Posted 2003-11-04, evaluated by djpretzel
Those of you who read these write-ups but don't follow our forums might not be aware that a previous version of this mix, when not approved by our judges panel, caused quite a fuss. I don't see any harm in bringing this up now because some time has passed and I think (hope?) there's more distance and perspective for all involved, but certain criticisms were made of the judges panel and it was questioned as to whether our standards were too high. Quite regardless of anything else, the best possible result from the discussion in my opinion has occurred, being that GrayLightning has submitted a revised version of his ReMix that I feel - and, more importantly, he feels - is a stronger overall arrangement. I'm quite a Phantasy Star buff, two in particular, so I especially appreciated the submission of this refined work. To me, this sounds truer to the spirit of the original. It still deviates and elaborates and is quite creative, but something perhaps intangible that I felt was lost with the original submission relative to the source material has been regained here. Strong, rich, dynamic choral work highlights strings, bell pads, an electric bass, some ethnic plucked instruments, an assortment of slapped percussion along with kit drums, and lovely synth ambience, DSP, and flow. PS2 had a lot of these meandering little pieces of BGM with melodies that don't end in traditional patterns with the same degree of closure as other RPG soundtracks. It's what makes the games' soundtracks unique and, to me, uniquely charming, but also a challenge to ReMix. GL has done an admirable job with a track that I'd not have appreciated in the same light if it weren't for his ReMix, and has improved upon his original submission as well. Love the very dramatic intro and ending as well, and the relationship with this new version to the overall "feel" of the Phantasy Star universe is something I particularly think is a big plus. Great to see things turn out this way - "messy" circumstances don't always end up with similarly positive results, but when they do, and someone's work and creativity is not only "salvaged" but improved, I think it's worth pointing out. Good stuff.
on 2015-12-02 10:05:24
Great vocals in the intro. Really set the tone for the mix. Actually wish this had more GL ambient sounds mixed in to give a but more tonal variety. But per usual the writing is excellent overall.
on 2008-10-07 15:44:21
A really nice mix; I like the mod changes on the choir and the feel overall is very energetic while still staying serene. The subtle details really make this one nice, and the overall track has a great feeling about it. Excellent strings, nice synths, this one is simply great.
on 2006-10-29 18:58:10
I can't seem to like GL music. Except this one. (You talked to me on AIM a long time ago [VGMix1.0] because we both liked Grandia music, remember? Probably not. And you said Grandia music was too tough to touch upon and remix. Anyway, now you're gone from the scene and persuing an audio career!) I remember hearing the first version of this remix, and liked how the low strings were more constant 16th notes, as opposed to having a 16th rest here and there. But I seem to have gotten past that. Very enjoyable to listen to, and makes me remember the game, even though I just quickly ran through PS2 and 4 on an emulator. Also does well to sound completely different from the game version.
Whoa, I come back here more than a year later and find that I'm still the last person to review this. I just wanted to add that this mix very very very very much reminds me of Ecolove from the original Dune game's soundtrack. Really interesting.
on 2006-01-07 08:46:29
Intro is almost angelic, sounds like Enya but feels like it's rising to something bigger.
My thoughts too actually, those choirs sounded very familiar. But other than that, this remix is one of the best orchestral remix I've heard. Or is this new age music? I have never been able to tell them apart. If we go back to the choirs again, they fit very well along with the title, the pure and as Isk said angelic feeling those gives away suits this wintertheme perfectly. The leadchange to the violins was a little abrupt. When they appeared again wity the rest of the instruments they had a more echoing and smooth sound to themselves, that suited them more.
The bells that came afterwards, you cannot have a winter remix without them, so it was a pleasure to listen to it. The variation between different kind of bells and chimes gave this remix both some mystique and beauty. The strings on the other hand gives it some more seriousness, like if the world's future rests at your shoulders. Oh wait, PSII is an RPG, of course the world's future rests on your shoulders!
Truly great arrangement GL, your best remix in my opinion so far.
on 2003-11-14 03:41:03
Ah, I'm so glad this one finally got posted! The original mix was great, but it's so cool Gray Lightning decided to continue working on it when it was originally rejected rather than giving up. And it turns out he improved the already awesome mix greatly, so it is good to see something positive come out of all the drama. He's a remixer that everyone should look up to!
As some of you might know, I am a huge Phantasy Star fan. Phantasy Star II, I have a particular connection with. It was the first Phantasy Star game I actually played by myself (I watched most of the first one beforehand), and I played through a lot of it with my dad when I was just a little kid, so I have fond memories of it. Anyway, I have a really special connection with the soundtrack and I have almost every Phantasy Star related song ever produced... And this mix is one of the best I have heard!
