ReMix: Mario Paint "Pickin' Colors"

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Mario Paint

Our first Mario Paint ReMix in over a decade comes in the form of a sweet bluegrass arrangement from newcomer dabedaab (Steve Snider), who hits us up with a really cool story:

"My 3 adult children all love VGM and introduced me to OCR. I like the fact that VGM is no genre/all genre (that's the way they put it). Your community is open to all types of music. All 3 of my children encouraged me to submit a song on OCR. I cruised the site and saw how the forums worked and how I could gain feedback from the larger community. Seems to me like this is a win-win situation in that it furthers the cause of VGM and I learn in the process.

So, where to start, I wondered (since I don't know much about gaming and the songs pertaining to same)? I asked my oldest son to think of a VG song that had a catchy tune (something he could easily hum). To that, he replied, the title theme to Mario Paint. I listened to it and immediately began envisioning the arrangement in my mind. Since I have a background in bluegrass, I quickly decided on using instruments from that genre.

My first step was to map out the chords. Once I had those figured out, I laid out the background/rhythm tracks via Band-in-a-Box. The background tracks are the mandolin chops, fiddle chops/shuffles and rhythm guitar. All the rest of the tracks were products of my creativity and experience (including the arrangement itself) as follows:

  • Melody - mandolin, banjo
  • Harmony - mandolin, guitar
  • Improvisation - guitar lead
  • Bass

I own and play all these instruments. Since I only (about 3 weeks ago) obtained the physical equipment to record live tracks, I was a bit shy about using them in the ReMix/arrangement. During the WIP and Mod Review phases, I couldn't decide which I liked better (the "MIDI-ized" version or live version of me playing the banjo). My OCR peers have advised me to go with the live recording (which I have done for the banjo melody track). The other melody/harmony tracks are me (only MIDI-ized and rendered via LMMS). Perhaps, as I improve my recording skills, I'll eventually be able to create all tracks as live (except for fiddle which I don't play)."

His initial submission was rejected because the sequenced bits didn't match the emotion & authenticity of the bits that were performed live, and this makes a pretty big difference in a genre like bluegrass, but thankfully Steve resubmitted an all-live version, with the following comments:

"...I took to heart all the feedback that was given me and have changed the submission accordingly. Here's what I did to improve the submission:

  • Eliminated the "MIDI-ized" version of the mandolin (melody) and replaced it with a live recording of myself playing mandolin
  • Eliminated the "MIDI-ized" version of the guitar (melody/harmony/improv) and replaced it with a live recording of myself playing guitar
  • Added some reverb to the already live version of me playing banjo (just seemed like it needed it)
  • Made the percussive touches of mandolin/fiddle chops slightly more dominant (especially in the second verse [banjo section])

My original reluctance to include live recordings was predominantly due to my fear of recording skills. Basically, I admittedly don't know much about recording. However, I'm fairly pleased with the quality of the recordings. My take on it is that any hit on recording quality was/is more than made up for by the better sound of live instruments. Hindsight being 20/20, I can now see that it sounds considerably better (I least I think so) in its "live" rendering than in its "MIDI-ized" version.

In all, this experience was a blast. I've already got my second remix as WIP in the forum site. I'll consider this a positive experience no matter the outcome. I don't know how the experience goes for everybody, but I personally found the feedback wise, prudent, and useful. I, and the OCR community in general, all agreed that the arrangement improved through the iterations as I incorporated the feedback sent my way. Anyway, I hope you enjoy! Thanks."

So, where to begin? Submissions like this get me pretty emotional, because:

  1. As a father of an infant and a toddler, I can only hope to one day be making game arrangements at the request of my daughters... Steve's a great dad!
  2. As the founder of this site, I very intentionally started it with an "all genres allowed AND encouraged" approach, and when I hear submissions like this, it reminds me WHY :) I also love to see a newcomer receive feedback they consider accurate & then have the perseverance to act on that feedback.
  3. As a fan of bluegrass and American folk music, it's wonderful to see work being done in the genre, and excellent work at that!

I know it's a common and "mainstream" example, but I'm reminded of the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which I love - especially the Kossoy Sisters' version of "I'll Fly Away," which was oddly replaced by Allison Krauss' version for the OST release; I find myself humming it at least once a week. The source lends itself surprisingly well to the rhythm & feel of such "old time" music, and while the arrangement repeats itself a bit & judges had some minor recording gripes, the unanimous feeling was that this revised version represents a creative, expressive, and most of all FUN take on the theme. Great submission, great story, great to see our concept & our process working pretty darn well, and I'm certainly hoping that Steve's kids can convince him to tackle another tune in the future!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 13 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
WillRock
on 2016-09-20 13:06:06

I'm Blue Dabadee Dabedaab.

(Sorry not sorry - really cool remix too :D)

Old Man Pac
on 2016-09-20 00:56:22

Man I can't believe it. I was whistling this tune earlier today and head onto OCR and BAM there it is in kick ass bluegrass. Well done!

lemnlime
on 2016-09-16 08:21:53

The greatest thing about music like this is that you could totally play it at a concert and most people would have no idea it's game music. It sounds like it was just made to be in this genre b/c that's how well it's covered here. I'm surprised just how awesome the banjo sounds b/c I don't normally like country music. Great work here!

YoshMaster
on 2016-09-14 23:28:03

Wow I also love the story behind it and I am extremely happy to welcome Steve to OCR!!

Also, I consider myself open to a lot more styles and genres than the average person, but even then, I never was able to appreciate bluegrass music that much. I don't know why exactly. So how surprised was I to adore this remix!! ;)

Good job Steve on making love a bluegrass song, now if someone could make me love country music too that's probably the only style left for me to learn to love ;)

DimeTower
on 2016-09-13 23:34:30

This is a first timer's effort?? There's a rock bluegrass band I love called the "Rusty Guns" and this sounds like something that they would strive for. Man, the whole song comes across as someone easing back and relaxing with their favorite banjo, a tapping foot, and a swig of smooth whiskey. Incredible work by the remixer on this one!!

Geoffrey Taucer
on 2016-09-13 13:09:41

YES! The VGM world definitely needs more bluegrass

WesternZypher
on 2016-09-13 10:49:34

Great folksy-country charm, nice little piece!

Sir_NutS
on 2016-09-13 10:30:10

I personally loved this approach, and also that the artist was very open to feedback and used it for the betterment of the song. Hope we hear more from you and your banjo again.

Uffe von Lauterbach
on 2016-09-12 20:07:59

I did not expect that. Interesting choice of genre. I have to say, I enjoyed it. Very upbeat and happy sounding. :)

XPRTNovice
on 2016-09-12 19:04:18

WE ARE NOW FRIENDS

apoc
on 2016-09-12 18:52:40

I immediately took a look at this once I saw it was a Mario Paint song as this soundtrack is pretty nostalgic for me. Immediately I thought, "wow, this combination of source and bluegrass is perfect!". It really sounded great and the story behind it makes it that much better. I too can only hope that I can pass my love for VGM to my kids some day. :)

evktalo
on 2016-09-12 16:41:46

I remember this from the WIP boards and I'm so glad just to see it up posted. The live takes really did end up sounding so much better. It's a warm and fun track, and I'm heavily appreciative of the story behind the arrangement as well. Good work and hoping to hear many more!

Liontamer
on 2016-09-12 14:43:02

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