ReMix: Tales of Symphonia "Pixelated Tales"
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5,879,808 bytes, 4:15, 182kbps
This track from newcomer Showroom Dummy, aka Ralf Schneider, is peppy, happy, synth-packed sugary fun, very similar to an Erasure song, sans vocals. I'm a huge Vince Clarke fan, so this is a big compliment in my book; Mr. Dummy writes:
"Well I decided I should remix this song, but I should make it a challenge too, so I limited myself to create all the sounds in this song using only raw squarewaves. Of course, I applied all sorts of effects and stuff to them, and in the end, it turned out to be very fun and I really enjoy the results. Even some of the drums are made out of a raw squarewave. (also, no drumloops)
I did this in some kind of electro/8-bit style, with a heavy influence from my favorite electronic music band EVER: Kraftwerk. The nods are very apparent in there, but I also borrowed elements from some of my favorite old school electro producers, like Model 500.
Anyways enough with the explanations, just enjoy this little voyage into old school sounds... I made this mix for PRC, it was very well received inside and outside of it, hope you like it."
I certainly do; it's uplifting, pleasant, and generally buoyant. Ralf got a LOT of mileage out of squarewaves, I'll say that much... just imagine what he could with some triangles and saws thrown in. What I especially dig is the little touches that avoid things ever feeling like they're on autopilot - the intro and outro are both excellent, but also check the little chromatic-carnival transition riff at 1'49"; my type of stuff! The more I listen to this mix, the more I appreciate what the artist has done, packing a lot of detail and programming into a sugary, synth-pop package. Vinnie writes:
"Apart from the 3:25 section, honestly, I didn't hear that much Kraftwerk influence! It's very full, something you don't hear in Kraftwerk. It sounds more like the bands that were inspired by them. Not that any of that matters, I liked this a lot. You got great mileage out of the squarewave, tweaking it with distortion, envelopes, and effects. It's easy to hear the original in this, but there's a lot of you in it too. Very good work, though the ending would have been better as a fadeout at 3:57."
I agree on the inspiration thing - I'm not hearing that much Kraftwerk - but I disagree on the ending: I think that when you're doing synth-pop, which has this tendency to merrily plod along without a care in the world, it's important to include these little unorthodox, unexpected elements, and I love the ending because it breaks form and does exactly that. To repeat myself, it again feels VERY Vince Clarke to me - it's exactly the same type of pleasantly-major-key-but-with-intelligent-variation type of electronica he produces, so I'd recommend anyone who digs this mix (as I do) check out Erasure as well. Great stuff from Showroom Dummy, who I really hope to hear more from in the future!
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