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Reviews by LaLa

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Cybernoid II - arranged by Steve Foster

Review by LaLa, 13/06/2022

Welcome back! It's always nice to see a remixer come back with a release after a long hiatus.

Pretty straightforward arrangement that is fairly faithful to the original. I guess, the main issue I have with this remix is the mixing - it sounds too washed out, and sounds like it was over-filtered.

I am unsure how to feel about the arpeggios in the first minute, rather than, say, using chords instead. Sure, the SID arpeggios sound retro, but I could've imagined this part with chords, too.

The drums also seem to disappear in the mix, but as I said, that's a general issue in this track. I especially miss the punchiness of the kick drum and the impact of the snare.

Overall, a solid arrangement with an underlying mixing issue.

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Wizball opus 4 - arranged by Mozolowski

Review by LaLa, 13/06/2022

Another minimalist arrangement that reminds me of Kraftwerk for some reason. (That's because you are old, dude, and you have no other, more modern frame of reference! Ouch.) It's an almost hypnotic, sequence heavy piece - much like the original, to be honest. It's different, it's new, yet, somehow, it's the same. It's mysterious and ambivalent, it's tribal and ambient. I dunno, I like it!
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Cybernoid (surf mix) - arranged by Johan Andersson

Review by LaLa, 12/06/2022

Surf's up! Spot-on with the Beach Boys style. My only gripe is that the mix sounds overcompressed, especially in the low end.
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Hawkeye (Slipping into the Stellar Sublimeness) - arranged by 0supereg0

Review by LaLa, 12/06/2022

Nice idea, but a bit too heavy on the jingly-jangly things, they get really tiring after a few bars. Tone those down with a low-pass filter (or stop doing them after the intro), but keep the dreamy guitar.

@3:22 - oh, those jingly-jangly things suddenly stopped! Why? I don't know, their abrupt departure sounded rather random, but my ears welcomed the change for sure.

At around the 5:00 min mark - wonderful pads, now that actually sounds like stellar sublimeness to me!

This track has the potential to bring me to another level of consciousness, but every time I get captivated by its downtempo rhythm and dreamy sounds, I get yanked back into reality by something happening abruptly. Like that sharp synth at around 7:16, where the guitar also inexplicably gets moved to the left channel. Eh?...

Anyway, lots of great ideas here, lots of potential, but the execution could've been better.

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Traz - arranged by Dr Future

Review by LaLa, 10/06/2022

Excellent disco feel, spot on with the instrumentation. Sure to bring smiles on all 80s music fans' faces. 😎

Great guitar lead in the first half of the tune. But minus points for oversimplifying the lead between 1:25-1:55 - where are the signature slides?!? Omitting those is a total deal-breaker for me. The same goes for the synth lead pretty much throughout the rest of the tune.

Plus points for those guitar noodlings in the second half of the remix.

Sigh.. so close to a red, so close.

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Ghost 'n Goblins - Orchestra Cover - arranged by Nordischsound

Review by LaLa, 10/06/2022

Hi, welcome to the remix community!

A very good remix, especially for somebody who is a newcomer here, and especially for an orchestral cover.

Using an organ for the intro - clever! Unfortunately, the rest of the arrangement relies too heavily on the percussion to drive it forward. I also hear a bit too much of the low-end instruments throughout the remix, which muddies it up for me. I wish you also used a larger dynamic range for the individual orchestra sections - everybody just seems to be playing all the notes at the same intensity, which makes it sound too unnatural. Other than these, I think the arrangement has a lot of promise, but I think with a bit more attention to the individual instruments (and maybe even adding a few surprise articulations here and there) it would've really shined.

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Afterburner (Melodic Modal Medieval Morning) - arranged by 0supereg0

Review by LaLa, 08/06/2022

Wow, somebody went a little too crazy on the pan LFO... ðŸĪŠ

The idea of making this into a downtempo chill mix is absolutely great. However, I am super annoyed by the fast moving left-right panning, especially when it's done on the lead instrument (which is an otherwise pretty flute). I find it very distracting. It's too bad, because the arrangement is really good, I like the instrumentation, too - just please, stop your band from running around on the stage so much! It's a cute effect at first - but constantly for 8+ minutes?!? Ouch.

