ReMix: Dynamite Headdy "Zenpyo!"
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Dynamite Headdy is right up there with DecapAttack in the annals of intuitively-titled games where your primary form of offense involves willful severance of your head from your body. Snacks'N Jaxson sadly doesn't make the cut, primarily because the game's title does not divulge the key decapitation mechanic, but also because it's terrible and manages to simultaneously offend clowns, gameplay, AND breakfast. Originally from KNGI's 2011 Dynamite Headdy tribute album Secret Bonus Point, we continue our quintet of Sega Genesis tunage with a crazy-awesome blend of rock/metal and Asian instrumentation from DusK & Dj Mokram; the former writes:
"I love the source material, it's one of my favorite tracks in the game, and I was really able to pour my heart out into this mix. I wanted to preserve the feel of the boss fight in my output, so I tried to really give this mix a tense, yet climactic sound, kind of like if I was making the mix for a remake of the game and setting it to that same boss fight. When Dj Mokram brought his idea to the table, I listened to a few HeavensDust tracks for inspiration and tailored some of the track specifically to allow him to really explore the leftover space with Japanese instruments, and it turned out way better than I imagined it would.
We subbed this remix to OC ReMix around the time Secret Bonus Point was released back in 2011. 100% of the judges production crits were about my side of the arrangement: lacking high end, bad balance on the rock side of things, etc, etc. I like to think I've grown quite a bit in my abilities since then. So I asked Dj Mokram to hook me up with a WAV of his sections, and then re-recorded all of my parts from scratch, changed up the drums a bit with better samples and such, and varied up that organ a bit so it's not always centered and fits into the mix better."
Excellent work cleaning things up - the arrangement deserved it and was well-served by the enhancements. We've heard (and loved) plenty of arrangements that incorporate Asian or specifically Japanese instrumentation into rock, EDM, orchestral, etc., but what makes this mix different is the superb lengths Mokram went to & the diegetic link to the game's own universe; he writes:
"'Ohnami Konami' (and the game sequence associated with it) contains the heaviest and most direct reference to the art of ningyo joruri (or Japanese puppet theater), which is something I absolutely wanted to bring into the remix as well.
Blending together two genres as radically different as traditional/folklore music and rock/metal was a bit of a fun challenge. I added some ethnic flavor on top of Dustin's awesome shreddage, including some dizi, shakuhachi, shamisen, koto, taiko drums, otsuzumi and shime-daiko. As far as the collab process goes, DusK did most of the job on this arrangement. I only took care of the ethnic parts, mixed the song, and found a translation to the title that wasn't involving "bad luck." ;D "Zenpyou" means "omen" or "harbinger," which reflects the ominous nature of both the source song and that puppeteer boss fight, known in-game as "The Battle Show."
Truly an awesome job; this is a ReMix where one artist brought the overall structure and musical core of the arrangement, and the other added a key component that brought the whole thing to life. I haven't heard rock/metal so thoroughly embedded with traditional Japanese folk/theater components, and it's a very fun ride, especially if you're familiar with the latter from anime or other sources. Larry writes:
"...a HEAVY arrangement with lots of energy and some overall strong instrumentation. A small thought, but I also loved the Eastern instruments at 2:54 for a great dynamic shift before the finish; nice touch there. Dunno what issues held this back before, but they ain't here now. Strong sauce, you two."
Agreed; kudos to Dustin & Mokram for working hard to make this mix shine in the best possible light. Mokram, wherever you are, we hope you're doing alright! Great, distinct collab that I'm thrilled to have on the site!