ReMix:Metroid "Kraid Begins" 3:23

By AJiLe

Arranging the music of one song...

"Kraid's Chamber"

Primary Game: Metroid (Nintendo , 1986, NES), music by Hirokazu Tanaka

Posted 2009-08-13, evaluated by the judges panel

Newcomer AJiLe, aka Andrew Lawler, writes:

"This is my first submission (!) so I'm pretty excited. I've been reading and listening to ocremix for a long time and I really respect you guys.

'Kraid Begins' is an orchestral take on the classic theme, inspired by thoughts about the guardian's origins. I mean, he just woke up one day and decided to be Mother Brain's #2? I think not. Henchmen like that are made, not born."

It's true - just ask Larry! ;) Nice to see more orchestral action; the Metroid games seem to lend themselves quite well to the genre. I saw 'orchestral' in the sub email and I wasn't entirely prepared for the slick, clangy, processed textures that provide a non-traditional intro into what does eventually become straight classical instrumentation - unorthodox, and lovely. Judges had some production criticisms, and rightly so, but DAMN... this is a fantastic arrangement. I've been waiting to hear this theme, THIS way, for a long time. It's contemporary, it has tight corners and tons of cues that work just as well in isolation as they would for a film piece, it's imaginative, and it absolutely nails a tense atmosphere through dynamic, tempo, and instrumental variation. Reminds me at times of The Matrix and Batman Begins, with juxtaposed running string patterns and brass swells, but overall this is a pretty unique sound that Andrew's come up with. AnSo summed up the good and the bad:

"I think the arrangement here is fantastic, just let me get that out of the system. Nice use of triplets and overall great melodic intepretation. You threw in some chord-changes, interesting rhythms and great dynamic variation! The ending was quite good too. The orchestra is a bit empty, it's not a full symphony if you get what I mean, and could use some additional instruments or doubling to sound full though.

I didn't think the brass at 0:51 was bad, however the "harder" brass articulations sounded so-so but passable. Most instruments sound okay, the strings could've sounded better at times but for the most part it was good. Pizzicato sound at 2:03 was "slappy" compared to the overall sound of the strings, better at 2:10.

Overall, I think the arrangement is just good enough to outweigh the slight production issues I had. Take the criticism to heart though, even if this passes, and improve in the sound department for your next submission! Because damn, there should be more submissions from you. Great first sub!"

Some other judges were a bit harder on production, but - while it didn't blow me away - I was transfixed enough by the fresh approach to the arrangement that it really didn't bug me, either. At any rate, I'd rather debut with an original, unique arrangement of a classic, oft-covered theme with some sample/mixing issues than have ace production on a mix that sounded like half a dozen others; I think AJiLe can hold his head very high, take judge feedback to heart in terms of mixing (and perhaps go sample-hunting a bit), but DEFINITELY submit more pieces in the future, as this really is something different that I think a lot of people will enjoy.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Pharoh Amon Khan
on 2010-12-14 00:32:46

You... You are... AMAZING!!!

on 2009-12-21 23:29:21

This is pretty straightforward orchestral goodness, which honestly is hard to impress me with, but I love the haunting, deliberate intro and how it gradually picks up and climaxes at the end. This is one of those instrumental mixes where the end really is a payout on all the setup that went on in the beginning and middle. A problem I've noticed with most orchestral subs on this site is that the ending never lives up to what the rest of the song set up, but this song proved to be an exception!

Also, I loved the second paragraph of the submission email, very cool concept :-)

Brandon Goins
on 2009-11-29 23:41:29

Great! But you left off the best part of the song. The arpeggio (I think) measures at the end.

on 2009-09-23 17:34:13

pretty nice stuff, while the sections themselves has some good distinction, I felt that the dynamics within each part stayed a little too flat. The arrangement itself was great, and really carries the track. I loved a lot of the harmonies and triplet section was really well done.

I can see why a lot of the judges were torn on it, though, so be sure to take their criticisms to heart and kick it up even higher on the production end for your next sub. I'm very glad this one passed. :-)

on 2009-09-10 20:58:06

Sorry, I thought it was bland and forgetful. Some of the samples are noticeably bad and the dynamics are a bit harsh. Uninspired, not for me.