PS: I made the mix mono in Audacity - ahh, sounds much better!...

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Beyond the Ice Palace Live Performance - arranged by Tony Fluke73 Wiren

Review by LaLa, 08/06/2022

Live or not, I think you should've added more variation to the backing tracks (other than the key changes). The sound selection is actually pretty solid (really like that filtered pad). The live lead is not a whole lot demanding, so I expected some more - additional articulations, trills, slides, anything to make it a bit more interesting (not that I would be able to play it any better live, mind you, but I also don't do YT videos of me playing live). Overall, a solid effort that falls short in several departments.
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The way of the Exploding Fist (sub 3) - arranged by OJ Oscillation

Review by LaLa, 06/06/2022

This is a very interesting, deceptively minimalist arrangement, sort of reminds me of Kraftwerk's 'Electric Cafe' album, but with a more modern breakbeat twist. I wish the lead instruments sounded a bit better, or at least stood out a bit more in the mix. I don't think this will be everybody's cup of tea, but I enjoy it.
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Boulder Dash - Amusement Park Loudspeaker Remix - arranged by Oxx

Review by LaLa, 26/05/2022

I like the concept behind this track a lot more than its execution. I think you totally nailed the arpeggiated sequences of the intro, superb job there! I wish the EDM style of this tune was more emphasized. It's especially lacking in the low end, both bass and drum-wise. I think the overall arrangement is pretty solid, though. With a bit more attention this would be a big hit on the dance floor.
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Depressed (Tributo Al Pasado) - arranged by Eivind Sommersten

Review by LaLa, 24/05/2022

Great concept, but I am not convinced by the execution of it. Somehow it feels off, but I can't quite explain why.
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Parallax Mini EP - The Past, Present and Future - arranged by Tim Forsyth

Review by LaLa, 21/05/2022

Tangerine Dream 🍊 does Parallax!

If I didn't know the original SID and somebody told me this is a TD album from the 1980s or early 1990s, I would've said yep, sounds about right. Of course, the younger generation knows this as the soundtrack to Stranger Things, so if you advertised it that way, you'd get a ton of listens from the youth, too. 😁

I absolutely adore the long arpeggiated sequences and how you weaved them into one another. The middle section that pays homage to TD's Exit album brought a big smile to my face, as that's one of my favorite albums from them. Just excellent, excellent work there.

And that last section with the more melodic part - jaw-dropping. The way you build up to it is just amazing. Perfect choice of instruments, total eargasm.

Well, I could keep gushing on and on, but I think you get the idea. Who would've thought that after all these decades I could still be surprised by a Parallax remix? This is an epic work that seamlessly mashes the style of Tangerine Dream with Galway's timeless SID opus and it does that superbly. Su-perb-ly! Congrats! This is top stuff.

PS: One minor gripe: I wish it didn't end on a fadeout. An epic like this deserves a more definitive ending.

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Giana Sisters - Turkish Native Instruments - arranged by Oxx

Review by LaLa, 17/05/2022

Unique mix of synth sounds and Turkish instruments, giving it a folksy feel. I kinda like the idea! It doesn't feel quite polished, though, because the sampled parts and the SID parts alternate and don't really overlap. For example, if the Giana Sisters melody was played on the oud instead, that would get much higher marks from me.

The vocoded stuff: personally, I have nothing against vocoders, but here it feels rather gimmicky, like a radio DJ doing an unnecessary voiceover.

Despite all this, please, do keep experimenting! I really like it when the music of different cultures are mashed together, and this is a promising idea that's worth exploring further.

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RoboCop 3 (Everything you want) - arranged by Eivind Sommersten

Review by LaLa, 07/05/2022

Clever use of various vocal and other samples, the arrangement is very well done. Sounds like a pretty good mix to my ears, too.
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Bubble Bobble (Alhoa Honu) - arranged by 0supereg0

Review by LaLa, 02/05/2022

Nice Hawaiian theme! I think the ocarina (?) lead is a bit too low-pitched, so it doesn't sound quite realistic to my ears. OTOH, good use of the Hawaiian lap steel guitar. I think a lot of the standard elements are there in your arrangement, they just don't quite seem to gel together, in fact, at times I think they are literally out of sync with each other. But I do give you plus points for doing a remix in a style that's rarely used here.

