ReMix:Super Metroid "Zebes Rising" 5:49

By Ekaj

Arranging the music of one song...

"Brinstar - Red Soil Wetland Area"

Primary Game: Super Metroid (Nintendo , 1994, SNES), music by Kenji Yamamoto (I), Minako Hamano

Posted 2008-08-25, evaluated by the judges panel

Newcomer Ekaj (!sdrawkcab s'ti: tnih), aka Jake Rooney, gives us a sonic workover (and synth workout) of 'Brinstar Red Soil Swampy Area' from Super Metroid. Sometimes folks criticize poor old us for not accepting stuff that's close to cover territory and requiring too much arrangement, but honestly our standards are more about ensuring that artists put their own stamp on things than mandating extreme divergence from source. There are myriad acceptable combinations of changes to arrangement, performance, and production, and sometimes that first category can stay fairly close to the original if other elements are brought out to compensate. In other words, it's more flexible than you'd think, and this SM mix (not part of the recent bLiNd effort) being posted helps illustrate that dynamic. Larry was apprehensive about the mix being rejected for being too conservative, but this did not occur. Let's see why - he wrote:

"This isn't gonna win any award for melodic interpretation, but there was a bit done there. More importantly, the approach was expansive and personalized to the hilt. It's pretty interesting how this has a dark tone like the source tune, but addition of stuff like the breakbeats and gated synths clearly don't give off the same lonely energy the original does. Nonetheless, still a very spacious, well produced mix. I'm feeling like this will get NOed for being too conservative, but the sum total of the changes felt substantive enough to me."

It perhaps helps that Super Metroid's soundtrack really isn't about lyrical melody in the first place - it's far more ambient and atmospheric, and so an approach that focuses there takes fewer risks, relative to catchier fare. Jimmy writes:

"/agree. This is an excellent example of how someone can be interpretive with a theme without restructuring it and giving it a total crossover-job altogether. To reemphasize Larry without totally relying on his exact words, I think this is something good for OCR to put on the shelf--"Red Brinstar" has been tastefully expanded upon; it brings in new elements, yet manages to miraculously maintain the classic Metroid-esque vibe."

Vinnie further validates:

"Not much change to the melodies, but there's new chords, new structure, and just a hell of a different feel, with plenty of new material backing up the pieces that are kept from the source. I'm not sure why this would be NO'ed for being too conservative; there's quite a few arrangements on OCR that do this sort of thing (including some of my songs). Like Jesse, I felt the drums were a little repetitive, which was puzzling given that some effort was put into those drum breakdowns every few measures. But there was always plenty going on to keep it interesting.

This thing just sounds great. High energy, full bodied, and a smooth flow (feel like I'm talking about an energy drink). I think people are really gonna like this one - I know I did."

This is a well-crafted and very listenable electronica piece, and Ekaj has done a particularly good job keeping the overall texture "Metroid-esque," as Jimmy puts it. Check the mix, then check out his MySpace for more good stuff; looking forward to a follow-up.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2012-09-22 09:35:37

Great mix. Minimalism to a T throughout the song. Would loved to hear a bit more atmosphere in the breakdown/slower sections. Def feels like an awesome homage to the original.

on 2010-11-04 08:15:42

this tune my be a little 1 plane, but then again metroid music was about convincing you that you are in space blasting your way through an alien species labyrinth by way of taking the "bleak and lost" route of ambiance. fair to say it added a sense of creepiness to it

i can feel the bleak and lost atmosphere as i contemplate navigating my way through an alien land. hazzah for nostalgia

on 2010-01-11 21:51:49

Brinstar music can never be weak if you stick to the intimidation behind it. Good sound. Keep them sounding like this mean dnb... I've been a fan of that for a good while.

on 2009-07-31 22:48:08

Wow, someone actually thought that this source could do with a bit more darkness? Okay, I can deal with that. Of couse, the original was always more creepy and soul-impregnating, but I'm really liking how small changes to the arrangement have brought out this infinite foreboding from the music.

The choppy synth work is a really great effect, I think. I'm not sure how effective it is at conveying the doomed imagery of the first section, but I understand that at some point, it has to be more about how cool the music is to listen to than how much it freaks us out. Drumwork is as crazed as any good breakbeat drumwork should be, and the added samples... a very wise decision. It adds a lot of cohesion, of which you can never have enough of, and also gives it even more of a Metroid signature. Like, just in case you didn't get that this was Super Metroid on apocalyptic steroids.

