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zircon

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

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Another Soundscape demonstrates an admirable level of musical flair by managing to elaborate so much on the original's limited musical scope.

Thank you :) I love working with limited pieces of VGM. The challenge of evolving something short but sweet with creativity is really what I love the most. Like short NES tunes or like Fanfare.

Again, thanks for doing this review :)

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Considering I'm partial to trance, heavy guitars, and industrial - it would be hard for me to rate the majority of these songs with anything less than a 9/10.

I would have to say some of my favorite guitar heavy pieces are:

1.1) LuizA - Materia Junkie

- Absolutely amazing guitar work and interpretation of the original song. I can honestly say that if I remixed this piece I would have done something along the exact same lines. Hit me up sometime if you want to collab. This is probably my favorite song on the album. Seriously fucking amazing.

1.2) norg, SnappleMan - Full Frontal Assault

- Phenomenal guitar work. Basically if your guitars are live, you want them to be as perfect as possible. If your guitars are fake, you want them to be as random/lifelike as possible. Whatever you did - they sound absolutely amazing.

1.3) Sixto Sounds, zircon - Lunatic Moon

- Very interesting arrangement. I love the concepts behind it and the synth/guitar work. You can definitely see the touch of zircon and the work of Sixto in here. The genres are played very well, I would only like to see a better transition between the heavy grunge (death/black metal grunge work) and the softer part around :50. That, and during the heavier parts the treble seems to take a bit of a hit. With all that said - I would love to see this thing live between the both of you at some concert.

2)Fishy - Omnislash

- Love the guitar work. Listen to the solo around 1:30+. Seriously amazing work.

3) Darangen - Collision

- Synth and Guitar work are pretty good. The drum sound engineering could use some cleaning up. The concepts are pretty good. This is one of those epic guitar songs that I would just love to hear some singing in. I hope you record a version with vocals in the future.

I would have to say some of my favorite trance/techno pieces are:

1) bLiNd, Leifo - Fading Entity

- This is my favorite trance song on the album. Laid back, yet it has a very driving beat. Again, the rhythm is very static, the break points vary up the static rhythm. Love the guitar work - very well placed and professionally mixed. Again - this is my favorite trance song on the album.

2) FFmusic Dj - Ahead On Our Rave

- Happy Hardcore LOL? Not a big fan of the genre tbh, however he did use some really cutting edge samples for percussion, synth , and sound engineering work. Notice how the bass drum actually hits a high and low set of frequencies, very tight - the bass is slightly higher in frequency (at least on these headphones). Definitely on the cutting edge, even if it isn't a genre I particularly like. Rhythm is relatively dynamic (follows that thing I was saying earlier). I would say technically speaking this is the best trance song on the album - though not my favorite.

3) tefnek - motor crazycycle

- What a unique take on the motorcycle song. This was one of those songs that I really wasn't looking forward to the remix of - because if taken pretty literally would be pretty boring. Pretty heavy techno if you're into that stuff. Definitely some great harmonic devices going on in this piece. The only thing that really drove me up the wall was the drumline. For most techno - especially progressive techno (which this is not) if you take out the synths, the drumline should be interesting enough to be it's own song. Though there are changes in the rhythm, I would say that the synths/pads really drive this piece. The sound engineering is professional (incredibly clean channels and perfect mastering). All in all, very creative piece and professionally mixed. The drumline thing I mentioned is ridiculously picky just because I listen to a crapload of trance/techno.

4) bLiNd - JENOVA Celestial

- Great trance music. Awesome synths, lovely pads, great break, well mastered. Again, only gripe is the rhythm. I understand it's not progressive trance - but very very well done. Probably one of my favorites.

I would have to say some of my favorite industrial pieces are:

1) sephfire, sgx - No Such Thing As the Promised Land

- Sure there is! wait... Ok alright, this is probably my favorite industrial song on the album. Very dynamic - love the choice of drums/synths/fx etc. Very creepy - what else could you ask for? Maybe some equalizing that gives some of the channels the usage of the higher frequency ranges.

