ReMix: One Man and His Droid 'Do Droids Dream of Ramboids?'

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One Man and His Droid

As the proud owner of a Moto Droid, the game title here has a nice double meaning for me, but regardless of your personal phone of choice, I think you'll enjoy the fantastic orchestral mix newcomer Dummy (aka Blake Robinson) has arranged from the legendary Rob Hubbard's score. He writes:

"A few friends and I had started a compose-off challenge of creating a C64 game theme remix. I ended up creating small pieces from a few games but this was my favourite and the one I ended up finishing. Rob Hubbard's piece seems to fit an orchestra pretty well (the C64 orchestra do a rendition).

It was about 6 hours work from start to finish. FL Studio 9 was used as the sequencer with Kontakt 4 hosting various sample libraries alongside WIVI 2 Brass/Woodwinds 1. LA Scoring Strings was used for the strings, Project SAM Symphobia & True Strike for mocking up phrases and for the percussion and WIVI was used for brass & woodwinds. My normal production method is to rough out the main motifs with Symphobia and then trace over the top with LASS/WIVI.

I always like to keep the main motifs as close to the source material as I can. Most of my creative freedom comes from the harmonies, backing and side melodies that come with turning the piece from something that simply has drums/bass/lead into a score played by a 60 piece orchestra. I think I'm getting close to being happy with how my setup sounds and works together. I'm a bit OCD and there's still things I'm not happy with, but I don't think I can really fix them short of hiring my own orchestra. Hopefully no one hears the things that annoy me and everyone enjoys this remix."

This is the first submission I'm aware of that uses WIVI, and in general the list of libraries Blake cites reads like a who's who of Hollywood-quality orchestral samples. Of course, the arrangement makes the samples, and not vice versa, but it's still a formidable, drool-inducing arsenal. Interesting that under all that glitz and glam, FL Studio was still the sequencer, which should speak to its flexibility & power outside of electronica. But enough tech talk - what about the music? Well, it's excellent, cinematic work that, as Blake mentions, really works well with the source material. I had some spare time and actually voted on this one myself, just to spur the panel along, so let me quote... myself:

"Definitely great to see more C64 representation; arrangement does a great job of transplanting the genre. Brass gets a little blatty (inevitable) but I love that the brass parts crescendo - that more than makes up for it! Also nice panning/separation & surprise clarinet solo ending."

Another Swedescape took time from his incessant tweeting about his latest VGM acquisitions to chime in:

"Great samples and, the important part, good use of them. Arrangement could've taken a few more liberties but was solid as is. Overall a great rendition of the source, well done good sir!"

This probably could have been a minute shorter, as there's definitely some noticeable CTRL-C+V, but the quality, flow, and general production sheen make it an exciting, theatrical adaptation of Hubbard's original. At six hours to create from soup to nuts, it's tres impressive, and I'd love to hear more from the artist in the future - hopefully this piece is but a prelude of things to come!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
kelvingreen
on 2012-10-21 12:01:57
Emunator;736537 wrote: I'm getting some Mario Galaxy vibes from some of the orchestration, among many other things.

