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djpretzel

OCR01344 - Xenogears "Chasing the Phoenix"

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What can I say, you sent this to me a month ago and it was just as good then as it is now. Congrats on your big 20, now hurry up and make it 21 you lazy bastard. I still can't stand your voxs, but that hardly matters in the scope of things. I guess next time you will just need to get a real vocalist :P.

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What's with Gray and his phoenix titles? :P

Anyhow... wow, I appreciate much of the nature in this one - sounds at a much more professional quality than much of his past works, and that can be easily saying something. There's been a good set of complexities in the sound channels to match, and that's easily impressive.

Also, it's then at 0:54 that I have to say something - thank you, GrayLighthing, for covering Awakening! ah man, I love that song so much, and it sounds so great that you managed to give the track some justice.

Personally I find the overall scopes of the arrangement here to be easier to get into than much of his previous works, much in a similar fashion to Return of the Phoenix. Even with that in mind I could barely find much wrong here; if anything it may be towards what I thought was some lightly dense flute progressions in their processing (increasing their reverb slightly may help with that), but outside from that... yeah, I have to agree with Pretzel that this is, in fact, the best work that I have seen from GL.

Sorry to see Binnie left the judges panel though :(

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Shizz damn diggity snap once again. Sounds so awesome. Great dynamics and all that. Gray is da man. Happy two-oh, thugslice!

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It's a GrayLightning remix, you should know what to expect by now: top notch arrangements and bells bells bells :P. Gray's one of the best remixers around, and this is his 20th reason why you can't mess with him. I'm loving the Asian influence this piece has, coupled with Gray's trademark new age/orchestral shizz.

With tracks like this, OneUp Studios' Xenogears Light | an arranged album, and Oceanfire's 'Xenosphere' mix, 2005 has been a great year for Xenogears fans.

-DCT

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Dang Gray, this is great. It seems as of lately you have been working in lots of tempo changes to your music. I like it :) The transitions and tempo changes work well. The energy has great highs and lows. That sitar work (or whatever the specific instrument is) is really good, its great to hear it in a mix. Great job producing an epic mix, and paying more tribute to Mitsuda, which is always good :P

blue

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Wow.

Hat's off.

I am long time Xenogears and OC REMIX fan, but new to the forums. I want to play Xenogears all over again while listening to this mix.

BlueEnvy could say it better than me this is great job on an epic mix. Congrats for your 20th mix.

Ram

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Excellent mix, Gray. I believe Gray's Phoenix pieces are all just part of a continuation of his Phoenix Symphonic, his first orchestral piece with his new samples (well, they were new when he made Phoenix Symphonic). I remember you sent me a WIP of this a little more than a month ago, and you wouldn't send me the final because you wanted it to be a "surprise." Well, it was definitely worth the wait! :D

Just the way the mix starts off is full of energy. The percussion is incredible and accents every moment perfectly. The transitions are incredible in frequency and quality, I think this has the most transitions out of any of your mixes. The tempo changes are equally impressive, controlling the energy and mood of the mix very effectively. I especially love the transition at 1:18, very nicely done. Again, the transition at 1:52 is really good, and then it transitions again at 2:02. Very quick transitions, but they work incredibly well.

Gray puts a lot of emotion, energy, and tension in his song, giving a grand and epic feel to it. The tempo shifts, transitions, and incredible percussion work together so well to achieve this. Those bombastic kettle drums are really nice, I mean really nice. The explosive power present at 4:05-4:32 was not present earlier in the mix, and it really adds to depth of the mix. In fact, everything in the second half has more emphasis and more instrumentation than its previous section.

I love the ending starting at 5:10. It's so different from the rest of the mix, yet it works. It has a very ethereal feel to it, and at 5:18, damn... I don't even know how to describe it. Gray's definitely gotten a lot better at this orchestrating stuff.

Great job! :D

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I'm constantly in awe of Gray's command of the production wand. This sounds like full on, film quality orchestration.

There're some great pace changes and dynamic range shifts going on too.

Top marks!

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What's with Gray and his phoenix titles? :P

Probably, he love Phoenix.

Wow, this is great! GrayLightning and your orchestra are very powerful indeed. I love all the instruments here. This ReMix deserves the Nice Work Guy! :nicework:

Sorry to see Binnie left the judges panel though :(

Eh...that´s not funny.

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I actually don't really like this remix. I respect it in its complexity and masterful orchestration, and I certainly like certain parts of it, but overall I didn't really enjoy this mix. It's hard for me to specifically place why I didn't like it ... I think it's partly to do with the stylistic direction GL took in interpreting the original piece. Infusing Awakening with such a ... classical asian feel didn't really work for me. That's not to say it wasn't executed masterfully, just that I didn't really like it. I guess I also didn't like all the transitions. Not the transitions themselves, because they worked well. But the fact that there were so MANY of them ... it felt like every thirty seconds or so I was listening to an entirely new track. I think a few of those kinds of ... I don't know the official term for it, I'm not a musician or anything ... but a few shifts in the tone of a piece are fine, but this work utilized one or two too many.

I did, however, especially like the percussion used and the ... I don't know, the *energy* I guess, in the mix. It never felt flat. So I guess this was a masterful work by GL, just one that didn't fit my tastes.

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Lots of nice stuff here. The tempo changes and the expression used is very evident here. TONS of dynamics! There's also a lot of polyphony going on here. Everything sounds very full and warm, which is great for something as energetic as this.

