ReMix: Deus Ex 'Siren Synapse'
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- Game: Deus Ex (Eidos, 2000, WIN)
- ReMixer(s): Alexander Brandon, Big Giant Circles
- Composer(s): Alexander Brandon, Dan Gardopée, Michiel van den Bos, Reeves Gabrels
- Song(s): Main Title, The Synapse (Hong Kong Streets)
- Posted: 2009-10-08, evaluated by djpretzel
- Album: Featured on Deus Ex: Sonic Augmentation
Whew! This took some real coordination, but it was worth it: I'm proud to present OC ReMix's first composer-mixer collab, featuring VGM legend (and Deus Ex composer) Alexander Brandon and the panel's own Big Giant Circles! What's more, we've got a complete interview with Alex for your reading pleasure! Alex, Larry, Jimmy, Fishy and myself all worked hard to make this happen, but most of the credit of course goes to Mr. Brandon and Mr. Hinson, for being extremely badass individuals, coordinating a fascinating interview, and putting together an awesome arrangement & our very first mix from Deus Ex! Alex writes:
"John Romero introduced me to OCR about five years ago. Since then I've been continually amazed by this whole “remix” thing, and to collaborate on this piece was a hell of a lot of fun. I'm so proud of it (with the little that I did, BGC deserves a huge lion's share of the credit) that I'm going to tell BT about it and see what he says. It's the first electronic piece that really feels like it'd be right at home as a major release. So Jimmy and David, thanks for bringing so much awesome music into the game industry and giving me the chance to be involved."
The irony of having Alex thank me for pretty much anything is not lost on me; this is a man who's done tons for VGM, whose music I find myself humming constantly, and who's accessibility and attitude really show how much he cares not just for music, but for video game music specifically. Do read the interview, it's really quite epic. Even as I'm writing this, I'm still 110% stoked that we're posting our first composer-mixer collab along with a full interview, and that it's Alex, someone who really knows the industry & the art form. How'd this all happen? Big Giant Jimmy's the one who got things rolling:
"So I've been following Alex's blog for a while, and since he seemed so down to earth and approachable, I kept thinking how cool it would be if I could get him to collaborate on a remix. When I purchased Era's End, I actually had a brief e-chat with his wife and told her as much, and she said he'd probably think it was cool, so I should just ask him. So long story short, I did, and Alex was mad cool about the whole thing, even in spite of my initial lengthy, gushing, fanboy email, haha. For the remix, I knew it had to be Synapse (Hong Kong Streets) from Deus Ex - that entire OST is amazing, but it was that track in particular that turned me onto the game a few years back when a friend emailed it to me like "Man, you gotta check this song out". It also seemed appropriate since Alex once said he was partial to that particular track. All in all, this was a truly humbling (and exciting!) experience for me. Alex was not only very cool, but also very humble, and that in turn was humbling for me! I can't thank him enough for the collab, and I earnestly hope that perhaps we'll see more of this sort of thing (collabs with actual game composers) in the future. And down the road, I'd sure love to do another collab with Alex as well!"
Now, what about the music, eh? Well, Deus Ex DID have a bloody fantastic soundtrack, and even if Alex wasn't involved at all it would still be great to be posting our first ReMix of it. When the composer himself digs the mix, it does lend it a certain shroud of invincibility, at least with regards to the guessing game of whether or not the piece honors the original, etc. I've never liked that particular guessing game, because it usually involves projecting one's own opinion onto the original composer, who is usually unavailable/unaware of such discussion. Nevertheless, people do it... but not this time :) The arrangement is a great, mellow blend of electronica and articulate, zheng/guzheng lead, with stutter effects, multiple synth leads, percolating synth accompaniment, and entrancing pentatonic melodic riffs. It reminds me of Koshiro's 'China Town' given a more futuristic, bustling metropolis sort of vibe. Bottom line, I love the original, and this upgraded, 2.0 collaboration is even better, maintaining the catchy, melodic source and setting it to a re-envisioned, organic electronica. Awesome work by Alex and Jimmy, making great music AND OC ReMix history in one fell swoop!
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