Especially displaying his effortless talent with tracks like â€œPlaying Super Mario World While Taking Mushroomsâ€ and the ultimate MagFest 6 hit â€œTerraâ€™s Got Her Groove Backâ€ here at ThaSauce, we are thrilled to announce Shnabubulaâ€™s forthcoming chiptune album Game Genie. â€œAqua Feverâ€, the latest track from the upcoming album, is a breathtaking example of his natural ability to decipher key transitions with a drop of a hat.
Here at ThaSauce, we aim to advocate great releases that are often overlooked for the sake of promotional commercialism that continues to viciously saturate most video game news sites. That being said, we couldnâ€™t stop ourselves from talking about Mazedudeâ€™s upcoming release thatâ€™s going to be downright ridiculous. If you donâ€™t know who Mazedude is, chances are that you probably live under a rock. With over fifty outstanding remixes, Chris â€œMazedudeâ€ Getman stands as one of the most popular composers on OverClocked ReMix. His 2005 debut album, American Dreams, has garnered attention from well-established talents such as Jeremy Soule, Jack Wall, Peter McConnell, and Doom lead designer John Romero. Breaking out of his seven-year hiatus, Mazedudeâ€™s newest follow-up American Pixels is definitely going to wreck 2012.
In honor of his long-awaited follow up, Mazedude has just released an amazing pre-order bonus EP entitled Star Spangled Chips that underlines his progressive talent as both a composer and remixer; like his last album, this EP exclusively covers American arrangements from Myst IV: Revelation, Medal of Honor, Bioshock, and Grim Fandango. While this album has been slated for a 2012 release, you should pre-order your copy of American Pixels to get your hands on pure win.
Thomas Nelson, better known in the arrangement community as Ghetto Lee Lewis (GLL), took some time to answer a few of my questions regarding his recent original album Rainless Days. It is the first album he has ever released, featuring somber and reflective solo piano. Nelson is no stranger to the remixing community; several of his tracks are posted on OverClocked ReMix covering games from Dragon Warrior to Tales of Phantasia in the style of trance. With Rainless Days, he uses his raw skill on the keys for an assortment of self-composed material.
As he mentioned in the description of his album page, the release â€œmarks a transition in my life, going from a failed marriage and life of depression to being able to move on with my life and find happiness once again.â€ He elaborated further on this period of change:Â â€œMy wife filed for divorce back in March I think, and so I had to move out. We were married for just over two years. I’ve been living in an apartment with a roommate since then.â€ Nelson remarked on the albumâ€™s title, and how lack of rain â€œis a metaphor for the emptiness and loneliness I’ve felt for much of my life.â€ In his Nevada residence, the desert climate is such that rainfall is seen as a special and uplifting event.
Nelson started work on the album on June 6, 2011 and developed it over the course of the month. â€œI recorded “Song for Miku” about a week before I started on the other tracks.â€ He noted that the majority of Rainless Days was composed and recorded in about seven days, and completed over three weeks. Nelson produced the album himself and used a mastering preset created with the help of Prophecy. The release carries a floral motif, particularly a rose on the album cover and the song titles â€œRoses in Juneâ€ and â€œSunflowersâ€. Nelson acknowledged this as being a deliberate theme. â€œFlowers are often a symbol of beauty and romance. They can also signify change, since flowers bloom, they wilt, and they die.â€
As Nelson specified, the album â€œwas performed on a Casio WK-1800 76 key keyboard, recorded to MIDI into FL studio. The samples are from Tonehammer Emotional Piano sample library.â€ Nelson has been outspoken on his views of performance versus sequenced piano, which he reaffirms when he cautiously states, â€œThe interpretation of dynamic changes during a performance isn’t supposed to mathematically follow what’s written on paper. Any experienced performer knows this and is able to give music proper rhythm and emotion during a performance. However, it’s just simply not easy to put down on a sequencer.â€ He also prefers to play an acoustic piano rather than a keyboard, but is unable to move one into his apartment for the time being. â€œI hope to upgrade my gear to a more playable MIDI controller, probably to a Yamaha KX-88.â€
Two songs on Rainless Days make direct references to people with whom he has been acquainted: â€œSong for Mikuâ€ and â€œJenniâ€™s Songâ€. He explained, â€œI met Miku playing an online chat game, and kind of fell in love with her. I was going through severe depression at the time and she inspired me to actually do something about it. We had kind of a falling out later, but that’s beside the point. I met Jenni playing that same chat game, and became good friends with her.â€ He was informed of an attack that caused her to be taken to a hospital. â€œHer song was really just about how I cared about her and didn’t want to lose her. Luckily, she had a speedy recovery, and she’s fine now.â€
Nelson is an avid participant in competition compositions. He recalled the time when his interest in compos began. â€œI met starla during a Las Vegas meetup, and she told me to start participating in One Hour Compo. I’ve entered a few other ones in the past, just because I thought it would be fun, and I had friends who were entering to compete against. So I’ve done OHC on ThaSauce a few times; I’ve done FLMC, PRC, BEER (on OC ReMix), and a few others.â€ Although compos are generally done to hone oneâ€™s craft, he also stated that he hasn’t â€œreally participated in enough of them to improve my efficiency. If anything, I think recording this album helped improve my efficiency of creating new music.â€
He acknowledges many inspirations for his music in general. From within OCR, Nelson cites Prophecy, bLiNd, DJ Carbunk1e, FFmusic DJ, Spekkosaurus, Russell Cox, goat, Sir NutS and SgtRama. Outside the community, his influences include Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Robert Miles, TiÃ«sto, Rammstein, Danny Elfman, Nightwish, Juno Reactor, Master P, Dr. Dre, Journey, Guns Nâ€™ Roses, Enya, Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo and Koichi Sugiyama.
