Psyvariar The Mix

Psyvariar The Mix Album Title:
Psyvariar The Mix
Record Label:
Egg Music
Catalog No.:
EMCA-0004
Release Date:
August 15, 2008
Purchase:
Buy at Egg Music

Overview

The Psyvariar series is principally composed by Tetsuro Sato, who also carries the alias WASi303. While I’m not the most familiar with the original music, I have had plenty of listening sessions to the arrange album, Psyvariar The Mix. Consisting of arrangements by professional VGM artists, such as Manabu Namiki, TECHNOuchi, and WASi303, as well as arrangements by doujin artists, such as kplecraft, Blasterhead, and chibi-tech, it offers a variety of electronica themes. How does the overall album fare?

Body

The album opens up with an arrangement by Zinger & Bacter, entitled “Earth -FM Scene Mix-“. It meshes together some electronic beats, which are particularly catchy, with some of that classic FM synth and a bit of chiptune. It’s a relaxing arrangement that really kicks this album off. It’s a great opener and contrasts with the second “Earth” remix found later on in the album. I also enjoy how it ends with chiptune-like waves crashing and seagulls cawing. Next up we have “Select -Deep Inside Mix-,” by TECHNOuchi. Of the three arrangements he did for this song, this was the one he selected to put on the album. It combines some house beats with a variety of synths and piano to create a very calm, yet at the same time, energizing arrangement. Overall, it’s a pretty good representation of his arrangement style and one that fits quite well after the calming “Earth -FM Scene Mix-“.

Speaking of which, “City -Kishima P.M.P. Mix-” by Manabu Namiki definitely reminds me of some of his Cave works. It has a variety of things going for it. The beat is pretty intense and gives an energetic atmosphere to the arrangement. Combine that with the crystalline synth sampling in the background, the operatic vocals, and the electric guitar and you have a recipe for success. “Boss#01 -Summer DSP Mix-,” arranged by Ruzarin Kashiwagi, is a fantastic techno theme that is just full of energy. The rock influenced techno beat that accompanies the synth melody is absolutely superb and really helps give this theme a strong edge. The crystalline synth used is also spectacular and the woodwind-like interlude is very peaceful and a solid contrast to the intensity of the overall arrangement.

“Graviton -4 in 1 mix-,” by Saitone, is probably the most bizarre arrangement on the album. There are a variety of random effects that make up this arrangement, such as telephone rings, as well as a variety of different synth styles. In essence, all of these elements don’t really take the limelight, but rather all are incorporated at a rather frequent pacing to create this arrangement. It’s quite a different arrangement, but it definitely works! “Opening -VOID Mix-,” by Ryu Umemoto, is another fantastic arrangement. The mix of synth, electric guitar, and what sounds like X68000 music, all harmonize quite well, creating a theme full of energy and style. It’s the perfect blend of classic VGM sounds, rock, and electronica and, in the end, the atmosphere is quite beautiful. All in all, this is one of my favorite arrangements by Umemoto.

“Last Boss -RAMPAGE Mix-,” by Naoto Ishikawa, isn’t really much of a rampage at all. In fact, it’s more indicative of a calming atmosphere. The crystalline synth, both ethereal and bubbly at times, combines very effectively with the beat to create a very uplifting atmosphere. At times, there is a bit of a sinister atmosphere, but it definitely isn’t the major focus for the arrangement. It’s definitely another highlight of the album, despite the unconventional name. Easily one of my favorites, “Colony -OLD DAYS MIX-,” by Keishi Yonao, is an arrangement full of fun. The beat is quite intoxicating and the addition of electric guitar accompaniment helps give it an edge. This edge, contrasts with the awesome synth lines and the playful xylophone that makes up most of the theme. In the end, I could listen to this one all day and never feel bored.

“Earth -bh’s trance mix-,” by Blasterhead, is pretty self-explanatory in terms of what it aims to achieve. At its core, it’s a trance theme. However, unlike some trance themes that carry the same beat throughout the track, although this one does rely on a similar beat, there are times where the beat is dropped, or a new one is thrown in all together. This helps keep the track a bit less repetitive. Aside from that, the various elements in the melody line are fantastic and really help keep the melody line from getting stale. This is another top-notch arrangement and I particularly love when the piano is thrown into the mix. Next up is hally’s “Volcano -Kamishimo X68000 Mix-.” Using the X68000 sound system as a basis, he creates a pretty energetic theme that has a very retro feel to it. I particularly like how the melody simulates big brass at times. The change ups in melody synth is also quite good and keeps the arrangement feeling fresh. The beat doesn’t really deviate much overall, but it’s still effective.

The next two arrangements tackle the same theme. “Asteroid -N’th driven mix-,” by chibi-tech, is easily my favorite on the album. The industrial chiptune-influenced rock arrangement is pretty awesome. The whole backbone of the arrangement is an industrial rock accompaniment that blends together effectively with the chiptune and synth melodies. It’s one of those themes that stick with you in the end, especially when it starts getting more intense as it progresses. The other arrangement, “Asteroid -minimimix-,” by WASi303, goes for the electronica approach. It’s a pretty upbeat theme with some great mixing. The piano, in particular, used for portions of the melody line really help give it this emotional feel, while the accompaniment helps give it a heroic, spacey feel at the same time. This one definitely ranks up there in terms of overall enjoyment.

“Desert -Thousand and One Nights Mix-,” by Dong, opens up with a very atmospheric background accompanied by vocoder. As it progresses, an R&B style beat comes into the mix before advancing into the core of the arrangement. Being a huge vocoder fan, I’m glad that it is featured in most of the arrangement. However, the house beat that accompanies it lends itself well to creating a futuristic and spacey soundscape. The various synth melody lines really accentuate the vocoder and overall melody. Last, but definitely not least, is “Name Entry -2A03+N106 Mix-,” by Kplecraft. Another retro themed arranging, this one features a very catchy melody. In fact, it reminds me a bit of something you might hear in a classic Kirby game. The chiptune arrangement features a strong beat, but nothing huge in your face, like some of the other arrangements. In fact, despite its quick pace, it manages to cast an air of mellowness as well. It’s a fantastic way to end the album with an energy that encompasses the rest of the album.

Summary

Having missed this in 2008, it would have easily made the top of my Best Arrange Album of 2008 list. It’s definitely a great trip with a variety of arrangements by prominent artists, both professional and doujin. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up if you are a fan of classic chiptune, electronica, and rock themes. I think you’ll be very satisfied!

Psyvariar The Mix Don Kotowski

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

5


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


About the Author

Currently residing in Philadelphia. I spend my days working in vaccine characterization and dedicate some of my spare time in the evening to the vast world of video game music, both reviewing soundtracks as well as maintaining relationships with composers overseas in Europe and in Japan.



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