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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Sometimes a tune is covered so strangely that it becomes a work of art in itself. Makke's Great Giana Rastas is one of them. While obviously based on the Great Giana sisters theme, it's really a song about Giana, with Makke singing the lyrics, and a very persuasive reggae beat. Giving this marks would not be the right thing to do: it's a coherent original track in its own right, which is well worth a download. What I will do is (a) say that I'm not 100% keen on those lyrics, and (b) say that overall I'd give it an 7 for entertainment value. I'm not sure I'd listen to it regularly, but creative jumps like this make for a much more interesting C64 scene, and long may it continue.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

The start of this is from Auf Monty, the riff done with synths rather than bell-types. The bass follows the unfiltered SID version (i.e. it's wrong) and generally it reminds me an awful lot of LaLa's XM. The tune is correct, the drums are occasionally messy in the fills... plus the bass doesn't always behave like the SID, which is offputting. Later on the tune switches to Monty on the Run, complete with irritating wrong notes :-( and generally isn't very satisfying at all. Disappointing for fans of the original. Two disappointing renditions.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

In this tune, the point is not what is covered (Hammerfist), it's a complete song devoted to the C64 in Depeche Mode stylee. And it's brilliant executed. Just download it!
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

A little reminiscent of Parallax, this MP3 has a very wide sound until the drums kick in, when it becomes boxy and too reverbed. There are some nice ideas here, but the overall sound quality lets it down. Better production would have added two marks overall. A good cover let down by its sound.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Hey, there's SID in them thar tune. Essentially this one is a hyped up SID in XM (no small achievement, I guess). 100% accurate, with some nice extra tracks and SFX doing the business. Although the swirls lack some of the fluidity of the SID (mostly because Rob didn't retrigger the ADSR envelope when he was doing them, whereas here Boz is forced to use individual notes), the whole cover hangs together and conveys the SID nicely. Not the ultimate Chimera cover, but satisfying and accurate, and therefore soul-satisfying. And it must have been a BUGGER to do those swirls. A soul-satisfying treatment of one of Rob's more unusual tunes.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Very accurate version of Galway's classic: painstaking recreation of every pitch bend and vibrato. Fairly nice breakbeat, possibly the piano-type sound could have been more synthy. Follows the original accurately, with occasional well-placed additions. Any deficiences in this cover are again in the XM format: yes, it's been overshadowed by Instant Remedy and Danko, but it's a good cover of a classic song. Overshadowed by better produced covers, but still delivers the goods.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

The 80s return with Boz's version of one of the most racy pieces from The Mighty Bogg's 'Album 2'. Nice muted 80s sound, with flowing synth pads, a straightforward but soft-touch synth lead, occasional ringmod SID and some nice filtering, lead to a quality cover, well worth the download. Quality cover of an racy tune by an unusual composer.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

To get you in the mood for this cover are some whiney engine FX. Really, there's only one way to do Elektraglide without messing with it, and this is it. The XM format ensures average production values, but Boz's extended mix will not disappoint the fan of this piece, though to be fair it won't knock their socks off either. A safe and thorough cover (though was that an unusual chord I heard in there in the bridge section? I guess it's a matter of opinion! Safe cover for fans of the original.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

More of a reworking of the SID with some chords filling in the obvious melodic sections: the individual parts hold up well accuracy-wise. An original idea is to have a kind of grunting sound here and there to indicate primitive humans. A safe but unexciting cover. A safe cover for fans of the original.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Some nice FX and a Whittaker bassline play round your head, as this quite light piece wends its merry way into a more bassy section. A sid-like lead takes over, and all of the Whittaker twiddles are there. The burble chords are nicely (if subliminally) rendered, and the drums are very Whittaker-esque, with those typical breaks... At 2:00 it becomes clear that there's an 80s breakbeat vibe happening, later accompanied by single voice Whittaker things. Think of this as a 12' development. Not startling, but a pleasant download.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

