ReMix: Super Mario Bros. 3 "Underground Pipe Society"
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DDRKirby(ISQ) [Timmie Wong] goes a little less chiptune & a little more EDM with this fun, evolving SMB3 arrangement from Super Cartography Bros. that features hypnotizing layering & processing & parallel modulations; album director Flexstyle writes:
"I knew that if anyone could squeeze a club-length song out of a simple melody like this, Timmie would be the one to do it. While he doesn't live as much in the club genres as some of the other artists on this project, the track he's turned in is a head-turning number every time I play it out - that crazy breakdown section is a true winner. Add in some signature DDRK solos, the great 9-bit aesthetic, and this is a song that truly bridges the best of all worlds!"
It's floor-friendly, clever, and is familiar enough while still working in some new ideas... style AND substance, in other words. The ReMixer writes:
"This one was a blast to make! When I first signed up for this whole Super Cartography Bros. remix project, I took a skim through the unclaimed map themes and... sheesh, this was really going to be a challenge! I ended up picking the Pipe Maze world theme because it's darker and less peppy - I figured I could try and spin it into some sort of slick EDM groove.
I guess restrictions breed creativity, because somehow I managed to have a blast arranging the minimalistic 8-second loop! I was a little unsure I'd be able to get an entire track out of the Pipe Maze melody, but I'm super happy with what I came up with! I tried my best to keep coming back to the main Pipe Maze riff while still adding enough variation to flesh it out into a full-length song.
My past submissions have tended to focus more on the peppy melodic 9-bit chiptunes, but I've always had an itch to create a nice EDM song like this as well. I derived influences from PrototypeRaptor and some of the other trance/progressive music that I was listening to at the time, and made extensive use of Image-Line's Harmor synth my first time, and I had a lot of fun experimenting with it to come up with all the gritty and growly basses. The result is a fusion of my usual 9-bit style with a clubbier, more EDM-style sound.
A special thanks and shoutout to Flexstyle, who helped with the final mastering on this track (along with the rest of the album!). Be sure to check out the full Super Cartography Bros. album for lots more where this came from, as well as the full 6-minute club edit of this song! Hope you enjoy!"
This one hit me much harder the second time I listened to it; the first time I was just trying to get a sense for the structure and how it's using the source, the second time I could appreciate more the interleaving patterns and automation going on, which weaves a mesmerizing 9-bit web. It's definitely on the liberal side, and Larry's sole dissenting vote is well worth reading, as he breaks down why he felt there wasn't enough source usage. His is a more objective means of ascertaining this relationship, or at least tries to be, while other judges go by more subjective metrics:
- Does the source "permeate" the arrangement?
- Is the source a "prominent" structural element that is still "influential" even when NOT explicit, i.e. during solos, transitions, and the "glue" that holds the arrangement together?
...more or less; quoted words introduce subjectivity, by their nature. Judges are not required to apply one methodology or another, so mixes like this can get dicy when it comes to evaluation. In this case, most seemed to agree with DarkeSword:
"Slam dunk, IMO. I have no issues with arrangement content. Pipe Maze theme is prevalent and recognizable throughout. I can see how strict, notes-not-rests stopwatching would raise issues otherwise, but I don't subscribe to that method. I'm a huge fan of this remix. Absolutely killer."
I think Larry's approach is worthwhile and that it brings value & perspective to decisions, but it's not always going to carry the day. There's no doubt either way that it's an amazing, deep jam, but I'm glad the source relationship was questioned; it's difficult to extrapolate from an 8-second source, and I think Timmie did a good job, but it's always gotta get analyzed. This one's toe-tapping but also transporting, offering careful listeners multiple patterns to keep track of as they evolve & interact. Great stuff!