Posted 2006-03-14, evaluated by djpretzel
Darkesword brings us our first Grandia 2 ReMix, arranging a piece by one of my personal favorite composers, Noriyuki Iwadare. Often overshadowed (unfairly) by Squaresoft guys, Iwadare's done a large percentage of the great non-Square/Enix RPG soundtracks out there, in my estimation, and I especially dug his work on the original Sega CD Lunar soundtrack. The Grandia OSTs are not to be missed either, however, and this track really illustrates the depth of material that's out there beyond Sqeenixville. The first version of this mix that was sent in had some minor pops (which were actually part of the oboe sample being used and not a recording faux pas), and I pressed Shariq to fix them quickly and resub, which he did. It was nothing major, and required good phones to spot, but I'm really glad he addressed it, because this is one of his best ReMixes to date, fantastically mellow, and deserves as pristine a rendition as possible to achieve its full, transporting effect. The ReMixer writes:
"This is an update to an old Grandia II mix I did, called "A Deus ex Harpa," which is available on my website (http://www.darkesword.com/). It's an arrangement of "A Deus," a beautiful vocal song that Elena, the priestess character, sings. The old version of my arrangement was pretty basic, and muddy as well, so after a year or two I started working on this new version, called "A Deus ex Harpa (Second Seal Mix)." I've added a lot of instruments, tweaked the parts, and expanded the arrangement to include a faster section with a key change."
There's nothing muddy about this 'Second Seal' incarnation; introing with a beautiful moving harp pattern that stays present for most of the mix and an elegantly minimal accompanying piano, the bassoon and cello solos that enter briefly are harbingers to the longer oboe solo that's brought in at 0'49". At 1'17" the percussion gets layered up a notch, with a nice groove kicking in on top of the previous, semi-industrial pattern. There's an undulating, flowing oboe solo with drum drop-out circa 1'45", then... ahh, well, no point doing the rest of the Madden play-by-play. Suffice it to say, Shariq keeps things interesting throughout, the source material is RIGHT up his alley, and the end result is a great chillout mix with brains to boot. I really think this is one of those instances where the source material and ReMixer paired up perfectly - the flowing, Kikuta-esque harp patterns combined with strong melodic elements jive quite effectively with Darkesword's style. Someone needed to cover this superb piece, and Mr. Ansari was perfect for the job.
on 2016-04-17 08:32:58
Actually prefer the original's more solemn tone.. (not a big fan of that scratchy back beat in the Seal remix) just wish it was as clear..
Guess I'll just have to accept what I've got.. FWIW A Deus Ex Harpa is as good as any of the songs I have from the original OSTs.
Such an incredible piece, my wish would be to have a five minute updated version of the original in FLAC, I love it so much.
on 2011-05-19 05:18:20
The other week, while I was driving home after a long day of work, I had a sequence of notes playing in my head and knew there was a track that I wanted to hear. A beautiful, moving piece of music that would help me forget my troubles. But I couldn't place what it was or mentally finish the tune myself. When I got home, I searched my player for it. To my discredit, it was amongst music I hadn't listened to for many months but, once I played it, I immediately and completely knew why I had to hear it again.
I've been mostly absent for quite a while, but some of what I've found here seems to stay with me.
Sorry for short-shrifting you, Darke. This has been at the top of my to-review list since I first heard it, and I'm hardly giving it the descriptors it deserves. I suppose I'm not much of a reviewer anymore... not that I was ever one to begin with. But I wanted to let you know that I agree. Well, that is, there are things you have done since that I haven't yet heard. However, freezing time from back then until now, this is your best work on ocr, and it's absolutely stunning.
Thank you for making it.
on 2009-11-13 13:06:33
A fine remix with hardly any evidence of bumpy transitions. I enjoyed the fadeout at the end, but an actual ending to this remix would have been nice.
on 2009-04-03 14:33:06
Great intro- I love the bassoon sound for melodies, and when the oboe comes in later, it works equally well. The flow on this one is perfect, and the song seems a lot shorter than it really is; excellent transitions and texture changes. The synths that subtly color some passages are perfectly chosen.
This is probably the best DS mix i've heard. Awesome stuff.
on 2008-09-22 12:43:28
Never played the game but I really like the mix.
What she said.
on 2007-12-26 09:43:52
This is one of the most beautyful video game song remix I've ever heard. This is so emotional... I love it.
Thank you Shariq
on 2006-08-03 04:29:11
First time Trygon played this for me I just went, "OH MY GOD," because it was just that awesome to me at the time. It really is nice to hear a remix of a Grandia 2 song considering I don't see/hear much mention of it. It's definately one of my favorites. I feel like the song itself could have been used for at least the staff credits. It also kind of had a Chrono Trigger/Final Fantasy sort of sound at first to me. It's also sort of ethereal in a way as well. Very cool.
on 2006-07-28 15:29:58
Only the section at 3:34 with the cymbals (?) hits me as slightly overbearing.
Yeah I thought the same thing. I think that section would be a lot more powerful emotionally if it didn't try to beat people over the head with it.
Otherwise I thought it was pretty cool. Loved the drums.
on 2006-07-28 03:17:48
I've had this for a while but I'm only commenting now.
I like this. Not just because it's pleasing to the ear, which it is. But also because it accomplishes something that, in my mind, many melodious songs fail to do -- not be campy. When you start with a source tune like A Deus, you typically run into two types of dangers:
1) making something already laid back even more laid back and thus boring, or
2) try to add elements to spice things up and end up going overboard with the bright instrumentation and harmonies
For some people this is fine and I'm not knocking it. But for me there has to be a delicate balance. And this song does exactly that. A beautiful rendition of the source tune using angelic instrumentation choice and chords, underpinned by a subtle drumline that ebbs and flows with the melody. Only the section at 3:34 with the cymbals (?) hits me as slightly overbearing.
Great stuff, great job by DS.
on 2006-06-15 12:01:42
This is a wonderful remix by DarkeSword for Grandia 2 nonetheless. It makes me wonder why there are so few Grandia 2 remixes in the first place. A lot of the subtle nuances from the game are carried over without directly imbedding in the source audio. This is a difficult task indeed for something as mellow and gentle as this particular track.
I play this song whenever I feel like I need to relax or just chill out. Sadly, the shuffle on my player doesn't bring it up as often as I'd like.
on 2006-06-01 13:45:40
Never played the game but I really like the mix.
on 2006-05-25 23:35:40
darke, this is beautiful! i'm not familiar with the source, but you've really captured mystery and enchangment in this 5 1/2 minute mp3. i can't really provide much of a specific review--it all blows my mind. some particulars i guess i liked most were the drums and that part with the chimes that are accented by the cymbal crashes starting around 3:22 or so.
this is definitely going into my favorites folder. i look forward to your future work.
on 2006-05-02 14:14:42
I continue to be impressed with your work.
on 2006-04-03 06:25:27
Great mix of some great source material... very nicely pulled off, everything is done beautifully. Nice work!
on 2006-03-23 02:15:41
Another totally awesome piece from DarkeSword. I am as unsurprised as I am pleased, which is to say a hefty helping of both.
Thanks for the change in the middle... I was just thinking the track was beginning to go stale, and the change came in with excellent timing.
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