Looking Back at Old WIPs [Final]

Abandoned in 2006, this feature’s now finished. If someone wants to post it on OCR, hit up my e-mail and I’ll send you the BBCode version.

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. If you
want some remixing curiosities probably unavailable anywhere on the
net, check it out.
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.

In case you’d like to just grab a torrent of my old WIP folder (there are a few uncovered pieces in there), check here.

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 – Chrono Trigger – 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 November 14, 2002.

Suzumebachi – Radical Dreamers – 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.

DJ Metazero – Mega Man X – Zero the Red Demon

DJ Metazero released around five or six MMX series songs in 2003. This was one of his initial tries, and covers the first Zero theme ever. The result was a kicking 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. I acquired this remix on January 19 of 2003.

Joseph Tek Fox – Sonic 2 – 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. The file dates January 27, 2003.

k-wix – Sim City – 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. 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. This file dates January 28, 2003.

DJ Orange – Super Mario RPG – Barrel Volcano

DJ Orange approximates fire. He 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 – Chrono Trigger – 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. 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.

IMC12 – Sonic 2 – Metropolis Zone

This was a fun Iron Mix competition that attracted a lot of attention and remixes. Space Cowboy and Suzumebachi made strong entries; “Blue Metro” was cited as having a Van Halen synth feel to it. There are a lot of “before they were famous” remixers on here, like Analoq, djcubez, Prophecy, Rellik, Overcoat, and maybe a couple others. Check it out and relive the competition; I’ve included some WIPs in there. All of it dates from March 3, 2003, when I downloaded the final archive.

Darkesword – Mega Man X – Beamsabre Beat ZERO (WIP)

Darkesword was kind of still new around this time, so that explains the default samples. I think the finished version is up on OCR, so feel free to compare them. I grabbed this March 5, 2003.

Steve Schardein – Mega Man X – Boomer Kuwanger

Here’s Steve again. Boomer Kuwanger’s Tower is sort of an underremixed theme; the source tune is very unique and intense. Instead of blatantly playing the first few high-pitched notes, Steve starts low and slowly builds things up. Things don’t get very far, though, and we’re left with one less Boomer Kuwanger stage remix. I grabbed this March 8, 2003. If you’re craving Mega Man X remixes, check the [url=http://vgmdb.net/album/1685]Rockman X – ALPH-LYLA doujin[/url] released in 1994 in Japan.

Nex – Tetris – Russian Roulette

And now it’s time for something you might actually keep. Nex does the timeworn and still-cool thing of starting with a chiptune and building it up into an asskicking remix. It’s still a WIP, so the beat / instrumentation are minimal and the song doesn’t go very many places. It degenerates into a FOUR ON THE FLOOR LET’S DANCE “E” GLOWSTICKS HOORAY at one point, but overall it retains some attitude as a Tetris remix. I used to leave WIPs on in the background as I played Unreal Tournament to cover some ground, and I can remember hearing this starting March 11, 2003.

DJOrange – Chrono Trigger – Factory

I grabbed this March 11, 2003. It’s pretty simple, and in a world without factory remixes, it can pass. There’s a minimalist funk going on here. He later put out a WIP called Factory 2. I have no idea what became of DJOrange, as he might have been an alias to begin with..

MC_Radical Dreamers_dream-shore-sonata2

Here’s the rough edition of MC’s Dream Shore Sonata-Fantasy, found March 15, 2003. The aural quality is a bit low along with the bitrate, but even in this primitive state it shows the quality that eventually earned it status as an OCRemix.

Beatdrop – Raiden Beta

You’ve heard Beatdrop’s Raiden remix; now hear the WIP. It’s less of an assault on the ears than the final product, utilizing a snappier and softer tone. All the basic arrangement is there, just waiting for the final production value increase to make it presentable and edgy. But you might find that the WIP has its own flair and appeal. This was a strong remix even in its infancy. I found it March 20, 2003.

