Wow... I'm in Delaware. Drove down Thursday night for the Rehoboth Film Festival this weekend - nothing like going 15mph over, looking out for state troopers, blasting The Ken Song, driving past the stinky chicken farms on the backroads of slower, lower Delaware. Attended an interesting if brief presentation on film scoring and saw the dramatically-revised director's cut of Donnie Darko. Good stuff. I'm writing this review remotely, so typing and listening circumstances are less-than-ideal, but I wanted to get Shnabubula's VERY different, unique, distinct - hell, let's just say it: downright weird ReMix posted this weekend. Mr. bubula has done some very unusual things to the FF9 OST - dark, sordid things, no doubt prohibited by arcane laws in the red state of your choice. Judge Dan B. was this mix's biggest advocate, and his glowing review was both eloquent and bordering on evangelism for this very challenging piece, so I'll give him his piece:
"The very beginning synthwork is a subdued wah'ed line that very adeptly transmogrifies into the Hunter's melody. Once that rockin' main melody kicks in, some very abstract yet perfectly-suited ep chords back it up. I'm drooling over these chords. Great work. The mix then takes a surprising turn and plays through a minimal iteration of the main theme, before delving into a polyrhthmic drum feature that exhibits advanced knowledge of the drum kit. Then, the crazy bass synth launches into an atonal, chaotic run that smoothly transitions to a chilled out, jazzy section. The chordwork here is nothing short of beautiful. The utilization of the modified original melody with the new chord structure makes it seem fresh yet at the same time familiar. Suddenly, it plunges into a mean, minor-keyed motif. Very good use of key change to advance the song along. Following this section, sheer chaos erupts. I'm not sure how keen I am on some of these rhythmic discomboblations, but it generally works well enough to segue into the conclusion."
The judges panel acknowledged what the mixer is doing, here, but at the same time expressed some concern as to how the general OCR public would react; let this be a clear, distinct warning: this mix is sonically rather avant garde, NOT for those looking for genre-satisfaction. The ReMixer puts a lot of emphasis on texture, processing, and what ends up sounding like wavesequencing, as popularized by Korg's Wavestation synth - rapid succession of timbres, one after the other. Panning is generally meandering, percussion is EQ'd to intentionally lack oomph, and the whole composition is genuinely different on the instrumentation scene. If someone were to make music for nanomachines, this is what one might envision - tiny bites of sound, insect-like in their scope and precision, forming a larger composite whole. The end result is NOT what I'd call "easy" to listen to, but it does involve craft, arrangement, and interpretation, and the style is at once confident and boldly anti-gratification. Odd; read the panel's discussion for more information, listen with an open mind, and appreciate the details.
on 2016-08-05 11:49:21
I love trying to pick out all off the details in a song like this one. Love the textures. 10 smiles for you.
on 2016-04-10 22:48:17
For me, the main draw is 3:14 - 3:36. Things get ridiculously fast here, like there's a contest to see how much the percussion can be pushed to the limit. Consequently, it's hard for me to keep my composure while listening to this section. Sometimes I'm in stitches; often I laugh; always I smile.
I concur with djp's comment that this could be labeled "music for nanomachines." It definitely has that robotic feel to it - in fact, after a ritardando climax characteristic of a number of Sam's arrangements, the last several seconds sound like an emergency signal going, "Abort mission. Retreat in progress..."
Electronically pensive and exploratory.
on 2011-12-27 05:53:02
For the longest time I thought the intentionally muddy sound quality stood in the way of a great arrangement. It's still a bit like digging through the mud for goodies, but the warbly soundscape does give the track a peculiar feel of its own. This track forces you to listen to it closely. It sounds broken and muffled.. and weirdly old and nostalgic. I get a mental image of adventuring through partially undersea ruins. While being viewed from the side, in eight bits.
on 2010-04-30 12:05:37
I won't call it genius, but it's interesting to listen to for sure, and though the energy level is pretty static, mostly due to the encoding and samples, it never gets old.
No one makes mixes like Sam. 3
on 2009-12-01 05:30:37
BEST BEGINNING OF A MIX EVER.
The beginning is maybe one of the most genius things I've ever heard in a piece of music. I'm being completely serious.
Ok, you may say "what the hell are you talking about?" But bear with me for a second. I just wanna talk about the guts it takes to do what Mr. Ascher-Weiss has done in the first 20 seconds or so in this mix. You're trying to figure out how to do a cool an intro to a song, to really get people eased into what's coming up. Usually if you have lo-fi samples you try to conceal their ugliness as much as possible with reverb or other fx and having more stuff going on in the arrangement to hide some of the ugliness. There are certain standards of sound quality on OCR, and you know that people can be really ouchy about that. And at the very least you usually want to establish some kind of stable rhythmic backing so that it at least sounds like you have some skill and know what you're doing.
