ReMix: Halo: Combat Evolved 'Mahabharath Highlands'

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Halo: Combat Evolved

Some good Halo action; wouldn't necessarily have expected this number of mixes from the game's soundtrack, but GL and Freemind (with some tabla assistance from Binnie Katti of Northern Virginia) have come up with an interesting orchestral piece that actually feels colonial at times, like something from the Revolutionary War, save that tabla and sitar are injected. So, if some minutemen had been transplanted into the middle of bhangra gig, perhaps they all would have been groovy and jammed and made something similar. Regarding the title, Binnie writes:

"The Mahabharath is an ancient Indian tale of a great war between a fractioned royal family - a fight for the homeland. Highlands refers to the more Celtic instrumentation. Together they are cross-culturally fused, or something."

Wouldn't necessarily have placed this as distinctly Celtic in its instrumentation; certainly it has a rather worldly mixture going on. Definitely has the tone of a procession, military in nature - one envisions large battalions of what Bruce Willis in Die Hard would refer to as "badass perpetrators" coming to kick SOMEONE'S posterior something fierce. Strings, march style orchestral percussion, a flute of some nature (prolly the Celtic bit there), tabla, and later sitar and various additional percussion all combine for something that's quite cinematic, narrative, and climactic. I wouldn't have guessed this was a collab between two people, with a third adding a percussion track, which is also impressive in terms of unity and cohesion. Not techno, not really orchestral, this is more "ethnicestral" - an interesting combination of musical influences and something different in a dramatic sense. Good stuff.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Sari Uchiha
on 2011-01-26 10:33:05
Love this remix! Keep it up guys!
Pachi Risu
on 2009-11-18 22:59:35
Very pleased, as well amused, to hear the Sitar in
the remix. The entering woodwind at 2:11 causes a
strong nostalgia feeling towards Secret of Mana.
Nice job. Kudos.
OA
on 2009-03-31 11:12:08
Pretty classy stuff, the layered percussion worked really well, and the celtic-meets-indian vibe was both refreshing and effective. The interplay between the strings and flute themselves was great, and it keeps layering more on.
Great work, this collab really turned out awesome.
kongsmoelf
on 2008-03-22 09:10:30
I made a comment to this remix before I had played Halo or even heard the soundtrack. Well now I have played the game AND heard the track and I must say that this is a masterpiece. Many of the versions of the halo theme you hear (Guitar hero, bands etc.) does a incredible job at playing the Original Halo Theme. But you guys haven't just taken your synth and then played the actual theme. You have so many new plays in it and the tempo and the way you tacle the track is awesome. Also that, I don't know, asian kinda instruments you use gives it its own spirit. Actually you don't have that much from the original song. I would say a little actually, but that sort of plays behind all the other things in the baggrund and takes the pieces in some places which does that this is in fact a Halo theme. Fx. through the song you have the >>Tabs: 1-3-5-5/3/1 halo thing which does that we reconise the halo theme elements, and it sort of plays the bass while the guitar plays the riffs? Just like gregfrost say, you have the tone of the original theme and then all the things you added yourself:-P

So. Amazingly Great work!:<
gregfrost
on 2006-09-19 23:55:58
One of the things I really enjoy about this mix is that retains the martial tone of the original, while at the same time infusing it with a new (and difficult to pin down) feeling. I can imagine Master Chief, half his face painted blue, raising a Claymore high to bring up his division of Sikh space marines. It's surreal and nonsensical, yet intriguing. What an interesting piece.
icebeast
on 2006-05-15 04:11:44
This song is really unique, and it really surprises me that the source material is from Halo. It has a really nice flow to it, always moving and changing. Deffinatly a song I am going to be listening to a bunch.
Ninja-san
on 2005-10-26 10:15:40
Im a nintendo fangirl so i try avoiding halo but i couldnt resist keeping this song.
Another great remix by graylightning and freemind
DJ Pili
on 2005-08-05 20:26:08
This takes me to India. I picture elephants, young handsome guys with white clothing, and young beautiful girls wearing saris and a bindi in their foreheads.
salmonman78
on 2005-01-03 15:52:16
good job is just the overall quality of it all. make me think I could take on 4 hunters with nothing but my basic pistol. :P
toon psycho
on 2004-10-09 09:01:39
There is so much Celtic influence in this. It is a very good mix of different styles, they work well together.
Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck
Wallace Guyford
on 2004-08-24 01:19:14
dude, when I listen to this it really reminds me of Kashmir by Led Zepplin for some reason. anyone think so?
Cerd_Fen
on 2004-05-29 23:29:37
Great remix...it's got some awkward parts, but on the whole it's really good
To me, the underlining beat seems very Celtic, which I like.
Zekian wrote: When I listen to this, I can just see Master Chief running into a room full of grunts, assault rifle blaring.

