Yesterday, OverClocked ReMix released their thirty-second official arrangement album in tribute toÂ the unsung heroes of role-playing games throughout the years, many of which have great merit but have received less musical attention than bigger names and franchises. Appropriately titled Unsung Heroes, the album features many overlooked titles such as The 7th Saga,Â Ghouls’n Ghosts,Â The Lord of the Rings: Volume 1, Suikoden, and Persona 3.Â Unsung Heroes also showcases the talents of prominent artists who have been consistently featured on both OCRemix and ThaSauce, from the likes ofÂ DragonAvenger, OA, Rexy, Brandon Strader, Avaris, Scaredsim,Â NutritiousÂ and much more.
DirectorÂ Andrew “OA” Luers had much to say on the underrepresented themes that permeated much of the titles touched upon in Unsung Heroes:
We both agreed that while it is great to work with many well-known and often mixed themes – which are so loved for good reason – there should be no reason not to extend our hands into those games that have been overlooked for so long, but have genuinely beautiful themes as well. I’m proud of the work that these gentlemen and ladies have presented in this album, and hope that others will be able to appreciate the beauty of these tracks as well.
While you can get a small preview of the album above,Â Unsung HeroesÂ is available for free download atÂ http://unsung.ocremix.org. Have something to say about the album? Leave your feedback here.
With the excitement of MAGFest winding down, we would like to make a formal reminder that ThaSauce holds a weekly compoÂ every Thursday at 6 PM PST/9 EST by none other than our very own residentÂ awesome lady, starla. We cannot stress enough that these compos are forÂ everybody;Â the goal ofÂ One Hour ComposÂ is to improve songwriting skills with these weekly hourly exercises as everyone is encouraged to participate and bring friends.Â Discussion is held in #thasauce onÂ irc.esper.netÂ during the compo, but we also listen to the completed songs as a group. If you do not wish to participate in the chat, you may still submit a song via the website.
“Well… what in the world is a compo?”
CompoÂ is a slang word for “composition competition” commonly used by the arrangement community. It isÂ derivedÂ from theÂ demoscene competitions by the same name. Contrary to this, compos are less of a competition and more of an exercise in compositionÂ abilities. Each compo has it’s own unique format and guidelines and while some areÂ as short as 1 hour, others can last anywhere fromÂ a month, toÂ a few months. It’s important to remember that the primary purpose of compos are to hone your skills andÂ abilitiesÂ by working within, sometimes very constricting, guidelines. TheseÂ techniquesÂ have proven essential to the growth of countless musicians.
A (very) brief history of compos as related to ThaSauce
There has always been a need for musicians in our community to gather and practice. Even before our community, trackers arranged compos of their own and created tiny limited-sample MOD files with amazing results. Composition and technique has always been a priority in compos over wowing people with instrumentation. With so many random compos across communities, it was always a bit difficult knowing when they were, where they were and if they were actually going on. Once we got everyone in the right place, normally an IRC channel, we would write a song either based on a theme, free for all or maybe even remix based on a provided source tune. Â Once completed, we would email all the results to a participant that had webspace who would archive the compo and host it for download, then participants would have to manually download the compo pack and finally listen to them in order. We would do this often in #ocremix with a group of motivated musicians, eager to hone their skill.
The creative progression of ThaSauce’s One Hour Compo, as told by starla:
“As always I do what I do out of passion. I don’t mean to nag or annoy. I encourage others to reach their full potential, and to stop putting off to tomorrow what you can start today. You can’t wake up one day and be an accomplished musician without taking that first step and starting on your journey.”
One Hour Compo is typically an “all gear” compo, which means you can use any instruments at your disposal, as long as you submit an mp3 at the end. Â OHC is also themed: more often than not a text theme is provided, from time to time a picture or other media can be used to stimulate the artists’ creativity.Â All in all, One Hours Compos really attempts to push you as a musician, asÂ the time constraint forces people to work outside of their comfort zone and come up with new streamlined processes that ultimately come to benefit their musicianship.Â 171 compos later, we are still going strong. Please come join us tomorrow in an effort to challenge yourself as a musician or even to just preview what ThaSauce’s OHC can offer — we will definitely welcome you with open arms.
