ReMix:Marathon "The Forerunner Mix (Gamma)" 3:44

By Nick Singer

Arranging the music of 3 songs from 2 games ( view all )...

"A Walk in the Woods", "Flowers in Heaven", "The Maw"

Primary Game: Marathon (Bungie , 1994, MAC), music by Alex Seropian

Posted 2009-07-18, evaluated by the judges panel

First Alpha, then Beta, and now... Gamma. While my software development-driven mind was expecting 'Release Candidate' or 'RTM,' this works too. Oh yeah - I'm referring to Nick Singer's Marathon mixes, of which this third arrangement is the latest addition. He writes:

"I finally got round to finishing a third of the marathon mixes I sent you last year. Like the others, it's a bit unstructured; after the transition in the middle it becomes mostly a wash of harmonies without a clear lead, which probably renders it more suitable for background/in-game music than as a standalone piece. It uses the themes Flowers in Heaven from Marathon, and A Walk in the Woods and The Maw from Halo.

The main tune is from Flowers from heaven, with a more Halo-style instrumentation and emphasis on the three note rhythmical motif- this then surges into a section based on the chords from A Walk in the Woods, which may not be so easy to recognize because of the slower tempo. The harmony from The Maw then takes us through a bridge and back to an understated version of the Flowers melody."

Like its similarly titled forebears, this mix has silky smooth production, with shimmering synths, semi-industrial electronic drums & FX, and expansive ambient pads. While mixing is shinier than Nick's previous Marathon mixes, arrangement is considerably more liberal, and judges had to do their homework to make some of the connections, even with the source breakdown the artist provided. AnSo writes:

"Larry's breakdown (see below) made me think a lot about this.. It's always hard to judge a remix that arranges a source that's extremely simple or lacks a clear hook to rely on. The Halo sources are mostly about the chords and Flowers in Heaven is very barren. I'm still on the edge about counting the three note pattern used from 0:07 forward but the more I think of it I realize it's the second most distinct part of Flowers in Heaven since the goddamn track only has two elements! I also thought you could've used the melodic movement the top note does in A Walk in the Woods. Now you're using only the chords and not the melodic motif. Reduction is ok but in this case there's not much to reduce really... However, the more I listen to the source the more I accept this as ok source usage."

Andy adds:

"I love the flow of the arrangement, and while the level of source usage is definitely in a gray area, I feel comfortable enough to say that it's within our standards. Though I won't get into an exact analysis, I felt like the remix masterfully blended the source tunes with original writing. This might be my favorite of the Forerunner series, Nick."

Bottom line: excellent addition to what is now a fine trilogy of Marathon/Halo arrangements from Nick!



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Sari Uchiha
on 2011-01-26 10:38:02
I absolutely love Alpha and Beta, and Gamma did not disappoint. Just as ambient, just as deep and powerful, with a wealth of elements that complement rather than muddle each other.

And I, for one, was not bothered at all by the purportedly liberal handling of the sources...because I've never heard the sources .(Yes, I'm the only one in the world who hasn't played Halo. Go on and shun me.)

Nope, I haven't played it either. I actually don't like war/first person shooters like that. But soundtracks are something completly different! Love this one!

on 2010-05-03 11:35:49

Wow, not sure how I missed reviewing this one when it first came out.. My faux pas.. ;_;

This is really just super atmosphere and texture, and though there aren't any melodic hooks that really draw me in, the soundscape presented is very compelling. I really like the percussion with the super-treated snares, and though this wouldn't be something i'd rock out to frequently, it provides an excellent mood, and some beautiful progressions. It's almost like electronic new age. Thumbs up!

on 2010-05-03 01:54:22

Nick this was amazing. I downloaded all three of the mixes and mashed them all together to make one song. I called it The Forerunner Triumverate. Oh nonoononoo I dont take the credit!!! It all goes to you. I just mashed them together is all! X)

on 2009-12-22 00:23:47

This one ain't bad. The intro/buildup didn't feel very interesting to me aside from the percussion, which picked up eventually. The mix felt like it should be building up to something more climactic and there were a few times you started to touch on it, but it never really happened for me :-(

The sounds and production are wonderful and there's a few interesting moments, but personally I feel like this was leading up to something that never came.

on 2009-09-14 17:50:25

Is there a Delta in there somewhere?

on 2009-08-10 20:20:03

Those Halo chords are SOOO good here.

It's not just bc it's Halo, I don't even own the game.

But it fits as a pretty outro

Martin Penwald
on 2009-08-04 05:46:17

Definitely feels like a piece from a soundtrack of a movie. To me, it sounds like music from a 70s or 80s SciFi flick. Very nice.

on 2009-07-27 19:09:33

Well, to be honest I haven't listened to it yet, but I am posting this reply because someone at liked it enough to make a news post about it...

Granted, they post news about everything Halo (and by extension Bungie) related, but if it means more exposure for OCR, that's a good thing.

on 2009-07-21 10:30:43

I absolutely love Alpha and Beta, and Gamma did not disappoint. Just as ambient, just as deep and powerful, with a wealth of elements that complement rather than muddle each other.

And I, for one, was not bothered at all by the purportedly liberal handling of the sources...because I've never heard the sources .(Yes, I'm the only one in the world who hasn't played Halo. Go on and shun me.)

on 2009-07-19 04:33:17

All what i can say is just WOW8O

on 2009-07-18 11:45:06

Wow, I was just wondering when the third of this 'series' would come out! And this does not disappoint! It's a very chill and relaxing mix, and it feels very deep. Great job again, sir

on 2009-07-18 09:17:32

rozo- it should inspire you to make your own mix, not the opposite!

Sorry to those who thought it was a bit too loosely related to the source material. I see your point, it's a bit muddy and a bit abstract, but I sent the mix to Alex Seropian a while ago and he said it made him all nostalgic, so it can't be that far off! :-P

I guess it works best as a 'mood' piece, attempting to capture the atmosphere of those games rather than faithfully reproducing the actual musical content. That's my excuse anyway!

on 2009-07-18 09:09:10

I am so so glad Larry convinced me to pass this one in the end. The first two Forerunner mixes were heavenly, and this is a great follow-up. I agree with Rozo that it's even more ambient, more soundtrack-y, but that allows Nick to take some stylistic differences. Nick uses such a high level of detail in these mixes, I could listen to them hundreds of times without getting bored.

on 2009-07-18 05:52:16

Flowers in Heaven was a track I was thinking about remixing. Now I'm not in a hurry to do so. :D

What happened at 1:22? Feels like ending a sentence in ALLCAPS AND THEN FORGETTING PUNCTUATION not really the smoothest transition. Overall the soundscape makes up for it. Not as good as Alpha and Beta, but it has an epic soundtrack feel, perhaps more a movie score feel than the other two as they are written and mixed to be more foreground music while this is more ambient, more background. Like most parts of a movie score. And that's not a bad thing. :D

on 2009-07-18 01:49:09

Fanfreakingtastic! :nicework:

Love the atmospheric, almost dreamy feel. A worthy addition to my "OCR: Greatest Hits" playlist.

Sources Arranged (3 Songs, 2 Games)

Primary Game:
Marathon (Bungie , 1994, MAC)
Music by Alex Seropian
"Flowers in Heaven"
Additional Game:
Halo: Combat Evolved (Microsoft , 2001, XBOX)
Music by Marty O'Donnell,Michael Salvatori
"A Walk in the Woods"
"The Maw"

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