With her recent collaboration with brilliant composers Akira Yamaoka and Woody Jackson to help create a charity album for Japanese tsunami and earthquake victims and the considerable attention being paid to her work, Laura Shigihara has been quite the busy bee lately.Â Even so, this lovely lady still has time to produce soulful, enchanting tunes that are probably capable of rendering even the cruelest war-waging cyborgs useless. Written for Ken â€œReivesâ€ Gaoâ€™s upcoming adventure game To The Moon, the acclaimed Plants vs. Zombies composer has delivered yet another delightful gem to add to her continued success — make sure you click the play button above to listen to Lauraâ€™s new original song, â€œEverythingâ€™s Alrightâ€.
Hereâ€™s a really cool video we recently found of Jin’ou Xia and her friend Xinxin Song who play their own adaptation to the Plants vs. Zombies soundtrack at Beijing Concert Hall in China. Using four gu-zheng, Xia and Song cleverly use trills to produce long, macabre sounds to recreate their own interesting version of Laura Shigiharaâ€™s goofy and original compositions. Jin’ou Xia is a recent graduate at the Central Conservatory of Music, one of the foremost music schools in Beijing.
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!!
Surfacing as an update on his Twitter page, Random, also known as Mega Ran,Â has just released a video for his single â€œOne Winged Angelâ€. As a featured performer at the upcoming nerd festival Nerdapalooza in Orlando, Florida, Mega Ran has received significant attention as a distinguished rapper and producer. Incorporating masterfully executed lyrics that blends beautifully with visceral beats produced by Storyville, â€œOne Winged Angelâ€ is a powerful retelling of Sephirothâ€™s origin story and his following subsequent rage that threatens to destroy the world. Part of Mega Ranâ€™s highly acclaimed Black Materia: Final Fantasy VII, â€œOne Winged Angelâ€ shows that Mega Ran can still appeal to a broader audience outside of the video game community through his own visceral rhymes that literally knock you off your seat.
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!!
1. Fishy – Game On (~Opening~ Demo) 0:19
Starts out with the Game Freak sound effects, and then rocks the main theme like mad!
2. Level 99 – The Mighty Mighty PokÃ©mon (~Opening~ Demo 2) 2:48
Starts out with Stevo’s signature guitar sound! Pretty rockin’ track from the start. 0:30 shows off some source usage. 1:08 brings a breakdown… and then it builds back up without missing a beat. 1:31 brings in a solo. Source resumes at 2:01. Stevo rocks this track right to the very end! YEAH!
3. halc – Shades of Red (Theme of Pallet Town) 3:11
I thought this was a remix album… not a soundtrack. Starts out with almost straight source usage, and 0:18 brings in the remix. halc keeps on improving his skills! 1:25 brings in some solo action. 1:44 slows it down and breaks it down. Source returns with some mixage at 1:54. Everything slows down at 2:30. It all starts to fade away at this point as well…
4. Jaroban, Matt Beckemeyer, Fishy, Sam Cooper, Vralia, Jocelyn Holst, DJ Krisp-E, Chris Stibrany – My Greatest Rival (Battle! Rival) 5:28
Oooh! Starts out pretty ominous sounding… Also, it didn’t take long to get to the requisite mega-collab. 0:13 brings in guitar, and 0:20 brings in an epic voiceover. 0:36 shows source chippiness. Vocal track? No worries, the lyrics are pretty well written, and also pretty funny. 1:25 brings in a backup vocal. That’s great… We’ll see who has the bigger PokÃ©balls! Best line ever. This makes Gold out to be a loser of sorts and Silver to be a pimp. Then again, Silver is Giovanni’s… err… don’t want to spoil that. 2:50 or so brings in the chorus. 3:22 brings a breakdown of sorts. Whip out your PokÃ©balls! 3:37 or so brings in a battle scene voiceover with classic sound effects. The lyrics don’t take themselves seriously at all… I love it. 4:20 brings the chorus back. 4:58 ends the song, and ambience starts until the end, with the epic voiceover too… What a hilarious track.
5. ProtoDome – Rain Prayer (Road to Viridian City – From Pallet ~ Guidepost ~ Road to Cerulean – From Mt. Moon) 2:42
Piano, eh? Proto’s still got it. But why isn’t he saving Christmas: The Dangerous Formula? Eh, no matter… 0:22 brings in some chippiness with the piano. What a mellow jazzy track… This is a really good track right here; I love it! 1:25 or so brings in a piano solo. 1:38 brings in a chippy solo. Everything really picks up at 2:04 or so. Everything fades away at 2:36.
6. prophetik – Viridian Vibe (Theme of Pewter City) 3:29
Ambience, eh? Saxophone at 0:16 or so. Some electronica comes in at 0:38 or so. This is a beautiful track right here… 1:24 brings in a solo of the wind instrument. Source resumes at 1:50. The electronic sound in the background works beautifully. It keeps the track together in a cohesive unit. More solo at 2:38 or so. The finale becomes evident at 2:58. Ambience returns at 3:10, and the sax fades out to the end.
