Posted 2021-03-03, evaluated by Rexy
Gamer of the Winds (Gregory Orosz) teams up with Psamathes (Alessandra Cognetta) and blows us away (pun always intended) with a woodwind & vocalization-driven folk arrangement that reminds me of Kenji Kawai's score to Ghost in the Shell (the half-decent one, not the ScarJo), putting a beautiful Japanese/Tibetan twist on "Distant Skies" - Gregory writes:
"Hello! Here is my second submission to OCR. This track features Psamathes on vocals later in the track.
So, overall, I just recently beat Suikoden II and thought this song was very impactful even though it was just a lone melody, so I wanted to try and remix it to realize it as a full track. This was a very unique arrangement since the original tune had only a melody, so I got to be very creative. In the beginning is me on shakuhachi with me on fife later in the track. I asked Psamathes to sing in a very unique vocal style that was present throughout the original OST, one of the things I love about the Suikoden series which I wanted to capture here. We both came to the conclusion that it is traditional Tibetan folk singing and this type of singing is incredibly difficult, but Psamathes absolutely nailed it! Who better to nail this unique and breathtaking solo than the incredible Psamathes! Check out and subscribe to her awesome channel: https://youtube.com/psamathes! Thank YOU for your incredible performance! This style is really underrated!
The transverse (side-blown) flute I'm using is a fife which is sort of the ancestor to the modern piccolo. That fife I'm playing on is only $9 and it's made by Yamaha and you can get it easily on Amazon. Recorders are easy to begin learning as in you get a good sound out at first but are actually quite difficult to master. With a traverse flute like that fife, they are not easy to begin at all, it takes a long time to develop a good tone on a traverse flute (took me 8 years) since you have to strengthen so many facial muscles since you have no reed or anything that actually makes the sound.
I hope you all like it!"
From someone who sat through hours on end in 4th grade, surrounded by the meandering, dissonant, migrain-inducing tone cluster we collectively produced in music class, I can personally vouch that the recorder is indeed difficult to master. It sounds great, here, but the shakuhachi is perhaps the star - sublime, immersive stuff! The vocals are absolutely distinct & transporting; this piece would have had more than enough timbral variety & development even without them, but they add a mysterious, almost spiritual element that brings further depth; Psamathes (Alessandra Cognetta) writes:
"I love how you brought out so much from a single melody! Thank you for letting me experiment with this vocal style. <3 It's a fascinating style that more people need to know about and appreciate!"
I loved Alessandra's operatic work on Jorito's Undertale collab, and she again shows her range - in both octaves & styles. It might just be me, but I feel like I've heard a similar vocal style more in the Japanese/kabuki realm, and I tend to think of drones & throat singing when I think of Tibet... or is that Mongolia? At any rate, aesthetically/regionally the vocal felt more "Japanese" to me, for whatever that's worth, but it's neither a good nor a bad thing - either way, it blends with Orosz's arsenal of winds while also adding some tonal contrast. Rexy evaluated:
"Greg's second submission to the site piqued my interest, mostly for how he could stretch eight bars of nothing but a simple flute melody. And he did, with letting his shakuhachi and fife performances handle the source in two separate ways. We have the first minute with a rubato performance over a set of new-age drones, followed by more traditional rhythms from 1:23 onwards, carrying a set of simple chords over that melodic transformation. The harmonies from 1:51, both on the fife and Alessandra's vocals on 2:11, adapted so charmingly well to the established backing and expanded further on the source's foundations. This kind of approach continued after a breakdown and a reprise with thicker textures at 3:02. The composition here as a whole is straightforward to listen to while still being able to blow minds when you realize the source treatment's extent.
The production values also managed to carry it home as well. Yes, some of the VST samples don't particularly sound brilliant, namely on the percussion side. But there's more than enough care to the mixing and reverb levels that they didn't stick out too much, and the manipulation on the drones and care to dynamics across the board suits the mellow direction nicely. And as expected from Greg and Alessandra, their performances got recorded cleanly and with emotion relative to their parts - and with techniques considered challenging to pull off while also working in this more rural setting.
Overall, it's a robust package, with one set to draw attention to either the genre direction or how to treat a source with next to nothing. If this is what Greg is like on his second arranger submission, goodness knows what future ones would be like - I'm impressed!"
No euphemism or double entendre: the package is indeed robust. Gregory really owns the "Gamer of the Winds" moniker & makes it *real* - if he just played a couple wind instruments, I still wouldn't balk, but he's exceptionally versatile at a wide range of pipe, reed, & double-reed weapons, and his expertise extends beyond the mechanics and into how each instrument's playing style contributes to an arrangement. Psamathes only elevates the piece, transporting us further into its depths. A fantastic extrapolation of a single melody line into a living, breathing world - superb work, kudos to both artists!
on 2021-03-03 17:48:04
Dunno the source but I'm diggin' this when the vocals and piano come in. Great work on a technical (recording/mixing) level.
on 2021-03-02 11:58:25
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Suikoden II (Konami, 1998, PS1)
Music by Keiko Fukami, Miki Higashino
- "Distant Skies (Banner BGM)"
- Recorder, Shakuhachi, Singing, Sound FX, Vocals: Female, Woodwinds
- Production > Live Instruments
Regional > Japanese
Usage > Meditation
- 6,253,044 bytes
- Size: 6,253,044 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: f99318924a53e85498c17edf64faaccf
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