2) Tweek - Sephiroth's Wake

- Clean, good mastering for the most part - interesting choices of synths (I think they make it almost happy). However that almost happy feeling is destroyed around 1:52. Great work on this piece.

Xaleph - Son of Chaos

- What I'm not allowed to like or review my own piece? Since the gauntlets are off with my own stuff here I go. The rhythm is a bit lackluster, the choirs clip in the beginning slightly, the ending is boring, and that synth solo is just kind of... thin and boring. Other than that it's one of my favorite pieces =P (and I still listen to it).

Anyways those were my favorites - though mainly because of genre. Out of genre, Zircon/Pixie had a great piece, djpretzel/Vig with his clean sound engineering and guitar work (Tifa song couldn't have been easy to mix), and the Costa de Sol mix by RTF - that jazz is just awesome man.

Great work guys ^_^.

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Xaleph - Son of Chaos

- What I'm not allowed to like or review my own piece? Since the gauntlets are off with my own stuff here I go. The rhythm is a bit lackluster, the choirs clip in the beginning slightly, the ending is boring, and that synth solo is just kind of... thin and boring. Other than that it's one of my favorite pieces =P (and I still listen to it).

Well it would be silly to make music that you don't even like ^_^.

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Forgot to ask.

Owing to certain slowdowns on the part of a certain mixer, there are (to my knowledge) no chiptune soundfonts available for use in software synthesizers.

So how the hell did they manage to get the One Winged Chiptune into the mix, and even lay some low strings under it?

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Err... there are plenty of samples of old-school chip sounds as well as VSTs that can produce them without much trouble. It was no problem for Suzumebachi to create a WAV using them (I don't know the exact method), then send that to Steffan, who simply put it at the beginning of his mix and wrote other parts surrounding/under it.

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Forgot to ask.

Owing to certain slowdowns on the part of a certain mixer, there are (to my knowledge) no chiptune soundfonts available for use in software synthesizers.

So how the hell did they manage to get the One Winged Chiptune into the mix, and even lay some low strings under it?

this isn't a difficult thing to accomplish, and there are a number of ways to do it. i don't know exactly which they used, and i'm sure one of the collaborators will chime in anyway, but here's a couple methods.

1) someone renders a wav of the chiptune portion. obviously, they know the tempo, so they match it up with whatever other program the wav is loaded into and go from there.

2) they were using the same program, and simply transfered the chiptune file over, and loaded it up on the other rig and went from there.

if i'm not mistaken, suzembachi did the chiptune, and he did do it in FL studio. also, there are VSTs that will let you make chiptune music, so that's also a possibility.

*EDIT* yep. andy beat me to the punch.

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K, I just finished writing a review of this album along with details on my favorite tracks. As soon as it get posted in the site I write for, I'm going to post the link here.

http://www.projectcoe.com

looking forward to it

quite the handsome site btw

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We tried, through several avenues. Nothing came of it- most likely because Gabe & Tycho are deluged with email daily.

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I've thrown this up on Vuze (Azureus)

Look's like it's got off to a great start, regarding that this file i uploaded has only been out for 4 days :shock: I've also took out the Wav. files if you guys dont mind, everything else has been untouched! if only took out the wav. so that it doesnt add on 2GB for impatient people! ;-) I'm at home all weekend, so ill upload the file for 42 hours straight.

This should divide more attention!

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My Thoughts?

It's same old OCR. bLiNd steals the show with his usual trance style (Why does JENOVA Celestial remind me of Snowbound?), pixietricks supplies just about the only vocals while BGC gives us very avant-garde music. Shnabubula and Bladiator have got the piano solos covered. Zircon's a bit all over the place while RTF tackles the Jazzy/New wave/Bossa nova stuff and Sixto Sounds delivers the upbeat electronic-rock.

That's not to say that they don't deliver - not at all. Each artist, even those I didn't name, give us a fantastic piece of work, each in their own style, some outdoing themselves, others not so much. And that's where the problem arises. The album has way to many different styles, styles we are mostly already familiar with. There are bound to be tracks that we will be dissapointed with, especially concidering the expectations of such a great game.