Rainless Days is available on Bandcamp to stream for free, or as a paid download. Nelson hopes that listeners will support him though his commercial release. â€œBy supporting my music you’re helping me pay rent, buy food, and make more great music. Recommend it to your friends and family too. Thanks!â€
In a wonderfully heartfelt response to the devastating tragedy that tore through Japan on March 11th, Akira Yamaoka has reached out and organized a benefit album with one simple, inspiring message in mind: â€œJapan is not alone.â€ Aptly entitled Play For Japan, Yamaoka hopes to reach out to those affected by both the tsunamis and Tohoku earthquake as well as raise awareness of Japanâ€™s invaluable contributions through technology, entertainment, and culture.
Yamaoka, known for his continued involvement within the Silent Hill series as both producer and sound director, has secured the participation of several prominent composers within the VGM scene. Koji Kondo (Mario/Zelda series), Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger series), Woody Jackson (L.A. Noire), Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series), Inon Zur (Fallout series), Laura Shigihara (Plants vs. Zombies, see recent ThaSauce articles here and here), Hip Tanaka (Earthbound), and Jason Graves (Dead Space series) are just a few of the superb talents that have confirmed involvement with the Play For Japan project.
Yamaoka has also expressed his own concern of bringing together game and music enthusiasts alike through Play For Japan: â€œIn the videogame industry, composers like myself are responsible for engaging the player through music. Music, too, creates bonds, inspiring listeners to share their passion with others. In this spirit, many gifted composers, musicians and artists â€” from East and West â€” have come together to record a benefit album. For creators whose role is to inspire, itâ€™s only fitting we come together, across borderlines, for those in need.â€
Out now on the iTunes Store in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, Play For Japan will become available worldwide on July 15th through iTunes and Amazon. 100% of the proceeds will go towards the relief efforts in Japan. If not for Play For Musicâ€™s inspirational message alone, we hope you take your time out to definitely press play for Japan.
In an earlier update, we recently mentioned the trailer release for Stevo â€œLevel 99â€ Bortzâ€™s long awaited project. With over thirty talented musicians skillfully arranging tracks from Sega classic NiGHTS into dreamsâ€¦ over the past two years, this project highlights the first Sega Saturn title to receive an OverClocked ReMix album.
Today marks the official release of NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming! Directly created by fans for fans, this project features a diverse array of genres that have been influenced by the NiGHTS musical dreamscape motif. Lucid Dreaming has also had the luck of being the first OC ReMix album to be heard by both the game’s creators and lead composer.
With the project intending to promote the music of NiGHTS into dreamsâ€¦, Bortz recalls about his own unique vision for the project: “To me, NiGHTS into dreams… defines what the essence of the Sega of old was: creative, original, adventurous, and memorable. The music was the most memorable part of the game for me: I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for 15 years now. Despite being a cult classic, NiGHTS has not received its due attention over the years. Two years ago, I started this album, hoping to pay respect to the music, the game, and their creators through art and sound. I couldn’t be more proud of the amazing work everyone put into this album, and I hope you all enjoy it!”
So there you have it. Congratulations to OC ReMix, Bortz, and everyone involved for giving us such a solid album. NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming is available for free download here.
