Before DKC2 there was, quite intuitively, the original Donkey Kong Country. With all the sequel love lately, it's time to remember the game that started it all. Before I go further, I'll mention Jimmy's announcement that "April is Support OCR month" has officially started - there's no goal this year, but if you love OCR as much as I do (which is a lot, since I run it and stuff), we appreciate any & all forms of support! Serious Monkey Business is just the beginning of what we've got in store for you in 2010, and your contributions make what we do possible. We haven't seen Blue Magic in these parts since 2008, since like me he was AWOL in terms of posted mixes in 2009. Well, it's time to fix all that - Damon writes:
"I don't really have too much to say about this mix, but it was really fun to make and I hope you all have fun listening to it."
That sentence almost seems like the equivalent of writing "have a great summer!!" in someone's year book, but thankfully the mix is a bit more interesting, and longer too. It's a fairly mellow, pop/electronica instrumental of the excellent 'Fear Factory' theme, with some hip-hop elements & some ethnic elements, i.e. difficult to pin down. You've got what sounds like a thumb piano paired up with a pan flute-esque wind lead & cello, backed by mixed ethnic percussion, then a more modern R&B drum kit comes along with ensemble strings and, later, a synth lead. It's a good, evolving blend of instrumentation that keeps the arrangement moving along. Judges may have been a bit harsher than I would have been, personally, although the comment about the mix lacking a solid bass part is certainly spot-on... Vinnie writes:
"I'm pretty ambivalent here. I love the textures and the set of instruments, very well chosen and blended. The first minute was too directionless, very little build-up or much happening. Eventually a pan flute came in and from there, it started to go somewhere, though it only really took off at 1:40, when the bass regions that Shariq noted as missing were filled by pads and kick."
When you so conspicuously leave out a bass part on a mix like this, you're definitely running some risks. I love iconoclastic arrangement decisions and I love experimenting and non-conformity, but I also think there are often reasons why traditional song structures and instrumentation tend to work well, and I ultimately think a good bass part here would have improved the mix. I don't mind the quantized feel that some judges took issue with, but I'll have to agree that things feel rather empty at times given the lack of lowend representation; it's not a ghost town, it's just that with the good timbral variety elsewhere, there's a wide swath of the frequency spectrum that does seem a little uninhabited. How much that bothers you will likely depend on how tolerant your ears & expectations are, but Damon's done a great job with everything else, and provided us with a unique take on a classic DKC theme, so there's a lot to love. Hopefully we'll be seeing some more Blue Magic in 2010!
on 2018-01-28 13:17:15
Been a huge fan of this one for a long time, actually! The first listen didn't grab my attention, though, but then every new listen made me appreciate this gem a bit more I absolutely love the soothing blend of organic and electronic instrumentation, and this unusual approach to the source definitely deserves much more love. My favorite moments are certainly the lead change at 1:42, when the chorus kicks in, and the mellow synth solo at 2:32 - it really makes the jungle-y vibe a bit different, and this touch is welcome too! Oh, and I also forgot to mention the moody intro - those strings are very cool! And I guess the varied percussion deserves to be mentioned as well! Really good and creative work here, highly recommended!
on 2010-12-29 10:55:02
Excellent ReMix. Very different from the original and I never thought I'd hear it like this. Kinda weird, but I like the non-mechanical sounding Fear Factory. The flute somewhere in the beginning is a little meh, but aside from that, great stuff. Very ambient and pleasant take on my favorite DKC theme.
on 2010-05-02 14:52:16
I thought this sounded great then I read what everyone else says about no bass part. ::shrug:: it still sounds AMAZING the soft strings do it for me especially near the end )
on 2010-04-24 04:27:49
Very relaxed remix, even after it picks up a bit past 1:40. I like the pan flute, but I agree about the low end; hardly anything to do for the subwoofer in the first one and a half minutes, and even after that, the low end's not filled-out enough IMO.
Still, I enjoyed the remix overall.
on 2010-04-11 22:39:06
Instrumentation's a personality grab bag. The Jack-in-the-box lead adds a touch of innocence, backup strings like the cello and violin soften the mood, and the choir-like pad pairs with the chimes like a mystical echo. Drumwork comes in tap/clap/slap-happy varieties and is nourishing like whole wheat bread. Even timely effects like whirling winds and space warpage sweeten the action and facilitate transitions. Since the Js already tore into the tacky-sounding woodwinds, I'll just add that I think the guitar panned left could use a similar dose of TLC to make it sound more natural.
Arrangement's a devilish curveball. Here's a rough remix-source breakdown:
- The Jack-in-the-box synth and the piano+bell+guitar trio at 1:41 represent the fluffy, lonesome lead at 0:58 of Fear Factory (FF).
- The chimes (0:33, 1:24) play the role of FF's rising, rubbery lead at 0:43.
- The woodwinds at 1:08 and the stick-like percussion are a nod to the furtive 4-note echoes from the early stages (0:03/0:04) of FF.
Because the mix's order and structure are far removed from that of Fear Factory, it almost sounds like it's repeating key phrases in the hopes that the listener will stop and say "oh, now I recognize what that part is!" Many instruments add a little spin to their assigned roles, but it's the suave electronica synth at 2:30 that offers the most source-defying originality while giving the others a leader to look up to.
Looks like DK has nothing to fear from THIS factory.
on 2010-04-11 21:15:14
What a very nice, soothing version of the original. Blue Magic seems to be good at doing this. And it's like something Andean-inspired new age. At least until the beat start to pick up. The pan flute really does it for me.
on 2010-04-07 22:13:05
Loved this. Not only was it an awesome take on a classic BGM, but it's been ages since I last played DKC, and this reminded me just how awesome the soundtrack was. It made me go and get the SPCs from DKC for old times' sake; I've now spent a considerable amount of time trying to rip samples from them intead of working. Thanks Blue Magic!
on 2010-04-07 21:32:54
I like it. It's kind of random, but goes pretty smooth.
on 2010-04-07 16:44:09
Very light, hip, and smooth. I love the rythmic instrumental beat from the sticks and piano to give it a increase like motion. +A must listen.
on 2010-04-07 15:48:06
Wow. I like this. A lot. The way the song kind of goes from random-ambiance to a well put together mix is nice. I love the original source, and your take on it is great. I'm so used to the darker, harder take on this song that this laid back take is a nice refresher. Thanks for the mix!
on 2010-04-07 15:47:26
I am not familiar with the original.
(We have fired OA from the panel.)
on 2010-04-07 12:28:38
I am not familiar with the original.
on 2010-04-07 11:47:23
I am not familiar with the original
on 2010-04-07 10:47:15
I am not familiar with the original, so I don't have the expectations some might have about how the source is supposed to sound, but I really enjoyed this. The flute could have used some smoothing, but otherwise I really thought it was a good song. Nice work.
on 2010-04-07 09:32:20
Can't say enough how cool it is to get ReMixes with an entirely different feel than the original. It's so easy to do "Fear Factory" with an ominous or hard edge given the mood of the original. Taking it on in this style like Damon has just shows the versatility of the theme!
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Donkey Kong Country (Nintendo, 1994, SNES)
Music by David Wise, Eveline Novakovic, Robin Beanland
- "Fear Factory"
- Regional > World
- 5,189,009 bytes
- Size: 5,189,009 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: d2fb6f91391c34cc5cd1209c6e12a515
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