ReMix:Donkey Kong Country "West Coast DK Island" 4:18


Arranging the music of one song...

"DK Island Swing"

Primary Game: Donkey Kong Country (Nintendo , 1994, SNES), music by David Wise, Eveline Novakovic, Robin Beanland

Posted 2004-09-18, evaluated by djpretzel

"DK Island Swing" is probably my favorite track from the DKC OST, and with (yet more) KiC coverage, JJT gives us his mellow, jazzy, muted-trumpet laden reinterpretation. Now, I don't advocate the consumption of illicit pharmaceuticals or inordinate amounts of legal alternatives, but if you find yourself in such a state, this is your groove. With some ambient aspects aside, one can picture guys in berets saying "daddy-o" and "out of sight" every other sentence and in general being beatniks. Kinda in that territory, at least. The vocalising at 1'20" in particular seemed "far out". Any time someone who knows who Miles Davis was hears a muted trumpet in ANY song, EVER, they usually liken said song to him, which is not always the case, but here they'd be okay, especially as the Jiggin one himself professes the influence:

"This drew a lot of stylistic influence from the west coast "cool" jazz movement of the 50's 60's. Chet Baker, Miles Davis and the like. The distorted rhodes sound was entirely too much fun to screw around with."

Gotta confess, I dig the original in large part because it's one of the classic swing-time platformer themes, and while I'm not of the narrow perception that it don't mean a thing if the swing is absent (to paraphrase), I do sorta miss the pomp and brazen energy of the source. Nevertheless, what JJT's come up with is a new creation, with a deeper pallete of tones and intonation. You've got a jazz brush set (heavy cymbal usage), rhodes, upright acoustic bass, a vocal that feels a little weird, some rockin' piano comping, but surely the spotlight-stealer and most vital element here is the muted trumpet. Which is awesome. Fluid, embellishing, quintessentially mellow - to steal a line from Mamet, I'll put it this way: it's so cool that when it goes to sleep, sheep count it. The drum fill following the main melody breakout at 2'30" is well-sequenced, but I could have seen the toms a bit louder and verbed; cymbals are definitely ruling the rhythm section. I'd say this is in Neskvartetten territory in some of its style and execution, which is paying a compliment to both parties. Very creative, and - in keeping with the theme thus far - very indicative of the range of styles this project has brought together under one umbrella. Slick.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2015-12-22 01:39:33

The distortion is too much; it ruins the atmosphere of the intro. Interesting how things feel mellow while the drums and bass jam out. Then we get to the tom work and things get funky. I also like just how calm the outro is. Solid mix.

on 2010-12-29 11:08:55

The opening sound effects where great as were the vocals, but the distorted thing sounded a bit too distorted for me. Very jazzy though. I loved the muted trumpet and the slow down was really groovy and I'm glad the second part evened out on the distortion. Very interesting beat indeed.

on 2010-08-04 22:09:52

The opening SFX were an interesting choice. They sounded a bit Low-Fi for my ears, but the guitar was very cool and the rhodes was a great touch! The bass was wonderfully quirky and peppy. I like the ambient female VOX in there. The muted trumpet = sexy. The cymbals were a little loud but not earsplitting. The muted trumpet playing the main theme was total pimp-age. The drums felt a bit sequenced especially in the fills, but the tom rhythms sounded good. The low key improv section was well done.

The ambience for the piece was a great choice. It really took the original and redefined it with a new sound! Good work!

on 2009-02-22 08:19:50

It may take a while to actually get started, but the build-up, the atmosphere, all that is just awesome. Sets the mood to something fitting the game. The brass is especially cool. This is a track that takes a while to get into and a while to get out of, and that's perfect. :D

on 2009-01-18 22:01:59

Don't get me wrong, this is good stuff, but it just seems to take its time to get started, which is kinda :|

Still, that can be forgiven as it's still a great mix and great ambient jazz.

on 2008-05-05 11:35:17

The cymbal crashes kindof bug me as being too prominent, but other than that this is super awesome. I love the sound of a rhodes so much, and the bass and drums (minus those crashes) are great for the ambiance. The song progresses very nicely, and the muted trumpet is super moody. Great work.

