ReMix: Pony Island "Diabolus ex Machina"
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5,116,218 bytes, 3:30, 192kbps
So, Pony Island, then... not exactly the game one might infer from the title alone, but still worth your time, and rather smart. Our first ReMix of its unique score comes from newcomer BKM (Björn Kirchhoff):
"This is my submission of "Diabolus ex Machina," a 7-string metal remix of "Adventure Awry" from the OST of an interesting, clever game by the name of Pony Island (completely unrelated to other pony-containing franchises). The original composer, Jonah Senzel, really managed to get some catchy tunes in there!
Jonah Senzel composed some really enjoyable chiptunes that progress in complexity as "arcade-Satan" further elaborates his trap (i.e. the arcade games). Stylistically, it's a blend of contradictory styles such as children's music and death metal according to a blog post by the composer. No wonder that especially "Adventure Awry" basically screamed for a remix involving heavily downtuned guitars.
When I started to work on this remix, I tried to force the remix part into this project by dissecting the main riff and trying to build something new with it, which absolutely killed the strong groove and surreal feel of the original. I therefore opted for enhancement instead of (forced) alteration - I transposed the arrangement to fit a drop-tuned seven-string guitar and added a lengthy interlude containing riffs that are inspired by and carry further the original groove.
I tried to go for a Keith Merrow-style mix and guitar tone this time, as I'm a huge fan of his work and because I found his style quite fitting for this project. As usual, the weakest link is my guitar tone - I can't for the life of me get a decent tone out of my amp sims. Hit me up if you wanna sponsor me a 6505 MH for the home studio. :P
Some of the gear I used:
- ESP LTD MH-417
- Ibanez SR405 Bass Guitar
- Radial Pro48 DI box
- Alesis iO2 interface
- Cubase 7
- Ignite Emissary Amp Sim
- Rosen Digital EVH 5150 III Cab Impulse Responses
- EZdrummer 2 with Metalheads EZX
On the forums, Rozovian expressed his concerns about my fairly conservative take on the source (which I share to some degree), but I hope I was able to elucidate why I chose this path for this particular mix. I documented in detail the process of creating this remix and all the changes made/lessons learned in a corresponding thread. I talk about the difficulties of achieving a modern metal guitar tone using nothing but software amp modellation there, and I also explain in detail why I chose to master at a volume that is on par with modern metal releases. I hope you enjoy this mix as much as I enjoyed creating it."
Very comprehensive background on parts & process... bonus points for correct usage of "elucidate," too. I like the different rude, sinister, tortured textures Björn coaxes from his guitars, and the arsenal of FX including occasional stutter/glitch are put to good use. Jivemaster really covers most of my own thoughts with his decision:
"Great guitar work on this one. Your intro sets things up nicely with great numbers of chuggery, and more importantly, your parts are fully audible throughout the course of the track. Great use of stereo space here with alternate panning of your parts, and nice glitch work which is implemented great for fills and isn't overused. Lead sits above the rest of the mix and is clearly heard, although I will say it does get close to being a tad ear piercy at times. Your overall tone is solid. While you largely play it safe with arrangement, the original bits you've added complement the source well. To close it off, the track is a decent length and doesn't overstay its welcome."
Badass gamer mom that she is, Chimpazilla changed her vote after playing the game with her son:
"Ok so my son and I played through the entirety of Pony Island last night. Wow, what a game. This is the best source tune in the game. I have a better feeling for the source tune now. I still feel like this remix gets repetitive, and I really dislike fadeout endings, but the track is too good not to have on the site."
In spite of being a little on the consverative side, a little repetitive, and having a sorta ho-hum fadeout ending, the energy here is darkly malevolent, the creative processing brings each individual riff to life, and the resulting ReMix puts a more explicitly aggressive & metal face on Senzel's chiptune original - interesting game, sweet soundtrack, and an enjoyably evil debut mix from BKM!