Merry Turkey! Or, to our friends outside the USA: Happy Nothing! Whether we celebrate the giving of thanks through the traditional North American ritual of conspicuous turkey consumption (and, more importantly, horseradish ingestion) and family gathering or through other means, the idea of a day of giving thanks for that which we should be thankful for is pretty cool. Back in the day, it was trivial matters like not starving to death or being killed by Native Americans or for practicing one's faith, but nowadays we've moved on to loftier subjects like just how good Super Mario Galaxy turned out to be; all hail progress. Whether anyone ever actually stops and pensively enumerates said items of personal importance and worth amongst all the gorging and imbibing is a question of much speculation, but here at OCR, we believe in credit where credit is due... and there is MUCH to be thankful for. Item one on our list tonight is Voices of the Lifestream. After all the dust settled and some of the knee-jerk anti-FF7 sentiment cooled down (heathens!), I think many have come to appreciate how consistent this album is, all the more impressive given its size. Much like the fruitcake that gets regifted from family to family until someone willing to eat it stops the recursive madness, VotL is the gift that keeps on giving. Unlike fruitcake, however, it doesn't suck. Also, you can't eat it, though with the creamy mint aesthetic on most of the artwork, I wouldn't blame anyone for trying. I haven't quoted Larry in a writeup for awhile, usually because he brings out the John Madden playbook of music criticism and gets all granular, refusing to supply me with catchy soundbites that can oversimplify his byzantine judgments... so I'll end that trend. Mr. Oji says:
"The original's pretty simple instrumentally, and thus ripe for expansion and interpretation. In this case, it's done more with the supporting instrumentation rather than the melody on strings (which repeats too much), and that's ok as the approach. The interpretation is there though... Solo at 2:43 was of course Sixto-sick and a good, brief break from the source material before moving into a nice arrangement of "The Prelude" at 3:05 for the close. Ending at 3:30 way too abrupt, the strings decaying too quickly IMO. Too bad about the ending being so short; 3:22 could have been the gateway to prog rock heaven, but it was not meant to be. Remind me to kick you all for that. :'-( Personalization, interpretation, new writing, altered genre. Solid stuff. I'd say pretty much everything we should want in a mix from a creative standpoint."
Suz, the mix's primary creator, writes:
"This mix has been a long (LONG) time coming. I started it back in January 2006, when I first got on the FF7 project. I poked and prodded it for many months, much to the chagrin of zircon. Most of the hangup came from problems recording guitars-- my main guitar died in a gigging mishap before I had finished all the recordings, leaving me just an old beat up Epi with busted pickups to record with. However, Sixto was gracious enough to provide me with a balls busting solo, so in the end it worked out well (and probably for the better cuz that dude is amazing and I have slow fatty sausage fingers). Additionally, zircon was kind enough to help finish with the mixing side of things (and he added some fun synthy crud in there as well). So basically what we have here is a collab, with arrangement, sequencing and guitars by Suzumebachi, incrediballs guitar solo by Sixto, and pads and synth leads by Mr. Aversa. Enjoy!"
Incrediballs! The melodies here are subdued, and so there's not really a driving melodic force or anything that feels overly narrative, but there's a more general sense of energy amassing; the feel is somewhere between cinematic BGM and rock song, and teeters either way at times. Judges were a little iffy on the first minute, which does take some time to get going, but once it's up out of its musical recliner and moving across the living room floor, it does so with style and force. Good stuff from Ty, Juan, and Andy, and an important part of a larger work that, for me at least, is one of the major things I'm thankful for in 2007.
on 2011-12-26 01:48:34
This is a fun song to listen to. It takes a while to build and build to Sixto's solo, but once it gets there it's a short but nice finale. Good job.
on 2009-12-04 01:47:58
For some reason, I'm just not really feeling the track.
By no means am I saying this is bad. Far from it actually, that arrangement is great, the production is top-notch and the solo at the end was awesome. However, some of the strings (at the beginning) and synths sound a little forth and the mix pretty much stays at the same level until the solo.
A few minor problems here and there, but it's still definitely worth a listen.
on 2009-12-03 19:05:56
I'm the exact opposite of DragonAvenger - much of this song feels underwhelming and certain elements are just a bit "off." However, when all is said and done I really enjoyed it a lot and love leaving this one on repeat while I'm studying, for some reason. The guitar solo is an unquestionable highlight but even before that, everything feels pretty melodic and enjoyable.
Not the most unique thing to come out of Voices of the Lifestream but I'll be damned if it isn't still good!
on 2009-11-08 20:19:50
I wasn't a huge fan of this track in particular - it just rubs off as filler.
I understand the idea of going in the punk direction for this track, as it is supposed to mark the beginning, but it seems too synth driven. In addition, it's woefully straightforward to a fault - I think this is highlighted most by the song ending.
on 2008-12-06 18:44:08
I must have listened to this track a hundred times by now and it still sends chills down my spine. Maybe the source was a bit more brooding, but I think the sense of foreboding that was so critical to the original atmosphere is here just as strong as ever... the strings keep this track true to its roots. Insert a bit of determination with the drum attack, a helping of optimism with the lead synth, and some serious internal fire with the climactic guitar work and Cloud and company are ready to take on the world! No materia needed, just a little help from Suzumebachi, Sixto Sounds, and zircon!
