Jump to content

*NO* Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 'Book of the Dead'

Recommended Posts

Conceptually, this ended up sounding pretty unique; production-wise, this needs more flesh on the bones in places - LT

* ReMixer name: Villainelle

* Real name: Leah Raeder

* Email address: leahzero@gmail.com

* Website: http://leah.johnsandford.org/ (temporary)

* userid: 6350

ReMix Info

* Name of game(s) ReMixed: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

* Name of individual song(s) ReMixed: "Spirit Temple" & "Requiem of Spirit"

* Link to the original soundtrack:

Spirit Temple: http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/nintendo/n64/Spirit_temple.mid

Requiem of Spirit: http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/nintendo/n64/OoTRoS.mid

* Your own comments:

Hi. You might remember me as the creator of the parody of the OCR rejection guide video on YouTube (cf. Cleveland Rock). Long time listener, first time submitter!

This is a remix of the Spirit Temple and Requiem of Spirit themes from Zelda: Ocarina of Time, in a Middle Eastern-flavored electronica/dance style with some chanting vocals. (Requiem can be heard in the breakdown, slightly transposed to fit better into G minor.)

I've always had an interest in all things ancient Egyptian, so while I was working on this, I started reading the Egyptian Book of the Dead for inspiration (as the Spirit Temple is clearly inspired by ancient Egyptian architecture). The Book of the Dead is essentially a poetic, Psalms-like book of rites meant to secure passage into the afterlife; in ancient Egypt, persons of importance who were mummified after death each had their own unique copy of a Book of the Dead. The most famous copy we have was written for someone named Ani, and has come to be known simply as *the* "Egyptian Book of the Dead."

I bought a copy of E.A. Wallis Budge's translation/transliteration and recorded myself reciting passages from the book, then ran them through various effects (inspired by the creepy vocoded speech from the movie Stargate :P).

Transcription (hieroglyph transliteration and English translation): http://leah.johnsandford.org/music/seekrit/zeldaoot_botd_transcript.txt

I chose lines that had narrative resonance with the actual Spirit Temple event in the game - Link has to solve part of it first in child form before opening the latter part for his adult self. I particularly thought the lines about heaven and rays of light were appropriate, since the Spirit Temple has those notorious light-based puzzles.

Thanks for your time,

Leah (aka Villainelle)


http://www.zophar.net/usf/lozusf.rar - 69 "Spirit Temple" & 70 "Requiem of Spirit"

Right off the bat, the electronic sounds are pretty FL-default-y and the textures are flimsy, though I see how you're trying to fill the soundfield up. The drums in particular are super dry and don't fill out the background at all. You need more effects to make things sound thicker, but at the same time the sounds need better attention to EQing and panning so that they stand apart from each other more. Right now, all the sounds seem to just overlap one another. For example, there's some string work (?) starting at 1:50-2:03 (a 7-note pattern) that I could barely pick up on, but it had cool writing ideas. I'd love a musician J's tips on good approaches to getting rid of this dry-but-crowded feel; sounds like you could use more instrumentation, but really more production finesse might be the key.

The chanting from 1:50-2:16 was a cool idea. It sounds indistinct, but the effects are cool and it's not too important what you're saying. If it WAS important that the voice work be more audible/understandable, then you've got to address that.

Sweet changeup at 2:31. The voice work sounded evil, and the percussion sequencing seems really creative; I hope that was all written by you and not just some loops. :-D The overall texture was temporarily a lot fuller without being crowded, but after 3:11, it still felt like the various parts were tripping over themselves to be heard; dry, but crowded again.

Track comes full circle to the concepts from :27 at 3:40, which felt retread-ish rather than interesting. I can't hate on you attempting to establish a foundation groove, but, dynamically, I think this could use more extended and pronounced contrast from section to section. For example, quieter sections without the drum beats could go for a few bars without the vocal chanting before subsequently bringing that in. I think the arrangement has the potential to say more in the same amount of time by being more judicious/calculating with your changeups.

