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Angela Sep 14, 2007

OCRemix's "Voices of The Lifestream" has finally gone live:

http://ff7.ocremix.org/

For those who haven't been following, Voices is an extensive fan project that has been well a year in the making.  In their own words:

Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream is an OverClocked ReMix Album featuring free fan arrangements from the soundtrack to Square's legendary Final Fantasy VII for the Sony Playstation.  From jazz to techno to rock to classical, it features over forty five tracks from over forty artists, each interpreting composer Nobuo Uematsu's works in their own unique style.  Voices of the Lifestream's 45 tracks span four discs, each themed for different releases from the Final Fantasy VII universe: "Crisis Core", "Dirge of Cerberus", "Advent Children", and "Last Order," respectively. Combined, they represent approximately three and a half hours of music.

Not for nothing, they've got to be commended for partaking in a project of this caliber.  Looking forward to the listen!

Dais Sep 14, 2007 (edited Sep 14, 2007)

I just want the Birth of a God arrangement. Everything else can be terrible, just let that one track be good. Please. Please. Please.

.....

Hmm. Not bad. Too much chiptune stylings, but it's more than passable.

Still, I have the feeling that I'm going to keep lusting after an eventual rearrange on space guitar and hyper church organ by Sekito Jr when they finally remake the game in twenty years.

Arcubalis Sep 14, 2007

I thought Birth of a God was quite good.  However, it wasn't drastically different or anything.  I enjoy bLiNds work in general, though.  Good stuff.

Angela Sep 14, 2007

Well-written review, Arcubalis.  I've given a few tracks a listen, and I'm mostly liking what I'm hearing.  norg & SnappleMan's Full Frontal Assault adheres pretty close to what I'd imagine a Black Mages arrangement of "Fighting" would sound.  Like TBM's Force Your Way, they nail that melodic florish at the end beautifully.  I was a tad disappointed with zircon's take in Nomura Limit, though - great idea with the weaving of basic battle theme scales and motifs, but it ends just as soon as it begins.

The vocals in Jovette Rivera's The Crossroads really surprised me in a great way, making for one hell of a soaring, grungy rock-ballad out of "Cid's Theme".  But it's Xaleph's Son of Chaos that's my current fave at the moment; what a darkly-rad take on the industrial-laden "Shinra Company."

Arcubalis Sep 14, 2007

Yeah, it was difficult picking tracks to highlight.  I had about half of the album left when I weeded out the tracks I didn't think I'd mention.  In the end, I had to make a lot of cuts in the interest of not writing a 10 page review.  smile

Kenology Sep 14, 2007

Didn't some guys over at overclocked have a similar project like this for Metroid?

Marcel Sep 14, 2007

^^Yeah, but I think Voices of the Lifestream is probably their most consistent album in terms of quality.  And make no mistake, folks, the quality is certainly high.  I think disc 1 is my favourite so far, but that might be because I've listened to it more than the others.

Zane Sep 14, 2007 (edited Sep 14, 2007)

I had no expectations when checking out these tunes, and some are pretty damn good. I'm pleasantly surprised... but that 7 minute orchestral rendition of Aerith's suite has got to go.

Arcubalis Sep 14, 2007

Funny.  I just redownloaded Relics of the Chozo today.  Shame that one arranger pretty much did the entire project (Protricity).  It still sends chills down my spine when I listen to Avien's melancholy arrangement of Meridia though.  For anyone who doesn't know, he sadly passed away a couple years ago.

Ashley Winchester Sep 14, 2007

Arcubalis wrote:

Funny.  I just redownloaded Relics of the Chozo today.  Shame that one arranger pretty much did the entire project (Protricity).

Protricity did a pretty bitchin medley for Mega Man X, Brainsick Metal I think it's called.

GoldfishX Sep 14, 2007

Ashley Winchester wrote:

Protricity did a pretty bitchin medley for Mega Man X, Brainsick Metal I think it's called.

Yeah, that's primarily where I remember his name from. Opening Stage, Storm Eagle and...something else. But Opening Stage and Storm Eagle are all you need to know!

So far, the project seems very...um, electronic. I'm giving it a casual once-over, but nothing that's jumped out thus far.