7. Cerrax – Out of Antidote (Viridian Forest) 3:41
Eh, eh? Okay, I had to do that. 0:08 brings in source, with creepiness to boot. This is how this track should be done! After all, they say that the forest is a maze. Great work from Cerrax here. What an eerie track; fitting for this creepy forest. 1:06 brings in some more creepy ambience, and is followed by a solo. There’s even more creepiness at 1:30!! Everything slows down and calms down at 1:45 or so, but builds back up 10 seconds later. Another solo of sorts at 2:10, with a breakdown included. It slowly builds up to what is sure to be an epic finale. A hint of the end at 2:48. 3:04 brings a return of the norm, but with a hint of finality. 3:26 proves that the end is near, and it breaks down to the end.
8. ProtoDome, Level 99 – Hope to See You Again Soon… (PokÃ©mon Center) 2:21
A mellow mix for a mellow source. With “duh duh duh nuh nuh”s included. Looks like Stevo opted for acoustic here, and Proto opted for his usual quirkiness. A breakdown at 1:20 or so. The piano in the background is beautiful. 1:50 brings a solo of sorts. Fades to end.
9. Fishy – Battle for the Badge [Battle (VS Gym Leader)] 4:10
Starts out calm, but 0:05 brings in some epic music. 0:16 shows the source in full rockin’ glory! 0:37 rocks it even harder. Distortion at 0:58. This is a phenomenal track right here… just what a remix of this source should be and more! It’s hard to review because it’s so awesome. I only want to listen and not type! Woe… Anywho, 1:57 kicks off the solo; can’t miss that now can we? 2:17 brings in more of the solo, and it sure sounds epic. Source begins to return at 3:00 or so. Still a bit of a solo here… that’s over a minute now. Slowdown at 3:29. Calm music until the end… One hell of a track there.
10. ProtoDome – On the Origin of Species (Evolution) 1:35
This title makes me laugh… well done, Proto. Well done. A mellow track for a simple source. Nice breakdowns and usage of PokÃ©mon cries. Yes, I can tell they’re cries by the sound. Yes, I’m a nerd. No I don’t care. Think I heard a Magnemite in there… Very well done, and very calm. Nice work. Ends with the classic finished sound.
11. Benjamin Briggs – Drowning Blue (S.S. Anne) 3:13
Piano/chiptune hybrid is evident in the first 20 seconds. Classic chthonic goodness here. 0:56 brings in some source usage. Slowdown at 1:22, and solo from there. Slight speedup at 1:44 or so. It works wonderfully. Also a bit of a solo at this point, until 2:27 when the source returns. Fadeaway at 2:54 to end.
12. Rozovian – Spume (Sea) 4:43
Oh, Rozo, what have you done here? Let’s see! Sonar blips? Nice ambience… signature for Rozovian. Everything keeps building and building up until 1:11 when more ambience comes in. What a buildup.. 1:26 brings in some source usage. I knew it was building to something! What a happy track! Scratch that, what a bipolar track. More so than Bipolar Bird from Essence of Lime… 2:12 brings in more source usage. 3:07 slows everything down, and brings back the sonar blips. 3:18 brings it all back again though. I like the tempo of this… Everything slows down for the last minute, and returns to the ambient beginnings of the track. Nice job, man!
13. Tweek – TEEM.ROKIT (Team Rocket Hideout) 4:31
Tweek, master of epic stuff, tackles the Team Rocket Hideout on his own. Err… the song, not the place. 0:20 proves the epicity of the track is easily evident. 0:44 brings in some heavy drums. What an epic track! No surprise though; it is Tweek. 1:14 or so brings a breakdown, but with all breakdowns it builds back up. Source usage is littered throughout this breakdown. 2:10 brings in some more solid source usage. 2:26 has the classic sound of the source that is probably ingrained in the memories of youth who played Red and Blue for hours on end. Gold and Silver too, for that matter. 3:00 or so shows another solo. If Team Rocket was this awesome, they just might have succeeded in their goals. Instead, they were foiled by a sixth grader. 3:50 shows that source one last time. Fades to end starting at 4:10.
14. pu_freak – Clash of the Titans [Battle (VS Trainer)] 5:55
Piano rendition of the battle theme? I’ll take it. 0:26 brings in some source usage. The original battle themes were the best. This is a pretty awesome track. On par with Rexy’s best, methinks. 1:15 or so is a bit of a solo. 1:30 brings in the source again. Speed up at 1:55 with more source. This style fits the source wonderfully… like a skintight bodysuit or something. Yeah, it’s that good of a fit. 2:50 or so has a slowdown, but 3:00 brings in more of the source. 3:25 or so breaks everything down to the simplest form… pure, slow piano at its best. This continues until 4:24 or so when it starts to build back up… slowly but surely the intensity increases with each key, each note, until 4:52 when it gets back to the source. And at 5:10 it is on the verge of exploding with the pressure and intensity. At 5:30 it explodes, and the remnants of the track fade away to the finish. Beautiful!! Bravo!!
15. Rozovian, WillRock – Blue Haze (Road to Viridian City – From Pallet) 5:21
Once again, ambience. This is also Will’s first track on the album, and his signature synth sound comes in at 0:48. This track keeps on building like so many others before it. Then again, that’s fitting for a PokÃ©mon remix album. Have to build your monsters up too, right? 1:38 continues the building of the track… WillRock uses Source! It’s super effective! Listener takes 2:10 damage because that’s the time it begins at. 2:37 brings a hint of more to come. The title is apt; there’s certainly a haze in my ears with this song. And then at 3:00 or so, the main song cuts through the haze like a Razor Leaf. At 3:39 or so, WillRock uses Solo! It’s super effective! Yes, I’m gonna continue these jokes. With this album, it’s kinda mandatory, ya know? Everything builds up after this solo until 4:38, when a hint of the end reveals itself. 4:50 slows everything down to it’s base level. Ambience to finish. Great way to end the first disc.