Remix extraordinaires RAC have just released the long-awaited Nintendo vs. Sega II. RAC, also known as the Remix Artist Collective, formed as the brainchild of AndrÃ© Allen Anjos in 2007 to resist the typical club mix paradigm that became prevalent in the early â€˜00s. RAC is also noted for showcasing indie remixes that have received significant attention from various high-traffic review sites. RAC has earned special place here at ThaSauce by adding their own special touch to each song that implies intense focus and a careful ear to traditional 8-bit sounds. Known for adding fun, upbeat electronic instrumentation and sassy flair to the classics of both platforms, Nintendo vs. Sega II definitely highlights a rather refreshing perspective to video game remixes. You can download their album for free here.
Update: SoundCloud has just plugged RAC’S Nintendo vs. Sega II! Victory for VGM!
And now, with her inevitable return to the realm of reviewing, it’s Taylor Brown, alias Mirby!! Ahem. DjjD, alias Jakesnke17, he of the perfect end quotes, asked me to review his upcoming album for him. This would be okay, if it weren’t for the fact that he asked me back in February. It’s June now, and after a couple of months sans headphones, a vital device in my trade, I’m fully equipped and ready to clear the backlog of albums that came out in the intervening time. First up, it’s the truly long awaited review of DjjD’s album, Uprising!!
1. “Upon The Edge” 3:04
Starts out pretty nice. Nice rhythm, and some distortion comes in at about 0:15. I can’t help but groove to this song, and I’m not even a minute in yet! I hope the rest of this album is this epic. Slight slowdown at about 1:17. Rhythm returns at 1:45 or so. Some new melody comes in at about 2:22. Slowdown at 2:44 to prepare for the end twenty seconds later.
2. “Waves” 3:10
Oooh! Distortion! Sweet chippy distortion!! More headbopping ensues. Minor explosion at 0:38, and everything begins to return at 0:44, and builds from there. More instrumentation at 1:14 or so. More instrumentation at 2:00 or so. The end begins at about 2:36, and building begins at about 2:44 until it dies at 2:57.
3. “As Time Goes By…” 4:18
Nice echoing effects used here for the intro. Some humming comes in at about 0:15, more instrumentation at 0:30. Drums at 0:50 or so. Calms down at about 1:20. Some instrumentation returns at 1:48 or so. This is a beautiful track right here. Drums return at 2:13. The backing tracks complement the main part so well. Another slight breakdown at about 2:58, only to build back up slowly starting at 3:10 or so. Not by much though, as the final minute is quite mellow.
4. “Timeshift” 2:36
Drums kick in right away, no pun intended. Nice choice of instruments here. More instrumentation at 0:46 or so, and more at 1:01. Calm spot at 1:10 or so until 1:15, when instruments return. More calmness at 2:00 or so, continuing until the end.
5. “Just Hold On (Snkermx)” 4:26
Starts out right away, with drums activating at 0:10 or so. Some chimes kick in at about 0:36. Vocals at 1:20 or so. Definitely not Jake singing, and if so, that’s one hell of a talent he’s got. Small breakdown at about 1:55 until 2:14 when instruments return slowly. Chippy effects at 2:26. Harder drums at 2:32 or so. There’s a nice backing melody starting somewhere in the early 3 minute range. The finale builds up at 3:58 or so, and culminates at 4:18, with a fade to silence.
6. “Brazil (Snkermx)” 3:23
Solid drums, and the main melody really takes effect at 0:38 or so. Small breakdown at about 1:08. This track jumps around a bit between heavyÂ backing beats and nothing there at all. There’s also a melody strongly reminiscent of Metal Man’s Stage throughout. Slow fadeout starting at 3:06 until the end.
7. “Creepin’ Through” 4:00
Big backing beats begin this song. Instrumentation at about 0:22. Some melody starts at 0:38. More at 0:53 or so. After a small breakdown, melody returns at 1:38 or so. Small breakdown at 2:06. only to return and build up. Percussion returns at 2:18 or so. More melody returns at 2:53 or so. The end begins at 3:35.
8. “Future” 2:02
I see this track name and think of the Future stages from Crash 3, such as Future Frenzy. Starts at 0:10, with percussion at 0:22 or so. After a brief intro to a beat, everything comes together at 0:52 or so. A brief track, but a good one with a solid structure. The end begins at 1:48 for this one.
