ReMix:Terminator 2: Judgment Day "CSM-101 Level One" 5:27

By Kevin "Lorenzo" Sisk

Arranging the music of one song...

"Level 1 / Truckstop"

Primary Game: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (LJN , 1992, NES), music by Geoff Follin, Tim Follin

Posted 2003-08-21, evaluated by the judges panel

Newcomer Kevin "Lorenzo" Sisk gives us our first ReMix from Terminator 2 on the NES, which mixes the memorable movie theme in with the original music from the game in an interesting sort of arrangement that transitions around quite a bit. The actual, sampled 8-bit percussion starts us out, with detuned synth falls, then a nice sorta funky bass comes in along with a solid beat. There's a slap bass and a saxophone that also enter; both of these acoustic emulations sound pretty artificial, but they do blend well with the background and don't sound out of place, per se, just synthetic. You can recognize the modified film theme in this first section, which then cuts out. The lo-bit NES percussion is used, this time at a different rhythm and tempo, as a segue into the second portion of the mix, which is a bit harder-edged and features rising synth arpeggios over a more industrial groove, with moving distorted electric guitars. The ending takes us back to a more mellow reprise of the notable movie tune. Sound-quality wise, some of the judges had some reservations about the bass hits and a couple other elements. As far as the arrangement goes, the drums were cited as not augmenting/expanding on the original NES percussion as much as they could have. This seemed to be the type of mix whose style either appeals to you or it doesn't; several of the judges were really rather positive, and while no one was too negative, the sound quality was a bigger factor for those that I would guess weren't as into the style. Malcos puts it well: "Hmmm... there's just something about this mix. It has a very distinctive style, and I suppose I am biased slightly because I like the theme. Nevertheless, he doesn't overuse it as I expected..." - I agree, the style is distinctive. In rearrangement, it actually sounds more reminiscent of a Yuzo Koshiro piece. I enjoyed certain parts more than others; I tend to have a hangup on transitions in pieces that vary so much, and wasn't particularly keen on the dropping out completely then coming back in via the drums. Bottom line is that the arrangement is really pretty cool, with a good sense of nostalgia to it, and varied as well. Some of the sounds aren't drop-dead gorgeous, but honestly I think this is the type of mix you like for its style, regardless. Really no way to know for yourself without checking it out; a predilection towards NES tracks and the T2 soundtrack won't hurt either, of course :) Good stuff from Mr. Sisk.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2010-12-28 13:05:41

It has the Terminator theme, a wonderfully retro feel. Cyborgy goodness.

on 2009-05-19 03:51:50

This carries a lot of cinematic grit. A number of synths and percussion pieces sound robotically inclined to paint a future without humans. Guitar thrashes bare the mix's teeth while filtered howls prophesy danger from far away. The saxophone adds a groovy noir touch, and pads and strings offer a calm purity (or perhaps a post-apocalyptic unease) near the end. Even 2:46-3:46 plays in a lower key than 1:48-2:46 in the source to further accentuate the feel of a rundown future.

I see no problem in keeping the source's "drop the song and pick it up again" tactic; the guitar seizes the opportunity to roar back to 2:25 as if to say, "Think you averted Judgment Day? Think again!" (Its wavy vibes really add to the apprehension.) Economic use of the T2 theme, as well. It fits where the source is driven more by Follin-esque percussion and atmosphere than a leading melody.

on 2008-10-15 22:27:21
Just came up on my 1001-1250 list. Kinda surprised it made it through the lockdown, considering the considerable Terminator theme usage. Must've been the FOLLIN BIAS.

The change in the rules with extensive incorporation of a non-VG source came with Dave's veto of "A Star Freezes Over". Up until then, they weren't contested, so stuff like this and the VGM/Xmas music hybrids are gonna stay.

And Follin bias.

on 2008-10-15 19:07:15

Just came up on my 1001-1250 list. Kinda surprised it made it through the lockdown, considering the considerable Terminator theme usage. Must've been the FOLLIN BIAS.

