ReMix: Xenogears "Akkadia Rising"
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Onwards! The reaction to Humans + Gears has been fantastic; understand, this was an album that wasn't really on our radar as much as Echoes and the upcoming DKC2 album were, but things started taking shape when we (finally) heard the finished tracks, saw the work Ziwtra had done on the site, and got a better appreciation for what Avaris & co. had truly accomplished. Shaun wrote this mix himself, working with Brad to incorporate his saxophone work into the arrangement; Mr. Wallace writes:
"The mix's title refers to Akkadia, or in other words, Babylon. I wanted to coin the mix with a title that symbolized a dark and destined past. In all honesty this mix was conceptually in the works for over a year since the first time I heard Brad play saxophone live at Magfest in 2008. I thought everyone deserved to hear just how incredible and emotional his performances are. I had been listening to Massive Attack while composing this piece. The backing track to the saxophone is focused around trip hop and certain motifs from the source. Everything is built-up and executed based upon trying to bring out Brad's excellent playing. This track features tons of custom sounds made in order to create the dark atmosphere.
Ironically, I do sound design quite often. I was lucky enough to do some sound design for Propellerhead on their new product Record. I made a few FX combinators for their Reason + Record soundbank, for users of both Record and Reason. It's free from their website so definitely check it out! People who are interested can find some more sound design releases from myself and other OC ReMixers from my sound design company Sonic Elements: www.sonic-elements.com. It features demos and soundbanks from OCR peeps such as Jewbei, bLiNd, Audio Fidelity, The Prophet of Mephisto, and AeroZ. Thanks!"
Very cool that Shaun got to contribute to an official Propellerhead offering of any kind; check out his site for some quality synth patches. You can definitely hear a bit of a Massive Attack influence here, but actually with the sax it reminds me of the soundtrack to X, which had a lot of rising & falling sax riffs. I absolutely love the way the drums play with tempo and swing, here; trip-hop can sometimes feel plodding or rhythmically predictable, but Shaun's given the drums some real life by switching things up rather often. Sax is dominant & abundant, but almost never as a solo instrument - instead there are usually two or more sax lines, panned for separation, reacting and responding to each other in a serpentine, collaborative dance. It's hypnotic without being uninteresting, and certainly unique; tpom writes:
"Shaun contacted me about this track significantly before I recorded any audio. We discussed back and forth about the direction the track took, with Shaun doing the mixing and me suggesting ideas for where the track was going. Once Shaun had a relatively finalized mix, I sat down and recorded on my tenor, which isn't very good but gets the job done pretty well. I did a lot of fooling around until I got something I liked, and Shaun did some awesome effecting to my instrument to make it fit into the texture more."
I think the collaboration resulted in a very blended, complete vision; Brad's sax adds a very human element to the texture, and the arrangement creates a mellow funk that still has a layer of tension and unease. Great stuff from album director Avaris and the prophet of mephisto!
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