9. “Futile” 2:27
What’s futile? Reviewing this? I sure hope not! Anywho, beat starts out immediately, and some slight instrumentation at 0:14 or so, and builds in volume. Main melody at 0:38 or so. It all explodes musically at 0:52, only to briefly break down from 1:10 to 1:18 or so. The end is surely near at 1:54, and suspicions are confirmed at 2:07.
10. “All Robots Destroyed” 2:25
I was expecting a Mega Man game clear jingle, to be honest. Instead, there’s a track with an industrial jungle feel to it. Main melody at 0:31 or so. Some backing ambience at 0:48 really rounds out the soundscape, giving it a nice rich sound. Slight breakdown at 1:44, heralding the impending finale. Which starts at 2:04, with fading.
11. “Club Named – Chill” 1:48
And now for the shortest track on the disc. This is a very calm, chill track, as one would expect from the title. Some percussion at 0:54. More backing ambience at 1:10 or so. Slowly ends for the last ten seconds.
12. “The Storm is Rising…” 3:00
Hard beats here kick this track off. These are some heavy drums! The storm must be rising because of this rain dance here. Some ambience at 0:54 builds up slowly, and the drums lose volume at 1:03 or so. This is a very ominous-sounding track. I’m visualizing some people going to kill some other people in a thunderstorm right now due to this track. More instrumentation at 1:47. Very intense sounding. Returns to the percussive start at 2:25, and continues until the end.
13. “Terror and Relief” 2:46
I’m relieved that the rain dance is over. No rain, so something must’ve gone wrong. Eh, no matter, this next track is good. After an ambient beginning, some instrumentation kicks in at 0:32. Drums at 0:42. Some more orchestral stuff at 1:05 or so. Some melody at 1:26. The end starts to build at 2:25 or so.
14. “Deserted” 3:13
This song sounds very nice. I’m enjoying the instruments chosen for this. After the base is laid down, some melody comes in at 0:55 or so. If I was ever deserted somewhere isolated, I’d want this song to play mysteriously out of thin air. As background music. Breakdown at about 1:58. It all returns at 2:12 or so. The framework for the final seconds is set down at 3:01.
15. “Unknown Path” 2:52
Is the unknown path that fabled left turn at Alberquerque? Nice melody to start with here. Some orchestration at 0:32. This song just builds up, until 1:10, when it really begins. The percussion in this track is nice. More orchestration at 1:52. I don’t even know if orchestration is a word, but if not then it totally is now. The end begins at 2:10 or so, and slowly builds up until 2:36 when it all comes crashing down.
16. “Serene Chaos” 3:06
This sure starts out serene, but where’s the chaotic scramble of dissonance? Instruments kick in at 0:42. Sounds like something’s coming later in this song, the way the orchestration is building up. It slows down at 2:09 or so, but it still has a sense of something impending. Okay, I am dissapoint. There was no chaos in that song! REFUND! I DEMAND A RE-oh, wait. I didn’t pay for this because DjjD sent it to me. Next song!
17. “Forest of Life” 3:43
This has a nice natural feel to it. Some melodious chiming starts the song off, with orchestration at 0:20. Slight breakdown at 0:58 or so. It’s a true breakdown at 1:38, when the notes themselves become choppy, and are replaced by their 8-bit equivalents!! Talk about a downgrade, but in this case I think it’s a real boon. Chiptunes make everything better! And happier too! 2:35 kicks the instrumental bits right back up to their full-fledged selves. It starts to fade out at 3:36.
18. “Fall Has Come” 2:36
What fall? The fall of the Roman Empire? The Ottoman Empire? The season? No idea, but it’s fodder for a fantastical track. Melody at 0:32 or so, with orchestration at 0:45 or so. Percussion at 1:02. Slight breakdown at 1:48 or so. Some orchestration sends this track off, starting at 2:10 or so.
19. “Driven (Remix)” Â Â 4:51
Wait, my media player lists this as by Geeky Stoner! No matter, I’ll review it the same. It’s a nice track, with a solid beat which really kicks in with extra percussion at 0:32. Slight breakdown at 1:04. Speaking of geeky stoners, I know quite a few of them. Myself included, heh. Slight change-up at 1:20. Make that a chippy change-up. Another breakdown at 2:25 or so. Some melody returns at 2:45 or so. It explodes with more distorted effects around the 3:15 mark. And quiets down at 3:45. Beeping at 3:54, and percussion at 4:00. This just marks what become the eventual fade at 4:40, which isolates the beeps for the finale.