With a breakbeat and a woman? With the laid back organ, the SID riff present and correct, this pushes all the right buttons to give a retrospective feel to this. Something has ended, we think. And we'd be right. The lead when it comes in is a sax: always a brave or foolish choice of instruments. Here is just about works, though I would have preferred something slightly less icky. Suitable synths play the famous bendy bits, and despite breakbeating this rhythmically straight piece, this is a very pleasant way to spend 6:23 (!). The easiest MOTR High score to listen to.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

A great guitar intro sets the scene nicely. The cover itself is suitable Maniacs of Noise: bouncy bass and choppy chords with a boom-tss drum. As such, it's flawless. However, the tune isn't the most interesting in the world, so Makke has done the best he could with the material. If you're fond of MoN covers, this one's superior. A superior MoN cover.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Some drum lines funk, some don't. This does. Forget about the grandeur of sweeping landscapes, this is Ninja funk. A slightly out-of-time lead filters its way through the tune playing the intro. At 1:17 the tune finally gets started, but the lead doesn't quite work: it's just a little too raw, though you can hear what it's trying to do. Unfortunately when the tune starts, the driving force of the intro drums is lost. Partly that's because the bass and drums don't mesh properly and interact a funky fashion. Ben's guitar solo in the original piece was always a bit out-of-place stylistically, but here, though skilfully played by a human, has way too much modulation, and so sounds ill. Somehow if that bass and those drums could work together, this would have been funky mutha. But instead it leaves me strangely disappointed, especially considering their previous Ninja cover (Wilderness). A superior rework of a samey tune let down by the drums.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Of the many ways Commando can start, a lot choir drone is one of the most unexpected, particularly when it goes into a Jarre-like beginning. The choir sounds cheap, and so doesn't really convey the mystery that it's trying to. Then in comes a sped-up version of the SID with some drums. And... er... that's more or less it, except for the disastrous synchronisation of the melody voice with everything else. Occasionally extra SID voices come in to further maim this already bludgeoned piece. While I was reviewing this in my house, I heard slammed doors all over the house as the piece went on. Incredibly, this one contrives to get more and more ear-battering as it goes on, which considering how it starts is a great feat. OUCH! The piece starts out as a 6, and then dives throughout the tune.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

OK. Let's take a relaxed Samurai game with a spiritual attitude (and one of my favourite games). Let's force-feed it Red Bull and Espresso, and take it to a local loop factory. SID + Drums. Supremely pointless, badly chosen SID... this makes a mockery of anything the original SID stood for. The piss, here, is being taken mightily. Bad in all senses. You wouldn't even dance to it, so what IS the point?? Duck and cover! Incoming travesty!.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

A good cover, but an aging one. From Boz's tracker days, it's an accurate rendition that strains at the boundaries of the format (and the cheap samples) to project some emotion. Occasional ear-candy extra tracks hint at what might have been with more production and equipment. General lack of variety across the cover in dynamics and arrangement relegates this to merely 'nice', but still worth a download if you like Dave W's work. A respectful cover which makes a so-so tune more palatable.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Terrible. Timing is bad, and the SID sounds much better and more balanced than this. Music is about orchestration, correct instruments, harmony and timing. This is devoid of all of these qualities, and the second part of the tune is truly horrific. I hear barrels being scraped.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

A bad conversion, badly done. Excrement of the highest order. Drums are inappropriate, the lead instruments are unclear and the arrangers has no feel for the tune: this is one of the most famous tunes ever, and Sky's treatment of it was inspirational. This is not. Just pointless.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Pretty much each voice of the SID played with different instruments. No additions, no extra material, no extra interest. A rework without much merit, except for the echo lead which is OK. Uninteresting.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Knucklebusters is very easy to ruin. And... poof! It just was. Imagine if you will me wincing in a corner, and you've got my reaction to this remix. Detail? Well, timing sucks, the rhythm is wrong, the synths are irritating and the whole remix hangs together worse than a group of friends in a scary movie. Pretty bad.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