1. WillRock – Champion’s Horizon (Route #26) 4:47
Starts out rocking right out the gate. Classic WillRock sound permeates this track, as with most of his other tracks. 0:29 brings in calm source usage. 0:39 is the return of the synth sound. 0:54 has the classic screaming guitar sound that is so beautiful. 1:17 brings in a solo. 1:53 or so brings more source usage. 2:12 has some piano; a rare calm spot for a WillRock track. But 2:25 proves it was just the calm before the storm, as everything intensifies tenfold from here on out. This is truly one heck of a track, and truly fantastic. 3:19 brings in some triumphant sounding guitar. 3:50 or so has a victorious solo. More calmness at 4:05 or so. 4:22 says PIKA!! And repeats a few more times until the end. Cute and unexpected.
2. Insert Rupee – Precious Metals (Goldenrod City) 2:25
Ben Briggs and halc team up once more for this song. Very evident source usage. Very happy as well; the musical glee is reminiscent of Why So Serious? More source usage at 0:58 or so, with a bit of a personalized touch. 1:12 has a solo using some classic sounds and PokÃ©mon cries. 1:42 has another solo. It all breaks down to simplicity at 2:07, and continues until the end.
3. WillRock – Slowpoke Shuffle (Azalea Town) 3:49
Ttthhhiiisss tttrrraaaccckkk iiiissss sssslllloooowwww…. A very mellow track; very well done Will! I’m half-tempted to review this song in the conclusion as a joke, but I won’t. Source is very evient throughout this track. 2:00 brings in a slow solo… a slowlo if you will. Source usage returns to dominance at 3:00 or so. Calmness continues to the end.
4. Mattias HÃ¤ggstrÃ¶m Gerdt, GSlicer – Casino Lounge (Goldenrod Game Corner) 4:43
Anso’s electronic expertise and GSlicer’s skills combine for one trance-tacular track. Rhythm appears at 0:30 or so. Source usage at 1:45 or so. This is a very rhythm-driven song; it works though. A bit of a solo begins at about 2:10. It’s like Rain Dance and then a water move; one part emphasizes the other. Nice work. Source returns at 3:30 or so. Calmness begins at 3:58 or so, and then builds up to the finale. Solo beat at 4:18, and then fadeout until the end.
5. Chrono, Dragon Avenger – Divine Olivine (Violet City) 4:15
What a happy beat! If Deia’s involved, I’m expecting vocals to go with a beat like this. Chimes play throughout. Source at 0:32. 0:47 brings in Deia going “na-na-na” more than that recent My Chemical Romance song. This is cooler too. More source at 1:21. Short breakdown at 1:35 or so. 1:56 brings Deia back, with backup vocals by DragonAvenger. Pretty well done. 2:38 brings in some beautiful piano, that brings in even more of the source. 3:14 returns the source that had been used up until this point. Basic beat from 3:55 or so until the end, with occasional chimes.
6. DragonAvenger – Jiggly Choir (Jigglypuff’s Song) 0:42
Okay, creeped out a bit. Damn Jigglypuffs… Anyone else getting sleepy? All this track contains is Jigglypuff singing. Pretty funny for an interlude. Then again, Deia did those on the FF4 album too…
7. ProtoDome – Home Is Where the Luvdisc Is… [Hearthome City (Day)] 1:45
0:12 brings in some jazzy source. Piano is used equally as the brass instruments. A bit of a solo begins at about 1:05. This continues until the end; beautifully done, Proto. Beautiful!
8. halc – My Friend Mudkip (Dewford Town ~ Surfing) 3:13
And now for the only Generation 3 remix on the album. Begins with some nice chippiness, and a great take on the source too. 0:30 brings in some background music. Also, for the record, I do like Mudkip. This is a very happy track, and chippier than a truckload of Lay’s put through a wood chipper. 1:30 brings in the Surfing source. This is even better than Shades of Red, believe it or not. A bit of a calm spot starts at 2:15 or so. A bit like Pacifidlog Town itself. Except this doesn’t float atop a colony of Corsola. Calmness and bass to end from 2:50 or so.
9. The Orichalcon – Argent Vexemon (Ice Path) 3:33
This is a very frigid song; by that, I mean the sounds are very icy. Bells and the like are used. 0:37 starts some electronic sounds. This a very intense song; 0:57 brings in a heavy beat. More source usage at 1:23 or so. There’s a large focus on the main rhythm here. A bit of a solo begins at 2:27 or so. A buildup to the end begins after this solo; the end really begins at 3:12, when it all starts to fade to silence until the end.