20. “Think ‘Bout It” Â Â 1:59
CHIPTUNA!! Perfect for a bonus track, and the main melody is epic. You don’t even have to think ’bout it to know this. Okay, that was bad. Slight breakdown at 0:58 or so. Chippiness returns at 1:15 or so. This is the funnest song I’ve heard in a while, but the Pixel Perfect LP may change that. The final begins at 1:48 in much the same way as the previous track.
Well, it may have taken me a while to get around to this, but I think it was well worth the wait. I promise that after this, my reviews will be more timely and current. Anyways, this was a very well done album, with that surprise guest track by Geeky Stoner. The tracks are beautiful, and will surely find their way onto my MP3 player as they should to yours as well. Great work by DjjD, and Geeky Stoner as well for his track. The next course is a double helping of halc. Yep, it’s another double review, this time of halc’s Pixel Perfect LP, fitting since his EP was in the other double review, and his directorial debut with TheÂ Sound of Speed, OverClocked ReMix’s Sonic the Hedgehog album. Until then, game on!!
OverClocked ReMix has just released a trailer for highly anticipated project NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming. Officially available to download for FREE through OC Remixâ€™s website on July 5th, the NiGHTS project came into fruition as a tribute to the Sega Saturn classic to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the gameâ€™s release in 1996.
Through the directive lead and creative talent Stevo “Level 99” Bortz, NiGHTS has been said to include notable names such as Dj Mokrom, Sixto, OA, DragonAvenger, Â and more. Described to induce â€œlucid levels of awesomenessâ€, NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming will definitely be a sure hit to start off the summer.
I asked Brandon Strader some questions about his recent release Always Remember, an original album developed in a two-year period and covering a diverse selection of styles. It is the follow-up to his 2008 album Life and features guest artists from the fan arrangement community. He described his experience working on Always Remember as an “emotional rollercoaster”, though he was quick to cross out or miniaturize this phrase in promotional materials.
Brandon joined OverClocked ReMix at around the age of 15, in 2001. â€œIt was Final Fantasy VII that got me interested in game music back in 1998, and I submitted and failed a Kingdom Hearts remix in 2001, so… OCR can be directly linked to me using and learning Fruity Loops to say the least! But without that knowledge, I wouldn’t be where I am today.â€ He made a number of connections through the community and culled talent for his Teen Agent arrangement album The Root of All Evil, released in 2010.
The download package for Always Remember includes photos of various collaborators on the album. Brandon explained, â€œI just tossed ’em in so people could see if they wanted. The pictures are also on the trailer on YouTube.â€ All the guests featured on the album are members of OverClocked ReMix: Michelle Kwan goes by the handle rhapsodos; Beth Carter releases works under the name Wildfire; and Deia Vengen is DragonAvenger, an OCR judge.
Daniel Lippert, better known in the arrangement community as Usabell, was responsible for the drumming on Always Remember. Brandon had contacted him in the initial stages of development. â€œI had some ideas and sent him full MIDIs of the songs once they were written so he could play drums… Most of the songs weren’t even written at the time. It’s been a couple years but I remember asking him pretty early on, if not the first thing then pretty close.â€ Brandon was also very accepting of Danielâ€™s feedback. â€œI’d take it from Usa. He’s already helped me a ton with learning some production tricks.â€
Brandonâ€™s interest in the community extended to composition competitions. One of his first One Hour Compo entries made quite an impression in 2009. In â€œMy Kittyâ€ he sang about a kitten being his favorite thing, and he meowed on microphone using AutoTune. He went on to pitch-control an actual cat with the Antares software in another entry, continuing an apparent feline theme. For compo he later wrote â€œOut of Controlâ€ that also deals with animals, depicting chaos in the forest and all the wildlife eating each other. Comical munching and growling can be heard under the layered guitar work.
He eventually reworked “Out of Control” as a song for Always Remember. Brandon reached out to Ben â€œbjkmenuâ€ Kimble to redo the vocal, and he happily obliged. â€œHe really wanted to do it â€˜cause he loved that song. [The tracks] â€˜I Seeâ€™ and â€˜Thankfulâ€™ also have bits from OHC. I wrote stuff that I thought was fun or nice, and they became full songs.â€
As the name implies, the song â€œFor My Parentsâ€ was created with Brandon’s mother and father in mind. â€œI made it for my parents with my 7-string guitar. I think it’s the first solo I ever recorded with it, nice whammy bar usage in it. It’s almost like a Dragon Ball Z stand-off song. I may make more songs in that style on future albums (For My Parents Part 2?) and have them all link together stylistically.â€
The album is dedicated to the memory of Brandonâ€™s great grandmother Maxine Strader, as well as Gregory Burr. He was â€œa cousin who shared my birthday, but was older, a father of a good friend who had a newborn baby at the time he passed.â€ Brandon noted that the album itself carries a somber tone in some of its tracks. Always Remember is his first mass-produced album, and is limited to 100 physical copies. It is free to download from Bandcamp, and both the CD and digital version contain tracks exclusive to each other.