Now reading the WIP thread for this one, I love how I basically repeated stuff said by others without actually having seen the comments first (The Joker re: production, Kanthos re: dynamics & bassline writing). It means I'm not losing my touch. :-P Good ideas so far. Reminds me of GrayLightning earlier in his career, where the concepts were good but the execution and polish weren't quite there yet. With that said, you show a lot of potential, Leah. Hopefully the other Js will have some good crits you can work with.

NO (resubmit)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

This is pretty cool. The vocoded chanting is terrifying! Man...

I have to say, though, that I feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of things going on at times. I'm sure it has to do with the rapid tempo, but it's a little more than that, I think. Some of the ethnic elements you've encorporated (particularly the Indian tabla and sitar) sounded a little unrealistic. The tabla has the quality of a stock loop, and the sitar's melody isn't consistent enough; it sounds like random interjections. There's no real shape to the mix because of the driving energy throughout. Breakdown at 2:35 was a welcome change, albeit still pretty high energy, so more of that kind of thing could help. It needs a little more Zelda overall, too. Bordering on pretty liberal here.

I think you're a very promising remixer, and this is a very promising remix. Hope to hear more.


Link to post
Share on other sites

had to listen to this one a whole bunch of times. There are several points of consideration:

-There's not that much to the original track.

-The dynamics are fairly flat through most of the track.

-okay mainly those two

The original track is a very simple phrygian vamp with some very sparse melodic chunks here and there. The remix is not immediately recognizable because it is much much more busy, and the bass line is NOT in the phrygian mode, although the pads are. I'll recognize a note here and there. The more I listen to the remix versus the original though, the more I DO hear the relationship. While it's certainly on the liberal side if only because it's creating so much out of so little, I think it's within our bounds of interpretation.

As for the dynamics, the energy gets high quick, and stays there for some time. until 2:30 in fact. Jill mentioned it, and it is a MUCH needed break at that point. Overall, I think the dynamic curve of the song is a weakness, but it's not a dealbreaker thanks to the fact that during the extended periods of high-energy, there are tons of different ideas presented to keep the listener involved.

none of the other issues I have come close to bringing the track below the bar. The violin or whatever it is that plays "requiem of spirit" (sort of) sounds dry next to everything else. I have absolutely no problem with the tabla. I think the ethnic percussion is used well and to fantastic effect. The vocals are fantastic.

Far from perfect, but well above the bar.


also: anyone who digs this in the least should check out Shpongle

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Well, first of all, my apologies to Leah for taking so long to get around to voting on her track. We've all been slacking lately. We really sincerely do need to get off our butts and start making more time to vote.

As one of the resident electronica remixers on the panel, I've got to stand on Jesse's side of the vote. This mix is extremely cool. It's pretty unique in it's own rights too, at least comparing it to many other electronic tracks on the site lately. I for one have tend to be fond of any sort of electrosynth-type action lately, as long as it's got good drumwork alongside it, which this does. I also love ethnic instruments lately, so that's another element that's helped this mix gain favor in my ears. I also have absolutely zero qualms with the production. I think Leah's proven quite adept with her software tools.

As for the level of arrangement, I have to admit it was a pain to do my homework, because it has been AGES since I've played OOT, and as stand-alone music, the source themes are kind of boring. I'm sure they're fine as BGM, but anyway. Back to the point, I agree with Vig that the more listens I had, the better I heard the connection. And I think I've decided lately that there are some cases when it's OK to get a little liberal. I mean, hell, if Israfel can make a 5 minute track out of a 5 second riff then I certainly don't have a problem with what Leah's done here.

So let's see if I can summarize here. Though this is obviously "busier" than the original track (source, that is), there's plenty of attention to all the qualities that I look for in an OC ReMix. The stylistic approach is energetic, and creatively executed within a genre that otherwise tends to be dubbed so "cookie cutter" oftentimes. There's a strong variety in terms of instrumentation, peppy synth arpeggio work, pretty tight drum sequencing, and some creepy-awesome vox complete with eerie-to-the-max FX. Production is fine - all frequencies seem to fit into the soundbox just fine, and despite the fact that there's a lot going on, I never once found the mix to sound cluttered.

I'm not usually so adamant about my votes, but I simply don't see how this is not over the bar in present form.

solid YES <---BGC voted in size 7!?

