ReMix: Highway Hunter "Fast Cars, Russian Cigars" 3:17

By Bladiator

Arranging the music of one song...

"Evil Drivers: Stage 5"

Primary Game: Highway Hunter (Epic Games, 1995, DOS), music by Serge Shishkin

Posted 2007-06-23, evaluated by the judges panel


For those not in the know, PRC or "The People's Remix Competition" is one of many competitions held regularly involving remixing of some kind. You can browse them on our Competitions Forum and see what's been going on lately; PRC in particular is very well run and has been both persistent and consistent for a goodly time now, often yielding results that end up being submitted to OCR proper and, in cases like this one, passed. Bladiator, whom we last heard from back in March with an excellent FF8 collab with Tepid, brings us this ReMix of... Highway Hunter. If you've never heard of much less played HH, you're not alone... one of the great things PRC does is attract attention to ReMixing more obscure games, which has specifically been lacking lately. Karl writes:

"I hadn't done a remix in a really long time, not to mention a PRC, so I decided to give it everything I had. This is reminiscent of Moontang although it's more screeching violin rather than slow melodic. The intro was supposed to sorta lead the listener off-track by giving it a rather French street corner amour, and then jump right into the frantic melody and the accordion player in the background who wants his chance in the limelight but usually is overshadowed by the violinists so he makes up for it by playing wild chromatic runs."

Nothing like inter-musician dynamics involving overshadowing violinists and compensating accordion players to liven up your day. Really groovy harmony work here, and awesome breaks toward the end like 2'28" which play with your expectations. Speaking of such, I saw Joey DeFrancesco at Blues Alley on Thursday night, and they did a fair bit of that sort of thing. At one point during a short rest in a piece they were jammin' out to, where you would have expected a slide or riff, Joey turned on this little techno preset pattern on the Korg X50 he had sitting on top of his B3... friggin' hilarious. Definitely recommend catching these guys; they played an amazing set, and I thanked Joey at the bar afterwards for incorporating EP, flute, strings, and analog synth parts using his Korg - a lot of times synths are seen as toys by "true" jazz musicians, but if you see Joey D play, you'll know better. Right, back to the mix... as Karl himself acknowledges, the instrumentation here is similar to his other FF8 mix, so if for whatever reason you weren't diggin' that, this might not be your cup of tea. Blad's got the Au Bon Pain European street band thing going on big time, and kudos to him for having the cajones to so visibly spotlight accordion in his arrangements. This piece is playful and fun while at the same time musical and well-constructed. Most of the judges felt like sample quality could have been worked on; while the material used does fit the arrangement, the arrangement deserves a better implementation. But this isn't prohibitive by a longshot; Malcos summarizes nicely:

"Frenchy jazzy classicky thingy. Excellent arrangement, and the samples fit the instrumentation well. No brainer."

Imaginative arrangement combines with beyond-competent musicianship and a sense of humor to boot for a good time; you may prefer slow cars and cigars of non-Slavic origin, but you'll probably dig Karl's mix either way.

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 13 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
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Rexy
on 2011-12-12 09:24:24

PRC81! That was a very fun round :D

Of all the rounds I hosted during my time dealing with the PRC, this is one of these that I remember most fondly. Highway Hunter still remains relatively unknown by many today, but the response behind it was amazing and to see even Bladiator and Suzumebachi come towards the source and work on arrangements for it really lifted the competition's profile.

And in true Bladiator fashion, the core melodic elements of the source are mainly used as melodic motifs for a more interpretive tango, almost reminiscent to what he handled with "moontang" a little earlier that year. Almost everything involved - the stylistic violin lead main parts, the downbeat section led by the accordion, and even that wonderful key change right at the end - carry both elements of the source material and hints of Karl's personality, and so I felt really proud to see him take the win with this track back then!

Course, even now the samples are feeling kind of old, and that's something that I stressed too much with his works when he was even active within the community, but he makes up for it with a RIDICULOUS amount of charisma within the writing. And even then they've been appropriately spaced out and levelled, and you can't help but feel somewhat cheery over this setting.

I'm still glad that Karl is still making music now, though his presence isn't quite as sharp as it used to be. But I'm still looking out for his next few arrangements, both as a fellow vgpiano stablemate and as a fan of his work :D

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Bahamut
on 2009-11-08 14:32:20

The title is somewhat misleading at first, with the slow intro, but it picks up the pace. The title really brings a contemporary image of the first half of the 1900s in mind.

I don't really have any complaint - this does a nice job in its approach.

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DragonAvenger
on 2009-09-04 19:13:57

Im almost bothered by the beginning being so misleading, but Bladiator makes up for it in the end. I'm really digging this bassline and percussion, they really keep the mood going while the violin and accordian fight it out. Very nice.

