ReMix: Super Metroid "Shinesparks"
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- Game: Super Metroid (Nintendo, 1994, SNES)
- ReMixer(s): Nicholas Tam
- Composer(s): Kenji Yamamoto (I), Minako Hamano
- Song(s): "Maridia - Rocky Underground Water Area", "Theme of SUPER METROID"
- Posted: 2013-08-03, evaluated by the judges
- Terms (BETA): chromatic-percussion electric-piano jazz marimba mellow piano
FINALLY!! We've been waiting to get a distortion-free version of this sleek, jazzy Super Metroid arrangement from newcomer Nicholas Tam for over five years! Epic, eh? While there was some interesting discussion surrounding chord voicings, most judges approved the piece, conditional on the noticeable clipping being addressed. Well, here we are in mid-2013, and we finally got a fixed version from the artist, and I'm proud to be posting his unique vision in an incarnation that does it justice. While I've commented on some past mixes having RAD TIMBALE LICKS, this piece is chock full o' CRAZY CYMBAL ROLLS. You want 'em? This mix got 'em. Ride cymbal is ubiquitous & prominent in this piece, which also employs chromatic percussion (stage left), complementing a lead acoustic piano (stage right), with electric piano accompaniment. It's a pretty complex configuration, as the chromatic percussion basically fills in for a bass part, but does some extra work on the side, and the number of simultaneous chromatic & polyphonic parts feels heightened. The artist writes:
"For this jazz combo rendering of "Maridia" from Super Metroid, I set the bass line in marimba to get a more metallic timbre and a more versatile sound in general. The two keyboard parts were fully improvised and recorded in one take apiece. The song's original chord progression is inherently fascinating as it is, so I took the opportunity to stock it full of minor sevenths and deliberately pattern my piano style after the modal voicings of Herbie Hancock, adding some spontaneous rhythmic complexity wherever I saw fit."
I think the decision to go w/ marimba on the bass ended up defining the overall piece to a large extent, and is a big part of what makes this mix rather distinct. Judges had some lively debate on whether this was too liberal, in addition to the clipping, and the decision is old enough to include weigh-ins from zyko & CHz; Waleed writes:
"i understand the concerns being shown but this isn't just jazzy, it is also a good study in the style of herbie hancock. in other words, given the intended style, the original progression is very effectively handled throughout the track... certainly, he changes it up as he experiments with new ways of voicing those chords but it almost always stays an interpretation."
"To paraphrase and cop zyko, if I of all people can hear it, then it's there. This mix is Maridia."
Jesse really went to bat for this mix, and I think his knowledge of jazz voicings was integral in helping the panel reach its decision. I can see where the difficulty lies, and pieces like this test the panel moreso than others, but I'm glad that some clarity emerged, the mix was approved, and (many years later) we got a version without clipping. Nicholas has crafted a challenging and unique arrangement that deserves to be heard & discussed, and which I'll be coming back to often; excellent debut, and while it's been half a decade, I'm STILL hoping we'll hear more from him in the future!
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