ReMix: E.V.O.: Search for Eden "Evolutionary Means" 5:11

By Russell Cox

Arranging the music of 2 songs...

"Chapter 1 Field", "Main Map Theme"

Primary Game: E.V.O.: Search for Eden (Enix, 1993, SNES), music by Koichi Sugiyama

Posted 2003-03-29, evaluated by djpretzel

A long time ago I used to diss my friend for buying this game; he said it was pretty lame, and from the box art and little I saw of it, I agreed, and mocked him for his purchase in a fun-and-not-really-insultory fashion. It wasn't until much later, when I got more into emulation, that I found the game had a pretty dedicated cult following and even die-hard, zealous fandom amongst some on the net. I haven't gone back to rediscover the game since being exposed to its niche net adulation, but it did go to show that you can judge neither a book nor an Enix SNES game by its cover. Russell has answered the call by some few-but-proud E.V.O. fans for an arrangement of its tunage, in his ever-faithful, classy orchestral fashion. Very grandiose, classic arrangement - similar to movie scores for adventure films from the 50's and 60's. Nowadays they tend to go for more instant gratification, but this is the type of arrangement that takes its time and has a lot of ponderous, emotive, deliberate solo work. There's bassoon, french horn, oboe, flute, great brass and string section work, and playing a very strong role, harp and bass pizzicato. Just listening to how the harp's role changes, is augmented by piano, glissandos into transitions beautifully, etc. is enough to keep me interested. There's a big brass push at 3'20" that's quite nice, also some very exposed bassoon work before that at 1'40" that preludes a wonderful duet. Russell's grasp on trading ensemble sections with instrumental (solo, duet, etc.) sections is probably best utilized thus far - there's both the majestic, ensemble pushes and intimate, flowing, individual bits, and the two overlap with nary a compositional faux pas to be found. Only thing I wasn't too keen on here is the bass pizzicato ending - it sounds like a a potentially good idea that wasn't given enough time. It also exposes more flagrantly a good bit of hiss on the recording - I've known Russell to add this intentionally to evoke a certain element of realism, but whether intentional or not, this was a bit too much :) In retrospect, pieces of the melody and the overall orchestration remind me of Russell's 'Journey of Solitude' piece from a long while back. If you dig that, or any of Russell's excellent work, chances are you'll appreciate his latest as well. The chord structure, transitions, and movement all exhibit maturity and quality. And E.V.O. fans in particular are in for quite the treat. Recommended.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2014-08-01 14:58:30

Wow! A pretty good orchestral sound for 2003, and it's well used to create a lush texture of sound with tons of detail. The piece is also gorgeous in the writing department! Good, good treat.

on 2014-01-26 15:37:01

This is a wonderful homage to E.V.O. ^_^

I especially love the remix of the ocean theme. 3

on 2009-04-02 14:20:32

2 years on this one, time for a review! The people need to hear about this great mix!

Great samples and well used to boot, the level of sophistication is pretty high in most of the sections, and the colors an d textures are varied. THe only real issue I have is that the ending seems a bit overly sparse and anticlimactic, but after 5 minutes of great music, a few seconds of subpar ending is easily dismissible.

Very natural sounding, nice work. :-)

on 2007-02-06 02:35:07

This song is the best orchestral mix on the site. No questions asked. (EDIT: I forgot about Jared Hudson's Pilot the Yggdrasil.) [Nigel's Castlevania IV mix is worth a mention, regardless.]

Nothing holds a candle to this. (Okay fine there might be something I'm overlooking but I doubt it.) As many others have said, everything flows like none other.

south pacific islander
on 2004-12-13 15:59:32

The song gave me a reason to play the game. After Listening to it , I got to say that he improved on the orignal songs and gave out a unique idea on the entire feeling in the game.

on 2004-12-09 23:24:05

Indeed. Easily my favorite piece by rustle cocks.

on 2004-06-03 04:38:53

While I like most of the genres of remixes, I'm particularly fond of the classical style ones, and of all of them, Russel Cox usually stands out with his remixes. They are invariably beautiful, and Evolutionary Means is no exception. I love your remixes, Russel. Keep up the spectacular work.

danny B
on 2003-08-05 22:59:08

Listening to this piece, I remembered that I haven't commented on it.

This piece is absolutely incredible. It shows a mastery of music theory concepts and instrumentation fundamentals. Russ knows what to put where, and it shows. A very rare case in which extremely high quality samples are put to good use to enhance the song, rather than carry it.

The brass fanfares and string progressions are beautiful. The reinterpretations of harmonic and melodic ideas to flow inbetween different EVO pieces work perfectly. This song brings back all the good memories of my EVO days.

Very professional production here, Russ. The world needs more music like this.


on 2003-04-05 23:23:22

Once again, Russell Cox shines in his orchestral forte. I honestly have nothing bad to say about this remix, but I will point out the good things about it.

