ReMix: Donkey Kong Country "Permutation" 5:50

By Entheogen, injury, Nicole Adams

Artist Links
Arranging the music of one song...

"Fear Factory"

Primary Game: Donkey Kong Country (Nintendo, 1994, SNES), music by David Wise, Eveline Novakovic, Robin Beanland

Posted 2009-02-14, evaluated by djpretzel


Been awhile. Any time more than a week passes without a new mix being posted, I'm always a bit depressed. In this instance work's really been kicking my ass lately PLUS I'm trying to learn Russian, so it's not like I'm just idly shirking my OCR duties, but balancing all three is certainly difficult under such circumstances. Luckily, we've got a three-day weekend, and it's time for an awesome DKC collab from Nicole Adams and Starla. This is injury's first mix since 2002 (!) and our first from Nicole, and it (very roughly) coincides with an interview/feature Larry helped orchestrate that was published over at WomenGamers.com. They spoke with Elaine Li from Select Start, Jill, and Nicole as well about ReMixing, VGM, and gaming in general - well worth a read!! Both artists had some background notes - Nicole writes:

"Early this year, I was invited to join Game Music 4 All's second anniversary compilation. I had started a remix of Donkey Kong Country's "Fear Factory" not long before being asked that GM4A and I thought would be great material for the album. I quickly got to work on the arrangement and once most of the ideas were in place, including a rough lead vocal melody, I contacted injury for lyrics and vocals. I sent her the lyrics I wrote for the chorus and she proceeded to write lyrics for the verses. As the remix was nearing completion, I contacted my internet friend, Entheogen, to perform a screaming electric guitar solo of one of the melodies from the original. He obtained the guitar tone by running his clean performance through Ohmicide:Melohman.

The lyrics center around conformity and the restricted thoughts one woman has about being stripped of her individuality by an oppressive government. People are taken to factories where they are turned into machines in order to keep any sort of conflict from arising. Fortunately, human nature prevails and the power of the human mind enables our narrator to understand what it's like to think and feel with absolute freedom. The lyrics mean a lot to me since much of my life consisted of trying to be like everyone else and feeling embarrassed about things that helped define who I was.

In addition to injury and Entheogen, I need to thank Ross B (rb2k1), SGX and Artificial Artisan for taking the time to critique my demos of the remix and teach me even more about music production. Game Music 4 All also deserves some thanks for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the compilation. Who knows how long it would have taken me to finish this remix if I didn't have a deadline! :)

Other fun facts: I produced this remix primarily in Reason 3. Mastering, global automation, orchestra arrangement and vocal/guitar mixing were done in FL Studio 7. (Eventually I'll upgrade!) I also ran the vocal and guitar files through Melodyne to correct pitch, timing and other things. The song was influenced by many electronic artists, but the ending was especially influenced by Hooverphonic."

injury adds:

"I had wanted to collaborate on a song for some time when Nicole approached me through e-mail. From the moment I first heard her WIP, I was impressed by her talent and skill. I of course agreed to lend vocals to her remix. She had done the hard part, all that was left for me to do was write the remainder of the lyrics (she had already written the chorus), create harmonies and record. Working over the internet is much different than in person, since sometimes it can be more difficult to express certain ideas. After several takes, Nicole was pleased with what we had. It was very interesting seeing the mix grow and change over time into what it ended up as. This was absolutely a fun learning experience for me and I definitely hope to contribute to more remixes in the future."

I've looped this one a dozen times now and it's simply excellent; Starla came through on vocals (you can contrast this with her work from 7 years ago and hear how she's improved), you can't even tell the lyrics were co-written since the chorus & verse blend perfectly (and rock), the production is a tight mix of EP/ballad elements and electronica, and the arrangement is both expansive and easily identifiable. I really hate the current Bud Light ad campaign where they talk about "Drinkability", but honestly, this mix has what I might indeed call "Listenability" - it's really easy to get into, well constructed, and doesn't take any bad turns. At the same time, it's interesting, has a lyric that not only *sounds* good but actually has a message, and sticks in your head afterwards.

I really enjoyed reading the interview with Elaine, Jill, and Nicole, because they were posed with the very difficult question of whether, by focusing on "Women Gamers" (or female ReMixers, for that matter), media outlets end up defeating the purpose of emphasizing equality - that a girl can like games, game music, and making music, and that it's not particularly "newsworthy". It's a topic I consider from time to time, as there's good arguments either way. Ultimately the reality is that demographics in most cases are still lopsided, and if a little bit of extra attention helps address that in any way, it seems like a good idea. Either way, this mix speaks for itself as a refreshing collab, an intelligent arrangement, a production that fires on all cylinders, and a piece of music that transcends gender and that Dixie, Diddy, Donkey, Funky, and Cranky alike would all enjoy.

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
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Bahamut
on 2011-12-16 22:50:51

This is a pretty awesome take on the Fear Factory source! I feel like Nicole starla did a better job on the Hot Head Bop source, but I could be biased :) . Anyhow, this is a pretty creative twist on the original, as the original was more dark gritty, so you'd think industrial or metal when you think of it. I've said it before, but Nicole shows that she is excellent at building songs around vocals, and this song is no exception! Great job to the duo here!

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Cash
on 2011-12-16 21:03:08

Great mix. Thought provoking lyrics and awesome voice. Fear Factory is a fantastic source, and this song is an exceptional adaptation.