A very calm song… it starts to build right from the start until 0:23 when the source comes in. Some jazziness comes in at 0:37, taking on the source. This is a very well-balanced mix of chiptune and jazz. Chipjazz, if you will, is pretty much Proto’s specialty, it seems. Solo at 1:27 or so, and it’s beautiful. There’s some pitch bending at 1:46 or so; continues until 2:06 when a breakdown occurs. Sax-sound comes in at 2:11 and continues until the end. Piano finishes the track. Nice work by Blake the British guy who’s a bit strange…11. Fishy, Andy Jayne – Super Effective [Battle! Trainer (Johto)] 5:15
Ah, Fishy and Andy. A collab unseen since Summoning of Spirits. 0:20 brings in some epic guitar source usage. This song is even longer than Battle for the Badge; with this much rock I can’t wait to see how much it progresses. More source usage at 1:08. Some solo at 1:27 or so. Once again, it’s hard to review because all I want to do is listen. Mor source usage at 1:57 here. This song is certainly super effective against my musical tastes; I’m loving the dual guitars. More solo at 2:41, and this one sounds quite heavy. Source returns at 3:04 or so. Another solo at 3:17 that quickly returns to source usage. 3:47 brings in some more rocking on the source that is a mix between cover and solo as with so many other parts of this song. This is such a fast-paced song. Slowdown at 4:27 that brings in some piano. Slowness continues until 5:02 when it all starts to fade away.
12. WillRock, ProtoDome, halc – Bullet for My Piloswine [Route #225 (Day) ~ Ending] 4:00
Vocals at the start; Pretty rocking start. Chippiness comes in at 0:25. Also, this song is guilty of one of the most simultaneously horrid and awesome puns for a title ever. Rocking at 0:37 courtesy of Mr. Harby. More chiptunes at 0:53 or so. Heavy guitar at 1:25 or so. Solo at about 1:40. This is certainly an epic track. Piano comes in at 2:08, no doubt courtesy of Proto. Chiptunes at 2:23. More guitar at 2:33. Dual guitar sound at 2:48 or so. More awesome guitar at 3:20. Fade beginning at 3:49 or so until end.
13. pu_freak – Journey’s End (Ending) 3:09
And we come to the final track, with a very fitting title. What an aural journey it has been, too. Very awesome piano, here. Then again, what OCR album these days doesn’t have at least one epic piano track? Very slow track, but the source is highly evident. I don’t anticipate a huge buildup here, as it’s the last track, and relatively short too. But it does start to build starting at about 1:40. The finale is surely imminent. This such a beautiful track… it all starts to decline to silence at 2:30, with very calm piano dispersed throughout this final period. Ends with a classic sound effect.
Well, this album has been in the works for 4 years now, right around the time when Diamond and Pearl came out, heralding the beginning of Generation 4 and showing a grand total of 493 unique PokÃ©mon. And now, in less than a week Black and White come out, starting off Generation 5 and bringing the total up to 649. This album has been a long time coming, and that’s a very good thing. A nice balance between jazz, chiptunes, and epic guitar-driven rock, among other things, it comes together nicely. It’s definitely worth a download, and every track has earned its place on my hard drive. A much anticipated album, and the expectations were never too high. The end result met them and exceeded them without a doubt. Great work from everyone involved, and I can’t wait to hear and review the next album, whatever it may be. The only sure thing is that it will be OCRA-0024. Until next time, game on!
Well this is a new thing. Behold, the double review! Glorious, isn’t it? I’ve been meaning to review JH Sound’s Genuine LP for a while now, and once halc released his Pixel Perfect EP I knew I’d be reviewing that too. What better time than now than to do so, and why not review both in the same article? I regularly review double-disc albums anyways, so this is basically the same. Except that both discs are standalone albums and only related tangentially through the artist’s connections in the remixing community, and me. So here goes nothing!
JH SOUNDS – GENUINE
1. GenuineÂ Â Â Â 3:00
A pretty mellow track, with the title repeated for a while until about 0:47. At 1:03 it comes back, all chopped up. At this point, it becomes apparent that the word itself is used as an instrument unto itself. Drumwork is nice. At 2:38 the word fades out and JH’s trademark chime comes in to end.
2. PianaÂ Â Â Â 3:08
Fittingly enough, it begins with piano. And synth. A good combo, too! This track has a good melody to it. It switches up at about 1:04 and returns at 1:18 or so. 1:28 brings a breakdown that sounds sweet, and totally gives the song a new feel. Rhythm returns at about 2:20. Fades to end at 3:05
3. GlobalizationÂ Â Â Â 2:56
Sounds like a broken sound chip on an SNES at first; at 0:18 the beginnings of a pattern form and at 0:26 they come into full effect. A fun melody comes in at about 0:40. 1:25 brings a new instrument in, and like the other songs here, it adds to the ambience of the track. It ends to whistling at 2:30. The whistling itself ends at 2:50.
4. CreepersÂ Â Â Â 3:03
Funky track; sounds like it would work with the Munsters or something similar too, which rocks. The main melody ends for a brief time at 1:04 when a voice clip comes in. The music returns at 1:27 or so. The melody tunes down at 2:13, and returns at 2:22.
5. AOTDÂ Â Â Â 2:52
Interesting vocal clip from injury… the drums are solid again. The music jumps around a tiny bit, but it’s very enjoyable. As the song goes on, injury’s voice clip works as another instrument, like Noah Ludington’s voice clip from track one. It dies at 2:48 in humorous fashion.
6. Flatline feat. bill cakesÂ Â Â Â 3:02
Starts out with a flatline, naturally. Guitar here courtesy of bill cakes, and it’s done beautifully. At 0:49 the main track comes in, and it’s awesome. I really like what the two did here; it’s a beautiful collab. Then again, JH is great at collabs soo… yeah. Anyways, bill breaks down the guitar at about 2:00 in grand fashion. The song winds down at 2:52.