Nice shifts through the various themes, and it all ties together well. Pretty classy stuff. :-)

on 2007-10-05 16:33:26

This was the first mix over here that really showed me how diverse Jon was an an arranger. I definitely never expected something like this from him at the time.

Like Jared's comments alluded to, this was definitely a big hit at the time when I spotlighted Kong in Concert on VG Frequency. I also agreed with comments likening the feel to something out of The Jungle Book, albeit jazzier. It's got a great energy to it, and only makes you appreciate the source material more.

Getting him to join the panel in 2005 probably helped to get him to release some material that we otherwise might never have heard. Score one for the bad guys.

on 2005-09-28 15:10:48

Makes me think about Disney´s "Jungle book", when Lou the monkey king does his funny little solo. But that´s south-east, or is it west for you?

Eh, whatever, a very groovy remix that makes you relax and soar to the beautiful beaches in California. The bass and the sax puts some high-class style on it, donkeydude himself would be sure to love this funky mix.

But I wanted the melody to stand out a little more, because that´s a good song.

JigginJonT, great job. :D

Pip is uh.....
on 2005-07-22 14:28:48

I absolutely love the intro to this piece. It does an incredibly awesome job of setting the mood. It has a real groove to it. It's one of my favorites. This is some real Nice Work here. :nicework:

on 2005-07-18 15:55:51

I listen to jazz every now and then because I love the drums in it, and If you've read any of my other posts, you've probably come to the conclusion that I'm a drummer. so ya, I love jazz.....good stuff

on 2005-07-18 01:22:25

I love this. It's probably the most listened-to DKC remix on my playlist, and the second note the trumpet plays after entering (at 1:39) makes me melt every time I hear it, and I still don't know why. This song is great, and I'd give it a high score. Very high.

on 2005-02-09 19:28:16

I just downloaded a few songs from KiC and this is one of my favourites

Awesome jazzy song, JigginJonT!

on 2004-11-05 01:01:33

Sweet. One of my favorites in a long time.

on 2004-11-04 06:35:58

this is rather brilliant. I wasn't incredibly attatched to many of the results from the Donkey Kong Remix Project, but this one was ear-catchingly good. Better than good.

I don't pretend to be a jazz expert, so I'll hold off any more of my opinion. I'll just say that more people should listen to this remix/arrangement, as it deserves far more attention than its so far recieved.

on 2004-09-29 16:23:24
Miles Davis influenced...hell yes.

I remember commenting on this song on VG Frequency. I like the smooth rhodes piano throughout the piece. It gives it the smooth jive that a lot of 60's jazz pieces had. The mute trumpet definitely defines the Miles Davis sound as well. One thing I think that could've been better was the panning and placement of the instruments. I felt many instruments were too centered, not that it takes away from the mix, cause it is pretty rich clear other than that factor. Although, the frequency response on the trumpet was a little shrill, and needed some high frequencies cut (compared to a Miles Davis recording). Anyways, nice jazzed up breaks and stops throughout the second half of the song. Btw, is that an old electric Wurlitzer piano doing the riffs? Ambience was a nice touch as well. I'm glad you didn't over do it. I also applaud you on decent drum programming. Many people can't seem to get that right. ;)

Trumpet played was clean, precise, etc, but didn't seem daring enough to escape the realm of the melody. Improvisation is a strong part to jazz, and I just didn't hear enough of it, but that's my opinion. Miles Davis did "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Snow White which showed great use of improvisation and adaptation on Disney's tune. You might want to check it out.

All in all, great listen on that fact. This is a quality mix from a mixer who knows what he is doing. Great effort was applied in making this jazz/fusion mix. Other than a couple minor fixes, this is rock solid. Kudos for the live lead instrument. If you had used a synth trumpet, I would have mauled this review. LOL!

Great job ;)

Jared Hudson

Agreed. You took the words right out of my mouth.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Donkey Kong Country (Nintendo , 1994, SNES)
Music by David Wise,Eveline Novakovic,Robin Beanland
"DK Island Swing"

Tags (4)

Brass,Electric Guitar,Vocals: Male

File Information

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