ReMix: Mega Man ZX "Flames of Darkness"

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Mega Man ZX

I wanted to make sure we got one more new mixer & one more new game in 2009 before 2010 rings in, so here's newcomer DJ Velly, aka Josh McLean, with our first ReMix from Mega Man ZX. We had absolutely zero DS mixes in 2008, but this is actually our fifth in '09, and I'd love to see that trend continue next year. Don't forget the PSP, either! Mr. McLean didn't write much in his submission email, and on first listen I initially felt like this was a rather vanilla electronica track - largely because of the drums - but as things develop DJV works in some awesome synth work and really pumps the arrangement up. Shariq's our resident Mega Man expert, and he liked it, so that's always a good sign:

"I think it's good! I really like the source and you did a great job making a fun dance track out of it. The soundscape is nothing groundbreaking, but the texture works and the production is just fine. Piano is a nice contrast to the harsher synths. Good balance between elements."

AnSo echoes that appraisal:

"While the arrangement and sound choices certainly aren't anything to write home about I think the complete package is still quite potent. It does expand on the source in a few different ways and the arrangement, while very streamlined, is still dynamic."

Basically, with a little less work and some lazier decisions, this would have been a run-of-the-mill, auto-pilot electronica/dance ReMix, but Josh seems to have an ear for tweaking the right bits and changing things up enough to go the extra mile and get something more interesting happening. Attention to panning helps, using piano and acoustic percussive elements brings in some textural variety, and filtering is generously applied, giving synths a huge, sweeping motion. I would have liked the bassline to deviate once in awhile from straight octaves and surprise me, and the electronic drums could have used some more aggressive & elaborate dsp/fx, but the foundation and execution are both solid. Good mix, hope to hear more from DJ Velly in 2010!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 14 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Crulex
on 2012-07-18 10:58:06

I think the best thing here for me is that there is enough variation over the course of the ReMix while keeping the melody going. I really enjoyed the piano-over-the-trance parts and while this is not mind blowing, it has a solid base and really shines as a debut. Good work, man, looking forward to more.

DragonAvenger
on 2010-02-17 20:35:58

If you aren't paying attention on this one it sounds pretty standard, but there are some nice things happening here. I don't know the source, but everything felt pretty naturally used in here, and I liked the section at 1:33 quite a bit. Nice change-up there. Overall this is a fun one to listen to, even if it seems fairly typical on the surface.

Martin Penwald
on 2010-01-21 05:48:24

I agree that most of the sounds used are fairly generic, but like pretty much everyone else, I wasn't bothered by it. I think it's because none of the sounds stay around long enough to become boring/annoying; the mix is so full of variation and changes that not a single of its elements can overstay its welcome.

Hope to hear more from DJ Velly, and I also hope that his future submissions show more personalization.

Level 99
on 2010-01-20 14:06:22

In my mind, I've always seen this logical progression of Capcom's music, from chiptunes to modern audio production, and no where is this highlighted more than the Mega Man series. Even in a more modern game like ZX, you can still hear the roots of Capcom's long running blue bomber series. The melody is always a focal point, usually tending towards a driving techno or dance-y beat with very catchy chord progressions. This is the kind of source tune you catch yourself humming to without realizing it.

And DJ Velly went and took that a few steps farther. Now it's completely stuck in my head. Production is fantastic: it's punchy, but not too punchy, with just the right amount of EQ. The piano and delayed drums at the beginning are a great precursor to the main sections of the song. The whole arrangement feels very fluid, and while it uses many dance-song trends, it makes sense and doesn't end up overplayed. It switches up enough to keep my ADHD-brain's attention, which is a very good thing. I would have liked to have seen some more drum variation, but as it is, still works. Good choice of buzz synths, too!

Kudos for keeping me entertained.

Nobbynob Littlun
on 2010-01-10 18:02:45

Triad Orion and XZero pretty much cover my thoughts on this. My only objection is the blaring (as others describe it) generi-trance synth that dominates the song about halfway through and is present throughout. Aside from that, this would fit very well into any Mega Man game, just as well as the original did. Honestly, I think if you replaced that one synth with just about anything, the ReMix would be excellent rather than merely good. A live cello would be awesome. lol

OA
on 2010-01-06 15:13:31

A pretty solid debut, the sections flow together well, and though a lot of the mix is pretty standard fare, it is personalized, and it's effective. Combined with a lot of subtle layers and a solid source tune, this ends up being pretty enjoyable. I like it. :-)

Bahamut
on 2010-01-06 12:00:20

I've listened to this on loop for quite a while, but I'm not sure what to think of this track. It seems that production could use some work, and some of the sample choices could be improved.

There's a solid foundation here though in terms of how the song is constructed. I don't think I really have anything bad to say about it, everything seems to flow pretty smoothly here.

DjMystix
on 2010-01-04 16:37:28

Very very nice! I was not familiar with the source but absolutely love this. thumbs up all the way!

avaris
on 2010-01-01 12:28:41

Very cool arrangement, glad to see this game's OST getting some love. Song def reminds me of Ice MC's Think About the Way, in a good way.

Lucentas
on 2009-12-31 18:58:16

This game had some solid music, and this is a great expansion of the source (plus I love trance for some weird reason). Awesome job.

XZero
on 2009-12-31 17:57:02

As a huge Mega Man music fan, I have to say that I actually like this piece a lot. The original always felt right at home in both the in-game OST context and in the Mega Man music universe at large, so preliminarily, it's great to hear a mix of it.

This version is reminiscent of the ZX Tunes Arranged version of the same track, but it's been taken in a new direction that makes it stand out from that version. This is largely what makes it a ReMix rather than an arrangement.

The more I listen to it, the more I find to like about this song. Overall, it's a solid work. I agree with everyone else: the elements on their own tend to fall a bit short, but the package works as a whole despite that shortcoming, which is impressive in and of itself. It's worth a listen, and it's a cool take on the song. Great job!

Triad Orion
on 2009-12-31 15:30:54

I'm going to echo a common sentiment: This piece is not a standout work. But with that out of the way, I'm going to also restate the fact that this is a solid, well-put-together mix of good quality and composition, especially as an OCR debut mix. There's nothing overtly wrong with the piece, which is awesome. I might've gone with a different way to open the song, but that's matter of personal preference rather than an objective issue. It doesn't take many risks in terms of arrangement, but that's okay.

All of that said, this work tells me you have great potential, and you mixed a great song from a game I really enjoy. From a personal standpoint, I really liked this piece. It's fun. Honestly, I'm excited to see what you'll be able to pull off in the future, especially if you continue to give a good treatment to the ZX soundtrack!

Emunator
on 2009-12-31 14:26:47

If you're into this kind of genre, I guess this ain't bad. Like the judges said, it's nothing groundbreaking but a solid song nonetheless. The piano definitely helps make the song feel a bit more personalized amidst the slew of generi-trance instruments. I think the source tune you picked is excellent and lends itself well to the genre, so trance fans or Megaman fans will likely find this mix very enjoyable :-)

You've got room for improvement but it's a decent debut mix with no glaring flaws that make it unlistenable, so props on that. Next time around, try making something a bit more personalized, possibly with a more unique set of synths or a less conventional arrangement. Keep at it!

djpretzel
on 2009-12-31 14:01:23

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