7. AmbushÂ Â Â Â 2:59
This sounds like a menacing track… I like it! Sounds like something big’s about to go down! Drums come in at 0:36 and add to the intensity. Mix-up at 1:26 doesn’t change the feel, and the drums returning keep it as tense as before. I want this song to play before I go to do anything, just to make it that much more dramatic. The sirens in the background starting at about 2:00 or so help too. It winds down starting at 2:30. It ends with a voice clip.
8. InfamyÂ Â Â Â 3:05
This song starts with FDR’s famous address to Congress after Pearl Harbor happened. Fitting, since the song’s name is infamy and FDR says it in said speech. I’m sure when FDR was alive, he never dreamed his voice would be used in a song like this. It’s actually a bit humorous. I like this track; it’s nice, and at 1:45 more of the speech is used a bit. Voice clip is chopped up starting at 2:25 or so. Breakdowns on this CD are quite regular and well… genuine. Voice clip chop to end.
9. CheekyÂ Â Â Â 2:58
White Stripes sample start the song out, and it’s nice. The drums and melody in the background are calming and fit the song. Trippy voice sample echo effect at 1:45 or so. This continues until 2:12 or so. Echo is used again every time the voice clip is used thereafter. A nice peaceful track.
10. FishyÂ Â Â Â 3:55
This track starts out quiet and builds up in grand fashion. Fittingly enough, this track contains a sample from the song “Echoes” by Fishy, alias Cain McCormack. The melody is beautiful and the mood is big. The sample comes in at 1:50 or so. It’s a bit strange, but it works. There’s a nice rhythm from about 2:30 until the end that works fantastically. Song starts to end at 3:43 and ends at 3:52.
11. MotorwayÂ Â Â Â 3:13
I just want to drive slowly listening to this song, even though I don’t know how to drive. It’s a fun track, with a nice moving rhythm. It’s calm and peaceful too. The melody goes basic at 2:50 and this plays until the end.
12. PrayerÂ Â Â Â 4:04
For the final main track of the album, JH decided to go religious a bit. A voice clip of a prayer begins the track, albeit a bit delayed. The melody plays throughout this voice clip, which plays throughout the entire track. Bass comes in at 1:12. Everything stops at 1:58 and resumes at 2:00. This entire speech is quite hilarious in it’s nonsensicality. There is a very defined rhythm, and the speech ends at 3:30. The melody continues until the end of the track.
13. Piana (RoboRob SpaceShip ReMix)Â Â Â Â 3:12
Ah yes, a remix… Very groovy and electronica-y. Some orchestral-like instrument comes in at 0:30. 1:01 brings about more of the main melody. 1:30 brings a voice clip, and 1:38 showcases a pretty slick effect. Sounds like the instruments in the source were sampled here for a more electronic sound. It’s a great mix, and fun to listen to. Everything continues as normal until 3:07 when it all suddenly stops.
HALC – PIXEL PERFECT
1. First HeadacheÂ Â Â Â 2:16
This sounds like the Game Boy Zelda fairy music at first. It’s very peaceful and relaxed. More chippiness comes in at 0:30, showing the main melody. It is also reminiscent of old Kirby music. It slows down at about 1:10. This is a very catchy track, and doesn’t incite a headache at all. It calms down at 1:58 or so.
2. Floating AwayÂ Â Â Â 2:56
Great choppy chips of Cthulhu! This song is more ethereal than a cloud! Was that a Mega Man sound effect I heard? 0:43 brings in some melody aside from the rhythm. 1:24 brings a breakdown, and the music slowly lowers it’s volume. At 1:44 it comes back. Looks like halc learned much from chthonic… err… Ben Briggs, in their time working together! Everything goes quiet at about 2:20 until the end, as it all slowly fades away.
3. 17-bitÂ Â Â Â 2:17
The melody comes in almost immediately. There is a very… not quite victorious or triumphant, but close… there is that sort of feel to this track. Like you’ve just done something monumental, but it’s not really a big deal… It quiets down at about 1:20 and returns at 1:38. Awesome chippiness at 1:54 or so. At 2:08 it begins it’s final descent.
4. White-OutÂ Â Â Â 2:15
Funky, groovy, nice bass. 0:10 brings in some melodious awesomeness. 0:28 shows off some echo-like chimes. This song has created it’s own ambience, and feels like an old cavernous dungeon theme from a game of yesteryear. 1:08 brings in another melody, albeit faint, and 1:28 mixes it up a bit. It returns at 1:45 with new beats. Bass to end.
5. Bad DecisionsÂ Â Â Â 3:20
I don’t think this song was a bad decision at all! Sure, it starts out slow, but it is building up to something epic. It keeps going, and by 0:30 there is some rhythm. 0:52 adds more rhythm, and 1:09 kicks off the melody. 1:28 adds some drum effects, with some bass effects. Main melody returns at 2:00, with some mixage of it incorporated. Now this sounds like some sort of infiltration theme for an old game. It fades out starting at 3:00 until the end. And a great end it is!
First off, JH’s album. It’s a great freshman effort, and it’s beautful. I would expect to see this on store shelves or something. It’s a highly enjoyable collection of average-sized tracks, perfect for someone on the go!
halc’s album, Pixel Perfect, shows off his champion chiptune skills masterfully, and is a great example of how old sounds can sound fresh and exciting. Each track is bite-sized, and full of nostalgic effects. Highly recommended, and highly advised for download. I hope he releases an LP of this soon; I must have more!
