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OCReMix – “Summoning of Spirits” Review

overclockedremixOverClocked Remix, Kyle Crouse & Aleah Baker bought us “Summoning of Spirits” last week, a massive collection of arrangements from the tales of series. Split into three specific sections, disc 1 and 2 are “Aselia”, 3 & 4 “Derris-Kharlan” and the bonus disc “Ratatosk”. We’ll be reviewing them all track by track. Take a seat, a drink and a few ethers – this may take a while!

Disc 1 opens with Sixto Sounds & Dhsu’s “The Unholy Wars”. A beautifully produced piano intro then bursts into a full speed attack on the senses with a fantastic electric guitar led electro-rock fest. It’s got so much energy and so much prowess, it’s hard to be impressed with this perfect rendition. It keeps very much in the vein of Tales Of… too. Hemophiliac’s and Christian Pacaud’s “Crisis Healing Salve” is a completely different plain altogether with regal harpsichords and serene string overtures leading the way. Then a lonely and empty guitar takes the lead in this sombre but fascinating rendition. djpretzel’s “The Koan of Drums” is another track that has an empty baroness to it in places despite the zooped up beats and electronic blips. Gradually the track layers up and blossoms into a really beautiful new age dance track.

Dhsu’s piano arranged “Airborne” is delightfully light and breezy with some wistful and dreamy segments. The piano playing is first class and the echoing concert production adds to its charm. “Arche Angel” from The Joker has nice militarian feel to it with constant building tension, making it a nice addition to the tracks already heard. The Joker’s “Chronometrical” uses the tick tocking clock to great effect with excellent use of synths again. There’s something undeniably joyous about this track that makes me want to celebrate it. TheDeath’s “Set Sail” is film-esque and moving by its sweeping strings and twinkling eyes. It’s kind of like listening to the day you found the best thing about life in audio. A great moment.

“Mirror Image” from Fishy and The Prophet of Mephisto turns the tables again with a lazy day turned rock arrangement. It has a slight reggae vibe to bounce to at the beginning but its soon blown away when the rocking guitars come flying at you. A great transitional piece. “Frozen Heart” from Sir NutS and USA is an airy and percussive track that takes a few listens to really appreciate the time it takes to grow and develop into its excellent second half. “Momentary” from The Joker & Kureeji Lee is a real wildcard. It has quite an abstract way about it and in doing so it makes it compelling and intriguing. Rexy’s “Gentry is a Five Letter Word” on the other hand plays its strong chords and main theme to its strengths and comes out with a cracking arrangement. Finally closing disc 1 is XMark’s desolate “Wind Dry My Tears” which features a strange electric acoustic guitar and some lovely vocal ad lib work. Adding on to the slow beat and the acoustic leads its a powerful piece to close the disc and leave you feeling like you’ve come a long way and still not finished your journey.

Hale-Bopp opens disc 2 with “Beyond Absentminded” that has some beautiful vocal work. There’s a kind of 70’s vibe to the funkiness of the track but there’s also a bit of a radiohead edge in there somewhere buried away. Sixto Sounds has the real anime madness feel tapped in with “Summoned Without Reason”. It has a real powerful drive and you’ll be rocking out to this track time and time again. Rexy returns with “Middle-Aselia Body” which while being up-tempo and soaring, has a ethereal quality to it with its slightly detuned backing arpeggios. The Joker’s “Cold Memory” continues the ethereal effect with a gentle track that again has a pinch of evil lurking in its corner. PriZm joins the foray with heavy metal arrangement “Simplified Design”. The sound is very Megadeth and the guitar work is immaculate. “Just Go” from Fishy & Nutritious is a pumped up dance track with a big beat and even bigger symphonic arrangements all around. By the time you’ve got the guitars in too, there’s no room in the speakers for anything else! It’s a full on assault – excellent stuff.

pu_freak’s “City of Vigor” is a slightly discontenting piano arrangement. The chords are unusual and so the track conveys that off kilter demonic tone perfectly. The piano playing is beautiful too. “New Technology” from OverCoat starts off with apt industrial noises and then grows out of them a great arrangement that’s both quirky and engrossing. Tepid and PriZm team up for “Horizon’s Walk” which is both intricate, beautiful and maddeningly addictive. The swirling background instruments really give this a certain edge with the acoustic guitar backing chords too.

“Riddles in the Dark” from Red Tailed Fox & Xaleph is a song that does more genres in six minutes than I care to write down. The fact that they are able to do this is no meagre achievement and the fact it all transitions so well is testament to their talents. “As Time Goes On” turns the tables as The Prophet of Mephisto gives us a lazy jazz arrangement with some excellent otherworldly vocals that are heavily processed to slide gently through time with you. “Deity” from Sir NutS takes the otherworldly ethereal sounds to the dance floor with a spacious beatathon clocking in at a massive seven minutes, its a little piece of club euphoria. Closing disc 2 is “Sweet Dreams” with a sleepy smoky jazz bar arrangement from Dhsu and Anthony Lofton that sends you quietly on your way.

summoningspiritscoverDisc 3 opens to the regal delights of Hemophiliac’s “Tales & Trials”. It’s a delightful little number that could have been drowned out by many of the other tracks if not handled properly but its not the case. The climax is rewarding to this arrangment. Christian Pacuad’s “This Fate” is one of drama and tension which does well being juxtaposed by Jazon Phantoms cutesy “Smile and Forgive”. Where one is dark and stank, the other is quietly beaming and rolling in fields of green green grass. Red Tailed Fox’s “Cafe Mantra” sits somewhere in between with some excellent sound samples of eastern instruments that bring a new dynamic to the compilation that we’ve not heard to date.

