Reviews by LaLa

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Review by LaLa (01/12/2017)

For a "Newcomer" this Jeroen guy sounds pretty good to me. Not bad for a first remix, not bad, sir!... Just kidding! :-D Bow to the master! Bow to the master!
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (20/04/2017)

For me it's impossible to listen to this at anything but full blast. Impeccably arranged, superbly executed. The break at 3:44 is just brilliant. If there's one tiny fault with this remix is that the choir/singing towards the end is barely audible. Other than that, amazing, amazing stuff! You guys have more SID remixes lurking on your SoundCloud page, so please, upload those to RKO, too, don't be shy! :)
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (31/03/2017)

It definitely has all the sonic signatures of a classic 80s-90s italo disco song. However, I feel like the arrangement never really gets going. For example, after the great build-up of the intro it switches to a quieter sequence at 1:04 - somewhat of a letdown. It builds that one up, but then there's another switch at 2:10, and then yet another at 2:42. Because of all these breaks the tune doesn't feel as high-energy as I think it should. But don't take me wrong, I still like it a lot. ;-)
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (21/03/2017)

I usually don't comment on tunes that remix SIDs I am not familiar with, but I just had to make an exception in this case. The mix is so buttery smooth, the instrument selection is right on the money, the arrangement is pretty clever (esp. the extended intro)... This entire remix is a finely crafted piece. I admire its beauty, and I appreciate the effort and talent that was poured into it.
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (23/08/2016)

Several problems here: the arrangement tries to be orchestral, but the individual instruments are not played the way a real orchestra would (the strings are especially cringe-worthy). The arrangement is rather thin to begin with and relies too much on timpani to drive it. The female vocal is a nice touch, although it, too, sounds bad when it's pitched too low or too high. There is also little dynamics in the arrangement which makes the entire tune sound flat.
Technical Impression: 3
Artistic Impression: 3
Nostalgic Impression: 3
Overall: 3

Review by LaLa (30/11/2015)

What a wonderful, clean arrangement: not a single note that's wasted, not a single note that's useless. But what really makes this remix is the lyrics: it's a mix of touching eulogy and techno-romance that may not seem so out of place today in the age of smartphones and smart TVs - but this began 30 years ago when it was not fashionable and commonplace to be glued to computer screens. One cannot be NOT moved by the lyrics, and, of course, by the synthesized voice that "sings" it: that unmistakable Commodore speech engine. My only technical note is that I wish the voice was put more in front of the rest of the mix. A remarkable piece of nostalgia. Dziekuje, Tomasz!
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (20/11/2015)

I find the intro more promising than the rest of the remix, which at 0:52 becomes just one of many LN2 remixes. There are a few cool ideas lurking in it, though. The most intriguing one is the "whispering voices" part after 2:12, that's very creative. I really want to like this remix so much, but it isn't fleshed out as well as it could've been.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 3
Overall: 4

Review by LaLa (16/01/2015)

After a 12 year hiatus, Puffy64 and his guitars are BAAAACK!

This is a great hard rock rendition of Druid II. My favorite part is the break (e.g. between 1:18-1:27) that is just spot on. There is a good balance in the arrangement and the mix - I just really like listening to it over and over again.

Welcome back, Puffy64!
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (12/06/2014)

First off, I don't know what this tune has to do with TMR, it's clearly a Last Ninja 3 subtune #10 remix. TMR's SID remix of it is not even the same subtune (that's #6)... Anyhoo...

Love the guitar work, really deep, great riffs, well mixed. The drum pattern is too simple, though, that needs work.

I like the light break in the middle, but overall I have mixed feelings about the arrangement, it sounds a bit confusing.

All in all, pretty good job, hope there's more to come!
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (25/03/2014)

This is a very admirable effort, I quite like its emotional bend, and how this piece intentionally lives within its self-imposed limits.

What I miss is more dynamicity: I don't feel much difference between the sections that were probably intended to be forte and the softer sections. For example, towards the end at around 4:32 I think it should get louder, more forceful in a crescendo fashion to finish it off with a bang.

