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OCRA-0009 - Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream


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<<This is a repost of something I posted in the General Conversation forum. I'm just duplicating it here so it's in a more appropriate place. If you perchance already read it on the first forum, just ignore it and please don't get annoyed>>

I just downloaded "Voices of the Lifestream" and I am truly amazed. Stuff like this is the reason I keep coming back to ocremix.org time and time again and I totally flip out any time I have the opportunity to reccomend this site to friends in conversation. I don't care if it makes me look like a total geek (I am one anyway), this place is too good not to be mentioned.

To DJ Pretzel specifically and to everyone else who contributes here in general, thanks for continuously producing quality music over these past years, for helping to prove to people that music in video games can be as brilliant and beautiful as music found anywhere else, and for being a shining example of everything the future of music should be.

/gush

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It gets better the more I listen to it. I think I was a little overwhelmed at first, but now I'm listening to individual tracks, not just leaving the whole project in my WinAmp queue.

I wanted to extend kudos to a couple remixers in particular: Steffan Andrews and Pot Hocket.

To my knowledge, before VotL came out, I hadn't heard anything that either of you had remixed/composed. The tracks that you two put into the project have impressed me more than most of the others. Nice work!

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I wanted to extend kudos to a couple remixers in particular: Steffan Andrews and Pot Hocket.

To my knowledge, before VotL came out, I hadn't heard anything that either of you had remixed/composed. The tracks that you two put into the project have impressed me more than most of the others. Nice work!

I add my kudos to them too. Always glad to see new faces around, especially in a project like that. Hope to hear more from you two around :)

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Alternate cover art

Hi. I did alternate covers for this album, because it is jawesome. They are below. They are 24-bit PNGs of several MB.

FFVII__VotL_alt_cover_by_leahzero.png

Front.

FFVII__VotL_alt_cover___back_by_leahzero.png

Back.

Staff: feel free to add these to the official VotL site, with a link to my deviantart page. Rock on.

this is really nice. i'm using this coverset. thanks.

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Back cover finished, feel free to use.

Swanky. I think the primary font could be a bit more stylized, but this is pretty cool. Hopefully my corrections don't sound ungrateful.

Corrections: 102 - [Opening - Bombing Mission] (same hyphenated style as [Racing Chocobos - Place Your Bets!]

103 - Sephfire, SGX

105 - SnappleMan

107 - Not sure if the needed space was there in [Turks' Theme]; currently looks like Turks'Theme, but it could be the font

110 - Keep source as Shinra Company (reasoning: 2nd para of this linked Wiki article; even if this was kept as is, it should have been "Shin-Ra")

202 - AFAIK your sources are right but in reverse order; maybe check with zircon

204 - Would be a cool bonus to revise it to Mustin (with or w/Tim Yarbrough, Lisa Leamons, Jennifer Graham), as this info wasn't given to us in time for the first art); source is also [Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY VII] with caps in keeping with the style of the original soundtrack listing (VGM soundtracks are weird like that)

307 - FFmusic Dj

Nice work, Leah.

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Track 08 (Adrenalyne Kyck), there's some spoken words. Here's what I have... but I'm missing a tiny bit DX

In the real world things are very different. You just need to look around you. Nobody wants to die that way. People die of disease and accidents. Death comes suddenly and there is no notion of [???????]. It leaves no dramatic feeling but great emptiness. When you lose someone you love very much, you feel this big empty space and think, "If I had known this was coming, I would have done things differently."
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Hey zircon, congratulations on finally getting this done! I still regret not being part of it, but of course, I will be able to find a project to work on someday here. I remember, I wanted to do a "Who Am I?" song for it... It's too bad you've not got one of those. :P I blame myself. But anyway....

This is a great collection. It's a lot to listen to, and I can't honestly say I've heard it all because I've been at college (I downloaded the first 2 discs while I was in class), but the stuff I've heard so far is grand. Some of the techno tracks are, well, techno, but it's still quite nice. Let me know what you're working on in the future. I don't think I've got IRC set up in Trillian anymore, but if you've got aim/msn/yahoo, let me know and we can chat sometime.

Peace!

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FIXT

Made corrections to back cover per Larry's post.

