ReMix: Sonic & Knuckles "Lover Reef"
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- Game: Sonic & Knuckles (Sega, 1994, GEN)
- ReMixer(s): D-Lux, Geoffrey Taucer, Jillian Aversa, Shonen Samurai, zircon
- Composer(s): Howard Drossin, Jun Senoue, Masaru Setsumaru, Masayuki Nagao, Sachio Ogawa, Tatsuyuki Maeda, Tokuhiko Uwabo, Tomonori Sawada, Yoshiaki Kashima
- Song(s): "Lava Reef Zone: Act 1"
- Posted: 2006-03-18, evaluated by djpretzel
- Terms (BETA): acoustic-guitar collab electric-guitar lyrics-original pop rapping singing vocals-female vocals-male
Possibly the best thing to come out of January's NYC OCR meetup (other than my mildly inebriated shouting of anatomical terms at the Outback Steakhouse, of course) is this Sonic & Knuckles mega-collab, born in the fires of Mt. Doom, also known as the post-meetup slumber party at Mr. Aversa's pad. Evidently there wasn't much slumbering going on, as he and four others put together the lion's share of this ReMix in that single night. Who knows what other saucy and torrid happenings occurred pre- and post-mixage that shall not be divulged on the family-friendly and wholly righteous pages of OCR? One can only wonder... but, tangibly-speaking, we do have this mix, and though brief, it manages to give each of its five participants some face-time, which I have to think was part of the point. Andy writes:
"This is a remix of 'Lava Reef' from Sonic and Knuckles, entitled 'Lover Reef'. It was sketched out and written almost entirely in one night at my place after the OCR meetup in New York City. The people involved: pixietricks, D-Lux, Shonen Samurai, GeoffreyTaucer, and myself. I did the arranging and the keys parts, pixietricks did the female vocals (duh), D-Lux did the spoken vocals, Shonen Samurai did the male sung vocals, and GT covered all the nifty guitarwork. pixie, Shonen, and D-Lux also did the lyrics. All in all, we had a blast doing it and I think it came out great. Hope you enjoy it!"
Warm analog pads start things off, with pixie's vocalizing and Taucer's acoustic guitar coming in on top of electro percussion that gets more acoustic in nature and fills out at 0'32". The first verse comes in seconds later, after the initial piano pattern gets an isolated patch, with Jill on the original lyric. I think the strength of this piece is the fitting of the melody to a lyric, specifically a lyric that works well shared between Jill and Shonen Samurai; when he comes in at 0'56" on the chorus and Jill switches to harmony, it's evident that, however short the gestation period was for the arrangement, it was still planned carefully enough to make the vocals effective. It's comparatively challenging to make one's first appearance on OCR singing a vocal part side-by-side with Jill, but shonen really does do a rather good job - his voice complements pixie's and suits the ice-pop sound as well. Lyrically, I really love the "And it's not our way to be" bit. I know it's just a single line out of many, but it's a peculiar syntax and turn of phrase, and I've always felt that single lines can make or break a lyric or poem. D-Lux comes in channeling Lane McCray from La Bouche with a little rap that may or may not hit you the right way; it certainly screams 90's and is well-written, but it does up the already formidable cheese ante a bit. That's GOOD cheese, not bad cheese, although as an MST3K fan I don't believe in the latter. The piece is well constructed; Andy's production and framework lets the other four artists shine and ties everything together, and Taucer, like Dylan before him, gets to go electric at 1'26" with a meaty guit solo. At just under three minutes, the quintet wisely decided to keep their five-way one-night stand on the shorter side of things, giving the result a packed tightness prevalent in pop songwriting. It's impressive enough on a sheer logistical level that five people could communicate with enough efficiency to simply lay the corresponding tracks down in a single night, but to have arranged the piece and penned the lyric in that same period as well would make one suspicious as to the quality of the result. While I'm sure there are things that might have sounded more polished with additional time for retakes and refinement, this mix has the spontaneity of ad-hoc creative collaboration in its corner, which is a compelling ally. Congrats to shonen for his first mix here on OCR and to all of the Big 5 involved for pulling this thing together and making it work. I suppose a final kudos has to be doled out to Mr. Aversa, who was crazy enough to let these people into his living quarters, and hopefully fed and watered them, too. Nice work, all.
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