Sir_NutS

OCR04019 - *YES* Shadow of the Beast "89 Is the New 19"

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Artists: Sir_NutS, Stephen Kelly
Name of the games arranged: Shadow of the Beast
System: Amiga
Name of the arrangement: 89 is the new 19
Name of the individual songs arranged: Welcome / Forest / Stage 1

Wav: 
Mp3: 
Original: 


Get comfy folks, I have a lot to say.

Shadow of the Beast is kind of an obscure game in most places, (Me, remixing an obscure game? no way!) but back in the days it was a big deal for the European micro computer scene.  There was simply nothing like it when it comes to graphics and sound, it was sort of the "Crysis" of 1989, at least for home computers.  The detailed graphics paired with an art style between Roger Dean and H.R. Giger, amazing special effects like the endless parallax scrolling featured on the first level, and finally the excellent, brooding soundtrack by David Whittaker made Shadow of the Beast a game that pushed past the Amiga's limitations.

The game launched in 1989.  I've done some research for the exact date but I came up empty.  Even documentaries on the game don't have an exact date so, I'm just releasing this on this year to coincide with the game's 30th anniversary.

Now, this track is a double tribute, as I've taken cues from some of my favorite songs from Giorgio Moroder (The Chase, 74 is the new 24, Racer) and let it influence my style, so this is half my usual retro style mixed with Moroder's catchy sense for writing and tropes.  He's had a lot of influence on how my music has evolved in the past years, so it was only a matter of time before I paid him some tribute in one of my mixes.  The mix's title is a reference to him and one of his tracks, as well as the game and its anniversary.

There are no ostentatious synth brass chords to be found here, I switched those for a lot of filtered synth lines and a driving bassline.  For the vocal clips I brought in the always reliable Stephen Kelly.  This song is long compared to my recent submissions, and also slightly on the repetitive side, but that's by design in order to get the feel I was going for.  This also marks my comeback to using Reason devices thanks to Reason 11's rack device which I can now load in Bitwig, and which I took advantage of to create some of the synth leads you hear here.  I hope you guys enjoy it.
 

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i knew nothing about this game, so the history lesson (and the great ost!) are welcome =)

i'll start with what i considered to be negative, because there wasn't much! i really wasn't a fan of the synth at 0:24 - i felt it was way brighter than the rest of the texture around it, to the point of needling my ears a bit. i also didn't like the hard, overlapping cutoffs, which felt clunky. beyond that, overall i felt that many of your leads lacked character or transformation during longer sustains. an example is at 3:10, the melody lead just sits there during each of those sustains. an lfo, chorus effect, or natural fade on those notes would really have added a ton of interest to the sound beyond the detuing effect. since many of your leads were really bright, cutting synths, they really need something during longer sustains or else the sharp nature of their character really cuts through the arrangement and can be distracting or negative.

these points are, however, trivial at best. the original melody is obvious throughout, the style is superbly done, and there's a lot of fun things done to keep it interesting throughout over five minutes of music. i particularly liked the breakdown at 2:08, which did a nice job balancing a driving momentum in your synths with lowered dynamics and altered instrumentation. the pitch shifting at 2:33 was delightfully unexpected. i really liked that you took so long to really get back to the melody - nearly two minutes of B section was just what the doctor ordered, and prevented the (repetitious) A melody from getting annoying.

this was a great fun listen that deserves the front page.

 

 

YES

Edited by prophetik music

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Ooh, I can hear that Moroder influence!  Having listened to the three listed tracks, I got the idea that there's a lot more emphasis on melody and textures - and this is no different.

Right off the bat, the framework is robust and explores the first half of the source, breaks down, goes to the B section and returns to the A section for a calming finish.  The BGM is not only dominant, but there are more melody timbre combinations than I can count on one hand!  There have been plenty of opportunities to play around with them, starting simple with rhythms getting altered with the third run-through of melody A at 1:36 and the syncopated feel on the intro arpeggio at 2:08.  But when the call-and-response kicks in at 3:24, it equally experiments with melody B's timings and adds new improvisational writing, and the ideas continued to develop when melody A returned at 3:40.  These are fun changes that both keep the source's familiarity and make it sound like Moroder could've composed the source himself!