...when I listen to this, I can just see Master Chief riverdancing...although that's kinda hard to imagine.
Freemind
on 2004-05-25 04:14:03
I would like to say that we don't have to forget Digital Coma who added the tablas parts!The sound of this ethnic percussive adds a more "india" mood to the remix.Thank you very much DC :wink:
Garde
on 2004-05-24 20:59:46
Ah, Freemind and GrayLightning once again team up for an excellent remix of the Halo title theme....
I heard a version of Freemind's older version of this song, which was much more new-agish, and I don't think "cinematic" in the least, but I still loved it. This version is almost uncomparable to what I just mentioned though, and it really impresses me to see how much this song has evolved. You could go as far as saying this is a remix of a remix...
Anyways, onto my review.
This song starts out great. The horn in the beginning plays that one long note, then the drum beat comes in and things start picking up. Again, it seems as though GrayLightning is the master of building up in songs, and this song is no exception. With the main theme playing in the background on the strings, it really adds a lot to the song. The instruments used are impecable and go together well, but as Adhesive_Boy said, I actually thought the reverb was a little dry, but people always tell me that there's too much reverb in my WIPs, so I wasn't sure. I actually think the whole song sounds a little bit dry, not just the flute, but again, I always seem to have too much reverb in songs that I work on, so going by what I say on this topic isn't usually the best thing to do.
Hmm... I just noticed that some drums seem to really stand out, like at 2:33. I've been listening to the song non-stop for a while, though this just got my attention while I am typing this up. I don't know if it's a good thing, but I think that it momentarily detracts from the focus on the melody. If that was what Gray and Freemind were aiming for, they succeeded, but I personally think that if that particular drum section were a little bit farther back, it would've sounded better.
Stopping with the nitpicking, I think that this song is pretty darn good. There are a few things that draw my attention, but I still think that the overall execution of the mix is pretty darn good. The instrumentation is excellent, and really fits the mood that this song sets. The songs builds very nicely, a quality that I think has been magnified over the older version (possibly by the hands of GrayLightning).
One thing that GrayLightning really seems to have a talent for is mixing instruments from different cultures together to make a unique sound that works really well. This song is no exception, and I have no doubt that GrayLightning had a pretty good influence on what the final instrumentation was going to be.
Now, I know I haven't been talking much about Freemind, all I've been saying is "Gray this and Gray that." Well, it's your turn Freemind :). I know that without you, this remix would never be. You set down the framework months ago, and although this song sounds very different, the song still sounds very much like your older new-age version. The harmonic and melodic ideas are yours, and that really is what makes this mix good. The instrumentation definitely accents your melodic and harmonic interpretation, but before Gray had a hand in this song, you came up with the material that is the cornerstone to making this mix as good as it is. I personally love what you've done with this mix, and I still listen to your older version, Reflections of Ireland, quite frequently :).
Both Freemind and GrayLightning have done an excellent job on this mix. I'm glad to get the chance to right this review up for you guys :). This really is quite an impressive remix, and I hope you guys do some more collaborations in the future, since I like the end results of what you guys have worked on together (not to mention what you guys do seperately as well ;)).
To everyone else, this is a recommended download if you're into Celtic sounding, or Indian (as in India) sounding music. Even if you're not biased towards either, you'll still probably enjoy this mix a lot because of the calibur that this was produced at.
FUZE
on 2004-05-24 20:56:24
another excellent song. unbeleivable. good job.