ReMix: EarthBound 'Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Scientist Boy (and the Magical Monkey)'
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Jack 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; Jack's treatment seems fairly congruous with the playfulness and unorthodox stylings of the overall EB soundtrack. Jack 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 Jack, 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?
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.
- Pyrohazard on July 15, 2011
- 1day on July 13, 2010
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 [i]Another Green World[/i], 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 guro on December 15, 2009
I miss your music! :-(
- Emunator on December 11, 2009
Aggro cymbal stomping madness of joy!
- Monobrow on November 17, 2009
this is one of my old favorites - the sound design is fantastic and the percussion really drives this mix for me.
- halc on August 16, 2009
- Palpable on May 27, 2009
I loved the warm opening textures though.
- OA on March 23, 2009
- herograw on February 24, 2009
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
- Radiowar on April 22, 2007
I'm going to be up all night playing earthbound.
- Red Shadow on June 5, 2006
chokst~1.bat wrote:Mythril Nazgul wrote: 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.
- ella guro on February 17, 2006
Mythril Nazgul wrote: 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!
- chokst~1.bat on February 17, 2006
- Benjamin Briggs on February 16, 2006
There are some aspects of the song that I enjoy, but as a whole I find it too nerve-racking to have it fit as something to listen to while either working or relaxing. Overall, I enjoyed the drums, but I think it was the loud warbling synth lead that drove me away.
But regardless, I've generally enjoyed Adhesive Boy's previous works, and certainly look forward to getting to hear more pieces in the future!
- DarkFrog on February 16, 2006