All in all, both albums are fantastic efforts by both artists, and are but the beginning of what they have in store, I’m sure. You can find more from JH at his website, jhsounds.com, and more from halc at his website, halc9bit.com. In our next thrilling installment, we’ll have a new album by that guy who has the perfect gigoquotes. If you know what that means, then I’m surprised you’re reading this. Until next time, game on!!
Christopher Tin has just made history by being the first composer to receive a Grammy for a song composed for a video game. Tin’s Baba Yetu from Civilization IV won the award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) at the 53rd Grammy Awards this evening.
Baba Yetu, while appearing as the first track on Tin’s debut album,”Calling All Dawns,” it was originally composed as the theme song for Civilization IV. Since it has been performed at numerous Video Games Live concerts. In addition, “Calling All Dawns” itself also won the Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Album, and includes judge, OC ReMix, and friend (<3) Jillian Aversa on the song “Sukla-Krsne“.
Will we ever see a day where video game soundtracks start making their way into the Grammy’s in full force? Well it might still be some time from now, but this is confirmation that we’re moving in the right direction.
Congratulations to Chris, and may he keep creating excellent scores and songs like this one.
One of the most anticipated albums in OCR history has finally been released! No, not Threshold of a Dream. I already reviewed that back in December, remember? No, it’s not The Missingno Tracks either; that doesn’t drop until the end of the month. I’m talking about OC ReMix vs. The Bad Dudes: Heroes vs. Villains. First conceived by Mustin, this album is the most collaborative album in OCR’s history, featuring work from the notorious Bad Dudes and several now-veteran OC ReMixers. And it’s a great collaboration indeed; you want to know more than read on! Just be warned, if you’re listening to this album some face-melting may occur. Let’s begin! Let the musical battle between Heroes and Villains begin!
But first, a little note. Due to the character-based nature of this album, the first line will contain track number, artist, title, and duration. The second line will contain character, series, and game the main source is from in italics. Okay, NOW let the battle begin!
Samus Aran (Metroid) – Super Metroid
It starts out classic BGC style; Mr. Hinson hasn’t lost his touch at all. Everything builds and builds continually… intensity rises clear past the minute mark… 1:12 brings in some awesome guitar to really kick the album, and the battle, off. 1:29 or so gets the melody rockin’ right on. 1:47 gets Samus’ theme in the mix. 2:09 isolates the theme from the rest, only to reacquaint it with everything else bit by bit starting at 2:25. By 2:55 it’s all back together, with more than it started with. A finale for the track seems imminent, as everything slows down at 3:20. Ambience kicks in shortly after, and carries the track through to the end.2. Mazedude – Dieselbrainage 4:20
Mother Brain (Metroid) – Super Metroid
Ambience continues, picked up by the first of the Bad Dudes, Mazedude. Infamous for his quirky tracks, Mr. Getman really keeps the mood eerie right off the bat. 0:52 brings in some rhythm. The drums ‘n bass genre works well for this track. Creepy sounds punctuate the soundscape like bats in a cave, only intensifying and amplifying the spooky atmosphere of the track. 1:59 brings in Samus’ theme, but it’s quickly silenced. After a brief breakdown at about 2:25, it all returns at about 2:58. Massive breakdowns much like the breaking of the glass around Mother Brain’s dome are plentiful in the later seconds of the track. By 3:46 the speed has slowed down considerably. 3:56 starts off a very basic rhythm. One dude down, many more to go. On to the next battle!3. audio fidelity feat. Eric Griffin, Derek Meler, Marcus Affeldt – Pirate Shout 3:32
Guybrush Threepwood (Monkey Island) – The Secret of Monkey Island
Ooh! Tropical! I like it already. And epic guitar at 0:13. audio fidelity didn’t waste any time. Screams of YO and HO add to the piratey feel. There’s awesome guitar and awesome chanting here. A flute comes in at about 2:20, only to be usurped by guitar again at 2:39. A PIRATE’S LIFE WAS MEANT FOR ME, TRIM THE SAILS AND ROAM THE SEA!! Think that’s the lyrics… they work. Awesome guitar to end.
4. Diggi Dis feat. Alex Jones – Voodoo, Roots ‘n Grog 3:45
LeChuck (Monkey Island) – The Secret of Monkey Island
Acoustic guitar now? And drums too? Awesome! This song has a nice rhythm… enjoyable. Some funky styling comes in at 1:03 or so, and the feel permeates the entire track. It’s quite groovy as well. Oh damn, chiptunes at 1:55 or so. This song has everything! More traditional instruments return at 2:24, with some awesome piano. A very fun track to listen to, only for all the funk and groove and general awesomeness… To the next battle!
5. Brandon Strader – Born of Ashes, Baptized in Blood 5:25
Kratos (God of War) – God of War
Starts out very dramatically, worthy of the character this battle is for. The question is, is the battle for the music or for Kratos’ very soul? Guitar comes in at 0:34 or so. Intensity builds at 1:05. Very nice guitar work done here by Mr. Strader. A bit of a mix comes about at about 2:20. Awesome bass at 2:44 or so. This song is more metal than the liquid metallic hydrogen seas of Jupiter. Yes, I mean the planet, not the Roman god, since this is Greek mythology-inspired. 4:35 brings in more melody, and it carries through to the end.