This mix says a big "fuck you" to both of those and does the exact opposite. It isolates the two worst quality samples right at the beginning and makes them really rhythmically complex and unstable. And it's genius. It's genius because it's the best possible attention-grabbing thing that you could do, and it's also something that you would think no one in their right mind would ever do. I mean, why would you ever intentionally try to make stuff sound bad? But Sam does it here, and it works so well because he's patient. He knows what's coming and you don't, and he knows that you don't know so he exploits that as much as possible. It's tension and release, like what Vigilante said. He wants to draw people in before they get any kind of payoff. All this tension and release makes you feel like you've really gone somewhere and experienced something real and true. It may not have been the easiest experience to undertake, but you feel like you've really gone through something, and it makes you uneasy. But, as you realize later, it's a very moving sort of uneasiness.
I talked to Sam about this mix recently and he told me the intro was kind of accidental. He said there was something really complicated going on in the beginning that he got so frustrated with, so he decided to take out everything except the drums and the bass. Happy accidents can be lead to genius ideas, and the beginning of this mix is a prime example.
Also there is no way this would sound better with better samples. There's so much filtering and stuff going on, I don't even know what it would sound like. A lot different, that's for sure, and probably less good.
Anyway...after a ton of listens this is undoubtedly one of my favorite mixes on the site. Not everyone's gonna like it, but for weird people like me, I need to hear stuff like this. It's like heroin, if heroin made me a better person after doing it. Forget about Sam's talent for a second, I wish people would take some more risks and push themselves as far as Sam has here. Cause that's what being an artist is about. Damn, that's what being a human is all about.
on 2009-02-14 17:41:27
It's taken me a lot of time to appreciate this on (including hearing the original in-game), and it's still not my favourites. I think the sound quality issue discussed extensively in the judging thread really brings this down for me. Well, I'll keep listening, perhaps it will start to shine for me too.
on 2008-11-26 23:50:51
I could swear the first few seconds were very boring and then it became a strange mess. I was about to turn it off, but then my mother called me to feed the dogs. So, while feeding the dogs, I listened to this conundrum, that actually made me come back and start it again.
The feel is so abstract you can't really see where it's going. The Hunter's Chance melody rings in every now and then, adding in some familiarity, then everything is back into chaos. It's an organized chaos, but I was surprised in this one really. I think my favorite part has to be the key change it gives it a synth-jazz-funk feel and this lasts for quite a while until it delves back into another key change into the melody.
Like natto, this song really does have an acquired taste, but it is phenomenal, nonetheless.
on 2008-10-27 23:54:36
I remember first hearing this and thinking it was something I could appreciate musically, but not something I would be listening to years later. Well, I'm still bumping it to this day, and I practically rock out to all the crazy rhythms and tempo changes. This piece practically changed my whole perspective on music, and that is no hyperbole my friend.
on 2007-04-22 18:00:16
Probably the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I'm so glad someone understands the progressive avant-gard style of music!
I don't know the piece but Shabablubahabwhateveryournameis... Nice, freaking mint.
It's a very very technical piece, instantly a favourite of mine, gorgeous, catchy, and fun.
I look forward to memorizing it as I did other thick IDM greats like Aphex Twin's 54 Cymru Beats or Squarepusher's Boneville Occident.
10/10, possibley my all-time favourite though I need to hear it a lot more.
And yeah. Word.
on 2006-09-30 10:06:27
While I never commented, I've loved this song ever since I downloaded it on release, left it in a folder, burnt it to CD with my latest songs, and found it through study listening. What's this? This is awesome.
I think it's safe to say that Sam is my favourite remixer, and this piece is up there as his very best. Several listenings are in order, but once the song is engrained in your mind, putting Hunter's Community Chest on is bliss.
on 2006-08-07 01:16:10
well, it was nearly rejected on the basis of sound quality. it's true, the samples are really crummy, and the arrangement would work with better ones. but it wouldn't be as charming.
on a purely logical basis, this song reminds me more than any of his other remixes of his original work (because it originally was, apparently) so i'd think i'd like it the most (i love his non-remix stuff more than any of his remixes)...but i got sorta bored of it.
on 2006-07-24 11:00:21
wow, i just read the judges decision thread for this one--how can this not be instantly accepted? I think this is one of shnabubula's best works, and one of the best works on the site. I feel like Shnabubula's compositions teeter on the line between genius and insanity
I guess then again, it really took me a few good listens in the car to realize how incredible this is...
but seriously this is ridiculous
on 2006-07-18 17:04:25
This was certainly interesting. Liked it too. Though, I could totally imagine 2:49 be the start of a new dynamic with a very fast beat and transition into climax. That would've been nicer I think.
on 2006-04-22 15:12:57
Little known fact; Shnabubula's music is outlawed in three countries as an excessively addictive substance. Okay, not quite, but the latter half stands. One can't help but praise a remix that takes something like Hunter's Chance and makes it so... so... funky? I don't have a word readied for this, so I'll just say "The sound of awesome colliding."
on 2006-01-30 01:03:55
Shnabubula's music owns me. Everytime I hear a Shna tune my head just rattles around on my neck uncontrollably. If only I could bear his children... er, nevermind.
Song's kickin', by the way.
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