How fitting that the second double review, possibly in existence, contains halc just like the first. And that it’s the Pixel Perfect LP, the follow-up to the EP that was in the first. And one that, looking back at the review for the EP, that I had in fact wished for. As for the second album, it’s The Sound of Speed, halc’s OCR directorial debut. So get ready for the halc-stravaganza, as this double review is dedicated to him!
PIXEL PERFECT LP
1. RecoveryÂ Â Â Â 1:01
Pretty mellow track, fitting the title quite aptly. More beats at 0:37 or so. It just keeps building and building until 0:57, when it stops.
2. Next HeadacheÂ Â Â Â 2:32
The disc flows right into this track. Chippiness kicks in at 0:11. More instrumentation at 0:28. This is a pretty jazzy fun track. Slight breakdown at 1:08 or so and again at 1:23 or so. 1:54 or so brings in happy chippy fun time. Then again, that’s pretty much this whole disc if I’m not mistaken. The finale begins at 2:20 or so.
3. Human EyesÂ Â Â Â 3:13
This effect sounds like a guitar. Chippiness confirmed at 0:18. Slight breakdown at 0:48 or so. The main melody is pretty hypnotic. Back to the norm at 1:20. Another breakdown at 1:50 or so. Nice little piano solo at 2:12 or so. Return to regularity at around the 2:20 mark, and nice little chipsax at 2:37 or so. I like the sound of that, the chipsax. I’m using that from now on.
4. Floating HigherÂ Â Â 2:00
The sequel to Floating Away from the EP? Probably, and it does feel ethereal and floaty. The main melody is pretty mesmerizing. Switch-up at 0:50. Not much of a sequel when it’s a minute shorter than its predecessor. Breakdown at 1:36 or so heralds the impending finale, which occurs at 1:53.
5. Shoot & SpinÂ Â Â Â 2:09
What a jazzy track, upbeat and happy, as chiptunes are wont to be. I think. More instrumentation at 0:32. Slight mix-up at 0:51. Some chipkeys at 1:08. Okay, chip is my new prefix when dealing with chiptunes. Some chipchimes at 1:30 or so. I feel like I’m spinning. Floating and spinning… guess I’m now a helicopter. Finale starts at 1:58 or so.
6. Higher ReasoningÂ Â Â Â 4:18
Slow start, but it works. Still slow and calm at the minute mark, but picks up at 1:19. Has some instrumentation reminiscent of some of bLiNd’s work at around the two minute mark. Breakdown at 2:25 heralds more to come, and it builds up until 2:56, when something big is on the horizon of the soundscape. Sure enough, the impending event takes place at 3:09. Slowdown for the last 30 seconds.
7. Pixel PerfectÂ Â Â Â 2:07
It’s title track time, people! And it’s apparently party time too, judging by the start. Melody at about 0:28, leading up to the inclusion of more percussion at about 0:45. Instrument change at around the minute mark. Change back to the original sound at 1:32 or so, leading up to both at once at 1:44, and then the finale at 1:58.
8. On + OnÂ Â Â Â 3:08
How haunting of an intro here; well done with the chipambience. Chipchimes at 0:32, and some percussion in the background. More instrumentation at 0:52. Breakdown at 1:08, interspersed with various effects until 1:42 when instrumentation returns. This song feels like a dream. It keeps building and building until 2:16, when it explodes into what can only be its final form. Slight breakdown at 2:32, which signals the coming end of the track, and subsequently the album. Fades out to nothingness. I am sad now.
THE SOUND OF SPEED
2. OA, Scaredsim – The Sound of SpeedÂ Â Â Â 3:21
And one of the most familiar tracks in gaming gets a rockin’ facelift yet again. Guitar comes in at 0:18. Dual guitar tones at 0:27 or so! At least this song doesn’t start out with HEY IT’S THE PARTY SONG!! PARTY’S OVER HERE!! Just kidding, I love that part. Anyways, pretty faithful mix. Or at least, it is until 1:54 when the mixage begins. OA and Scaredsim did great on giving this a tropical feel while keeping it rocking. Throughout the solo, the crescendo plays continuously in the background. Back to source at 2:49.
