ReMix: Gauntlet III: The Final Quest 'Blue Wizard Is About to Die'

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Gauntlet III: The Final Quest

Edgy stuff. We last saw a proud member of the Gauntlet series covered by Mustin and Nate Cloud, all the way back in 2000, with the emphatic GAUNTLET!, but there's been nary a peep since, so it's fortuitous that Binster's given some effect-laden electronica lovin' to Tim Follin's score to the series third outing on the Commodore 64. There's an abundance of effects and trixie DSP applied to the basic groove, here, and most of the mileage is gained via the myriad mangled mutations the mixer manages to milk from the material. Things intro with a "welcome" sample and fx and broken, turntablized samples, as the basic synth motif enters and is eventually given primacy with a synth bass and meaty electro-acoustic kit. There's a lovely cross-panned arpeggio break, after which reverb is turned up to abyss-levels and things disappear into the distance, only to come right back at ya much heavier circa 1'16" with a deep'n'dirty synth bass and afterwards some filtering fun. When taken to these levels of creativity (and extremity), effects and augmentation can become forms of rearrangement and not just aspects of production, as they begin having a much more salient impact on the melody and structure of a piece. Binnie explains why I think this mix got the panel majority:

"The melody isn't obscured - it's not the focus. The shredded beatwork and sharp texture is what makes the day, which he-who-shares-my-nickname is excellent at."

At two-and-a-half minutes, it's more of an excursion than a journey, but any lengthening I think would have required more substantive additions to either the melodic or harmonic components, which I don't think Binster wanted to emphasize. This actually serves as a good example of how to ReMix in a fashion that's still interpretive, but focuses more on building around the original material than within it. Such approaches may be more sustainable for genres that allow for more expansive use of effects, i.e. electronica, but they work nonetheless. We've heard in previous mixes from Binster that he can do more on the arrangement side of the equation, and I think his other submissions which have done so have been longer for that very reason, but I also think he's created a mix in Blue Wizard that illustrates a different methodology but with similarly successful results.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Marmiduke
on 2012-09-29 03:38:40
This is just a fantastic mixer playing with his medium, and I find it pretty disappointing that so many people reacted against it back in the day, or just didn't seem to have a good time listening to it. Maybe it's that binster was a bit ahead of his time.
While some see a choppy, messy configuration of synth and distortion, I see a sophisticated ballet of rhythm. And while it's technically not the most bewitching mix ever, it deserves a lot of credit. And furthermore, I think it's just plain enjoyable to listen to... never boring, never stagnant, short but crammed full of technique.
Yes, it lack a certain catchiness, but by no means should that allow it to fly over your head.
OA
on 2009-03-19 14:23:09
Snare is a bit too piercing, but otherwise this is a pretty slammin track. There isn't a huge melodic hook to grab me, but the rhythms are great, and the synths chosen are creative and cool. I love the distorted and gated synth, it adds an awesome texture to the proceedings, and has a really unique character to it.
Melodically it repeats a lot, but there are a ton of other variations to keep things moving along and progressing, as well as some really cool transitions. Even the sound clips, which are normally frownworthy from me are mixed in a way as to not be distracting, but more like a rhythmic background element.
I think the ending was a bit weak, and could have been perfect with a large build leading to the SFX outro that it had, but it wasn't so weak as to cripple the rest of the track. It took a few listens to really get into this one, but I can recommend it after closer inspection. Check it out, guys. :-)
animatedjay
on 2009-01-28 14:02:39
nice groove. Get's a bit choppy toward the end but ends nicely. Overall, really good.
Platonist
on 2008-01-20 21:50:33
i like this remix alot !
Mr. Binfield knew even back then what he was doing - hopefully we'll hear more remixes from him soon
Liontamer
on 2008-01-19 04:37:28
Protricity;46953 wrote: Yep. Way underdeveleped, short, and repetitive.