I think this remix is successful on so many levels... First, it accurately expresses the mood and feeling of the original song, something a lot of mixes lack. The Phantasy Star soundtrack is so cool because it has a really unique feel to it, and Gray Lightning has managed to successfully reproduce this feel! Very hard to do, I would imagine! In fact, I'd go as far to say that I like this better then the original tune, which is saying a lot since I worship the OST. I like the slightly slower pace, and the beat really goes with the melody in this one. Also, he provides an interesting variation to the theme. The variations on the melody and the drums really make this mix worth listening to... It would be easy to just replicate the original song, but Grey Lightning has varied the song enough to make it interesting, adding great twists without losing the feel that made this song so great in the first place.
Some points I really liked: The choir starting at ~1:50... It sounds so great! How did you do it so well? It's really amazing and adds another layer of depth to this mix! I also like the changes starting at ~3:00... Really keeps the mix going to the end! Also, the various instruments/soundfonts used sound really great, especially the bells and strings!
Great original song, even better remix, one of the best on this site! Great job Grey Lightning, you are truly a talented and admirable remixer!
on 2003-11-07 10:07:55
Having followed Graylightning's Video Game remixing career for a while now I can easily say that this is my second favorite mix of his. Schala: Memories lost in time will remain #1 for a long aZZ time, but it's
great to hear other very high quality mixes of his trying to steal the championship crown away from Schala.
I'm not familiar with the OSV from the game so this remix was my first exposure to the song at all. Regardless, I found it VERY highly enjoyable right from the get-go. There was no 2 hour build-up, it was immediate gratification!
I originally went in with no expectations at all and ended up being floored by the beautifully ethereal intro that featured an angelic sounding choir accompanied by a very catchy bassline.
I particularly found the bassline, drums, and percussions to be most impressive mainly because these were areas Graylightning showed limitations in with past remixes, but now, after locking himself in a closet with only the best of Spencer Nilsen bass, Drums, and percussions to listen to, Graylightning's skill with the above mentioned instruments has grown quite noticably.
The sound quality is pretty high quality with a wide range of top notch sounding instruments coming together to build a beautiful mix.
The strings sound really nice, accompanied by some cool, distant sounding bells that were soaked nicely with reverb.
I really enjoyed the song's progression to, not a boring or noticeably repetitive moment throughout the entire 3:41 of the song.
I love this style, I'd love to see Graylightning continue to explore this particular style as it is quite upbeat and catchy!
on 2003-11-06 22:17:30
I've just recently started listening to your stuff, and I've been pretty impressed. I never heard the rejected version of this, so I can't comment on how much this has improved with the overhaul. I'm also completely unfamiliar with the original (never played the Phantasy Star series).
Pros: Very high quality sounds. I especially liked the choir. The drums aren't terribly interesting, but they're well used, unobstrusive and consistant with the style you seem to have taken on. In other words, that's a positive Harmonically, things get a lot more interesting as we get closer to the ending, and I really like that. I also enjoyed the introduction, which got my attention and turned on my musical ears to what you were going to present.
Cons: The bass sounded good, and was a very important part of making this mix sound full, and supported. However, it sounds really mechanical to me. I wish you had spent a little more time messing with the velocities to give it a more fluid feel, because I feel that it was a major drawback to the overall appeal of the mix. Making a sequenced part sound stylistically correct takes a lot of subtlety and nuance, and a good understanding of how to shape musical phrases. If you can improve this aspect of your mixing capability, then you'll be even more of a force to reckon with.
on 2003-11-05 23:08:10
This mix is definitely sweeeet. I probably say very similar things every time I review a GL mix: great choice of sounds, interesting arrangement, impeccable attention to detail. All great stuff. This mix is no different. I don't think this is my fav GL mix though. I like his stuff more when it flows, and this one sticks to a pretty straight rock-ish beat throughout. No big deal! Not really a shortcoming, but just a personal preference! Awesome junk right here!
on 2003-11-05 21:59:22
I remember hearing the original everyone fussed over, and being very un-blown away. This, however, made for a very, very interesting listen. I find myself able to get into it a lot. And with that sweet bassline and those amazing choral sweeps, it's both groovy and ethereal at the same time. The percussion was very well done, a lot better than people usually put in these kinds of mixes, and the arrangement keeps me wanting to hear what's going to happen next. It's a somewhat unconventional song in that respect.