3. halc, Insixfour, ProtoDome – Shifting IslandsÂ Â Â Â 3:38
Now my favorite Marble Zone remix happens to be Metamorphic Rock, but this take on it… well, it’s in its own league, and I mean that in the best way possible. Source comes in at 0:18 or so. Violin comes in at about 0:49. Classic halc chiptuna mastery comes in at about 1:25. More violin at 1:53. Breakdown at 2:27 or so, pure chiptunage follows until 2:46 when it all comes back. Simplicity from 3:22 or so until the end.
4. GaMeBoX – Subsonic SparkleÂ Â Â Â 3:21
And here I was thinking I’d never be able to review a GaMeBoX mix… Silly me, guess I was wrong. With the first of three Special Stage mixes, GaMeBoX puts his trademark style on this classic track. Source comes in at 0:20, with wah guitar at 0:27 and 0:34, and many other places throughout. Nice guitar usage from 0:54 or so until 1:12. The ring loss sound effect is put to good use in this song, along with several other tracks. Some chimes in the background at 1:44, and a breakdown about ten seconds later. Breakdown from about 2:52 until the end, with some elaboration starting at 3:02 until the end.
5. halc – Spring JunkieÂ Â Â Â 3:45
I wonder if the duo of junkie-titled names was intentional… Anyways, pure halc here, just like in the above album. Except for the fact that those are original and this is not, and a mix of Spring Yard Zone. Some source comes in at 0:48 like a flying saucer. Listen and you’ll understand. More source at 1:11 or so. Slight breakdown at 1:30, with some awesome chiptuna at 1:40 or so. Great sound effect usage, a technique that seems prominent with this entire album. Slowdown at 2:25 or so, with source at 2:44. Simplicity reigns from 3:02 until end, with sound effects interspersed throughout.
6. Benjamin Briggs – Bubble JunkieÂ Â Â Â 3:32
And now for everyone’s favorite stage, Labyrinth Zone. With its deadly waters and awesome boss fight, how can you not love this zone? Okay, so the stage itself sucks, but the music is phenomenal. As is chth’s take on it. Nice magic-box effect at 0:42 for the source to come in with. Also, I don’t care if he’s going by his real name now, he is and always will be chth to me. Spring sound, among others, at 1:11. Bubbly take on the source at 1:55 or so, and mixes with the wah effect afterwards. Remixage begins at 2:30 or so. Nice take on it to coast to the finish, and slowdown for the final seconds, with a sudden end at 3:28.
7. Joshua Morse – Fifty Rings to RideÂ Â Â Â 4:11
JM takes the second Special Stage mix, with a title that doubles as a game hint. Source comes in at 0:27. Sounds like he slowed the tempo down a bit; it works quite well. Classic Morse instrumentation and jazziness. Sexy guitar, ethereal instruments… it’s beautiful… Ahem. Brief breakdown at 2:05. 2:51 brings in some DO-DO-DO-DO-DOOOO… fits in perfectly with the track. More source usage at 3:17. 3:50 heralds the end of the track.
8. DrumUltimA, Harmony – Under ConstructionÂ Â Â Â 5:30
And for the longest track on the album, we’ve got the Star Light Zone remix. And it starts simply with acoustic guitar and some chimes. Chimed source at 0:35 or so. And guitar source at 1:14 or so. What I never got was why it was Star Light Zone and it took place in a construction zone. Shouldn’t it have taken place in space or a planetarium or something with that name? Eh, no matter. Da-da-da-da-daaaaa at around the 2:40 mark. 3:20 brings in some remixage, queued up by Doug’s mixer name being sung. And then more guitar and singing queued up with Harmony’s name being sung. With epic drums continuing. I have to say, this song is like ten times more awesome in headphones than via my crappy lappy speakers. It calms down at 4:35 or so, and remains calm until the end.
9. Brandon Strader, Rexy – HogtiedÂ Â Â Â 4:43
Epic boss mixage right here. By the way, last time I checked you could find a midi version of this on VGMusic under Newly Submitted Files, and it’s by Rexy, so that’s pretty cool. It doesn’t take long for the source to start, and Brandon rocks the guitars in this. Main source at 0:54 in epic guitar. The percussion in this keeps a fast beat that makes me move to it. 1:41 brings Rexy in to the main picture with some jazzy guitar. 1:58 has Brandon take his own version of the mix, and it’s pretty sweet. It’s also a segway into Rexy’s awesome take with more guitar over it. 2:49 brings in the start to one of the more epic parts of the song, building and building until it explodes at 3:22 with more guitar source usage. 4:12 brings the start to the finale with rising notes that culminate in brief source usage that fades to silence.
