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djpretzel

OCR01500 - Tales of Phantasia "The Koan of Drums"

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Since the t-shirt thread is locked, and you mentioned it in the writeup, I guess I'll mention it here..

Good choice with Starland for the shirts, Dave. I went there all the time as a kid back when I lived in Annandale. I haven't been there since probably 2000... old school indeed.

Also, nice mix :D

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Another solid release. I'll just go ahead and agree with most of the previous points. The only annoyance in the piece are those little "squeaks" that start up in the background around 2:00'. I'd recommend ditching those. In any event, they're a small matter and don't do enough to hurt the song's overall appeal. Nicely done.

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I really like this mix, When I listen to it, I just don't want it to end. It does use a good array of sounds and makes it feel unique, I just want a version that goes in a continous loop. Very nice ToP mix.

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Haha, I remember when Kyle came to me asking me to do a mix of this song for the project. I must say, after hearing this, I'm glad Dave got it; this mix is absolutely amazing.

We could probably still fit you in somewhere, y'know. :P But this is truly some of Dave's best work yet, so I can't argue there.

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Very nice, djp! After hearing everything else on this project up to this point and loving every minute of it all, this track is some very tasty icing on the cake.

I never thought I'd be at this point myself, being among such great company, making enjoyable music, but here we are. This project (and this track in particular) rocks and that's all there is to it.

Thanks again for the props on my song, btw. The feeling is most definitely mutual.

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Here's hoping the rest of the ToP/ToS remix project is as awesome as this and Hale-Bopp's tune. This is shaping up to be a pretty awesome project. Anyway, I really enjoyed this. The drums are friggin awesome, and the arrangement is incredible.

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First off, we have my two favorite traditional RPGs together in one glorious OCR amalgamation. THis alone would be enough to get me excited.

However, Pretzel really has outdone himself with this one. Granted, I haven't heard all of his ReMixes (or even most of the older ones... he does have over 60 total), but of the ones I have heard, this one stands out as the best produced. So much energy, vision, and the movements are spectacularly timed! Booster Tanrantino and JethroAndVashAtTheFair were both also wonderful, but it's great to listen to them and then this mix and really get a feel for just how good you've become even in that short span. To say nothing of the days of Singing Pretzel ;)

I can do nothing but shower praise on this mix, and patiently await the rest of the project. Downloading HaleBopp's track as I type this.

If I may, one slight issue: that high-hat really is mixed a bit too loud for my tastes, but trust me, once that taiko solo kicks in I forget about it pretty damn quick.

Crank the bass up on this one, kids.

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This is probably the first remix I've downloaded since torrent 1000-1250. It must have been at least a year or two since I've downloaded any songs individually. However, this song interests me for several reasons:

1) Tales of Phantasia was in my opinion one of the best RPG's ever, SNES-style graphics or otherwise. Gameplay, graphics, storyline, music were all fantastic. It's a shame there was never a U.S. release, but I'm thankful for emulators and translation patches.

2) I remember DJP almost since he started this site. Long before I started posting on the forums, with OC Remix 1.0 with the ugly orange colors I was fascinated by videogame remixes. It was probably during the days of Napster that I discovered this concept. I figure it's about time that the man himself remix this awesome game.

3) I had remixed my own song from this game, which was one of the first Tales of Phantasia remixes on this site. It's always nice to hear more people contributing to this awesome soundtrack.

Anyway, on to the review.

I like the Taiko drums in the beginning. However, that first high percussion thing (I think it's a wood block) sound seems a tiny bit loud. That flute that comes in sounds nice, but it feels really weak to me. The attack seems too low (it needs to sound sharper), it needs more volume, and I don't think it's expressive enough either.

The transition to techno at :14 seems weak to me. I can understand maybe djp is going for an old school techno feeling, but to me it doesn't really work. I would rather hear a more powerful sounding kick, but introduced by a more developed percussion section (don't get me wrong, the percussion sounds good but I wish it were more developed before going into a new part of the song). There is an airy sort of sound in the background, but to me it sounds like noise. I think it detracts from the song. The high hats during this section don't sound good to me either. I think they're too loud and don't balance well with the rest of the song. In fact, all of the techno-style drums sound like there is too much going on with the high frequencies. I long to hear some lower frequencies giving this song some energy.

:29 - The sound that comes in here sounded to me at first like part wind instrument, part viola. However, it sounds more like a viola. The sample to me sounds like it is missing something; more specifically, the attack is extremely weak even though the the instrument has a nice expressive finish.

:48 The transition here seems completely out of place. The atmosphere that the song had established thus far just dies right here.

