ReMix: Super Castlevania IV "Have You Met Sir Belmont?"
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6,814,742 bytes, 4:12, 214kbps
Count meets Duke! Our first ReMix of the last month of 2016 comes in the form of an impeccable, classy jazz arrangement of Super Castlevania IV from Nostalvania (Markus) - with a dash of Latin & swing - and that just CAN'T be anything but awesome:
Me: Hey guys, it's time for some Castlevania jazz, yiehaaa!
Judges: What, again? [sigh]
Yes, again, and this time it's Super Castlevania, which has a great soundtrack. The original chord progressions of "Simon's Theme" are actually not very jazzy, so I had to change them. The instrumentation is again pretty minimalist. There is guitar, piano, bass, and drums. The arrangement starts rather soft with only piano and bass, followed by the guitar which plays the theme, and later the drums come in. In the middle of the track, it changes to a Latin jazz groove.
Somewhere in the remix, there is a quote to a jazz song by a famous composer, hint: like Dracula, he's got a title of nobility. And, also, the mix title is an allusion to a jazz standard. People who are familiar with the jazz repertoire will recognize it, I'm sure."
0:00-0:09 - intro
0:09-0:19 - melody (piano)
0:19-0:49 - melody (guitar)
0:49-1:09 - melody (piano)
1:09-1:39 - melody (guitar)
1:39-1:58 - source bassline played as walking bass
1:58-2:18 - guitar solo
2:18-2:37 - piano solo
2:37-2:47 - melody (guitar)
2:47-3:07 - melody, piano (Latin groove)
3:07-3:16 - piano soloing
3:17-3:38 - melody, guitar (Latin)
3:38-3:57 - source bassline (swing)
3:57-4:10 - ending
Love the Latin bits, but I was MOST curious to see how the section at 1'39" would be handled, since it's particularly sinister/minor and a little trickier to jazzify *relative* to the context. I dig the approach Markus went with, transitioning the bass with a walking pattern, having it mirror the source, and doing some syncopated chords on keys over top. I'll just say, SCIV is a pretty hard game, at least it was for me at the time, so I heard the first stage music a LOT, it's a great piece that sets the vibe for a great OST, and I consider it pretty challenging to arrange in general. It's not an entirely intuitive source for a jazz take, but we know by now that Nostalvania is unstoppable & consistently able to answer the "Can it jazz??" challenge with a resounding YES. Larry concurs:
"Sleek! Very elegant. :-D"
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got... well, you know. I suppose if I was literally FORCED to criticize something, the acoustic guitar sound here is verbed a little strange and at times comes off more like keys in terms of part-writing; would be cool to see Markus collab with someone who could play a part like this, but it still sounds pretty good as-is, just not tres authentique... a small nit to pick for a VERY clever, VERY hip jazz homage and, in my opinion, one of the more challenging genre conversions Markus has taken on in terms of source material. Superb; whether you're a Duke, a Count, or just a lowly plebeian like yours truly, you gotta dig it.