Criminals, by The Vagrance. Absolutely ass kickin'.

Oh, and awesome video too! José the Bronx Rican did a fantastic job here.

BTW: Yeah, Im Prometheus and John Revoredo :tomatoface:. Prometheus id was used because "Cybernetic Love" was a really old mix, and i don't like old stuff mixed with new stuff LOL. Also, Prometheus was my old name around OCremix.

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