Wanderer Sep 15, 2007 (edited Sep 15, 2007)

I've heard the first disc so far and the only tracks I'd be willing to hear again are the first two. I wanted to like it but there's simply too much electronica. Formless, shapeless meandering electronica. It was almost a relief to hear an electric guitar in the battle theme remix.

The second disc has been more agreeable so far (although hardly outstanding).

Angela Sep 15, 2007

LuIzA always had a good handle on the axe grinds, and Materia Junkie is no exception.  Her arrangement made me discover something I never noticed before; that the opening bars for "Underneath The Rotting Pizza" is structured after the "Fighting" melody.  How I didn't catch this before is beyond me, but that's what a good musical arrangement will do - make you see the original in a whole new light.

To reference Arcubalis's review, Steffan Andrews' Jenova Returns punctuates some great dynamic orchestra, giving off an air of epic and heroic flightiness, yet still retains the waves of inherent darkness that "J-E-N-O-V-A" is known for.   Lovely minor and major drops in tone create an edgy complexity to the overall mood of this piece.  Stylistically, I'd be inclined to believe that Andrews was inspired by Elfman's works for Burton here.  The integration of "Jenova Absolute" was excellently done, too.

Ashley Winchester Sep 15, 2007

GoldfishX wrote:
Ashley Winchester wrote:

Protricity did a pretty bitchin medley for Mega Man X, Brainsick Metal I think it's called.

Yeah, that's primarily where I remember his name from. Opening Stage, Storm Eagle and...something else. But Opening Stage and Storm Eagle are all you need to know.

I think the order is Opening Stage > Storm Eagle > Spark Mandrill > Sigma Stage 1 > Demo. However, there is a simular medley by someone else called "Battles of the Past Pt.1" and it pretty much follows the same order so I could be getting my wires crossed.

Smeg Sep 15, 2007

Arcubalis wrote:

Funny.  I just redownloaded Relics of the Chozo today.  Shame that one arranger pretty much did the entire project (Protricity).  It still sends chills down my spine when I listen to Avien's melancholy arrangement of Meridia though.  For anyone who doesn't know, he sadly passed away a couple years ago.

Avien died? That would explain the lack of new stuff from him. How did you find out? Was he a friend of yours?

Razakin Sep 15, 2007

Smeg wrote:

Avien died? That would explain the lack of new stuff from him. How did you find out? Was he a friend of yours?

That was probably told atleast in OCremix. Atleast I remember something like that.

And this remix project is pretty awesomish, goes to the top three with Relics of the Chozo and The Dark Side of Phobos.

Arcubalis Sep 15, 2007

Smeg, it was widely noted on OCR when it happened.

But yeah, VotL is my favorite project of theirs to date.

Zane Sep 15, 2007 (edited Sep 15, 2007)

I just took the time to read that review. Interesting.

Jayson Napolitano wrote:

It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to arrangement albums.

Wow. You should probably make an effort to step outside of whatever clutter gets sent over to you for review at M4G listen to more arrange albums because there are tons of other efforts, both professional and doujin, that are more effective than this release. Yeah, from what I've heard so far this project is pretty good, but I haven't heard anything outside of a couple of tunes that stood out as being comparitively "better" than other arrange albums that I've heard.

Jayson Napolitano wrote:

Brace yourselves for one of the most impressive and encompassing listening experiences in the world of video game music.

You definitely got a hearty laugh-out-loud from me on that one. In tandem with the first quote here, it sounds like your scope of "the world of video game music" is extremely limited. Sometimes I wonder who signs your paychecks over at M4G. If you keep shamelessly promoting these over-hyped reviews your opinions are going to become even less credible than mine.

Arcubalis Sep 15, 2007

I listen to quite a bit of stuff.  I am honestly impressed with their efforts, both the scope and the execution.  It has a very professional sound that is levels beyond their previous projects.

Anyway, I like to think I listen to a lot of stuff (although I admit I don't listen to a huge amount of dojin efforts).  I particularly enjoyed that recent Magical Trick Society album of FFXII stuff.  As far as professional arrangement albums, CTBoT and Rockman X Alph Lyra are my favorites, and I can't deny the DQ Symphonic Suites or the FF Piano Collections.