(and I almost NEVER go larger than size 5 or 6

Great first sub, Leah! (OMG, another girl remixer!!!!!11!1!one!11!)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...


I'd like to comment on production first... while I like the sound design, seems like a lot of the elements are "brittle". They have a lot of mid-high, not too much bass, but not too much actual high end. This could be because of the encoding, I'm not sure. But ultimately, it doesn't sound very good and makes the track a little grating to listen to since the volume level is rather consistent for most of the song. Maybe go a little easier on the compression, re-mix/EQ it, and then maximize it again after. I say to go easier on compression because the drum parts in particular were too punchy IMO.

Synth/sound design was pretty good throughout, though I'm not a fan of all the detuned trance-y sounds.. they don't seem to fit in the style that well. Why not try some smoother sounds instead? Overall, not a dealbreaker, but it would help to remove some of the harshness of the mix I think. BTW, love the chanting. Sounds like the Borg.

Structurally speaking the mix is somewhat repetitive. The same bassline is repeated throughout much of the mix, and there are no major tempo, key, or textural changes. This might not be the end of the world (see: our recently posted GSlicer mix) BUT... the arrangement is too liberal. For more detail please see my post lower in the thread. Even if the production were 100% OK this does not make enough clear, direct connections to the two sources for it to meet our standard.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I do agree with Zircon on the harshness of the melodic elements, particularly in the first section of the song before around 1.10. The energy, sound choice and arrangement are definitely a pass for me, however I would like to see the mixing/eq given some more attention because to me it is enough of an issue not to pass it at this time.

NO (please please resub)

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a pretty strong showing for a first submission. While the mix flirts with being too dense, too long, and too uniform, I think that just enough attention has been paid to both production and arrangement to put this over the bar. Also, the chanting is very memorable; creepy, but in a good way.

Look forward to hearing more stuff from you in the future, Leah.


ps This sounds like chase music from a summer blockbuster

Link to post
Share on other sites

**removes cobwebs, cracks knuckles**

book of the dead, huh?

very cool. this mix is very cool. i see what some of the common complaints have been... at times it seems overcompressed and brittle... but this is very effective

very nice combination of style and timbre. on one hand, you got this blazing, electronic groove with syncopated synths mixed in with some ethnic lead-work and percussion (2.30 - 3.30) despite not being particularly egyptian (it is more indian, really). the chanting is so badass, it almost single handedly makes this arrangement cooler than shit. the synth violin playing during that section is a very nice touch

i can recognize the zelda in there but it is very drowned out with your interpretative original contributions.

as for concept, its a homerun. perhaps, i'm biased... on one hand, i am both egyptian and a zelda fanatic. on the other, i had a very similar vision with a recent track of mine titled "Ancient Hylia" done as though Ancient Hylia was much like Ancient Egypt. its funny how twilight princess also portrays ancient hylia as such. i still think that its a surefire concept on its own merit, though

for a debut, you'ev knocked my face off. like vig mentioned, it isn't perfect and the overall dynamic is too static and without that break at 2.30, you'd have been in trouble. however, this scores big in other ares and as far as i'm concerned, this is good to go.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I contacted Leah a little while ago to get her take on the arrangement. This is the best info we can get from her for the time being, as she explains below:

Larry, sorry for the delay in responding, have been fairly busy IRL.

Just FYI, I am in the middle of moving across country and don't have access to my own PC and various stuff, so I will have to respond to your request by memory. If it's not sufficient I can get back to you in another 1-2 months when everything is settled and give you a more accurate response. I'm also not an educated musician so I have to use approximate terms here, I can't remember the exact chords or anything.


First, the tempo is almost doubled (the original was something like 80 BPM, my mix is 140).

The string stab chord progression in the BG of original became the gated pad that pulses throughout my remix. Same chords, just drawn out more and pauses removed. Bassline is rewritten around this chord prog (it was just a pulse in the original).

Intro before bass comes in is a riff on the lead that will play later. Trance arp stuff, sitar riffs, flute and drones etc. that come in are based either on the chord progression, or are playing off the lead. It is basically a lot of harmony and buildup until the true lead part comes in after (IIRC!) around 1.5 mins.