:50 The bassline that comes in here adds a whole new level of cheesiness that the song hadn't had until now. I'm very disappointed in this transition and even more disappointed by the direction this song has taken. At :58 the viola finally gets the attack it need, but that note is entirely too loud and sounds out of place. At 1:04 same thing. Some of the velocities need adjustments when the attack is increased because it sounds un-natural. In fact the entire viola section does not sound remotely close to live playing. 1:10 - I thought I heard a mastering problem here. More instruments are added here and the high frequencies sound like they clash with each other. It seems like djp is trying to add too many things at once to this part of the song, and they don't really work with each other that well. The Taiko drums just don't seem to work with the mood established during this section (the cheesy techno mood).

1:25 - This is the best transition I've heard in the song so far. I'm actually very relieved to hear it. The flute articulation thing sounds totally awesome. The song also picks up a lot of energy here. I get the feeling that things will be taking off from here.

The section after this has a lot more energy and a lot of sounds that balance each other and keep things interesting (and add some emotion). However, I'm hearing a few mastering problems also with some of the frequencies. All in all though, the mastering issues are minor enough that I still enjoy this part of the song.

1:58 - This transition is nicely put together. I like the arrangement at this part. However, the rattling sounds badly mastered. There seems to be a lot of warmth missing (mids and lower mids) The arrangement at this section seems pretty strong though. The song seems to be breaking down a bit (sort of a bridge I guess). Around 2:05-ish, the song seems to be building energy. However, the flute/viola at 2:11-ish seem to break the mood. At the least they sound too loud. Around 2:18, the flute sounds too loud, even though the placement itself within the arrangment seems to be pretty clever. 2:28, I liked the articulation (the exaggerated airy vibrato) on the flute. It sounded really nice. 2:33, the flute sounded too loud again.

2:38, I liked the concept of having the Taiko drum solo here. However, I would have liked the drums to sound a lot bigger; maybe cutting the other percussion and pumping up the volume and velocity of the drums, making them meaner. Well, at 2:46 they sound pretty mean. This is a great part of the song.

At 3:03, the song drops into a really sweet section. It sounded like piano to me at first but after listening again I realized it was a koto or similar instrument. This part is very originally and cleverly arranged, how the viola, flute, Japanese ethnic instruments and massive percussion section are put together. Even if no other part of the song were worth hearing, this section definitely is.

3:22 - back into techno with the viola lead; nothing really special here. Same things that were heard earlier in the song. 3:56, the kick drops out, and some Taikos help the song transition to the breakdown/ending.

Overall impression, final thoughts:

While some of the instruments sounded cheesy, this arrangement was very cleverly put together. I think a lot more work should have been put into mixing, mastering, and even balancing some of the instruments together. Some parts of the song stood out as being really awesome sounding. However, some of the transitions seemed disruptive to the moods that were being created, and were even disruptive to the entire song as a concept. I might recommend this song as long as you turn the highs way down on the equalizer, maybe play it in the car or something. I wouldn't recommend playing it on a system that has a high amount of treble though.

Mixing: 4/10 - While parts of the song were balanced, this song had way too much high end on just about everything. There was not very much bass presence at all, especially on the kick drum where it needs to be. I'm sure the idea of having a weak kick would bring out the Taikos, but there are different ways of working them around each other. The synth bass was extremely cheesy and pretty much killed most of the atmostphere and emotion in the song. Some of the frequencies conflicted; some of the notes were too loud, and other notes were too soft. A lot of samples could have used more attack and needed some other tweaking to make them sound more natural. The good things were the articulations on the flute and violin. During parts of the song these things sounded super sweet.

Arrangement: 9/10 - This song was very cleverly put together. The use of Japanese instruments together to keep the song going and make it spicy was very well done. Probably the most outstanding thing about this song was the concept. I just would have liked to see better implementation.

Emotion: 5/10 - would get a lot more points, if it weren't for the bad techno percussion and bad techno bass. The mix of ethnic instruments in this song though was awesome.

Catchiness: 3/10 - I don't remember this particular melody from the game; maybe it just wan't that memorable. DJP should have maybe changed the melody from the original song or have added some catchy material of his own to make up for it.

Complexity: 9.5/10 - Some of the song there just seemed to be too much going on that different things seemed to conflict. However, certain sections had a lot of different instruments bouncing off each other doing something different that kept the song interesting.

Overall: 6/10 - This song to me sounded like a great idea, but it sounded too much like a WIP. I don't think DJP understands how to produce electronic music, as the electronic/techno-style parts of the song were what made it sound weak. A lot needed to be done on eq'ing and mastering. I'm wondering how this was passed off as a finished work when the eq'ing was so completely sloppy. I even thought I heard clipping in a few sections. That could have been fixed easily with a limiter or compressor or even just turning the master volume down. I was impressed overall with djp's arranging skills, but dissappointed by the overall presentation. I have heard other songs from DJP that I enjoyed more than this one.

