ReMix: Akumajo Dracula "Mucho Dollar Care a Junk CIA"
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It's a well-accepted fact that anyone who plays a real X68000, or even plays an X68K emulator, instantly becomes ten times cooler - at least in the world of Japanese gaming fandom, and especially if you're talking Konami, who released quite a few titles for the Japanese computer platform, including the initial version of Castlevania Chronicles, which was eventually ported to PSX. Our first X68K ReMix comes from none other than Shnabubula, aka Samuel Ascher-Weiss, who continues his stream of impressive, idiosyncratic artistry, now moving into Transylvanian fare. So we all knew Samuel was a cool bloke, but he adds on to that rep by covering the X68K version instead of the more widely-known PSX incarnation, and covering it well. The ReMixer 'splains:
"I'd like to explain the title of this song. I'm afraid it might exceed the character limit though. Recently you had a submission called Xexyz 'Exizk'. It kind of looks like an anagram, but it's not really. I thought it would be funny if I could come up with an anagram for: 'Akumajo Dracula Chronicle' and what I got was: Mucho Dollar Care a Junk CIA. [if this title is too long, the original title for this song was sandstorm, and you can use that instead]I loved the Akumajo Dracula Chronicle soundtrack for the X68000 and I hated the PSX Version. This will be my last submission in a while because I need to really beef up my practicing [I've been writing alot of remixes/originals so my practicing has been suffering]. It has been a pleasure!"
The pleasure's been all ours. Like Israfel's work, to me much of Shnabub's pieces sound like what would happen if you took the idea of game soundtrack arranging to an upper-level college course on music theory - technical, elaborate, challenging, and yet still polished. Binnie writes:
"But the good, and what invariably maks up for the lack of human element: the phrasing. It is both bold and very enjoyable. The acoustic guitar and flutes are very well paired to play off each other and keep the song rolling between dynamic peaks. The hand percussion is simple but seats the beat well."
While Larry took the time to complement the mixer's overall ouvre and pass on the best wishes:
"...in any case, I've got no issues here. Best of luck with the Chopin stuff you're working on, Sam. For the next six months or so, the community can enjoy your four OC mixes along with your other work"
Very cool piece - this is a game mix that, like Hunter's Community Chest, really ends up sounding like very little else I've ever heard, but still works. The integration of the acoustic guitar into the mix is key, and the phrasing, as several judges, is just cool. It harkens back to some of the crazier movie scores like North by Northwest or Touch of Evil with the instrumentation, esp. the very slick latin percussion. The filtering brought in at 2'04" - Samuel is fearless, tries all sorts of ideas that most arrangers, myself included, would dismiss as impossible to implement, and makes them work. Nothing, I mean nothing, else on OCR sounds like this. That's not a value judgment in and of itself as to it being "better" or "worse", but it what does tell you is that, for whatever it's worth, Shnabubula is not only prolific, but also manages to make difficult, highly conceptual arrangements fly. Hear's to hoping his Chopin studies are expedited as much as possible; probably my favorite piece of his work to date. Very sharp.
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