ReMix: Fallout 3 "The Fallout of Eli"
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...And we're back!
Otakon 2010 was another awesome year at the first convention we ever officially appeared at, made all the sweeter by getting to meet the man, the legend, Hiroki Kikuta himself! We gave him an OCR shirt and a CD of all the mixes of his compositions currently on the site, and conducted a brief interview. He was air-guitaring the riff from 'Dragon Song' literally ten minutes before Brandon showed up, which was also just really surreal. Thanks to everyone who showed up & again made our panel a blast - each year we prepare for Otakon, and each year it sorta reinvigorates us and helps remind us all why we put in the extra hours to keep improving & contributing to OCR. We had to wait to post this mix until after the con ruckus had subsided, but it's rather epic, and all about the firsts:
- First Mazedude collab ever, w/ drummer & producer Brynner Agassi (Maze designed his rather slick website, FYI)
- First PS3 mix. Yeah, it's not platform exclusive, but STILL...
- First Inon Zur mix... Mr. Zur may in fact have the coolest actual composer name (non-pseudonym) in all of VGM
FIRST FALLOUT REMIX!!
Now, let me say a little about Fallout 3: I absolutely frickin' love it. I'm not much of one for the traditional fantasy settings, but when you combine Bethesda with the retro post-apocalytpic wonderland that is the Fallout universe AND you set it in Washington, D.C., where I work IRL, well... I'm hooked. Many of you who know me well know that I've been busting my ass on OC ReMix lately (and by lately I mean the last several years), but Fallout 3 is a game that I not only made some time for, but have actually beaten once and am now playing through again. Along with Borderlands, it pretty much defines my 2010 gaming diet thus far, and it's pretty damn gourmet in my opinion. Part of the appeal is actually the licensed/existing music - I love the old tracks from Billie Holiday and The Ink Spots, I really do. Those songs stick in your head and just don't let go, with vocal harmonies from an era long before auto-tune that sound FAR BETTER; they firmly establish an in-game atmosphere that I acknowledge would have been more difficult with a purely original soundtrack. However, there *IS* original music, on the title screen and elsewhere in context, and it helps establish a firm identity for the game outside of the diegetic radio tracks, which is quite necessary and also well-executed. Inon Zur has burst onto the VGM scene relatively recently as a major player, scoring several A-list titles, and I'm glad to see his work represented on OCR.
So, for me, this mix is especially fun, because it's from a game I'm actually currently playing, and have been for a good while. Chris writes:
"This mix has been months in the making, and was inspired by the soundtrack to "The Book of Eli." Great movie, in my opinion. And the soundtrack was excellent. And since the style and environment of the movie reminded me so strongly of Fallout 3, I thought it might be fun to fuse the two and make a remix of the game in the style of the movie soundtrack.
Then of course, it got heavier than originally planned, and being Mazedude, I ran with it. But I didn't run alone; this time I brought on friend a fellow musician Brynner Agassi (http://brynneragassi.com), who is a drummer that also does industrial music production. So, here we have my first co-op on OCR! Brynner provided a lot of the sounds, performed the live percussion, and helped me piece everything together. The end result is a very different mix, was certainly a very different process for me, and all in all I dig the results. I did try bringing in the crazy and wacky Mazedude synths, but they really didn't work in this case."
It's funny to see Mazedude finally doing a collab after 48 mixes, but it definitely works, and the result is still identifiably "Mazedudical" while sharing some outside influence at the same time. The soundscape here is darker, a little more serious & less quirky than what you might be used to from Chris, but it captures the atmosphere of the game and paints a striking, bleak portrait of devastation and decay. I'd say Brynner has helped focus the palette of sounds and given things a more "serious" industrial sound. He writes:
"When it came time for the samples to be used in the song, I really tried to match the desired feel for what the remix was going to be, and that was a real industrial/electro showcase of sound and song, since the original version focused in more on an overall orchestral feel. The ideas we had envisioned were pretty clear, and playing around with the effects was fun because I played a lot with different distortions and fuzz effects in order to get the desired sounds. As for the drumming, I had envisioned very hard, straight-forward, and all over dynamic feel for the parts."
I think the single most distinct element that will hit listeners in the face is the distorted piano; it's the type of timbre we're used to hearing in pristine, sanitized environments, and it can be downright unnerving to hear one fuzzed and distorted like this. But hey, this is the Capital Wasteland, chilllldrrennnn, and your piano patch eventually has to crawl out of the vault and learn to survive on its own, stimpacks or not. I think Chris and Brynner have teamed up to provide a unique mix that conjures very recent memories of scavenging the wasteland for super mutants, picking off bloatflies in V.A.T.S., and exploring the amazing world that Bethesda built, with Inon Zur's help. I'm looking forward to New Vegas big time, but until then, at least we've finally got a Fallout mix to enjoy ;)
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