Looking back at old WIPs

I’ve got a treasure trove of ancient works in progress, dating back to late 2002 all the way to early 2004. They’re sort of like b-sides and outtakes — some are learning moments for established remixers, while others are one-shots by unknowns who have faded into history. I’ll be exploring these for a while with a regular feature (until the supply dries up). We start with late 2002 in this one, and cover ten songs total. If you want some remixing curiosities probably unavailable anywhere on the net, check it out.
Hey, welcome. I’m going to be taking a look back to some ancient, interesting works in progress as we eagerly await the opening of VGMix 3.0 and the return of permanent WIP hosting. To start us off, I’ll provide some backstory. I’ve got a WIP folder with a lot of selections in it, including several songs taken at random from #ocremix and many from the OCRemix WIP forum. These date back to late 2002, 2003, and early 2004. Most would be impossible to find these days, considering they were placed on temporary hosting. And most did not make it to remix status on VGMix or OCRemix. Nonetheless, these are interesting pieces — some are from established remixers, others are actually good arrangements, and some are simply curiosities and enigmas. I hope you’ll enjoy digging through the sands of time and finding some of the lost WIPs of yesteryear. I’ll list songs (click to download) and offer a short writeup on each.

Unknown Remixer – Sonic 3 Credits

This is the earliest dated piece in my collection, downloaded October 12, 2002. It’s a pretty simple arrangement, arguably a MIDI rip, and the identity of its author is a persistent mystery. Still, the song stands out for using the TS404 in FruityLoops — the artist actually managed to not make it sound like default crap. The other fun quality is that for a remix of the credits theme, it’s a simple, straightforward arrangement. Okay, so the song doesn’t stand out that much, but if you have any idea of who made it, let me know.

Suzumebachi – Forever (First Version)

The Chrono Trigger remix ‘Forever’ went through an awful lot of itinerations, and Suzumebachi would post each after making it in #ocremix. I’m pretty sure this is the first version; it’s sort of like an unabridged edition of the final product. It was interesting to listen to the development of the song, but more fun is to compare this version and the final. This one’s arrangement may be unforgivingly simple, but it formed the basic blueprint of a decent OCRemix. It dates on my hard drive at November 14, 2002.

Suzumebachi – Placid Shores

This remix of Epilogue ~ Dream Shore (Radical Dreamers) is a rare breed, as no one has really attempted this song. The original piece has a dreamlike quality to it, fitting to wrap things up as the book closes on an imaginative adventure. Suzumebachi preserved that well; the airy background and the shore sounds are a faithful aural enhancement of the original. The arrangement was simple, as Suzu was still maturing his skills, but it still sounded decent and recreated the feel of the original piece. I acquired this on January 4, 2003 (Suzumebachi issued the first 25 seconds or so as a preview the previous day). Though I think this was lost to his massive hard drive failure, he did attempt it again to produce the b5 reconstruct version, the most complete itineration of the song. I host that particular remix on the Compendium; grab it here. Next one won’t be a Suzu song, I promise!

DJ Metazero – Zero the Red Demon

DJ Metazero tore it up with Mega Man X series WIPs in 2003, releasing around five or six. This was one of his initial tries, and covers the first Zero theme ever. The result was an asskicking beat and a sexy lead (try cranking up the bass for the first three seconds of the song). Metazero is able to stretch it out to over 5 minutes without compromising freshness. In a world without much MMX coverage (at least not on the level of Final Fantasy games), this is a surprisingly solid entry for a lost WIP. If submitted when OCR first formed, it would have been one of the better songs of the bunch. There’s even a log of me saying that in #ocremix sometime in 2003. I acquired this remix on January 19 of that year.

