ReMix: Donkey Kong Country 3 'Footloose Falls'
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Streaming preview on YouTube
Emunator's first featured solo ReMix is from the album that he himself directed, Double the Trouble!, and fittingly combines sources from both the GBA & SNES versions of DKC3 into a single mellow dance groove with a wide, delayed saw bass, chill acoustic guitar, mixed percussion - including some nice chromatic - and icy piano. This mix has a ton of space to it and establishes an open, airy atmosphere that's relaxing but never too sleepy. Wes writes:
"Aside from a few short project tracks that ended up being part of multicollabs and a few improv piano pieces, this is the first song I've ever finished in my life, as well as my first solo submission to the site. That said, I feel like I've learned a lot from being involved in the evaluation/workshop/project directing side of OCR enough to get an intuitive feel for remixing so that I've been able to jump right into the world of mixing and arranging without actually having much musical background/history aside from a few years of self-teaching piano. Shoutouts to Ergosonic, Flexstyle, Cody Wedel, halc, WillRock, Jason Covenant, OA, and a million other people who listened to this through its creation and gave me motivation to finish.
As for this mix, it started off as an original track that was intended to be entirely ethnic/ambient, drawing heavy inspiration from mv's classic "A Foray into Eastern Horizons." However, the chord progression reminded me of Cascade Capers, one of my favorite tracks off of David Wise's criminally-underappreciated Gameboy Advance remake of the Donkey Kong Country 3 soundtrack. I arranged around that for a bit before realizing that the totally-unique SNES version was also in the same key and had a lot of backing elements to pull from that fit nicely with the soundscape I'd already come up with. I added a dance beat as a joke, initially, but I guess it stuck and what I ended up with is some weird-yet-cohesive (I think, anyway!) genre-fusion that I think works pretty well.
The mix was done entirely in FL Studio 10. The ambient sounds were pulled from free sample packs across the net and Alchemy Player (which is, bar-none, the most gorgeous-sounding free synth software anywhere) the beats were default FL Studio samples and Kore Player for the ethnic percussion, the instruments were all from Sampletank, and all the riffs/backing tracks were played live on my electronic piano and then quantized to fit. The bassline was actually rendered by my buddy Flexstyle using Harmless and Toxic Biohazard. Thanks for that!"
I wouldn't have guessed from listening that this didn't start life as an electronica track, as the beats & bass fit very naturally under the refreshing, crisp canopy of melody & harmony. Palpable writes:
"This was very chill and tasteful, but with a surprising electro-house bass. I love seeing weird combinations like that, when they work. If there's anything that could be improved, it's the sequencing of the lead. It was a little rigid most of the time, both in terms of timing and the way the sample played the same each time (which may come down to the instrument or the velocities). But when the mixing is solid, the instruments are high-quality, and the arrangement is good, one aspect that's not totally working isn't going to sink it."
Didn't really bother me; my only criticism is that I felt like it needed just one more salient melodic component somewhere in there, to lend a slightly firmer skeleton to the groove & environment. That's a nitpick like Vinnie's though - this is a strong, transportive debut solo arrangement from Emunator who, without formal musical training, was not only able to coordinate a fantastic album, but contribute to it as well!
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