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Angela Jan 28, 2011 (edited Jan 28, 2011)

Here's the recording of the stream.  As said, I had no idea they were even planning a stream, so I came in one track late and missed "Dark Daybreak."  It's also a pretty on-the-fly capture, so I had no time to calibrate for optimal volume.  Take your pick between either link.

- http://www.mediafire.com/?eqgd8dcwj11qa3k
- http://www.sendspace.com/file/85j39a

Will have more detailed impressions once I've given it another listen.  Would love to hear what the rest of you think, though!

Tim JC Jan 28, 2011

Thanks for the recording, Angela.
I'm going to surprise myself and say that upon first listen I'm just a little underwhelmed. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood, and maybe it's because I just listened to Symphonic Fantasies again, but it didn't hit me like I thought it would. Some pieces ended before they really began, and others took a different direction than I expected. I think the strength of some of the melodies was lost in places. It was also hard to adjust to songs without their original percussion or rhythm, but that's simply what you get with an orchestra version. I'll have to digest it more.

I did enjoy it, and had some wonderful moments of bliss throughout. Flight was a true highlight. I also love Faraway Promise on the piano.

Angela Jan 29, 2011

No one else has any thoughts?  I'm surprised, given how widely anticipated this one was.

Conclusively, there's quite a lot of emphasis on strings throughout the album, and as elegant as they are, it does create a noticeable unbalance between the rest of the instrumentation.  It seems brass and percussion aren't the Bulgarian National Radio Orchestra's primary strengths, as I found them lacking even in the few tracks that calls for them the most.  Both "Stage of Death" and "Flight" are two such examples, as they feel like they could've graduated from good to amazing if helmed by a different orchestra.

Tim and I both seem to agree that a fair number of tracks feel more short-changed than others.  "My Village is Number One" could have benefited from another reprise, and the same goes for "Shevat" and "In a Prison of Peace and Regret".  "lost... Broken Shards" is the biggest throwaway; inherent brevity aside, the lovely piano/cello ensemble might have gone places if afforded a bit more play time.

I kind of love and hate "The Gentle Wind Sings".  I had expressed high hopes for this one, stating that "if done right, it could end up being the most beautiful piece we hear all year."  It was very nearly what I had envisioned in my mind: the strings capturing the intended warmth of the original, and sparse but effective wind accompaniments peppered throughout.  But then at 2:12, they arrive at that crescendo that I was forever dreaming of, and..... it just fizzles.  That left me completely downtrodden.

And it never even occurred to me that they would go the vocal overlay route with "SMALL TWO OF PIECES".  Here I was thinking they would make it entirely instrumental -- as such, it's disappointing that the orchestra is relegated only as backing accompaniment to Hogg's performance.  It's honestly not that different sounding from the original, and I'd go so far as to say it's even worse.  Hogg's strong, soulful vocals simply don't gel well with the subdued orchestra, and it's even more lacking without the contemporary pop underpinnings backing her up.

On the plus side, "Bonds of Sea and Flame" is a perfect coming together of winds and strings, and its generous length allows for a nice middle reprisal.  "Faraway Promise - Piano Version" makes for a good outro to the album, and "Unstealable Gem" is a simple but effective take on the original.

the_miker Jan 29, 2011

Angela wrote:

No one else has any thoughts?  I'm surprised, given how widely anticipated this one was.

I'm holding out for the real CD. wink

Angela Jan 29, 2011

the_miker wrote:

I'm holding out for the real CD. ;)

Admirable.  Well, if curiosity eventually kicks in, I'll have the links up till the album's official release.  :)

Idolores Jan 30, 2011

the_miker wrote:
Angela wrote:

No one else has any thoughts?  I'm surprised, given how widely anticipated this one was.

I'm holding out for the real CD. wink

Ditto. Please take my money, Mitsuda!

Alcahest Jan 31, 2011

Idolores wrote:
the_miker wrote:
Angela wrote:

No one else has any thoughts?  I'm surprised, given how widely anticipated this one was.

I'm holding out for the real CD. wink

Ditto. Please take my money, Mitsuda!

Thirded, for great sound quality justice.

Pedrith Feb 21, 2011

It seems that I was almost correct when I said that Xenogears orchestral album might come out in conjunction to Xenogears showing up on the PSN.  Xenogears comes to PSN on the 22nd of Feb (which would be the 23rd in Japan when the orchestral album is released).  Coincidence?  I think not.

David

James O Feb 23, 2011

Wow, this album is completely awesome.  Anyone into vinyl, I noticed over on the website for this release that the Squix e-store is putting out a vinyl release of some of the tracks from this.

rein Feb 23, 2011

Whoa, I was not expecting this album to hit the U.S. iTunes store on the day of the Japanese CD release.

I'm very tempted to forgo the fidelity of CD audio for the sake of instant gratification.  I have tin ears, anyway.

Pellasos Feb 24, 2011

this album is worth it for "flight" alone.

but let's see how i feel about it a month from now on......

Jay Feb 24, 2011 (edited Feb 24, 2011)

Ah, the future is here. No more waiting for import CDs. Just open iTunes and there it is. It's downloading now and I just started playing Xenogears on my PSP. Nice to be back in Lahan.

Edit: Well after a couple of listens, I like it. I was holding out to listen to it in its entirety when it came out as I didn't want to spoil any surprises. But there really aren't any. It's kind of exactly what it says it is - a Xenogears orchestral album. Nothing wrong with that at all and I think it's quite lovely, going for seemingly a 'pretty' sound rather than punching you in the face, if you know what I mean.

