ReMix: Zero Wing 'For Great Justice'
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ZERO WING!! I actually played a role in the original AYBABTU hubbub back in the day, and so I've got a special relationship with all things Zig. Brandon Strader, Stevo, and SOME GUY named "Brushfire" who you may have seen running around in Speedos at MAGFest have teamed up to create an epic rock soundtrack AND radio drama version of the game's infamous opener, complete with a de-engrished, more accurate translation in which main screen does NOT turn on and every ZIG is NOT launched for great justice. The accuracy & fidelity feel strangely like blasphemy, but definitely lend this a more dramatic presentation which would otherwise have been inescapably goofy with the original "localized" script. Brandon writes:
"The idea for this mix started pretty huge, as it was originally going to be a medley of all of the songs. Right now it's only 3 songs (2 if you count the intro as 1 song) and is clocking in at almost 5 minutes... I knew that I wanted to write the non-Engrish version of the introductory dialogue, so I wrote out a little script and asked Brushfire and Level 99 if they would be up for doing the voice acting. They did it, and I'm very thankful for that. They made about a 9 minute recording that was pretty much a mini-episode of OCAD and I chopped about 30 seconds of dialogue for the song from that.
They did a few variations of each part. You can hear the opening voice almost goes into a laugh at the end, because Level 99 found that performance to be "over the top". Brushfire commented that is sounded like Snake. Naturally, I slapped a cloner on there and pitch shifted it down a bit to maximize on that. There's a lot of instances where I chose the performance that they probably would have considered too silly, but it came out very well and I threw a couple jokes in there as well. There was a ridiculous amount of sound effects and dialogue in there. I'd like to give a big special thanks to Level99 and Brushfire for the dialogue for the opening. I'd also like to thank OA for giving very specific details of which levels to fix on the mix before resubbing this. :P I'd like to thank the audience who listens to this and firefighters everywhere. Without you, there'd be a heckuva lot of fires."
DOES Brandon know what he doing?? The judges panel had some criticisms on the overall balance & mastering, primarily, but the consensus was affirmative. Palpable closed things out:
"The backing track feels just a bit murky and thin compared to the awesome guitar leads, but not enough to significantly hurt this. I enjoyed it quite a bit, especially the voiceover work, which I don't think is usually this well-integrated in subs we receive."
It's a solid rock arrangement, to be sure, but it ultimately sinks or swims on the execution of the vocal drama portions, which as Vinnie points out are incorporated with consideration of panning, dynamics, etc. so it feels like you're right there with them, experiencing the imminent threat... of CATS. I think it swims, and is a lot of good, clean, SHMUP fun. The synth solo @ 3'42" and other highlights do a lot to prove it's not a gimmick mix, but rather a well thought-out arrangement of Zero Wing's tunes that re-imagines the notorious opening scene and does it, well... great justice.
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