- Good use of whole orchestra

Perhaps the percussion section could have been slightly louder, but otherwise, woodwinds, brass, strings all get their chance to shine.

- High quality samples.

If you close your eyes, this sounds like it could have been a live work. Almost. The harp I especially love - it makes me want to go back and play E.V.O. again! And that's saying something, to go back to play a game just for a tune well implemented by a skillful remixer.

Good interpretation of melody.

I remember most the little tunes that was in E.V.O. and I think you've carried through most of the memorable ones - one of the best things about this remix is that it could really fit right in with the original game.

Great work with strings.

They are very realistic and you implemented them to great effect, especially around the 0.50 mark. The only drawback is that at 4.30 they come in really abruptly and doesn't sound very realistic, but a minor setback in an otherwise excellent string section.

On the whole, this is a fantastic piece, recommended if you've played E.V.O. or like orchestral pieces.

One word: Grandiose.

on 2003-04-05 11:13:59

I used to be a HUGE EVO fan back in the day, so I'm glad to see that such a great remix came out of it. Keep up the good work Russell!

on 2003-04-02 17:49:57

This is why I have a shrine to Mr. Cox in my closet... Let's just change the name of the site to Overclocked Russell. :D

I have to admit I've never played EVO, but that hardly matters with a piece like this. What an outstanding job. It's a shame there aren't more classicists here, but Russell's work certainly makes up for the shortage.

Now do Star Fox 64. :wink:

on 2003-04-02 13:03:15

I always knew that Russ would do great. AND I knew that my plan to make people love and play EVO again would work.

Thank you Russel Cox

on 2003-04-02 02:46:40

10/10 all-star. Beautiful orchestration. This would hold its own performed as a piece in a live orchestra concert, which is just the sort of thing that makes me squeal with delight. Bravo.

Why is it that these pieces just kinda trail off into some bland, often boring end?

I've always thought it's because video game tracks tend to loop and not have a finite ending. This one's not /so/ bad... and I don't see what djpretzel meant about the hiss at all, it sounded spot on to me.

About that ending though, the bass trail-off ending could have been replaced with a more final-sounding bass ending. For y'all theory geeks, my interpretation would be a 1---5---6---3-2-1--- (4 characters/quarter note, #'s=scale degrees) thing and a couple repitions of the tonic, potentially in octaves, to give it a lot more closure.

on 2003-03-31 16:02:27

EVO was a pretty fun game. I did dig the Dragon Warrior 2 reject soundtrack, and this game really did capture the best elements of it. While I did love the arrangement in general, it did one thing that annoyed me and I was wondering if I could ask about it (as I see this done in classical style pieces a great deal).

At about 5:01, it seems like the basses just kind of wander off. Why is it that these pieces just kinda trail off into some bland, often boring end? I don't mean to be rude or criticize, this is an amazing piece, but I just don't get it.

on 2003-03-31 06:40:08

Nice work Russel =D I would kill to know what soundfonts/synth you're using. Email me I must know, he he. This really is one hell of a mix; I'm really going to have a hard time keeping up with this kind of quality. I haven't heard the original music, so it's hard to accurately judge what you've done here. However, a few thoughts I had while listening:

1. The beginning is very interesting. The tonal center is left very vague. Half of your tonicized opening lies in the singular bass line, which you don't expect that kind of motion. The bass lines could be interpreted as either tonic or dominant of Bb, so it's kinda weak. Also, the motion you created is completely lost when the orchestra comes in. It sounds like there's more than one introduction and they have nothing to do with each other. The ending bass line sounds like it wants to be in Ab so it can modulate back to Eb for the intro, but again the tonal center is weak. My feeling is that this could be stronger, it's hard to make sense of it. Then again, if I listen to it all like it's Debussy, suddenly I don't feel so objective and it is very flowing and logical. So, I'll leave the interpretation to you.

2. 0:46-1:00 - Beautiful color! Great idea with the trills.

3. 1:00-1:15 - Sounds like the attacks on the melodic line are late. I can't tell if it's the strings or the brass, but they're definitely out of sync.

4. 1:38 - I'm not sure how I feel about the shift to parallel minor here. It's nice but it kinda feels like you've smooshed a jigsaw puzzle piece together here. It's great how it is, but I wouldn't complain if you did more with it either. If the orchestra hadn't cut out this would have sounded very confusing.

5. 2:09 - Go Contrabassoon!!

6. 2:16-end - Beautiful stuff. Anything that strikes me is pretty much more of the same. The rhythm transitions are very abrupt. I don't feel a real blend going on between them. But like everyone else, I am probably guilty of critiquing what I wanted to hear, and not what was written. When all is said and done, this was masterfully done. Good job.

Much enjoyed,


Sources Arranged (2 Songs)

Primary Game:
E.V.O.: Search for Eden (Enix, 1993, SNES)
Music by Koichi Sugiyama
"Chapter 1 Field"
"Main Map Theme"

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