Excellent, refreshing, and surprising. Newcomer Johan Krafft from Sweden put this DKC arrangement together in Sonar all the way back in 2006, and in my mind it's simply fantastic. I'm glad Shariq got the last word on the judges thread on this one, because I didn't really relate to some of the criticisms levelled against it. Production's fine, maybe not impeccable but not worth focusing on too much, I actually LIKE the piano decay break at 1'04" - I don't know if it was intentional or not, and feel like it might not have been, but it really works for me - and while the in-game SFX and four-on-the-floor transition later on do stretch the limits of musical credibility a tad, those limits are meant to be stretched, and Johan really pulls some interesting punches in that arena. Honestly, I think this is a stellar debut, because most of us know the source material - which is fantastic to begin with - and are perhaps a bit jaded in terms of it being mixed, yet Johan puts together something that's fresh and delivers.
Krafft works (get it?!?) some serious piano magic in the introduction... in fact, I was mentally prepared for this mix to be solo piano, and it was good enough in that regard that I wouldn't have been disappointed. Imagine my surprise when pulse synth lead enters at 1'18" with some excellent LFO modulation, followed by a badass sweep transition to the beat drop at 2'00", where a monster bass anchors liquid, percolating percussion. THAT'S what I'm talking about... 3'36" *does* get a little weird... animals start making sounds, funky little chords come in, and the tone does wax a bit goofy relative to the more dramatic motif the rest of the piece carries. But it's never bad, overly repetitive, or unimaginative, and I'd rather Johan have gone off in this new direction than rested on his thematic laurels. I'm gonna quote DarkeSword's afforementioned opinion:
"Simply excellent. I'm a big fan of how you mixed piano and synth elements here to create a very unique, cohesive texture. The arrangement is very dynamic and progresses quite nicely. I don't have any problems with this piece."
Neither do I, really... this is one jungle you'll wanna get lost in over and over. Excellent, intelligent, stylish, and well-Kraffted mix (get it?!?) that deserves some love.
on 2012-03-06 09:30:13
I somehow have never hit this song on random before. Like DJP I was expecting a really awesome solo piano arrangement. The first half really impressed me. When the other elements joined in I wasn't as into it but by no means did I stop liking it. Aquatic Ambiance is definitely my favourite song from the DKC OST which makes me super critical of any remix of it. This one does not disappoint
on 2011-08-20 15:53:41
The first half sounds like old-school OCR. The good kind, even; I loved it. Then that bass comes in, the song matures, and I fell in love again. This is excellent work for a piece that's so minimal. I've listened to it several times over the past few days, and it gets better with each listen. Makes me wish I had more time to make music :(
on 2011-07-05 02:05:50
Very personal and deep sound. Love the expansion that happens at about 2:00.
on 2010-12-29 10:01:41
The piano was beautiful in this, it really was. I enjoyed that bit, and then the bit with the piano and the synth, and then the synth alone. Can't say I liked the monkey roars and stuff like that, but it didn't seem like it was there for even ten seconds, so it didn't really bother me. Great ReMix, but I dug the piano bit more than the synth bit. Sounded the best when they were together, but that's just me.
on 2010-05-26 03:55:37
epic song. if I loved it any more I'd probably have to marry it because of all the bastard kids i'd have with it.
on 2009-12-02 22:38:35
"while the in-game SFX and four-on-the-floor transition later on do stretch the limits of musical credibility a tad, those limits are meant to be stretched"
hahaha. This part of the writeup is great (I mean that sincerely).
I was really pessimistic about hearing another Aquatic Ambiance mix after Beneath The Surface. I thought that was really the end-all-be-all of mixes of that song.
But this is pretty cool. The piano playing is tasteful and emotive. The four-on-the-floor beats weren't nearly as bad or cheesy as I thought they were gonna be. It's funky but not in your face, which is nice. The synths are mostly good, even if a little plain. This is an effing Donkey Kong Country remix so those animal sounds don't really bother me. This is kinda like an old school OCR remix in a lot of ways, actually, except a little bit tighter.
It isn't knocking me out right now, but I'll give it a few more shots cause I think it's well done.
on 2009-12-02 18:14:24
Nice piano sound to start things off, and then the winwood-esque synth. Very classy, once the bass and drums come in, I am totally sold. Super sophisticated sounds, and all signs were pointing to it being a classic mix.. and then the animal sounds came in. I hate to say it, but ouch. Totally killed the mood. It was a brief section, thankfully, but it just felt so off-key to me, I dunno.
A potentially great mix cut short.
on 2009-11-14 01:09:25
Posting here again because this remix is AMAZING and one of the most creative remixes ever and needs more love. 3
on 2009-10-07 20:24:29
this mix does so many things but it all manages to work really well and actually sound incredibly cohesive even though on paper it shouldn't. i've always loved the texture of synth lead on top of solo piano, reminds me of some Stevie Wonder stuff. But the electronica in the latter half is great and isn't just interpretive for the sake of being interpretive, it all works.
on 2009-08-07 11:39:52
This song has a very different mood than the other's aquatic remix, i like it for that, i'm like 'lost' when i listen to it..very very good. The ending is a big longer maybe
on 2009-07-19 16:34:54
Ahh, I'm glad I started listening to some of ocr's lesser known artists. This is a really nice, moody piece that's easy to get immersed in. Great work.
on 2009-02-09 09:55:40
This is certainly a track that grows on you. First time I heard it, the piano felt cheap (piano rendition of Aquatic Ambience? meh), and the last minute ill fitting. Now, it's among my favorites. The pad heard 2 minutes in is just plain beautiful, and that wouldn't have worked without the long piano intro. Dunno if it's a minute of jungle too long or a minute of jungle too short, but it does work this way. Highly enjoyable.
on 2009-01-21 21:17:42
The more time I've spent listening to this piece, the more I've loved it, and my judge decision comments were made after only a few listens and don't really capture my enthusiasm for it. The opening is beautiful, weaving an original motif into the familiar melody so well, you'd swear it was in the game. This could have easily been the whole song, but instead Johan surprisingly pulls out a synth that he imbues with the same care of expression. Very interesting. What makes this a truly classic ReMix for me is when it opens up into that graceful, pulsing beat. Hypnotic. The double-speed section starts promisingly but doesn't sound as polished as the rest. But by that point, I feel he's earned the leeway to try anything.
on 2009-01-21 17:32:57
Absolutely love this piece, but I am especially fond of the synth. That vibrato at 2:59 is just perfect.
on 2008-12-16 01:08:15
Yeah, the intro to this mix is where the spotlight spends most of the time, since it is where most striking of the melodic ideas and variations have been congregated. As a result, it throws off the balance of the mix. The latter portion isn't exactly barren of good, chewable meat, but to open so strongly and then transform into a subdued version of the opening disrupts an hypothetical equilibrium that the listener expects. Whether that is the fault of the listener or the remixer has more to do with your own personal philosophy.
That being said, I still think this is a really cool and involved listen. Excellent.
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Donkey Kong Country (Nintendo, 1994, SNES)
Music by David Wise, Eveline Novakovic, Robin Beanland
- "Aquatic Ambiance"
- Electronic, Piano, Synth
- 6,057,725 bytes
- Size: 6,057,725 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 137a9096b72014f5a88416b1fe075de7
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