ReMix: Super Mario Bros. 2 'Gypsy Jazz'

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Super Mario Bros. 2

MASON!!!!!!!!!!! 2006 marks the first year I've really given a damn about college basketball, almost entirely due to my own school's making it into the Sweet Sixteen, then the Elite Eight, and now... the Final Four. This is the first time a lot of people are hearing about GMU, located in my home town of Fairfax, Virginia, so it's just fun to see the school gain more national recognition. It doesn't change our status as a commuter school located deep in the heart of traffic-plagued suburban sprawl, but it does give us a newfound sense of pride about that sprawl. Thus mad props go to Larranaga, Lewis, Butler, and company. Final Four, baby.

Adrian Holovaty gives us a nice gypsy jazz arrangement/performance of Super Mario Bros. 2 (or Doki Doki Panic, take your pick), channeling Django Reinhardt. As a side note, for some great gypsy jazz guitar tunes and brilliant performances by Sean Penn and Samantha Morton, check out Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown; critically acclaimed and criminally underwatched, it even has a Django Reinhardt (as played by Michael Sprague) cameo in it, and does a superb job of building a mythos around his character. It'll make you appreciate Mr. Holovaty's piece all the more by adding some context. Speaking of the ReMixer, Adrian is actually a net celebrity of sorts, as the main force behind a python framework similar to Ruby on Rails, appropriately named Django, and the founder and developer of www.chicagocrime.org. For those of you who don't speak code, in other words, he's got some serious programming skillz to match his fretwork. This is a brief mix that sticks fairly close to the source, especially in the first half, and centers most arrangement decisions around adaptation to a single instrument. Quoth Jesse:

"the melody and structure are more or less the same as the original, but the rhythm guitar does a wonderful job voicing chords that could not be expressed on NES."

JJT adds:

"the original's chord progression is indicated with a bassline, but the remixer outlines and expands upon that progression with just the rhythm guitar. no bassline is needed. not the most daring arrangement we've ever seen, but there's plenty of interpretation and musicality."

For my money, it's exactly what I would expect an accomplished arrangement of this tune, in the genre of solo gypsy/jazz guitar, to sound like. The recording quality ain't perfect, but if it were clinically pristine it would sound a bit weird. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay to Mr. Holovaty's piece is that, were I not familiar with the source material, I wouldn't have raised an eyebrow had it been part of the Sweet and Lowdown soundtrack, i.e. it would have fit right in. This is a straightforward ReMix which illustrates that pure musicianship and some thoughtful arrangement can result in pieces just as satisfying as more elaborately instrumented or involved compositions. The ReMixer/Developer clearly has a respect for Reinhardt, and that respect comes through in this short-but-sweet piece.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
DarkSim
on 2010-12-15 13:13:04
This is like a window in time of a moment of inspiration - a man and his guitar recording something totally unique, that will never be played the same way again. That's the "charm" I find in this piece. If he'd played it the day before, it would have been too sloppy, if he'd recorded it the day after, it would have been too polished. The recording we have here is in that tiny window where the sequencing of the NES meets the human Adrian Holovaty, and while simple, is perfectly imperfect.
Fflwcs
on 2010-11-05 14:10:57
This makes me all tingly and happy. It's a perfect version of the tune, totally in keeping with the original. It sounds like an old record you'd find at a yard sale or second hand shop.
OA
on 2010-04-30 15:13:35
This would be prefect in some sort of indie animated feature; it's tailor made for that kind of thing. Overall very conservative, but exceptionally charming. decent but not pristine playing, and warm but not ideal recording give this a lot of additional character that flawless playing and production would have detracted from.
Very nice stuff. :-)
Pachi Risu
on 2009-11-19 19:13:55
Very, very good. The quality and arrangement is handled
flawlessly. A pleasure listening to this remix. More like this,
please.
vindkast
on 2009-04-18 01:45:50
Beautiful and fun, I love the style and the performance, one of my all time favorites. I play this mix for people who think they won't like "remixes," or think "remixes are all techno." I hope to hear more!
(Also, makes a great ringtone.)
42
on 2009-01-29 18:25:19
I was wondering what gypsies and jazz had anything to do with this mix, but after reading what Wikipedia had to say, it all makes sense now.
The beauty of the mix is in its simplicity.
This is a reminder to the world that ~everything~ doesn't have to be boom/bust, life/death, now/never, "the world's gonna end now!!!", etc; it's an incredibly nice "stop and smell the roses" kind of mix.
This is an absolute must download.
Black Mage
on 2008-05-02 13:22:42
I've recently discovered musette and manouche music (gypsy swing/jazz), they're perfect for chilling and drinking some wine or a good beer. Gypsy Jazz has become a new favorite in my playlist!
Liontamer
on 2007-10-21 00:42:31
My lady, "The Lady", enjoyed this piece so much that she wrote about it over at our blog, VG Frequency. She felt a lot of connections to other great non-VGM music and enjoyed the arrangement a lot having played the game.
Take some time out and drop her a comment over at the blog. Even if you stumble on it way after we posted this. We'll still hug you.
Dafydd
on 2007-10-07 10:50:12
Nothing short of totally awesome.
Malaki-LEGEND.sys
on 2006-10-08 16:11:28
Gotta love that rag tag feel to it. And yeah, the mic and recording quality really did it. It's these little creative touches that make a remix stand out as cool I believe.
I don't believe I have to comment on the actual instrument work. It speaks for itself.
I feel like playing a game of stick ball now...
operawonderdude
on 2006-06-11 03:17:52
About friggin time someone did some Gypsy, I think other than jazz-rap, this is my favorite jazz type.
I actually like the crappy microphone quality...sounds more like it was from a record, haha.
Loved the improv, but wish it was a bit longer cuz I think the source stuff was longer than it, aw well.
Awesome job man!
Oh! If ya ever do another Django style song, you should definitly lookinto having some violin in there too :D
Thad make it authentic gypsy times 5!
Radiowar
on 2006-06-10 12:00:58
As much as I am a fan of lo-fi there is a note at around 0:39, and to a lesser extent one at 1:02, that makes my ears explode. Oww volume disparity. Otherwise this is enjoyable.
apjo
on 2006-06-09 18:17:42
As musical layman from the technical point of view, all i can say is this music is fantastic. Laid back and perfect for relaxing, simple yet with personality. Congrats on a job well done ^^
Terium
on 2006-05-22 02:09:07
Simple and groovy. Not too much to say otherwise. It's creative and cheery.
Prooves that simple can still triumph.
Goten X
on 2006-05-20 23:17:32
I really liked this piece. I can't say I'm a fan of gypsy jazz (I listen to mostly contemporary or classic), but I liked the guitar in this a whole lot. I just wish I could play the guitar as good as that. ;_;
|GX