All in all, I think DJP should focus more on developing a song as one genre, namely non-electronic genres. Either that or I think he should research how to make electronic music sound good.

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All in all, I think DJP should focus more on developing a song as one genre, namely non-electronic genres. Either that or I think he should research how to make electronic music sound good.

ROFLTASTICS... Well, you're entitled to your own opinion; zircon liked it well enough, so I guess he doesn't know anything about "making electronic music sound good" either.

I strongly disagree with just about everything you wrote, and don't find much insight, except for the arrangement comments, which are more subjective (and positive :D ). I think the song's mastered fine, and frankly I find the melody pretty damn catchy, especially with the alteration. I've talked with people that have looped it ad infinitum, as I have, and I know I've caught myself humming the chorus several times the last month or so.

Bottom line is, thanks for the suggestion to not pursue further electronica mixes, but I'm going to have to completely ignore it. You can claim that people are just "kissing my ass" when they like this piece easily enough, but Andy for one has no reason to do so, and the judges are the ones who vote on mixes, so kissing my ass doesn't really get anyone very far - that type of reasoning is as muddled as you apparently think my EQing is.

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I'm sorry if I came across as too harsh. I may not be hearing things correctly since I'm very tired due to working full time and going to college, compounded by the fact that I am way behind on sleep and have been under a lot of different kinds of stress.

ROFLTASTICS

I'm quite shocked by your response. It sounds almost like something Protricity would say. I don't mean to be unreasonable at all.

If you truly believe your song is solid enough that my criticisms were irrelevant, then why dignify it with a response? I made an honest effort to objectively review your song as best as as I could, and at the end give my conclusion.

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

I'm sorry that you disagreed so strongly with my opinion, but isn't that the purpose of this thread that I can post my opinion? I approached mine as seriously and as thoughtfully as I could, but instead of an equal response, or no response, you mocked it. ROFLTASTIC?

I may not be the best critic, but if you really want an objective, professional opinion, I would recommend Prophecy. He works in a recording studio as a record producer.

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I'm quite shocked by your response. It sounds almost like something Protricity would say. I don't mean to be unreasonable at all.

Wow, I'm... almost offended by that. Save that in this case, it was justified. I've *no* problem with your feedback on the mix, however incorrect I believe it to be, but you begin your review by saying you haven't downloaded anything in a year or two (point one), indicate that a single mix somehow represents how I've developed (point two), and then talk about how more people should check your mix (point three). Then there's the implication that the positive reviews to date are simply people sucking up - as if your disagreeing must mean that they *actually* agree with you but are too afraid to say so.

Everything else was fine, and I actually commend longer, more elaborate reviews. In this case, I respectfully disagree, but nevertheless... it was the "sucking up" (as if people couldn't have opinions of their own) and other aspects that seemed, well... ROFLTASTIC.

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you begin your review by saying you haven't downloaded anything in a year or two (point one), indicate that a single mix somehow represents how I've developed (point two), and then talk about how more people should check your mix (point three). Then there's the implication that the positive reviews to date are simply people sucking up - as if your disagreeing must mean that they *actually* agree with you but are too afraid to say so.

Everything else was fine, and I actually commend longer, more elaborate reviews. In this case, I respectfully disagree, but nevertheless... it was the "sucking up" (as if people couldn't have opinions of their own) and other aspects that seemed, well... ROFLTASTIC.

I don't want to be misunderstood. There's no way that one song can represent what this site has to offer, or even what djp has to offer. others. I'm sure there's a lot of other music I'll really enjoy. I've always admired djp's work on this site. He really shows an open mind to more different types of music than most people, and it reflects in his style. That's definitely a good thing.

I'm sure the music on this site has changed in a lot of ways, for better or worse, I really don't know. I can't make that judgement until I listen to most of the new songs.

I really don't care if people listen to my remix or not. I was only expressing why I was interested in this song. This is a community, afterall.

I agree with a lot of what you said. The comment about people sucking up was uncalled for. It's neither none of my business nor is it even relevant.

It's difficult sometimes to correctly interpret the context of what's being said on an internet forum. I'm not going to judge who's right in this, but I'd like to get this thing resolved so I'll be editing the post that started this thing.

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"good techno?" whats awesome in one sub genre of techno isnt necessarily awesome in others. sucking up? what would be the point of sucking up to a moderator of an internet website? what would you get out of it?

onto the mix. i loved it, shakuhachi is one of my favorite instruments. its inclusion immidiately scores points in my book. i thought this mix flowed very well from start to finish. overall it sounded like a lot of thought was put into it, as opposed to just layers on top of a beat (although dont get me wrong that can be quite sick)

:D

im sure if i put my mind to it i could nit pick a zillion little things out of the mix, or any mix for that matter, but i have better things to do with my time. great mix.