Couldn't disagree more. The melody repeats, but the textures are evolving and developed the whole way through. That's why it could manage only being 2:32-long.
This was one of the few judges decisions I've come to realize I was wrong in voting NO on. Whenever something passes in light of a NO from me, or the vote is close, I tend to revisit the mix to make sure my opinion hasn't changed. There've been maybe 4 decisions out of 1,600+ that I've ever found fault in, and this was one of them.
I believe I told Martin this a few years ago, but it bears mentioning again. I was spoiled with the older VGMix version of this track. When he subbed this version, the original synth playing the melody at :19 was pushed a lot farther into the back, replaced upfront with the funkier synth. I was too focused on how the older lead was fairly inaudible, and thus wasn't feeling like the source melody was used enough in that first half of the mix. Binnie was right in pointing out how the melody was there on that other synth, but it didn't click with me until after this got posted.
Martin had no hard feelings, and I'm glad all's well that ends well. I'm definitely a big fan of this one, and this does a great job adding a lot of beef and additional substance to Follin's original work. Follin has marveled before at the quality and skill in what some arrangers have done to his work; I can only imagine he'd feel the same way about this one.
OmegaMan
on 2005-08-31 08:15:36
Honestly, I think Binster said it best...basically, if you don't particularly dig this song, it may simply not be your cup of tea.
Personally, I enjoyed the track very much. It's a little dwarfish in size (get it? Dwarf? Because the song is from Gaunt...let...yeah, ok)...but not all tracks have to be hugely epic, especially when the seed of the fruit isn't all that involved or lengthy.
With what you were given, I could see you pulling from other pools to spice it up...great. Two lumps of sugary scratches for my tea, please. Thank you.
In the end, I also felt it was finished...I mean, it is a remix...if you wanted to compose a more elaborate and lengthy track, you would have chose another song (or another game), right?
I haven't heard the bulk of your discography, so I can't make general statements like "this track is nowhere near your ususal set-bar of talent." Perhaps, that's a good thing...though I doubt that's the case.
I suppose, my one point of major criticism is:
Why "Blue Wizard is about to Die?" The track sounded more like "Blue Wizard needs Groove Badly"...that's all I can think of...I'm tired.
Good work
Mick
Baruch - Vampire Lord
on 2005-08-30 15:45:28
Good. Because, for a second their I thought I was mad. Now, I'll just go back to creating my disintigrator beam with the help of the lovely bunnies. Ted Turner will never know what hit him. MWA HA HA HA HA! :lmassoff:
binster
on 2005-08-30 04:32:19
Baruch, Vampire Lord wrote: Maybe it's just me, but did the song ever actually say 'Blue wizard is about to die?' I didn't hear it.

You'll be pleased to know that you're not going mad, the mix doesn't feature that sample - I had a hard time finding it...
Baruch - Vampire Lord
on 2005-08-29 15:45:08
Maybe it's just me, but did the song ever actually say 'Blue wizard is about to die?' I didn't hear it. It was hard to sit down and seriously listen to this song-it just doesn't catch my interest. Good song, just nothing exceptional.
7/10
RimFrost the Tourianist
on 2005-03-13 03:49:26
A bit repetetive ..therefore it's thankfully short.
Although it's a raving track nontheless ..and fun.
8)
ArseAssassin
on 2005-03-06 09:08:36
Yup. Definitely fun to listen to.
Being a goa lover, I found this remix very enjoyable, though a bit short. I love the intro and all the crazy, maybe even a bit chaotic stuff that's going on in here. However, I'm not too fond of the drums or the bass, they seem a bit thin.
But overall, nice work! :nicework:
Xelebes
on 2005-02-28 20:22:30
Nice piece. A fun track to change a pace to in a breaks set which is a good thing. Electronica needs more solid off-the-wall-esque pieces and this fits that bill.
binster
on 2005-02-28 18:01:08
I wasn't expecting to divide the audience like this.
To those who like it, I'm glad you do. I really feel that this track is 'done' - whereas I'm always eager to return to my other tracks, "Blue Wizard" I am happy to leave alone.
To those who prefer the VGmix version, then I guess that mix is for you. It pains me greatly to read Liontamer's NO verdict, as he has always been so supportive of, and positive about my stuff - I almost feel that I've disappointed you, Larry...
To those who don't dig this at all, you're missing out ;)
Cheers for all the feedback, pos and neg.
Binster
Stalwart Jester
on 2005-02-27 23:29:36
It's interesting, to say the least. o.o I like it, myself, too. It may not be everybody's cup of tea however. :roll:
sgx
on 2005-02-27 17:56:08
Very nice yo.