Posted 2008-03-19, evaluated by djpretzel

Hell freezes over! Peace in the Middle East! Duke Nukem Forever is released! And yes, the judges panel's own Larry Oji can now count himself as a ReMixer. Clearly, the bar has dropped far too low, and said status has been diminished beyond all possible appeal, which will inevitably send the site into a downward spiral, as prospective ReMixers flee in disgust and disinterest.

Oh wait, this mix is also by BGC and zircon. Well, in that case...

Just kidding, of course. Actually, Larry's contribution here is in my humble opinion pretty damn cool, and well done... for what it is. You may object outright to the whole principle of spoken-word/vocoded speech in the middle of ANY electronica track, and that's fine, but I think Larry did a good job on his "assignment" and the vocoding effect helps add pitch. Which is a good thing, because if he'd actually been asked to sing, I don't think any amount of Autotune could put Humpty back together again ;) The text he's reading is actually a quote from the director of FFVII himself, Yoshinori Kitase:

"In the real world things are very different. You just need to look around you. Nobody wants to die that way. People die of disease and accident. Death comes suddenly and there is no notion of good or bad. It leaves, not a dramatic feeling but great emptiness. When you lose someone you loved very much you feel this big empty space and think, 'If I had known this was coming I would have done things differently."

- Yoshinori Kitase, Edge Magazine, May 2003, as read by Larry "Liontamer" Oji

... Pretty cool to take that quote and repurpose it like that. This track was indeed part of Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream, if it seems familiar, but it's one that's taken awhile to see the light of day, and one I was personally less familiar with until I queued it up to post. Regarding the selection of the quote, Larry writes:

"After trying a few ideas though, and hoping to tie the lyrics into the story of the game, I wasn't feeling the results. While researching the game for some inspiration, I chanced upon the quote regarding Aerith's death from game director Yoshinori Kitase and knew it fit the mood of the track. After Jimmy integrated it into the track, we both came up with the idea on our own for Jimmy to do some cool effects on the vocals to make it fit the bridge section where they were gonna be used, so it was cool to know we were on the same page. Hopefully the people enjoy 'em. So along with the vocals and hitting me up for arrangement criticisms, thanks a lot to Jimmy for having me be a part of such a great effort.

Andy mainly contributed in the form of a couple trademark zircon phat beats and mastering; this is primarily a BGC joint. Jimmy's been busy working at GC lately, catchin' some mad deals and learning the ropes; seems like that's working well. Tweek just got a studio job, too... seems like a lot of folks are movin' around a bit; congrats to both of 'em. This mix intros with a pulsing bass synth "heartbeat" and never lets up, layering beats upon beats. Think of this as the ReMix equivalent of Kellog's Raisin Bran: it's got two full scoops of beats. At least. You've also got guitarish, distorted rhythm and lead elements, afforementioned vocoded bits, and a really cool high-pitched tine-ish sound that grows towards the end and is left hanging for a bit at the mix's conclusion - good ending. The runs at 1'37" are my favorite part - very intense, almost Castlevanian motif going on, definitely digging that. Jimmy does an excellent job merging electronic with guitar/rock elements, Andy's beat-assists and mastering could only have helped, and Larry's vocoded recitation might strike some the wrong way, but to me seems appropriate, interesting, and effective. Kyckin'.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2024-06-11 15:55:28

Today's remix review is brought to you by the letter V for vocoder. Before I get into the review, I wanted to preface and say that I am going into this remix blind, I am not gonna read any of the blurbs or other reviews so I don't have any other context clouding up my own review. I am very familiar with the FF7 OST so I have all the background I need to give this remix an in-depth look. "Hurry" was never a favorite of mine, it always felt like a necessary track for the OST, but not a stand out. It does what it sets out to do. Onto the review!

I listened to the remix in one pass first without stopping to get a general view of the remix and how I felt about it. Overall, the remix felt like decent background music. The kind of music I would have in the middle of a playlist while doing chores or something. The remix fits the original well in terms of tone and how it is presented. I enjoyed some of the arrangement decisions made in regards to the original. The vocoder spoken word absolutely blindsided me but we'll get to that.