That aside, decent track. I'm gonna have to agree about the weird transitions though. Like at first I thought my player had gone to the next track, but then 2 minutes later the Terminator theme comes in again and I'm like "wait I'm still listening to the same track??"

on 2008-03-14 01:11:54

Wait a minute... ppl still listen to this one?


on 2008-03-13 05:05:00

I actually like the jarring transitions this piece has. Great mood overall. Soundwise it indeed sounds old but I guess it's up to the listener to feel it as "oldskoll" or "dated". :)

This one's worth checking out.


on 2008-02-19 10:14:39

I really love it, since it has the dark feeling I get from the original Terminator main theme. And it has some serious cool oldschool trip hop/hip hop in it too. And then some awesome electro . So it is a very beautiful piece, and well. That is I call music in the hip hop/trip hop and electro genre. Thumps up :-D awesome piece :-) very cool cover :-D

on 2007-05-03 12:09:18

At first I was listening to this and thought the song ended, and a new one started, pretty distracting really. Arrangementwise, there are a lot of great ideas presented, but the sound quality throughout brings it down. The lead synth is nice, but a lot of the other instruments lack depth.

on 2006-03-24 17:14:37

This song is very authentic in terms of Terminator. It gives you a feeling of Fear, and funky futuristic retro game feel. Overall, this meets the standards of any gamer fan of the Terminator series, but also gives you a very "Futuristic Demon Machine" Feel oftenly overlooked because of the fact that the Terminator was known for instilling more action and explosions than fear. Awesome work Lorenzo! :D

on 2006-02-14 01:22:58

This is one that makes you wonder "WHY DO I LIKE THIS?". I cant honestly say why. But ive always loved the terminator theme, second only to the robocop theme. Darn you machine men! and curse your cool remix Kevin!

on 2003-08-26 05:15:55

I love this mix, I noticed that everyone was complaining aboout the sample quality.

In my opinion the low quality works perfectly for this mix. It just sounds right.

It get the NoWave seal of approval.

on 2003-08-23 03:30:30

Nice electro-clash piece.

Sounds a bit broken.... like it's a four-movement sonatina... which is kinda neat but a bit jagged to call it one inseparable piece. An electro-clash sonatina..... *walks away... even remembering the WIP*

Kamikaze Noodle
on 2003-08-23 01:07:34

When I listened to the WiP of this way back God knows when, I knew that there were some rough parts to it, but that with a little love it could really be a great mix. I kept the original cuz I liked it a lot, but it seems Lorenzo has ignored some of my advice. There is no "transition" per se, there is simply the ending of the first section and the start of the second. I thought the arpeggios were really crappy too, but the part leading to the end with the synths sounds a lot better. I don't think sample quality is an issue, as the mix doesn't really try to be realistic. With the 8-bit drums you can tell this is a very synthy piece. If the transitions were better (if there WAS a transition) and the middle section were cleaned up it woulda been better. But it's ultimately the artist who decides how his piece is gonna end up.

on 2003-08-22 20:06:04

Fake? Man, I don't think it's trying to sound real at all. Just good. It's so cool.

Anyway, for those who don't know, the Terminator 2 soundtrack was done by Tim and Geoff Follin, the guys behind the amazing Plok soundtrack...I was just listening to the NSF of Terminator 2, and they do some really stunning things with the NES soundchip...I'd expect nothing less from the guys who produced the best sounding music from a SNES soundchip in Plok.

on 2003-08-22 11:38:07

Well, the arrangement is top notch. And there are a lot of interesting ideas... but I just can't get into this mix.

It sounds so incredibly fake. And it's a shame, since it's obvious Mr. Sisk has an ear for music and arranging.

I would have loved this mix if the entire thing had a sound/soundfont overhall.

Disappointing, yet promising.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (LJN , 1992, NES)
Music by Geoff Follin,Tim Follin
"Level 1 / Truckstop"

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