ReMix: Wing Commander 'Wing Theme Surf'

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Wing Commander

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!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Marmiduke
on 2010-02-22 07:52:25
This is mostly exceptional for the cred that it brings with it, but it's not without its nice, warm charms. Great live recording, though it lacks a lot of atmosphere that makes some live recordings sound so distinct and engrossing. Didn't really connect with the fake atmosphere implanted into it, since I could tell it wasn't real as soon as I heard it. Other than that, there aren't any hitches to speak of (especially nice to see in live recordings). It's a simple arrangement for sure, but given the genre and the band set-up, that's all that's really needed.
A nice laid back performance, made extra special by the very talented gentleman behind it all. Occasional recognition from the creative epicenter is monumental.
OA
on 2008-05-05 12:18:05
Pretty nice arrangement, and a good live vibe. Guitar tones are nice, and the mixing and panning are great. I'm not huge on the concept of fake applause, but it certainly does lead into the track well.
The source is pretty good, and the transformation was certainly not what I would have expected, but turns out to be very enjoyable.
Nice work, Team Fat.
Liontamer
on 2007-08-10 12:37:42
Always enjoyable. Never had any issues with the arrangement or production, so I'm not sure why anyone thought it sounded questionable. The mix makes me want to see what others can do with the theme, which is a great accomplishment.
ella guro
on 2005-01-18 19:18:11
I'm not familiar with the other surf mix in question, and while the applause here is a little stupid and the recording certainly isn't perfect, I really enjoyed this. Regardless of who this is by, the playing is solid and it's a good adaptation into the surf genre. Whether it is essentially a cover or not, I'm not sure. But it does accomplish exactly what it sets out to do.
SEODRohan
on 2005-01-11 01:29:38
I was hesitant at first. I was a huge fan of the original Wing Commander, and a chill song is not what I have in mind for the theme. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It's very relaxing and well done.
djpretzel
on 2005-01-07 18:20:52
Borgnine wrote: I think a metronome would have helped.
Trying to be civil...but it's mind boggling that my surf remix was rejected, and this was accepted.....

I liked your mix a lot, and I don't think the panel was overly negative; Gray especially was on the fence, and I think resubmitting with minor changes could still see it posted.
However, I have to say, in no universe of mine is your mix "mind bogglingly" better than this; I think perhaps your perspective is somewhat biased due to having a surf mix that wasn't posted. I'd say they're fairly comparable, with a cleaner recording on yours and a more varied arrangement here. I appreciate efforts to be civil, and make such efforts myself when I recommend not using the term "mind boggling" to describe how much better your music is than others'....
Blake
on 2005-01-07 18:03:40
arias wrote:
oc_stealth wrote: Not to sound like an idiot, but did anyone notice the screenshot of the game before downloading?
I absolutely hate when there's applause in the beginning of a song- it just makes it sound stupid. Otherwise I think it's an ok mix. It's not really a song I'd play over and over, it gets kind of boring (and it's not that enjoyable at first anyway). Maybe it's just me.

I hope all of you (non) idiots read the commentary and realised the song was played live.
I like.

"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."

This song is still good. I don't know why people question it getting on to the site even with the sound quality. THis is a submission by three different game music creators.
Borgnine
on 2005-01-07 17:53:18
I think a metronome would have helped.
Trying to be civil...but it's mind boggling that my surf remix was rejected, and this was accepted.....
arias
on 2005-01-07 17:44:49
oc_stealth wrote: Not to sound like an idiot, but did anyone notice the screenshot of the game before downloading?
I absolutely hate when there's applause in the beginning of a song- it just makes it sound stupid. Otherwise I think it's an ok mix. It's not really a song I'd play over and over, it gets kind of boring (and it's not that enjoyable at first anyway). Maybe it's just me.

I hope all of you (non) idiots read the commentary and realised the song was played live.
I like.
Txai
on 2005-01-07 13:01:31
I can´t believe that this stuff is here. Man, this is full of hidden noises. Noises! That is a source of error in the loyalty from this remix. Increases the volume, to confer the bad quality of this work.
oc_stealth
on 2005-01-05 22:15:37
Not to sound like an idiot, but did anyone notice the screenshot of the game before downloading?
I absolutely hate when there's applause in the beginning of a song- it just makes it sound stupid. Otherwise I think it's an ok mix. It's not really a song I'd play over and over, it gets kind of boring (and it's not that enjoyable at first anyway). Maybe it's just me.
neminem
on 2005-01-05 19:22:45
Yeah, I wish we had more music with this feel on OCR - I was just thinking how the Chocobo theme would sound great like this, for instance. I grew up in Santa Cruz, which meant seeing surf videos around town all the time. Didn't care about the surfing too much, but the music was good :).
And yes, this is also really well put together. Nice to see people who create the music we remix, getting into the spirit of remixing themselves!
underthesun
on 2005-01-04 22:32:55
The style really brings back memories from a long time ago, when I was still small. The rythm sounded strange at the beginning, but very shortly after that it gets to be good. I really like this mix, awesome job :D
Klay
on 2005-01-04 21:19:55
This is some great stuff, and I believe the first "surf" mix on the site. As always, its an honor to have professional composers send their stuff to OCR.
Blake
on 2005-01-02 18:24:54
This ReMix is awesome. It's very chill and sounds very professional. It's even more awesome to know it was recorded by three different game music composers and subbmitted to OCR. Cool stuff, as we appreciate you guys.