As another year comes into place and the one we just finished slowly slinks into the past, so too comes the time when Mirby must stop being lazy and start writing articles again instead of letting the release dates of albums fade into the obscuring mists of time. With a new year comes new articles, and thereâ€™s no better article to bring it in than a retrospective of 2011. A lot of things happened this year, even moreÂ than in 2010, so Iâ€™ll keep it brief. And so, here begins the retrospective.
ReMix: ThaSauceÂ kicked things off on January 4 with three mixes; two from theÂ SonicÂ gamesÂ and one fromÂ Super Metroid. OverClocked ReMix posted their first mix of 2011 on the following day; this one wasÂ a mellow rock trackÂ fromÂ ilp0, remixing â€œGold Mineâ€ from the SNES game Wild Guns. With the mixpost came a call from djpretzel. â€œIf thereâ€™s one theme Iâ€™d like to personally endorse for 2011, itâ€™s ReMixing unmixed games.â€ Weâ€™ll see if his endorsement held up through the year. And then, on the tenth of January, the world gotâ€¦ The Answer.
THE ANSWER: An Armored Core Tribute Album by Mattias HÃ¤ggstrÃ¶m Gerdt
On February 3, OCR posted their first Pico remix courtesy ofÂ zircon; it wasÂ a mellow mixÂ from Tails and the Music Maker. Just four days later,Â Heroes vs. VillainsÂ was released. PittingÂ the Bad DudesÂ against OCR regulars, it took hero themes and villain themes from various franchises; OCR took the heroes and Bad Dudes took the villains. The result was a delight; the pairs of tracks work well on their own, but combined creates a melodious melee, one where each track plays off its companion. Near the end of the month, another original soundtrack was released on OCR, this one forÂ Missile Master Episode 1: Invasion; it was composed byÂ Kunal, one of the Bad Dudes. Fitting for the other album release that month.
April started off withÂ another OCR prank, this time a â€œrevealâ€ of the full yearâ€™s album lineups, totaling thirty-eight new albums. Some gems included â€œHers – Female Character Themes by Female Artists,â€ â€œUp, Up, Down, Down Lower – Porn Grooves of Game Tunes,â€ and â€œBeyond the Beyond – Beyond the Beyond the Beyond,â€ among others. Alongside the revelation of all of OCR’s albums for 2011, ThaSauce released the soundtrack for Fasto the Speedhog 2. The long-awaited follow-up to the original Fasto the Speedhog, it blew away listeners, many preferring it to the soundtrack for Sonic 4: Episode 1.Â In more realistic news,Â Sonic the Hedgehog: The Sound of SpeedÂ was released on the twelfth, completing the trilogy of Sonic albums on OCR. Though it was a single disc, the entire album was full of gems. Or should I sayâ€¦ emeralds?
May was a relatively quiet month. Support OCR Month, which usually happened in April, got off to a late start and carried into May. Though the goal was set at $5,000, people went abobe and beyond to bring the total for 2011 to an amazing $7,514! Incredible rally from supporters to get that much to OCR in just a month. halc released hisÂ Pixel Perfect LPÂ on the 16th, which fit perfectly withÂ his EPÂ from the previous year. Together, the two create a complete album, and a good one too!
MalcosÂ releasing hisÂ It Started in 2012Â album in June. Equal parts orchestral and electronic, the album takes the listener on a quest as it details future events that will occur in a universe separate from our own. And while not strictly music-related, everyoneâ€™s favorite person to blame Liontamer AKA Black Dynamite and his long-time girlfriend Paige became engaged this month as well. WillRock also released his own EP on the 19th, entitledÂ Refractions of a Dream. Loosely inspired by Lewis Carrollâ€™s classic â€œAlice in Wonderlandâ€ and possibly also â€œThrough the Looking Glass,â€ the album is comprised of some pretty trippy songs. Seriously, I blame this album for all my sleeping problems (not really). Also of note was the general publicâ€™s introduction to the OverClocked Plaid Muffins, through the mixpost ofÂ â€œSka Buffet (All You Can Eat: Clean Version)â€, a clean cut of their track on the upcoming Milky Way Wishes album.
