We took a brief hiatus to announce the very exciting grand opening of OverClocked Records, which zircon is heading up & doing an excellent job with; check it out & at LEAST grab the free sampler album! We think OCRC will provide a great means to promote & support VGM community artists & their work for years to come; hopefully you feel the same way!
Time to get back to our regularly scheduled programming, though, with the fifth & final Apex 2014 floodmix from Neblix, a rather elaborate synth-rock jam with jazz flavors that GOES WITH EVERYTHING, aka arranges the theme music of that lovable, flat-topped paragon of American style and virtue, the one, the only, Guile:
"When Shariq started recruitment for Apex 2014, I figured I would do another Street Fighter remix since SF is my jam (not SF2 though, Third Strike is where it's at). I had Gen's theme in mind, but I kind of let it sit for months. When the deadline crept closer, I realized that I would just not have very good ideas for Gen's theme. I looked at Ken's and Makoto's theme after that, but then I realized that Guile is a character in SFIV (and derivations). Knowing the sheer popularity of the song, I decided to do it, for some sort of shameless artist "LOOK I MADE A GUILE REMIX" stunt.
This was a really fun remix, though. The first half of it was done the night I got back from Thanksgiving break, I was up until 5:00 AM, mixing and tweaking instruments. The next morning and afternoon, all I had to focus on from there was the arrangement and part-writing. I like to mix as I write, because then I can hear how the parts will actually sound before moving on. I started with the verbatim Guile's theme and harmonized it, also trying to add some piano flourishes here and there. Later on, you hear the original SF IV theme song so that I could tie it to the current Street Fighter for Apex and not SF2 way back when. I added improv wherever I could, in the leads and the drums especially. Lots of syncopation. Love syncopation. And solos. Love solos."
I am unsure how much shame should or should not be associated with "LOOK I MADE A GUILE REMIX" stunts per se, but I think Nabeel has plenty to be proud of with this mix, in particular on the arrangement side of things. The flourishes, improv, and general compositional embellishment are what make this track, which is of a more maximalist bent than previous submissions from the artist, and jazzier/rockier to boot. There's a lot going on here, from the melding of themes to the periodic oscillations towards some blue notes, and while it's the strength of the mix from the arrangement side, it causes some problems from a production perspective. Namely, some of the higher-end piano chords can grate & the piano itself can come off a little mechanical at times, and the overall soundscape, while never getting cluttered, doesn't have a lot of lower mid-range presence; the bass and kick pack some oomph, but everything else seems pushed up. Some additional warmth to one or two parts, or just a rebalanced master, could have put some mojo back in the lower-mids, but it's rather a testament to the strength of the overall jam that it still passed panel muster, with the exception of Mr. Oji. The elder, Album-directing Ansari brother writes:
"I'm really proud of Nabeel's growth as a musician, and his Street Fighter track for this year's Apex album really illustrates how far he's come. There's a lot more attention paid to composition and part-writing than his previous work, and he uses that to bring us a really energetic, rock-oriented take on Guile's theme and "Indestructible." A really nice piece with strong piano stuff. Excellent."
Agreed; mixes this elaborate also increase the amount of attention & refinement needed on the mixing & mastering side of things, and while I think there's room for improvement in that arena, that's actually a GOOD problem to have, as it means you're definitely growing and pushing things. Great stuff from Neblix that's his most ambitious arrangement yet, does a fantastic job taking on both themes, and rocks out!
Sources Arranged (2 Songs, 2 Games)
- Primary Game:
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (Capcom, 1992, ARC)
Music by Isao Abe, Yoko Shimomura
- "Guile (U.S.A.)"
- Additional Game:
Street Fighter IV (Capcom, 2008, ARC)
Music by Hideyuki Fukasawa
- "THE NEXT DOOR -INDESTRUCTIBLE-"
- Aggressive, Jazzy
- Electric Guitar, Piano, Synth
- 5,841,019 bytes
- Size: 5,841,019 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: f53cd2b2a258bfdbd7927542364d166c
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