Ekaj won himself a fan with this here mix. Yes, he did.

on 2009-04-17 14:44:55

What I find particularly rich about this mix isn't the lead synths or percussion, but the supporting sounds gestating in the background, like the low hum/growl, swirling ambience, choir, and buzzing anti-synths (for lack of a more sophisticated term). That's not to say the more obvious pieces playing the source have no merit; of course the 8- and 16-note leads, punchy drums, and transitory synthwork keep the track pacing forward. And certainly the reverbed one-shots (the starting and ending sound), radio wave signals, last Metroid squeals, and so forth add spice to the surface. But the background sounds collectively emit the impression that there's something ALIVE in the darkness of Zebes, something breathing, stirring, mutating, even curiosity-piquing. It even hints at the area it's in (its height/width/depth, what the walls might be made of, etc.). Every time the leads and percussion drop out, especially during the last minute, the dim light from the bass party brightens. Without it, the mix wouldn't feel as dark or as spacious as it currently is.

on 2008-11-20 20:19:55

Hm, I started writing in Reviews. K'.

I would have NOed this for being too close to source. It's one of those strange moments when I'm glad I'm not a J. The personalizations are nice, and once I took the time to listen this through as something other than just random tracks playing when I'm doing something, it got stuck in my head. The rhythm keeps it going, keeping it from feeling as repetitive as it actually is.

It's a source that's been remixed over and over, but this is a cool take on it, probably my favorite aggressive remix of the red brinstar music. Love the rewritten 6-note melodies, great stuff. I'm going on a run tomorrow. And this track is coming with me. As lazy as I am, that means the track's pretty powerful. Not to mention cool. :D

Martin Penwald
on 2008-09-14 12:04:11

Very nice bassline, and the Metroid cry adds a lot to the atmosphere.

Personally, I think that this remix is a little too long. Some parts of it, e.g. the intro, overstay their welcome a bit and make the remix borderline repetitive. However, this is something you only hear if you focus on listening to this remix and don't do something else; if you have it playing while doing anything else, you won't realize this at all.

Nevertheless, nice remix.

on 2008-09-08 14:52:39

This mix is really really cool. The dirty sound and the atmosphere of it all is very nice. The fact that the melody plays f g# f f g# d# instead of f a# f f a# d#, as well as the fact that the part played by a piano in the original here plays one fifth lower than it should be (relative to the bassline, of course) drags it down by quite a bit for me though. I realize this is a complete non-issue for just about everyone else, but it bothers me. It's such a small thing and it has such a negative impact on the experience for someone who once meticulously transscribed this song note-by-note and by ear into a midi.

on 2008-09-02 15:55:40

Pretty nice stuff going all up in this, very moody intro and then a pretty rocking pick-up section. Sounds are well chosen and there is a lot of interesting overlapping ambiance. The sound effects are used judiciously and always fit, rather than distract, and some of the synths are way cool.

Very nice flow on this one, and a cool take on the original.

on 2008-08-27 20:47:56

This ReMix is awesome, nicely detailed with electronica beats. I just wish this was going on the bLiNd Get Well project. :|

on 2008-08-27 18:26:11

Simple but addictive. Nice work.

on 2008-08-27 13:38:51

Excellent mix of an excellent track. Bravo!

Rock Howard
on 2008-08-26 08:53:33

Absolutely awesome... It's incredible that so many great Metroid remixes are there on OCR...

on 2008-08-26 07:41:29

Absolutely fantastic throughout.. a delicious, varying but cohesive soundscape from start to finish. Extremely well mixed, a joy to listen to.


on 2008-08-25 23:36:15

There are a few rare occasions where I break my habit of updating only when a torrent of latest remixes is released. This is one such occasion.

Perhaps I'm simply a sucker for the lower Brinstar theme, but dang, you pulled it off incredibly well in this piece. This one's going on repeat for the rest of the night, and probably as far as the next week. XD

Great job. Looking forward to any future remixes you might have planned!

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Super Metroid (Nintendo , 1994, SNES)
Music by Kenji Yamamoto (I),Minako Hamano
"Brinstar - Red Soil Wetland Area"

Tags (2)


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