Joseph Tek Fox – Tides Turned in Aqua Lake

JTK came out of nowhere and returned thereafter, leaving us this Sonic 2 remix. The soundfont is a little artificial, but aural quality is clear and the groove of the song doesn’t let up. If I were to get synesthesiatic, I’d say this long is sort of like a tasty treat. You can make an easy comparison to Mazedude’s ‘Reich Lake’ and see that Tides Turned in Aqua lake manages to hold up with its own funk. The arrangement can get slightly repetitive if you leave the song on in the background for a while, but knowing what comes next won’t diminish this song’s upbeat nature. It could be plugged right in to some kind of Sonic 2 port. It came to the hard drive of Zeal on January 27, 2003.

k-wix – My Beautiful SimCity (Remastered)

A lot of points in my remixing book go for augmenting or heightening the original feel of the source tune. If the dungeon theme of SMW2: Yoshi’s Island made you feel a little dark and edgy, then Rexy and Prophet’s Dream an Eastern Peace is a coup de grace. This entry by k-wix, while not being the most complex or gigasamply SimCity remix on the market, still manages to evoke that wonderful, tingling feeling of the SNES SimCity title screen. Don’t be put off by the MIDI-sounding intro at the beginning, or the high strings thereafter. Let it ride and you’ll find a one-way ticket to nostalgia. I downloaded this January 28, 2003.

DJ Orange – Super Mario RPG Volcano

Fire is the name of the game. DJ Orange starts it off with that twangy bass guitar, then turns up the heat with some DnB. If you were a bit put off by the simple instrumentation and soundfonts used in k-wix’s remix above, then you might not like this one, either. The sound is not complex or aurally exquisite; instead, the fun of the song lies in the beat DJ Orange lays down. I’m not even sure who he was; I have some other CT ones he made that I’ll post. At any rate, he seemed to like injecting a little funk in his remixes, and it shows here. In a world of sparse Super Mario RPG remixes (let alone cool Volcano stage efforts), this is an enjoyable piece. I nabbed it from the WIP board on February 1, 2003.

Ge-Off – Super Mario 64 NightCap

I have no idea who Ge-Off is, and I doubt there’s any relation to Taucer. This WIP wormed its way to OCR’s forums, and I’m not sure it was ever heard from again (along with its author). Ge-Off’s laid back atmosphere and instrumentation paints a picture of lazily sinking off to sleep at night in the castle. Perhaps this is what the castle theme sounds like to Mario when you leave the controller idle for too long. It’s nothing groundbreaking, explosive, new, or technically complex. But like its source tune, it works as lazy background music. I found this on February 1, 2003.

Figaro – Underwater Palace Glitchy

Glitchy stuff can be humorous. Ever accidentally bump your cartridge a little out of the slot and witness the game go crazy? Sounds like Figaro got too excited upon reaching the Ocean Palace. This is one of those “throwaway” pieces like Leis Miller’s “Pure Crap” Super Mario RPG take or BEERmix. It’s somewhat of a joke tune, and you’d probably never burn it to CD or put it on your mp3 player. Still, it’s sort of like weird art in an art museum. You don’t like it, but you still might say “hmm, that did take a smidgeon of creativity.” This came around on February 8, 2003.

Steve Schardein – Donkey Kong Country Blue Oblivion

I think Steve is still out there somewhere. He posted a new version of this on VGMix under the nick OtherSteve; the one above is the original OCR WIP forum entry. Faithfully recreating the watery, dreamy sound of the original, Steve lays a minimalist beat on top while twinkling pianos fade into the distance. I can already hear the objection — yes, this might as well be a MIDI rip with updated sounds and a drumloop laid on top. But if you listen closely, Steve applies touches of magic here and there to create a heavenly, ambient experience. The arrangement gets thicker after the two-minute mark, but the song never loses its chill effect. If I’m not mistaken, this is the most remixed theme from the original Donkey Kong Country. Dave Wise even remixed it in his new soundtrack for the GBA port of Donkey Kong Country 3, and put its leitmotif into a couple other songs. It’s a dreamy track, and Steve Schardein did it adequate justice with this work in progress. I grabbed it on March 2, 2003.


That wraps it up for this column. There are a load of other old WIPs to go, including another obligatory Suzumebachi remix and the mythical McVaffe preview. Tune in next week, and don’t forget that ASCII Hitler plays Chrono Trigger.