The lead from the original is cut up and the more hooky parts are rearranged throughout the mix. The best place to hear the original lead coming through in my mix is after that filtered drum breakdown (I don't have the MP3 so I can't tell you exact track time ><) - the lead there is exactly the same as the original, just sped up and with a lot of accompaniment.

The main breakdown with chanting runs through some riffs on the Requiem of Spirit theme and harmony.

Return to Spirit Temple theme for ending. The lead plays a riff from earlier but mostly it is a wind-down of all the accompaniment parts.

I hope this is enough info. Again, sorry for the late reply. If you guys want to continue to postpone judging, that's cool...I'm super busy anyway!


Leah (Villainelle)

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of those remixes that sounds like it's pretty newbish, but is produced really well. For the dullness of the sounds that you've used, you've actually used them really well.

The source was pretty cool, for a LoZ piece. I like what you've done with it, I can hear the changes you've made, they sound quite obvious to me.

We're having thunderstorms outside while I'm listening to this, which is mixing with the mood of the song pretty awesomely. Just thought I'd mention that.

Anyway. I'm going with BGC on this one.


Link to post
Share on other sites

djp expressed concerns on the level of arrangement as well early last week. He recommended waiting for Villianelle to be able to provide a more detailed description of the connections.

Since Leah is ok with delaying a final judgement until she can get back to us with specifics rather than her own memory (because she hasn't touched the song for months), djp will hold off until she can clarify with a direct listen and timestamps.

In the meantime, I'll definitely look back on this as well when I have more time, based on Leah's previous notes. If any other NOs that hinged any of their opinion on arrangement could chime in, that would be great.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Due to the sheer length of time this evaluation has taken, Leah's been pretty discouraged and has basically thrown her hands in the air as to the state of the submission, going so far as to say we should just NO it. It ran pretty contrary to her attitude before where she seemed OK with however long it would take, since she couldn't give me arrangement timestamps yet, but that's neither here nor there. There's no reason to reject the submission because the artist goes "poo", but since no one else has stepped up in light of djp's arrangement concerns, I'm going to give my POV.

  • First off, my vote up top is not thorough enough regarding the arrangement, which I'm sorry for. Inasmuch as initial votes can let other Js know about strong concerns, I flat out didn't analyze the arrangement enough. In merely commenting on the production and not concerning myself with the arrangement, I ended up not having a knowledgeable opinion on the whether this was too liberal or not. If I had known, I would have asked for arrangement information from the artist much sooner
  • Lately, I've been disappointed in the panel in terms of actually doing their homework and actively recognizing source tunes in liberal situations. I've seen a number of close calls that have so far luckily all gone to NO where I felt arrangement value was glossed over in favor of musicality and enjoyability.
    So far, everyone, even some NOs, have "all gotten the feeling" or whatever that the arrangement is viable. No details. Just "it works". What's up with all this benefit of the doubt stuff? There's a collective laziness in place for situations like these when we really need to be working harder to understand exactly what we're hearing.
  • For the record, Rellik's EarthBound "Dreaming on Distant Shores" is not, nor has it ever been, a viable comparison. Same with pixietricks' Zelda 64 "Prayer" and Jared Hudson's Final Fantasy X "The Final Summoning". Know your history. Those mixes were direct posted without proper oversight, and were saved from lockdowns because they had at least something observable arrangement value. The panels at those times collectively agreed during those lockdowns that none of the 3 would have or should have passed a strict panel vote as new submissions. If this submission had DPed somehow, I argue that it would end up the same way.
  • Now, as a piece of music, this is fairly well-written. It's really enjoyable, and while some of the sounds and production techniques are lacking, there are a lot of other catchy areas and examples of sophisticated writing and programming. That's the crappy part of this job. Having to make a value judgement on stuff relative to the standards and ending up turning down creative, otherwise good music.
    However, in trying to work with Leah's rough comments quoted above, I'm still not coming up with enough overt or otherwise discernible connections. It doesn't help that the source is so difficult to internalize, but I've had a number of months and I'm not meaningfully hearing it in enough places for this sub. I can't timestamp much here, which is why I'm disappointed Leah didn't want to elaborate with any timestamps of her own. 1:08-1:21 and 1:36-2:18 are the most overt connections I can make out, from :30 and :56 of "Spirit Temple" are my best observation. The flourish at 2:08 is from 1:02 of the original. Even the "Requiem of Spirit" portions from 2:58-3:24 are extremely liberal, and "Requiem of Spirit" is a very straightforward source tune.
  • I've been wrong myself, even recently with AeroZ's recent FF5 submission in fact not being too liberal for the bar. So don't take this disrespectfully. But honestly guys, how many times are we gonna go down this road where a submission sounds cool but barely recognizable, so we get within a breath of letting it through? We have enough liberal arrangements that actually follow the standards that people complain about to then start adding ones that where the connections aren't even tangibly observable to us. If you can't make specific A-to-B associations between the source material and the submission, then look deeper or ask one another for help.
  • My recommendation for djpretzel's tiebreak vote is that this mix not pass. It's unfortunate that because of events we may never receive a resubmission, but the artist's demeanor is irrelevant.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just because "Prayer" and "Final Summoning" were direct posted does not mean they do not count as precedent. Of course we can't make the claim that any track as good as any previously posted OCRemix ought to be posted. No one is saying that, but it's a valid opinion to have that a tune this liberal can be an OCRemix. I love a lot of the more liberal remixes from Wingless, et. all, and I have no problem with it. If you think songs ought to be more conservative, that's a reasonable opinion too, but don't make it sound like we voted YES because we're lazy and haven't heard the source tunes. It's insulting for you to insinuate that our opinions are by nature invalid and were reached though indifference/incompetence. It's great that you do so much work to keep this place running, but don't let that confuse you into believing that your word is law with regard to posting standards. You're still just a noob to me. :-P

