ReMix: Wing Commander 'Wing Theme Surf'
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- Game: Wing Commander (ORIGIN Systems, 1990, DOS)
- ReMixer(s): Dave Govett, George Alistair Sanger, Joe McDermott, K. Weston Phelan
- Composer(s): Dave Govett, George Alistair Sanger
- Song(s): Fanfare - The Main Theme, Swing Commander
- Posted: 2005-01-02, evaluated by djpretzel
- Terms (BETA): electric-guitar live-recording rock surf
The funkiest man in the world is an Indian taxi cab driver who works in New York City. I didn't get his name, unfortunately, but as the four of us, in the first hour of 2005, were transported in his chariot from the village to the upper east side, he blasted Bollywood techno and gesticulated wildly and enthusiastically with his hands as he drove, encouraging us all to do the same. We didn't know him, he didn't know us, and in any normal situation we'd be four mildly inebriated young white people he was merely ferrying across the urban expanse of the big apple. Yet his verve, his visceral love of the criminally catchy tunage that seeped from his mobile office, clearly was a force of nature he neither chose to nor could contain. That's how I spent this new year's - getting increasingly buzzed in New York City with my sister, her friend, and my brother-in-law, and ephemerally meeting the world's funkiest man, my hero, as he drove us from party to bar, sharing his love of music with us, whether we liked it or not. Hopefully a good omen for '05 - hope you and yours had a good time too.
2004 was, reservations aside, in the qualified words of Tori Amos (sans the sarcasm) still a pretty good year. Obviously, recent events in Asia with the tsunamis are hard to even think about in terms we can relate to, and there's a lot of recovering to do. I try to keep my personal beliefs out of these write-ups as much as possible, but this year did also see a certain election whose results I was... disappointed in. All things taken into account, preventable and unpreventable, personal and public, national and international, for me - and, I feel, for the site - last year saw considerably more good than bad. It was the year we finally cleaned up all the PHP and XSLT that drives the site's presentation and debuted a new, CSS-driven layout, aka OCR4. It was the year that I personally got far deeper into programming, specifically object-oriented stuff, than I vowed I ever would back in my days as a code-shunning graphic designer. I started a new job at the beginning of this year that's been working out great, read a couple fantasic books, and in general had little to complain about. In any given year, there's always a list of boxes left unchecked, i's not dotted, and t's not crossed, and there's certainly goals - OCR-related and otherwise - that I failed to accomplish. However, the site redesign took a lot out of me, and I feel like in general I've spent the last twelve months learning and stabilizing, with a fair amount of success in those specific arenas. The most recent changes to OCR have been in relation to the judges panel, with resignations, new assignments, and a removal, all of which - while sometimes stressful - have resulted in the year ending yet again with a capable group at the helm of an increased majority of all mix evaluations. The quality versus quantity mentality and the attitude that arrangement is just as important as production have been points of contention, and will probably remain so, but I feel like 2004 also saw improvements to the speed of the evaluation process as well as clarifications as to what, specifically, a ReMix *is*.
2005 will obviously present the same challenges for OCR as past years have - active participation from the judges panel, further refining and defining submission criteria, etc. If there were one specific thing that I think is in sight as a target for us this year, it'd be catching the submission queue up to a matter of weeks and not months. It's varied in length from being atrocious to simply displeasing over the years, but we've made good progess these last few months, and I think '05 can finally address this endemic, historical issue to the degree which it can realistically be addressed. If nothing else, that's a good starting place.
As a project that he willingly volunteered for, Larry Oji (aka Liontamer) has researched and provided updated data to me that, as a nice New Year's 'bonus', we've added to OCR's database, filling in email, url, name, and forum profile association for many ReMixer entries that were missing these fields. A very big thanks to him, as credit where credit is due is made all the more effective when mixers can be contacted/identified, and this isn't a particularly scintillating or otherwise rewarding task. As time constraints prevent me from doing these sorts of things, it's fantastic to have assistance like this, and I'm sure all the ReMixers for whom profile data was corrected or added appreciate such efforts.
This is a great mix to associate with the above, ritual 'State of the ReMix Address'; it's from The Fat Man, features a live performance with him as well as fellow game composers Dave Govett (the source material's composer) and Joe McDermott (ZAMN), covers the previously-unremixed PC classic Wing Commander, and converts the original orchestral fanfare to a very cool surf-rock affair, with offbeat chord stabs, drums, spring reverb and hard panning common to such recordings, and substantial morphing of the main WC melody into a syncopated, latinesque riff. George Sanger, the notorious Man of Fat, writes:
"It's Team Fat playing the theme from Wing Commander 1, live. The original composer (Dave Govett) is on drums. Joe McDermott (Zombies Ate my Neighbors) is on rhythm guitar, "Prof." K. Weston Phelan is on bass and I'm playing lead. I think we were playing at a Game Developers' Magazine function at a CES show, it was years ago. The applause is fake."
While editorial ethics may applaud George for noting the applause as an effect added on afterwards, it's nonetheless deserved. This is a classic theme, truly rearranged, with some catchy playing, genre-accurate processing, a couple minor recording glitches, and a very different, smooth vibe from the more quantized, fanfare exuberance of the (also excellent) original. Furthermore, it's performed by a talented group of guys of whom not one, but three, happen to be great game music composers. Download, enjoy, and a (belated) Happy New Year's to all!
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