Wow. Judges seemed a bit lukewarm on this one, but I can't really figure out why. I'm sitting here with a 101 fever recovering from strep throat, so perhaps my perception is warped, but it's kicking my ass. Mark Hall, alias XMark, writes:
"An entry in the March 2005 Dwelling of Duels competition. This is a metal adaptation of Cyan's theme, done in a style influenced by Metallica's "Sad But True", but with a traditional Japanese-styled introduction section."
The introductory section was a great touch, in my opinion; some judges cited weird intonation on some of the plucked instruments, but to me the effect seemed authentic. I admit that's based mostly off of listening to soundtracks of Asian cinema, which may or may not be a good barometer, but whatever. I honestly would have been perfectly happy with this mix had it stayed in the very Eastern, kabuki-infused flavor it began with, but eventually daikos and bowed/plucked strings give way to an acoustic rock kit and guitar hero action. The eventual rock/metal direction the piece takes helps explain the mix title, which otherwise would have seemed misplaced. To me, the arrangement seems very creative, drawing inspiration from a well-known metal track but mixing in Eastern influences in a very conceptual way that might have looked problematic on paper, but which the ReMixer executes with style. Similarly, I take zero issue with the production - everything seems crisp, crunchy, spacious, and (where appropriate) raunchy and in-your-face. I could see XMark submitting 100% ethnic arrangements in the future, or 100% rock/metal arrangements, with consistent levels of quality, which is saying a lot for his diversity. Not much else to say; great stuff.
on 2012-05-30 03:43:58
Quite an unpredictable mix. The double-sided aspect of the track should complement itself at every opportunity, and this just doesn't. On the one hand, I really love the Crouching Tiger, acoustic style section and when I heard the mix sharply veering from that direction, I felt some remorse. It didn't help that the transition into the new direction was unsupportive of the new elements being introduced.
However, the second part is ALSO quite good. The guitar wasn't as rich as I like, but it's still a wonderfully chuggy treatment.
I like both sides of this coin, but its such a shame they seem so incompatible with each other. There's a real 'oil on water' effect here that probably should have been addressed long before it got to be judged, but if it's being judged on technical merits alone, there is far less things to find fault with.
If nothing else, it's proof that smooshing together genres is a risk.
on 2011-12-12 12:21:10
I really enjoy the ethnic, beautiful part that leads in at the beginning. I also enjoy the heavier rock section that shows up around the 1:15 mark. But they really don't feel to me as if they belong in the same song together - it doesn't feel like a whole. Whether that could be fixed with different transitions, or inclusion of some of the instruments from the original part in the rock part, I can't say, but as it stands now I would've actually liked to have seen it split into two separate songs along that break line. Would've been two excellent, stand-out songs that I would listen to on a daily basis; as it is, I feel like it's just a good track.
But I'm sure that others would disagree with me.
on 2009-04-27 06:01:57
In case anyone's interested, last year I remade this song with a somewhat different arrangement. I took out the whole asian intro section and expanded the metal part, and redid it from scratch with much improved production values. Y'all can check it out here:
on 2008-04-03 10:56:35
Very strong in a lot of sections, though some of the transitions could have been a little stronger. Specifically the one between the intro and the heavy part, some sustained strings or something would have helped ease it a bit.
Some of the drums fills also could have been more interesting, but the drums totally fit with the 'Sad but true' feel, so it's a stylistic descision I can respect.
The guitar tone was excellent, I was rocking the hell out to the rhythm guitar playing. The wah solo stuff was also very solid. Some of the timing on the bass/drums seemed to get off here and there, but not enough to ruin the track for me.
Arrangement-wise it almost seemed like 2 seperate songs, so I kindof wish (ok, really wish) you'd have brought back some of the ethnic elements throughout the song to help tie them together better. Maybe an extended version where the ending isn't so abrupt.
Great track, I really got into it.
on 2007-09-03 12:32:28
It's my recorder from grade school + tons of reverb
on 2007-09-02 09:50:35
What is the wind instrument in the intro, anyway? And is it real? It certainly sounds real.
on 2007-08-24 23:24:28
nummy. love the intro. love the transition. love the metal. Guitar Hero has gotten to me, i wanna play this song. =)
on 2007-08-22 15:58:03
The ethnic part is great, and the rock one is pretty good, too. However, I don't think that they mix well. To me, this basically seems like two pieces glued together with a rather lackluster transition.
It's not a bad song, not at all. I would love to hear more from XMark, especially if it were made in the same fashion the intro here was done.
on 2007-08-15 18:52:31
Plucked guitar sounds fine to me, the off-tunedness makes it sound more authentic given the ethnic source.
on 2007-08-13 07:07:20
Wow fantastic guitar rhythm! Overall song: 8.5/10. I would love to hear more heavy instrumental stuff on OCR
on 2007-08-12 21:42:26
Pretty sweet track. Not my favorite genre, but something I can listen to and enjoy.
Needs more ending, though.
on 2007-08-12 01:11:02
All I can say is, it's about time this one got here. This is probably one of my favorite tracks from XMark, and it's still awesome after 2 years.
on 2007-08-11 20:21:26
Good job, but as many has mentioned -- sometimes it's not all that tight and the drums get's a little too much 'out'.
Loved the guitarsoloing though.
on 2007-08-11 18:17:41
I first heard this waaaay back on VGMix, and thought I'd lost it when the site went down. I loved it then, and I love it now. Very happy to see this piece finally up on OCR where it (in my opinion, anyway) belongs. Helps, I suppose, that Cyan's theme is one of my favorites, and not one I see mixed very often.
on 2007-08-11 10:44:46
I read the review and I wanted to say that I think the judges were luke warm to this because in the begining and through the rock sequence the beat seemed to be a little off in areas and nothing really "came together" enough. That is pure speculation of course but thats my take on it. Good effort though.
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Electric Guitar, Strings, Woodwinds
- Regional > Japanese
Regional > World
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