ReMix: EarthBound "Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Scientist Boy (and the Magical Monkey)" 2:56

By ella guro

Artist Links
rock synth
Arranging the music of one song...

"Snowman"

Primary Game: EarthBound (Nintendo, 1994, SNES), music by Hirokazu Tanaka, Hiroshi Kanazu, Keiichi Suzuki, Toshiyuki Ueno

Posted 2006-01-29, evaluated by the judges panel


Adhesive_Boy and I don't often agree on too many things, but we do share a mutual appreciation for Guided by Voices, which this mix draws title inspiration as well as perhaps some lo-fi sensibilities from. The ReMixer writes:

"...this one does go more extreme with dynamics and does a lot of different things in a short period of time, so I can maybe understand why it would be too intense for some people. Still, I really see this as a logical extension of the kirby mix - lots of effects and the "wall of sound"-type stuff. It obviously is more succinct and takes some ideas to the extreme (I really think I improved my percussion a lot from much of the cheap loop-based stuff I've used before, for example), but it's not too much of a stretch to me."

It *was* a bit more of a stretch to some of the judges, as this one eked by with some very strong objections from TO and zircon and lesser qualms from Larry. You can see, or rather hear, why - it's not easy listening, both in the generic sense of the phrase or from a perspective of difficulty. I think one does have to at least consider the zany, musically-whimsical-to-the-nth-degree source material that Suzuki-san wrote; Adhesive_Boy's treatment seems fairly congruous with the playfulness and unorthodox stylings of the overall EarthBound soundtrack. AB provides the backstory for the piece:

"This is about a kid who looks towards machines to give him the answers to everything. It's about an awkward and uncomfortable kid who fidgets obsessively over the slightest tweaks in the bits in pieces of whatever the lastest thing is he's working on. But mostly, it's about a kid who's too naive not to know he can help save the world (with the assistance of a magical monkey, of course)."

It seems like much of the divisiveness on the panel centered around the very in-your-face, overcompressed drums, which will likely be the deciding factor for many listeners as well; if you don't have a taste for lo-fi or garage rock and like your drum tracks with both hands where you can see them, this might chafe you the wrong way. JJT, for whom it did not, describes rather eloquently:

"Impressive. The Snowwood theme is instantly recognizable amid the ambiance of the intro. When the compressed drums make their entrance, the listener is pretty much AB's bitch for the next two minutes or so. This remix takes many of the ideas presented by the original composer and just runs with them: the mild dynamic contrasts are exagerated, the psuedo-polka section is put on steroids (and crack), and the ambient atmosphere of the original is captured, at least when the drums aren't melting your face."

Reminds me of that scene at the end of the first Indiana Jones ("Shut your ears, Marion!") a bit; Nazis beware. I think the trick to evaluating more sonically chaotic/challenging mixes like this is to still look for signs of intelligent design - no, not the makeshift creationism they're trying to teach in American in schools instead of acknowledging his noodly appendage, but rather signs of structure, motifs of intent, some semblance of composition-by-design as opposed to arbitrary flotsam. You definitely get that here, as I'd expect from Adhesive_Boy, but you do need to first acclimate yourself to the surroundings, which can be disorienting. Even the mix's advocates found the ending a bit abrupt, but sans that, what you're essentially getting here is lo-fi impressionism: an artistic, mutated vision of a character study, in musical form. Not for everyone, but then, what is?

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
BLAHMASTER
on 2017-04-21 17:48:29

Ooooo I really get into this one. I love the drums! I often find myself disliking the cymbals in a given song because they either distract me or cover up the other instruments I'm trying to listen to, but for whatever reason, I have no trouble separating everything out in my head in this remix even though they're quite bombastic.

jmr
on 2016-08-19 11:29:18

I saw this thread was bumped so I re-listened to this remix again recently. It's always been one of my favorites on the site, and I feel like some of the original material I've done with Marshall Art might owe itself to the noisy, abrasive sound and chaotic drums of this remix.

I kind of want to do my own version of this source at some point, but then I listen to this and realize how hard it'd be to make something I like more than this.

JJT
on 2016-08-17 20:56:11
On December 15, 2009 at 2:54 AM, ella guro said:

So perhaps some context for this might be good. (Yes, this is AB. Like the name/sex change?)

This was originally intended to be for an Earthbound project that was never finished. A few other mixes that were supposed to be for it made it here on OCR, I can't remember exactly which ones.

Anyway, by the time I did this one I had just got to college and felt kind of like I was done with the community there was no reason for me to be doing remixes anymore for various reasons. But I had some left over WIPs and decided to finish this one up because the original tune is one of my favorite pieces of videogame music.

I was pretty sure this was gonna be my last remix, so I decided to try some things that I wouldn't normally try. I intentionally made some sounds ugly and clash with other sounds, and there are a couple of places where there are two different things going on at once in different keys/time signatures, that kind of stuff. I was really into Captain Beefheart at the time, so that was part of it. Part of it was also wanting to do justice to the Earthbound soundtrack.