Black Wing Metamorphosis didn't work for me (7 artisits on one song?), Lunatic Moon didn't sound right at all, as if it didn't know what it wanted to be (even though I love Sixto Sounds style and Zircon's production quality); maybe that kick-ass theme has just been revisited too many times. As for The Crossroads, it's the same story: the style just didn't fit with Cid's original kick-ass theme... although 3:30 seemed quite enjoyable.

The project was too big and it needed new blood. Hats off to mustin for Serenity, Xaleph for Son of Chaos, Star Salzman for Airships make me happy ('cause that song makes me happy too) Jeremy Robson for Valse Aeris (great style!), Trenthian for Crystal Sermon (not so orignial, but just that much more grand) and well bLiNd for just a kick-ass job on all three pieces.

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New blood??? So bustatunez, Hy Bound, pot hocket, Tweek, Hemophiliac, and Fishy aren't new blood? How about AnotherSoundscape, LuIzA, or norg? None of these people have more than 1-2 remixes up on the site, if that (some have nothing). Saying VotL "needed new blood" is a really unfair criticism considering the massive contributions of new remixers to it.

Not to mention the remixes from Dan B, Jovette, and Steffan Andrews, among others, all of whom delivered material rather unlike their previous remixes on the site.

Frankly, as I have said before, I think it would be a crime to FORCE people into doing just a handful of genres. Do you really think I should tell bLiNd to do a soft waltz instead of a kick-ass trance mix? Or that Bladiator should do drum n' bass instead of a piano solo? IMO, that's dumb. FF7 had a massive soundtrack with TONS of genres. In my opinion, the only way to properly do justice to it is to let great musicians do what they do best.

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Do you really think I should tell bLiNd to do a soft waltz instead of a kick-ass trance mix? Or that Bladiator should do drum n' bass instead of a piano solo? IMO, that's dumb.

I think it would have been interesting to hear what they could have come up with. When an artist steps out from the area they're best known for or most comfortable with, the results can be quite enjoyable. They might infuse a bit of their past sound into the new one, or perhaps just go balls out into a genre that's completely new to them. Who knows what bLiNd might have come with in an orchestral piece, or you with a solo piano number.

Granted, it could have all become a Pat Boone-like catastrophe too, but still... ;-)

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Zircon, you took that as negative criticisme and I'm sorry if that comes off as a little mean. I'm the first to admit that what you guys do is the best. I wouldn't be subsribing to the music on OCR weekly for a few years now if that wheren't the case. I don't mean to diss the OCR veterans; it's just that this time around, actually, I enjoed mostly stuff from the newer people, like I stated earlier.

The point is, I found VotL to be too big of a project for such a varied group of artists. Project Chaos worked great. Blood on the Asphalt and Chrono Symphonic where superb. VotL is just good, mostly because it just feels like a giant compilation of songs sharing nothing more than a title in common. That's just how it feels like to me.

Still I'll probably be listing to this as long as I have been Chaos and BotA. Good job!

BTW, there is nothing wrong with trying new things. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. But people get bored quickly and are always on the lookout for new. I mean there's a reason why movie sequels are always worse than the originals...

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I think it would have been interesting to hear what they could have come up with. When an artist steps out from the area they're best known for or most comfortable with, the results can be quite enjoyable. They might infuse a bit of their past sound into the new one, or perhaps just go balls out into a genre that's completely new to them. Who knows what bLiNd might have come with in an orchestral piece, or you with a solo piano number.

Granted, it could have all become a Pat Boone-like catastrophe too, but still... ;-)

Well, I'll be the first to say that I love trying new musical styles. Still, I wouldn't force that on people - it's too risky for something like FF7. What if the mixers came up with, as you said, a catastrophe? I guarantee you LOADS of people would have complained. Plus, people already complain that there's "too much generic techno" (which I think is untrue) - imagine if I just picked one or two genres for the entire project.

The point is, I found VotL to be too big of a project for such a varied group of artists. Project Chaos worked great. Blood on the Asphalt and Chrono Symphonic where superb. VotL is just good, mostly because it just feels like a giant compilation of songs sharing nothing more than a title in common. That's just how it feels like to me.