Strider Yoko – Unreal Tournament – Foregone Destruction unreal mix (later version)

The final version (with two WIPs behind it) debuted on VGMix with a driving rhythm and some samples courtesy of Xan Kriegor, the boss of Unreal Tournament’s single player mode. The first WIP is less in-your-face, and as a result has an attitude closer to the source tune’s. There’s some simple and effective DnB here, and the light, airy synth that kicks things off never gets annoying. This is a good addition to the playlists of Unreal game players. It found its way to my hard drive on March 20, 2003. I recall an exchange on the OCR forums in which someone had heard of Strider Yoko’s other work and DJing, and then had a fangasm to find out that this Strider was the same guy. Alexander Brandon, Michiel van den Bos, Andrew Sega, and Dan GardopÈe made one of the best VGM soundtracks with Unreal Tournament, and it definitely needs more attention. Search around sometime in the Japanese doujin community for more remixes. The second version dates from June 2004.

DJ Ikronix – Super Mario Land – Cloud 9 (second version from 2004 here)

This is the version unavailable anywhere else (which…I guess isn’t saying much, since only one other later WIP is available on VGMix anyway). A remix of Super Mario Land’s ending theme, it maintains an airy and heavenly texture with a simple, little rhythm to take you away. This earns it high marks in staying faithful to and expanding upon the intent and mood of the source tune. Super Mario Land was probably the first video game I ever beat, and the ending theme blew me away. So I suppose I’m a little biased here. Ikronix did release a second WIP on VGMix with a louder and more upfront synth sound. I was happy to find this remix on March 20, 2003.

ResidntEvilFreak – Chrono Trigger – Glenn’s Awakening

ResidntEvilFreak had an incredible work ethic. He came onto the remixing scene as a frequent flyer of the WIP board, outputting a big catalogue while constantly improving. Then he completely disappeared, leaving behind these unfinished and unpolished works. Check out the interesting string sample and the bouncy little arrangement; it’s in a different vein than most remixes of Longing of the Wind. It goes into Frog’s Theme thereafter and maintains a heroic little musical journey for the next couple of minutes. It’s nothing impressive or musically strong, but as a WIP, it gets an A grade. I downloaded it on April 8, 2003.

McVaffe – Remix Preview

The great irony of this release is that, to my knowledge, most of the songs never materialized. It still makes great listening. This file dates April 12, 2003.

Trance Canada – Sonic 3 – Ice Age

Many Ice Cap Zone remixes are differentiated by how their synths approximate a cold aesthetic. Trance Canada gets frigid with their unique choices, and the main melody’s pluck even sounds like a Genesis sample. This file dates April 18, 2003.

Spacepony – Super Mario – Peachie’s Got It!

It’s infectiously cheery! And trancey. This one also came to roost on April 18, 2003.

Trance Canada – Tetris – Russian Revolt

The interesting part of this song comes at 1:39, when overlaying chiptuney synths navigate the bridge. It’s another song from April 18, 2003.

DJ Orange – Chrono Trigger – factory2

Orange slowed down the tempo of his earlier WIP and lengthened the song for a chill effect. This one dates April 27, 2003.

ResidentEvilFreak – Super Medley Bros

This is Peachie’s Got It’s alter-ego! Another one from April 27, 2003.

DJ Metazero – Mega Man X4 – Zero The Ultimate Warrior Part 2

Metazero wants to break your bass with this. It’s four on the floor, but in a world without enough MMX franchise remixes, it’s got some value. Dated May 3, 2003.

DJ Metazero – Mega Man X3 – X Forever

This is a remix of the opening stage theme. It’s kind of “moe as fuck” trance, so it’d fit the look of the Mega Man Zero series more, no? You can see Metazero developing his skills; there’s a great remix of his yet to come. This one dates from May 7, 2003.

SnappleMan – Mega Man X – Spark Mandrill

This isn’t a bad WIP, so it’s not like you can say SnappleMan used to suck, or anything like that. It’s pretty faithful to the original, and dates from May 18, 2003.

