ReMix: Illusion City "Enter the Illusion"

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Illusion City

NEW & OBSCURE GAMES FLOOD!! Hey, we love us some Chrono Trigger, Sonic, Metroid, what have you, but we ALSO love more obscure VGM from across the console, computer, handheld, & arcade landscapes and throughout the history of the medium. It's a LARGE world, after all. To wrap up our month of floods, we've got five new mixes from FIVE NEW & OBSCURE GAMES that were previously not represented by featured ReMixes on the site. Kicking things off, we've got Jorito (Jorrith Schaap) and Metal Man with a cinematic cyberpunk Hollywood-style arrangement of the music from old-school Konami/MSX territory:

"This track was originally for PRC282, where one of the source tracks was Illusion City, a 1991 cyberpunk RPG. I've known this game on the MSX for years and always wanted to cover the main title theme, this source track that has been haunting my memories, but somehow never got around to doing it. How could I not choose to arrange Illusion City? PRC282 was a good excuse to give it a go.

I tried to do something different from my usual work and attempted to do something in the epic hybrid orchestral/synth style you hear in today's movies. Turns out I got too inspired with it and had a lot of fun. Not sure if I succeeded completely, but it still turned out pretty well, I think. Hope you like it. :)

After noodling around with a lead guitar plugin in the second part, I thought it'd be best to get a real guitar player to do it instead of working for hours on a believable MIDI part. Since I hang around on #ocremix a lot, I just asked there and Frederic Petitpas (Metal Man on the forums) was kind enough to deliver me the part only 15 minutes later!

Track breakdown:

0:00-0:32: original intro
0:32-0:50: string ostinato from source
0:50-1:05: original lead with ostinato from source
1:05-1:21: original break with synth arp from source
1:21-1:53: source track (almost integral)
1:53-2:02: outro, custom
2:02-2:14: original break
2:14-2:18: MGS game over theme
2:18-2:48: original bridge
2:48-2:50: trumpet from source
2:50-3:23: source track with variation lead guitar
3:23-3:33: ostinato from source
3:33-3:43: synth arp from source
3:43-3:48: MGS game over theme
3:48-3:55: outro

And the occasional swirly sound effects from the original (e.g. 0:30, 0:44, 0:59, 1:15) that I had to recreate and mixed in at appropriate intervals."

Jivemaster sums things up nicely:

"Nice intro that really builds the track up. Almost cinematic. Good use of stereo space, some nice choices in sounds. Enjoy the contrast between the electronic and more traditional instrumentation. Arrangement wise this moves along well, changing from section to section, although some parts like the strings are a bit too persistent in playing the same thing for my taste throughout the track. When the lead guitar hits in the last quarter things become quite full sonically, however I don't feel this breaks the mix. A nice intro to finish things on. Overall a nice modernisation of the original."

I'd tend to agree that the only nitpick which comes to mind is a potential tendency for certain components to "stick around" a little longer than one might expect, but it's a relatively minor thing. Overall, there's definitely a 90's cyberpunk flavor here, paired with some more contemporary scoring components, for a blend that makes sense and takes classic Konami/MSX VGM in an appropriate, honorific, & suspenseful direction! Well-executed, too, and with live guitar being a very nice touch!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 7 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Jorito
on 2015-12-15 15:42:00
2 minutes ago, Chernabogue said:

Jorrith, we have to collab on some orchestra/cinematic shit ;)

Sure thing! Hit me up when you've got an idea. Maybe some Gradius? ;)

Chernabogue
on 2015-12-15 15:36:53

Holy crap, that's hot. I love cinematic arrangement, and this one is awesome -- a bit too much synth-heavy for me, but it's great. Reminds me of trailer music tracks. The percussion is excellent on this one. The lead guitar was a neat addition! Love it!

Jorrith, we have to collab on some orchestra/cinematic shit ;)

Black_Doom
on 2015-12-09 14:30:22

Mind=blown. I love such tense cinematic arrangements a lot, and this one is no exception. It literally leaves me spechless whenever I listen to it. The guitars sound a bit out of place for me, but aside from that, this is very neat track. Well done!

Daniel Caton
on 2015-12-03 22:06:35

I really like the cyberpunk-y feel here. I’m not sure about the use of the Metal Gear Solid Game Over theme, if only because - for me, at least - it’s such a recognizable tune that it kind of stuck out too much. However, familiarity with that particular theme will definitely vary from person to person, so I’m happy to let it slide. On the plus side, you used the instruments well and, despite the fact that a guitar isn’t really something I typically associate with this style, it worked better than I might have thought. Good job!

timaeus222
on 2015-10-27 20:08:04

Nice, I see by this point you're starting to make greater use of Juggernaut and Damage. For me the production was a bit too distant, but otherwise I liked the action-heavy style you brought for this. (Sidenote: there's a click at 2:46.) One thing I'd say is that you could pay closer attention to how much low end you do get from Damage and Juggernaut; that guitar section towards the end had some low end clutter from those two libraries.

Sir_NutS
on 2015-09-28 18:48:13

I loved this remix back when it was posted for PRC. Great arrangement and overall awesome work from Jorito, I hope I can submit my own remix of this theme someday too.

Liontamer
on 2015-09-28 09:44:16

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