ReMix: Star Fox 2 "Mercenarios de Lobo"
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Newcomer (to OCR, at least) DZComposer writes:
"I originally got the idea when I heard the orchestrated Star Fox 64 Star Wolf Theme in Star Fox Assault. I had included the Star Fox 2 Star Wolf theme in an earlier arrangement and I was aware that despite them being different songs, they had their similarities. So, I wondered what the Star Fox 2 theme would sound like if it was arranged in the style of the Star Fox Assault theme! Naturally, I had to do it. So, I started work on a new arrangement. However, the arrangement quickly lost it's original intent and became pretty much an arrangement of the Star Fox 2 Star Wolf theme in a mild Spanish style. That arrangement is Mercenarios de Lobo, which is a very loose translation into Spanish of "Wolfen Mercenaries". You can still tell the original intent of the arrangement in the beginning which is VERY similar to the Star Fox Assault SW theme!
This arrangement is for Orchestra featuring the Piccolo Trumpet and the C Trumpet. I have tried something in this arrangement that I havent heard in a remix before (If there are others that have this, I would like to hear them!): A Cadenza. A Cadenza is an unaccompianied solo that is free from the constraint of time signature and tempo. The Cadenza in Mercenarios is for the Piccolo Trumpet. You can hear a reference to the Star Fox 64 Star Wolf theme in it if you listen carefully."
There's definitely some high-pitched piccolo trumpet action going on, so those who're treble-weary might want to do a volume-check ahead of time; frankly, though, this type of brass playing isn't about subtlety as much as it is showmanship and gusto, so you'd be missing out if you went too far. We actually delayed in judging this mix for a considerable time (mostly my fault), as we discussed a policy issue. StarFox 2, like Sonic Crackers, was never officially released, but was leaked on the Internet and enjoyed by fans primarily via emulation. Sketchy, yes, and it's indeed gray area where all should tread carefully. However, it'd be a shame not to see a great game soundtrack that was, in my estimation, in a nearly final if not final state, go unappreciated; from a certain perspective, these games' music is even more in need of homage and resurrection than that of games that saw commercial release. However, on the other hand, we can't really be posting mixes of any old beta, unreleased game that someone might have developed in Visual Basic 3.0 in a single afternoon, either. Crackers and StarFox 2 are both parts of larger, very popular, very established series, and what we essentially decided was that, on a case-by-case basis, we would evaluate how appropriate games like these are for ReMixing. Subjective as all heck? Sure. Arbitrary? Yeah... but so's life. At any rate, the majority opinion was that, even given the games' unofficial/leaked nature, the dependence on emulation to play them, and the fact that their soundtracks may have been incomplete, in these two cases, there's enough to warrant exceptions.
It's a good thing, too, because DZComposer's put together an inspired, latin-infused orchestral arrangement, complete with a cadenza, as he elucidates in the music terminology 101 portion of his submission email. Brandon takes time off from fondling his Flammie to talk arrangement:
"Very engaging, although not too large a departure from the original in terms of genre and instrument selection. In fact, the supporting string/snare combo is a dead ringer for the source in many spots. This is no source knock-off however. The interplay between the horn and string leads (0:03-1:20, 4:06-4:33) adds a wonderful vibrance to the already spirited source and the well-timed tempo and tone changes that are quite skillfully weaved together, form a dynamically evolving piece. Big pluses. With the difficulty involved in sequencing any solo instrument, let alone brass, I commend the sequencing of the cadenza."
Larry Oji, who's recently deigned to grant the game arrangement scene some back-from-the-dead VGF lovin', adds:
"Short and sweet. I thought the horn sequencing was done reasonably well, I liked the sheer amount of variations of the source material pulled off in the arrangement here, and the trumpet cadenza was used effectively. Good Spanish touches were here in the performance, and while I didn't think this was superlative work (as the horn work's syntheticness was exposed a number of times), the results were good here overall. Looking forward to hearing more of your work, as well as improvement in future subs."
I think my take would be a little contradictory: the strength of this mix's arrangement is the brass, but the weakness of this mix's production is... the brass. These are actually rather decent brass samples, and I haven't heard much better, but it's the type of playing/articulation that shows just how far ANY sample is from an actual trumpet player. One day maybe physical modeling combined with more advanced, interactive controller topologies could yield electronic brass that might handle these sorts of passages convincingly, but don't hold your embouchure. Nevertheless, cajones +5 for even attempting a sampled brass cadenza, and sequencing it well enough to make it musical and enjoyable, which is impressive. Not downright awe-inspiring, but still a strong, non-comformist initial orchestral submission from DZC, who helped us clarify (or at least create) site policy at the same time.
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