July may not have kicked off with a â€œFour for the Fourthâ€ as in 2010, but it give usÂ NiGHTS: Lucid DreamingÂ on the fifth. Worked on with love for the game, Stevo Bortz, akaÂ Level 99Â or he of the awesome beard, the track featured two discs that took the listener on a journey through the game. Except guided by music instead of some flying jester. This was also the first album I reviewed without being familiar with the source material; doesnâ€™t really matter, as the album is fantastic either way. Also in July, YouTube favoriteÂ FamilyJules7xÂ began a hiatus from his weekly game music guitar covers; after a year of releasing a song weekly, he felt the need to relax. He ended Year 1 withÂ a cover of the Super Mario 64 Credits theme.
August happened to be Metroidâ€™s 25th anniversary, so a bunch of Metroid music was released. First it wasÂ Harmony of a HunterÂ on the 7th, and thenÂ Theophanyâ€™sÂ Crystal FlashÂ EP later that same day.ShnabubulaÂ and a friend also made a tribute song for the anniversary along withÂ a video, which was laterÂ featured on IGN. The song itself wasÂ posted on the 12th. On August 14, Mazedude revealed his self-proclaimed opusÂ American Pixels, the long awaited follow-up to 2006â€™sÂ American Album. It will remix a bunch of songs from American composers, including Jake Kaufman and Danny Baranowsky. August 15th brought the release of Amphibiousâ€™s debut EP,Â Oceans. A soothing aural trip into the ocean, through its deeps, and back out once more, it was an excellent effort. Nario released an EP on the 19th, entitledÂ More of Me. A chippy mix of a bunch of different songs, itâ€™s a rather nice listen on the whole.
Then in September,Â Danimal CannonÂ releasedÂ a video. It was a rather hilarious video (explicit too, I think), but it led to a bunch of people calling him out as racist and homophobic. The best part about all the hate? The video itself was making fun of rap, and thus was created specifically to mock those whoâ€™d complain. On the 7th, an album that often had questions about its status asked was finally released. No, it was not FFV: The Fabled Warriors – WATER. Instead, it wasÂ Mega Man 9: Back in Blue. The song arranged the majority of the soundtrack. Unfortunately, all the songs on a Mega Man soundtrack are rather integral, especially the stage themes. And this album completely neglected to have a Concrete Man remix. Sure, there were two Jewel Man mixes, but no Concrete Man.
October was nowhere near as busy as the previous month (though that was mostly due to Concrete Manâ€™s omission), but it was a good month nonetheless. The tenth heralded the release ofÂ Super Dodge Ball: Around the World, another of OCRâ€™s albums that had been in the works for several years. Itâ€™s never planned that way, but thereâ€™s a few where that has happened (such as 2010â€™sÂ Threshold of a DreamÂ or 2009â€™sSummoning of Spirits). A lot of great tracks were to be found here, including two mixes of the Versus Play theme (appropriate for the 2-player motif of versus play itself). And on Halloween, the oft-loved Castlevania mixÂ â€œJuese Belmontâ€Â finally made it to OCR. Albeit it was by Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire (who covered the song as part of the Kickstarter campaign for their album â€œUltimate Songs from the Pitâ€) and not the original Disk Mastah Smokabitch. Longtime OCR members may say otherwise though, and for good reason.
November kicked off withÂ â€œCover Your Light,â€Â a remix of the main theme of the Commodore 64 game Deflektor. OCR had been holding it for the German hard/glam rock band Zero Division since August of 2010, wishing it to be released after their latest album was released. However, since that took longer than expected, this mix sat around for 15 months. Itâ€™s fantastic, and sounds just like it was ripped from the â€™80s.Â The 6th heralded the release ofÂ Ultimate Songs from the Pit, the album of which the Kickstarter campaign that produced the â€œJuese Belmontâ€ mix mentioned above was for. I hope that made senseâ€¦
The first R:TS mix of the year saw release as an OCReMix on the 17th, giving JH Sounds his first mixpost and Cyril the Wolf another one; the mix is an emotional acoustic rendition of Final Zone from Sonic 1, entitledÂ â€œFinality (Radio Edit).â€Â Itâ€™s an edit from JH Soundsâ€™s albumÂ Hedgehog Hysteria, releaed in 2010. On the day of release for the latest Zelda game also came a surprise album:Â 25YEARLEGEND: A Legend of Zelda Indie Game Composer Tribute. Released on the 22nd, the album took composers of various indie games and mixed them with songs from across the entire franchise and its 25 years of captivating minds of all ages.