Ultimately, this is a subjective matter. I definitely enjoyed Project Chaos but it was not run any differently than VotL insofar as genre and style selection goes. The project leaders let the remixers do their own thing. They just had a different set of remixers. BotA was also good, but look at Vurez' "New Mexican Thunderbird" which sticks out like a sore thumb in the "urban" theme. I don't think that song detracted from the album at all.

As for C.S., I disagree with you there as well. I think the concept was good but the execution was lacking in that there were a lot of inexperienced remixers, so the general remix quality was often inconsistent (and poor). If people like Jeremy Robson, Steffan Andrews, Russell Cox, and Vampire Hunter Dan had been on board, it would have been stronger. Not to say the final result was bad; it wasn't, but it wasn't without flaws.

On a related note, one of the things I said at the beginning of VotL was that I wanted every song to be OCR-quality in both production and arrangement. I think at worst we may have a couple songs that would be borderline votes, but the vast majority would be YES or direct post. I feel that this is one of the best aspects of the project, and a standard that I hope future project leaders will try to follow.

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This is incredible,

this project is truely a piece of art and is/will be treasured by many.

I haven't heard all of the tracks yet but "1-03 sephfire, sgx - No Such Thing As the Promised Land (Mako Reactor)" is a real stand out track to me.

Good work guys

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Granted, zircon, this is a subjective matter. Perhaps I've listened to Chaos so much, I'm somewhat biased in feeling that it plays out much more uniformly than VotL. Still it's not a question of any tracks detracting to the project.

About the original FF7 soundtrack being just as "varied", well yes and no. Yes, there are different moods, different tempos and different instrumental flavours, because the game needs to adress to each and every different mood, tempo and "situational flavour" brought on by the storyline. But the style doesn't change throughout the game. Style reflects personality. I can pick up a bit of Nobuo Uematsu instanly in all but a few FF7 tracks and it all just fits together. When I jump from Full Frontal Assault to Short Skirts to Embraced Empathy and then back to some JENOVA Celestial, it just feels like I'm skipping through my OCR playlist on my MP3 player looking for 2 or 3 songs I particularly crave for. A bit of Bladiator here, some zircon there... but there won't be any VotL album cueing. And this fact I think is why VotL is IMO good, but not great. And I see that by how many mixed reviews there seem to be. You're bound to please people with some stuff, while dissapointing them with other stuff.

I'm curious, did everyone kinda just work on their tracks on their own, or was there some serious interaction between everyone, or somewhere between?

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When I jump from Full Frontal Assault to Short Skirts to Embraced Empathy and then back to some JENOVA Celestial, it just feels like I'm skipping through my OCR playlist on my MP3 player looking for 2 or 3 songs I particularly crave for. A bit of Bladiator here, some zircon there... but there won't be any VotL album cueing.

I feel the same way about other projects, even those like C.S. and Relics of the Chozo, despite the fact that they may be uniform stylistically. In fact, I think uniform is boring, if you're just playing straight through. It is really rare that I'll queue up an entire album even from one of my favorite artists like BT or Hybrid. Listening to an hour or more of the same style or the same artist is rarely interesting after the first couple times you do it.

With VotL, there's such a variety that I feel like it IS a great album to simply queue up and listen through.

And I see that by how many mixed reviews there seem to be.

The reviews haven't been that mixed. The majority of people have really enjoyed the project. The reviews we've received at Squaresound and M4G were very positive. If I had to do it all again, I wouldn't really do anything differently. Of course there will always be a vocal minority; too much techno, not enough techno, too much arrangement, not enough arrangement, overproduced, blah blah blah.

I'm curious, did everyone kinda just work on their tracks on their own, or was there some serious interaction between everyone, or somewhere between?

We had a private project forum and a private chatroom where people interacted to give and receive feedback on their songs. Many people also sent songs back and forth via AIM/IRC one-on-one.

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Cool, thanks for the reviews, Swordbreaker.

Also I wanted to drop in and tell Bladiator how awesome his track is. Particularly how awesome it is that he covered "Lifestream." Awesome.

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