10. JosÃ© the Bronx Rican – CaosÂ Â Â Â 4:34
And now for the final take on the Special Stage theme. In my opinion, this is the most meticulously detailed one of the three, fitting for OCR’s resident rapper and media man. Source comes in at 0:34 or so. If you listen carefully, you can hear so many things at once it’s insane. More source usage at 1:22 or so. 2:00 brings in the start of JosÃ©’s remixing of the source, filled with various jingles and brief snippets other tracks from the game as well. 2:46 is the start of an epic piano solo, lasting for an entire minute!! Listen carefully for the aforementioned aural allusions. Background source usage at 3:30 or so. The last minute is very toned down, but it works. After that piano solo, you need a cooldown period.
11. WillRock – Clockwork CriminalÂ Â Â Â 3:28
Starts out with sound effects, and source comes in at 0:30. Trademark WillRock sounds come in at 1:01. Sound effects are in the background throughout the entire song, but are most prominent as the bookends, so to speak, for the track. 1:47 brings in the genesis of what we all know Will loves to do, and that’s rock out like a Brit. And judging by past British bands, they rock out quite hard. 2:17 has his synth guitar squeal that we all know and love. And again at 2:46, albeit briefly. 3:20 takes the sound effects and ends the track.
12. Jewbei – Final ProgressionÂ Â Â Â 4:36
Ah, bLiNd’s disciple… good guy, good mixer. He’s learned much, and that’s blatantly obvious with this take on the Final Zone theme. Hints of the source come in at 0:31, and the full source begins at 1:41 after a breakdown at 1:11 and buildup at 1:28 or so. Trance-tacular!! Nice usage of ethereal chimes at 2:18 or so for more source. This just builds and builds and builds, kind of like Robotnik’s wrath I suppose. This is Sonic 1, so he’s being called Robotnik. It’s only fitting. 3:38 or so brings a slowdown and gradual removal of parts, until 4:20 when it becomes obvious that this is the progession to the final seconds of the track.
13. Brandon Strader, halc, WillRock – A Hog in His PrimeÂ Â Â Â 5:36
The credits medley, always a classic. Starts out with Special Stage usage, and sound effects. What else? Guitar comes in at 0:24. Awesome bass at 0:46 or so. Green Hill Zone at 1:04 or so, and more guitar courtesy of Brandon at 1:22 or so. More Special Stage at 1:49. Marble Zone, with wah, at 2:24 or so. Star Light at about 2:40, with chimes. Guitar starts at 2:52. WillRock’s synth at 3:23 goes wild. This is the solo that wasn’t in Clockwork Criminal. Breakdown at 3:52. 4:06 brings in epic finale, and 4:18 has Brandon showing off his recorder skills. For your information, these were previously seen in Monkeys DisarmÂ Their Kremlings, from Serious Monkey Business, back in 2010. The recorder continues until very close to the end… but unlike most final tracks, this one doesn’t end with a peaceful fade. 5:17 brings in Brandon rocking the OUT OF BREATH jingle that closes out the album.
Well, truth be told I’ve reviewed three albums this night. First was DjjD’s Uprising, which you can read about elsewhere on this site. This double review was created to quickly shrink my backlog of albums I need to review. And I think it went well. Pixel Perfect LP was great, albeit brief. But mixed with the EP and you’ve got a damn near complete album. halc’s chiptune skills are definitely improving with age, and practice no doubt, something evident in his recent singles and in his work on these two albums.
As for the others involved with Sound of Speed, they’re pretty awesome too. A lot of love went into all of these tracks, and it shows. WillRock did a phenomenal job with his tracks, and Brandon rocked the holy hell out of what he was tasked with. Jewbei is starting to show signs of matching his sensei’s skills, if not surpassing him, with the potential shown in his, and chth gave Labyrinth Zone a nice spin. I’d request a mix of that from Insert Rupee, but since both Ben and halc have mixed that track on their own, I don’t think I need it. And the three Special Stage mixes were all beautifully done, created by three masters of their style. And the others involved did great as well. Next time I’ll be reviewing ProtoDome’s BLUENOISE album, followed by Benjamin Briggs’s Attention Deficit EP. Until next time, game on!!