ReMix: Super Metroid 'Energy Tank'
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And now, continuing tonight's late night theme of accessible, rather direct techno, newcomer Matt "i'm not creative enough to think of a remixer name" Drouin gives us some kickin', deceptively direct Super Metroid electronica. He writes:
"This mix was started out pretty randomly, I was messing around trying to come up with various intro techniques for a trance song, and then the song from the brinstar section of super metroid randomly popped into my head and I was like "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH"...... well actually it was more like "hey maybe I should incorperate that melody into this beat somehow" or something. There may be somethings i could have done to this to make it better but all in all i'm pretty satisfied with the way it turned out."
Sounds vageuly similar to the creative process on a couple mixes I've done, where things started off as the structure for an original piece but ended up mutating into a game remix because things just fit right. The general split in the panel over this mix was whether the arrangement was too liberal; usually the problem is exactly the opposite, arrangements that don't change enough, but some felt that Metroid was too obscured in the trance framework and didn't play a pivotal enough role. Judge analoq, who we all can accept as the ultimate, irrefutable, godlike authority on these matters, since his name is after all one consonant away from "analog", provides his two cents:
"...i don't find the arrangement too liberal. let me break it down...
- right from the start (:16) we've got that recognizable background motif from brinstar.
- the remixer uses this on top of a long build section which includes some choir sounds (:30) that seem reminiscent.
- we get a break (1:16), then the build goes on further and we catch a glimpse of the 'B section' melody in the background (1:30).
- this all builds to the 'main' brinstar theme (2:20) and we are delighted with a driving new chord progression for it. (i agree the decay-modulated synth in this section gets a little cluttered when in full swing at around the 3 minute mark)
- the climax finishes off (3:08) and we get a cameo of the main metroid theme (3:20)
- finally we end with an interpretation of the 'B section' melody on piano. nice!"
It's certainly not as direct coverage as some might be used to, but Super Metroid is a rather amorphous soundtrack to begin with, and this can be thought of as applying Impressionist techniques to trance so as to effect a beat-driven, danceable Super Metroid amalgam. It doesn't hurt that production is smooth, with solid mixing, a peculiar + charming little piano-and-orchestra ending, a good variety of synths and application of ambient effects, attention to panning, and trance-o-matic, gradated filtering. There's also variety of the percussive sort, with drums doing some more interesting business around 1'52", even if some of the claps used in the meat-and-potatoes sections are a little cheese wiz at times. Shariq says:
"I think the reverb in this piece is just right. Not too long of a decay, yet it conveys the feeling of expansiveness. Definitely a nice interpretation on the source material too. I mixed this piece myself, and I like what you did. This piece is pretty solidly constructed, IMO. Zyko mentioned the stretches; you've got some nice evolving lines in here that really make this a good upbeat chillout piece."
The panel split on this mix is really worth reading, as there were definitely diverging opinions and arguments with merit on either side. I took a listen, though, and after I closely mapped it back to the source, I concluded that I was pretty cool with what Matt had done from a standards perspective, that it wasn't amazingly more liberal than some of the mixes we've already got on the site, and that it was a rather creative, different approach to take. Metroid purists or those whose ears hear too much reverb may feel a bit differently, and electronica has really become a harder genre to judge consistently, but I don't think too many people will be disappointed with MD's work, and most will be digging the up-tempo yet decidedly chilled vibe.
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