ReMix: Marble Madness "Sphercular Kinetics" 5:23

By Sideways Staircase

Artist Links
Arranging the music of one song...

"Practice Race (Level 1)"

Primary Game: Marble Madness (Milton Bradley, 1988, NES), music by Brad Fuller, David Wise, Hal Canon

Posted 2002-08-28, evaluated by djpretzel


Cool. I was never too good at Marble Madness - the damn marbles kept falling off the edge and I just sat there watching, helplessly. In spite of this traumatizing childhood experience, I still have a positive opinion of the game - quite original for its time, neat graphics, stereo music, etc. Kinda paved the way for games like Super Monkey Ball, too. It's about time we got some mixage to cover one of Atari's milestone classics, and newcomer Sideways Staircase is here to oblige. This is exceedingly trippy stuff - no pharmaceuticals required. Introing with evocative synth textures reminiscent of portions of Vangelis' awesome Blade Runner score, some more substantial percussion in the form of panned congas join in at 0'50", followed by a slap bass that quickly becomes a sub-octave pitch-bending synth bass. Then some tablas. Then a house snare, then more effects and the bass taking on melodic coverage practically by itself until around 2'37" where things become a bit more recognizable. I really dig the bassline here - very dynamic + deep, though not to the point of being inscrutable. Some of the effects are delicious, too, and the bed of reverb that the mix sits in is cavernous yet clear. For all us Kubrick / 2001 fans, there's a repeated HAL 9000 sample during the mostly fx-based ending. Interesting work, all around - has the feeling of being timeless, yet futuristic as well, and I do think the Blade Runner comparison is warranted. Slick stuff from Sideways Staircase - if this is the first ReMix, I'm very anxious to see what else is in store.

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
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WesternZypher
on 2010-08-03 21:22:48

I've had this on the playlists of my various music players for years - it's a shame the submitter never posted anything else (that we know of) to the site. I wonder if he has submissions elsewhere on the web?

Indian dance fights? That sounds interestin' :o

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Polo
on 2009-08-01 10:03:35

This really takes the source for a spin. It warms up extensively yet vividly, flexing a palette of ideas like muscles. I love the piano in particular - it effectively heralds the mix like the dawn of a new day. Drum and percussion maturation is so delectable you can almost taste it; intro appetizers grow into new tonalities and intensities (1:35+ = hot). Periodic quips like the wind flaps and the Game Over riff add a bold and ghostly sub-vibe to the mix. Even the ending's no slouch - it ebbs and sighs like a sunset, matching the grace of the intro.

It rolls, it morphs, it's a controlled but fun ride like an automatic ball machine.

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OA
on 2008-12-09 17:03:17

The beginning was totally ambient which is normally a distinct turnoff, but I found myself really interested in the first bit a lot. It lost a little once the bass and percussion came in, but once the music started, it was pretty awesome. A super slow build suits this source, which is really sunny and cheerful.

the chiptune style with the deep ambiance is a bit strange at first, but it really ends up melding pretty well, even though the structure is a bit lacking. The transitions aren't amazingly strong, but the whole track is just overall soothing.

The vocal sample at the end didn't really fit with the theme and felt tacked on. I could have done without that. Otherwise a really pleasant and interesting mix. Not what i'd expect at all, but it works.

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Jaybell
on 2007-10-24 15:57:52

This is SUCH a good song! It's all trippy ambient and stuff... It's so great. Definitely one of the best on OCR.

I really would've liked to hear more from Sideways Staircase.

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KogeJoe
on 2007-01-24 09:16:10

MORE good music from a HORRIBLE GAME!!! I can't believe it!!!

Dude, never stop!!! Absolutely ear-gasmic!!!

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Blue_Drac
on 2005-08-16 15:44:30

My mind is going.......My mind is going.......My mind is going.......My mind is going.......My mind is going.......My mind is going.......My mind is going.......My mind is going.......My mind is going.......My mind is going.......My mind is going.......

Ok, it's gone now.

Good mix. I liked it.

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Kailem
on 2005-03-06 21:12:26

Definitely one of my favourite mixes on this site. Does anyone have any more information on Sidways Staircase? I would love to hear some more for this artist but it seems like (s)he's dropped out of the internet, or something.

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NeOmega
on 2004-09-06 19:59:05

Never played marble madness....

....but this is nice, very synthy and harmonic.

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LightCecil
on 2004-02-20 14:10:58

Awww yeah. Marble madness, one of my earliest NES memories. I just love the beginning, especially the simple level starting sound effect as an intro. Perfect. I agree the muddled beginning wasn't much of an intro, but just the start of that soundeffect, I knew I had to finish listening to this, so I sorta grinned and bore it until the real song started.

On a similar note (OT) I remember my friend took his portable Commodore thing (portable for the time....) and this was the first game we played on it.

EDIT: Whao I just noticed the "My mind is going..." quote at the end, and it actually repeates very quietly for the ending... The author even slipped in a little 2001 into the mix.

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artificialist
on 2003-06-18 23:40:29

I was hoping for a stage 1 remix

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{ATS}Forsaken
on 2003-06-18 14:26:00

WoW you know this song brings back memories. this song now-a-days gets me really sad because it reminds me of when my brother an i were little. and had the new NES and would play that game...memories heh..now we're are all grod up (well im 16 at least). but yeah i like the back round theme they artist made with the song. I do play it still on my nes emulator..er..wait..no i have no illegal roms..what are you talking about =p

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Riku
on 2002-12-07 16:35:42

I spaced to this song the first time I heard it, which was in the middle of class, so of course, I missed the assignment description and failed that assignment. Truly excellent quality work!

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Fyrewave
on 2002-11-06 19:12:21

This one is Awsome!. I loved this game and this remix pushes all the buttons for frustrating memories and thinking Nintendo was the greatest acheivement of man.

Thanks Mr. Staircase!

:D

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Jo-san
on 2002-09-18 08:24:54

Have you ever seen the fighting-dances of India? this song really reminds me of them. The myriad movement s correspond to the beats

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Disco Dan
on 2002-08-29 15:26:32

Yeah, I have to agree with djp's first comparison more. Vangelis.

It pretty much sounds like a sonic mess up to around 1:40, but after that there's something definitive. The quality is nice. Oh. This is supposed to be that music. Nice to see it's actually in the mix somewhere. To be honest, this doesn't really remind me of mutagene. It's not really trippy enough for mutagene's style. Not that this isn't nice work, but it reminds me of Sidewaystaircase before anyone else, except possibly in the area of "sonic depth" alone. And it sort of seems to break off at 5:23. Like it's trying to fade slowly out but stops the fade out just about 5 seconds too short.

Anyway, nice stuff

DC

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
Marble Madness (Milton Bradley, 1988, NES)
Music by Brad Fuller, David Wise, Hal Canon
Songs:
"Practice Race (Level 1)"

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File Information


Name:
Marble_Madness_Sphercular_Kinetics_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
5,259,215 bytes
MD5:
931bbe35bf1630da7a79272ca32dd570
Bitrate:
128Kbps
Duration:
5:23

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