ReMix: Ultra Street Fighter IV "Girl from Another World"
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Nothing says "Earth Day 2015!!" like posting our FIRST ReMix of Ultra Street Fighter IV!! Because... well, you see, they're "world" warriors... and they're fighting against bad guys who probably want to do bad things, like, environmentally, and... okay, I got nothing. Nada, zero, zilch - today's mixpost is thematically untethered to honoring & respecting our planet, and I think that's ultimately okay, because Neblix cooked up a rock-solid EDM arrangement of USF4 newcomer Decapre's theme, and it's hot & heavy, and I'm pretty sure if the Earth could talk it would agree with me. Yup:
"I did this remix in about 12 hours total of work. It's sort of a synthetic cinematic take (for those who remember my Impulse remix, this is my personal favorite kind of texture) on Decapre's theme. I haven't played this specific version of SFIV, and I know nothing about Decapre, but to me, she looked like some alternate universe version of Cammy, so I rolled with some kind of sci-fi fantasy vibe, even if it's not very accurate. :-P
It's grounded in a basic dance rhythm, and has some syncopated elements on top of it. I tried to keep a very spacious, cool temperature sound design and I think the inclusion of strings and piano were enhanced by the bluer and blacker colors. The arrangement is pretty simple, a far leap from my more maximalist take on Guile's theme, but I don't think that's to any detriment. I do feel at times the arrangement doesn't ever reach a specific climaxing point and seems to kind of go on, but I think I managed to provide enough dynamic contrast to have it be interesting to listen to.
I was also taking a course on arrangement at school, so I learned all about techniques of voicing and line-writing which helped me use my sounds, especially the string sections, to my advantage without any fear of busying the soundscape or writing some lousy parts. I think the result, as opposed to my other mixes, shows a lot more attention to part independence and clarity, and it's much easier to pick out the layers of instruments I'm using. I chose strings because at the time I was also watching a lot of Gundam Build Fighters, and the cool sound of the electronic elements like pads and filtered arps mixed with orchestration really struck me as a great texture for sort of emotional high-tech fantasy.
I actually bought Studio One 2 Pro and u-He Diva right before making this remix as well. S1 is a really nice DAW and has a similar piano roll to FL, but its linear fashion and lane-based writing has some advantages to me that I just can't tap through FL (the automation and MIDI capabilities are superior to FL, no question, but I still ReWired FL in for the drum programming and access to some of my favored plug-ins). Those guys did a really good job designing a ground-up DAW, and this is basically the first thing I did in it. As far as Diva, I'm giving a shoutout to my boy Jordan "bLiNd" Aguirre for giving me some delicious presets that he personally cooked up. This really is a stellar synthesizer, with a good library of *musically useful* presets and an intuitive interface."
I'm looking forward to Studio One 3.0 - I'm already using S1 for some stuff, and I'm ready to make it my primary DAW if the new version delivers. Production on this mix is impressive regardless of how quickly it was put together; Neblix keeps improving, and while the arrangement here is on point & on par with his work to date, there's a nice shimmer & shine to the production side of things that feels like a step forward. Fellow Ansari DarkeSword writes:
"Nabeel always comes through with the Street Fighter remixes for the Apex albums, and this year was no different. This is a really great take on Decapre's theme, featuring two of my favorite things: a dancey piano lead and crescendoing tremolo strings. The arrangement is pretty straightforward but there's a nice texture developed here, especially with the glassy, wobbly synth and shuffley hi-hats. Solid."
"Decapre's theme already has that dark EDM mood to it, but I love Neblix's more ethereal, club-appropriate spin on it. Excellent shimmering string accents, bass kicks, and ambient padding to fill things out. IMO, this is mixed in a way that makes it murky in places and sometime downplays the source usage, but it's definitely strong work overall, and an excellent arrangement concept. Not sure why you felt it was too "barebones" - it's a good transformative concept. Nice and chill, Nabeel! Good stuff for the club. :-) "
Ditto all that, and I'll reiterate how the Apex album have been refreshing not just in getting more fighting game mixes on the site, but also more modern games in general. I'm excited that USF4 is coming to PS4 & I'll be playing this ReMix in anticipation!