ReMix: Super Mario Galaxy "Gusty Piano in a Garden"
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Response to Heroes vs. Villains has been great - thanks to all of you, and of course thanks to Mustin, Kunal, and Chris for putting together an album worthy of the Bad Dudes and OC ReMix, and to all the artists who contributed. An additional shout out to everyone who's helped us spread the word and/or pimped it, including most recently a nice bit on Dtoid. I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing a couple more cuts off HvV show up 'round these parts later on, but for now we return to the queue, who hath grown jealous in our absence...
I'm really thrilled to finally be posting this ReMix, because it almost didn't make it. It's an awesome solo piano arrangement from Super Mario Galaxy, but the recording as originally submitted was so muddy and quiet that it didn't even begin to do newcomer Squint's arrangement & performance justice - not by a longshot. Judges still passed it, because it truly is a wonderful piece, but I more or less put my foot down that something had to be done about the audio quality. It's not fair to apply different production standards to solo piano pieces, and I don't think we would have passed an electronica or metal track that had levels that low, and similar EQ issues, so we instead tried to contact the artist about fixing it up. Well, he didn't have a DAW, and months went by... eventually, Vinnie found the time to take a shot at remastering the recording provided to us - brightening it up a bit, raising the levels, etc. Long story short (too late), he did a great job, things sound much cleaner, and the artist's vision now shines through. It wasn't rocket science and I don't think Vinnie broke his back doing it, but it still made a huge difference in making this mix presentable and allowing us to spotlight a wonderful arrangement, so my personal thanks go to Palpable; great example of one artist, in this case also a judge/staff, helping another to get a mix posted.
No qualms whatsoever with the arrangement; the source should be familiar to most, it's a great melody, and Squint takes it interesting places. The first couple minutes are elegant, pleasant, more classical expansion, and then the third minute gets a little jazz/honkytonk swagger to its stride and even works in the familiar SMB 'Overworld' theme. Hai writes:
"This is my first submission to the site. I've been a long time fan, have downloaded many a remix over the past several years, and have admired many remixers for their skills and creative works on some awesome game music. I've always been a fan of game music and arranging, but have only just now come into the ability to make something and send it to you guys electronically.
This is a piano piece that I did shortly into my run with jazz piano lessons, so I tried incorporating some chords that I had never, ever used before in all my life as a classical musician. It's nothing crazy, by any means, but with the strict classical background that I've got, it was pretty different for me. It still probably has more of its roots in the classical realm, but it's a start. I pretty much followed the original piece one time through, using different chords here and there and adding melodic decorations in certain places. At about the 2:15 mark, I decided to switch it over to triple meter, a sort of jazz waltz style. Somewhere around the end, I also tried to sneak in a small nod to the original Mario theme.
Anyway, I hope you guys like it, and if you have any suggestions at all, I'm very welcome to criticism. It should be noted that amongst other remixers, I think the person who has inspired me most is Klutz, who has done a variety of piano arrangements of some of my favorite videogame pieces. If you hear anything else from me, it will most likely be in a semi-jazzy piano style, as I'd like to try to build a collection of such pieces, sort of the way Klutz had done with his "in Piano" series."
I'm all for that; hopefully he can get some mastering software and remedy levels & EQ before submitting, but even if someone needs to step in and remaster, it'll be worth it. This is a great debut mix that, with a little help from some friends, thankfully got by, and I think a lot of folks are going to enjoy it as much as I do. At least one of them was Shariq, so I'll close out with his decision post:
"I really applaud you going for that jazzier sound. The harmonic choices you made really make this piece stand out for me. Gusty Garden is my favorite song in Super Mario Galaxy and it's nice to hear those unexpected harmonies. The performance is excellent; great timing, great dynamics. I love the interchange between the left and right hand parts; nice to hear something that isn't just arpeggios in the left. That heavy swing section is just what this piece needed to stay fresh.
Simply fantastic. Hope to hear more from you."
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