ReMix: Star Fox 'Fortuna Favors the Funk'

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Star Fox

So, there's been quite a bit of Final Fantasy and Squaresoft lately, and funk mixes are pretty thin on the ground season-round, so hopefully this synth funk take on Starfox's unappreciated Fortuna theme is well-timed. This was very much a spur of the moment thing for me, and only took a week to complete, working on and off, which is well under the more intermittent and spanned mixing schedule I've fallen into the last two years, where mixes would take months to complete, even if I only spent a couple hours every other week. One of the reasons this went a bit quicker is that instead of creating it on my full studio upstairs, I pieced the whole thing together on a sort of "mini-studio" I've set up on my main computer downstairs. It's pretty barebones - no Yamaha Motif, no mixer, no monitors, no microphone, etc. - but working entirely with softsynths also has its advantages in terms of organization and convenience. The arrangement itself in similar in spirit to the Revenge of Shinobi mix I did a little over a year ago, especially in terms of instrumentation (synth lead, clavinet, rhodes, etc.), but this track is more old school, flavor-wise, and features an electric bass rather than synth. It also incorporates a mixture of ambient effects intended to keep something of the constant hum of starwings present in the original, but give more of a general space/sci-fi vibe instead of specifically conjuring engines. Everything's played live, and some of the bits, particularly the synth lead, could not have been quantized afterwards to any extent and retained the feel I was shooting for. I spent a good deal of time on the bassline, which employs Spectrasonics Trilogy, making sure it varied things up and introducing slides and falls in transitions.

I've been watching the finals closely the last couple weeks, cheering for San Antonio and Detroit, and I actually think the rhythm and flow of basketball influenced this mix. Or at least Ben Wallace's afro. I've actually wanted to do a Fortuna mix for a couple years, ever since I was looking for material at one point and decided to investigate whether Starfox had anything groovy that had not yet been covered. It's a relatively minimal original, groove-oriented, and there's no bridge or underlying melodic direction, just some funky patterns, so I think what was holding me back all this time was lack of an idea where to take it. That sorta fell into place when I began buiding things up, piece by piece. One big element was throwing in a small piece of the chord progression from Corneria for a bridge at 1'13", which gave me a way to move back into the funky intro clavinet pattern and have it work as a chorus, with a slower, minimal original melody laid on top. The real reason this mix even exists, however, is that I was able to find the EXACT samples I wanted for the individual parts - a double-phased clavinet from Sonik Synth 2, a monophonic synth lead with zero glide for some ripping effects, a glassy, monophonic secondary synth lead for the solo halfway through, and the particular bass patch I needed to make the whole thing work. It's not that the samples make the mix - don't get me wrong - but the right tools for the job can certainly be an inspiration. When you have a sound in your mind, and you can get almost exactly the same thing in reality, at your fingertips, it can greatly facilitate the compositional process. I wouldn't have been enthusiastic about this mix if I couldn't have gotten the bass working the way I wanted, and that required a sample with some velocity-switching and articulation fx.

