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