(BTW, alphabetized the w/'s on Mustin's track...wasn't sure why you mentioned them in reverse order but every other track's artists are alphabetized.)

I just mentioned them in what order they appeared. Good call on the alpha, as well as sephfire with a lowercase S (my fault there). The f is sephfire is also missing though. Source in 102 still needs the fix with the - instead of the /, as it's one source track just like 305's source.

Track 08 (Adrenalyne Kyck), there's some spoken words. Here's what I have... but I'm missing a tiny bit DX

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerith_Gainsborough#Development_and_reflection

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I just mentioned them in what order they appeared. Good call on the alpha, as well as sephfire with a lowercase S (my fault there). The f is sephfire is also missing though. Source in 102 still needs the fix with the - instead of the /, as it's one source track just like 305's source.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerith_Gainsborough#Development_and_reflection

Gwarsh, you're made of win. Thanks!1!!!1

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Yay, and now for my next batch of reviews! Already covered Disc 1 here if you missed it. On to...

DISC 2: Dirge

1. Short Skirts (Tifa's Theme) - djpretzel, Vigilante:

I love everything about this track -
except
the cello sample. The part-writing itself is excellent, but compared to all the other "live" sounding instruments, I guess it just pulls me out a little. Still, a very small price to pay for such a great collab. The chord progression starting around 1:45 is transporting. Makes my throat burn a little, actually; there's a strong nostalgic feeling that just tugs on my heartstrings. Love the instrument choices, and such sophisticated soloing from both parties. I really can't imagine myself tiring of this one, although I may have to avoid listening to it when I'm feeling particularly down in the dumps.
:<

2. Valse Aeris (Flowers Blooming in the Church ~ Aerith's Theme) - Jeremy Robson:

Okay, so I was initially taken aback at how "different" this piece was, even compared to the other orchestral work on the project. While I don't really particularly strong connections to Ravel's work (as Jeremy had stated he was sort of going for), I am pretty flabbergasted at the 7-plus minute arrangement of such a minimal source tune. It really flows beautifully... although perhaps with the exception of that goofy little horn solo at 3:36.
:wink:
Very imaginative, and very well done.

3. Embraced Empathy (Dear to the Heart) - Hemophiliac:

A surprising deviation from Hemo's usual style! I thought this piece was a nice break from a lot of the heavier, brooding tracks on the project. The subtle tempo changes were an interesting touch, with quirky little solos and a very natural progression. It's like a musical embodiment of the "noogie" you'd give your little cousin. (Not that I have one...) Very fresh!

4. Serenity (Main Theme) - Mustin:

What a comeback from Mustin! It's pretty hard to pick favorites on this project because of the sheer variety of options, but in terms of music that I would actually listen to on a day-to-day basis for enjoyment, this is one that tops the charts in my book. It's so damn classy from start to finish. I love the key change at 1:55 - like a breath of fresh air, surrounded by the light simplicity of a very relaxed female vocal. And then it gets darker, with subtle stutters and a really clean breakdown... followed by a terrific piano solo. When the voice comes back in with new layers, it makes you feel like you're floating in a dream. I think this track is particularly successful because it doesn't try to be too much; Mustin has mastered the art of restraint, and it pays off! Love it.

5. A Life Without Parole (Desert Wasteland) - Dhsu:

This is a soon to be Dhsu classic, I'm sure. Fewer actual notes than some of his other arrangements, but so poignant and beautifully performed. I think it's an excellent tribute to the source material; in a sort of film score-esque dirge (yay, Dirge), he captures the title in a scene of terrible destruction. Reminds me a bit of Grave of the Fireflies, actually... ;_;

6. Scenes From a Memory (On That Day, Five Years Ago...) - Sixto Sounds, Suzumebachi, zircon:

First of all, I love the way this piece transitions out from Dhsu's. Excellent ordering there! A dark rock arrangement of the theme, with a sort of forward motion that carries the piece forward with relentless fervor. Very tasteful harmonies, terrific guitar soloing, and the kind of depth that you would expect from such an artist lineup. I love the the section starting around 3:06, with the crazy synth arpeggios filling out the soundfield. Great job to all!