Also, this sounds more like a chamber string quartet than a larger string orchestra to me, but now I am really nitpicking.:-)

Great piece of music, thanks for sharing!
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (17/08/2013)

Well, first of all, I really admire that you've tackled the entire IK tune, not just a part of it. I also really admire the unbelievable effort that must've been put into this remix, it's obviously a work of love, a work of art. It's a great production with lots of wonderful details.

Having said that, like others, I also think this is not a perfect marriage of source material and style. Maybe it's my existing knowledge about prior IK remixes that gets in the way here, maybe it's the perceived awkwardness of the way the melody is fit onto a swing beat - dunno, but somehow it just doesn't gel together in my brain.

Does it make my legs move? Yes. Does it bring a smile on my face? Yes. Maybe I should just be content with that.:-)
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (04/07/2013)

I'm always glad when a pipe organ remix shows up on RKO because I like organ music, which is why I am probably more picky about it. I see a few issues with this interpretation:

1) It needs a more throaty pipe organ sound. The one you used sounds a bit whiney.

2) The arrangement could be a bit more complex, I'd love to hear this more in the style of Bach.

3) Fadeout with a pipe organ tune? Not a good choice at all. It needs a big, window-rattling crescendo ending!
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 4
Overall: 4

Review by LaLa (16/03/2013)

Finally, a remix of this underrated JCH tune! The kick drum has such a punch, it hurt my stomach even thru the headphones! In a good way!:-)

The raspy lead instrument is a bit off-putting. I am not a fan of the arrangement, either, maybe I need to listen to it more to appreciate it.

BTW, did I mention I love the punch of its kickass kick?:-)
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (14/02/2013)

I have just rediscovered this remix (2016 Feb), and man, it totally captivates me! It's been playing on a loop inside my head for days now. The production is topnotch, and it is deeply emotional on many levels. And Zilog is right: there's something Jarre-ish about this remix: that dreamy piano is definitely "Metamorphosis".
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (03/02/2013)

I really dig the space disco style of this remix. This is also definitely better mixed than the 1st version you submitted to RKO.

My most favorite part of this remix is 3:07-3:21 (which also gets repeated a few times later), that chord progressions is spot on.

Maybe the drums could be stronger, I think the snares are especially weak.

I like the arrangement overall, it doesn't get boring at all despite its length. The more I listen to this, the more I like it!
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (14/09/2012)

This remix doesn't really tell a story, and thus, it doesn't feel epic. I think the root of the problem is that it's lacking in the arrangement department - it feels like a bunch of (otherwise excellent) symphonic samples were stitched together without much thought. There's no cohesion and it's short on emotions - it just doesn't seem to have its act together.

To me the highlight of this remix is the quieter part of 1:32-1:47. There are plenty of emotions in those 15 seconds. The part between 2:34 and 3:05 also shows promise, although I think the buildup is architected somewhat haphazardly and thus, it also feels incomplete. Much like the entire remix which ends abruptly not long after that.

Symphonic arrangements are a tough cookie, this remix makes an admirable attempt at it, but ultimately, it falls short. The samples are great, the mix is pretty good, the instruments are well-chosen - but it needs a better arrangement.
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (23/07/2012)

Here's what I really like about this remix: its pace. It's madly fast - just like the original!

Here's the second thing I really like about this remix: it's live (mostly). In fact, it's -a-live: you can taste that it's people playing great music for people who are willing to listen.

Here's what I don't like about this remix: the mix sounds a bit overcompressed to me. Maybe because the chords played by the synth seemingly disappear behind a metal cage. But in general I feel its flavor is suppressed a bit too much.

And again, here's what I really like about this remix: its fast pace! It's just mad, crazy - it's wonderful!
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (09/07/2012)

Hmm, I am not as floored by this remix as others seem to be.

The intro is pretty cool sticking to the spirit of the original, but I feel the rest seems to be too afraid to cross over from the simple side.