Martin Penwald
on 2009-09-01 16:43:44

Very haunting, except for the more powerful part between 2:00 and 3:00. I kinda wish it was longer, since it ends rather abruptly; a little more of the haunting stuff used as ooutro would've been nice.

Nobbynob Littlun
on 2009-08-27 02:46:54

Great! This song tells a story. To be honest, I've got a lot of movie soundtracks, and the quality here is superior to the vast majority of that stuff. In fact, a great deal of OCR submissions are, we just notice shortcomings more here, since there isn't a movie's cheesy dialogue and goofy action sequences rolling over the music (and most directors seem very strict about the music being nothing special; heaven forbid a lovely tune should distract viewers from their carefully constructed cool-guy-walking-away-from-explosion sequence!)

Okay, digressing a bit here.

I did feel that there were some bits where you slowed down to make transitions between one segment of the song and another, and it was kind of dragging. I imagine you could do something inventive to make them flow into one another without, ah, doldrums as it were, making for a more engaging song. But this is not so much a complaint as something for you to keep your eye on when making this type of song.

on 2009-08-20 03:15:03

Definitely agree with all the other listeners here -- wow, that intro was fantastic. Straight up Hollywood movie quality. I could swear I heard something like this in Spielberg's A.I.

I am generally not a fan of orchestral arrangements. With that disclaimer out of the way, I didn't like the section starting at 1:17. The brass sounded way too overpowered and jolted me out of my groove.

Everything else was awesome. Loved the cellos at 2:14, the basses at 2:39, supported by a very appropriate and balanced brass buildup, and capped off with the otherworldly strings at 2:49.

Keep up the great work.

on 2009-08-18 21:32:44

I really like the quiet, almost curious atmosphere of the intro. This is definitely a somewhat different take on the source, which has certainly seen it's share of mixing over the years. This would make a great track for so many movie intros, and things of that nature.

This piece starts so softly it almost creeps up on you, the other day I queued it up and when it started I almost didn't notice (in a good way) as it subtly began. I really think this style suits the source, even if it changes the feel a little bit (that's what mixing is all about anyway), and really worked well. Towards the end the source creeps away a little bit but there's room for some creativity here.

Awesome debut mix, hope we see more!

on 2009-08-15 10:32:50

DarkeSword used the word "cinematic" to describe this, and I've gotta agree. The arrangement on this mix is incredible -- thank you so much for submitting it!

As far as the production issues go, in my opinion the arrangement transcends any problems with the production -- especially given that the production issues cited are small. Glad to see this mix get the nod!

on 2009-08-14 22:10:02

First off, let me say that I really like this. I love the idea of telling a character's (particularly a villain's) backstory with music. That part is incredible. The arrangement is incredible, with great momentum and wonderfully minimalistic sections. But the production is not incredible. Some instruments have much less reverb than others, or are starkly processed, or are simply of lower quality. This criticism is not necessarily leveled at the remixer, however, but at the judges, who should have voted this a RESUB. If a remix is that close to the borderline, it's not a crime to ask for a resub. By saying YES, you both lower the submission standard and do the remixer a disservice. I'm sure he would have liked to get this posted in its best possible shape, and by more than two borderline YESes.

on 2009-08-14 05:10:41

realy nice piece of work, i have always been a fan of this tune and its nice to hear it remixed this way, keepup the good work and hope to hear more from you :-P

on 2009-08-14 01:41:10

Definitely take a lot of creative liberty with this as you don't really hear the Kraid tune too strongly, but it's atmospheric and well done

on 2009-08-13 22:19:36

My apologies, I didn't really like it. It probably hurts getting a little bit of bad criticism early on, but I didn't find it too interesting. However, I will note that the last 45 seconds sounded like something from Pirates of the Caribbean, which I quite liked. But either way, I'd just say it was so-so. I would like to hear more from you, since I like orchestrated far more than techno, but I didn't like this one much. Sorry.

on 2009-08-13 19:18:27

cool intro. this is a very nice debut mix - congrats. :-P

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Metroid (Nintendo , 1986, NES)
Music by Hirokazu Tanaka
"Kraid's Chamber"

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