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just because "Prayer" and "Final Summoning" were direct posted does not mean they do not count as precedent. Of course we can't make the claim that any track as good as any previously posted OCRemix ought to be posted. No one is saying that, but it's a valid opinion to have that a tune this liberal can be an OCRemix.

Those tracks don't count as precedent for this situation. Those tracks are precedents for dealing with liberal arrangements discovered during a lockdown, not on where the cutoff is for accepting new submissions. That difference is critical here. Keeping something too liberal but already posted during a lockdown vs. YESing a new track on the panel are two different bags. Dave can hand down his own stance when he comments.

I love a lot of the more liberal remixes from Wingless, et. all, and I have no problem with it. If you think songs ought to be more conservative, that's a reasonable opinion too, but don't make it sound like we voted YES because we're lazy and haven't heard the source tunes. It's insulting for you to insinuate that our opinions are by nature invalid and were reached though indifference/incompetence.

For very liberal arrangements arranging obscure source tunes, we need to be doing the legwork, which we're coming off as averse to. No matter how Wing's stuff is, you can take it and go "Here's part A from the original. Here's how he used it for part B in the arrangement," and it can be done for more than half the arrangement. I did that on my own with Wing's mixes for lockdown.

I've heard several submissions recently where extremely liberal arrangement and original parts/sections added in sound so seamless and natural, you could easily think it was a more conservative arrangement of a VGM melody. It's too easy to give something the benefit of the doubt.

Generally, we don't actively do that. It's more subconscious. But we've got an extremely liberal arrangement, with a source where it's really easy to go off the rails. "I'll recognize a note here and there" doesn't show anything. Ok, we're claiming we hear it, but where exactly? It's my fault too, but 9 votes later, no one showed anything.

We're not forced to be meticulous with every submission, but some require it and we haven't come through yet on this one. This is reasonable criticism. If no one can elaborate how this got from point A to B and show that there are a lot of direct connections, how are we supposed to sign off on this? It's not just about this track in a vacuum, but somehow justifying it versus other acceptances and rejections made.

It's great that you do so much work to keep this place running, but don't let that confuse you into believing that your word is law with regard to posting standards. You're still just a noob to me. :-P

I'm just keeping perspective on those old liberal mixes. My word isn't law, but in order to have better balance against me being the most vocal, it helps if other people actively participate, which has been like pulling teeth lately. :-D Get in here and mix it up!

