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djpretzel

OCR01174 - Final Fantasy "AfterLife"

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Ah yes... "The" GrayLightning is back with an excellent Final Fantasy OC ReMix...

The intro to this song is incredible, in my humble opinion. I've heard several versions of this song, and I must say that this is a huge improvement over the previous version's intro. GrayLightning is a master at making songs that build up, and that's what this intro does, and then goes right into the "main" theme. Excellent transition work here. But to go back to the intro, it sounds exotic, sort of like egyptian or something like that. I think of walking through a pyramid and looking at hyroglyphs and painting of pharoahs when I hear the intro to this song, I have no idea why, but it's probably due to the sound of the intro and the title, since Egyptians believe in the "After Life."

Anyways, onto where I left off... The transition quickly awakes me from imagining pyramids and all that stuff, since the style changes quite a bit, although it's not jarring. The synth just doesn't fit the exotic tone, and that's what I'm referring to when I say it ends that little imagination wandering off... The strings come in and then the song picks up tempo, along with that cool drum (can't be more specific because I'll confuse you, but it sounds sort of like a frog, as Gray put it). I really enjoy that part, the beat is fresh, especially during the time where it's playing alone.

After the beat goes off on a tangent, the song comes back to a more instrumental approach and after a short re-introduction, picks up the "main" theme again. Ah yes, the piano comes in and dominates this portion of the song, near the end... This is a great way to pick the song up and end it. The piano you used gives a very satisfying sound on that last note.

Overall, this song is pretty darn good. GrayLightning strays from his traditional new age style to deliver us a more techno-ish sound. Very daring, and I think it's pretty successful in its execution. GrayLightning does an excellent job in orchestrating this song, as he does with all of his songs ;). Everything transitions pretty smoothly also... This mix is definitely GrayLightning quality stuff, though there's much more in store for you avid GrayLightning fans ;). I won't ruin any surprises, but you'll love what's he's got hidden up his sleeve! ;)

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GrayLightning does it again. His recent works (including his DK mix for the DKC project ) have shown an excellent level of musical maturity that has only increased from his previous mixes. This mix does not disappoint; it features some extremely cool ethnic vibes and manages to sound ice cold (what's cooler than cool?) without sounding arrogant and loud. His vibe is subtle and beautiful. The plucked instruments add a feel of realism to the mix, and the piano is vibrant and emotional. The back beat is subtle but complements the mix very well, pacing it just right. I would count this mix amongst my favorites from GL. Nice work!

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It seems almost like a guilty pleasure to be excited to see that Gray Lightning did an electronic dance style piece. I always feel like a bit of a poser for gravitating towards that sort of music, and I feel like I can hold my fairly large collection of GL tracks up as if to say, "I'm not completely lame! I enjoy something cultured and challenging!"

Actually, I should better clarify my tastes -- My favorite kind of music is that which takes the electronic dance style and does something new and innovative with it. When I saw that GL had made a more electronic piece, I expected to find just that; hence my excitement.

I was not disappointed :) "AfterLife" is a wonderful and unique blend of GL's tried-and-true new age style and electronic dance. The result is something akin to newer (read: last decade or so) Tangerine Dream music -- it has groove and punch like dance music, but the structure and general aesthetic are decidedly classical.

Production quality is excellent. Both the synths and the "real" sounds are great; they're well-chosen and mix together smoothly. I this is particularly laudable considering it's the author's first foray into a different style of music. It sounds effortless -- as if he's done this sort of thing before. One of my favorite tidbits is an odd little synth that enters around 1:36 -- it sounds sort of like a guiro with a filter sweep. I can honestly say I've never heard a synth guiro before :P

I love how the piece is structured. There are two big tempo changes -- something you don't see every day. They're definate attention-getters -- the shifts from slow to fast and back again are quite drastic -- but they don't sound jarring or unnatural. The tempo shifts are a major contributor to the complete, epic feel of this piece. I didn't actually look at the total time until after a couple of listens, and I was quite surprised to see that it was only 4:10. So much happens musically that I felt like I had listened to something considerably longer; I was expecting something in the 5-minute range. It's not just the tempo changes that create such a sense of completeness in such a short time; there's a lot of musical action packed into every moment and detail. Just like a great classical piece :)

I love the percussion. I know so little about percussion that it's hard for me to say much more than that... It sounds great and it's not repetitive.

One minor gripe:

Also, the tremolo strings at the end sound like they could use a little polish. It sounds like it's not quite on the beat when it drops to the lower note at 3:47. Maybe that was an intentional human touch?

If it's not already clear from what I said, or if you're just skimming the review:

This is excellent, and I highly reccomend it to anyone. For techno fans especially, it's a great way to expand your horizon a little bit in the new age/classical direction without giving up too much of the style you know and love.

Like a lot of Gray Lightning's work, it's not as instantly accessible as your average remix. I liked it the first time I heard it, as I imagine anyone will, but it took a couple of repeats before I loved it. So I suggest giving this piece at least three listens before moving on.

