ReMix: Dennis 'Desktop Dynamite'
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Streaming preview on YouTube
You know, I actually WATCHED the original live action B&W Dennis the Menace on Nickolodeon back in the day. Bit of a spoiler, but he wasn't actually a "menace," per se... more of a nuisance, really. But that doesn't rhyme, and "Dennis the Most Annoying Kid on Your Block Whom You Can't Wait for Mr. Wilson to Break Down and Finally Slaughter" probably would have been too long - and perhaps too dark - for audiences of the era. I watched Mr. Ed, too, which was about a talking horse. And I wasn't high, neither.
Television has changed over the years, and while I'll take Mad Men and Modern Family over the pasty, 1950's wholesomeness of yesteryear, there's still some charm there. There's even more here, in newcomer DarkSim's ReMix of the music from the Amiga game based on the comic/TV series. I had to check, myself, and couldn't believe that this is our first Amiga ReMix since 2006... yes, I know there are other sites out there that specialize in arrangements of music from the wide world of Commodore, but I'd still love to see more crossover submissions. The artist obliges, and writes:
"This is my first attempt at a serious ReMix, having only just started to make electronic music recently. I stumbled upon the source tune after trawling through an old folder on my computer one night whilst looking for inspiration. This track immediately jumped out at me as having massive potential for a high-energy style mix, and so that's the feeling I've tried to convey.
I chose the Amiga as the system to remix because it was my first "gaming" system, and after our 500 packed up we upgraded to a 1200, which came with 2 games - Dennis being one of them - in a pack called "Desktop Dynamite", hence the name. I could never get very far with the game, so I was always playing level 1 over and over, and listening to this music must have made an impression! Thanks to everyone who commented in the WiP thread, especially phantasia and Rozovian, for excellent constructive help. Hope you enjoy"
I love these sorts of stories, where the music has a personal narrative that shines through; mix is hard-hitting, hook-heavy electronica with nice reggae-flavored offbeat chord hits and almost spooky, sci-fi LFO-modulated synth leads, conjuring more of a Halloween vibe than suburban hijinx. This is a melody that'll stick in your head after just one listen, so it's no wonder DarkSim got inspired after countless repetitions. Taking a break from his panty-disintegrating Kinect Gaga jams, Luers writes:
"Some really cool textures and sounds added to a pretty interesting source. I'd never really imagine the sortof creepy track matching up with the wacky hi-jinx of Dennis the Menace, but it is what it is. The game itself also seems to be creepy, going around Mr. Wilson's mansion stealing money, and trying to avoid him.
I dig the sound of this; it seems to me like a combination of Mazedude and Sole Signal (side note - guys, make that happen!), with some cool beats and interesting transitions combined with a lot of good synths and attention to detail. Production is decent, and the arrangement is varied and expansive. I can also guarantee that this will be the first (and possibly last?) Dennis the Menace remix, but maybe some awesome remixer will prove me wrong."
The gauntlet been done thrown down, all. Judges had some pointers for next time, but all around DarkSim delivered with an excellent source choice that deserved some attention and an arrangement that personalizes it and should make it onto plenty of playlists, especially near the end of October. 2011 keeps bringing the newcomer heat, gotta love it!
I dig it overall though.
- Bahamut on July 15, 2012
- Crulex on December 3, 2011
The Drum n' Bass inspired direction here managed to add to something that might be expected from some of the darker tracks in the Ape Escape soundtrack (trust me to make comparisons to that >_>), though at the same time does have more of a relaxed nature in the cymbal work that manages to keep a calmer atmosphere than somehow implied. It also managed to take a very repetitive source material and showed its nice melodic expansions to keep things running fresh as far as writing goes.
My biggest qualm with the track more than anything though is that the synth expression doesn't really seem to go anywhere, and thus the track has this same constant hit of energy from the more melodic parts here. That might've been me being somewhat tainted after being already intensely familiar with his follow up track "Fore on the Floor", but for electronica-based works, it's something that might hurt the mix if not enough care was taken.
But I'm glad that you have been listening to what the judges had been advising, and with your growth over the months we may see the quality from you rise even higher. For now, solid work :)
- Rexy on December 1, 2011
As for this remix, I can definitely hear the connection to Malevolent Mansion. The breakdown in the middle is a little too long IMO, though.
Also, it would have been nice if, in the last part, where the song picks up speed again, it would speed up even further for the finale, i.e. go from fast to frantic. Just my 2 cents.
Anyway, good first remix, and I am looking forward to hearing more from you.
- Martin Penwald on April 20, 2011
- phantasia on March 28, 2011
Reading the judges' comments I really appreciated the effort that goes into them, and it makes the long process all the more worthwhile and satisfying, so thanks a lot for the YES votes as well as the pointers! They are duly noted! Also a great writeup from djp, I too enjoy a nice personal touch to a ReMix, and indeed their writeups. It also resonated with me what djp said over new year - that he wanted to see people "shine a light into the darkest corners of VGM" and find those hidden gems that might otherwise get lost amongst all the more mainstream games.
I'm so happy OA mentioned Sole Signal in his vote too, as I said in my original WiP thread that Malevolent Mansion was a real inspiration to this track, so that was rather flattering of him :oops:
On to the ReMix itself, I honestly didn't expect this to be so well-received, given that I was such a noob at Ableton Live when I started making it - the first version of this was clipped to hell and had hardly any variation in it. Advice to any newcomers to the site is to post in the WiP boards (no matter how amateurish, or indeed good, you think it might be). They really do help, even if it can be a little daunting to put your work on show and get criticism, but they helped get this mix from a repetitive loud mess into a posted mix in the 2 weeks it took to finish.
Some ReMix trivia for you: each drum in this song has its own track in the mixer (great for control, horrible for sequencing!), and instead of figuring out how to get delay on effects, I used volume and velocity envelopes on duplicated tracks. Mmmm, what was I doing? :razz: Thankfully, I now know how to use drum racks, delay effects, and mastering (there isn't any on this track) so that should help my next mixes immensely!
Thanks for all the comments, I'm trying to learn as much as I can so I can continue to improve, and you can definitely expect more ReMixes from me!
- DarkSim on February 26, 2011
On the other hand, the melody doesn't seem to connect. Like, the progression repeats itself. Doesn't seem like the song is going anywhere. It's more like random notes thrown onto a progression (?) and a couple stiff changes. Make sure your changes go from subtle to drastic.
- Salluz on February 24, 2011
- BlackPanther on February 24, 2011
Thanks for the mention btw :D
- phantasia on February 17, 2011
- halc on February 16, 2011
- djpretzel on February 16, 2011