Now, I was one of those people that got asked to look out for the production values while Mike workshopped this track.  Hearing this finished form, the choice of timbres are varied and excellent for this EDM sub-genre.  They're also all identifiable in the mix, and they have contributed to this playful atmosphere going on.  Stephen's voice also made those vocoders pop as usual.  I know Mike saw it first-hand, but the pitch shift on said vocoder at 2:33 also caught me off guard in a positive way. It's a tight package that made me spontaneously do the djp - a sign that shows he's making retro grooves right.

With all this fun and attention on the arrangement and production, I can see it on the front page.  I'm also shocked that OCR hasn't received a new submission for this game in 19 years, so consider it a refresher on that part too.  Good work!

YES

Edited by Rexy

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Ha, not that obscure.  I recognized it immediately, despite not knowing the game at all... because this is the third submission in 2 years that we've gotten for it.  (The others were NO's, though.)

The source material itself is used pretty conservatively, but it's interspersed with so much original content that it's far from a conservative arrangement overall.  And yet there's plenty of source material, no question of that.

Production-wise, I have some concerns about clutter.  When the main part starts at 0:40, I hear at least two instruments occupying a similar range in the highs.  It's hard to make them out, one sounds like an arp with heavy reverb and the other sounds like a pad?  But they're largely turning into white noise.  When the lead changes at 0:56 and the former lead saw becomes accompaniment, it joins the fray and makes the issue worse.  1:24-1:35 is crazy busy, it sounds like there are 4 or 5 different synths competing for the same frequency there, and they're all turning to shimmery mud.  Similar issue at 1:52-2:07; it's better because there are less verb-y/sustained synths involved but there's still a lot of competition that's making it hard to make out the individual sounds.  3:56-4:35 is a rehash of 0:56-1:35, so same issue there again.

This is close for me, but all those similar layered notes are really cutting down on the clarity.  There's a really good mix in here but there's a good chunk of it that I can't hear because it's turned to mud, and a bigger chunk that I can't really appreciate because it's sitting in that mud.  Clean things up, especially where you have a pad and a reverb-heavy synth overlapping frequencies, and I'll be happy with this.  But right now I don't think I can sign off on it.

NO (resubmit)

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Groovy track and definitely a fun take on the original and era it came from. I can see what MW is saying about clutter, though I didn't feel like I couldn't pick out what was going on at any point. That being said, working on more clarity in the future certainly wouldn't hurt. 

The source is definitely present, and the vocals fit the feel (though I couldn't tell you what they're saying). Nitpicking here because I can, I would have liked a touch more variation in the drums. Just some fills to emphasize parts more through out. They're fine as I'd, just something to take them to the next level.

YES

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FUN! A half-tempo glitch-laden break would have mixed things up more & the melody/source lends itself, but I get that this was a stylistic thing, going for a purer Moroder vibe and not injecting too much modern EDM into the picture. The sound design on the synths, in particular some of the releases and layering, is slick - the power of Bitwig PLUS Reason is insane, and you're already leveraging it to great effect. On the main melody line, when it dips down, I might have swapped to a different synth, panned further left, for a call-and-answer sorta thing; it was a little odd hearing that particular synth cover that much range. That being said, that could arguably be a Moroder thing as well :)

@prophetik music did have some good pointers; I didn't have issues with clutter, personally, but maybe my threshold is a bit higher - everything was discernible/intelligible, even during more active passages.

This is a pretty easy YES for me, and I'm psyched both to have a Shadow of the Beast / Amiga mix to be posted after so long, and also to see what Mike's capable of with the arsenal of his old DAW strapped onto the equally-formidable power of his new one.

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