The intro instrument called upon to play the beginning big drums to this piece isn't a drum! In addition, this Peruvian tune has been sucked dry of emotion: the Ben Daglish tune cleverly used vibrato and flutes to convey a beautiful place. This is hell by comparison. It's lucky the Incas are dead: they would have hated this.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Interestingly the ID3 tag for this used to say 'Unknown Artist'. Good description of Rob Hubbard. Still, what of the cover? Well, it's the SID but without any of the performance or dynamics. Complete waste of time, and part of it are truly dreadfully inaccurate. Rob Hubbard turns in his ... seat.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Anything with journey in the title had better be epic! Luckily this is. A simple start has Ben's subtune 3 loading music nicely echoed across the landscape. Then some floating chords come in with the echoes and beautifully complement the SID. At 1:30, in comes a stirring military drumbeat to convey us to the next floaty part of the tune: reminds me slightly of Bolero! Building on that atmosphere, beautiful choirs crash in to convey the scale of the epic journey of the title. Let's face it, it's a classic remix. It tries to convey emotion and it succeeds. Yet it's a simple cover. Classic download.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Wow. Here comes Jarre, but don't tell FeekZoid (he hates Jarre). A gourmet meal based on a tiny bit of SIDtune, this is professional, from the meaty kick drum, to the atmospheric filter usage, the long sweeps over time, the tune building to climax... and relax. Vocoded voices actually fit into this cover along with the floating pads and the rest of the atmospheric SFX, though the tune doesn't have a lot of melody to speak to. One to have in the background, I think. Might not be your cup of tea, but the quality can't be denied.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

It's amazing the difference a good delay can make to a tune. Other arrangers might have rendered this dry and uninteresting, but Feekzoid has simply added strings, timpani, an orchestral feel, bounciness and smoothness to the original SID, all blended in seamlessly. Gorgeous work Feeky: even Galway's patented digis fit in perfectly. Must-download.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

You don't often hear guitar beginning a Ninja track. That's the first surprise with this. The second is that the SID (despite the orchestral track) is still here in FXd form, along with a distinctly Art of Noise set of drums. Then the Orchestral X-files parts starts. It's sublime: great cello, guitar and pianos, wonderful string work, nice X-Files lead, thunder... then it turns into an 80s OMD kind of cover. Well, you can't fault this tune for variety! Oh yes, the guitar solo at the end: marvellous! Must-download.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

One of Jeroen's bouncy tunes is covered here with some suspense by Feekzoid, who cleverly builds to the payoff bassline with decent synths and restrained. The body of the piece is well done with a standard house/club rhythm section giving it a disco feel. Floaty pads and strings do the business, and clever breaks keep the interest in what is a tune you can easily tire of in its original form. I'm not sure about that lead though: or rather that octave duplication of the lead. It pulls down the piece slightly, and should be more staccato. Quality work.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

And Microprose Soccer begat... well, sometimes an idea floats across the Universe, and hits the right person. In this case, that idea was a Microprose Soccer subtune, and the person was Feekzoid. A simple riff that sounds like it came from a Pong game has an entire space station built around it: SFX, vocoded space vocals, whistling wind, beautiful pads, and an entire song structure. It should have been on a Jarre album, but of course, Feekzoid hates Jarre :-) Probably just as well it wasn't then. Just download it: it's not a tune you'd heard in its original form, but it's a great space overture, which builds and builds into a prog rock masterwork: military drums, wonderful powerchords and a theme which never seems to end. One of the best C64-related MP3s ever created.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Do they play this theme to Ninja babies? A musical box version of the Last Ninja, complete with pizz. strings and some gorgeous instrumentation. At 0:35 it stops being so cute and begins to develop a dark side. Further developments take the piece through an Art of Noise section, replete with banging drums and timpani and piano. An odd combination but it works here. It's weird, but it works.
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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Hmm, didn't like the original, and this cover doesn't persuade me to like it, though it does get much better after the first minute or two. I do however see the improvements that have been made to the tune, and the feel of this cover is such that it hangs together nicely. There's even some cello and strings in there: always a sign of class. It's too muffled in production for me to be totally happy with that, but it's a worthy download if you like the original. STRANGE ending! If you like the original, try it.
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