Link to post
Share on other sites


First a basic analysis of (69) Requiem of Spirit: a D minor chord with the bassline going from D to E to F and back. Melody is D F D A F D, a simple arpeggiation of the minor chord.

(70) Spirit Temple: Intro revolves around G minor. Switches been F minor and Ab major. Melody is basically walking around in the Phyrigian mode randomly, while the chords go between G minor and Ab major. A simple synth part plays the upper part of the mode here and there.


In the very beginning (0:00) the bass synth goes from F to G the same way Spirit Temple does. The gated synth then does the F -> Ab -> G chord progression, however the chords are simplified (just the tonic note) which makes the connection hard to pick up on. The instrument leads that come in soon after are not doing anything from the source as far as I can tell. No solid source connections after that for awhile.

Before I continue, I might add that the leads in the mix ARE playing in the same mode as the original but since it's just a mode, you could really string together any handful of notes and it would sound *SIMILAR* to the source. That's what I think is happening here and that's why I think a lot of us are saying we "feel" that the original is being interpreted... really, so far, it's not. Frankly unless the remixer is making more concrete connections - taking larger chunks of the original melody and keeping the rhythms - I'm saying there's no connection.

The bassline that progresses through most of the mix is not connected to either of the two sources directly. Neither have a bassline like that playing those notes. It tends to go something like "F G F G A Bb A F G" or "G F G F G D F G" etc. Those notes could fit into many chord progressions and while they could fit into the sources, again, I think there is no direct connection. Nothing solid.

1:36 - synth lead appears to be playing the first main melody from Spirit Temple, which shows up at about :32 to :45 in the source. Fairly direct. The background violin riff is original I think.

2:05 matches up with around 1:00 in the source.

2:17 is original as far as I can tell.

2:33, the gated pad is playing off some of the chords in Spirit Temple liberally. Barely any connection though.

2:59 the violin could be interpreted as playing a variation of Requiem of Spirit. The rhythm and melodic movement is basically there, though the notes aren't exactly the same. It's a stretch but I'll give the remixer the benefit of the doubt here, mainly due to the rhythm.

Back to 3:26 and beyond, more original stuff. If any of these synth riffs are from something I don't recognize them. Again, they bear similarities to different parts of the source, but even after listening to the source over a dozen times and trying to do A:B tests I'm not finding a straight match.

So overall, there are not that many places where I can find direct connections with either source. Those that I can easily constitute less than 25% of the remix. There are chordal similarities, there are melodic similarities, there are rhythmic similarities. But a similarity is not a 1:1 match and, without SPECIFICS from the remixer, I'm unable to find any more direct connections.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can we get any further follow-up on whether zircon's breakdown is satisfactory for those of you that know theory?

Let's please make the rounds so that we can have a conclusive result this week if possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I realize I'm late to the party on this one, but I've got to say, this is one bitchin' track. I love the beats, I love the synths, I love the voices, I love everything about how it sounds

The issue here is that, while I love this track, I have to agree with Zircon's analysis. The point about the melody just being notes in the same mode is a good one. I had a hard time even finding Requiem of Spirit in here. This "feels" like Spirit Temple, and it may have been inspired by Spirit Temple and based on Spirit Temple, but I certainly believe that it's turned into its own beast.

Such a shame too. Leah, I really hope you don't get discouraged by the way things have turned out. This track is really awesome, and indicative of some real talent. Hopefully you'll submit more in the future, and if you don't, I'll be watching out for mixes of yours anyway.


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are chordal similarities, there are melodic similarities, there are rhythmic similarities. But a similarity is not a 1:1 match and, without SPECIFICS from the remixer, I'm unable to find any more direct connections.

quoted for truth. goddammit.

i hate admitting weakness. hate. it. looks like i voted too soon. i got caught up in how cool this thing sounded, and after a couple listens to the source, my ears were willing to let a similarity to the original carry more weight then it should have. the connections to the source just aren't concrete enough for me, after comparing the two side by side for an extended period of time.

this isn't the first vote i've changed. sorry leah, you deserve better than this. i apologize for how long it's taken.

this is still a remarkably strong showing. i can't wait to see what you have in store for us next.

god i hate doing this


Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...