There was, however, one problem I had with this piece that ruined it entirely for me. Those chimes sound like they're in the wrong key, and there's some wrong notes all throughout the whole piece.
on 2003-11-05 10:48:11
Thanks for the postage djp. I am glad the hard work paid off with this resubmission. For my part, there certainly was some distance and perspective gained after the fuss, I'm sure it was the same for everyone else. But I'd also like to thank the judges/djp and the support I got with the first version as it was instrumental in helping me decide to work on this mix again.
This is my least ambient mix, and for that, probably the most accessible. It's also my personal favorite mix of anything I've done or have posted on OC. So it's especially nice to see this up.
Thanks for taking the time to comment everyone and for those who enjoy it, a second helping of thanks. ^_~
on 2003-11-05 00:29:31
Wth? No turkey legs awarded for reviews on this site?? Oh well, I guess I'll write one anyway.
This is without question one of GL's best mixes. It flows really well, and it's perfectly produced. There's wonderful, appropriate drumwork and a cool bassline which keep things moving, which imo is kind of a challenge in new age music.
Arrangement-wise, I find that there is sort of a paradoxical flip-flop performed on sustained notes. Generally, the problem with repeating the same chord is that it becomes stale and boring. In this mix, they have the opposite effect. Several of the chords are retained without change for a bit longer than I would say is usual, and the result is a sense of intrigue and unexpectedness.
This one actually reminded me more of Yanni than of Enya, particularly the album "If I could Tell You."
This is also one of the few GL mixes I've actually liked on the first listen. Either it's more listener friendly or I'm just getting more used to his style.
Anyway, good mix. Congrats on getting it accepted!
on 2003-11-04 23:56:22
Gray and I didn't see eye-to-eye on the very last chord. Obviously, he was of the mindset that what you heard was the most fitting ending, while I fancied something a bit louder or resolute, with more emphasis in the lower register. I think this was the point of humorous discussion between the two of us for quite some time while he was reworking this piece.
I heard a lot going on in this piece while he took his second effort at it, listening to his work in progress at many points during the process. Some decisions he made were better than others. Gray and I also have a running debate on the prominence of natural law in various aspects of life--at least I can use this mix as sort of tongue-in-cheek backup for my argument that his natural refining process yielded the best of possible works he was to come up with.
Like I noted in my comments in the WIP thread, one of the simplest yet most effective changes he made was to shift the bassline down an octave. I felt it added presence and afforded the mix some of the richness that Gray is known to have in regular abundance in his work. Percussion rolls off nicer than it did in his original. Better use of the strings and pads to create depth. And high praises for summarily ignoring any of that ill-wrought advice concerning the harp glissando in the wrong key.
I can't think of anything better to say than Freemind's last comment, so I will echo it. I think I've learned from him, too--not just about the genre he's chosen to explore, and what his influences are, but how to think a bit more critically about what I write. So, Mr. Gray.. keep it sublime, keep it mercurial so we can continue to learn and benefit at the expense of your hard work!
on 2003-11-04 19:40:42
Yep, savin' the big review for VGMix, but for now...this is just ethereally warm and beautiful. I found the original in-game version of the song forgettable, but Gray Lightning changes that. I strongly agree with freemind--there's obviously a lot of imagination in this mix, and GL's stuff tends to have the effect of triggering your own imagination, sending you soaring across luscious landscapes...great work as usual. Kudos, GL!
on 2003-11-04 19:28:06
Not much words....Finally a great remix reaches the OC list....And is Gray's remix.. That means NEW AGE, QUALITY and IMAGINATION...
Keep educating us Gray
on 2003-11-04 16:11:26
Woo, more GL stuff.
Intro is almost angelic, sounds like Enya but feels like it's rising to something bigger. The opening beat at 0:19 is interesting, as are the chimes that soon follow. I like the strings at 0:24, very cinematic and strong. Percussion shifts well at 0:34, setting the tone for a new section.
This next section bounces around a lot, very interesting once your ears get used to it. The bassline is alright, no real complaints. The rest of the song varies a bit but it's similiar to the first parts. I like the background vocals that return. The ending is a little sudden with that final hard drum beat. I might get used to that and like it as I listen to the song more often.
My main complaint is that tempo and volume often shift without much warning. It has a definite cinematic feel which shifts from soothing to strong and back. I like this the more I listen to it, definitely worth a download.
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Phantasy Star II (Sega, 1989, GEN)
Music by Tokuhiko Uwabo
- "Silent Zone ~ Musik"
- 4,498,292 bytes
- Size: 4,498,292 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 8f578e3dc8fd3bd3341e94def5ac266b
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