To say VotL was chock full of hits is an understatement, and even amongst such excellence this song stands out. Everything here clicks for me: it's a well-balanced track that captures some central emotions of the game and, ultimately, makes me feel like I can overcome anything. As such: this is remixing, and music, at its finest.
on 2008-11-23 15:40:28
I will start by saying that a lot of good stuff is going on in the track. The solo is slick, the mixing is great, and the arrangement is pretty good. Overall I don't like it, though. The first minute's too iffy, and the stylistic change overall just doesn't sit well with me. Plenty of good things, but just not something I could get into. Sorry.
on 2008-07-19 21:53:43
I really like this mix. What I find so interesting about it is how it still "feels" like the original. This is gonna sound corny I'm sure. But even though the tempo is so much faster and the mix does plenty of "rocking out" it somehow keeps the same feel (which I can't even pinpoint...looming or sadness, not sure). It may have been intentional or not, but it's cool.
Also, I only noticed this much later, the little piano bits in 1:10-1:14. They're right from the original version but it was awhile before I heard them in the mix, very cool.
on 2008-04-19 05:35:53
Like the uniformity of the piece. Nice to hear this melody rendered in a slightly faster beat.
Could be listening to this as I zoom out on the Hwy...
I can hear hints at other themes in this remix. The arpeggiation in the opening scenes is one of my favorite themes, and I can hear nods to this in the end.
on 2007-12-07 10:17:39
I'd definitely say this mix picks up at the guitar solo. From there on it sounds sublime, tight and uplifting. I dig the arpeggios over the string pads and those final two chords are so fine. Lovely piano underneath.
It takes unfortunately long to get there. When I decide to listen to this track, I try to remind myself why I like it so much. The ending is a revelation. The rest of the track really is not bad either, but definitely less good. Weak points: I agree with OA about the strings at the start. I also really don't like the tremolo piano sound, it's messy and just plain bad. In general, the decision to put the strings et al to the top and leave the rhythm guitar, drums and especially bass in the background makes the whole sound rather flimsy to my ears. The guitar/drums themselves could have used a bit more variation in the fast part. Slower stuff has nice rhythmical variations. Fast part does have nice fills, but maybe a half-tempo part or a fill with less playing somewhere could have spiced things up.
Also, and this is actually my major gripe, rhythmically the foreground from 01:17 to 02:27 seems detached from the background, even a bit "blocky". The strings/synths may be in the middle of the beat, where it would benefit them to be a bit on top of the beat. Perhaps? The attack of the synth/strings may be too slow? I'm not 100% sure about that but that's how I feel.
That's a lot of criticism, but that said, I still enjoy the track a whole lot. Intro is really nice except the problem with strings, 0:33-0:44 transition is great (love the gap).. good attention to detail overall.
on 2007-12-04 10:55:27
String section early on was a little unnatural sounding with the attacks, but once things got moving, it was a lot better.
Great playing guitar wise, and it's interesting hearing what parts were doubled (or more), it gives a very cool texture to the proceedings. Nice guitar harmony before the modulation, which was well-timed to keep things interesting. The synth arpeggios that faded in and out add some seasoning, and the solo was good.
Though not near as creative as the title makes it out to be, it's a pretty rocking mix. Check it out by all means.
on 2007-11-26 20:57:57
Yeah, Carbon Dog, I was thinking Mega Man-ish, but it's very well done. I love the arrangement of the synthetic rock patches!
on 2007-11-23 11:59:28
I had fun mixing/mastering this one; I wish I had the original version to A/B it. The mixing was tricky due to the drum and guitar tone, which I really had no control over, so I had to do some careful EQ to get everything to fit and have the melodic elements emphasized properly. The strings were sort of washed out and pad-like too, which is why I reinforced them with my own samples and synths. The end result might not be perfect but I still think it's an improvement, and compliments the (most excellent) writing.
on 2007-11-23 11:18:20
Is there anyone else that thought Mega man X'esq, when they heard this for the first time.
on 2007-11-23 05:42:02
Yep, been waiting to review this one. This is easily my favorite song from VoTL. I love the rather a-melodic approach on this one (it gives off more of an ambient feeling than a typical rock-mix would), backed by a steady rock-beat. Great sequencing on both the strings and drums, and the harmonized Guitar crescendo that leads up to the solo is just pure arrangement gold. One could say that the mixing drowns the rhythm guitars and the drums out a bit, but I think that was a necessary to bring the 'lighter' instruments across well, and hey, the guitars and drums are still audible, so no problems there! I enjoy it very much, excellent job y'all
on 2007-11-22 21:38:02
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VII (Sony, 1997, PS1)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
- "On That Day, Five Years Ago..."
- Electric Guitar, Strings, Synth
- Origin > Collaboration
- 6,266,990 bytes
- Size: 6,266,990 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 1ae2067355800ee46475384be7fa3671
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