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Kuolema
on 2011-05-29 20:01:18

This was one of the first remixes I listened to from the site, and It's still a favorite. The lyrics and singing are great and the music is just...so awesome! (I had actually never heard the source when I first listened to this, but after hearing it I must say that the music is very unique!)

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OA
on 2010-08-16 12:19:23

A really great vocal mix, with a very solid backing track, and excellent effects. Pacing was perfect, and there was a lot of really nice touches in the production. Lyrics were both thoughtful and well performed. An excellent mix that really showcases some serious talent.

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letterONE
on 2010-04-23 23:10:30

Hey! Another one I like! I guess it's mainly the lyrics and... well... now that I think about it... all of it is pretty darn good. Sounds very... official. All I have to is nice work!:smile:

-letterONE (that's right, new way of writing things, yo!)

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Theophany
on 2010-03-11 19:33:46

Love the many change ups, synth design, sohpisticated arrangement, vocals. I can feel a lot of different influences at work here. I really appreciate the attention to detail too, lots of variety in the sounds and arrangement. Building a remix around vocals is pretty hard, I think. But you two pulled off something stellar. Instant favorite :D

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Emunator
on 2009-12-08 18:28:58

At first the pacing/timing of the vocals threw me off, but I've REALLY come to like this track a lot. Nicole's backing instrumentation is really mellow and the use of the electric piano especially evokes a very solemn mood that's ultimately reflected in the lyrics. I'll agree that the guitar solo sounded a bit out of place, but only because of the harsh tone compared to the silky smooth texture of the rest of the mix.

This one's got me really excited for your collab, "A New Place" off of Serious Monkey Business. You've both set the bar high, but for everybody's sake I hope your next mix is even better!

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duskvstweak
on 2009-09-19 18:19:59

This mix is great. I was so immersed into Donkey Kong Country as a kid, and I think one of the things that did it was the ambient soundtrack. Fear Factory was such a cool song, not to mention levels. But this mix really does add something else to the song.

The song does kind of sound sad but these lyrics really change the way I see the stage. It helps that the vocals are up to par as well.

A very good mix of a very cool song.

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Kinslayer
on 2009-09-06 06:05:27

I just wanted to say that this is absolutely one of the best renditions of Donkey Kong's Fear Factory theme, I have been a long time fan of the Donkey Kong soundtracks for a long time...and you delivered a beautiful song. Injury's vocals are superb, and the background music is really good, one note though, the guitar was a little too rough, I would have went with something a little softer...keep 'em comin' Nicole...I need more music from you before I go deaf listening to i.transmit.this back to 1946

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Trouble
on 2009-08-07 11:49:49

You know what, i remember i didn't liked this song the first times

I'm writting with the song playing behind right now and whoooo i like it so much, it's become my anthem

When i do jogging at night, i put it, running along the streets, the beat helps me going, the voice and musics calm me down, and at 3:00..alone on the city ..donkey with me..i feel so good

Thank you so much

Should i add that the beginning is magic, like poetic ?

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Crulex
on 2009-07-16 19:57:03

Without a doubt, one of the best Remixes on the site! Wonderful voice work as well!

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yosefu
on 2009-05-12 01:42:46

Incredible mix. The vocals are what i love about this mix.

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metalsnakejuice
on 2009-04-30 06:02:09

Incredible vocal talent form this mix l must say and a very solid song.

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WillRock
on 2009-04-29 20:27:41

Why haven't I replied to this thread to mention how cool this remix is?

God knows, but I have to drop in and say how good this is - one of the best more recent ocr mixes by far, great great work :P

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Nicole Adams
on 2009-04-29 13:58:29
I like the weird...crunch sound that comes in from time to time, I'm not sure how to describe it...it first comes in at 0:20, I thought that in particular just gave things a little flair; where did you get this sound if I may ask?

That instrument is called a güiro. If I recall correctly, the sample is from Smokers Relight Deux.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
Donkey Kong Country (Nintendo, 1994, SNES)
Music by David Wise, Eveline Novakovic, Robin Beanland
Songs:
"Fear Factory"

Tags (6)


Genre:
Mood:
Instrumentation:
Electronic, Singing, Synth, Vocals: Female
Additional:
Lyrics > Lyrics: Original
Origin > Collaboration

File Information


Name:
Donkey_Kong_Country_Permutation_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
6,363,128 bytes
MD5:
d628557f9efcb9a9d58046a0bdd85634
Bitrate:
142Kbps
Duration:
5:50

Growing steady now, watching over me
I cannot escape, I cannot be free
Push it down inside, nothing's what it seems
Heavy like the wind, travelling over me

Covering my mouth, covering up my eyes
Freedom's  what they claim, what they advertise
Chain me down inside, secrets I can't hide
I cannot feel, I cannot breathe freely

[Chorus]
Reality is by this factory
Prescribing what is not in need
Personality, what does it mean to me?
I cannot think, my mind can't breathe
 
Growing quiet now, falling back to sleep
Herding us like cows, treating us like sheep
I cannot describe the feelings that I hide
Cut me like a knife, steady, smooth and deep

Similarity, this conformity
There's no place to hide in this factory
when you close your eyes, what is it that you see?
I cannot feel, I cannot breathe freely

[Chorus]
Reality is by this factory
Prescribing what is not in need
Personality, what does it mean to me?
I cannot think, my mind can't breathe

[Entheogen guitar solo]

Reality is by this factory
Prescribing what is not in need
Personality, what does it mean to me?
Tell me what's beyond this eternity

Reality was by this factory
Its products seen are a dying breed
Personality consumes all of me
The world will see I'm forever free

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