6. Kunal Majmudar – Wrath Industrial 3:01
Zeus (God of War) – God of War
Well the title’s not far off… this does sound very industrial. And bagpipey too; how that’s industrial I don’t know but it works. A very ambient piece… some electronica sounds come in at about 0:50. Guitar at 1:05 or so, and strings at 1:20 or so. Also a very unique track. More guitar at 1:46. Charging at 2:20 for awesome guitar at 2:25 or so. Song ends with a descent at 2:55. To the next battle!
7. WillRock – Bare Knuckle Blitz 4:00
Axel (Streets of Rage) – Streets of Rage
Whoa! I thought this was from Streets of Rage, not Dance Clubs of Passion. Regardless, Mr. Harby comes through, and rocks this track from the start. Signature WillRock sounds permeate the track like Febreze in a small dorm, and it’s a very good thing. 1:46 is an example of great guitar work by Will. This little bit continues until 2:14, when the main rhythm takes center stage. Everything breaks down for a bit unti 2:45 or so when it restarts in grand fashion. The song sort of takes a life of its own until 3:51 when the end begins.
8. zyko – Mr. Z 5:57
Mr. X (Streets of Rage) – Streets of Rage
Ah yes, zyko. A more versatile musician is hard to find, but we already have zyko so why bother looking? We’ve got some guitar, tense drumbeat, and electronic sound effects. Yep, it’s zyko. Laughing at 1:48 breaks the music down, but it slowly builds back up. By 2:24 or so, it’s back. Organ comes in at about 2:50. A solo of sorts busts out at about 3:05, with organ backing it up. Another sudden stop occurs at about 3:36… At 3:55 it all explodes back onto the scene. An awesome guitar solo picks up not long after, and continues more or less until 4:36. The end of the track is definitely building up. Sound clips from the game work well… after 4:45 or so weird effects and guitar go back and forth until the 5:25, when guitar comes back. It quickly vanishes and the main rhythm takes over and the end really does begin. To the next battle!
9. Mattias HÃ¤ggstrÃ¶m Gerdt – Screw Wily, I’m Taking a Vacation 4:08
Mega Man (Mega Man) – Mega Man 2
Piano and electronica. Typical of Mr. I-have-too-many-umlauts Gerdt. A very happy track worthy of a vacation. Some nice guitar comes in at about 0:53. The guitar comes back in at about 1:40 or so. I hear some Mega Man 9 title theme at 2:05 or so. This continues until 2:56 when a basic breakdown occurs. Everything returns back to the main source at 3:08 or so. The guitar takes prominence at about 3:18. More MM9 title at 3:40 or so. Heads up, last time Rock tried taking a vacation we got GUTSMAN’S ASS soo… yeah…
10. Joshua Morse – Screw Mega Man, I’m Taking Over The World 3:19
Dr. Wily (Mega Man) – Mega Man 4
Basic Morse style, and it’s never been more beautiful. Many parts working in harmony to create beauty. 0:45 isolates the main rhythm, punctuates with some bass and horns, and returns it to normal at about 1:00. At 1:28 we have some Wily Stage 1 from MM2. 1:52 brings the main rhythm back. The instrumentation is magnificent in this track, not surprisingly. A quick simplification occurs at about 2:45 or so and continues until the end. To the next battle!
11. bLiNd – Go Ninja, Go 4:13
T.M.N.T. (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Go bLiNd go! We’re halfway there! What a very mystical sounding track… it’s beautiful and awesome. Everything starts to come in at 0:44 with epic guitar. A very fast-paced track, worthy of them heroes in a half-shell. Breakdown at 1:40 or so. Everything comes back at 2:11 with a solo of sorts. Breakdown again at 3:00 or so. I guess the turtles learned how to shred… suppose that cancels out Shredder’s shredding or something… This very basic part continues until the end.
12. Danimal Cannon – Enter the Shredder 4:09
Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) – TMNT IV: Turtles in Time
Now can Shredder outshred the turtle’s track? Let’s see what Dan can do. Fast-paced guitar and drums starting at 0:03? Very epic. Forgive any future typos; my face might melt over my eyes blocking my vision. Super-fast stop at 0:54 and restart a second later. Another breakdown at about 1:40 or so. Chiptunish sound effects take over… guitar returns at 1:58 or so. More basic rhythm at 2:25. 2:49 brings a feminine voice clip saying Enter the Shredder, only to bring in one of Dan’s signature solos immediately afterward. This solo continues on until the end of the track, only to start breaking down near the end much like the Technodrome does ALL THE TIME. Ends with laughing. To the next battle.
13. JosÃ© the Bronx Rican feat. zyko – He Ain’t a G 4:22
Link (Legend of Zelda) – The Legend of Zelda
JosÃ© starts off rapping immediately. Good instrumentation. YOU MUST BE HIGH IF YOU WANT TO RULE. Okay, this song wins already. The lyrics are good, as is the rapping. I heard Treecko… I love all the double entendrÃ©s here. zyko takes over rapping at 2:14 or so. The echo effect on his voice works well. JosÃ© takes over at 2:48. The only tracks on the entire disc to be worked on by all involved in the particular battle, and it’s better for it. The track is passed on at 4:04 with instrumentation and the line, “Take this.”