(PS: I think it should be spelled Aloha Honu.)

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R-Type (Ishizaki vs Vaca medley 2022) - arranged by NecroPolo

Review by LaLa, 01/05/2022

SID-metal turned to 11.

Do not attempt at home. Professional musician on closed course here.

(Actually, do attempt! Free experimentation is what SID remixing is all about.)

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Nemesis-Gradius (Re-Chill Factor 9) - arranged by 0supereg0

Review by LaLa, 01/05/2022

This is clearly a better mix than your previous upload, as evidenced by the increased number of orange smilies. So, good job on the improvements! Yet again, let me stress that musically, your remix is really good: the arrangement is very nice and I really admire your guitar work. You brought the volume down on that lead instrument - good.

But. 😉

But now the volume of your entire mix needs to be brought back up. Either a simple volume boost, and/or a gentle compression setting would help. The mix also sounds a bit muddy, so something needs to be done about the clash of all those low frequencies.

Mixing is a never-ending quest, so don't despair about my comments. I am capable of finding faults even in paradise. 😁

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Test Drive 2 - The Duel (Remix by Oxx) - arranged by Oxx

Review by LaLa, 15/04/2022

Very unique in style, let's call this electropop. It's quirky, it's robotic, it's - great! To my ears the mix is missing some final touches (little reverb, little delay), but that's just me nitpicking. Hugely enjoyable even after multiple listens.
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Human Race Tune 4 Live Performance - arranged by Tony Fluke73 Wiren

Review by LaLa, 10/04/2022

Wow, I see that Tony is one of those rare people in the world who can use their third hand when playing live on a keyboard! 😁 (See video insert.)

A decent remix of this oft-remixed tune. Nothing to be overly excited about here, but it's a solid arrangement with a decent choice of instrumentation.

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Ace II Title Screen - arranged by Oxx

Review by LaLa, 10/04/2022

Welcome to the remix community, Oxx!

I have to admit, I had to do a double-take on your remixer status after I listened to this remix - this is by a newcomer? It's really good! I like the minimalist electro-drums, the vocal style chord hits, all the ornaments of the lead - all sounds great! The arrangement might be on the simple side, but it's done very well. The final mix sounds a bit too dry to my ears, but considering the genre, even that seems appropriate.

I hope to hear more remixes from you in the future, whether in this style or in another!

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Nemesis-Gradius (Chill Factor 9) - arranged by 0supereg0

Review by LaLa, 09/04/2022

The lead instrument in the first half is way too dominating, the rest of the instruments are barely audible. The balance is much better when the guitar takes over, in fact, those parts sound very promising. Overall, an interesting idea, nice arrangement, but the mixing needs to be improved upon.
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The Great Giana Sisters - arranged by Johan Andersson

Review by LaLa, 07/04/2022

The mixing sounds way too 'hot' in this one to me. Especially in the high-ends I am hearing some distortion. I had to bring the volume down to 1/3d of what I usually listen to in order to make this sound better in my headphones. The mixing is bad enough that it brought down my final vote a notch.

Stylistically, not what I expected from Johan - which is great, I like surprises! But I wish the noodling on the lead guitar towards the end was present in earlier sections of the remix, too, because that's a real highlight in this piece. I like your use of piano in the arrangement, too. And all the ear-candy you snuck into it here and there.

Overall, a great remix ruined by so-so mixing.

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Robocop Theme Extended Remix (C64+Gameboy) - arranged by Gabriel West

Review by LaLa, 26/03/2022

Welcome to the remixing community!

First, the positive about your remix: lots of variations on the main theme, which is really nice to hear, you didn't just cover the original 1:1, but went the extra mile with your arrangement - I really respect that. Where you remix is lacking is in the sound department. The drums sound especially noisy to my ears, the bass sounds rather dry, in fact, the entire piece could've used better mixing overall - the lack of mixing makes your piece sound very basic. I don't really hear any articulations employed on the guitar, I don't hear many variations on the piano, either - they both sound rather flat and emotionless. And the guitar tends to go to ranges that sound unnatural.

