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Jeff and Drax strikes back

by CreaMD of Dmagic

And the second side of coin

by the Proffesor Ugha Sid

CreaMD's Foreword: It seems I should've given the chance to Ugha to check this collection before the release of the review. It seems he has a little bit different opinion. However, we are still in the betatesting phase – we still have a chance to learn from our mistakes ;-). 

New music collection by Jeff/CZP/Crest & Drax/MON/Vibrants named BEYOND contains 11 music tracks created in Jeff's Cyberzound music editor. The collection has the player separated from the musics. Only the introduction file is compiled. Experienced C=64 users (or „fans“ as retro guys would say ;-) should not have any problem with that. However, in an emulator you won't have an easy job to play the tunes as you would be forced to use the load, save and sys commands from basic. Anyway believe me it's really worth using the real equipment, but I know that it won't change some curious but lazy dudes' minds so use whatever equipment you want. 

Well. First let's have a look at the label. Crest+CZP & MON+Vibrants. All in all eleven pieces of music, ten of them done by Jeff and one being a coop of Jeff and Drax. It could make a curious mind wonder whether active Jeff gave a chance to reappear to a bit less active Drax, or whether Jeff welcomed the opportunity to launch a music score with the three magic letters MON on it, or whether the two just didn't care and enjoyed what they did. :)

Anyway, Beyond isn't a real collection, I'd rather call it a music disk because of the separate player. It misses some kind of unity, an outfit, a red line which would give it an overall spirit.

Let's briefly review what we get from the package:

Beyond/Jeff&Drax – First tune after which the whole collection was named. It's the only executable music in the whole release. Here you can read the scrolltext explaining how the tune was created. I won't comment this tune much, but I really think it must have been fun to compose and rearrange it in cooperation. Rating: 6/10 

The thing starts with the title song. It surely is on the upper part of the collection's quality ladder. The music itself sound more like Drax. It develops nicely and on a sublevel it reminded me of Jonathan Dunn at his best. My only objection goes to the bass line which goes the same way all the time.

The Revival/Jeff – Great melody and typical Jeff's arpegio bass are dominating the tune. It's my absolute favourite from the whole collection eventhough it didn't get the highest rating. After a beginning part the sound changes and resembles Fred Gray's Mutants soundtrack. The rest of the tune really rocks. Absolutely great! Rating: 7.5/10

Do you know the disappointment from a tune that has a great start and then gets lost in senseless loops or whose melody just doesn't lead to any peak? It's exactly this case with The Revival. It has got a very epic intro, which, exactly when you would expect it to develop into a strong melody, goes the typical Jeffish nice-sound-but-no-melody way. Sniff. Last time I experienced such a disappointment was when I heard Agemixer's Mekka entry which also ends where it should really start.

Moloko Disc/Jeff – Quite an easy going tune without some real tension or drive. Rating: 5/10

Moloko Disc is a loop without any real music idea. The collection would definitely be better without it. The same goes for Blade-Loop. It's a workloop which shouldn't have been released – it's not good enough.

Crest main (a), (b) – the Deus ex Machina Soundtrack. The first tune has a great beginning while the rest of it is a typical demo track. The second tune is a great but repetitive remix of the best parts of the tune (a). A little bit confusing, eh? Rating: 5/10, 6/10

Yes, the Crest (a) and (b), i.e. Deus Ex Machina original soundtrack… These tunes have some dark magic in a dark hall crowded with computer maniacs but definitely loses its touch when you listen to it on a bright and sunshiny afternoon. One could also say that it depends whether or not you like techno. That at least at the first glance because after several minutes the a) track contains some tiny great bits of music because of which it is worth listening to. But then the techno bass gives in again and what was gained is lost. The b) track has got a better drive in the beginning but soon gets on the repetitive path.

Euro-Dance/Jeff – Really interesting subtle tune. I was expecting some surprising pass to the great dance beat, but nothing has changed. Still the same level of subtlety all the time. Rating: 6/10

Euro-Dance. Another one where my and CreaMD's opinion are very close. The beginning reminded of Gregfeel's Quark Rain and alike and I was hoping for a good melody. Nevertheless the composer prefers developing the background (drums, basses) to developing the melody, so soon we'll find ourselves looped. Another lost opportunity to make a great tune IMHO.

Hard Track/Jeff – whoa, what a sound. The beginning is very similar to Let's Dance by Orcan, the rest of the tune is a typical Jeff's „analogue“ with all it's plusses (fantastic sound) and minuses (repetitiveness). This tune ROCKS! Rating: 8/10

Hard Track. Great drum sound, stupid music.

Crossbow/Jeff – Yes this is a typical „ice cream castlish“ Crossbow track. I like it very much and I really appreciate how great tune and sound can be done in just 7 blocks. Rating: 7/10

I never miss an opportunity to advertise text adventures. With a disk full of text adventures you can have much more fun than with a five-level shoot ‚em up which takes the same space. And something similar can be found in this collection. Hard Track takes cca 2,5 times more memory than Crossbow, a little jewel squeezed into 7 (!) blocks. Unlike some of the other tunes, it has got a melody (really!) – and a great one that is. I call this kind of tunes 'ocean tunes‘ because they bring me peace as if I was floating up and down on the waves. 

Paradise/Jeff - Ah something like Drax or Pri is playing from my speakers. Great arrange and absolutely great sounds. Especially those echo percussions in the beginning are beautiful, but the main theme is repeating too much. Rating: 6.5/10

Paradise… Another nice one, I'd say. The sound of the ocean is quite poor, but the rest of the sounds is great. It doesn't rush anywhere, takes its time and takes you to a great relax. Mostly there are only two instruments playing at a time, two channels were used to create the echoes etc.

Blade Loop/Jeff – just loop from a vampire discotheque. Not really a tune. Rating: 4/10

Dune K remix/Jeff – where did I hear this tune? This one also contains that typical arpegio bass and of course perfect 4 speed percussions and sounds. Still quite a spineless melancholical tune lacking melody. This one could perfectly fit into some dull vector demo if it wasn't 4 speed. Surprisingly this music has got a beginning, a middle and an end, and that's a plus. :- Rating: 6/10

And let's end with another great tune – Dune K RMX. Again an epic one (you might have found out that I prefer melody to sounds). Nice drums though, eventhough I believe you don't really need quadro to create such sounds. Two minutes you have to wait for a real sound explosion – in this tune the master of odd shows what he's often admired for – great, strange, mysterious sounds. Except for one annoying arpeggio. The tune gets best right when this arpegio goes out for a few sex.

All in all The Revival and Hard Track are really worth playing with maximum volume. While the rest is a decent mix of the Jeff's and Drax's standard quality. Thumbs up dudes!

Time for a verdict… Three complete flops: Moloko Disc, Blade-Loop and Hard Track. Two times an abolishing beginning and a disappointment in the end: Euro-Dance and The Revival.
The Deus Ex Machina soundtrack stands aside for techno maniacs.
Paradise is done by a good musician, Beyond and Crossbow are definitely on the top and Dune K RMX is closest to the famous „Jeff style“.

A nice collie, but without any outfit (I once heard that those Crest guys had someone like a coder, not?) and with let's say half of the tracks above average one has to ask whether it's worth the name Jeff and Drax have in the scene.

What to add? Maybe just this: now it's up to you our dear readers and listeners to judge who is closer to the universal truth ;-).

System of Evaluating: Read the text, don't care about the rating, 

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