When I think Italo-Disco I mainly think of Gigi D'Agostino, whom Disco Dan introduced me to on our ill-fated journey to NYC many moons ago, but there's linkage back to bands like New Order, whom newcomer Robbie Sabo, alias AkumajoBelmont, cites in his submission email:
"It's an 80's inspired piece, and it's EXTREMELY reminiscent of classic 80's groups like New Order etc.... With this track, i was originally going to have vocals in place of the familiar Drac's Castle melody... however... things like this can make or break a song, and such, i decided against them. The mixing style is, i'm sure you will agree, completely 80's. An era where the electronic music genre was finding it's feet, and i hope i've captured that imperfect feeling within this track.
Rarely do we get submissions from artists professing to have aimed for imperfection, but I think if you're familiar with the genre you'll know what he means. It's the same sort of charm The Velvet Underground consciously strove for with low-fi recordings back in the day. Here, Akumajo B. applies it to Castlevania SotN, one of the best Castlevanias ever (and fairly undercovered) and comes up with a catchy, kitschy, somewhat campy mix that's nevertheless carefully constructed and which succeeds at emulating the style in question - very overtly, with a man-machine voice directly informing us of the chosen genre in the intro. We don't really have to take his word for it, but thankfully his statements prove true. Orchestra hits are used - and you have no idea how rare this is - tastefully and appropriately. They happen to be a staple of the genre, sure, but given how often I've heard orchestra hits used, abused, and spattered over mixes like blood in a slasher flick, it's refreshing to hear them pop up in a more conducive context. Think Pet Shop Boys' cover of "Always on my Mind" for reference. Shariq invokes Zemeckis' protagonist with his spin:
"Yeah, orch hits could have been punchier and meatier, but I really like what's going on here. It's got a nice beat and you can dance to it. If that's good enough for Marty McFly, that's good enough for me. Anyway, percussion gets the job done nicely with enough change ups to keep things interesting. There could have been less reiteration throughout, but it wasn't a mix killer; it works."
Pretty much; certain genres like trance and yes, Italo-Disco, rely inherently on repetition, though there's clearly room (and call) within that framework for substantial variation and creativity, which Sabo herein applies. It's not an artistic powerhouse of a mix, nor does it break the technique-o-meter or conceptually awe, but it's well-executed fun and should be enjoyed by those who're into the self-consciously saccharine and musically hedonistic land of 80's electronica. Count me in.
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Konami, 1997, PS1)
Music by akiropito, Jeff Lorber, Michiru Yamane, Rika Muranaka, Tomoko Sano, Tony Haynes
- "Dracula's Castle"
- Electronic, Synth
- 6,500,975 bytes
- Size: 6,500,975 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 9146b3cb5abb08fc58e06a6c8b37eba5
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