From around 5:30 it takes on a definite kraftwerkish quality: pumping base, electronic drums, all the goodies. Unfortunately, it doesn't last too long.

Another satisfying part develops after 8:30-ish which demonstrates loads of creativity.

All in all, a technically superb remix with a few remarkable portions, but I wish those remarkable portions filled out the rest of it, too.
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (30/06/2012)

When I first heard it, I was sure I've heard this remix before somewhere, but after checking all the other remixes - no I haven't. I guess, all Skate or Die remixes are similar because there are not many ways this tune can be remixed?

This is slightly better than most other remixes, it has a decent instrument selection, but it's neither inspiring, nor powerful despite the presence of electric guitars.

A nice effort, but it needs more oomph.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 4
Overall: 4

Review by LaLa (15/05/2012)

My eyes lit up when I saw that this remix was supposed to be in Laserdance style. Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to my initial enthusiasm.

The first problem is right off the start: there is no intro per se, and the various pulsating pieces just do not seem to fit together.

Then the drums come in, but they are too soft both in character and in volume - they're barely audible. Most of Laserdance's biggest hits use well-pronounced disco-style drum kits.

The chorded pads are also too washed out in the mix.

Finally, the outro - there's none. The remix ends as abruptly as it has begun, which is disappointing.

All in all, it's a good basic idea for a remix that needs a lot more work.
Technical Impression: 3
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 3
Overall: 3

Review by LaLa (23/04/2012)

Quite a tour de force! It took me time to warm up to the slowed down tempo of these tunes, but they work wonderfully in the context of an orchestra. I also like how this concerto is arranged in several movements, they form a nice storyline. The individual subtunes of the original are also instrumented rather tastefully.

The only issues I have with this piece is that a) it could've used a bit more dynamic range, b) the mix sounds a little too compressed with few high-ends (except for the occasional brass).

The ending feels somewhat abrupt, a few wind-down notes would've helped there.

All in all, I'm sure this will touch everybody who listens to it in one way or another, and that's what great art is all about.
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (20/04/2012)

I'll be honest, my yardstick here is Dafunk's superb rendition of the same tune. That one is just perfect: every note, every blend, every modification in it is just perfectly placed.

Here the melody seems to hiccup here and there compared to that version, probably because Dafunk's additions to it made the original melody so much better.

From 1:14 the flute is completely lost - the notes are not held long enough.

The transition from the mellow to the dancey part is very well done, but frankly, I don't think the dancey part fits this tune well.

Those aside it's a nice tribute, but it leaves me a bit unsatisfied.
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (16/02/2012)

Before I start tearing this apart, let me say that overall it's an excellent remix, hugely enjoyable! I have yet to figure out what the Morse-code spells out in the intro, but I'll get to it eventually.:-)

Having said that, the devil is in the details. This orchestral remix is in dire need of more dynamics: the powerful sections are not powerful enough, the soft sections are not soft enough. I think it would help if the military march drums were silenced during the soft parts (e.g. 1:32-1:52). And they should be supported by big timpani or even by rock-band drums during the powerful parts. Those also need stronger brass and strings.

But I really like your arrangement variations on the original SID. What I do miss are those short little trills (e.g. at 1:09) that provide some nice ear-candy in the original.

Hair-splitting apart, it's definitely a keeper. I'm already looking forward to your next orchestral epic!
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (31/12/2011)

I'm sure I am being very tough on you with my vote, Sebastian, but unfortunately for you, Supremacy is one of those tunes about which I have a very precise ''remix'' in my head whenever I listen to the original SID. Yours comes tantalizingly close to that in some aspects, but other times it veers away too much.

Let's start with the intro which is a single-instrument solo in the original. You have used a clarinet (?) for that, which I am not too crazy about, but you also added very nice piano riffs to it, which I found a pleasant surprise and it works wonderfully.

Then when the melody repeats, you added an orchestral arrangement - me likey!

