ReMix: Salamander "Latis Surrounded"
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2,733,205 bytes, 2:46, 128kbps
Jorge Mira gave us our very first MSX ReMix last year with his arrangement of SD Snatcher, and now he's back to follow it up with some similarly short-but-sweet Salamander action. While far from exclusive to the MSX (most of us know the game better as Life Force for the NES), Jorge - alias Commandcom - explains some of the differences:
"It is quite difficult for me to express into words what this track ment to me when I was a kid: It was the main reason for me to play Salamander (Ok, I'm a huge Gradius saga fan). So powerfull, so inspiring, so tragic, so on-the-edge and so BIG. Those were true emotions I felt while listening to it... BUT, as I am Spanish, here in PAL regions those games (I played what I consider the best incarnation of all Salamanders, the MSX one) played slower than the NTSC verisons. You know, they made the game at 60fps and, when translading it to 50fps, they just played the whole thing a little bit slower. Gameplay was a little bit easier and, the most important thing for this submission, the MUSIC had a slower tempo.
I am used to that slower tempo. The source track I included is the original NTSC version, wich, for me, plays uncomfortably fast. :D So that was an obvious first move, to slow it down a little, and then a little more, to find more "space" in time, you know, so it can flow in a different direction. I'm aware that most approaches to remix this track were rock-oriented, or, at least. guitar oriented. This is not my case. I've always felt it big, orchestrated, evocating."
It's really interesting the way different ports of a game have their own quirks, and how some of the tricks (or even laziness) used in localization and porting can have an affect not only on gameplay and visuals, but also on the execution, appreciation and interpretation of a game's music; there's a college thesis somewhere in there, or at least a solid essay. Speaking of essays, Jorge actually had a bit more to add:
"Ok, many many years later, came Gradius V on the PS2, made by those incredible ex-Konami team named Treasure. And that 2.5D shooter a-la-Ikaruga is not only the best incarnation of Gradius to date, but also has an amazing soundtrack! THAT is the direction I wanted to take: IF there was going to be a Salamander 2.5D a-la-Gradius V (Please, Konami, read this), this is the music I'd like to hear while playing the first stage, in which Latis is surrounded by Zelo's force and you have to fly there and save the day!
What did I use?
- Nuendo 4 / Reason 4, main tools.
- EastWest Symphonic Orchestra (Orch. Bits)
- StormDrum2 (Percussion)
- Omnisphere (Several percussive items)
- Voices of Passion (The bulgarian girl litte bits)"
Whew! Jorge's passion for video games really comes through in his submission emails, that's for sure. But what about his music? There, too, one definitely gets a sense of his detailed appreciation for the music he's honoring. This mix is shorter, and a little on the liberal side, but most judges felt there were enough source connections and loved the production. Vinnie writes:
"The arrangement forges its own path, building minimal electronic elements with some heavier orchestral stuff. Sounds a bit like Nick Singer's stuff but more emphasis on the beat. I think sometimes it gets too colored, but Jorge always pulls back on those notes quickly and the new chord at 2:12 was a beautiful alteration."
Shariq, who just joined us in Troy, NY at Genericon, marking his first official appearance on an OCR panel, added:
"It could be longer, but I think it's pretty solid. I dig it when the vox comes in. Very chill, yet it still has an edge. Great pumping piece."
That's what she said. For under three minutes, Jorge really packs a lot of variety into this piece, blending orchestral (good dynamics AND brass, to boot!) with synths and ethnic instrumentation and vocalizing. As an "artistic petition" to persuade Konami to do a next-gen, 2.5D Salamander, this is pretty compelling. Even if that never happens, though, Mr. Mira's given us another fantastic, dynamic, cinematic MSX ReMix to enjoy!
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