The first 6 seconds of this remix are my favorite part about this remix. When that bass first kicks in, I was excited. The bass tone was fantastic. It was punchy, it hit right square in that good bass spot and set such a deliciously good tone. I was in it. i was locked in. And then we run into one of the remixes biggest issues in my humble opinion, the drums. We get our first taste of the percussion at :07 and it is IMHO weak sauce. I am admittedly a Drum Bass style drums hater, but I will always give them a chance and will applaud and respect when it is done intentionally and well. I was just really not feeling the drums for most of this. The percussion from :07 to 1:22 felt so bland and uninspired. The high hats that come in at 0:25 drown everything else out percussion wise and they get real annoying real quick. The drums end up feeling like a miasmic wall of unnecessary sound. Some of this could have been fixed with some good ol DB changes imo. A big part of the original IMO was the panning tick tock wood block that occurs throughout, helping to emphasize the urgent nature of whatever situation our spiky haired friend had gotten into. In this version I DO hear a little baby wood block early on. I wanted to hear more of it, or more of a lot of the percussion but it's drowned out by the diva high hats. Thankfully in the middle section I can hear a kick and a snare and I feel a semblance of structure, but a little too little too late for me. The remix overall washed over me like a dense fog, and I blame the majority of that on the percussion. During the vocoder section the percussion IMO should have been far more muted or even non-existant.

I did enjoy the synth that came in at 1:37, it mixed very well with the guitars (Which I also enjoyed.). 1:37 to 2:24 was some very solid stuff, I could totally get behind that as a baller instrumental/background remix. But then we get to... the vocoder.

If I'm being honest, I actually do not mind the idea of vocoded spoken word in this remix. It provides a desperately needed break in the action and if tweaked a lot could work well. I myself have used vocoded spoken word/lyrics in songs/remixes past. They did not age well though (And they weren't really that great when I made them, lol.) The vocoder spoken word here is not a good fit AT ALL though. It has a couple major problems. One being how they entered the remix. There is a teeny little buildup of a "Whhoooop" at 2:24 and then BAM suddenly vocoded spoken word. It was so jarring that I had a physical reaction. I was so befuddled, it felt so out of left field. The bigger problem for me is the lyrics themselves. The song is called "Adrenalyne Kyck" and cements itself as an energetic and frantic sort of remix, so I already had a concrete vibe in my head of what this remix was going for. So imagine my surprise when a spoken word suddenly starts talking about the DEATH OF LOVED ONES. The lyrics felt so wildly out of place that I had to listen repeatedly to try and grasp what the flying fudge monkeys was going on... and it turns out to be a quote from Kitase regarding Aeriths death, a quote I was unfamiliar with until today. I think the quote is beautiful, BUT...

(Side note: I take umbridge with this quote in its' relation to FF7. It is a beautiful quote on its' own, but like.... the quote says death comes suddenly and there is no notion of good or bad. Aerith (A clear good) was MURDERED by Sephiroth (A clear evil.). So I disagree heartily with that connection because there is a very clear notion of good or bad in that instance. Aerith didn't randomly trip down the stairs. She didn't get game of thrones'd in some morally grey area. She got murked by the most clear-cut antagonist this side of the Mississippi. It DID come suddenly and was a huge shock and led to some wonderful storytelling and discussion about death. I am thankful to this remix for introducing me to the quote.)

So we've got this wonderful emotional quote from Kitase... and it is brought to us in vocoded form..... that is not a choice I would have made. The quote/vocoded form just feels WILDLY out of place in this remix.

2:49 - 2:51 was great, a much welcomed slice of variety and a cool transition.

3:30 til around 4:04 was very solid. The build up was actually quite good and I was excited to see how it would payoff! But at 4:04 it just abruptly cuts off like someone just unplugged the guitar. It felt like it was building up to some awesome ending and then just CHURNK. I listened to 4:02 to 4:05 like 10 times, it is just....bad. Just when the percussion was needed the most to help drive things home it just record scratches and the protagonist wonders how they got there. I don't mean to harp on the ending too much but it is really distracting, especially since the lead-up to 4:04 was really cool.

So overall, while I am not the biggest fan, this is nowhere near a BAD remix. I fully support the artistry and anyone who enjoys this remix! Rock on. :)

on 2017-11-17 12:41:49

Haa, I can't believe I never commented on this one after all of these years. Nine years later, why not; it's great to look at something I held as one of my favorite tracks of the day, and it's interesting to think of how it would be evaluated today in comparison to back in early 2008.

Firstly, looking at it today with fresh ears and a relatively new appreciation for the whole judging process, I think this is still a solid ReMix and would probably still pass. The arrangement has a good sense of how to build into an arrangement, layering instruments and textures slowly over the course of a minute and a half. It's static, but it manages to stave off that issue by making distinct enough changes in the build-up to keep the textures fresh - a good lesson on how to be both repetitive and yet keep things fresh.

