ReMix: Castlevania "Swing When You're Killing" 4:23

By Nostalvania

Artist Links
jazz electric-guitar piano vibraphone jazzy mellow quartet
Arranging the music of one song...

"Vampire Killer (Breaking Into the Castle BGM)"

Primary Game: Castlevania (Konami, 1986, NES), music by Kinuyo Yamashita, Satoe Terashima

Posted 2015-04-09, evaluated by djpretzel


Nostalvania follows up his previous & superb solo piano Castlevania II ReMix with a jazz ensemble mix of the first Castlevania, continuing to make a case for the second half of his pseudonym AND for his ability to concoct catchy, crafty, & creative jazz interpretations of VGM classics:

"It's a jazz remix with piano, bass, guitar (1:18) and vibraphone (2:39). I hope you like it."

Indeed it is, sir, and indeed I do. Bass is of the upright acoustic variety, and he DOES take it for a walk, plus there's a BODACIOUS VIBRAPHONE SOLO (doesn't really work as well as "rad timbale licks," does it?), with guitar doing short chords that almost end up sounding more like an EP part at points. Bottom line? Well, aside from the gratuitous "You've never heard "Vampire Killer" quite like this!!" catchphrase, I dig that Markus can do ensemble jazz writing just as well as solo piano stuff, and the interplay between piano, vibes, bass, et al is spot on. Chimpazilla writes:

"WOW... I never expected to hear this source done this way! Really unique take on this source, and Markus can make anything sound smooth and jazzy. Very impressive!"

Liontamer adds:

"I liked Markus mentioning the additions of the other instruments; the dynamic & textural shifts he employed never stopped, whether it was the understated change of the backing guitar addition or the totally different lead when he switched to vibraphone. Also, UPRIGHT BASS! There's nothing like that telltale sound hitting your ears to let you know you're in store for an excellent jazz piece. As usual, Nostalvania delivers big-time with an excellent arrangement concept from his namesake series. :-)

By the way, I'll stress this again, because people seem to be hypocritical when a ReMix is a less accessible genre like metal, rap, or dubstep instead of a fan-favorite genre like orchestral or jazz: creative VGM arrangements that don't fit the mood of the original music or "wouldn't fit in the game" are always cool and valid. Just because you can't drop a lounge jazz piece into Castlevania's NES gameplay doesn't mean it's a bad arrangement; OC ReMixes are standalone interpretations outside of the context of the games, so don't be a close-minded VGM fan - keep your mind (and ears) open!"

Testify; while explicitly approaching an arrangement with the goal of "maintaining the original vibe" or making something that "would work in the actual game" can yield amazing results, part of our mission at OCR is to prove the timelessness & universality of these melodies. The key is whether an adaptation works musically on its own, not thematically relative to the game, in other words. I think of OCR as a music site that focuses on video games, not the other way around, and thus keeping an open mind to unlikely, surprising, or highly transformative arrangements that still work on a fundamentally musical level is something near & dear to me. This is something that can take a while to click for some listeners, and perhaps never sinks in for others, but it broadens the horizons of what can be done and the power & possibility VGM can offer, so yeah... we think it's pretty critical :)

But back to the track at hand; great work as always, and I especially like how the part-writing changes up based on what's going on. Absence of drums doesn't bother me too much, although I'd love to see Markus work in a drum solo at some point in the future, should the occasion present itself. It's not quite the same as a solo piano piece, but each instrument is still exposed enough that you can easily focus on it and what it's doing, and the interactions really flow. Killing vampires never sounded so... smooth!!

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 10 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
avatar
Nostalvania
on 2015-12-03 13:55:12

Ah, so Mr. Vania isn't doing piano-solo remixes only? :nicework: The acoustic bass is a really nice addition here, it adds something classy to the track, which is fitting for a jazz remix. The guitar and melodic percussion (dulcimer/xylophone?) coming up later are also fine choices of instrumentation. Everything sounds good together -- an interesting take on yet another Castlevania classic! (May I suggest adding some soft drums next time? :P)

Oh yeah, drums! I used them in most of my newer remixes. So your suggestion has already been implemented :)

Merci for the review!

avatar
timaeus222
on 2015-12-03 13:38:28

Maybe the vibraphone could have used a touch of treble reflections to help it mesh in a little better into the soundscape. Really classy chord progressions and performance. 1:35 - 1:44 in the piano was a highlight.

avatar
Black_Doom
on 2015-12-03 13:01:39

Wow, what a unique cover! I didn't expect this theme to be covered in this way, but I simply can't get enough of it. It's super playful. And I'm also big fan of vibraphone, so this mix definitely satisfies my taste. And dat bass is pretty catchy as well. Very creative and groovy mix, love it.

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Chernabogue
on 2015-12-02 15:59:54

Ah, so Mr. Vania isn't doing piano-solo remixes only? :nicework: The acoustic bass is a really nice addition here, it adds something classy to the track, which is fitting for a jazz remix. The guitar and melodic percussion (dulcimer/xylophone?) coming up later are also fine choices of instrumentation. Everything sounds good together -- an interesting take on yet another Castlevania classic! (May I suggest adding some soft drums next time? :P)

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BONKERS
on 2015-04-15 22:05:53

It was only a matter of time until someone did something like this!:nicework::nicework:

We all knew it was possible! It was only up to someone to actually do it!

I'd love to do a Brass swing version of the entire soundtrack. But man, sequencing and getting authentic sounding performance for that would be impossible ha

Dl'd

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Ramify
on 2015-04-13 00:37:30

Nice work, I really enjoyed it!

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A-RoN
on 2015-04-10 15:18:53

I love the classic feel to this. Piano and bass swing are spot on. Vince Guaraldi will be proud.

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Nase
on 2015-04-10 13:22:30

ah yeah, this was a good one. i suggested some drums in the wip thread, but i think this is perfect as is right now. i'd describe the sound as intimate, and the bass gives it some distinct rhythm. it doesn't need drums, and if it had some they'd have to be really interesting, something more than swingy hihats.

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Crulex
on 2015-04-10 12:58:22

Ah, man, so smooth! With a jazzy piano piece like this, it's going to be hard to keep people from sliding all over the floor. I'm liking the uses of the vibraphone, which was amazing and perfect for this arrangement, as well the guitar and bass. Slick as hell, Nostalvania, I love this.

avatar
djpretzel
on 2015-04-09 14:17:19

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
Castlevania (Konami, 1986, NES)
Music by Kinuyo Yamashita, Satoe Terashima
Songs:
"Vampire Killer (Breaking Into the Castle BGM)"

Tags (7)


Genre:
Jazz
Mood:
Jazzy, Mellow
Instrumentation:
Electric Guitar, Piano, Vibraphone
Additional:
Arrangement > Quartet

File Information


Name:
Castlevania_Swing_When_You're_Killing_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
7,587,558 bytes
MD5:
1085d2453156d55f9fcc19bc9cc3d1f0
Bitrate:
228Kbps
Duration:
4:23

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