I love Cage of Remorse and Relief. Small Two of Pieces does feel like it should have gone much bigger though. And, yes, I'd agree that some pieces didn't get the time they deserve. But, it's Xenogears music, nicely arranged and well-performed. That alone makes it a winner for me.

Tim JC Feb 24, 2011

After digesting this a second time I can say I enjoyed it more. It doesn't rise to the level of Creid in my opinion, but is a nice companion to it. And as long as it's well done (for the most part), more Xenogears music is never a bad thing.

Bernhardt Feb 24, 2011 (edited Feb 24, 2011)

Jay wrote:

Ah, the future is here. No more waiting for import CDs. Just open iTunes and there it is.

Rape iTunes. Rape it with a fork. Not everyone uses Apples, y'know?!

You better believe I resent how they try and MAKE people use and stick with their products...

Squeax needs to put their music downloads in a more natural place, like Amazon MP3, or at least Rhapsody, for cryin' out loud!

After the DRM fiasco surrounding Apple was exposed, I still can't believe they don't use more universal formats for their downloads.

I've already tried AVS Audio and Video converters, and they don't work on Apple's iAudio and iVideo iformats.

No, I'm never going to drop this!

Angela Feb 24, 2011

Bernhardt wrote:

I've already tried AVS Audio and Video converters, and they don't work on Apple's iAudio and iVideo iformats.

Maniac Tools' app can easily convert AAC and M4a.

Jay Feb 24, 2011

Bernhardt wrote:

Rape iTunes. Rape it with a fork. Not everyone uses Apples, y'know?!

Okay.

So Xenogears, eh? It's good.

Bernhardt Feb 24, 2011 (edited Feb 24, 2011)

Angela wrote:
Bernhardt wrote:

I've already tried AVS Audio and Video converters, and they don't work on Apple's iAudio and iVideo iformats.

Maniac Tools' app can easily convert AAC and M4a.

Ahh, you're so sweet! big_smile

...but the whole point I'm trying to make is that it's some bullocksy business I have to go through that kind of trouble...what's so hard about providing the stuff in a widely known, widely universal file format, or a range of different formats for different people's tastes?!

Still, thanks for the converter. You've no idea the trouble I've been having with file format conversions...or maybe you do...I don't know how much you dabble in this yourself...

Do you know of anything that converts iTunes video files?

Jay wrote:
Bernhardt wrote:

Rape iTunes. Rape it with a fork. Not everyone uses Apples, y'know?!

Okay.

So Xenogears, eh? It's good.

Eh, is okay, I guess.

Adam Corn Feb 24, 2011

Bernhardt wrote:

...but the whole point I'm trying to make is that it's some bullocksy business......

So Xenogears, eh? Is it good?

Qui-Gon Joe Feb 24, 2011

There IS a first print version AAAAAAAAAAAAAH I should've ordered it.  I'm hoping my friend over in Japan can get it for me.  >_<

Bernhardt Feb 25, 2011 (edited Feb 25, 2011)

Adam Corn wrote:
Bernhardt wrote:

...but the whole point I'm trying to make is that it's some bullocksy business......

So Xenogears, eh? Is it good?

If you jump to my previous post (http://www.soundtrackcentral.com/forums … 762#p64762) and bypass the rant, you'll see that I said, "Eh, it's okay, I guess."

Wasn't worth the $40 or so I ended up paying, including shipping, but it was decent.

Seemed more like a doujin, than anything...

I remember the percussion (the snare drums, especially) sounding weak, almost as if they had been sampled...

I guess I would've liked it had it been louder and more bombastic in nature, especially the action-oriented pieces.

The pieces that were originally designed to be quiet, however, I thought were pretty spot-on, though I don't think they featured much variation or improvisation from the originals.

Carl Feb 25, 2011

Bern, if you think this sounds like a Doujin you are Waaaayyy out there in left field. (in which case we shouldn't be able to hear you from that distance).

Initial first-listen thoughts.

01 Very expected, sounds just like it should, with no surprises.
02 First minute has a boring slow buildup, between 1-2 min is the good stuff, then just quietly lingers around way too long and looses my interest.
03 This is more like it. Another case of "this is what it should be".
04 Soft and Mellow, but bland enough that it's missing any sparkle/gorgeous factor, turning it into a sleeper.
05 Woo, now we're talking! Very enjoyable and made me crank it up. More like this please, best track so far!
06 Now this has that "sparkle and intrigue" which 4 was missing. Quite Beautiful!
07 Going with solo piano is appropriate overall, although I would also enjoy a mixed version with some aching strings overlayed to add even more bleakness. This is supposed to have everyone crying their eyes out, but didn't achieve it.
08 Skip the sloooow boring buildup. 2:04 though 2:45 should be all the opening buildup it needs. It's good from there on out though.
09 That gentle breeze sure put me to sleep.
10 Start it at 0:48 please, not into solo vocal with no accompaniment.
11 Just like it should be, and another pass would be appreciated. This is the strings & piano combo that could have been used to nice effect in 7 also.
12 Uhhh, not into it.
13 After those earlier vocals already killed my tolerance levels, I can't really sit through all 6 minutes of this
14 Nice as a prelude, but then should have joined in all the other instrumentation too for a huge send off.

LiquidAcid Feb 25, 2011

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:

There IS a first print version AAAAAAAAAAAAAH I should've ordered it.  I'm hoping my friend over in Japan can get it for me.  >_<

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