The instrumentation is good... for the time. Today I'm sure this would've gotten some flak for the plain instruments and rather horrible sounding fake guitar (I would've counted it against him in a submission, at least). That's less a statement against the track and more a statement on where music making is today - so many tools out there to create amazing instruments that the instrumentation back then really does sound dated. Even still, I think the handling of the instruments in this solidly hybrid style would've made it a safe submission today.

Larry's contribution to this track is gold, I don't care what kind of controversy it may have caused back in the day - those haters were just wrong. :)

In all seriousness, though, it's really built into the track in such a way that you can't go without it. It creates a much needed pause in the energy level of the track, and it's used as a vehicle to introduce new subtle textures that would've been much less noticed had they been introduced otherwise. The vocoding is clean as hell, too, and the lyrics are amazing and rather profound. This track would've been boring and uninteresting without that section, and likely wouldn't hold up nine years later.

Not going to lie, Larry be willing I'd love to have something like this in one of my remixes one day. :P

The production is passable, but it seems to get hot in the second half of the track (after the vocoded part). I do hear some limiting artifacts popping up in sections like that fake guitar and such. The mix is good, though, and the majority of the production is clean, so I doubt that would've sank the entire track, but it's not perfect.

Would it pass today? Probably, though it's impossible to say a definite "YES" on it, strangely enough. I love this track thoroughly even today, but I don't think it'd be an easy or certain pass if it were submit today. The tools people have nowadays make it easier to produce clean, solid arrangements - the fact that in comparison to many submissions today this has a few underpar instruments and production choices shows just how far the community has gotten in nearly a decade.

Speaking of the past, I love the write-up, here. Reading things like "Jimmy's been busy working at GC [Guitar Center] lately, catchin' some mad deals and learning the ropes; seems like that's working well." is really hilarious in hindsight considering where our boy Jimmy has been since (composing music for games like Mass Effect 2 and having decent success otherwise selling his brand). It's subtle, but there's a lot of site growth that can be infered by quotes from OCR like this one.

Good track, definitely one of my favorites from yesteryear (yesterdecade?), and a decent place to see just how much not only OCR, but amateur arrangements have grown over this time. Good stuff all around.

on 2014-11-15 13:16:06

This actually one of my favorites from VotL. The build-up here is just perfect and the whole song is pretty much varied. From time to time a new instrument jumps into and each time atmosphere becomes heavier and heavier. And suddenly Larry's voice breaks into. This moment is especially good. Then it drops for a few seconds and then comes my most favorite section. I like it most of all because of the damn emotive strings. Serious work.

on 2013-04-05 01:22:51

excellent collabo here! I just found my old ipod while i was cleaning and found this again. i didnt remember how good it was, and i never really realized who made it until now. great job here guys!

i love the little voice in the middle

on 2010-06-13 06:01:50

I'm not surprised that Larry's quote isn't pleasing to everyone's ears, but you can weigh up the pros and cons of it all day. It's my opinion that saying "It doesn't sound bad, but it could have sounded better if they were removed." is a pointless statement. It's what the creators went with, and without their creative judgements, the mix wouldn't exist.

The voicework is the sort of addition that may take a couple of listens to properly climatise to, but I really feel they eventually grow roots into the rest of the music as opposed to sitting on top of everything else as a garnish.

The rest of the piece is a showcase of energy and slickness, with a dark element that cements it all together. This stands up with the other big mixes from VotL, but considering the calibre of the collab, that didnt come as too much of a shock.

on 2009-10-09 06:42:40

I've been trying to think since the release whether I liked the vocals or not, but I think now I can say I would thoroughly enjoy the song better with them in there.

One minute you're doing some headbanging to great synths, phat beatz, and kyckin' rhythm guitar... then all of a sudden the song swells into this epic quote and it's like "boom, revalation."

I think it was made even more epic with Larry being the one to do the voice too, since he's... Larry. BGC and zircon need to do some more collabs so we can have another face melting song.

on 2009-10-08 16:56:56

This track is sheer quality, but I can see Crono3of3time's point on the vocal aspect. The vocoder and chopped/stutter effects are excellent and from an effects POV is perfectly implemented, especially 2:46. I loved that bit.

