ReMix: Super Mario Bros. 3 "The Journey Never Ends" 4:36

By JohnStacy, Juan Medrano

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Arranging the music of one song...


Primary Game: Super Mario Bros. 3 (Nintendo, 1988, NES), music by Koji Kondo

Posted 2018-01-02, evaluated by the judges panel

Exit 2017, enter 2018, and indeed, the journey never ends!

John Stacy sends us this funky, biggish-band jazz take on the SMB3 ending, with reworked drums & bass courtesy Juan Medrano/Sixto Sounds:

"This was originally started for the Smash The Record EP, but that lined up perfectly for the insaneintherainmusic Jazz Challenge this year, so I produced it for both (with a YouTube video for the challenge). I've done a lot of performances of this source tune before, but they were all fairly close to the original style (as Latin, or a biguine, for instance). This time, I went in a different direction, trying to do it in the style of something Jerry Hey would appear on.

I've recently discovered the magic that is Jerry Hey and his horn section. I used 2 trumpets, 2 French horns, and 2 trombones, which is similar, but replacing the tenor saxes with horns and adding a bass trombone on the bottom. I experimented with mic placement and saturation attempting to capture a similar sound to theirs in the 80s and 90s. Although I missed the mark, I did produce something I am very proud of.

I've learned that a lot of music is playing to your strengths and making the best of what you have. A lot of my arrangements end up in the key of G-flat for some reason. They don't start there when I'm working, but somehow end up finished in that key. How weird. I would have liked to have done a vocal track, but because of the time constraint I couldn't find a vocalist fluent in the style, so I just did it as a French horn solo, because that was my best bet.

I submitted this track in the middle of August. After getting rejected by the panel, I let the track sit for a while. After reading over the criticisms, I opened the track again. When reworking the track, I wanted to see what I could reuse from the same file to minimize having to rerecord the brass instruments. The criticism really revolved around two basic things that fed off each other, the drums and the arrangement. I cut out something like a minute from the arrangement by cutting the first "verse" with only rhythm section and solo horn. By starting in what was the 2nd "verse," it seemed to flow a lot better. Most of the original recordings I recorded were used, keeping the ensemble as 2 trumpets, 1 solo French horn, 2 section French horns, a trombone, and a bass trombone. The rhythm section was changed a lot, however.

Enter Juan Medrano. We were talking in Discord and he offered to do drums for me, and later bass. The bass help was not more than running the existing MIDI data through a much higher-quality bass VST, and also a little bit of optimizing for that VST. The drums were a complete rewrite. He did those himself and used his soundsets for that, making a much more solid drum track. After adding in the new drum and bass tracks, the mix tightened up significantly. While working on the mix this time around, I also noticed a track that was essentially muted minus being fed into the reverb bus. It was a warm pad and sine wave track just sustaining chords. I can't remember what the purpose of this track was, but after removing it completely, quite a lot of space in the track opened up. His contributions in writing for rhythm section and mixing were extensive in enhancing the track.

So, I present my arrangement, "The Journey Never Ends.""


Recorded with MXL 990 and 991 microphones with a Scarlett 2i2 interface.

The perfect mix to close out one year & open the next, not just because the title fits thematically, but because we've got panache, class, synergy, collaboration, revision, funk, & great brass, which are some eternally wonderful ingredients. I'm glad John reworked this one a bit as it agreed with all of his changes, and partner-in-jam Mr. Medrano brought a lot to the table, laying a solid funk foundation for the formidable horns; Gario writes:

"I must commend the amazing brass work that went into this - John's got some insane skills to put something like this together. The lead horn work in the lead is really, really good, I've gotta say. I really do like the arrangement of this. The balance of the instruments seems noticeably improved, with the bass and piano being easier to hear in this. The drums are more subdue'd (perhaps a little too much so), but I can see the work that went into giving them more life with those fills and different patterns. Gotta give some real props to Sixto for that."

Juan's a Superior Drummer 3 evangelist now, and for that matter, so am I, though I still dig BFD too; great products for rock/funk/jazz writing, tons of depth & nuance. SMB has always leant itself to jazz/funk, and this classic mix of horns, played with sauce & style, fits Kondo's melodies like a glove, or a cup mute if you prefer. Not much else to say; goodbye 2017, hello 2018, let's keep the journey going, and props to J&J for kicking us off correct!



Latest 3 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2018-01-03 14:24:59

I love this mix so much. There will never be enough jazz/funk mixes on this site so keep 'em coming. This one is definitely a stand out piece of production in my opinion.

on 2018-01-02 22:04:06

This is a kickin' arrangement! I agree that the drums lack a bit of production punch, but mainly the arrangement flowed pretty well and I never felt the need to skip around. The drum fills were also a great addition.

on 2017-12-30 13:24:41

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

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Super Mario Bros. 3 (Nintendo, 1988, NES)
Music by Koji Kondo

Tags (9)

Funky, Happy
Brass, Electric Piano, Trombone
Origin > Collaboration
Origin > Resubmission
Production > Live Instruments

File Information

7,260,741 bytes


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