All in all, a good first effort, your arranging skills show lots of promise, just need to work on your individual instruments and the overall mixing. Hope to hear more from you in the future!

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Rambo III - arranged by Dr Future

Review by LaLa, 25/03/2022

As usual from Dr Future, pretty good instrumentation and arrangement. Plus points for the guitar improv at the end. However, minus points for borrowing several of the original's arpeggios - you converted some to chords, but others you did not. I am not against including SID arps in remixes per se, but to me it sounds out of place here. Also slight minus points for the slightly muddy mix (esp. at the low end), which is very uncharacteristic of you.
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Enlightenment Druid II (Take me away) - arranged by Eivind Sommersten

Review by LaLa, 22/03/2022

A modern production of several vocal (and possibly instrumental) hooks that I suspect come from sample libraries (in fact, I know exactly where the vocals come from 😉 ). Nothing wrong with that, I think you did a fabulous job of putting it all together and presenting a clean, crisp, contemporary piece with them and weaving the SID melody into it all.
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Bubble Bobble (Live!) - arranged by Hampshire Regional High School

Review by LaLa, 08/03/2022

So, here I am, 22 years later in 2022, now with a daughter who is in a high school band in the United States. Therefore I have a newfound appreciation for this piece.

Think about it: somebody went through the trouble of arranging this piece (even allowing for short solos here and there!), printing the score in umpteen copies for each of the band member kids, then probably went through several hours of practice with the kids - all just to have it performed to parents who probably know nothing about the origins of this piece of music. So - respect!

According to an old MP3 download of mine, that somebody was a person with the name of Tim Winsky. I wish he continued adapting other C64 tunes for his high school band, too, but alas, this is the only one of his works we know of. Mr. Winsky, if you are out there - please, let us know how this all came about!

Yes, the recording is not so good, but I think that's what gives this tune real character - it's very obviously played and recorded live.

Considering it's a high school band, the kids are actually playing fairly well. Yeah, they are off here and there, but I think most high school bands could only wish they played this tight.

Bravo, Mr. Winsky, bravo!

I only wish Mr. Winsky made the score of his arrangement available to others, too, as I would surely ask my daughter's high school to add this to their repertoire, too...

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Way of the Exploding Fist (Metal Mix) - arranged by Pan's Delight

Review by LaLa, 20/02/2022

Welcome to the Commodore remix community! While an interesting idea, the strange juxtaposition of plinky-plinky synths and hard rock doesn't really work for me, I'm afraid. Most of the instruments also sound too dry, and while it could've used some mixing, too, unfortunately, my basic problem with the arrangement juts cannot be solved easily.
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DashN's take on Ocean loader 4 Reload - arranged by DashN offline

Review by LaLa, 18/02/2022

Ah, so you've attempted this remix again in the same style! That underlying groove from Jan Hammer's Crockett's Theme - still a great idea and it's easily recognizable in this one, too. That lead, though - ouch. I suspect it was played, not sequenced, but along with the dissonant notes and the bad timing, it just ruins this remix. Also, yet again, just like in your previous remix, you didn't do the Hammer-style pitch-bends which he is known for. Soundwise the lead is better, but execution-wise it leaves a lot to be desired.
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Ghosts 'n Goblins (RockMetal Cover) - arranged by Vaggelis Papadopoulos

Review by LaLa, 16/02/2022

I saw Vaggelis' name pop up and I was already excited. Then I listened to his remix and I was ecstatic. ROC=K ON! ðŸĪ˜ What skills on the guitar! Also, nice touch with the additional choir.

And that surprise outro at the end in Greek folk music style - I almost fell out of my chair when I first heard it. 😂 What a great idea! 😃👍 Now I am wishing for an entire remix in that style!!!

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Panther (Storm in teacup remix) - arranged by Elro

Review by LaLa, 15/02/2022

Welcome to the Commodore remix community! This is a really good introduction for a first remix! I quite like the intro, and I like how it transitions to the main beat and theme. I like how you tried to retain the feel of the original with the lead sound. The entire arrangement has a cohesion that is rarely heard from newcomers. Very well done, hope to hear more remixes from you soon!
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