VGMix Spotlight: Aug 13-19

This new weekly article will basically see me diving into the new releases over at VGMix and pimp out the freshest and strongest mixes within the site’s many submissions.  This week we have a polished selection to look into, including new material from Vurez, Mythril Nazgul and Eric Barker among others.

VGMix’s community has been growing extensively since its first opening since October 2003, and since then there have been a wide range of musicians using the servers to host their works, regardless of their capabilities.  Of course, over time the site has grown bigger and the navigation will make things difficult for a listener to jump in and search for the music that will undoubtedly grab their interest.

My role here is to go through the fresh releases each week and point out the best of the best that have come around.  Some of these may eventually see the light of day at OCR.  Some may even go on other web sites too.  And some may not even care about being showcased elsewhere.  But whichever is the case, there is no doubt that they will find a place on many a listener’s playlist.

And to start, I shall go through the week from August 13th-19th.

Following up from the magmum opus that was “Children of Time”, abg returns with some Euphoric trance arranging of some Terranigma source tunes; no doubt his first attempt at making a trance mix for that game, but he makes the coverage work with some strong atmospheric major key arranging styles, a cleaner technical setting than his previous outings and some enjoyable theme permutations that would fit very well for the target audience. It’s clean 4-on-the-floor material that has been given enough theme permutation to make his trance-based work broaden out in arrangement complexity in more ways than one, and for that he’s definitely provided some strong material here. Of course, there will always be the age-old arguments of people stating its quirks on the track length, but for me its six minute posture is just enough time to put forward his creative ideas and make them shine towards the target audience. So if you like abg’s work, or if you want some solid electronica to get through, be sure to check this out. No doubt is this my trance pick of the week.
After a fair hiatus as far as releasing material at VGMix is concerned, Eric (more known as Noir at OCR) has put forward a finalised piano arrangement of Freya’s theme that has been floating around the WIP boards for a while. A dramatic, stylistic and yet subtle effort at the same time, this is shown to be what I feel is one of Eric’s more complex efforts here. Opening up in a mimimalist stance, the arrangement gradually grows to show his complexity and skill around the 88 keys especially with some stronger textured material near the middle that would leave the audience amazed on how that could be pulled off, eventually leading into a darker and quieter tone that opened up into a more positive and hopeful tone in the performance as it nears its mood-twisting ending. I could only imagine how broader it could have been if he actually was able to make a professional hall recording out of it, but with what there is the audience is sure to witness an epic piano arrangement that is able to push him forward as one very skilled pianist to look out for. Definitely worth checking out.
The man behind the recent Doom remix project “The Dark Side of Phobos” stepped things up recently with his own take on Paperboy’s main theme, all for stress relief after putting the project’s finishing touches to meet its release. And I don’t see why not. It’s upbeat, it’s catchy, it’s got a bright Fresh Prince type flavor while at the same time not necessarily ready for primetime; in fact it’s got almost everything needed to turn any wandering listener’s frown upside down. Starting out with a moderately mysterious orchestration intro, the track soon lead straight into a sugar-coated core complete with some sweet vocoder action and chewable synth instrumentation that accompany Myth’s white chocolate rapping style. While the major tone may noy quite appeal to all fans of the genre, I myself find it to be very positive enough to let it swim through my mind for its 4-and-a-half minute duration; that said, even if you don’t have a project to navigate yourself, you may find yourself forgetting your own troubles no matter how minor they are. ‘Tis been a rough week for Navid, but his hard work has definitely paid off.
I know this is strange that I’m writing about one of my own mixes here, but I don’t see a reason why not given that it was shown as an enhanced version of the winning track for the Peoples Remix Competition v2-22 over at OverClocked Remix, covering the castle theme for Yoshi’s Island. The composition is shown to take a Middle Eastern route including instruments fitting for the occasion, a musical pattern fitting for said atmosphere and Jason’s attempts at singing in Hebrew and Arabic. The feedback received from this mix was pretty much amazing; for much of the time people enjoyed the basic structuring and setups to all this, although for some they may find the interpretation of the theme to be a little bit sparse or liberal. But even if you aren’t of the Mario craze and of the ethnic persuasion you may be able to find some solid stuff to come out of this particular mix. I can honestly say that it was a blast working with Prophecy on this, and it’s here that I can tell you he’s been through a heck of a lot while getting around to put this together. Thanks once again, Jae!
Sefiros, one of VGMix’s most prolific arrangers, has tackled some obscure coverage by taking as much as he could from the Tomb Raider title screen music and rebuilding it in a chilled format. Opening with a quiet string section with a piano gradually fading in, it eventually leads into a tense drum beat and following synth lead that carries the stylistic settings forward. This eventually lead with several other instruments alternating between dropping out and coming in, although appropriately done to meet the needs of the genre. For me I found the EQs to be a little bit questionable on first glance, especially with some of the excess upon the low-ends (which was present by the time of the bass’s entrance), although if you take the rest of the tech setup into account I see this as one of Sef’s better rounded and newcomer-friendly foundations. For me this is a very broad and creative incarnation of the theme; while indeed classified as a no-brainer for some, this is a very pleasing effort on Sef’s part and a noteworthy addition to playlists for fans of the arranger or Lara Croft’s series of adventures.
Usually remixers have something attributed for them. For Vurez, I remember him for his ethnic takes on various Mega Man 6 stage themes. And just recently he released a variation on Centaur Man’s theme that dives into musical styles associated with Greece and its history. Starting off with a fairly conservative adaptation of the theme, it’s here that you get to hear much of the country’s influences shown throughout the feel from the rolling cithara, the sweeping pads and percussion involved. As the track lingers on you’ll see some extra complexities taken right across the theme, from some creative melodic aspects and some further melodic transfiguration down to much of the atmospheric tech touches. Some may argue to find a light reverb overdose scattered right across the instrumentation, especially with some of the pad ambience here; it’s also argued that the dynamic range of the cithara may feel a little bit too wide to be able to completely tackle full on, but it actually sounds pretty good for a sample-assigned instrument. For me, this may not be the best of Vurez’s ethnic MM6 works, but given the time frame since his last of which I felt it was very well needed to see these again. Good stuff.

So that’s not a bad showcase this week, and a good diversity of genres to boot.  Until next time, be sure to pick them up and give them the hits.