It was fun to do all that stuff because I felt like I was really pushing myself into more unexplored territory, and I felt that it paid off for me. I came up with something that sounded unique, that I felt like no one else could have done. I didn't know if this would get rejected by the panel or not, but I decided that I had nothing to lose anyway so I submitted it and was happy to see it get on the site.

==============================

Anyway, the point is this: my hope was that someone would hear this and be inspired to do something out there or experimental, in the mold of Shnabubula's early remixes or something like that. Or maybe not even that, maybe just get someone to think about trying a new approach. And I'm not talking about crazy time signatures or putting a whole lot of distortion on everything. Those are just ideas, and on the surface they don't add up to anything. I'm talking about creating a world. Different combinations of different ideas helps bring people into a different world. What I mean here is that my intention was never to show off compositionally. The point wasn't "hey guyz listen to my drumz". I was just trying something different. Trying to blur things together until all you can see is the overall picture, maybe even have some sort of emotional experience come out of it, rather than just see it as just a bunch of a little elements someone entered into a sequencer. I wasn't doing all this consciously. I don't think I realized what this and the kirby and donkey kong remixes on were about until way afterwards. I guess the point in the end was that I hoped to make something that existed in a world of its own: outside of me, outside of my sequencer, outside of my computer, and hopefully people would react to it in that way.

So anyway...I think people are gonna like what they're gonna like. A lot of people don't like a lot of the choices made, so they're not gonna like this mix, simple as that. But I'm most proud of this one because I felt like I really did reach something this time. It's not perfect certainly, but I do feel proud that there is a mix like this on OCR...I just wish that more people were willing to try stuff like this.

BTW, the ending is supposed to be a more optimistic epilogue to the darkness and disorientation of the mix. It's kind of an inverse of the kirby mix which was mostly happy but then ended with this kind of mysterious section that fades out at the end. I did think it was gonna be my last thing on OCR, after all, so I wanted to end it on a happier note. And it's Earthbound, fer godsakes.

I don't really know how many people out there really try to think deeply about videogame remixes. I think a vast majority of remixers just do it for fun, and most listeners don't try to think that hard about why they like something, they just know what they like. Sometimes I think there's something wrong with me when I try to deconstruct stuff like this and give it a higher purpose. In the end I guess I really don't know what purpose remixes have beyond entertainment or nostalgia. My best guess is that maybe both games and game remixes (and by extension electronic music) are about creating worlds that have their own self-sustaining ecosystems. Earthbound certainly had its own unmistakable and strange little world. And with electronic music, maybe like Brian Eno did with Another Green World, though I never heard that album until a year or so ago. There are an infinite number of possibilities of sound that we will only ever barely scratch the surface of, so my view is that we might as well put them to some interesting use.

Ella, no idea if you're still on the fringes of this community, but I just wanna say thanks again for submitting this piece. It's one of the few I remember from my time on the judges panel, because it was really, really important to me that it got passed. I wanted challenging, experimental music to have a place in this community, and this mix was such a breath of fresh air, that had an influence on my later work. All these years later, I still love it.

Pyrohazard
on 2011-07-15 14:51:50

I LUV THIS SONG!

I think the drums are the best part :D (especial when playing this song on beat hazard or audio surf)

But for a while I didn't download this song because I didn't think I would actually listen to it that much but now I listen to it every day because its so unique and different.

1day
on 2010-07-13 11:35:51

Brilliant!

ella guro
on 2009-12-15 05:54:55

So perhaps some context for this might be good. (Yes, this is AB. Like the name/sex change?)

This was originally intended to be for an Earthbound project that was never finished. A few other mixes that were supposed to be for it made it here on OCR, I can't remember exactly which ones.

Anyway, by the time I did this one I had just got to college and felt kind of like I was done with the community there was no reason for me to be doing remixes anymore for various reasons. But I had some left over WIPs and decided to finish this one up because the original tune is one of my favorite pieces of videogame music.

I was pretty sure this was gonna be my last remix, so I decided to try some things that I wouldn't normally try. I intentionally made some sounds ugly and clash with other sounds, and there are a couple of places where there are two different things going on at once in different keys/time signatures, that kind of stuff. I was really into Captain Beefheart at the time, so that was part of it. Part of it was also wanting to do justice to the Earthbound soundtrack.

It was fun to do all that stuff because I felt like I was really pushing myself into more unexplored territory, and I felt that it paid off for me. I came up with something that sounded unique, that I felt like no one else could have done. I didn't know if this would get rejected by the panel or not, but I decided that I had nothing to lose anyway so I submitted it and was happy to see it get on the site.

