ReMix:The Guardian Legend "Starflake Jazz" 4:47

By Shnabubula

Arranging the music of one song...

"Dungeon: Area 5, 6"

Primary Game: The Guardian Legend (Broderbund , 1988, NES), music by Masatomo Miyamoto, Takeshi Santo

Posted 2005-12-11, evaluated by the judges panel

For some reason, I kept reading this title as 'Cornflake Jazz'... I think I need to eat more. Firstly, I'd like to congratulate judge GrayLightning , who will be embarking on his third year as an OCR judge starting tomorrow, for two rock-solid years of servitude and manual labor - he's made the site a better, grayer place, for which we offer thanks and pudding snacks. Sam writes:

"The first ReMix I ever wrote, "Red Spiders", was from Guardian Legend.... so I guess this is like a return to my roots. I have a strong personal attachment to this GAME where as with all of my other remixes, my attachment was primarily to the composers. Miyamo Shant [or Michael as I like to call him since his name phonetically in spanish means "my call"..... actually I'm pretty shocked that this isn't already his official nickname] is a decent composer, but I wouldn't study his stuff in the same way I do my other favorite composers. Guaridan Legend is a game that I absolutely adored as a child, so this source tune was chosen out of nostalgia since corridors 5, 6, 15, and 16 were my favorites corridors [and area 10 was my favorite area {red spiders}]. When I wrote this I had been listening to The Elastic Band's new album "momentum" and so everything I wrote came out sounding like this.... I couldn't help it, as a result I have my first real "Jazz" remix...."

Personally, I hear a bit of Joe Zawinul/Weather Report in there, too. Straight out from the acoustic drums drippin' with feel, you know this is gonna be a little different from Sam's avant-garde or classical avenues. And, you know it's gonna be good. The bass, which stays panned pretty hard left most of the mix, has a very effective filter on it that lets the picking articulation come through selectively. Similarly, you've got electric piano and organ stabs with wah, so the whole thing is one filtered, wah'd jam, with all elements in complete synergy. I think I liked this a bit better than the rest of the panel; percussively, at least, it's my favorite Shnabubula mix, and I think some of the individual parts here contain passages that count amongst the brighter gems in the artist's arsenal of impressive phrasedom. There's some transitions, like 3'45", that don't really work for me, and in general I'd have preferred the overall tempo/swing remain consistent and the numerous themes that Sam's working with been mutated to match, not vice versa. But the whole EP solo from 2'16" to 3'18" represents what I think is some of his best extended soloing, with the accompaniment underneath not sitting complacently, but grooving on its own complimentary riff quite often. The Wingless, who seemed intent on referring to Shnabubula as 'Shane' for a reason only he could know, offers:

"Though my TGL bias will shine through irregardless, this is an extremely well done piece. A perfect example of clean complexity. Density that does not suffer from clutter because of its meticulous planning. The source material is only like, what, 8 measures long? But each movement of this piece has it's own... environment. A texture, sound, cadence, timbre, feel. Whathaveyous."

Like Chock Full'o Nuts, it's vacuum-packed to keep flavor in, and true to form, there's a dizzying number of notes and leitmotifs, but the funkier passages should appeal even to those with an aversion to the sometimes more academic qualities of Sam's work. Plus, if you like filtering and wah... you gonna get some.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2011-12-11 14:43:12

The source material sounded pretty sterile (not that I hated the original track), but Sam really added a lot of energy and grooviness to it. Gray wasn't a fan of the production as much, and some of the samples could sound richer, but I thought ultimately it was fine, and Sam really knows what he's doing when putting together his arrangements.

on 2009-01-11 21:41:39

It's not really traditional jazz or really even jazz in the traditional sense; its more techno-electric-jazz-fusion.

To me, it sounds like the predominant instrument here is one of those plastic tubes that has one of those noise makers in it, and one has to keep flipping it end over end to make that throaty "eeEAAAUuuu" sound.

It gets an A for originality not much else.

on 2008-05-30 12:10:50

Pretty recognizable theme, and it's done really well, in an elegant style, but with a super synthy bass. It's like an audio doily. A light and airy arrangement, with a lot of ornamentation, and a lot of interweaving parts.