Then the transition has a rather weak drum in it. Needs more power, more oomph! More orchestral instrumentation follows - me likey! Then it turns into a sort of modern game soundtrack (orchestral with heavy drums), although yet again the arrangement could've used more power, more charisma.

First bridge - quiet. I like it, although I think it should be more subtle, more quiet. Then a nice crescendo that doesn't have quite enough build-up. Weak or non-existent drums again in the transition.

I find the second bridge a bit weak, and the rest sounds curiously unfulfilling to me.

So, I guess two of my biggest complaints here would be that a) your remix does not have enough dynamic range between the subtle and powerful parts, and b) your instrumentation is lacking some oomph.

There is one really, really amazing thing about your remix, though: I can play it in parallel with the original SID and two are in lock-step throughout the ENTIRE piece! Cheers for that! =)

Sorry for tearing apart your remix in a play-by-play, but I am very passionate about this tune. I can hardly listen to it without conducting my virtual orchestra inside my head. =)
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (20/10/2011)

The positives:

- Doesn't mess much with the original arrangement while at the same time it adds its own unique touches. Nicely done!

- The powerful guitars really drive this tune. Great, great stuff.

The negatives:

- The relatively thin synthesizer (SID?) lead sounds. They make the remix sound thinner than it should be. Make them fatter (like the deep pad in the intro), and/or switch them to rhythm guitars.

- Too many wrong notes in the bridge section between 3:22-4:08, they just really bother my ears.

- It may be just my headphones, but the mix sounds a bit overcompressed to me.


Overall, the stylistic choice may not be anything new or creative as far as long-time RKO listeners like me are concerned, but it's executed pretty well.
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 5

Review by LaLa (18/10/2011)

After having listened to this tune, uh, about a million times the past few days, I came to appreciate it even more. It gets every nuance right: the key changes, the minor blends, the quick trills, you name it. Every single instrument and every single note is absolutely essential in this remix to make this piece work as well as it does. Absolutely masterfully arranged and mixed, I'm still in awe!
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (02/10/2011)

It's always a pleasure to hear remixes done by the authors of the original SIDs, and this one is no exception.

I'll be honest, I was a little apprehensive when listening to this remix the first time, but once I've read Peter's comments on this remix it suddenly made sense to me: the monophonic instruments, the arpeggios, the analogue warmth - all of it.

Oh, and I absolutely love the drums on this one!

Well done, sir, and thank you for this gem!
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (02/10/2011)

This has always been my most favorite Ocean loader :-) and hearing it in an orchestral interpretation by the original author himself is really special.

The arrangement is masterful, the slowed down tempo really fits the grand orchestra sounds.

Just wonderful, wonderful stuff. Thank you!
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (08/08/2011)

I really like C64 Orchestra's version of Monty from their album RUN 10, so I was looking forward to listen to this one. I was not disappointed at all.

I was not disappointed despite the fact that this is not a pure orchestral version. Luckily, all the additional drums and synths that appear in this version really work to its advantage.

Its style cannot really be summed up, so let's just say it's eclectic. If you're looking for pop-orchestral a la Rondo Veneziano - it's in here. If you're looking for a Hammond-organ-heavy 70s prog rock - it's in here in the middle section.

My only complaint here is the somewhat flat mixing. It needs a bit more oomph, a bit fuller sound. Okay, I do have another complaint, too: sometimes the tempo changes are a bit abrupt. And the instruments (like guitars) sound too synthetic. Well, that was 3 complaints, but whatever...

All in all, quite a trip, quite an effort, quite a remix!
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 6

Review by LaLa (02/04/2011)

This appearing on April Fools' Day on RKO, I was a bit skeptical, but it's actually a nice, grandiose ~15min epic featuring speech samples from Impossible Mission (and more). Just don't expect a level of Hans Zimmer or John Williams from it: neither the samples, nor the arrangement is up-to-par.

But nice touch with the "Mission: Impossible" reference towards the end. ;-)
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 3
Nostalgic Impression: 3
Overall: 3

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