==============================

Anyway, the point is this: my hope was that someone would hear this and be inspired to do something out there or experimental, in the mold of Shnabubula's early remixes or something like that. Or maybe not even that, maybe just get someone to think about trying a new approach. And I'm not talking about crazy time signatures or putting a whole lot of distortion on everything. Those are just ideas, and on the surface they don't add up to anything. I'm talking about creating a world. Different combinations of different ideas helps bring people into a different world. What I mean here is that my intention was never to show off compositionally. The point wasn't "hey guyz listen to my drumz". I was just trying something different. Trying to blur things together until all you can see is the overall picture, maybe even have some sort of emotional experience come out of it, rather than just see it as just a bunch of a little elements someone entered into a sequencer. I wasn't doing all this consciously. I don't think I realized what this and the kirby and donkey kong remixes on were about until way afterwards. I guess the point in the end was that I hoped to make something that existed in a world of its own: outside of me, outside of my sequencer, outside of my computer, and hopefully people would react to it in that way.

So anyway...I think people are gonna like what they're gonna like. A lot of people don't like a lot of the choices made, so they're not gonna like this mix, simple as that. But I'm most proud of this one because I felt like I really did reach something this time. It's not perfect certainly, but I do feel proud that there is a mix like this on OCR...I just wish that more people were willing to try stuff like this.

BTW, the ending is supposed to be a more optimistic epilogue to the darkness and disorientation of the mix. It's kind of an inverse of the kirby mix which was mostly happy but then ended with this kind of mysterious section that fades out at the end. I did think it was gonna be my last thing on OCR, after all, so I wanted to end it on a happier note. And it's Earthbound, fer godsakes.

I don't really know how many people out there really try to think deeply about videogame remixes. I think a vast majority of remixers just do it for fun, and most listeners don't try to think that hard about why they like something, they just know what they like. Sometimes I think there's something wrong with me when I try to deconstruct stuff like this and give it a higher purpose. In the end I guess I really don't know what purpose remixes have beyond entertainment or nostalgia. My best guess is that maybe both games and game remixes (and by extension electronic music) are about creating worlds that have their own self-sustaining ecosystems. Earthbound certainly had its own unmistakable and strange little world. And with electronic music, maybe like Brian Eno did with Another Green World, though I never heard that album until a year or so ago. There are an infinite number of possibilities of sound that we will only ever barely scratch the surface of, so my view is that we might as well put them to some interesting use.

Emunator
on 2009-12-11 19:21:15

I can see this one rubbing a lot of people the wrong way, and truth be told I don't think I'll be downloading it for repeat listens just because it's so weird, but I really thought this was a fun trip that felt so much like Earthbound that I couldn't help but smile as I was being assaulted with crazy drums and (what sounded like) detuned synths. Really clever interpretation, even if I don't really find it listenable alongside the other music I've got on my playlist.

I miss your music! :-(

Monobrow
on 2009-11-17 04:42:36

Okay, I listened to this again after years and years, and I have to say I really love those drums. Awesome work!

Aggro cymbal stomping madness of joy!

halc
on 2009-08-16 12:18:37

why does everyone complain about the drums? i have heard worse things in my life.

this is one of my old favorites - the sound design is fantastic and the percussion really drives this mix for me.

Palpable
on 2009-05-27 18:26:29

This is amazing from a sound design perspective, one of the most creative I've seen on the site. Shades of Brian Eno and Mr. Bungle, though I think the connection there is more in spirit than sound. It could stand to be more cohesive structurally, but I really like it nonetheless!

OA
on 2009-03-23 12:30:53

Wasn't feelin' it. Those drums hurt my ears, especially the cymbals. Sorry dude. :-(

I loved the warm opening textures though.

herograw
on 2009-02-24 20:14:28

...not sure how I never commented on this mix, as it's one of my favorites, and that's about all I have to say.

Radiowar
on 2007-04-22 15:19:08

the drums are sick

not sure about the rest of this song though...synths sound too similar to the original which i was never really a fan of

one other thing, like rellik said this isn't "experimental"

man people really like abusing genre definitions here

Red Shadow
on 2006-06-05 22:36:37

I'd say that when a remix comes up in my playlist, if it makes me actually want to stop what I'm doing and go play the game it's from, then it's a damned good remix.

I'm going to be up all night playing earthbound.

ella guro
on 2006-02-17 16:21:51
It's just...I mean, Retentions of Conflict, man.

You make it sound like that's a bad thing. I could listen to that FF remix forever!

That was actually a big inspiration for this mix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
EarthBound (Nintendo, 1994, SNES)
Music by Hirokazu Tanaka, Hiroshi Kanazu, Keiichi Suzuki, Toshiyuki Ueno
Songs:
"Snowman"

Tags (2)


Genre:
Rock
Mood:
Instrumentation:
Synth
Additional:

File Information


Name:
EarthBound_Unleashed_The_Large-Hearted_Scientist_Boy_(and_the_Magical_Monkey)_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
5,286,464 bytes
MD5:
fdd77defdf0fba7bffb74dd3e2d5e553
Bitrate:
236Kbps
Duration:
2:56

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