ReMix: Future Games "ZED EX FUTURE '85"
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A very happy birthday to legendary VGM composer Tim Follin! Of course, it's ALSO my daughter Esther's birthday, which is kind of a neat-though-statistically-not-that-unlikely coincidence ;) Larry's a huge Follin fan, so he made sure we had something to celebrate - namely, an experimental jazz trio arrangement of Future Games for the Spectrum, from unpredictably explosive innovators YamaYama - member Milo Fultz writes:
"This track is one of the featured tunes off of our HELLO RAINBOW album, where YamaYama (Dario LaPoma, Merlin Showalter, Milo Fultz, Scott Mitchell) revisits classic 1-bit ZX Spectrum music and reimagines it in a sax-bass-drums trio. You can find more material from the album, as well as links for purchase, on our YouTube channel."
So this is an avant-garde jazz arrangement of a relatively obscure game on a lesser-known (at least in the US) system... which means it might not get as much attention as an EDM Undertale ReMix... but it's super-cool! Certainly one of the strangest, primal-howl sax solos I've heard, and an aesthetic that's basically punk. Larry writes:
"For anyone that's heard Tim Follin's music on the C64, Amiga, NES, SNES, and even his modern soundtracks like Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future and Lemmings for the PSP, there's no denying Follin is a VGM legend, but one who didn't get his just due as far as getting tied to games with major commercial success. One of his known innovations for ZX Spectrum music development was the usage of what he called "phasing," where he'd take the sole audio channel of the Spectrum and rapidly turn it on & off with different notes to create chords, a technique other Speccy composers/programmers then took advantage of. With his fourth published pro game, Future Games, a young Follin was already demonstrably expanding the realm of music possibilities in the more primitive technological days of game music.
It's with that appreciation of Follin's creativity and talent that I'm glad YamaYama is back on OCR with only the site's second ZX Spectrum arrangement! The guys take Future Games' title theme for a loosely performed live instrument ride with jazz and rock elements. Scott's weird (read: experimental) SFX-style sax interlude from :57-1:38 is a take-it-or-leave-it kind of segment, but I'm down, and I really liked how he turned it into runs reminiscent of Follin's writing at 1:18. Acid jazz? Well, someone's tripping including this portion of the track, so I think it makes sense. :-) Nice work by the band honoring one of Follin's earliest works; be sure to check out their HELLO RAINBOW video playlist on YouTube so you can see all of their musical tributes to criminally overlooked Zed Ex music. :-)"
Honestly, Larry summed this one up better than I ever could, with a side dish of VGM history, so I don't have much to add. Follin's a major name to students of VGM, for good reasons, and YamaYama are just the type of creative iconoclasts to appropriately honor his innovation & creativity; weird, wild, & crazy stuff!