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I always download work by GrayLightning because I always know it is quality work. Once again, I was not let down. Excellent. A great and memorable track redone flawlessly.

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Sux! :)

:roll:

I dig the groove it lays... excellent use of synths, and the texture... geeze man. complete suprise. You somehow manage to keep it playful even though it is a very serious peice. i was dissapointed with the way some of the mid stuff is so stiff.... but its okay... a few listens later and all was set right, and it felt more natural. Excellent work.

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:) Always look forward to hearing new stuff from Gray. The first 1:37 of this has a real Vangelis feel about it, especially when the melody kicks in. If you have it Gray, check out "Wait for Me" in the Bladrunner ost and you'll see what I'm talking about.

I'm really not too keen on the transition at 1:37. That cymbal sounds like it's trying to mask the change to me. Really liked the percussion from about 2:20 to 3:00 (the part of the track I most attributed to arabic music) but again, the cymbal hits didn't really do it for me. I think the transition might have been smoother without them.

Aside from that I thought it was excellent. Lots of really nice touches in it.

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I heard this song a while back when it was on VG mix, so you get the copy and paste of my VGMix review:

"Interesting... experimental shit done right, for once.

PROS

- The percussion here is superb (the tribal/ethnic shite)/

- The synth at the beginning is BOSS. Pure 80's!

- The equally 80's bass is rocking also!

- Good choice of musac to mix.

- The piano section at the end is really awesome, you we gotta talk about hooking me up with them piano samples.

- You seem to have fixed the gripes I had with the first version you sent me, always cool.

- This song has an old school feel to it, late 80's early 90's stuff goin on. I like.

- Techno-ish drums that don't piss me off... for a change.

CONS

- Needs cheesy 80's guitar to take some of the main melody on occasion.

Overall, you surprised me with this one, when I first heard it, I was a bit "..the fuck...?" but it's grown on me and I like it! ALOT...!!!

This is my personal example of electronic music done right. Very nice synths, very well done percussion, and nothing that pisses me off. The mixing itself is very well done, and all the levels seem perfect. You've got yourself a winner dude, tis very rare that I give a score this high... so savor it whilst it lasts.

I don't say what my scores are in my reviews (unless I am somehow motivated too... usually in a negative way), so if you're interested in knowing what it is, ask me in a PM or instant message or something. "

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Some of this reminds me of a song from a Klonoa game.

GrayLightning, you need to remix some Klonoa songs; they have a lot of cool New Age-ish sounding stuff! :)

Klonoa 2 OST: one of my favorite soundtracks ever.

Anyway, great work, GL! :D

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Wow, nice. This is a very good arrangment - no complaints there. But I do have a few things I've noticed:

I really think the lead that comes in at :28 is kind of weak and not a good selection for that particular part. I do like when you speed things up around 1:36 and the piano/violin part is nice, but it again could use more variation in the dynamics and make slight changes in rythm to make it sound a little more musical. I also like where the build up after that goes to, but it takes too long to get back to the melody. I like that last section, though.

Anyway, those comments aside, I did really enjoy the arrangement. Keep it up!

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Wow, this is exceptional. This plays like a movie score. Especially around 2:40 with the vocals coming in, it sounds like one of the vocal interludes in Mona Lisa Overdrive on the Matrix reloaded sountrack. You've done so much with so little, kudos!

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Thank you for all the comments and reviews. I'm glad that many of you are enjoying it. I have several new mixes on the way that I think is even better. One of my newer ones will be posted this month for the OCR 4 event.

I should mention if you have an older version of this mix from somewhere, you should get this new version. The version I submitted to OC is an extended, longer and better version.

Thanks for listening.

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Wow I really love this version I have had the vgmix version for some time now and loved it but this version is much better great job GrayLightning I can't wait to here those seven new songs. :D

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Hey Grey :D I remember when you posted this on the WIP boards. Hearing this sounded very familiar, and it's no wonder. This was one of my favorite works on the boards for quite some time. I'm glad you finished it up and submitted it; more glad to see that it passed the judges. Good stuff. :D

Edit: Actually I don't think I'm too sure if I got it from the WIP boards.. Did you ever post it there? I think I might've gotten it elsewhere. Can't remember.

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Are we all listening to the same thing? The guitar was bland and annoying, the transitions were out of place, the synths were random and went against the whole grain of the style. It was overall just repetitive and boring. The area around the drum solo was boring... Why is this getting such good reviews? The same tune is played over and over again too... Sheezus.

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Are we all listening to the same thing? The guitar was bland and annoying, the transitions were out of place, the synths were random and went against the whole grain of the style. It was overall just repetitive and boring. The area around the drum solo was boring... Why is this getting such good reviews? The same tune is played over and over again too... Sheezus.

Give it a few listens, see if it grows on you.

Other than that it could just be differences in taste.

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