So yes, I've talked a good deal more about the creative process for this mix than I have for any other of my own, and hope I haven't bored anyone to tears. It didn't happen the same way the last few mixes happened, which made it unique from my perspective, at least. I'm personally just happy that we now have a Fortuna mix, and that it turned out much as I'd mentally envisioned it. I tweaked the modulation for the clav and leads pretty extensively, did innumerable retakes, and had fun with transitions and solo parts especially. For some reason, maybe because of the truncated timeline or just because it's finally summer and the weather is congenial, this mix was a lot of fun to put together, and if even a portion of that is conveyed and shared, I'm happy.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
kitty
on 2013-11-03 04:27:32
This is a really catchy tune. While I may not be getting out of my chair to dance I definitely can see myself bobbing my head to the beat. Good stuff!
Benjamin Briggs
on 2012-07-25 11:22:49
this remix is perfection; I love it now every bit as much as I did when it was first released. A time-tested example of how ocremixes can get me up and out of my chair, dancing like a fool. dunno why I hadn't reviewed it already but... happy birthday DJP, and may your funkiness live long and prosper :pretzel:
The Radical Sifu
on 2010-10-25 06:46:01
Just popping in to say that I absolutely love this remix and listen to it every morning. djp, this is my favourite of yours. (Although I also love your Secret of Mana piece as a close second) :mrgreen:
Marmiduke
on 2010-05-06 06:06:40
Ah yes. I remember this one. Pretty fondly, I might add.
A great blend of spacey tones on that sporadic sort of funk that OCR is no stranger to. I like the boldness of the direction; there is no ambiguity of what this piece was meant to achieve, and it's easy to appreciate the straightfoward approach. I can see a point of contention when it comes to percussion, but most of the time I coast over that anyway, so I don't think it's very fair for me to lambaste that.
I don't think this is the style of mix that can get noticably repetitive, myself. And even if I did, I think this is a wonderfully varied ride through space with funky accompaniment. It's by no means the most potent or complex mix that djp has ever come out with, but hey, it doesn't have to be. I still regard it pretty highly.
OA
on 2010-04-30 15:08:16
everything was solid except for the weird timing on some of the snare hits- i kept thinking a beat was being dropped. :/
Sorry DJP, can't get into this one that much, even though it's 90% great. :-(
sirbennet
on 2010-02-22 13:13:35
Okay, before you dis this comment for being irrelevant, I must point out that a Title is a big part of a piece of music, it forms the music's identity before the music is even heard!
"Fortuna Favors the Funk" is an amazing accomplishment of titling.
For those who feel that despite my argument this comment is still obnoxiously irrelevant, I listened to the music and as far as I can tell, it's a good example of funk!
42
on 2009-12-04 16:52:33
Funky.
It reminds me of the Ghost Houses from Super Mario World slightly in terms of musical themes but more in a terms of atmosphere.
The first half has too much of a white noise feel. Aurally, the soundscape isn't too vary to much, feel's repetitive. If you're looking for something funky to spice up your day, then check this out. Otherwise I remain a solid neutral in opinion about this; it's not bad but neither is it spectacular or groundbreaking.
Mustin
on 2007-11-06 15:47:42
Still my favourite...
DO A BARREL ROLL!
paperCrane
on 2006-12-20 14:35:29
I love this one almost as much as Love Hurts. Perhaps more. Heck, I'll just say that I like them both equally. I love the great rhythms in this song and just the overall funky-spacey feel. I was a little disappointed, though, that the off-beat 16th notes stopped after only a few plays at the beginning. It confused me for a bit as I wasn't sure if I'd heard them correctly or not the first time through.
meccaneer
on 2005-10-09 13:38:14
Quite a bit o' chez, man. Almost too much. Needs more funk and less chez. Kinda reminds me of a haunted house or SotN or something...whoa, the end is sweet. Where's more of that?
metaphist
on 2005-08-06 20:02:12
Just wanted to thank djp for this, it's currently one of my favorite mixes. Metaphist favors the funk.
Liontamer
on 2005-08-01 23:53:47
BlueMage wrote: Y'know, DJP's getting on, and I was beginning to think he just might've been over it ... then I heard this track :) The man still has it, and we are all better off for it.

ROFL! 25 and over the fuckin' hill! Yeah, I had lost all faith in that man until he funked it with this track! [DarkeSword] :roll: [/DarkeSword]
BlueMage
on 2005-08-01 18:58:22
Y'know, DJP's getting on, and I was beginning to think he just might've been over it ... then I heard this track :) The man still has it, and we are all better off for it. First track I downloaded at my new residence.
iPod rating: 5 stars
playingtokrush
on 2005-07-01 21:04:14
This song punches me in the balls, and I don't even like funk. It's that good.
PlastikBag
on 2005-06-17 20:46:24
Scrabble_Ship wrote: Djpretzel needs an apprentice or something so we can more funk songs than once a year.

I totally agree. Djp brings the awesome funk, and we need more. This song is the shit.