I enjoyed the usage of the Asian instruments and the Chinese stringed instruments. Its very stylistic and it matches the original piece, I think - Mitsuda's always had a rather organic, ethnic feel to his pieces - although Mitsuda tends to lean more Celtic. Gray takes it the other way and makes this piece more Oriental.

Great work! Excellent sounds, and excellent deployment of sounds here makes for a very interesting and insightful listening experience.

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Extremely impressive work.

It'd be hard for me to go in-depth with this one, but I'll just say I was fascinated with the amount of instruments and moods present. Great job handling the tons of instruments and sounds, making them sound cohesive, absorbing and close to realism. The work on plucked instruments is particularly impressive.

Also enjoyed the constant switches in mood and style; very filmic and evocative without sounding too forced or cheesy. The production is also of high caliber, resulting in probably your most realized piece.

Excellent.

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This was well put together, but it never achieves the driving power of the original. How awesome this would've been if GL had kept up the pace and the volume at the 1:30 passage. The start-stop phrases between 1:00 and 1:10 made me check to see if my Winamp was skipping.

This is a very successful piece technically. I am sure that my stylistic criticisms are in the minority.

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Very nice. This is probably the most exciting GL piece to listen to, with the possible exception of Afterlife. The up-tempo sections are a nice departure from his usual, more ponderous style. The variety in the arrangement is really impressive. You can literally HEAR the many hours of Gray's life pouring into each passage :P

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Shizz damn diggity snap once again. Sounds so awesome. Great dynamics and all that. Gray is da man. Happy two-oh, thugslice!

I second this :) . Another great mix from Gray (as we've all come to expect and love). Great arrangement, love the instrumentation and dynamics. Just all around good stuff.

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What's with Gray and his phoenix titles? :P

Probably, he love Phoenix.

Txai is right. ;) But also there are a lot of similar motifs/ideas, and some instrumentation as this is essentially Phoenix III in the series, with the other two obviously being I and II. I don't plan a IV at this point though.

Thanks for the comments and your time everyone.

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Best part of listening to a Judge's mix is the fact that you know you're going to get quality music. It may not appeal to your aesthetics, but it'll be quality nonetheless. So when it does appeal, as is the case here, all the better :)

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Son,

What a fitting way to mark this milestone in your contributions to the community!

I don't know why it never occurred to me before, but David's review brought to my attention your painstaking manual sequencing. As someone without real perfomance capability, I've had to do the same for all my compositions, and I know well the frustration and attention to detail the task requires. In particular, I think your command of the string/koto-like instrument is notable and impressive by all rights, even if you had had a manual controller at your disposal.

More generally speaking, you've delivered on just what you've recently told me I should strive for, namely colorful harmony and progressions (I'll spare specific citations here).

Again, congratulations on your twentieth remix. May you continue to be prolific and develop!

MC

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You are amazing Gray! What a wonderful and epic trilogy you have created with the Phoenix series, I am truly honored to know you and share in your musical endeavors. Very lush and cinematic. As with all your music, I sit and feel and experience the sounds through all my senses, and it is always a pleasure and a gift. Thanks again Gray.

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I've seen Gray go from practially zero to hero in the last 2+ years, and I'd say that this is his best effort so far...

The reason being is simple.... excitement, and PERCUSSION. In the past, even though we all knew that Gray's sound quality and mixing skills were tight, I often found the composition (sometimes) to be slightly dull, and more than that, the percussion could KILL a mix for me....

But that's all past. This is the best Gray mix I've yet heard.... perfect percussion, slick surprises, his best use yet of the asian instrumentation he's fond of, and compelling dynamics. The atmosphere is undeniable, and this music could work with a host a fantasies and visions. Excellent.

(My only gripe was essentially the beginning.... I simply didn't like it as much as the rest of the tune...)

But again, Gray's BEST work to date. Glad to hear it and play it loud.

Nice work!!

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What's with Gray and his phoenix titles? :P

Probably, he love Phoenix.

Txai is right. ;) But also there are a lot of similar motifs/ideas, and some instrumentation as this is essentially Phoenix III in the series, with the other two obviously being I and II. I don't plan a IV at this point though.

Thanks for the comments and your time everyone.

Gray's first lay was a girl named Pheonix ;\.

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Gray is one of the best mixers in the entire world. IMO second only to Mr. Hahn (of Linkin Park fame).

This mix is absolutely excellent and just goes to show that you don't have to be making millions to make great music (though I'm sure you wish you were). Great job. 8)

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Wow. I'm put to silence. I was just writing a really long review about how this song was anti-climactic and kinda disappointing because it reminded me of a Jared Hudson Xenogears intro with no real melody. However, after a third listen, I've come to the conclusion that while the song IS still really empty feeling since the melody only comes in twice throughout the WHOLE 5:48 minutes of the song, it is VERY well arranged. The samples are honestly THE BEST I've heard on OCR to date. Having been here for over three years and having downloaded EVERY remix on the site, that's a WONDERFUL claim to have.

Again, I just wish the trumpets stuck around more often because that's when this piece really feels like a song. However, the chimes, the plucked thingy, the strings, the effects, the chorus, and everything else are put to good use. Because of the lack of melody, I give it a 4/5. If it had those horns around just a BIT more, this would probably be THE BEST remix on the site, topping even Disco Dan's Triforce Majeure.

Freaking awesome, though. Nice work.

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Again you've proved why each of your remix's are worth being downloaded instantly. Awesome flavors here, chinese, ethnic, it flows so seemlessly that it encaptures me. Great stuff :)

We need to collab sometime soon :P

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