I think a few times it gets a little too self-indulgent, and the ending is pretty weak, but it is overall a very good mix. Nice work.

on 2006-07-02 14:31:03

The drums here are awesome. Probably the best sequenced jazz fusion style drumming I have ever heard. It's incredibly realistic, I don't know why some people complain about it being too complicated. Reminds me of the stuff Dennis Chambers did with John Scofield. Since a lot of the fusion stuff from way back was pretty synthy as well, the fakeness really doesn't bother me. Great job.

on 2006-03-26 14:03:12

I'm kinda with Trenthian on this one: it needs some work. The whole thing is pretty cheesy; it honestly sounds like MIDI to me. I mean, it's obviously fabricated and not a real band. It's notation isn't bad, the velocity, panning and instrumentation choices are. Don't get me wrong: I like chiptunes and MIDI tunes, but this sounds like you were trying to sound real and failed. Sorry, dude.

on 2005-12-14 05:23:14

Brilliant. As interesting and powerful as Shna's previous mix was, he's at his best when given a synth, crazy drum kits, and an overactive imagination, for my tastes at least. The far left bass hit surprisingly didn't bother me, like it did in Marc Star's 'Dirty Sam'. The wide range of compositional ideas and unpredictability make it a joy to listen to, and classic Shnabubula. It's even more groovy than normal. Keep em coming Sam!

on 2005-12-13 23:48:57
Shna sent this to me a while back, and I ACTUALLY listen to it. That tells you something, cause most of his stuff is way to freaky weird for me. Nice work Sam.

My thoughts exactly. His stuff is usually a bit too abstract for my personal tastes, but I enjoyed this one.

on 2005-12-12 21:13:42

Great stuff. A few months back i would have (slighty) bitched about the panned bass, but I've been listening to a lot of newer jazz stuff recently that also utilizes bass panning - and to be completely honest, it didnt bother me a bit.

I can hear the Flecktones in this piece too.

I always love Shna's stuff because it's so interesting to listen too.

Benjamin Briggs
on 2005-12-12 20:32:05

Reminds me of The Flecktones.

A lot :)


on 2005-12-12 19:42:19

The bass is sweet, but its panned off to the side.

This reduces the over all flavor of the piece and is one ear heavy.

Later on there is bass panned more normally which is good times.

The drums are unacceptable to me.

Edirol is a very nice percussion set, but the drums are too all over the place. While varied, this is very distracting to me.

The clavi and main lead work is very nice.

This mix has plenty of pros, but it certainly has its cons.

Overall I'd yes this too. But Its not really my cup of tea as far as remixes go.

on 2005-12-12 12:02:13

I loved it; it's accessible jazz. The beginning is particularly catchy for me, and the mid-section where it slows down and plays the motif in the more considered tempo is also very, very fun, for some reason ; )

I wish it could have been done with better samples, or have a more polished feel to it but as it stands, it's great. Thanks.

Benjamin Briggs
on 2005-12-12 10:36:45

Whoah whoah whoah whoah WHOAH. Stop the press; hold the phone. You're telling me that you did this remix because of-- and I am certainly going out on a limb here-- a personal connection to the game?

Yeah, okay. Sure you did. Whatever you say.

(It's about time you did something my way :) )

Funny thing is, I haven't even listened to it yet.


on 2005-12-12 02:51:44

Red Spiders was better.

Not that that really matters, since Shnabubula + Guardian Legend still = instant win in my book. Per the norm, this wins.

on 2005-12-12 02:00:24

"Shane" uses phat b33tz.

I'd pretend I know what I'm talking about to give "criticism" but that would be a silly sick joke on par with Gigli.

Ok fine, I will. I want more instrumental variety considering you used drums, bass, and two synths for the entire song. I want a break from your infatuation with that sine wav.

Ben Affleck lol.

on 2005-12-12 00:01:54

Arrangement is off the hook mate, love the fluidness of the piece. Drums definately are the strongest and most expressive instrument, really feeling the groove here. I love bass lines, and this bass is just phat. I must say you're a crazy bastard, haha, it's a compliment don't worry :wink:. Good work on the EP, bit too synthy for my liking but it works well. Production is good too, everything has a nice space about it. I thought there was a lack of creativity at 1:50, it's a nice section, seemed to drag a bit imo. Transitioned out nicely though. All in all, wicked mix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
The Guardian Legend (Broderbund , 1988, NES)
Music by Masatomo Miyamoto,Takeshi Santo
"Dungeon: Area 5, 6"

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