Yes indeed, it does feel a bit like Super Mario Galaxy in terms of approach. I like it!
Crulex
on 2012-08-26 16:24:50
The orchestration of this ReMix sounds so good, I'm loving this! Very clean sound and the entire thing has a great flow. And only 6 hours to make this? That's impressive as hell to a guy like me. Enjoyed this a lot.
Rexy
on 2011-12-05 06:03:37
For all the C64 coverage I often see around here, it's rare that I see someone taking it in a more symphonic direction - fits the title really appropriately. The dynamic work is very solid - when it gets quiet it really shows its subtleties just fine, and with some articulations in place it starts to show life; I give a huge amount of credit to the string work here, very convincing work going on with those.
I've also been meaning to invest in the WIVI sounds for some time, and while the woodwind work has shown itself to fit very appropriately for the track, I kind of feel torn about the brass with the near-constant attack for them. Thankfully they've been handled well within the setting; a more straightforward setting (2 riffs and an ending) than I might expect for more recent mixes but still shining well on VGM otherwise undercovered. I might look into the sample bank once my wallet fills up again, though things might change as the future moves in.
Nonetheless, definitely a more different light in the field of C64 coverage, and I'm hoping you'll get to contribute to the site again in the future :)
Moguta
on 2010-12-10 22:50:13
I could make a horrible pun with the remixer's name, but I'll refrain for everyone's sense of taste.
This guy, oddly named Dummy, has a very impressive (and likely just as expensive) batch of orchestral samples. I love orchestral arrangements that sound fresh from the recording studio. And not only does it sound great, but the music itself has a great energy and punch. Unlike many other symphonic mixes on the site, this one is not afraid to show off its low end and treat the ears with loud, deep driving bursts of rhythm.
I feel Droids Dream does start to become a bit repetitive by the end, but the strength of everything else outweighs this. Nice work! :-)
Emunator
on 2010-12-09 12:14:44
While I feel like the main draw of this track is the impeccable production and sample quality (I'll admit, I'm somewhat of a sample whore :-P) but the arrangement of this track goes a lot of places without feeling too stale. I'm getting some Mario Galaxy vibes from some of the orchestration, among many other things. Very diverse cinematic interpretation, while I do notice some of the copypasta that DJP alludes to in his writeup, I don't necessarily feel like it's a big problem ultimately.
justinj212
on 2010-12-08 13:15:17
I did an aural double-take when I first heard this. The orchestral samples are some of the best I've ever heard. The arrangement is really solid too, and the constantly-changing tone and pace really kept me engaged when I was listening. It seems to revolve around the excellent strings and the full, dramatic sound from the brass. Bonus points for the reference in the title. Good work!
DragonAvenger
on 2010-08-16 15:59:27
This has a pretty awesome sound, and I'm impressed that it only took 6 hours of work to make this. Samples are pretty sweet, but as said the nice arrangement is what really makes this shine. More people should check this one out.
Martin Penwald
on 2010-07-04 14:42:45
^I guess nobody mentioned it because it's so goddamned obvious what the title alludes to.
Monobrow;688430 wrote: Yay some Hubbard love!
Personally I friggin LOVE Skate or Die and Skate or Die 2 music... Amazing stuff that needs more love.

QFE
The remix in hand has a very interesting sound to it. While most recent orchestral arrangements have a very movie-like sound to them, this one stays true to its video game roots IMO. I don't know what it is, but it just sounds "right", like a piece from some 16/32-bit era RPG.
And as was mentioned before, the samples are really, really good.
Crono3of3time
on 2010-06-18 17:39:27
I'm actually surprised that nobody prior to this post has referenced the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?". Although it probably had nothing to do with the title. Still, I just had to ask... soo similar...
OA
on 2010-06-16 10:42:55
Ridiculously good samples handled very well, with some very exciting backing parts. This mix sounds great. :-)
Monobrow
on 2010-06-16 09:19:39
Yay some Hubbard love!
Personally I friggin LOVE Skate or Die and Skate or Die 2 music... Amazing stuff that needs more love.
Not familiar with this game though, but I love the strings. It is a little repetitive too, like Stevo said, but it still does the source justice. Nice job.
Level 99
on 2010-06-16 08:27:59
The arrangement sounds like a less-goofy Danny Elfman, and I'm DIGGING IT LIKE CRAZY. I've listened to the original source quite a few times since Rob Hubbard is one of the main highlights of having a C64 music player on the iPhone, and this does wonders to represent a different imagination of it. I can still feel the pressure that the original source tune evoked. The sounds you used are absolutely top notch, and while the mix is a bit repetitive at one point or another, so is the source, so you kinda stayed true to the feeling of it. Lopping this on my "Best of - Orchestral" playlist.
Bahamut
on 2010-06-16 01:05:14
I'm not familiar with the source, but man does this sound nice - there is a quality to the orchestra you don't hear much around these parts.
In all honesty, this track seems pretty plain from an arrangement perspective, but it really has a structure to it that makes me think I could be hearing this in a game today - it's well done in that regard, and pleasant to listen to in the background.
zircon
on 2010-06-16 00:54:43
Fantastic mix with WONDERFUL orchestral sounds.
Brandon: This isn't QLSO. As the writeup says, the artist used WIVI physically modeled brass and LA Scoring Strings, both of which sound way better than QLSO. This mix in particular sounds fantastic and pretty damn close to real. Also, EWQL is not for "pop", it's a library specifically designed for cinematic/Hollywood-esque music... about as far from pop as you can get. This is not the first time you've posted in a review thread making incorrect (and insulting) assumptions about the technical aspects of gear used in a mix. Knock it off.
djpretzel
on 2010-06-16 00:13:45
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.