ReMix: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest 'Us Monkeys Together'

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Donkey Kong Country 2: Serious Monkey BusinessDonkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

I love this mix from OCR power couple Palpable & diotrans (collectively Flickerfall) - it adds an original accompaniment & lyrics, and both fit really well in spite of being so very different from the source context. The pauses & cadence of the background motif that establishes the progression in the intro and continues throughout is pure pop goodness, channeling (for me, at least) Erasure and Pet Shop Boys and other 80s/90s sugary-sweet goodness. Perhaps in some other song, somewhere out there in the vast continuum of catchy pop hooks, this particular pattern has been used, but it struck me as fresh & interesting and really sold the song. Amy's vocals, in Mandarin, also make the whole track a unique vision that melds Flickerfall's sound with Wise's melody. Vinnie writes:

"When I first heard about the DKC2 project, I was excited until I checked out the tracks that hadn't been claimed. Every song I liked (and there are several of those in the game) was taken. :( Wes mentioned to me at Magfest this year that a few had opened up, and one of them happened to be In a Snow-Bound Land, which was a song I liked and thought lent itself to expansion. I put together a quick beat, which Amy dug and offered to sing on. It ended up being a really fun, quick song for the two of us to write. If you like it, definitely check out Amy's and my band Flickerfall, which is a similar style of music. We're hoping to get out an album later this year or early next year!"

That album did come out, btw, and can be purchased on iTunes or over at www.flickerfall.com. Turns out the lyrics have a bit of a backstory to them, as well - Amy adds:

"My first OCR submission, finally! I watched a video of the Snow-Bound Land stage on YouTube, to give me some ideas of what to write lyrics about. I thought it might be cool to write a song about monkeys having fun in the snow, and describe some of the things that happen in the game. I've always wanted to write a song in a foreign language, and I thought this was the perfect project for that. Many thanks to my Mom, who helped me with some of the lyrics in Mandarin Chinese. But she was confused about why I wanted to write a song about monkeys in the snow. She's not very familiar with the video game music remixing scene, so I thought it would be simpler to explain that I was writing a children's song."