Suzumebachi – Chrono Trigger – Homeward Journey 4cRM1

I think this was Suzu’s last attempt at To Faraway Times, sounding much more polished than the earlier WIPs. The intro of the remix builds up the same massive euphoria that song does. This one dates June 1, 2003.

Chthonic – Kirby’s Dreamland – Nemesis (second version here)

Dedede’s theme needs more love. Chthonic’s take retains the dark, neurotic feel of the original. This file dates from June 3, 2003.

DJ Metazero – Zero the Immortal One

Dating June 6, 2003, this is probably the peak of Metazero’s efforts in 2003. His samples are more polished, and the arrangement is more tight, perhaps benefiting from the choice to a do a medley. Zero has numerous awesome themes, and it’s great to hear them all in a single remix.

S|r NutS – Donkey Kong Country – Undersea Rave

S|r NutS had an awesome Mary Tyler Moore sig. This file dates from July 22, 2003.

Sine – Super Mario RPG – Seeking Heat

Another Barrel Volcano remix; this one’s more laid back than the previous. It dates August 4, 2003.

mv – Chrono Trigger – Time Chill 4

This is the fourth WIP that mv saved of this song, but IIRC, it may have been the first he released on the forums. It dates August 23, 2003.

Strike – Super Mario RPG – Booster’s Tower

I’m not sure if this is Strike911; if so, you can see how his similar trance style evolved as he continued contributing to VGMix 2. This is an interesting song choice! The remix dates September 23, 2003.

RainyAida – Chrono Trigger – Lonely Mountain

I’m not sure if this quiet piece ever made it to the judge forum. It dates from September 23, 2003.

Darkesword – Sonic 2 – Dream Pipe

IIRC, Darkesword had just released the feel-good remix “The Starlight Traveler” covering Schala’s theme, so this definitely fits the period. It’s pleasant and dreamy, and it dates January 9, 2004.

atrox22 – Super Mario RPG – Thimsy Battle

The first Smithy song is an ambitious piece to remix. It’s up to you whether atrox22 succeeded; the attempt is worth a listen! This dates March 6, 2004.

Mike – Perfect Dark – pd stew

Perfect Dark has a lot of remixable pieces (especially the X versions of the stage themes). Mike blends a minimalist dataDyne number with sound effects from the game, then goes into Chicago. This dates March 6, 2004.

bLiNd – Donkey Kong Country – Aerofunknamics (Beta 1)

Yeah, this is the first revision of bLiNd’s contribution to DKCProject. Even in this early stage, it was already the best attempt at Funky’s theme to be unleashed yet. It dates June 1, 2004.

DJ Metazero – Mega Man X – Stage Remix

A couple other nascent remixers attempted this piece on VGMix 2, but DJ Metazero had the most success with it. This would have been great as Vile’s stage select music for Irregular Hunter X! It dates June 4, 2004.

MusiclyInspired – Sonic 3 – All Good Things Must Come to an End

Something about the original Sonic 3 ending theme screams feel-good nostalgia, and MusiclyInspired adequately captured that here. Now that it’s honest truth that Michael Jackson had a hand in Sonic 3, I wonder if the magician himself touched the source tune. This one’s dated August 30, 2004.

Midiman – F-Zero – mute shitty

Mute City is an awesome piece of VGM, but a lot of approaches to it (official and unofficial) don’t bring out its latent energy enough; compare the Melee and Brawl versions of the song, and you’ll see that Brawl feels like it’s trying harder. Midiman also accomplished that in his tragically short WIP. There was definitely work to be done, but what little we have still feels fresh among the sea of other Mute City remixes.

Thanks for reading! As a special gift, have a lossless version of Rexy, Prophecy – SMW2: Yoshi’s Island – Dream an Eastern Peace, one of VGMix 2’s greatest submissions.