7. Golden Fields (Farm Boy) - Geoffrey Taucer, Tepid:

What a lovable song! This is one of my favorite lighter pieces on VotL. Everything from the rooster crowing on pitch, to the soft guitar picking, to the quirky little bells and percussive leads... I'd have to say it's probably the most sophisticated and enjoyable arrangement to come from either Tauce or Tepid. And the jazzy section is such an unexpected (but pleasant) surprise! I'm totally going to set my mp3 alarm to this track - the perfect way to wake up in the morning, over a bowl of cereal. Excellent!
:D

8. Crystal Sermon (The Prelude) - Trenthian:

Ahhh... Who couldn't love a prelude mix of this caliber? Like Mustin's "Serenity," it has an incredibly uplifting feel... Like floating through clouds with incredibly speed, wind whipping around your face. At 1:56, the horn solo that works its way into the beautiful string orchestration is so lovely and pure. And then we get to the heavier beats! I am in love with the sound choices here. The grittier chiptune section at 3:53 is such a creative idea, and serves as a lovely reminder what this project is all about: honoring the game.

9. Chasing the Storm (In Search of the Man in Black) - Rellik:

Oh mannnn, and now we're transitioning back into the darker stuff. Ever since I heard Rellik's Earthbound mix, I have been a big fan. He transitions from a haunting intro to the funky technos with the grace of a ballerina and the stealth of James Bond. It's mysterious in the most stylish of ways! Short and oh-so-sweet. What a treat to hear!
:D

10. Sephiroth's Wake (Trail of Blood) - Tweek:

Tweek is another one of the best new talents to surface in this community, in my opinion. Everything I have seen of his work to this date has been exemplary. This piece is downright eerie, mixing chilling electronic elements with an a slew of terrific sound effects to create an almost inhuman atmosphere. I particularly love the occasional measure of ethnic percussion that he tosses into the stew. Trouble's afoot!

11. JENOVA Celestial (J-E-N-O-V-A) - bLiNd:

Oh bLiNd, where would we be without you? Well, to be fair... probably still in a very good place. But just having his contributions on any project raises the bar all that much higher! I don't understand exactly how he does it, but his production always manages to sound utterly fantastic - ready and worthy of club play-age. This arrangement is not the most liberal of the bunch, but strikes an excellent balance between source material and interpretation. I am, simply put, amazed at its "celestial" perfection. And I don't even normally listen to this kind of trance.

12. Mark of the Beatsmith (Mark of a Traitor) - Hy Bound:

Yay, another terrific new talent! Perhaps the most elusive person on the project, Hy Bound has come forward to demonstrate his wonderful skill at combining intense rhythms and melodic, legato lines with elaborate detail. This piece takes on an almost Japanese feel to it, with orchestra hits coupled with smooth choir samples, pianos and bells reminiscent of the late (ha, okay not really) and great artists GrayLightning and Wingless... and some drum work worthy of a stadium setting. WOW. Disc 2 goes out with a flourish in Mark of the Beatsmith!

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Who's the man in the black tophat?

The man in the black tophat was Teioh, may his name be cursed forever. He was a black Chocobo rider that randomly showed up in high level Chocobo races, and he was unbeatable unless you had at least a black Chocobo. Reason being that one part of the track went through outer space, and if you didn't have at least a black Chocobo, the damn chicken would slow down when it hit that chunk of track. At which point Teioh would rip past you for the win. Asshole.

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Hm. I'm not quite done with it yet (just finished Advent), but I like what I hear so far. Though, I did feel like quite a few in the beginning were too far removed from the source, they felt sort of... off. But I don't mean to flame or anything, just putting my opinion out there. I wish I could be more constructive, but I don't know much about music. :/

Anyway, I'm pretty much in love with more than half of it at this point. Everyone who worked on this should be damn proud. :D

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The man in the black tophat was Teioh, may his name be cursed forever. He was a black Chocobo rider that randomly showed up in high level Chocobo races, and he was unbeatable unless you had at least a black Chocobo.

Not unbeatable. As sephfire as my witness (which hopefully he remembers) I did beat the black choco rider without a black choco. Most likely was just luck, but I did it :)!!

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