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this is truly some of Dave's best work yet

I like the mix too, but I couldn't just leave this here without objecting - have you even heard some of his other work?!

It's a very catchy mix with a few especially awesome sections (although it's hurt a bit by sample quality, and I agree with some of the comments I've read on the mixing earlier in the thread), I don't see how you can compare it to some of the more truely outstanding tunes djp has showered upon us (both electronica and non-electronica).

It's great stuff, very GrayLightning-esque (not only in terms of the Asian and stringed instruments but also the unusually simplistic electronica elements and the heavy reverb and high frequencies), but I guess I'm just wondering whether you were serious when you said it's some of his best work yet, or maybe you just kind of said it without thinking - there's no rule that says you're a failure if you create a mix that might not be quite on the same level as one(s) you've created before... there would be no music, since everyone would be too scared to make what they want, and not just what they know they can do well already. I seem to be going off on a tangent in regards to what I quoted, but I think it may be relevant to this thread/this mix.

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this is truly some of Dave's best work yet

I like the mix too, but I couldn't just leave this here without objecting - have you even heard some of his other work?!

It's all a matter of opinion.

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this is truly some of Dave's best work yet

I like the mix too, but I couldn't just leave this here without objecting - have you even heard some of his other work?!

It's all a matter of opinion.

And, apparently, objecting to other people's ability to have one :wink:

For what it's worth, of my 67 mixes, yeah, I'd put this in the top fifteen, possibly higher. So in my *own* opinion it's at least some of my "better" work yet.

I guess maybe it's instrumentally similar to some of Gray's stuff, or more recently Andy's Fei Long mix, but I think the arrangement sounds like one of mine, and I'm personally happy with it.

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this is truly some of Dave's best work yet

I like the mix too, but I couldn't just leave this here without objecting - have you even heard some of his other work?!

It's all a matter of opinion.

And, apparently, objecting to other people's ability to have one :wink:

For what it's worth, of my 67 mixes, yeah, I'd put this in the top fifteen, possibly higher. So in my *own* opinion it's at least some of my "better" work yet.

I guess maybe it's instrumentally similar to some of Gray's stuff, or more recently Andy's Fei Long mix, but I think the arrangement sounds like one of mine, and I'm personally happy with it.

Oh no! I've been misinterpreted! - or at least have fallen victim to the ambiguity of facetiousness (a wink can be just a wink or an extra-spiteful :"roll": depending on context).

I don't have a problem if Kyle (or anyone else) regards Koan in such a manner - at the time of my posting, Kyle's comment seemed to me unbelievable, and I asked (and found out) whether he truly meant it. Is there such a problem with being curious enough and regarding djp's work seriously enough to engage in conversation with someone of a different opinion regarding its comparative merits? I went to great lengths not to be misinterpreted, but I realize that I may have implied something erroneously, so I'll apologize for that.

Better to not post at all than to engage in conversation and run the risk of being misinterpreted or offending on an internet forum, right?

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Truly creative and ingenious use of the samples at your disposition. The mixes that impress me most are not the mixes that have the technical perfectness to sound professional, nor those with live instruments that are nearly impossible to play, but those that have arrangements that couldn't have been thought of by anyone else.

I think this is a very unique, and effective, interpretation of the theme, so 10/10 for inspiration and creativeness. The instrument all work together to create a complex but cohesive atmosphere while being complex enough to sustain attention through repeated listens.

The pads and bass sound absolutely gorgeous, but I have slight issues with the drums and violin lead.

The drums all sound fairly good, except the hi-hat which sound a little mechanical in my opinion (maybe too loud or not varied enough in terms of velocity) and the bass drum sounds very thin, especially compared to the taiko drums. Btw, the taiko solo is amazing, even comparable to McVaffe's ultimate drum solo in Kaoss.

The violin sounds a little thin for a lead instrument, especially since the shakuhachi sounds so full, so it's a little underpowered. Shakuhachi (and strings, be it koto or shamisen) sample quality and use of samples is flawless.

The transition at 3:59 where the bass simply cuts off sounds a little awkward and the ending a little rushed.

However, aside from this nitpicking, this is indeed a stellar rendition of the Desolation Road theme and, what is most important, a piece of work you can call your own.

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Excellent track! Although I'd appreciate a little less drum & beat, but more flute, violin and guitar instead. :-) Any chance of getting a non-beat version of this song?

Yhoko

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