Roots by Danimal Cannon
Danimal Cannon started December off with the release ofÂ Roots, a collection of chiptune originals. He was even nice enough to include the project files so that others could experiment with them. OCR releasedÂ BadAss: Boss ThemesÂ on the 6th; this album was just boss themes from a bunch of different games, mostly rock and metal but with a great orchestral track and a couple others too. This is also only Volume 1; the Volume 2 threadâ€™s already up and running in the projects board. The Bad Dudes released another album on the 20th, theÂ Metroid Arrange 25th Anniversary Album. Iâ€™m working on getting a copy of this to review with the other two for a Metroid Triple Review, donâ€™t worry. Also released on the 20th was the long-awaitedÂ Wild Arms: ARMed and DANGerous. This album took the the soundtrack of Wild Arms and arranged it in a multitude of styles, all of which worked wonderfully for them. And on Christmas, ProtoDome released his albumÂ BLUESCREEN, a follow-up to Juneâ€™sÂ BLUENOISE. This begs the questionâ€¦ is this the dangerous formula he saves Christmas with? Possibly, but itâ€™s awesome regardless of that. As for the theme DJP set at the yearâ€™s startâ€¦ I think that with all the albums released, it was more than met.
December also happened to beÂ Reviews MonthÂ at OCR. The premise this year? OA had attained the Power of the ReMix and was poised to destroy OCR. Thus, King djpretzel and his ReMix knights had to review mixes to deal damage. Each remix dealt 50 damage to him, but each remix OA wrote healed 50 HP. Rexy and Bahamut annihilated OA, with a lot of help from many other members. However, that was but OAâ€™s first form;Â the ground began to rumbleâ€¦ and then his true form awoke. AÂ tentacled beastÂ bearing the facial likenesses of other judges (including Jooj-cat) revealed itself and challenged the community to review 200 tracks to finish him off. Everyone kept doing their best, and I even got involved, doing 16 reviews a day on the 23rd and 24th, and then 16 more on the morning of Christmas. By Christmas night in my time zone, Final OA was down to needing a mere 20 reviews to finish him off. So I took the initiative and reviewed 20 more songs (bringing my total to 36 for that day alone; 78 total) to finish him. What were the spoils of battle, you ask? Well for every review written, a raffle ticket would be entered to win one of three $35 eStarland gift certificates or one of three custom avatars on the OCR forums. Rexy finished the month with a grand total of 200 reviews, and Bahamut with 118. It was a noble effort from all!
And now we find ourselves in 2012. The final tallies for the previous year are 206 mixposts and twelve albums on OCR, and thirty-nine mixposts for ReMix: ThaSauce. Thatâ€™s twenty-one more songs and four more albums than 2010 for OCR, and nineteen fewer for R:TS. Regardless of that, thereâ€™s plenty more to come, just as there is plenty Iâ€™ve missed (I know for a fact thereâ€™s stuff I havenâ€™t mentioned here). If you know of something else great from 2011 that wasnâ€™t mentioned here, just post it in a comment! It was a wondrous year for the community, and I know that 2012 will be even better! So until next time, game on!
You know a band is good when an entire audience exclaims, “Holy s*$%! Holy [email protected]#$!” as loud as humanly possible even when the deafening clashes of drums and bass throes overwhelm the piercing yells of spectators. This kind of incredible energy is what Bit Brigade, self-described as “epic technical rock”, brought to the table at MAGFest X. Composed of members from various math rock bands, Bit Brigade manages to pursue the final boss into the gates of hell and back through their exuberant enthusiasm on-stage. If you weren’t there for the monumental leg-thrashing to some of the best renditions of your favorite Megaman theme songs, you can catch forty-four minutes of awesome above. We just wanted to show the world justÂ how muchÂ Bit Brigade’s heart-stopping show melted our faces off.