ReMix: Super Metroid "Zebes Rising"
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Newcomer Ekaj (!sdrawkcab s'ti: tnih), aka Jake Rooney, gives us a sonic workover (and synth workout) of 'Brinstar Red Soil Swampy Area' from Super Metroid. Sometimes folks criticize poor old us for not accepting stuff that's close to cover territory and requiring too much arrangement, but honestly our standards are more about ensuring that artists put their own stamp on things than mandating extreme divergence from source. There are myriad acceptable combinations of changes to arrangement, performance, and production, and sometimes that first category can stay fairly close to the original if other elements are brought out to compensate. In other words, it's more flexible than you'd think, and this SM mix (not part of the recent bLiNd effort) being posted helps illustrate that dynamic. Larry was apprehensive about the mix being rejected for being too conservative, but this did not occur. Let's see why - he wrote:
"This isn't gonna win any award for melodic interpretation, but there was a bit done there. More importantly, the approach was expansive and personalized to the hilt. It's pretty interesting how this has a dark tone like the source tune, but addition of stuff like the breakbeats and gated synths clearly don't give off the same lonely energy the original does. Nonetheless, still a very spacious, well produced mix. I'm feeling like this will get NOed for being too conservative, but the sum total of the changes felt substantive enough to me."
It perhaps helps that Super Metroid's soundtrack really isn't about lyrical melody in the first place - it's far more ambient and atmospheric, and so an approach that focuses there takes fewer risks, relative to catchier fare. Jimmy writes:
"/agree. This is an excellent example of how someone can be interpretive with a theme without restructuring it and giving it a total crossover-job altogether. To reemphasize Larry without totally relying on his exact words, I think this is something good for OCR to put on the shelf--"Red Brinstar" has been tastefully expanded upon; it brings in new elements, yet manages to miraculously maintain the classic Metroid-esque vibe."
Vinnie further validates:
"Not much change to the melodies, but there's new chords, new structure, and just a hell of a different feel, with plenty of new material backing up the pieces that are kept from the source. I'm not sure why this would be NO'ed for being too conservative; there's quite a few arrangements on OCR that do this sort of thing (including some of my songs). Like Jesse, I felt the drums were a little repetitive, which was puzzling given that some effort was put into those drum breakdowns every few measures. But there was always plenty going on to keep it interesting.
This thing just sounds great. High energy, full bodied, and a smooth flow (feel like I'm talking about an energy drink). I think people are really gonna like this one - I know I did."
This is a well-crafted and very listenable electronica piece, and Ekaj has done a particularly good job keeping the overall texture "Metroid-esque," as Jimmy puts it. Check the mix, then check out his MySpace for more good stuff; looking forward to a follow-up.
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