I suppose a white lie here and there, to protect the innocent, makes sense, and the children's song idea is genius - far easier than convincing someone that you illegally own unlicensed pet monkeys and encourage their frolicking in potentially dangerous temperatures... and wanted to write a song about it. In the review thread for Serious Monkey Business, it was interesting to see some folks singling this track out as a highlight, and others who didn't dig it - that's almost always the case for vocal tracks, regardless, but I think some people vastly prefer singing in their native language whereas others (I'll call us the "subtitles-or-die" crowd) love hearing the diversity & variety that human culture has produced. Sure, that's a generalization & oversimplification, but it's still worth mentioning & will no doubt apply for some folks - your mileage may vary. This mix is both unique and catchy, and contributed to the overall variety that DKC2:SMB brought to the table - great work from Vinnie and Amy!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
jebushatesu
on 2013-09-24 15:35:40
I glanced over at the translation lyrics, and I'm relieved at the decision to have the song in Chinise as opposed to English. The vocals match the music incredibly well, and repeating the English lyrics in my head only sounds awkward. Excellent composition choice!
R3fan
on 2012-12-14 20:16:22
If it isn't too much trouble I would like an instrumental version of this as well. Again I really don't mean to offend anyone. If it is too much trouble than forget I asked.
454Casull
on 2011-07-11 20:55:41
Finally, a song that isn't compressed to hell. Great job on the mix.
Emunator
on 2010-12-11 03:45:08
True story, I was at a friend's dorm listening to this song on speakers while me and said friend ran through Donkey Kong Country 3, and out of nowhere, his Mandarin-speaking roommate popped out and practically shouted "WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO AND WHY CAN I UNDERSTAND IT?" We then proceeded to have him translate the song for us :lol: I guess that's a good reaction though? :-D
Great remix though, I definitely feel like Amy upped her singing game on this one. Still room for improvement but it definitely feels like a solid effort that works in context. Such a cheery take on what I always felt was a more thoughtful, slow-paced original. Not what I was expecting or even hoping for for this source, but I like what I hear.
Bahamut
on 2010-08-12 13:17:06
You know, at first I was sort of ehh on the song, but it really has grown on me over the course of listening to the album. This is a light & enjoyable song that really nails the atmosphere down.
Love it, great work Amy & Vinnie!
Loning
on 2010-08-08 14:48:40
Personally, i've come to enjoy foreign languages in songs, esp. Asian. It adds so much flavor to a song that it brings more out of it than w/o.
This specific piece is very well executed and I definitely enjoy listening to it. You have one great voice and for someone who'll never even understand Chinese(mandarin), I wanted to encourage you about using vocals in other languages. I think that's what makes OCR so unique, the ability of artists to step outside of their comfort zone and make something truly special.
Great job!
Crulex
on 2010-08-08 13:29:27
Very cool. I love when someone tries to add lyrics to these songs because they're like blank slates that you can add to. Being able to do a vocal track and pulling it off is great. Pulling it off, in another language than English much less, is extremely impressive. These ReMixers definitely pulled this track off amazingly. The music has a great pop beat and the singing was beautiful. One of the highlights of the DKC 2 album for sure.
halc
on 2010-08-08 12:13:51
i love this. it and Nicole/co's 'A New Place' really stuck out to me as two of the most memorable remixes on the album. the vocal treatment in VGM always has an interesting (and risky) choice, but this is a very charming take on the original. awesome work, both of you :)
Master_Yoshi
on 2010-08-08 10:45:25
I loved this song so much when the DKC2 project came out. Fun, bubbly, refreshing. The equivalent of a cold fizzy drink on a hot summers day. Can't sit through this and not have a little smile on my face.
My only gripe is the percussion. From the stretch between 2:35 to 3:05 or so, the percussion is really exposed and it's kind of jarring. The percussion just sort of overpowers everything else in that section, I wish it had sounded a bit less cluttered, but oh well! I do love the changeup after that, and didn't really mind when it for the rest of the mix, so it might just have been an issue with the levels in it. The track isn't really any worse for it, and is still awesome.
In other business, I do love how this mix exemplifies how great and varied vocal mixes can be. Hell, every vocal track on the project is great, but c'mon OCR! When are you gonna post backwards room to finish the set off?
Dhsu
on 2010-08-08 02:49:46
Wow, never thought I'd here a ReMix with Mandarin vocals, and yet here it is. One might ask why a Donkey Kong arrangement is in Chinese, but I ask...why not? Nobody seems to care when people add English lyrics to Japanese video game music. :P
Awesome stuff. Kudos to Flickerfall, and high fives to diomom! :D
LostChronos
on 2010-08-07 09:17:30
Damn nice. If you've ever listened to the music in the credits in some of those manga videos, and liked it, you'll love this. This hits the mark. Good job guys.
xtp183
on 2010-08-07 08:15:39
This tripped me right up! I had a bunch of songs in my playlist including some chinese ones, then I popped this one in and when it started I thought I clicked the wrong song! I didn't expect someone would ever do a chinese language song on ocr~ very much appreciated you guys, I'm diggin' it.
Brandon Strader
on 2010-08-06 18:11:59
This is a great song and worthy addition to the OCR catalogue. :-P A lot of people were hating on the vocals in the project thread, but I find both the performance and the overall execution to be spot on. The Mandarin lyrics are interesting; I have no idea what is being said, but I like the tonal qualities of the language. I agree that it adds uniqueness to the song. The instrumental portion is also well done and adequately layered without forcing too many elements into your face like is popular with some modern music. I wouldn't say the song is simple, but it sounds very comfortably made and as a result, is a pleasant experience. Yatta yatta.
djpretzel wrote: Post your opinion
OA
on 2010-08-06 17:49:04
I really enjoyed this track on the project, and the cool percussive bits and the upbeat nature of the track are really pleasant. Amy sounds great, and the lyrics are really cute. A great track with a lot of character, be sure to check this one out. :-)
BlackPanther
on 2010-08-06 17:08:29
As a whole this song is tight. I like how diotrans' vocals sit in this one, it's a perfect fit, great song you too.