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Jaybell
on 2007-07-31 00:55:21

Only one page of reviews?! More people should download songs from games they have never played or heard of. Great songs like this one are getting ignored!

I was initially hesitant about putting this on my MP3 player. The sample quality was meh and it wasn't really my cup of tea. But I put it on anyway. Since then, the mix has grown on me like some sort of parasite. It's great, it's quirky, it's charming and most importantly, it's FUN.

I can totally picture stereotypical french violinists/accordionnists (?) dueling for the spotlight while playing this. Awesomeness.:grin:

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Martin Penwald
on 2007-07-04 16:04:57

The intro is indeed very different from what follows. Nice idea. The song itself is a quirky, upbeat tune, especially from 1:00 onward. For some reason, this remix makes me think of a town in a Suikoden game; it all sounds so lively and bright. So yeah, russian cigars and fast cars aren't exactly what I think of when I listen to this, but the mental image it evokes is nice nonetheless.

Also, I don't mind the synthy fell it has at all. Works well with the atmosphere.

Nice work.

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Tepid
on 2007-06-26 12:55:36

Fantastic, the piano is akin to a firework display. The string synths and drums work fantastically well together. I actually like the synthy feel to the strings and accordian it reminds me a lot of the one battle theme from UNLIMITED SaGa (which is one of the highlights of the soundtrack).

I'm now also envious of Karl's salary in addition to his talent, kudos to Mr B.

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bladiator
on 2007-06-26 11:01:59
Not sure how appropriate it is to acknowledge Karl's salary, but if he's ok with it, that's fine.

I'd say you're looking too deeply into it. You weigh both issues (production/arrangement) and judge accordingly. In this case, there's a nice amount of realism in the sequencing, even if the sound quality is lacking. The sample quality could be improved, but the samples are used very well. You don't need hotter samples, just use them effectively.

A couple things:

- I published my own salary in another thread so it's ok. :)

- How's the gf, Larry?

- I appreciate that the judges still let my low tech music through the panel. I appreciate you guys.

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Liontamer
on 2007-06-25 18:12:04

Not sure how appropriate it is to acknowledge Karl's salary, but if he's ok with it, that's fine.

Awesome arrangement as usual, blad. Was definitely a little disappointed in the sound quality[...], and it seems pretty borderline in terms of the 50/50 rule the judges have been citing. I'm almost positive they've NORESUB'd other submissions for lesser evils. Perhaps this represents a subtle change of focus in the panel? Or perhaps B-Unit was holding Larry's girlfriend hostage for vote ransom?

I'd say you're looking too deeply into it. You weigh both issues (production/arrangement) and judge accordingly. In this case, there's a nice amount of realism in the sequencing, even if the sound quality is lacking. The sample quality could be improved, but the samples are used very well. You don't need hotter samples, just use them effectively.

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OA
on 2007-06-25 17:51:20

Synths hurt it, but the arrangement is really good; I think this is going to end up an overlooked gem in a few years, so while it is still on the front page, I encourage people to check it out.

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MrBond
on 2007-06-23 17:37:34

Wow, heh heh....this one caught me offguard. The slow start lead me to believe something of a considerably slower nature was to follow.

Silly me for doubting the writeup. Lesson learned. :-)

A delightfully upbeat and considerably..."Frenchy" tune. Very awesome.

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Dhsu
on 2007-06-23 14:12:55

Highway Hunter: Revenge of the Hoo-Hoos. :D

Awesome arrangement as usual, blad. Was definitely a little disappointed in the sound quality though (can't afford some strings with your 38G's/year? :P), and it seems pretty borderline in terms of the 50/50 rule the judges have been citing. I'm almost positive they've NORESUB'd other submissions for lesser evils. Perhaps this represents a subtle change of focus in the panel? Or perhaps B-Unit was holding Larry's girlfriend hostage for vote ransom?

In any case, glad to see this on the site. Not to mention Karl himself...good to see you're still around. ;)

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Geoffrey Taucer
on 2007-06-23 12:40:08

Arrangement is great. As far as production, the piano sounds great, but everything else sounds quite synthy.

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djpretzel
on 2007-06-23 12:08:04

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
Highway Hunter (Epic Games, 1995, DOS)
Music by Serge Shishkin
Songs:
"Evil Drivers: Stage 5"

Tags (3)


Genre:
Jazz
Mood:
Instrumentation:
Piano, Strings
Additional:

File Information


Name:
Highway_Hunter_Fast_Cars_Russian_Cigars_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
3,240,580 bytes
MD5:
260452899cc55347bbcb2a134c675b76
Bitrate:
128Kbps
Duration:
3:17

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