Sixto Sounds bring us back to anime rock with the excellent “Chaotic Heart” once again showcasing that Sixto Sounds are the masters of synth-rock. Usa then calms us back down from that awesome guitar action with a woodwind led “Desert Nights”. The soft production gives away into a disco diva dance track that’s glittery enough to get out your disco balls to groove to. “Strike from the Devil’s Axes” from LuIzA and CarboHydroM however is pure tales throughout. The electric guitar wails in distress and the energy pulsates throughout, it’ll leave you breathless by the end. A great rendition.

Monobrow returns to the more ambient side that’s came out during disc 3 with “Pain Withstanding” with a dark track led by organs and background pianos. JustChris takes the ambience and almost gives it a garage vibe with “Determination”. It’s all about the percussion and the strangely detuned bassline that runs throughout. It gives it an unusual sound base and makes it stand out from the crowd. “Ain’t Yo Fool” from LuIzA and Mythril Nazgul reminds me of the Atelier series with its very Japanese brass led chirpy songs. This arrangement is pure smiles in an mp3 and you can’t beat a bit of that in amongst all the heavy battle tracks! Having said that though, Christian Pacaud’s “Antegensis” is a cracking piece of arrangement. The guitar work is fantastic as is meanders from slow and wistful to dramatic and forceful and then back to poignant all over again. Finally Usa closes disc 3 with “The Fall of Iselia” which is a very classical styled piano piece that closes the disc nicely.

Disc 4 opens with “Dissillusioned Fate” which is a powerful track from Andy Jayne & PriZm and is a great opener for the final disc. “Continental Divide” is a beautiful track from Nick Tam that has a country feel to it where you could happily have it playing the background while you walk over fields across yonder. “Like a Glint” is an all out rocking arrangement from Master Hatchet. The bass lines are particular grungey on this track. Paragon continues the ultra rocking times with “Cartesian Warfare” where the guitar solo is quite simply awe inspiring. The guitars are so much to the front, you can’t hear the drums too well – so this is definitely one to mosh out to.

Taking a break, The Joker & Kureeji Lee return with a subtly tense piano arrangement entitled “Sacred Ashes”. It’s a real tension builder in the middle section with string sections really giving it some. “Altar Perception” is a collaboration from Monobrow, Protricity, AeroZ and injury in a smooth genre crossing arrangement that is both new age and and uptempo. There is a serenity in it that makes it very endearing. Rexy takes us into deep thought with the piano led arrangement “Dream Traveller”. The key to this tracks success is the fact it takes its time and therefore makes it heartfelt and heavy mouthed. It reminds me very much of the Brandish Piano Collection that I am a huge fan of. Reuben Kee keeps the ivories tinkling with “My Secret Forest” which is melodic and inviting. The over scoring of woodwind and brass over the piano is inspired and the production is perfect. This track is a personal favourite if I were to pick one and its down the tumbling rumble of the piano in places.

Returning to electronic hard edged rock is Silas with “On the Edge”. This arrangement is more grungy with its guitars and its tripping beat keeps it fresh and lively – not that with all that’s going on you could want to sleep through it. “Apogee” is from the trio of Andy Jayne, Fishy and  The Joker and is a really mammoth arrangement. Genre striding from piano to rock to goth to stadium rock to folk and conquering them all, this is a fine work of art. Christian Pacaud’s “Dark Corner” however had me a little confused with its time signatures of percussion and guitar which initially didn’t seem to match at the beginning. However as soon as the tracks off and away its in full flight and I particularly enjoyed the ending which is dark, eerie and evil!

Christian is then joined by PriZm for a twelve minute masterpiece called “Holy Judgement”. The arrangement is epic – like a space journey. The beginning can only be described as momentous. The airy keyboards give way to a classical arrangement that cranks up the tension which is quickly replaced by a fantastic electric guitar led section. The skills of the two arrangers are quite frankly clear to see and we’re only four minutes in! The track then breaks into an almost frenzy that will have you panting for more with an epic guitar solo that daring flows into a piano section before breaking out into an intricately crafted but flawlessly jaw dropping final five minutes of madness. This is undoubted an absolutely classic arrangement and one that should be commended and celebrated – just like this whole compilation. Rounding off the final full disc is Rexy with a brooding “Summonng of Spirits” which is like the equivalent of being pulled out of the pits of hell and riding the wings of the stars. From a moody opening the song opens out into a rousing arrangement that leaves you refreshed and wanting more.

The three bonus tracks are crackers too, Sixto Sounds’ “Go the Distance” has superb production values and some excellent choices of instrumentation and synths to match the excellent band work.  “No Better Time Than Now” from Nutritious and Poolgirl is an epic electro-rock arrangement that doesn’t let up from start to end and will have you singing along with it and “Standing Up” from The Joker is just beautiful… full stop.

project_talesOne thing that kept coming back to me was the fact that this whole collection was free. This collection beats a fair chunk of my bought OST’s hands down. The source material is a great inspiration of course and Motoi Sakuraba and co no doubt wrote these excellent songs to begin with. However the standard of which every single track as climbed to is nothing short of astounding. It’s no wonder games developers are turning to these artists for real soundtracks. The talent is boundless and endless and this site for one applauds every second, every minute and every note that is played in Summoning of Spirits. Inspirational.


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