The fact of the matter is I like a lot of different kinds of music, and there are tons of styles represented on Voices of the Lifestream.  I thought each style was done well, and even though their individual orchestral tracks might not be on the level of Symphonic Suite albums, the fact that there is so many styles done so well is absolutely impressive.

Of course it's not going to please everybody.  I think it should, given there is something there for everyone, but again, it's just hard to please some people.  That's fine if you don't like it, but I did.  I stand by my assertion that it is one of the most impressive and encompassing arrange albums/projects (or whatever you want to call it) based on the quality of the music and the scope of the project.  In your opinion, only a few tracks may be worth another listen, but that's just your opinion, and you shouldn't try to put me down because my opinion doesn't agree with yours.  There are lots of people who are as impressed as I am with the project.

You have to keep in mind that I am a huge fan of game music, but there is a wider audience on Music4Games.  It's an industry site, and a lot of the traffic comes from members of the game industry.  Granted, I'm not going to change the truth of what I think about something based on that, but sometimes I have to simplify things to get an idea across to people who might not be into game music or might not have as large of a knowledge base of what's out there.

Anyway, I worried about this issue when I wrote the review.  I knew some people wouldn't like it, and would not have nice things to say to me about it.  I'm sorry you didn't like it, but I'd appreciate your support, as a member of the community, in trying to get the word out about game music outside of the US on sites like M4G.  That's why I'm there.  There wouldn't be reviews of Japanese game music or a review of Voices of the Lifestream if there wasn't somebody like me there.  The reason I post links to M4G stuff here is because I've been a fan for so long, and I've been in this community for so long that I feel like I should have your support in expanding the industry view of Japanese VGM.

And for the record, I'm not paid.

Ashley Winchester Sep 15, 2007

Arcubalis wrote:

Anyway, I worried about this issue when I wrote the review.  I knew some people wouldn't like it, and would not have nice things to say to me about it.

I can see why. Not saying your opinions are wrong or right but some of those statements are quite bold to say the least. That being the case you're obviously going to take some heat for them.

Arcubalis Sep 15, 2007

Well, I do have strong feelings about it, so I stand by it. 

I would LOVE for some audio director or industry person somewhere to check it out based on those statements and find something he/she actually likes.  If it helps expose them to something new, I'd be quite happy.

GoldfishX Sep 15, 2007

Arcubalis wrote:

Anyway, I worried about this issue when I wrote the review.  I knew some people wouldn't like it, and would not have nice things to say to me about it.  I'm sorry you didn't like it, but I'd appreciate your support, as a member of the community, in trying to get the word out about game music outside of the US on sites like M4G.  That's why I'm there.  There wouldn't be reviews of Japanese game music or a review of Voices of the Lifestream if there wasn't somebody like me there.  The reason I post links to M4G stuff here is because I've been a fan for so long, and I've been in this community for so long that I feel like I should have your support in expanding the industry view of Japanese VGM.

I'll just say two things about this:

1. I don't really get that impression when you're the first person (and for the most part, the only person) to jump to the front lines when someone points out something stupid about something Tommy Tallarico or Jeremy Soule says (his comment about VGM being filed under "classical", for example). I don't mind a bit of heated debate, but you're always the one I'm dealing with and it really sounds like you're making excuses for these folks by trying to patch up what they originally say.

2. You have more patience than I do, because my impression of much of the US VGM scene is a bunch of cutthroats out to make names for themselves and discrediting (or remaining largely ignorant of) Japanese VGM means one less obstacle for them to deal with (aside from the obligatory nods to Koji Kondo and Uematsu...which is like how every metal band and their mother's bands credit Black Sabbath as an inspiration), so that's a losing battle from the start.

I don't have a huge issue with the review (though you got a cringe out of me with the "Alice in Chains" comment though. ^_^!), but certain parts do reak of "over-hype" (the ones Zane pointed out). Saying it's one of the greatest arrange albums of all time is kind of a say-nothing statement if you're targetting people who aren't familiar with game arranges to begin with and looks weird/uneducated to people well familiar with them (read: most knowledgable VGM fans). I agree the scope is impressive, but hyping it as "OMG, tEh BeSt!" probably isn't the way to go and starts to smell of infomercial.

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