14. zyko feat. JosÃ© the Bronx Rican – Bladewalker 7:19
Ganon (Legend of Zelda) – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
A basic retelling of A Link to the Past? Wouldn’t surprise me, but that’s why I like me some zyko. Randomness in music is his forte. And I mean that in the best way possible. Voiceovers like ones from a movie are played, and they’re as well-written as the lyrics in the Link track before this one. A very basic rhythm plays throughout this part. The final battle theme takes over at about 2:00… 2:49 brings in some lyrics. They’re as well-written as the previous vocal parts, and the instrumentation is good. 3:50 brings in some guitar. Each time the verse seems about to end, it continues. Very well-done. I AM ERROR. Okay, now the Link track has some competition. The guitar sounds very raw, and that fits Ganon’s pure unbridled hate. Probably the reason it’s so raw sounding. More spoken word at about 5:40. And then, JosÃ© at 5:50 or so. I think. Organs at 6:33 or so. Laughter at 6:40 or so. From here everything slows down to the end. To the next battle!
15. zircon, Joshua Morse – Satsui no Koto 2:57
Ryu (Street Fighter) – Street Fighter II
Wait? JM is on both sides? Okay, guess that works. Very Japanese sounding. Nice instrumentation. A bit of a solo at 0:45. Chiptunes at 1:15 or so. More strings at 1:39. Electronica at 1:56… this sounds like Morse’s part of the song. Piano at 2:08. Signature JM sound at 2:28 or so. Calmness through to the end.
16. posu yan, Joshua Morse feat. Stacy Morse – Coconut Milk 3:40
Sagat (Street Fighter) – Street Fighter II
After the introductory rhythm, main instruments come in at about 0:25. Another tropical track, moreso than the previous though. A very happy track too. A bit of an acoustic guitar solo at 1:34. More solo afterwards. Everything calms down at about 2:30. At 2:53 it picks back up. A finale is definitely imminent. Sure enough, it begins at 3:13. And it ends at 3:36. To the penultimate battle!
17. Insert Rupee (Benjamin Briggs, halc) – The Life and Death of Kirby 3:54
Kirby (Kirby) – Super Smash Bros.
It slowly builds… some nice bass and sound effects kick this off. Rhythm comes in at about 0:38, and melody at about 0:46. Chiptune champions Briggs and Wheeler take on this track with style and aplomb. It’s a great rendition too; happy, fun, chippy… what else needs to be said? Still think the band name should’ve been halchthonic, though. Solo of sorts at 2:00 or so. 2:40 or so brings a bit of breakdown. It works magnificently, especially at 3:00 when it takes on a unique feel with removed notes; a wondrous sound it makes though. Everything slowly tapers to the end at 3:45.
18. Mazedude – Hot Air Penguin 3:37
King Dedede (Kirby) – Kirby Super Star
He’s back for revenge!! Mr. Getman takes on Dedede’s theme wonderfully. Everything kicks in at 0:27. Chiptunes are present here; guess it’s a battle of the retro sound chips. At 1:11 the chippiness is really evident. Horns come in at 1:24. At 2:00 the horns and chips cohabitate the soundscape of the song. Piano is also used a lot here. 3:02 brings all instruments back for one final push. 3:15 signals the beginning of the end in piano chords. To the final battle! Who shall win? Let’s see!
19. Mustin – The Prodigal Son Returns 3:49
Simon Belmont (Castlevania) – Super Castlevania IV
Mustin’s not playing for the Bad Dudes here? Intriguing… just like the start of the track. Funky track for sure right here. 0:50 or so brings in some main source usage. 1:10 or so has piano for source usage. There’s also a whip sound effect throughout the track. Fitting. 1:42 brings in some of Mustin’s signature funk, probably borrowed from his own OneUp Studios hardware and/or software. Very mellow and calm. 2:17 signals a return of source usage… and whip. 3:08 brings in a solo, perfect for the end of the track.
20. Ailsean – A Walk with Death 4:16
Dracula (Castlevania) – Castlevania
And now, for the final song. Bad Dude vs. Bad Dude… who shall prevail? It’s tough, for this track starts out slow and calm, with ahh-ing and stuff. 0:33 brings in some simple guitar. 0:49 brings in more complicated guitar, still acoustic though. 1:04 makes it electric to great effect. 1:36 brings in more source usage. 1:51 has some laughter in the background, and again at 1:59. 2:08 returns to a very basic rhythm, and the ahh-ing returns. 2:39 brings back the awesome guitar. I’m expecting some epic guitar soon, Ailsean. Please don’t let me down. 3:11 returns the simplistic style of earlier in the track. 3:29 brings in what I was hoping for, epic guitar solo. Thanks for not letting me down man. Even though it stops at 3:45, it was still awesome. Acoustic returns at the four minute mark, only to stop at 4:10 to the end.
Well… it’s a bit hard to tell who came out on top here. If it was Heroes vs. Villains, then both sides battled bravely and built a balanced bout. If it was Bad Dudes vs. OverClocked ReMix, then each side masterfully manipulated music to manhandle the melee they momentarily met with. All alliteration aside though, this was a phenomenal album, worked on with love for the music and camraderie for the mixers.
The warning in the included readme file isn’t far off, either. “And if you’re reading this while listening to the album and still have a face, congratulations. But don’t freak out when your face starts melting. We warned you.” They most certainly did. Great work from all involved; I think this battle’s a stalemate. Until next time, game on!