ReMix: Astérix "Welcome to Switzerland"
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- Game: Astérix (Infogrames, 1993, GB)
- ReMixer(s): Bluelighter, XPRTNovice
- Composer(s): Alberto José González
- Song(s): "Helvetia", "Secret Place", "Title"
- Posted: 2014-08-04, evaluated by djpretzel
- Album: Featured on Legacy: Game Boy 25th Anniversary
- Terms (BETA): brass collab happy march orchestral woodwinds
While not technically part of the debut flood of mixes, we had to get ONE more Legacy mix out the door so that I'd be able to talk about Alberto José González, an amazing game composer overall and someone who was especially good at maximizing the Game Boy's sound hardware. When I talk about all the wonderful VGM out there that still hasn't been mixed on OCR, I'm often thinking specifically of his works, like the Turok 2 jungle theme, among others. From his writing online and from his music, you also clearly get the sense that he's someone who's just genuinely interested in ALL aspects of VGM, including the more technical/esoteric nature of the actual hardware, kinda like virt. I'm glad that our GB 25th anniversary tribute album included AJG's music, as he's one of the composers that really defined the platform's sound, in my opinion. Here with an upbeat oompah-march that's just perfect for a beer hall is newcomer Bluelighter (Guillaume Saumande), arranging Astérix:
"I have a really good memory of Astérix GB, one of the first games whose music attracted me in my childhood. It was a great pleasure to work on it and give tribute to its composer A. J. González! With these themes, I wanted to get something sunny, exotic and funny, to keep the joyful atmosphere of the game. :)
This mix is an exotic symphonic arrangement of three major melodies. My first post was based only on Helvetia's theme. I've had on it major critics on the arrangement, too close to the original. In this version, I've completely rethought the first arrangement, by including two other sources: Title screen (that well marry with Helvetia's theme, IMO) and a little of the Secret Level.
The album project was for me the opportunity to make new version of this mix. In this version, I've worked to get a better orchestration, but keeping the first spirit: rhythm of circus music; exotic consonances with marimba and pizz; and still an accent on clavichords. For this one, I used better samples for orchestra and drum parts. I thank Joe who recorded for me flute, clarinet and saxophone and gave me some freshness for my mix. Hope you'll like this version. :D"
We don't get a lot of arrangements in this genre, as everything orchestral tends to go the traditional classical, epic Hollywood, or hybrid electronic routes, so it's nice to see some low brass working the oompah action, and the overall feel is buoyant & uplifting. It makes you want to drink good, dark beer and wear lederhosen and yell incomprehensible yet affable things. Like Stevo Bortz would do. Larry writes:
"First off, props to Chimpazilla for her assistance on this one. She worked with Guillaume a lot to give advice on production tweaks and also refined the drums personally, as the drum tone and volume was the last sticking point with approving the piece.
Bluelighter really stuck with this arrangement for the long haul, and I'm really proud of his persistence. It's a very cohesive blending of the three source tunes, and a really spirited presentation. While the sound has some distant, lo-fi qualities, that's not a dealbreaker when the arrangement's creative and strong. It's not fully live, but with Guillaume's constant refinements and Joe's live woodwinds, the execution sounds very much like a extremely fun live performance. Through dedication and collaboration, Guillaume really nailed the vision here. :-)
Bluelighter mentioned this being a tribute as well to original composer Alberto José González, and I've gotta co-sign on this being a great way to honor his creativity in VGM. He's been a long-time supporter of OCR and fan arrangements, and it's wonderful that the Legacy album has not one but two tributes to McAlby's Game Boy work through the Astérix and Smurfs' Nightmare mixes!"
Alberto's put a lot of his OST work up on his SoundCloud account, so be sure to check that out as well! A warm welcome to Guillaume, who stuck with this mix, made a lot of tweaks based on feedback, and ended up with a great addition to Legacy, a fun take on the source, and an excellent tribute to man AND machine!
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