ReMix: Donkey Kong Country 3 'Beneath the Moonlight'
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And now, we come to the end of our journey... at five discs and seventy-seven tracks, I'm sure we'll be hearing more from Donkey Kong Country 3: Double the Trouble! in the future, but a fifteen-track mixflood is a good place to stop, and should give you a solid idea of just how diverse & consistently impressive an opus this final entry in our DKC album trilogy is. It's astounding to me to see all the different personalities & styles that contributed to each successive album, from Kong in Concert in 2004, to Serious Monkey Business in 2010, and now in the final month of 2012, the trinity is complete. Gratuitous Catholic symbolism aside, the three albums really do combine to paint a relatively complete picture of OC ReMix that embodies so much of the talent, the emotion, the coordination, and the dedication that album directors & artists alike have brought to the community ever since Relics of the Chozo started the ball rolling. It's a gargantuan amount of time & effort that, if it weren't so much fun, and the end result so immensely satisfying, would otherwise seem completely insurmountable. My hat is off to Digital Coma, Geoffrey Taucer, Wesley Cho, and the newest members of the "DKC Album Director's Club," Emunator & Cody Wedel. That Grant Kirkhope, Robin Beanland, and Mr. DKC himself, David Wise all contributed music to this series of albums further solidifies this accomplishment in my mind as a part of the franchise's continuum, an enduring, free, fan-made testament to the power of community & an homage to some of the best VGM ever penned. I love you guys, really.
Ah yes, the mix - I've said enough, we'll let Theophany take the stage:
""Stilt" had been slated as an album-closer since the early days of 2010, and being the last main track of the DKC trilogy, I wanted the sendoff to be something special. The plan was to recruit as many live performers as possible, because I felt a proper remix of this track needed to be diverse. My concept was to fuse elements of Andes folk music with world percussion, flamenco-inspired guitar, live violin, post-rock and electronic textures.
Thanks to some extremely talented artists like Harmony, Jeff, and Fishy, the result is even greater than what I'd hoped for. I can't speak highly enough of Harmony's work in general, but on this he was a godsend. Straight away he got the concept and the material he came back with was stunning. Jeff's violin performance brought soul and shimmer to the track, and I think his work really helps keeps the listener connected throughout the 6+ minute journey leading up to Fishy's solo drop. For those who can stick around that long, you're in for something special.
My work on DKC3 has been mostly experimental, with the execution being more successful for some tracks than others. "Stilt" was by far the most ambitious of my half-dozen remixes on the album. It took over a year from start to finish - from scrapping my initial WIP and starting over, to reworking the arrangement and album outro, to the logistics of trying to coordinate 4 people from here and overseas on one track. Even as it dragged out months beyond the deadline, Wes remained 100% behind the track, and committed to its evolving direction. There were definitely times we could have called this good enough. All I can say is I am proud we didn't.
I hope you all feel it was worth the wait."
Everything about this album has been worth the wait, and this track is no exception. Each new piece from Theophany tends to impress me even further, and he's outdone himself yet again with this longform, nearly 9-minute meditation that absolutely illustrates how to make excellent use of extended duration. Q: When you've got Fishy, Brandon, and Jeff along for the ride, can the mix really EVER go on "too long"?? A: Hell naw. And if we needed yet another example of why modifying our standards to allow longer arrangements, when justified, was a good (some might say overdue!) idea, now we've got a humdinger. The clarity and space in this mix is breathtaking, the performances are stellar, and the atmosphere, well... this mix ALONE would be an occasion worthy of considerable celebration. The fact that it closes out a flood of fifteen mixes, from an album with seventy-seven total, well... the phrase "embarrassment of riches" was never more appropriate. Emunator writes:
"Jason's arrangement exceeded even my wildest hopes for the source - this 9-minute behemoth seamlessly merges folk, ambient, and prog rock aesthetics together, featuring emotive live instrumentals and solos from some of OCR's most talented performers, and one of the most gratifying climaxes I've ever heard in a remix. "Beneath the Moonlight" is Theophany's magnum opus, and I can't even begin to thank him for his dedication to this concept, and for his contributions to the album as a whole."
And I'd like to thank EVERYONE involved on this album for living up to the high expectations of its predecessors and truly, profoundly, kicking copious amounts of posterior!
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