I do feel that the quote is excellent and the track is excellent, but together... the subject matter of the lyrics didn't seat well in the mood of the peice overall, which (to me) was fast, tight, dark (but not introspective); the music's more primal than reflective to me, you know it feels aggressive, urgent but also defensive and protective but hey - that's just my take on it. (I guess I relate it tightly to its original context in-game)

I still love the track in it's entirety, despite my quibbles... Great job!

on 2009-07-27 07:25:22

Yeah, that's cool. I don't think I (for my part) misinterpreted what you were saying, your experience of the track was very different from mine, and I was trying to say that, and also describe my experience about it.


on 2009-07-26 05:26:46

Hmm... I see my previous post was rather misinterpreted... Hmm let me try to think of an example to emphasize what I meant by it drops dead...

Say you were at a rock concert, all jammin away, then in the middle of the song the vocalist suddenly decides to clean the microphone off with his/her shirt, and you hear the rustling,and microphone static from the cloth coming from all the speakers for a few moments, and the instrumentalists, unsure of what to do kind of keep playing trying to figure out whats going on until they get their bearings back. But by this time all the energy that was being put in to rev the crowd up has been dispersed through confusion.

Its not the words I was referring to, but rather the Encasing of the words. It sounds more like the song WAS complete, then someone just decided to insert a line or two of dialogue in the middle while the music kind of piles along in another direction over the top of it. The lyrics don't carve to flow with the song... Something of that sort, although I can't pinpoint it exactly, as this is an impulsive Feeling.

Also, I'd have to guess that the other half of what made the lyrics feel so out of place to me, is that the song itself didn't feel like it was crafted FOR lyrics, as songs that have the lyrics in mind when they are made usually carry themselves with a different air... because they integrate similar sounding parts where the lyrics would come in, into the song, but in this one the lyrics kind of forced themselves in... (I'm listening to the complete version over and over again as I write this. Trying to figure out why it feels dead and I'm realizing now its more of a personal impulse as I can't clearly quantify it. .;)

on 2009-07-19 09:33:39

This is awesomeness beyond compare, I think that the vocal monologue makes this mix... LT, get your ass in gear and do some more collabs if all your contributions are this good...

Also, big lol at crono3of3time's post, partially the how did it get past the judges quip due to the remixers of this track all being judges :lol:

Pretty awesome stuff guys great collab :P

on 2009-06-08 10:56:04
they're not just low, they're downright pessimistic...

The text bit isn't pessimistic I feel, it's saying that everyone dies some day and we might want to live our lives accordingly, to appreciate life and those around us. The music isn't some happy-go-lucky song that the quote wouldn't fit to either, it's rather dark really! I think it's a great match and actually listening to the lyrics (and learning where they're from) elevated the piece for me from a good track to a standout one.

I have no clue how such a faceplant made it by the judges...

I hope that my above message helps you see another point of view, how one can appreciate this track in it's whole.


on 2009-06-06 22:23:28

One of my favourite songs from the album and its just so full of energy, i just love it.

big giant circles
on 2009-06-05 12:39:35
they're not just low, they're downright pessimistic... No song "wants to die that way" like this one does apparently.

Ouch, that's harsh. Also, did you happen to read about what the lyrics are from, what they're citing? FF7 wasn't exactly the most "chipper" game, ya know :razz:

on 2009-06-03 21:04:53

When I listen to this song and "I feel this big empty space and think, if I had know this was coming I would have done things ddddddiferently".. As in not listen to this... seriously.

The song itself it great!.. but... its a high energy song, then suddenly very low energy lyrics are placed in... they're not just low, they're downright pessimistic... No song "wants to die that way" like this one does apparently.

I mean I can listen to it now that I've completely erased the vocal segment from my copy, and its much better to me (no I'm not gonna post the edit anywhere)... I have no clue how such a faceplant made it by the judges...

I mean the song is like something vibrant and alive at first.. then the lyrics come in and kill it dead Dead DEAD!... then the corpse gets back up and tries to dance...pretending as if nothing ever happened. .;

on 2009-02-12 08:02:21
Can someone post the lyrics to the song? :)

They can be read here.

Nice work btw, with the remix. It's made my bus rides to and from school tolerable. :D

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VII (Sony , 1997, PS1)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu

Tags (6)

Electric Guitar,Electronic,Synth,Vocals: Male
Lyrics > Lyrics: Existing
Origin > Collaboration

File Information

7,422,285 bytes

"In the real world things are very different. You just need to look around you. Nobody wants to die that way. People die of disease and accident. Death comes suddenly and there is no notion of good or bad. It leaves, not a dramatic feeling but great emptiness. When you lose someone you loved very much you feel this big empty space and think, 'If I had known this was coming I would have done things differently.'"

- Yoshinori Kitase, Edge Magazine, May 2003, as read by Larry "Liontamer" Oji


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